Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video Blog - Tahoe Day 3


Michael and Cristina take to the slopes to learn a bit about tricks, terrain parks, and trampolines.

America's Sweetheart ends 2009 with a whimper, what will 2010 bring?

While Michael and I have been seriously training to watch the Olympics, famous athlete, Lindsey Vonn, has been having a disappointing week in Europe at the World Cup. After Lindsey Vonn seriously injured her arm on Monday in Lienz, Austria (above right), she lost any hopes for podium standings. After the spectacular crash on a Giant Slalom (GS) course, she was rushed to the hospital where the doctors found that while she had no broken bones, her hand and wrist were seriously bruised.

Despite her injury, Vonn got back on the horse and raced the very next day in the Slalom. (Watch video here: She took the gates like a beast despite the intense pain she must have been experiencing at every turn. With the injury, however, she came in at 18th - a very disappointing finish for the top athlete. If I know Vonn, though, (which I don't) I know she's going to come back from this injury like a champion. I predict that this whole upset will only give her a new fire for the February Olympic games.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dirt Luge Training


With each passing day we are one day closer to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.... It's a big deal but let's not forget that we're also one day closer to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Sure, I'm excited to watch the Vancouver games but I think my best shot of going as an athlete with be in 2014. At this point I haven't committed to which sport I will try to qualify in but early leaders include: Luge, Curling, and Speed Skating. Above is a video of a typical day of Dirt Luge training in Northern California... Just one of many with a dream, and a speed suit...

Girl, you got STYLE! (freestyle that is)

Shannon Bahrke (left) is bringing some style to the Olympics. With hot pink hair, Shannon is not your average girl. She races motorcycles, cars, does backflips and rodeos in the park, and to top it all off, is an Olympic medalist in Freestyle Moguls. She has made two Olympic appearances, took home the silver from Torino, and placed well in 5 World Championships, including earning silver (2007) and bronze (2003). She hopes to win gold in Vancouver, and has promised to dye her hair completely hot pink if she does (currently, it is bleached white with hot pink streaks).

She's definitely bringing some style to this year's Freestyle competition. She'll be easy to spot, and I would put money on spotting her hot pink head up on the podium in February!

Are we really ready for this?!?!?

While Cristina was at the gym this morning beefing up and training to watch the Olympics I was in bed recovering from four hours at a Trombone Shorty show at really cool little blues club in Santa Cruz, CA. Sure it may seem I was slacking but it's all part of my training strategy. I happen to know that Trombone Shorty is one of the best live shows you can see and being an audience member is no joke! I put in four hours of jumping and getting knocked around right in front of the stage like a pinball. I'm under the radar with my training! I'm outside of the box! I was working on TOUGHNESS and ENDURANCE, because there's telling what we we're gonna see in Vancouver and reporting from the slopes is no easy task.

Check out the video above and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pride House to make a statement in Vancouver 2010 nightlife

The Pride House will make its debut in the Vancouver Olympic village as a safe place for gay athletes to gather and socialize. Traditionally, during each Olympics, various clubs and places for social gatherings are designed specifically for the Olympic Village (The Russian House, The Dutch House, etc etc). This will be the first year that a "house" that caters to the LGBT community will be present. The house will welcome everyone: gay, straight, young, or old. Those in support of the club, including Gay Whistler and the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association, fear that many athletes (gay, straight, open or not) will avoid the house and it's social nightlife due to the negative stigma that still surrounds homosexual athletes. The Pride House, however, will hopefully be a platform for change and presents a great opportunity to help reverse the negative stigma. Sports, and especially the Olympics, have historically been a great stage for making social statements and progressing important movements. Tommie Smith and John Carlos went down in history for their Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and broke major headway for the Civil Rights movement. Perhaps the Pride House is a sign that change is in the air for the 2010 Olympics as well.

Newbie, Trevor Marsicano, challenges Apolo for the spotlight

Virtually unknown to the world a year ago, Trevor Marsicano, is taking the speed skating world by storm. In March, he broke the world record for the Men's 1000, only to hold the record for 20 minutes until now fellow Team USA member, Shani Davis, set it even lower. Furthermore, he just came home from the 2009 World Single Distance Championships with four medals, including a gold for the 1000m, a silver for the 1500m, and a bronze for the 5000m (team pursuit).

Not only is Trevor proving to be perhaps the most promising US athlete heading to Vancouver, but he may also surpass Apolo Ohno as the Team USA pretty boy. DAMN! He's fine!

Cristina is a natural figure skater

Cristina and I have been hard at work training to watch the winter Olympics in Vancouver and we're giving every sport a try... except biathlon because we don't have any guns and water guns don't seem very accurate, and the water freezes below 32 degrees. It's all very complicated. Figure skating however seems pretty self explanatory. Put on tight brightly colored clothing and flap your wings... Cristina is a natural.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Billy IS The Best Dressed Man on the Mountain - Believe it!

Billy Babcock was clearly the best dressed person on the mountain this week and that is why he won "Mike and Cristina's best dressed on the mountain competition" and the Grand Prize of 50 home grown Satsuma Mandarins. The prize was originally supposed to be 15 mandarins but we gave Billy a ride home to the Bay Area and he is a big guy with a big love for seedless citrus... and the basket was sitting right next to him in the back seat. What can you expect?

Billy and I went to high school together in Santa Rosa and hadn't talked in years until he came back into my world last night around 3:00am. Cristina, Nicole and I had just returned from a night of dancing to the house we were staying at in South Lake when Billy walks in the door having picked up our host who was hitch hiking home in the snow.

After a little catching up, Tom (the hitch hiker) starts going crazy and telling us about the get-up that Billy wears on the mountain. It's sort of like a Kush ball with colorful tubes of foam extending out from an orange Caltrans jumpsuit. It is awesome. As is Billy... hope you enjoy those Mandarins!

LUGE - yes we can!

Have you ever wanted to throw yourself down a steep slope of solid ice at neck-breaking speeds of over 80 mph? Neither have I, but I have grown a great respect for the athletes that do. Luge athletes suit up in a thin layer of spandex and not much else before screaming down ice tunnels.

Partner luge team, Brian Martin and Mark Grimmette have a good chance to bring home some gold in the upcoming 2010 olympics. Martin boasts the impressive stat of being the Team USA member with the most international medals. With World Championship, World Cup and multiple Olypmic medals, Martin and his teammate have a very favorable standing coming into Vancouver. Much respect to the pair for laying on top of each other and hurling their collective body mass down the ice!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dirt Luge practice was a success

Dirt Luge practice went well today. A light rain started to fall after the 5th hour but it wasn't anything we couldn't handle. There was a little blood but that's the kind of stuff you expect when you're training to watch the 2010 Olympics!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lindsey Vonn - Ready for Olympic Gold

The US Ski Team calls her "one of the most successful female racers in American history." Vail Ski Resports calls her "epic." I'm saying that she is READY. Ready to take on the Winter 2010 Olympics and bring home some gold. She won her first World Cup gold at age 20 and went on to have the best overall World Cup scores in '08 and '09. She dominated at Lake Luise, getting up on the podium 6 times for stellar performances in GS, Slalom, and Downhill. Nothing is guaranteed, however. She still has a lot of races ahead of her before she lands in Vancouver.

For a girl from Minnesota, she sure is taking the ski world by storm.