Archive for the ‘Olympics’Category

An Alpine Curling Game in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria

curling game

Curling is fun! (Photo: Cara Morgan)

I’m finally home from my trip to the Jerusalem Marathon. While I sort through all my photos and videos from that trip, I’ve got a few more posts from my February trip to Switzerland and Austria. While there, I completed my own winter pentathlon of sports: running, curling, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and Alpine skiing. I also hit the pool, sauna and partook in some genuinely crazy apres ski.

I already shared scenes from a snowy trail run in Austria. Up next in the pentathlon is an Alpine curling game!

curling game

So close, but pink wins. (Photo: Cara Morgan)

Like most people, my first experience with curling was watching it on TV during the Olympics. When I went to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I actually got to watch a curling game, interview Team USA, and write an article about how the Olympics have raised the sport’s profile in the U.S.: Curling capitalizes on Olympic coverage.

But I’d never actually played a game of curling…until now.

My Alpine Curling Game
curling game

Curling in Austria! (Photo: Cara Morgan)

It was a snowy night in St. Anton am Arlberg when my friend, Cara, and I made our way to, a public wellness center with a gym, pool, sauna, tennis center, skating rink and more. Read the rest of this entry →

2014 Winter Olympics Evoke Childhood Dreams

2014 Winter Olympics

The Olympic rings in Whistler, Canada. (Photo:

As a kid, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Olympics. My family would gather around the TV night after night and watch the spectacle unfold. I was dazzled by figure skating and skiing in winter and obsessed with swimming and running in summer.

And since this was the dark ages before the Internet, I’d keep my own medal tally like the nerd that I was—and still am—drawing gold medals with yellow and blue markers (for the metal and ribbon, naturally), silver with grey and red, bronze with brown and orange. Forget Leap Year. The Olympics were the event I waited for every four years.

Once again, they have arrived.

As I watched the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (holy jellyfish/dove of peace dance!) I was transported back to 2010 when I was lucky enough to attend the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as a reporter. It was not only a career highlight, but also a personal dream come true.

2014 Winter Olympics

She-Ra rides Swift Wind “For the honor of Grayskull!”

I think Graham Watanabe, who competed for the U.S. in Snowboard Cross, summed it up best:

“Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”

By the power of Grayskull! Apparently, being an Olympian is like being She-Ra.

It’s kind of what it felt like to attend the Olympics too. What struck me most was this: I was not only watching athletes doing what they do best, but doing what they do better than anyone else in the world. At that moment in time, there would be no faster speed skater, no lovelier figure skater, no more daring snowboarder. I witnessed the pinnacle. And we all get to witness it every four years. That is magical. Almost as magical as She-Ra riding Swift Wind, her winged unicorn.

2014 Winter Olympics

My Cinderella storybook cassette. (Photo:

Olympic Childhood Dreams

How many of us as kids dreamed of being Olympians? I’m guessing a lot of us.

I always dreamed of going to the Olympics someday, albeit as an athlete. Swimming was my sport back then and I was sure I was going to be the next Janet Evans.

2014 Winter Olympics

Side 2 of the tape contained my Olympic warbling. (Photo:

Not too long ago, I unearthed a cassette tape I had made on my purple boom box (it was the ‘80s after all) when I was about 8-years-old. Appropriately, it was the backside of a Cinderella storybook cassette. Regular readers know I’m officially obsessed with Cinderella. What you may not know is that I was equally obsessed with She-Ra. Like Cinderella, she is a princess. But she is the Princess of Power! A warrior. And what are athletes if not modern day warriors?

The recording reveals an intrepid young journalist (played by me) “interviewing” an Olympic swimmer (also played by me).

It went a little something like this. Bless my 8-year-old heart, this is an actual transcript of the recording). Read the rest of this entry →


Feb 2014

Olympian Desiree Davila Talks runDisney, Goals & More

runDisney, Disney running, Walt Disney World Marathon, Desiree Davila

Desiree Davila (in black) poses with runners at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Meet-Up. (Photo: runDisney)

Olympian and 2011 Boston Marathon runner-up Desiree Davila is no stranger to running Disney. I had a chance to catch up with the American running star at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January. We chatted about her recovery from injury, goals for the future and, of course, running at Walt Disney World.

