Help Fund a Future Olympic Hopeful

July 14, 2014

.
OK, first things first. I’m feeling horribly guilty at the moment. With the Short Track Speedskating Community that has grown at The Boots and Blades Forum, the blog seemed fairly redundant, so I hadn’t been posting on it much. Like in several years.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed how many hits it had gotten in my absence. While I was happily watching the Winter Olympics last February, apparently the site was going nuts with folks looking for info.

For future reference, most of the action is on the Boots and Blades Forum.

But enough of my guilt ridden laments. I’ve got a skater who needs some help.

__________________________________________________________________

kyle uyehara

.
Kyle Uyehara was one of the up and coming short track speedskaters that we helped with donations when we first started The Rocker Fund. (It too has become more of an archive than anything else.)

Since that time, Kyle has competed on several World Cup Teams and is training to make the next Olympic Team.

The company he works for is running a contest, and he needs to set up several appointments by Tuesday.

“Hey everyone!! I’m in this HUGE contest right now and I can use all the help I can get! I get paid every appointment even if nobody buys anything! If you are in the Salt Lake City area I can come to your house and if you’re not I can do a virtual appointment over the phone and just walk you through the website. I need to set up 14 more appointments by this Tuesday, the 15th of July, in order for me to hit my goals this week and I could use some practice with my presentation. So if you or anyone you know would be willing to help me out, I would really appreciate it.”

(I personally am coveting one of the products he sells, and as soon as I have some extra pesos, I’ll be contacting Kyle to purchase it.) There is no obligation to buy, but do plan on setting aside some time for the presentation. A little time on your part means some money in the pocket of a starving athlete.

You can contact Kyle at: iceskate004@aol.com
.

To read Kyle’s original bio on The Rocker Fund (Old Info), go here: http://www.therockerfund.org/image-viewer.htm?gallery/Fgallery2-4.jpg

To follow his skating progress, go to Kyle’s thread on the Boots and Blades Forum: http://therockerforum.proboards.com/thread/903?page=3

Kyle also has a Go Fund Me site: http://www.gofundme.com/37yob8


Of Reno/Tahoe Winter Olympic bids, ice skating and Squaw Valley

December 10, 2012

.
Well, a 2022 Winter Olympics in the U.S. has been put on the no go list by the USOC. It appears that the USOC and IOC have worked out their differences on the revenue front, it’s the time line that is the snag now. Since the USOC would have to seal its partnerships, sponsors and raise beaucoup dinero by the fall of 2013 to be considered, they decided it was just not enough time to do all the groundwork necessary to do the process justice. (30 million! Just to bid!!! Is it just me…or does this seem like an exorbitant extortion fee by the IOC?) The earliest bid the U.S. could possibly muster would be for 2024 or 2026. The Winter Olympics is the more hopeful option as the competition to host a Winter Olympics isn’t as intense as for a Summer Olympics.

The Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition is of course, disappointed. They haven’t written off the longer timeline, but their post as of July 2012 on the website indicates they need to have some discussions before they make any decisions on going forward. We’ll have to keep checking in to see what they ultimately decide. With areas like Denver, Salt Lake City and Montana also throwing their hat in the ring, we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that Reno/Tahoe is an underdog in this fight, or that we’d have some obstacles to overcome. The area has other very attractive traits to recommend it that far outweigh them, but we also have several government agencies and red tape to contend with that can fairly foul up the works. But that’s a post for another day.

http://www.renotahoewintergames.org/archives/1513

This all ties into some issues made in Eva Rodansky’s book ‘Winter of Discontent’. She touched on a lot of points about the legacy of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games that got me thinking about the legacy of the Olympics here at the Reno-Tahoe area.

What it was as the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.

What it could be as the site of a Winter Olympics in the future.

What it is and could be as an Olympic training center – now, and for years to come.

We’ve always been a Winter Sports area. (Summer Sports too, but it isn’t the sort that draws Olympian’s…at least not until they have hiking and water-skiing as gold medal worthy Olympic Sports…) We have the highest concentration of ski areas in the nation, all situated around the 2nd largest alpine lake in the country. As scenic Olympic sites go, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Winter at Lake Tahoe (Photo by M. Portesi)

Winter at Lake Tahoe (Photo by M. Portesi)

Eva’s book also touched on some other areas that I could relate to. Underutilized venues and wasted opportunities. Her issues were with the Utah Olympic Oval. Mine are with the rink at Squaw Valley USA.

