Archive for the ‘vancouver’ Tag

jcm’s ‘10 Olympics’ Podium Predictions Contest

It’s nearly one month til the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics! In celebration and anticipation, I invite you to take part in my contest, the second of its kind on jcm, since my 09 Worlds’ Contest. You contribute nothing but figure skating placement predictions, I make no profit, and it’s not linked to any organization or business…it’s just for fun!

TO PLAY

Post your predictions for the top 4 medal placements (including the fourth place “pewter” medal), in any or all 4 figure skating disciplines in the “Comments” for this post. If your username is not linked to your email address, be sure to include your email address as well, or email it to me, so I can contact you should you win. Refer to the early submissions for the basic format, and you may use your initials only, if you wish. Predictions or resubmissions must be posted before midnight, February 12th. I will announce any skater withdrawals in the “Comments” for this post.

SCORING

  • 15 points for correct top 3 placements (gold, silver, & bronze) for 1 discipline (if achieved, the next 3 scoring items are not added)
  • 6 points for 1 correct gold medal placement
  • 5 points for 1 correct silver medal placement
  • 4 points for 1 correct bronze medal placement
  • 2 points for 1 correct medalist in any top 3 placement (ie: you post “Jane Doe – silver medal”, but Jane wins bronze)
  • 1 point for 1 correct fourth place “pewter” medal placement
  • 1 bonus point for 4 correct top 4, in any top placement (ie: you post correct top 4, BUT some or all are in wrong placement)

PRIZES

The winner for each discipline will be awarded a $20 online amazon.com gift certificate, the week following the Olympics. (A total of $80.00 in prizes are at stake!)


ATHLETES

You can review the Vancouver Athletes, in all 4 figure skating disciplines here. (Once an official competitor list is published, I’ll provide the link.) Check out the season’s best total scores for men, ladies, pairs, ice dance.

And, keep an eye on the official Olympic Schedule and Results here.

The small print:

If there are any withdrawals before Feb. 12, you may resubmit your predictions, but I discourage you from doing so for unaffected disciplines, as you will risk losing a tie-breaker because of resubmitting later. If a withdrawal in any discipline effects your prediction, your 4th place prediction will be counted as your bronze medal prediction (this is why the 4th place prediction is essential.) If there are 2 withdrawals in any discipline that effect your prediction, the remaining skaters in that discipline will be counted as your top 2 prediction. If there are no withdrawals in a discipline, the fourth place prediction serves as a top 3 tie-breaker. In the case of a top 4 tie, the earlier post prevails (including any resubmissions).

I have revised the scoring, since my ’09 Worlds’ Predictions Contest, to increase fairness, and account for more possible scenarios. Have fun y’all!

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Vancouver Olympic Schwag: Can You Resist?

One of my most curious and amusing memories of attending the Salt Lake Games with friends was the fast emerging and potent addiction to Olympic schwag, particularly collectible pins! I remember running from shop to shop, table to table, in Park City, seeking the most stylish, most beautiful, most perfect pin(s).

I liken it to going to an auction, or taking part in a raffle. Somehow you get roped up into thinking you MUST have the targeted item, and that your very happiness depends on it. Thankfully, I’ve enjoyed wearing the pins I purchased then to later skating events, and around big competition time, so they proved themselves worthy purchases.

I thought I’d share a little taste of this addictive smack with you! I have no association with the Vancouver 2010 Store, and am only sharing these images and links for your enjoyment. Just think of me as your schwag enabler.

Figure Skating Pins


These two are available here and here. Other figure skating pins include: hanging skates, glitter skatesladies’ spiral against Canadian maple leaflayback spin, Mukmuk mascot on Zamboni (hilarious!)Quatchi & Miga mascotspairs’ silhouette (garish), dimensional skating figure (tacky!). And, if you just MUST have an Olympic “Happy Easter” skating pin, it is available here.

jcm’s Favorite Vancouver 2010 Pins


This left pin features an Aboriginal salmon illustration. This is part of a beautiful, larger series. To be honest, I had no idea there was Aboriginal culture or history in Canada. I only knew of it in Australia. Whodathunkit? These pins ALSO educate!

The right pin has a cut-out of the Paralympic logo in silver. I actually prefer the Paralympic logo and pins to the Vancouver Olympic logo and pins. I also like the looks of this simple pin quite a bit, and for other sports, this Canadian maple leaf ski pin is the coolest!

More Figure Skating Schwag


Other figures skating schwag that is not yet out of stock including this hot pink luggage tag, a rather drab looking magnet, and poster.

Even though Christmas is past, I’ll be placing my order for the top left skating pin, and likely the Aboriginal salmon pin today! You see any favs on the store site?

Olympic Reigns Ending: Likelihoods or Naysaying?

