Tag Archives: olympics

Photo courtesy of theindychannel.com

Olympian Nick Goepper sits down with the Cardinal

By Sam Draut

Nick Goepper won a bronze medal in the first ever Olympic Slopestyle competition in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  The 19-year-old Olympian grew up in Lawrenceburg, Ind. and recently took time to sit down with the Louisville Cardinal.

Q: How great was it to medal for the country?

A: Medaling for the country and winning a bronze medal was incredible because I not only did it for myself and my family, but I also did it for my nation and brought a new level of pride to the Olympics.

 

Q: Sochi received some negative attention while hosting the Olympics, what was your take on it?

A: The Olympic experience was really sweet because it wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be, a few of my friends who were on the team with me, we were able to have our own little hallway.  So when we got there it was like any other competition and we got into a routine.  And we got used to it and had fun skiing because the course was so big and fast.  Overall, it was a great time.

Q: How long were you in Sochi?

A: I was in Sochi for about two weeks.  It was different than any other contest because we had 10 days of practice before the event.  Usually it is three days of practice before a big event.  I actually didn’t prefer it because it elongated the pressure building process and so the anticipation and pressure built more than if we had just a few short days.

 

Q: Was it different preparing for the Olympics?

A: The preparation or training process wasn’t too different from X games or any other big event because I practice or ski as much for any big event.  I try to ski as many days I can and think outside the box to try to learn new tricks and other creative ways to hit the course.  So, I treated it like any other contest.

 

Q: Indiana isn’t known as a skiing hotspot, how tough was it to get your career started?

A: Growing up in Indiana was the best thing for me, it humbled me and gave me greater appreciation for the bigger mountains and the skiing world that existed outside of the Midwest.  It made me more hungry and more determined to make it to the level that I am at because I didn’t have as many privileges and opportunities that I would have if I lived in Colorado or California where the ski industry is much more present.

 

Q: Where did you start?

A: I started at Perfect North.  I skied there since I was five years old.  I did my first back flip when I was eleven years old.  I made my dad drag me around different contests regionally in the Midwest.  We drove around to different contests until I was 15 and then I moved out to Portland, Oregon and went to a school out there.

Q: How big was the move out west for your career?

A: When I moved out west I think I saw an improvement because that is when I met my coach, Mike Hanley, which really benefited me a lot.  I thought he was crazy and didn’t know what he was talking about, I thought I did everything right, but then I got there and he said ‘you’re doing this wrong and that wrong’.

 

Q: How long have you been sponsored by Red Bull?

A: I have been a Red Bull athlete for a year and a half now.  They signed me this past October (Fall 2012).  It was the year after I had gotten my first podium at X games in Aspen.  They saw potential in me and I was so ecstatic to gain a sponsor with Red Bull because they are one of the most supportive action sports companies out there.  They can open up a lot of doors.

 

Q: What is the next step for your career?

A: I want to go to a couple more Olympics and keep competing in the X games.  I want to focus on more of creative skiing and make some sweet videos.

 

Q: What is your life span as a skier?

A: With my sport, most guys teeter out mid to late 20s, but I want to take it into my 30s.

 

Q: Any final thoughts about your career thus far?

A: I do it because I love it and I am passionate about it.

Photo courtesy of Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

Controversy plagues start of 2014 Winter Olympics

By Annie Moore

To say the Winter Olympics in Sochi have been a farce would be an understatement, and it’s only just begun.

In what proved to be the perfect symbolism for these Winter Games, the opening ceremony featured five giant illuminated snowflakes that descended and expanded to form the five Olympic rings. But the fifth and final snowflake didn’t expand, rendering the Olympic symbol half-formed… kind of like the planning for the Sochi games themselves. Oh, and the final Olympic torchbearers included a woman who tweeted a photoshopped picture of President Obama and a banana, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rumored mistress, an ex-gymnast.

These Winter Games are the most expensive in Olympics history, with a breathtaking $51 billion price tag. That’s billion, with a “b”. And the return on investment has been… less than optimal.

Athletes, journalists, international delegates and fans alike have descended on Sochi in the past weeks to get ready for the Winter Games and have been greeted with accommodations that rival the worst hostiles in the world. Harry Reekie of CNN tweeted upon their arrival that of the 11 rooms they reserved five months ago, one was ready. To which Olympic organizer Dmitry Chernyshenko tweeted the response, “to believe you just need to turn around and look at the mountains.” Last time I checked, mountains can’t install proper plumbing and electricity. Of course, neither can the companies responsible for construction of the many new hotels and Olympic facilities in Sochi.

 Social media has been flooded with “#SochiProblems” for the past week. Rooms without doors, functioning plumbing, safe water, shower curtains and many other necessities.

Stacy St. Clair of the Chicago Tribune tweeted that upon her arrival there was no working water in her room. The front desk clerk went on to tell her that if/when water was restored not to use it on her face because it contained “something very dangerous”. Later St. Clair followed up to say that her water had been restored, and tweeted a picture of something I can only imagine was green tea mixed with battery acid, or Sochi water.

But, even if most of those issues could be dismissed as first-world problems that locals deal with on a daily basis (running water is so overrated, right?), deeper, moral issues lie at the heart of these Olympics. They have been passed over by the IOC in what is perhaps the most unforgivable moral depravity in the charade of a sporting event in recent history.

 

Many journalists arrived to find stray dogs and cats in their rooms, or around the Olympic village. The journalists were later surprised to find that their new furry friends had gone missing. That would be because the Russian government has a contract with Basya Services, a pest control company, to trap and kill stray dogs and cats in the city. The original contract was reportedly for around 300 animals per month, but the number was raised to prepare for the Winter Games.