I hear Squaw has new owners. Sadly, they have opted to close the only Olympic sized ice rink for several hundred miles in every direction. I understand why they chose to do so. I’ll be blunt here. Whoever designed it had their head planted fairly deep and firmly up their hind quarters. They obviously knew absolutely nothing about ice rinks, or more importantly, how to design them to be financially viable. Obviously a venue whose sole purpose was for tourists to slide around on their ankles wasn’t it. I’ll confess though, while it lasted, I personally loved it. Where else could I have an entire Olympic sized ice rink practically to myself? On a glorious summer night, nowhere but Squaw. It’s no surprise they closed it. Given its myriad of problems, it must have been nothing short of a financial black hole.

All selfishness aside, it was unfortunately designed to fail.
It is however, a gorgeous location. At 8200 feet, it sports a spectacular view. That also means it requires taking a spectacularly expensive tram ride to get to it. That’s before you rent skates, ice time or lessons. Ice sports are already very expensive. Do you suppose the designers of the facility were thinking “Hey, why don’t we ratchet the costs up a few more notches by requiring a really big fee just to access it”? Clearly they weren’t thinking at all. The local recreational skaters couldn’t afford it, training programs can’t function with a rink open to the elements and tourists aren’t that interested. They come to Squaw Valley to ski.

Taking the tram to Squaw Valley's High Camp. (Photo by M. Portesi)

Taking the tram to Squaw Valley’s High Camp. (Photo by M. Portesi)

In the winter it was a completely outdoor rink, no walls, no roof. On a sunny winter day, it was really quite exquisite. I would imagine on a snowy winter day however, it was a five star bitch to deal with. It’s not uncommon to get 4 feet of snow at a go at that elevation. The Zamboni and its driver must have been groaning in agony. No doubt some poor soul had to shovel a good deal of it off first just to get it clear enough for the Zamboni to drive out and make a dent. Maybe they had a snow-blower, or a baby snowplow. At any rate, while scenic, it wasn’t very practical.

Winter ice skating at the top of Squaw Valley. Photo by M. Portesi

Winter ice skating at the top of Squaw Valley. Photo by M. Portesi

During the summer, the rink had a temporary roof on it, but the rink itself was still open to the elements. The wind can really rip up there, and it wasn’t uncommon to have your strokes slow to a snails crawl fighting the wind at one end – only to turn the corner and be hurled down the rink by it at the other. It certainly made for some interesting jumps and spins. The roof only shielded the ice from some of the summer suns intense rays, so it was also fairly common for the ice to have slush puddles clear down to the under layment.

But I digress. My point is it could have been soooo much more. In fact, it could have been amazing.

For a rink to be profitable, it isn’t the public skates sessions that keep them alive. It’s the hockey leagues, the figure skating lessons, the short track speed skating clubs, the curling enthusiasts, the competitions and events that bring in the revenues. All of these endeavors require some control of the rinks environment, which is impossible to do with an outdoor rink. The wind not only made control of movement difficult, it also left a fair amount of crud on the ice. And if the wind didn’t deposit it, the Zamboni’s wheels imbedded it in the ice while traveling over its open to the elements driveway. (We won’t get into the refusal to drop the blade on the Zamboni when resurfacing, which merely resulted in shiny ruts as opposed to shiny, smooth, clean ice.) An elite short track speed skater can get up to speeds in the 30’s and even 40’s. Hitting a chunk of sand at that speed would surely strip a blade and send the skater flying. Broken blades and bodies to follow soon thereafter.

And for the love of God, why weren’t there any plans for bleachers? You know, seats. A place where you could take a load off when you weren’t skating. A place where onlookers could take a load off while watching others skating. And God forbid, a place where A LOT of onlookers could take a load off and watch – for a fee – a competition of other people skating. The planners were clearly missing the boat here.

Just for grins and giggles, I’m going to go a little further into my arguments from fantasy. This is what I propose. The first thing the ice facility building needs is… well, a building. Something enclosed where the snow, wind, ice to crud level and temperature can be controlled. Now I’ll agree, most ice rinks are metal, zero ambiance tin cans. Certainly we wouldn’t want that spectacular view to go to waste, nor take away from the feeling of skating outdoors, which was the one shining element of Squaw Valley’s rink. So first, the building would need to be incorporated into the existing structure, be enlarged enough to get some bleachers into it, and have a steeply pitched roof to dump the snow wherever the groomers for the ski area could actually use it. Oh yeah, and some nice big windows to show off the view. Now we’ve got something to work with here. A facility that would be of greater use to a wider audience.

