Bobsled · Skeleton · Rugby · Track Cycling · Team USA

Could You Be An Olympian?

Attention Americans:

Team USA is looking for its next batch of Olympians, and one of them could be you!

What’s the deal?

The US Olympic Committee has created a program called “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful” (likely also the title of the NBCSN documentary about this effort that will be on the air in August) to find a few Olympic hopefuls to add to their training rosters, and the process starts with try-outs this Saturday, June 24, from 9am – 1pm at select 24 Hour Fitness centers in Texas, Colorado, California, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Oregon, Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

While this is really exciting, keep in mind that they’re only selecting four women and four men. One woman and one man will join the national team in one of these sports:

  • Bobsled
  • Skeleton
  • Track cycling
  • Rugby

Who should go?

  • Current and former high school athletes
  • Current and former college athletes
  • Current and former professional athletes
  • Anyone else who thinks they have what it takes to be an Olympian

In short, athlete, athlete, athlete — oh, and you too. Right. Our advice: If you think you have what it takes to be an Olympian, we recommend being young and having a very good to great level of fitness–and if you’re going for track cycling, know that you’re coming out of that program with massive thighs. If you’re like me and have a ton of Olympic spirit with an Olympic ring around my gut, you’re going to have to show a lot of potential, mental determination and moxie to make it through the first test. Or hit up one of the Bobsled and Skeleton combines to try there without the cameras rolling.

Want to go for the gold? Register at 24 Hour Fitness or at Team USA. If you go, report back to us and tell us what the experience was like! Hit us up on Facebook with your pictures and experience.

 

Olympic Day

Ready for Olympic Day?

June 23 is Olympic Day, and we hope you’re ready to celebrate the 123rd birthday of the modern Olympics! That’s right, in 1894, old Baron Pierre de Coubertin (the BPC) managed to put together an athletic congress to revive the ancient Greek Olympics (an interesting account of this is in David Goldblatt’s The Games: A Global History of the Olympics).

Every June, the IOC promotes an event in which they encourage National Olympic Committees to get out their Olympic Spirit and participate in Olympic-style fun–mostly, it encourages orgs to host a fun run, but there are other creative ways in which countries and organization show their spirit, like these Albanians:

If you’re celebrating, we want to hear about it! Tweet us @The_Feverr or comment below!

doping · IOC · Olympic Sports · Olympics · Scandals · Weightlifting

Weightlifting Put on Notice

The IOC Executive Board met last week, and afterward, TBach gave a press release summarizing a lot of initiatives, including giving weightlifting a smackdown and putting the sport on notice.

What’s all this about? Well, doping’s been a slight issue in the Olympics lately, and weightlifters have been some of the biggest offenders. Retests going back to the 2008 Beijing games are still finding weightlifters who doped, which causes a lot of problems with medals and certificates being stripped, and then the athletes who are now getting awards for competition from eight years ago have lost out on a lot of opportunities, and then the IOC and the Olympics starts losing some integrity, and that’s not really how this org thinks they fly.

The IOC gave the International Weightlifting Federation until December to take care of the problem or at least have a plan for it. If they don’t, well, it might be adios for weightlifting as a sport in 2024. As a glimpse of what that might look like, in the IOC’s recently approved Tokyo 2020 program that removes one men’s event and wipes out 64 participants from those Games–a move that’s supposed to help them reach gender parity.

The IWF’s response is pretty timid–they’re shocked (surprise!) by the results of the retesting, and they’re going to get right on making that plan.

The European Weightlifting Federation, run by a guy who recently lost in the election to oust the incumbent IWF president (who just won his fifth term), was a little more critical on its website, saying that the cut in athletes was “just the first instalment [sic] of the price we will have to pay for years of inadequate management, which has showcased our sport as a doping factory run by private power.” You could hear that mic drop around the weightlifting world.

Good luck to them–changing the system can be pretty tough work, but the possibility of being ousted from the Olympics could make things a lot worse for the sport.

Athletes · Bobsled · Olympians

Death Reels Bobsled World

This spring, USA Bobsled & Skeleton has been reeling from the unexpected death of Olympian Steven Holcomb, who passed away on May 6. Yesterday, the organization announced, “The toxicology results indicate Holcomb had a fatal combination of the prescription sleep aid Eszopiclone/Zopiclone (Lunesta) in his system as well as a .18% blood alcohol concentration.” The coroner’s report also found evidence of pulmonary congestion.