“This is the only place in the world where people go, ‘I’m just doing the marathon,’” Davila said with a laugh.

Indeed, runDisney unveiled for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend the Dopey Challenge, an event that dares runners to complete four races on four consecutive days for a total of 48.6 miles: the Family Fun Run 5K on Thursday, a new Walt Disney World 10K on Friday, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, and the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday. The Dopey Challenge is already sold-out for 2014. But runners can still register for the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, where runners complete both the marathon and half marathon.

Desiree Davila, 29, didn’t run this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon. She’d been in long-term recovery from a femoral stress fracture, the same injury that forced her to drop out of the 2012 Olympic Marathon in London before the 5K mark.

After taking 12 weeks of from running, Davila slowly built up mileage and time on her feet.

“I took an extended amount of time off, let that all heal up, and I’m heading in the right direction now, making sure I’m 100 percent and slowly building mileage,” Davila said. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: 2012 Fifth Avenue Mile

The Fifth Avenue Mile is my favorite race of the year. More than 5,000 runners barrel down Fifth Avenue along Central Park in 18 different heats from kids to pros and everyone in between.

This was the first time in four years that I haven’t run the race. My 6:46 personal best from 2011 will have to stand for now. But I was doing something just as exciting as shattering a PR—covering the Fifth Avenue Mile for New York Road Runners as host of their new web show “On The Run.” Read the rest of this entry →


Sep 2012

Oscar Pistorius Set To Compete At Paralympic Games

Oscar Pistorius, Paralympic Games

Oscar Pistorius

As the Paralympic Games got underway in London Wednesday night, the 4,200 athletes competing took center stage. Perhaps most famous among them is South African Oscar Pistorius, 25, known as the “Blade Runner.” Read the rest of this entry →


Aug 2012

London Olympics: Women’s Marathon Preview

women's marathon, running

The women’s marathon Olympic medals are up for grabs on Sunday morning. (Photo: London 2012)

The 2012 London Olympic Women’s Marathon just might be the greatest race women’s marathon in the history of the sport. Team USA has put together arguably its deepest women’s marathon team in the history of the event: Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher, all of whom are top-of-the-world runners that have stood on the podium at World Marathon Majors events, a two-year racing series that includes the Olympic Games.

The good news is any one of these women could medal, likely in the bronze position with a long-shot chance at gold. The bad news is it won’t be easy. The 2012 Olympic women’s marathon has the fastest field of runners in the history of the event. Seven women in the race have broken the sub-2:20 mark, and none of them are American. Read the rest of this entry →


Aug 2012

Sammy Wanjiru, World Marathons Majors and Olympic Marathon Champion, Dead at 24

Sammy Wanjiru runs to gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Photo by 正在休渔期.

The reigning Olympic marathon and World Marathon Majors champion, Sammy Wanjiru, died Sunday in a fall from a second-floor balcony in his home in Nyahururu, Kenya in the Rift Valley.

Varying reports have circulated calling his death a suicide and an accident. All accounts center on a dispute between Wanjiru, his wife and another woman.

“The fact of the matter is that Wanjiru committed suicide,” national police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said to The Associated Press.

But local police chief Jasper Ombati gave the AP a different interpretation of the events. Read the rest of this entry →


May 2011

New York City Marathon: Tune-up Races Help Training

Running a tune-up race is a great way to prep for a marathon. Photo by Sergis blog.

Running a tune-up race is a great way to prep for a marathon. Photo by Sergis blog.

Seven weeks down, nine to go.