The existing outdoor rink. A building to house the ice rink would need to tie into the existing structure. (photo by M. Portesi)

The existing outdoor rink. A building to house the ice rink would need to tie into the existing structure. (photo by M. Portesi)

Squaw Valley is – and has been the home and training grounds to many an Olympic skier. With a rink situated at 8200 feet, that whole athlete ‘train high, live higher’ benefit would make it an excellent training facility for elite skaters as well. Imagine the competition and event possibilities. Imagine the Olympic training programs that would love to be at a facility like this. I know skaters are always complaining that they can’t find enough available ice time. Imagine the additional winter sports programs that could be made available to the local community. And as for competitions and events, wouldn’t you, as a fan, rather go to a venue located in an area like this than your average corrugated metal warehouse located in a sketchy part of town in suburbia that are the location of most rinks? I know I would.

Reno conducted a pole not too long ago that stated that #2 on the list of events Reno residents would like to see in the area was short track speedskating. Many of our current Olympic short track skaters who train in Salt Lake City are completely unhappy with their NGB, U.S. Speedskating. We as fans think the organization is completely broken, needs to be disbanded, and a new National Governing Body started that serves the skaters instead of the other way around. Such an entity would also be eligible for funding from the USOC to run the program.
See where I’m heading with this?…*hint*hint*

Hey, just sayin’…

So here is your chance Squaw Valley to show the USOC and IOC that you’re serious about bringing the games back to the Reno Tahoe area. We already have the ski areas. You have an empty rink. The Reno/Tahoe area has the capacity to be a winter sports training and recreational Mecca. All in an area that according to USA Today was voted the #1 Lake in the country. We’ve got it all!…and wouldn’t it be an enormous boost for our economy if the rest of the world knew about it!


Short Track Speedskating season 2012/13 is underway!

October 25, 2012

.
Well, the first qualifying U.S. competition has come and gone, and the U.S. Team made a great showing at their first World Cup. On to Montreal!

Photo from US Speedskating. Anthony Barthell, Tamara Sirota Castellano, Travis Jayner, Emily Scott, Alyson Dudek, Kyle Carr, Jeff Simon, Chris Creveling, John-Henry Krueger, Nicole Detling and Jessica Smith.

The U.S. Team and brief recap:
MEN
J.R. Celski –Gold, Bronze
Chris Creveling
Kyle Carr
Jeff Simon
Travis Jayner
John Henry Krueger- Bronze


LADIES

Jessica Smith
Sarah Chen
Lana Gehring
Emily Scott
Alyson Dudek
Tamara Fredericks

Internationally, ‘Victor’ Ahn for Team Russia is making a real comeback, Team Russia as a whole is proving themselves to be a force to be reckoned with, and Team Korea and Team Canada continue to dominate.

Congrats to J.R Celski and John Henry Krueger on their podium wins, and a special kudos to J.R. for his world record!
Welcome to Chris Creveling for making his first World Cup Team.

For the full story on ISU’s website:
http://www2.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/page/directory/0,10853,4844-205151-222374-nav-list,00.html?id=1159

For full results:
http://shorttrack.sportresult.com/Results.aspx?evt=11212100000011

J.R. Celski wins gold, and shatters a world record time in the process – skating a sub 40 time at 39.937.


.

When it comes to the skaters, competitions and results, Lori usually has all this information covered on the Boots and Blades Forum.

http://therockerforum.proboards.com/index.cgi

As a result, reposting it here on the blog turned into little more than a time suck just to repost redundant information. So this is a good opportunity to ‘splain what the blog has become and where it stands at present in ‘The Rocker Fund Family of Products’.

Lori owns the Rocker U website and the Boots and Blades Forum. I own the Rocker Fund website and the blog. We do at times work together as a sort of loose tag team to accomplish common goals. We started with the websites, but as they are extremely time consuming to update, the move to a Forum and Blog format makes for much faster and easier postings of information and quicker dissemination throughout the web. The BB Forum is a perfect place to post a wide range of information on a variety of topics, as the format allows for a great deal of organization for posts, including individual areas for every skater, competitions, news and verbal discourse.