Holcomb was 37, and at the time of death, he was in Lake Placid, NY, for training. He’d been prepping for the 2018 Olympics, including doing some promotional shoots for NBC.

Although he battled keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease, he learned how to drive a bobsled based on feel. The disease nearly took his sight, but he had a surgery called C3-R that restored it to nearly perfect.

Holcomb piloted bobsleds in three Olympics: Torino, Vancouver and Sochi. Driving the infamous “Night Train” in Vancouver, he led the team to the U.S.’ first gold medal in the event in 62 years. Four years later, he won bronze in both the two- and four-man bobsled–the two-man was the first American medal in the sport since 1952.

Here’s a look at the Night Train’s gold medal moment:

A memorial fund’s been set up in Holcomb’s honor. The family will distribute the money to keratoconus patients and elite athletes who need financial support.

Olympic Sports · Weightlifting

Want to Try an Olympic Sport? Weightlifting Day is Tomorrow!

Haven’t you wondered how people get into some of the smaller Olympic sports? Take handball, for instance. It’s not necessarily a sport we learn in grade school gym class. Or badminton, which I did learn in high school (and loved), but didn’t know how to pursue any further because it wasn’t that popular of a sport.

Weightlifting’s also in that boat. If you’ve ever lifted weights at a gym for any amount of time, you know how great it feels when your muscles get stronger and make you feel more powerful. If you’re a competitive type, getting into the sport of weightlifting might be a great hobby for you. But how do you do that?

You’re in luck. Tomorrow, USA Weightlifting’s sponsoring Try Weightlifting Day. Over 200 clubs around the country will open their doors and have programming to introduce the sport and give you a hands-on feel for it.

I had an email conversation with Kevin Farley, Director of Membership, Communications & Digital Marketing at USA Weightlifting to get some more details about what you can expect from the event. Gyms involved may use USA Weightlifting Coaching Department’s one-hour coaching program that teaches the sport’s basic technical execution without having to lift actual weight. The secret? PVC pipe. “With no weights–there is no risk of injury,” says Farley.

If you’re interested in finding an event near you, check out USA Weightlifting’s site, which has a map showing all participating clubs. Contact a club near you to find out the exact time of their event. Farley recommended wearing hard-soled shoes and comfortable gym clothing like a t-shirt and gym shorts that you can easily move around in.

What can you expect if you get bitten by the weightlifting bug–or rather, if you want to become a weightlifter, what are we really talking about in terms of the bottom line?

A great aspect of weightlifting is that you don’t have to own your own barbell and set of weights. You do need a place to lift, however. Farley recommends finding a good USA Weightlifting-affiliated club so you have access to good equipment and people who understand the sport. Gym expenses vary depending on the location and the coach’s experience, but Farley says they can run $60-120/month for the gym membership and access to a coach and training program. Look for a USA Weightlifting certified coach–they’ve gone through rigorous training in proper coaching methods and have a lot of good tools to develop personalized training programs and goals.

Other items you’ll be investing in are proper weightlifting shoes, which have a raised heel. These will set you back $100-200 a pair. You may also have to buy knee sleeves, lifting straps and finger tape. If you compete, you’ll don a singlet, which like any athletic apparel, can also range in price. A quick Amazon search shows you can get some in the $25-40 range, but if you want more quality ones from a place focused on powerlifting, you’re likely talking $75-125 or so

In terms of time, Farley says that the average weightlifting training session is 1-3 hours. Non-elite athletes train once a day, 2-3 days a week. Elite athletes usually train 1-2 times a day, 5-6 days a week. You generally have a training cycle that’s 8-12 weeks long, and you hit your max at the end of a cycle. Farley says that the end of a cycle usually coincides with a competition, if you’re going to be a competitive weightlifter.