Residents have reported seeing the animals being shot with poison darts, or being fed poisoned meat. Many of the strays are pets that residents could no longer afford to keep, with no shelters to take them to, they were forced to simply turn them out. And now the animals are being exterminated because they are getting in the way of all of the atrociously-planned Olympic festivities.

 

The owner of Basya Services, Alexei Sorokin was quoted as saying the animals were “biological trash”.

The Sochi games are just getting underway, and with two more weeks of competition remaining we will see how history remembers these 2014 Winter Olympics. But one thing is for certain, something’s rotten in Sochi, and it’s not the animals or the sewage.

 

Photo Courtesy: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

Eszter Povazsay hopes her Olympic Experience will bring a legacy and help the Louisville swimming team to grow.

U of L swimming and diving benefits from Olympic experience

By Randy J. Whetstone–

Eszter Povazsay hopes her Olympic experience will bring a legacy and help the Louisville swimming team to grow.

Participating in the Olympics engenders a historic legacy. Athletes display their talents on the biggest stage of the competitive sports realm to represent their country in international play. These participants are commended by spectators, friends and family. Time, commitment and dedication are all interrelated parts that must work in consort for athletes to perform at the best of their ability. The radiating effect of Olympic play has made its way to the University of Louisville.

The university’s swimming and diving program was magnified in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The impact of their participation surely looks to enhance the program as well as the athletic department.

Senior Eszter Povazsay represented her Hungarian national team and competed in the 100 backstroke event. She reflected upon her experience and stated what she hoped to see in the future for Louisville’s swimming and diving program.

“I’m hoping by competing in London Olympics I will bring a legacy to this team,” Povazsay said, “and I hope that it will help the team grow in the future. I’ve already seen the impact on the team from our Olympic experiences, as far as recruiting and being acknowledged.  It brought more attention to U of L swimming and diving”.

The athletic department’s recruiting success has enhanced each season. This platform grew stronger from Olympic participation. The university receives recognition and hopes to use that as a tool for current and future athletes.

Experience in Olympic play nurtures any athlete. All participants operate with an elite work ethic to enable themselves the best opportunity to do well. Swimmers can filter their experience from Olympic play to collegiate competition as they continue their career. Junior Joao De Lucca represented Brazil in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. He compared his experiences between competing as a college athlete and an Olympian.

“It’s pretty similar because the focus on the Olympics is all the best athletes in the world compete together,” said De Lucca. “In America, for all the best athletes, it’s hard to make the NCAA’s. The level of competition is so high as it is in the Olympics.”

U of L alumni Pedro Oliveira expressed his appreciation for the University of Louisville.

“Representing U of L was special,” Oliveira said. “My first time around the Olympics, I only represented my country.  All the love I got from the fans was definitely great, people recognized me in the street and wherever I go.  It’s great to have that appreciation from the fans and give back to the school that gave so much.”

These swimmers in Olympic competition contributed to the vision of the University of Louisville’s program. The spotlight will spark interest within future athletes as new recruits are illuminated by the Olympic rings.

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: courtesy of twicsy.com

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USA women’s basketball wins a gold medal with help from former U of L star Angel McCoughtry

By Sammie Hill–

Exemplifying the caliber of the University of Louisville women’s basketball program, former Cardinal Angel McCoughtry earned a gold medal this summer at the London Olympics as a forward for the USA women’s basketball team.

The 6’1”, 154 pound Baltimore native majored in Communications at the University of Louisville, graduating in 2009. McCoughtry not just competed but excelled in Division I athletics, validated by the accumulation of many accomplishments throughout her collegiate career.

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, McCoughtry was named to the All-Big East first team; she earned Big East All-Tournament Team honors in 2008 and 2009. In 2009, she received the honor of Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and the Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, ESPN.com and CBSSportsline.com selected her as a member of the All-America first team.

In 2007, she set Louisville’s all-time single-season scoring record with 747 points, shattering the previous record of 620; she then broke the record again as a junior with 858 points and senior with 901 points.

She also became Louisville’s first 2,000 point scorer. McCoughtry concluded her collegiate career as Louisville’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder with a career total of 2,779 points and 1,261 rebounds.

In 2009, the WNBA drafted McCoughtry as the first overall pick to the Atlanta Dream. She dons the number 35 and serves as a guard and forward for the team. The WNBA deemed her Rookie of the Year in 2009, earning her a place on the All-Rookie Team. She improved from the All-WNBA second team in 2010 to the All-WNBA first team in 2011.

In 2010, she led the Atlanta Dream to the WNBA Finals, where they fell to the Seattle Storm. She continued to improve into 2011, where she finished as the WNBA’s second-leading scorer, averaging 21.6 points per game. Her contribution helped the Dream achieve a 20-14 record and reach the WNBA Finals.

Her performance in the WNBA caught the attention of the USA Olympic team. She served as a player on the 2010 USA Basketball World Championship Team that qualified the U.S. for the 2012 Olympic Games. While playing fewer than 19 minutes a game, she had the second-best scoring average on the team with 11.3 points per game and a team-high 24 steals. This solidified her place on the U.S. Olympic Team, to which she was officially named on March 30, 2012.

The USA women’s basketball team won their fifth consecutive gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. With McCoughtry as a forward, the team defeated Croatia, Angola, Turkey, the Czech Republic, China, Canada and Australia to advance to the finals where USA defeated France 86-50.

The fact that Angel McCoughtry possesses the outstanding talent and ability required to compete at the Olympic level reflects positively on the University of Louisville. Cardinals remain proud not only of their country but also of their former basketball star that continues to exceed expectations and achieve excellence.

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
Logo courtesy Olympics 2012