As a result, the blog has more or less turned into more of an editorial area. They are for the most part, my opinions, and may, or may not reflect those of Lori, fans, the skating community at large or the Boots and Blades Forum in general. Blog formats allows for more in depth musings that I may not want to take up space on the BB Forum just for my random brain firings, or I’m about to sharpen my poison pen for some real snark, or I have something to say on a subject that would be a bit more controversial for BB. (BB’s ‘mission statement’ if you will, was first and foremost, to support the skaters, ALL of the skaters. Lori works very hard to keep the voice of the site neutral, as it should be). As this site is more for editorial purposes, I feel the need for no such restraint here, and therefor, I’m willing to go out on a limb from time to time. As I’ve said before, my blog, my rules. I’ve at times gotten notes from those who disagree with my posts. Fair enough. There is a comments section, feel free to rebut it. Come armed with some FACTS. You won’t get far in changing my mind (and therefor editing the blog) if all you’ve got is ‘I don’t agree and I don’t like your post’. Past that, my point is, I do want to make it clear, that a post here does not necessarily mean that Lori or the whole of ‘The Rocker Fund Family of Products’ should be blamed.

And with that…stay tuned for some coming ‘snark’…


Meet APTE: Athletes for a Positive Training Environment

September 18, 2012

.

The skaters have been hinting that they had something in the works so that fans could show their support. Well, here it is. APTE: Athletes for a Positive Training Environment.

https://www.facebook.com/4APTE

I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire site yet, but you can leave comments, encouragement AND – this is a biggiethere is information on how you can make donations directly to the skaters!

The Speedskating Program has always been severely underfunded. Even more distressing is that the majority of the money you send to most non profit entities rarely trickles down to the people you thought you were trying to help in the first place. Administrative costs more often than not eat up the bulk of donations. Now you can cut out the middleman entirely and know for certain that your donation to APTE will be going directly to the skaters.
.

Lack of funding and funding misrepresentation are issues that are part of the skaters complaints against USS. If you haven’t read the list of the skaters grievances, you can go here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acrobat/2012-09/133629640-14134437.pdf

On page 10 is one of the allegations that relates to this issue.
.


.

To be honest, when I read the following blog post on USS’s site, I thought it was infinitely worse, to the point that I almost whipped off a blog post of my own under the category of ‘How could you!!! Have you no shame?!!!’.
http://skateleft.com/2012/07/

It was by far and away one of the most flagrant and egregious misrepresentations to pander for donations I have ever seen. The insinuation that your donation would somehow be helping the skaters with some of these basic expenses would be laughable if it wasn’t so criminal. How many times have skaters been told they had to pay their own way to an international competition after being selected for a World Cup team? That, next to coaching, is the one thing USS should be paying for above all else. If they can’t even manage that, then it’s rather obvious that they won’t be helping the skaters with much of anything else on the aforementioned laundry list of expenses.

Tugging on heart strings, appealing to your sense of patriotism and your sincere desire to help, that’s how non profits operate. If you still want to make donations to them, so be it.
But before you do, first make a donation directly to a skater you truly want and intend to help in the first place.

http://gofundme.com/4APTE


U.S. Short Track Skaters Take a Stand

September 15, 2012

.
Quote of the Day:
“Whatever hits the fan will not be distributed evenly…”

I’m sure this situation will prove to be no different.
Good. And it’s about time.

Today, both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Chicago Tribune have posted news items about allegations made by the skaters who are part of the U.S. Short Track Team.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/54898027-77/athletes-chun-federation-skaters.html.csp
.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-us-short-track-skaters-charge-head-coach-with-abuse-20120914,0,2764376.story
.

I won’t lie and say I’m surprised. In fact, I’ve often wondered why it took the athletes so long to fight back. I understand though. I’m sure it’s like a bunch of little Davids going up against that Goliath guy. A LOT of those Goliath guys.
U.S.S. has always had all the power, and the athletes had very little choice but to suck it up and deal with it if they wanted any chance of being on an Olympic Team. Unfair, surely. Fans have always known there were issues – the athletes are severely underfunded. But I doubt we knew it extended to this level of abuse.

Quote of the Day #2:
“The definition of Stress: When your mind overrules your body’s intense desire to beat the crap out of someone who desperately deserves it”

I’ve worked for abusive bosses. I know how it feels. I also know that it is completely counter-productive. Any extra blood you may squeeze out of that turnip by doing so is extremely short lived. It quickly turns to resentment, and you will NOT be getting anyone’s best work. Their mind isn’t on doing their job, (in this case, skating their best) it’s on their all consuming anger and trying to keep every muscle in their body from taking the abuser out back and giving them a much needed case of ‘whoop-ass’. That’s if you’ve got any degree of chutzpah. For others with less, it just beats them down so low that they have a hard time even getting back up again. Either way, it’s pointless and unnecessary and doesn’t get anything positive out of anyone. To quote one of my own fathers ‘dad-isms’:
“You can choose to be a good manager. Or you can choose just to be an asshole with a title”.