Training for a marathon is long process. Much like my training for the 2010 ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7, most runners spend at least 16 weeks, or the better part of four months, agonizing over every detail—longs runs, speed workouts, tempo runs, strength training, cross training, stretching, nutrition, sleep, avoiding injuries, avoiding illness, you name it, all for a few hours of agonizing glory. As the old U.S. Marine Corps adage goes—which my boyfriend and fellow marathoner-in-crime loves to quote—“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

While all that weakness is busy leaving our bodies, we’re hoping that what we’re doing actually works. That come race day, we’ll be in our best shape to conquer 26.2 miles. All that pain better mean some gain.

But how do you know if your training is serving you well? There’s nothing like a big tune-up race to check in with your training. Running a race before your big marathon gives you an intermediary goal to work toward, and will let you know if your training is working, what marathon goals you should be targeting and what potential race-day problems might pop up. Read the rest of this entry →


Sep 2010

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Best Moments

Winter Olympics

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics flame. (Photo:

The Winter Olympics in Vancouver are over. It’s been a week now and I’m going through withdrawal. And it’s no wonder. The games were 17 days of adrenaline pumped action, jaw-dropping performances and perhaps the best climax in Olympic history. I was there to catch all the action as a reporter for The Washington Times.

I think Graham Watanabe, who competed for the U.S. in Snowboard Cross, summed up the excitement of the games best:

“Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”

winter olympics

With my Olympic press pass. (Photo:

I honestly couldn’t have said it better myself.

The U.S. had a history-making run. Team USA led the medal count for the first time since 1932 with a record-breaking total of 37. The Nordic combined team medaled for the first time in American history, winning three silvers and one gold. And with 8 career medals to his name, Apolo Anton Ohno became the most decorated American Winter Olympian and the most decorated short track skater ever.

Canada didn’t own the podium with 26 total medals, but they did win more gold medals than any other winter or summer games in their history—14 total. And they won more gold medals than any other country in Winter Olympic history, capped by double gold medals in men’s and women’s hockey. The U.S. vs. Canada men’s final was one of the most exciting games the Olympics have ever seen. And with Canada’s victory, it’s no surprise that three out of four Canadians said the much maligned and ballyhooed Own the Podium program was worth it.

Of course, there were so many moments I wish I’d seen: Team USA’s first gold medal win by Hannah Kearney in Ladies’ Moguls; Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn redefining American skiing with multiple medal wins including a gold medal for each; Seth Wescott and Shani Davis successfully defending their gold medals in Snowboard Cross and Speed Skating, respectively; and of course, the Night Train, a.k.a. the men’s four-man bobsled piloted by Steve Holcomb, winning the U.S. its first gold medal in 62 years. I also wish I’d been able to see some ski jumping—like the result of the US/Canada ski jumping bet—and biathlon, but I can hardly complain. You can can’t be in all places at all times. I’m not Santa Claus.

So in honor of all the “bests” and “mosts” that Vancouver brought us, here are my favorite Olympic moments that I experienced first-hand. Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

USA Curling Capitalizes On Olympic Coverage

USA curling

John Shuster calls the sweeping. (Photo: Courtesy of USOC)

The Vancouver Olympic Centre is packed with more than 5,000 fans, and USA curling skip, John Shuster, prepares to throw the hammer. He gazes intently across the sheet, lining up his shot. He glides and releases the stone just before the hog line, shouting “Whoa,” to the sweepers as the rock careens gracefully across the ice.

Bam! Team USA’s rock knocks Denmark’s right out of the house, in a classic example of a takeout.

“USA! USA! USA!” the crow cheers as the U.S. posts two points in the third end.

His teammate, John Benton, prepares to throw the first stone of the next end, serenely gliding across the ice like a crouching tiger. He shoots the roaring rock down the sheet, as the second and third furiously sweep the path in front of it.

Shuster screams “Hard! Hard!” loud enough for the entire stadium to hear.

“Whoa,” he calls as the stone nears the center of the house.

The rock lands in the 8-foot ring and the crowd gives a hearty round of applause.

You might be thinking, “Huh?” Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

Winter Olympics: Closing Ceremony Live

Closing ceremony for 2010 Winter Olympics

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancvouer have come to an end. But not before the city passes the torch to Sochi. It’s been a wild and historic 16 days for both the U.S. and host Canada. Join me as I blog live from the ceremony at BC Place.

