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:


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.


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!

IOC · Media Coverage

Can You Handle All Olympics All the Time?

Welcome to 2017! We’re just about a year away from the next Winter Olympics, which means our case of Olympic Fever–which had ebbed quite a bit, as can be the case with event fevers–is starting to make a reappearance. This means we’re back in action here on TheFeverr and will be posting more frequently.

The IOC probably would wonder why our fever ever subsided–after all, shouldn’t everyone be concerned with the Olympics 24/7/365? I’m not sure even an Olympic athlete can do that, to be honest, but the IOC is going to try to capture more of our eyeball time anyway. To do so, it’s launched the Olympic Channel, which is a mix of features, replays and original programming that’s available online and via app and–it’s hoping–partnerships with the networks to feature it on terrestrial television

Currently, the features are a bunch of Rio Replays of various sport highlights, as well as highlights from Rio, Sochi, London, Vancouver, Beijing, and the Youth Olympic Games. The IOC has partnered with different sporting organizations to show their major events. Video news rounds out the main categories.

The channel actually has a lot of original content, so from time to time we’ll look at some of its shows and let you know if they’re worth checking out, or if you should stick to the clip highlights to get your Olympic fix.

Transform My Meal (currently 16 episodes)

In this show, chefs help Olympic athletes transform their eating habits from boring to gourmet. I watched two episodes, thinking we’d learn about Olympian nutrition and what athletes in different sports eat on a regular basis. The show does show that a little bit–it talks about how the body needs to perform to be successful in the sport being featured, but it’s really a cooking show where a big time chef takes one staple meal in the athlete’s repertoire and shows them how to cook something that’s similar but 20 times fancier. Of course, the new meal looks and tastes a lot better, and the athlete is totally impressed with what they could be doing in their kitchens. The thing is that you can see see they’re never really going to try cooking like that on a regular basis because those meals usually take a lot of time to prepare, which can cut into the rest of life (and for a small sport, that likely includes having a job outside of training).

The show’s kind of interesting, but ultimately disappointing because I was expecting more education about athletic nutrition and I got a highly chopped up cooking show that barely showed me how to make a specific recipe.

My rating: OO (two rings out of five)

I probably wouldn’t watch the rest of it unless I was really hurting for content (and who’s hurting for content these days?), and that’s saying something, considering that I like cooking shows.

Hitting the Wall (currently 12 episodes)

This show takes “fitness-minded social influencers” who poo-poo some Olympians’ fitness regimes and sees if they can actually train like an Olympian. Hey, guess what? In the two episodes I saw (fencing and curling), the influencers were blown away by the difficulty of the workouts and gained a new-found respect for the Olympians and their sports. Shocking!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that every episode is going to have the same outcome, and that’s pretty lame. However, it is pretty cool to get a glimpse into the skills needed for different sports and see a little bit of the workouts necessary to build those skills. I say “a little bit” because these shows are heavy on the stylistic editing that gets in the way of laying down a lot of facts. This means you can’t get a full sense of what a day is like, but you do see some really cool exercises to try and use in your own workouts.

My rating: OOOO (four rings out of five)

I do hope to catch more episodes of this show because it’s kind of helpful in learning the exercises that help you develop certain skills like balance and quick reflexes. Even though the gimmick of the influencer gaining mad respect gets tired quickly, it’s fun to see someone who’s in shape try a routine that’s out of their comfort zone and see how taxing it is.


2020 · Cultural Olympiad · Tokyo 2020

Tokyo’s Other Olympiad

While the Tokyo government is proposing some pretty hefty changes to some venues for 2020, another element of its hosting duties recently kicked off: The Cultural Olympiad.

For about the next four years, the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo and Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. are going to present a bunch of cultural events to showcase the area’s artistry to the world. This is tied in with the IOC’s Olympic Charter that says one of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism is that sport can’t exist all on its own. No, Olympism combines sport with culture and education. Sounds like a lofty principle created by a gentleman, right?

Regardless, the Olympics aren’t supposed to just be about athletes. It’s supposed to remind us to be well-rounded, and a multi-year cultural program can provide exposure to the arts in a way that the IOC would applaud (also, in thinking about being an Olympic host city, it’s another cost that one may not really realize when one thinks about hosting the Olympics).

At any rate, look to Tokyo to produce some interesting events. The kickoff tipped its cap to the roots of Japanese culture with a Sanbaso dance, a historical tradition of Noh and kyogen that’s hundreds of years old, with cherry blossom petals that rained down across the audience.

Not all events will be steeped in history, so it will be interesting to see what’s up Tokyo’s cultural sleeve that fills out our program for Olympism in 2020.

Olympic cities · Olympic venues · Sarajevo 1984 · Winter Olympics

Old Venues, Not Dead Venues

Because it’s an Olympic year–and because Rio 2016 had budget problems–we had to go through another round of Venue Talk: They’ll Never Be Used Again (What a Waste of Money).

It’s a topic that I understand is very true, but it’s also one that I think is a little blown out of proportion. Sure, there is a real problem with massive venues built for the Olympics and then never (or rarely) used again, but there is a lot of venue reuse–or, venues being brought back to life.

Case in point, the bobsled and luge track in Sarajevo. Just Google “abandoned Olympic venues” and you’ll invariably see the carnage from the 1984 Winter Olympics, which war brought about.

Unfortunately, those articles will stick around in web searches (and other bloggers are going to find them and repost them), and they might still supplant this news: The 1984 bobsled and luge run is back in action (sort of).

The Associated Press has reported that a bunch of volunteers have spent the last few years cleaning up the track and repairing it so that it’s usable as a training facility. At first, the goal was for Bosnians to be able to do their summer training on it, but word’s gotten out and now it’s becoming a regional training center because the original track is one of the best in the area.

To me, that’s the Olympic spirit at work. Don’t give up–keep at it until you achieve victory. Even though the reports are that the facilities are still pretty grim (e.g.-no bathrooms), it’s really remarkable that the luging community in Bosnia saw an opportunity and is making something happen.

The article notes that other facilities are coming back as well (or are in the planning stages of coming back). Let’s hope that some of the other abandoned facilities around the world can get life breathed back into them as well.