To USS. Choose better coaches. Resorting to this sort of behavior is for those who aren’t good enough to get results by any other means.

On a more positive note, many of our skaters are now training with the program coached by former Rocker Fund skater Anthony Barthell (we’re SO proud of you Anthony!) and Olympic Bronze medalist Alex ‘Izy’ Izykowski. Good on ya boys! May you and the skaters have a GREAT season. We’re cheering you all the way!
.

“Obviously, we take this very seriously,” said Tamara Castellano, a spokeswoman for U.S. Speedskating. “Our product is our athletes. If we don’t have them, we don’t have anything.”

.

…umm, excuse me a moment…*sputter *choke* cough*…
…BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!
.

…not to put too fine a point on it, but even we fans know this is complete and utter B.S.- but hey, thanks for trying to insult our intelligence. The entities involved believe skaters merely exist to support USS, the USOC, the IOC…you name it – not the other way around. It has always been thus. There’s a lot of people with their fingers in that Olympic Sports Pie making a HUGE amount of money off of these athletes, while the athletes themselves struggle.

Our impression of USS is of a giant, voracious sawmill, and the skaters are just logs they pass through the blade to build their house of cards, turning them into sawdust in the process.

That impression was reinforced by reading Eva Rodansky’s book ‘Winter of Discontent’…and reading it again. There were so many revelations in it, that the thoughts were literally ricocheting around my brain like overactive, runaway pachinko balls. Point after point of things we suspected all along, but didn’t have any proof of – until now.

I wanted to write about this ages ago, but was asked to keep it on the down low. I obliged. Now that the cat IS out of the bag, I feel no need to keep quiet about the many issues the skaters had – and continue to have with the powers that be.
If you’re a fan of short track, please read her book. It’s a real eye opener. (sadly, it is no longer available as an e book on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Ya snooze, ya lose…maybe you should all call en-mass and request it back on the e book list)

The skaters, and our impression of USS, was a big reason why we started The Rocker Fund…and all the other periphery items like this blog that grew out of that.
Let me take a moment to give you a little TRF short track fan history.

Many of us started our Short Track obsession on the GotApolo forum. Lori Robinson managed to get many of us to commit to meeting for our first short track competition (US Championships) live and in the flesh in Salt Lake City- even though none of us had ever met before. (By the way, my parents thought I was absolutely INSANE to roomie with someone I didn’t know and were thoroughly convinced that Lori was a possible axe murderer…but I digress…)

Anyway, No small feat pulling that off. As Lori will tell you, it’s like herding cats. She did a lot of planning and networking to get us all to that first get together, and it was a smashing success. We had an absolute blast. (I’m happy to report I came home in one piece, no axes in sight. Lori DID however, try to kill me doing the Grouse Grind on a different ST trip, but that’s another story…)

Certainly the parents of the skaters were very warm and welcoming. No doubt excited that somebody other than themselves actually gave a sh*t about watching their kids skate. More often than not the skaters themselves were absolutely stunned that anyone even knew who they were let alone were actual fans of them -which is probably why we adore them so. We may have started as Apolo fans…but we didn’t stay there long. We became fans of ALL the skaters, which certainly made for some interesting cheering. “Come On Ya’all” became a common yell when the lineup was full of favorites. Who do you cheer for? Well – All Ya’all.

At the World Cup in Salt Lake a month or two later, we decided to do it again. Gone were the options of VIP tickets, which we were more than willing to pay for. We mere fans didn’t qualify. So we decided to pool all that money we would have spent anyway and give it to a struggling skater. But how to go about it?

USS was approached and we were told “just give the money to us and we’ll take care of it…”

ppfffft! Yeah, right. I’m sorry, we only look stupid. Feeling fairly certain that said starving skater would never see a dime, we decided to give the money directly…but then that whole ‘herding cats’ thing came into play, and no one could agree on which skater to give it to. More importantly, we weren’t even sure if the skaters wanted our help. Which got us thinking…and well, long story short, The Rocker Fund was born.

Looking back on it now, I don’t regret being involved with it even though it had its headaches and ultimately ran its course. I would say on my part I was certainly naive on what I was getting myself into. I still think it’s a good cause, now more than ever. Our Short Track athletes need our support – financially and emotionally.