5:30 pm: The ceremony opens with a Canadian mime, poking fun at the cauldron malfunction from the opening ceremony. The crowd is eating it up. One thing Canadians have never been accused of is lacking a sense of humor. Well done Canada, well done. Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

Winter Olympics: Canada Wins Hockey Gold

Feb. 28, 2010 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - USA's BOBBY RYAN and Canada's DANY HEATLEY battle for the puck in the first period in Men's Gold Medal Hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–A novelist couldn’t have written a better finale to this story. The last event of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was a cross-border showdown between Canada and the United States in the men’s gold medal hockey match. It seems the gods on Mount Olympus were smiling on Canada today as they defeated the U.S. 3-2 in a sudden death overtime. “It doesn’t even feel real,” said Canadian forward Sidney Crosby, who scored the final goal. “It feels like a dream.” But for the U.S., it was a stinging defeat that could have gone either way. “It’s going to be tough to swallow,” said U.S. forward Jamie Langenbrunner. Of course, when the two teams first met at Canada Hockey Place last week, the U.S. stunned Canada 5-3 for a win. Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

Winter Olympics: Figure Skating Gala Live

Figure Skating

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–This has got to be my favorite night of the Winter Games—the Figure Skating Exhibition Gala. The competition is over, the medals have been doled out and the winners get to strut their stuff in fancy-free routines to music people actually like (hopefully). The top five skaters or couples in each event will skate tonight. No labored movie scores, no required elements—just unabashed skating like nature intended.

The lights are already dimmed in the Pacific Colisuem, and a blue light is shinging on the ice. So sit back, relax and enjoy the sparkles and spangles in the Olympics’ most carefree event.

4:30 pm: The lights are dim and the evening starts with a group skate (not the Olympians) skating to Olympic Fanfare. The teeniest tiniest little boy is on the ice. Super cute! Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

Winter Olympics: Speed Skating Team Pursuit Live

Sports News - February 28, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–I’m back at the Richmond Olympic Oval for the final day of long track speed skating competition. The women and men of Team USA will be battling for gold in the Team Pursuit.

First up will be the women’s semifinals where the U.S. will go head to head with Germany for a spot in the gold medal final later today. The women’s team, comprised of Catherine Raney-Norman, Jennifer Rodriguez, Jilleanne Rookard and Nancy Swider-Peltz, Jr., already upset the Canadian favorites with a win in the quarterfinals by .05 seconds.

“I had no idea where we were in the race,” Jilleanne Rookard said. “I heard a lot of cheering for the Canadians so I thought they were ahead by a long shot.”

The Team Pursuit is unique in Olympic racing in that it’s not a relay, but a team skate much like a team ride in cycling. Three skaters work together, drafting off of each other, to get all three members across the finish line first.

“As little as we skate together we have to focus on being in sync with one another,” said Nancy Swider-Peltz, Jr. “This was the one race where we actually pulled it together quite well.”

After the ladies, the American men will face off with Canada in the gold medal final. The U.S. team, comprised of Chad Hedrick, Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Trevor Marsicano, are guaranteed a medal. The only question is: what color will it be? Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

Winter Olympics: Ohno Wins 8th Medal

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 15

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–Contrary to appearances, it seems that Apolo Anton Ohno can do wrong. After it looked like he won the silver medal in the men’s 500m, Ohno was disqualified for illegal contact with Canadian Francois-Louis Tremblay. But a consummate competitor, Ohno bounced back just 30 minutes later in the 5000m relay to anchor his team—including J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone, Travis Jayner and Simon Cho—to a bronze medal.

“I’ve have nothing but green lights this entire time here in Vancouver,” Ohno said. “The process has been amazing. For me, this has been my best Olympic games of all time.”

With the relay bronze, Ohno won his third medal of the games and the eighth of his career. He’d already sealed his title as the world’s most decorated short track skater and the most decorated American Winter Olympian with his seventh medal earlier in the week. Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

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