While I’m on the subject of Olympic pairs skating (ie: Shen & Zhao), I was doing a little poking around to see what kind sort of history-making we’re likely to witness in Vancouver, barring any miracles…which I’m always open to! That’s why I’m calling these “likelihoods”, not “predictions”.

2010 Olympics Logo Ice SculptureMy focus here is just on medal trends per country, and which countries have historically reigned in various divisions. (It’s WAY too early to purport any individual medal predictions.) A lot of these thoughts have certainly been floated online, but I really wanted to dig up and share the stats, to express the gravity of it.

Frankly, I prefer to see the spotlight passed around. For example, I think the recent upsurge (a new reign?) by ladies from Asian countries has been a welcome evolution, giving them their “moment”, but also offering the sport and other skaters a healthy push towards further growth.

Russian (URS/EUN) Gold Reigns

Russian Flag

The only complete stranglehold any one country has had on a single Olympic division over three or more decades is in pairs. However, unless the chinese teams and Savchenko & Szolkowy (GER) spend the competition on their asses, it will likely be the first time since 1960 that the pairs champions are not Russian (URS/EUN), discluding the ’02 Skategate scandal, in which two sets of gold medals were awarded. (Yes, Savchenko is Russian by birth, but that doesn’t count.) Just to clarify, I’m not a Russia-hater, but I’d prefer a single country (including the US) not to completely dominate a division like this.

Also, we are likely to see the end of their impressive five-Olympic reign of the men’s title. The recent champions have been: Victor Petrenko (EUN, ‘92), Alexei Urmanov (‘94), Ilia Kulik (‘98), Alexei Yagudin (‘02), Evgeni Plushenko (‘06).

Torvill & Dean (‘84) and Anissina & Peizerat (‘02) already put a kabosh on a Russian reign in ice dance. (Yes, Anissina is Russian by birth, but that doesn’t count either.)

US Podium Reign

American FlagAnd, finally, it may also be the first time in 11 Olympics (40+ years…yes, that’s since ’64) that an American lady doesn’t make it to the podium. I hate to be a naysayer, but the top four ladies at ’09 Worlds looked unbeatable. And, PLEASE proove me wrong!

BTW, I spied some cute Vancouver Games wallpaper here.

 

“That’s Huge”: Shen & Zhao Are Back

Thanks to the Susan over at Lifeskate (both are huge), I came upon this video, which provides an enticing glimpse of pairs team Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao in training for the Vancouver Games. What a sight for sore eyes they are, helping to brighten my skating perspective this week, after the deeply sad Bobek news! (And, btw, they’re “huge” too.) This shows them at work on their Long Program, to Albinoni’s “Adagio”. I’m not terribly excited about this selection, as it’s too played and rather dreary, but I trust they will make it their own and breathe new life into it. It’s very reassuring to see them already seemingly in top form, as best I can judge from this brief segment.

 

jcm was one of the earliest online voices to focus the comeback spotlight on them, with this poll, and this post. With all the talk of Cohen, Kwan and Plushy/Zhenya they continue to get unfairly lost in the shuffle…at least in the US.

They’re pretty much guaranteed a spot on the Chinese Olympic Team since there is no true fourth contending team at this time. For them to skate well would alone make the trip to Vancouver worth it. But, for them to take gold, or a medal of any color would be a triumph for all “mature” (yes, even in their 30s!) skaters and athletes…a reminder that it’s not just a sport for little girls (although they’re “huge” too…but I didn’t mean in THAT way…apologies to Jenny Kirk), and that sometimes maturity and experience can prevail. This is a message our sport dearly needs.

I’m hoping they add to their already amazing legacy, as 3-time World Champions, and 2-time Olympic Bronze Medalists! At ages 31 (Shen) and 36 (Zhao), this would be their fourth Olympic Games, which surely only a handful of pairs teams have accomplished. If they medal, they’ll be the second pairs team in history to do so three times. Andrée Joly (later Brunet) and Pierre Brunet (FRA: 2 golds, 1 bronze) were the first and only other team to reach this competitive milestone. All other Olympic pairs teams achieved theirs with at least two partners: Artur Dmitriev (RUS: 2 golds, 1 silver) with Mishkutenok and Kasakova, Irina Rodnina (RUS: 3 golds) with Ulanov and Zaitsev.

Here are the full details on their announced programs for this season:

 Short Program               Long Program              
Who Wants To Live Forever
by Queen
performed by David Garrett
choreographed by Lori Nichol
Adagio
by Tomaso Albinoni
performed by Eroica Trio
choreographed by Lori Nichol

They are slated to compete in this season’s Grand Prix circuit at both Cup of China and Skate America. They would not face their main competition, German’s Savchenko and Szolkowy until the Grand Prix Final, if they both make it there. So, the truest suspense of how those two teams will match up will be saved for then, or at the Vancouver Games themselves. Savcheko and Szolkowy have momentum on their side, but both teams promise some MAJOR competition!

"That's Huge" “That’s huge”!