I’ll hazard a bit of hubris here in making a blanket statement on behalf of all the fans.

Suck it, USS. We stand with the skaters.


Of Clothing and Controversies…

July 16, 2012

OLYMPIC CLOTHING VS OLYMPIC FUNDING

.
I’ve been neglectful of writing on the blog for the last year. Too busy trying to get my own house in order, and as Lori at Boots and Blades (see link to the right) does an excellent job of keeping up with all the short track news there, the blog was often redundant anyway.

And then there are times like these. Sometimes the planets align and events transpire that get the wheels of contemplation going, and I find I really have a lot to say…even if it does more often than not just fly off into the ether. Blogs are the perfect medium for such mental gymnastics, where there is more space to spill out what’s on ones mind than in a ‘tweet’.
So be prepared, this post may get a bit long winded…with a couple more undoubtedly equally long winded posts to follow soon thereafter. I’ve got some ground to cover and a few bones to pick. Starting with:
.

U. S. Olympic uniforms made in China has Congress steamed
http://www.nj.com/olympics/index.ssf/2012/07/olympic_uniforms_made_in_china.html

This product image released by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic athletes (from left) swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone and soccer player Heather Mitts modeling the the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade Uniform. Republicans and Democrats railed Thursday about the U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to dress the U.S. team in Chinese manufactured berets, blazers and pants while the American textile industry struggles economically with many U.S. workers desperate for jobs. / Associated Press photo/Ralph Lauren/file

This week, our members of Congress are all up in arms and aghast over the realization that our Olympic Athletes will be trotting around London in uniforms manufactured not in the good Ol’ U.S. of A, but in our own personal little sweat shop known as the People’s Republic of China.

Now is this really new information that hasn’t been completely obvious to anyone over the age of three for a few decades now? Seriously???

Oh, wait. We’re talking about our government here. You know, those guys (and gals) so sequestered in their own little world of super PACs, insider trading and payoffs, that apparently what is going on in this country to 99% of their constituents comes as a complete and utter shock.

Excuse me while I quote your average teenager when I say: “Well, Duh.”

Where the hell have they been for the last few decades? Almost all of our manufacturing is overseas. Has been for awhile now. Our corporations sent them there. Our government paved the way for them to do it. And they say now that they didn’t know??? With our economy in the toilet and double digit unemployment for a good portion of the new millennium, now they’re surprised? Meh.

Not surprisingly, the general public has been equally outraged about the uniform flap, although I will say they have all missed the point- and the bigger issue entirely.

From the posts I’ve been reading on Facebook and the Boots & Blades Forum, this story has really hit a nerve with the Olympic sport of Short Track Speed Skating community and fans, with ensuing outrage of a totally different order. All of the posts have echoed my own sentiments, which evened out to:

THE TOP TEN REASONS OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE CLUELESS…

1) Congress- Our gov’t/congress/taxes don’t support this country’s Olympic athletes financially (for the Olympic Games or their years of training to get there) so you abdicate all rights to snivel about their uniforms, foreign made or otherwise…
Cough up some coin to support them and then we’ll talk.

2) Congress! – You’re the ones who not only gave their blessing, but in many instances orchestrated all those ‘Made in the USA’ clothing labels AND jobs going overseas.

3) Congress!!! – It’s called ‘Capitalism’! But now that it’s our athletes clothed in its results at the Olympic Games, you cry foul on poor Ralph? (Berets Ralph? Really??? The clothes are still butt ass ugly, but that’s a separate issue…) Hey, it’s a business. Ralph does it for PROFIT. You know, that stuff you elected officials feel is the end all, be all…

4) At least Ol’ Ralphy bothered to support our Olympic Team, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of American Companies. Congress complains about Ralph Lauren for doing what EVERY OTHER CLOTHING MANUFACTURER in the U.S. has been doing for decades. Get over it…or change it.

5) Congress equally balks at the USOC for wooing sponsorships from companies outside of the U.S.
Well, if American companies stepped up and opened their fat wallets after making all those profits from some overseas 5 year old working for a buck fifty a day, the USOC wouldn’t need to look outside of the States for sponsorship. The moola has got to come from somewhere and we can obviously rule out our government, American companies, members of Congress or CEO’s donating a portion of their mega million dollar bonus to the athletes cause.
In fact, when our government does get involved, athletes end up being little more than political pawns to make a completely gutless political statement. (Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Jimmy Carter…and No, I’ve never forgiven you for it. Nor do I feel you had the right to do it in the first place.)