Let’s put that all together. Looking at year one, here’s an estimate of your investment:

Cost:

Gym: $720-1440

Shoes: $100-200

Additional gear: $50-100

Clothing: $25-125

Total: $895-1865 (or, if you like to round up, probably $1000-2000)

Time (non-elite athletes):

low-end: 104-156 hours

mid-range: 208-312 hours

high-range: 312-468 hours

One of the great things though is that getting to the Olympics is definitely not the goal of every athlete involved with the sport, and Farley says that many competitive weightlifters are hobbyists. “There is so much flexibility in the sport because athletes determine their own schedule, and set their own price depending on how serious they want to get,” says Farley.

If you’ve dreamed of being a powerful athlete, the sport of weightlifting is one that can transform pretty much anyone into realizing that dream. Check it out tomorrow–or at the very least, use the site to find a USA Weightlifting-affiliated gym close to you and see how you can try out the sport. If you take part, let us know how it went!

Corruption · IOC · Rio 2016

Discouragement of Olympic Proportions?

Winter Olympics! In less than one year! Are you ready? Are you excited?!

Yes…..and no.

Sure, I’m getting excited about the Winter Olympics. They’re so much fun to watch, and they’re more manageable to watch. They haven’t been in Asia in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to seeing South Korea’s spin on the Games. PyeongChang’s been gearing up, and they should be ready to go.

However.

There’s a lot of depressing Olympic news as well. First, Rio’s stadiums seem to be falling apart faster than usual, with venues in disrepair or abandoned. The Olympic Village apartments aren’t selling. There are supposedly plans to use venues, but I don’t think anyone’s really buying the government line anymore. It’s sad to see this happen–to know about the billions of dollars that have gone down the tubes in a country that’s still amazingly poor. The infrastructure promises? The hope that this would provide some opportunity just seems to be gone. With no Olympics, would things be different in Brazil?

The other depressing development–and to be very honest, this one really has me a bit down in the dumps about the Olympics in general–is all of the doping that’s still being uncovered. We’re not talking about people being stripped of medals and certificates from just the Rio Games, we’re talking about medals being stripped from Beijing. Eight years and two Olympics ago.

Yep, the IOC keeps samples for 8 years after a Games, in case better tests come along to detect previously undetectable substances. Guess what? They have. So far, there are 61 sanctions from Beijing and 40 from London. So far.

It seems that there are more notices that athletes are being sanctioned or stripped of their certificates/medals. It’s depressing to get these e-mails because with every one, history gets rewritten and the original event becomes less important. How so? Usain Bolt has had one of his medals revoked, thanks to a positive test by one of his relay teammates. So much for his triple-triple (3 gold medals in 3 Olympics)–unless an appeal is successful. With no triple-triple, all of the athletes’ effort, all of the hullabaloo and footage of these events and the countless press is all for naught. History’s wiped out–in fact, it’s not even worth tracking anymore–and fans are left not really knowing what to believe.

The other problem is the athletes who are elevated in the ranks years later. They miss out on their moment in the sun–but more importantly, they miss out on financial opportunities and training opportunities that could help their careers.

It’s frustrating–and honestly, it’s one of the elements that makes me care about the Olympics less. And I’m a person who gets The Fever! The IOC is trying, in a sense. It prevented some dopers from going to Rio, but it all seems too little, too late. At a time when interest in the Olympics is fading, aren’t there better ways to keep the competition legit?

 

Olympics · PyeongChang 2018 · Tickets · Winter Olympics

2018 Ticket Time!

We’re coming up on the one-year-to-go date, for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which means that tickets are going on sale!

The buying process varies depending on where you live. If you live in Korea, you’ll buy through the PyeongChang website and go through a lottery process. That means you have from now until April 23 to apply for tickets. You only get to choose the sports and particular sessions you’d like to see. On May 8, you find out what tickets you get, and you pay for them. Then on May 14, seat assignments start, and they’re announced on September 5. If you don’t want to deal with the ticket lottery, general sales start on September 5, and in-person sales start in October.

If you don’t live in Korea, then you have to go through an Authorized Ticket Reseller (ATR). In the US, Australia, Bulgaria, Norway, Sweden and Russian Federation, that entity is Cosport. Its sales also start on February 9, and you’ll get to purchase from the allotment that’s been given to Cosport (all of the various ATRs get so many tickets–they may get more, depending on how sales are going). You still don’t get to choose your seat assignments (and there’s no guarantee that your party will even be seated together), but you’ll find out in December what you’ve been given.

Good luck to everyone purchasing tickets!