6) Congress! – Before you do any more whining about the Olympic uniforms, I’ve got two words for you. Stupak Scholarship.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/obama-budget-cuts-stupak-schol.html

Yeah, that’s the one tiny little thing this country was willing to do for its Olympic athletes and future Olympians and hopefuls. A measly little million dollar scholarship program so they could get an education while competing and representing our country against athletes from other countries that had the full support and backing from their homeland.

Obama killed it. To be fair, Bush had tried to croak the program every year he was in office, Obama is just the one who succeeded. I didn’t hear Congress putting up too much of a fight over its demise. I guess it was much more important to cut that little million dollar program so there would be more towards the billions to bail out the rich banksters. I’ve met both Olympic hopefuls and Bankers. The former are much more honest and deserving.

7) Which leads me to ask this question. Who is the completely clueless government wonk who said this?:

“Olympic athletes [and hopefuls] receive generous support from a variety of sources.”

http://mediamatters.org/research/2010/02/03/fox-nations-claim-that-obama-cut-program-to-get/159987
.

Congress – Are you high? Most elite athletes, especially in the less mainstream sports are living below the poverty line, many on food stamps. And how would you know anyway? OUR GOVERNMENT DOESN’T FUND THEM! This completely out of touch with reality mentality by both our elected officials AND the general public not only leads to a lot of financial hardship but also the oft heard phrase proffered to elite level athletes when they’re seeking desperately needed sponsorship- “So, you’re all set, then?” (See link below on this subject)

No, they’re not. Not by a long shot.

8) Congress!!!!! Why is it a person or company that busts its behind is deserving of the fruits of their labors- touted as ‘the American Way’, but when it comes to the athletes themselves, the fruits of their labors are entitled to everyone else BUT them? As one athlete put it:

“The ‘Olympic Dream’ frankly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You aren’t an individual, you are a “medal color” and the money people can make from that. It’s really sad to come to that realization.”

There are a LOT of people making money off the Olympics – or more accurately, the athletes. Sadly, for the most part, the athletes themselves aren’t one of them.

9) I have to thank Lori at Boots and Blades for this little gem she posted today.

30 Stupid Things The Government Is Spending Money On

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/30-stupid-things-the-governemnt-is-spending-money-on

I’m dumbfounded over this one. Truly. Our lawmakers are willing to pay for foreigners outside our country to get masters degrees? But they cut scholarship funding to our own Olympic Athletes???
Are they freaking kidding me???

10) Congress! -Gee, Hypocrisy much? Me thinks thou dost protest too much…
.

Which leads me right back to:

…”So, You’re All Set, Right?”…

What transpired last week was completely in sync with some points I wanted to comment on after reading Eva Rodansky’s book, ‘Winter of Discontent – An athlete’s experience of speed skating in America’.
This is EXACTLY the sort of thing she’s talking about. The difficulty of trying to train as an elite athlete while representing a country that does little to support its own Olympic athletes and hopefuls, and then adding insult to injury, works diligently to promote the general impression that if you ARE an elite athlete, then financially “So, You’re all set, right?”…

From what I’ve seen as a mere fan, nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, mention this book, and the room becomes suddenly hushed, and all concerned immediately exhibit the sort of extreme angst, silence, nervousness and discomfort one would normally expect from a drug runner being patted down by a DEA agent that is a mere inches away from discovering the illegal stash in their underwear. Apparently many would just like to make the book ‘go away’ and pretend it doesn’t exit.

But hey,
A) This is America, not 1960’s Russia. So I can read – and talk about – what I like Comrade, thank you very much. And:
B) It’s my blog, so my rules. If it makes any fan or the general public of speedskating or the Olympics stop and think even half as much as it did for me, then it’s a book well worth reading. I’ll quote my own saying. “I have no patience with ignorance, it’s a 100% curable disease.”

Eva’s anger is palpable, and she certainly pulls no punches – on anyone. I personally like that in a person. Give it to me straight up, no chaser.
Her take on the general public’s (and obviously here, congress persons) perceptions on how our Olympic athletes are funded- or complete lack thereof – is spot on in my opinion.

You can download an e-version at either of these sites. (approx. $5)
Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winter-of-discontent-eva-rodansky/1109654639?ean=294001427532

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Discontent-athletes-experience-ebook/dp/B007N6CGG0

I invite not only fans, but our elected officials to read up on this important subject. I encourage those who care about the Olympics in general, and short track speed skaters specifically to leave their own thoughts either here, on the Boots and Blades Forum and with your elected officials.
I fully intend to send the law makers in the links below this blog post…and any comments it generates.

So, are we all ready to rumble?
.

To contact the specific outraged lawmakers in the article:
Senator Harry Reid:
http://www.reid.senate.gov/

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
http://www.pelosi.house.gov/

Speaker of the House, John Boehner
http://www.speaker.gov/

Congressmen Steve Israel
http://israel.house.gov/

Sen. Sherrod Brown
http://www.brown.senate.gov/

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand,
http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/

Sen. Bernie Sanders
http://www.sanders.senate.gov/


American Cup 1 2011. The results are in…

October 3, 2011

.
The first competition of the season for the U.S. Skaters is in the books, and the U.S. Team for the upcoming World Cups has been chosen.

For full results and points, you can go to Tony Chung’s spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkKaRsNHioRqdEFfUGZtZDhpb2l1aEdvYnRrTF9RTWc&hl=en_US#gid=25

The following results are from US Speedskatings site. The top 4 skaters were automatic team members, with two additional discretionary picks by the coaches. Here’s how it shakes out:

World Cup #1 – Salt Lake City, USA (October 21-23)

Ladies:

Lana Gehring (Glenview, IL)

Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, WI)

Katherine Reutter (Champaign, IL)

Jessica Smith (Melvindale, MI)

Emily Scott (Springfield, MO)

Sarah Chen (San Marino, CA)

.

Men:

J.R. Celski (Federal Way, WA)

Kyle Carr (Peachtree City, GA)

Jordan Malone (Denton, TX)

Jonathan Garcia (Houston, TX)

John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kyle Uyehara (Lakewood, CA)

.
.

World Cup #3 – Nagoya, JPN, (December 2-4)

World Cup #4 Shanghai, CHN, (December 9-11)

.

Ladies:

Lana Gehring (Glenview, IL)

Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, WI)

Katherine Reutter (Champaign, IL)

Jessica Smith (Melvindale, MI)

Emily Scott (Springfield, MO)

Tamara Fredericks (Park Ridge, IL)

.
.

Men:

J.R. Celski (Federal Way, WA)

Kyle Carr (Peachtree City, GA)

Jordan Malone (Denton, TX)

Jonathan Garcia (Houston, TX)

Simon Cho (Laurel, MD)

Travis Jayner (Midland, MI)

*

* Team USA will not be competing in World Cup #2 (October 28-30) in Saguenay, CAN
.
.
It’s wonderful to see Travis Jayner is on the second leg of the World Cups. He had to scratch today due to a fall that was accompanied by a concussion. We love Tony’s live feeds, but we HATE seeing the skaters injured. We’re so glad you’re OK Travis!

Congratulations to all the skaters!

And Thank You Tony Chung for the live feed. We’d be lost without you. To donate to Tony for bringing us all ACTUAL MOVING PICTURES, go to the following link:
http://www.shorttrackhd.com/Donation.html
.

On a side note: This season started out with quite a few skaters greatly missed. Jeff Simon, Simon Cho, Morgan Izykowski, and Anthony Lobello. Simon Cho has been on the mend and the coaches must think enough of him to give him a spot on the World Cup 3 and 4 Team despite not being able to compete. Anthony is finishing his school obligations. Good for you Anthony. Get the parchment and then concentrate on getting some GOLD.

I’m a bit sad Kimberly Derrick didn’t make the team, but it does give some other gals some experience. As a fan, we have a warm spot in our hearts for certain skaters and Kimberly is one of them. We’re heartbroken for them when they don’t fare well, even though we know there are only so many spots, and everyone can’t make a team. Kimberly’s concentrating on school too the last I heard and I’m sure a lot of her energy is going into that. Hang in there Berly.

Fellow Olympic Team Member Allison Baver was also MIA. She announced on her FB page that she’s decided to train for another Olympics, but seeing as she wasn’t at this competition, perhaps she has decided to continue giving long track a go.

The best of luck to all of you.
.
.
To check out the rest of the news, see the links to the right for US Speedskating, the Boots and Blades Forum, Bella Faccie photography and Tony Chung- Short Track HD.


Nevada County Escapes

Short Track News by TRF

eatpicks.com

Short Track News by TRF

YOUR FRIEND IN HIGH PLACES

Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

stacystyle's blog

Stacy Kunstel: style, design, interiors, shopping, and the magazine world

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

M.A.D. Northwest

Music. Art. Dance.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 51 other followers

%d bloggers like this: