for more information contact skot@penguinstorm.com

I Am Skooter  So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
She used to work in a diner / never saw a woman look finer / I used to order just to watch her float across the floor
— Neil Young, Unknown Legend
August 23, 2016
What Happened to Jai Alai?


I joke, occasionally, about wanting to open a Jai Alai Fronton in Vancouver (or various other places that I visit) as part of a retirement plan. I had no idea the sport was in so much trouble. Gone are the heady days of Miami Vice and the Most Interesting Man in the World—Jai Alai, at least in the United States—appears to be dying.

Maybe…just maybe…it’s time for a revival?

Posted by skooter at 6:50 AM
Tags: Jai Alai, Retirement

July 26, 2013
Sound of Honda: Ayrton Senna 1989

Advertising as a work of art. Beautifully done Honda.

If you haven’t seen the documentary Senna you should watch it. It’s beautifully made.

Posted by skooter at 7:18 PM
Tags: Ayrton Senna, Honda

July 15, 2013
Yvon Chouinard - Imagine an Economy that Doesn't Destroy Our Planet

Yvon Chouinard en la Universidad de Chile: Imaginando una Economía que No Destruya Nuestro Planeta from Patagonia Chile on Vimeo.

Calling Yvon Chouinard an inspiration hardly seems enough, really. The Patagonia founder has changed the world more than once, and has an outlook on his business that more leaders should share. In a world of disposable things, Chouinard makes things that last a long long time. Listen to him.

Posted by skooter at 8:01 PM
Tags: Environmentalism, Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard

August 23, 2012
Senna: The Documentary

Ayrton Senna racing in the 1989 Montreal Grand Prix I finally got around to watching Senna this weekend. It’s a documentary about the life and death of Ayrton Senna a man who was quite possibly one of the greatest racing drivers ever. He died you, and his career was cut short so we’ll never know what the full potential of the man was.

Senna raced when I was a racing fan: in the days of Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger and Nigel Mansell. Electronic control systems were beginning to rear their influence and FIFA was debating the role these systems had in cars. Back then cars were still cars for the most part, as opposed to highly advanced computers on wheels.

I used to attend the Montreal Grand Prix. The pictures here are of Ayrton Senna racing in 1989, a year that ended with Alain Prost winning the driver’s championship and one that was dominated by the clash of these two personalities: teammates on paper only, their relationship dominates the film. The film emphasizes Prost’s coolness against Senna’s brashness. Some would have called the Brazillian reckless, but nobody would deny his talent.

The Montreal Grand Prix started in rain that year. As we always did, my friends and I sat on an S shaped bend: they were the cheap seats, but sitting on a curve promised more action than a straight anyway. It was amazing that afternoon watching Senna pull into that turn. It was obvious to everybody how much faster he was coming into that corner. It was the kind of clear demonstration of skill and talent you hope to see when you watch a sporting event at this level.

Senna, the movie, is an interesting watch. It’s not about racing, it’s about driven men at the top of their game competing. That competition leads to clashes, but also demonstrates a mutual respect. It’s worth watching if you get the chance.
Ayrton Senna racing in the 1989 Montreal Grand Prix

Posted by skooter at 8:20 PM
Tags: Ayrton Senna, Montreal, Racing

July 12, 2010
Tour de France Doping in the New York Times

It’s very telling how bad the doping problem has been in professional cycling that the New York Times is running its annual story on the topic, despite the fact that not a single cyclist has tested positive in this year’s Tour de France. (There is, of course, an implied Yet… at the end of that sentence.)

The notion that falling times on alpine climbs are as honest an indication of a reduction of doping as anything else is a good one. As the article points out it’s a remarkable event which produces remarkable performances, so any such measurements are a guideline only. If it helps avoid having this article appear again next year I say measure away.

Cyclists’ Alpine Times May Hint at Past Doping

“In and of itself, these racers are doing amazing, unbelievable things on a daily basis because they are already a tiny part of the population, a very small percentage of the world,” Lim said. “They are already different. It’s when a rider has no history of good performances, then has massive changes. Now that’s when you should raise a red flag.”

There have been some discussions among exercise physiologists of testing individual athletes’ peak performances to determine each one’s peak power output and use it as a baseline to determine possible doping. Any future performances above that output would raise a red flag.

But some say that would never work. The reasons behind amazing performances cannot necessarily be proved, they said. Sometimes, they just happen.

Lance Armstrong lost 12 minutes in a crash yesterday, knocking him out of contention in what he’s said is his final Tour de France. It’s a shame: it would have been nice to see Lance—who’s done more for cycling in North America than any other athlete—on the podium but this is how these things go. It’s a long race, with plenty of opportunities for problems and incidents.

No matter where he winds up and who wins this year’s race, there’s really only one thing to say about a remarkable ride of successes: Well played, Lance. Well played.

Posted by skooter at 3:42 PM
Tags: cycling, Lance Armstrong, Tour de France

July 11, 2010
Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium

Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium Tour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner Criterium Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium

The 10th annual Tour de Delta runs all weekend, with the Ladner Criterium last night. I was personally disappointed that Team Jazz Apples wasn’t here again this year, but I suppose that’s the result of losing two out of four of the BC Superweek events that used to happen, including the Tour de Gastown which now seems certain to be gone for a while.

I will miss next week’s Tour de Whiterock, unfortunately, due to other commitments.

July 10, 2010
Nooner at the Nat: Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears

Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears

It was hot and there was an afternoon game at Nat Bailey Stadium. How could I resist? Happily, the Vancouver Canadians won the game. The complete set of photos is on flickr.

July 8, 2010
Spain Defeats Germany

Spanish Fans on Granville Street Watching Spain vs. Germany on Granville Street More photos are on flickr.

Posted by skooter at 1:22 AM
Tags: 2010 World Cup, Germany, Semifinal, Soccer, Spain

June 18, 2010
Eddy Merckx Made Me Do It

Today is Eddy Merckx’s 65th birthday. Even at 65, I’m reasonably certain that Eddy could kick my ass on the average bike ride. Such is life. I’m working on it.

Since I own a Merckx frame (kitted out with Campagnolo Centaur, of course) I figured I had to do something to celebrate, so in the afternoon I saddled up and headed to North Vancouver intent of riding to the top of Mt. Seymour for for the first time.

“Why Seymour” you ask? What… “Because it’s there” isn’t a good enough answer for you? No matter. There was a reason.

Last week I connected with a small group of cyclists and pedalled to the summit of Cypress Bowl for the first time. I’ve lived here ten years, but I’d just never gotten around to climbing that mountain on anything with less than a 750cc engine. I figured it was about time.

So…having knocked off Cypress, I figured it was time to hit Seymour. I may have been a bit cocky: Cypress seemed…easier than I expected it too. Maybe it was a good day. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t raining. Maybe it is easier. Whatever the reason, it was time to move on. No resting on personal laurels here.

Seymour definitely felt harder. The numbers paint a story of two different mountains. The Cypress Bowl road stars at a higher altitude, and it’s longer. At 15km in length road has an altitude gain of about 1200m, for an average grade of 8%. Though there are a couple of short steep sections, it’s a pretty steady grind and 8% isn’t steep.

Seymour is a 12.5km road, and the first 6km have about 600m of altitude gain for a grade of 10%. Now 10% is where we start to get steep. Those additional 2% make a noticeable difference. It might not seem like it to you, sitting at home reading this but trust me they do.

After that thing level off a bit, though there are still steep sections and the average grade doesn’t change much. The problem with things levelling off after that, of course, is that the relentless pull of gravity has already been working against you for 6km. Plus those steep sections…blurg.

It wasn’t particularly helpful that it started raining at about the 6km point either. Far be it from me to complain. Let’s just leave it at…it wasn’t particularly helpful. The visibility got so bad that I actually just took my glasses off at one point. I see reasonably well without them, and at 7km/h I was pretty confident that nothing was going to sneak up on me that quickly (from the front, anyway.)

The bigger problem with the weather is that it reduced the fun factor of the descent quite a bit. Slick roads and poor visibility meant I had to be cautious. Wet rims on Campagnolo Skeleton caliper brakes also reminded me of exactly why I like the disc brakes on my touring bike: man those things stop like you won’t believe. Again, far be it from me to complain…the skeletons were great. It’s just that compared to discs…blurg.

I froze on the descent, because it’s June and I refuse to wear a long sleeve wool jersey in June, Vancouver. Are you listening? I should have worn my arm warmers though. I wasn’t anticipating the rain, but they would have been good to have with me.

Towards the bottom, below the precipitation line, I was able to let go and fly. To give you an idea of how much difference that extra 2% of grade can make when I descended Cypress I just barely topped a speed of 70km/h, and that involved some top gear pedaling. Today I hit 74.65km/h with no pedalling, and with roads still damp and a corner approaching I wasn’t even in a full tuck.

So in the last two weeks, I’ve ascended both of Vancouver’s mountain climbs for the first time since I’ve lived here. Have no fear, my mountainous foes, for I shall return—but I might wait for a sunny day.

Thanks for the ride, Eddy. It was totally worth it. And Axel: next time you’re in town if you need a riding partner, drop me a note. Your dad will be there in spirit anyway.

June 15, 2010
The Star vs. the Globe on the Vuvuzela

The now infamous South African noise maker the Vuvuzela has, quite literally, become the story of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

It’s quite interesting to compare the Globe’s commentary on the issue with the Toronto Star’s. The Globe article is a boring, listless recitation of the facts. An example:

But here it is blown long, loud and tuneless in a packed stadium. At 127 decibels, it’s louder than an air horn (123.6 decibels) and a referee’s whistle (121.8 decibels), and doctors say that those in close proximity could suffer hearing damage. Earplugs advised.

Quite the contrast with Cathal Kelly’s article in the Toronto Star

There’s someone in our neighbourhood who kicks off with his vuvuzela at 5 or so. A demented milkman, maybe. It’s low and mournful, like a steer dying of heartbreak. Imagine Miles Davis on the vuvuzela, but without any talent. If I could find him, I would kill him with my bare hands.

Fair enough — vuvuzelas are an intrinsic part of South African soccer. Hear that, pal? Soccer. Not dawn in the suburbs.

I give points to The Toronto Star here for recognizing the inherent silliness of the topic which is, after all, about a jubilant nation’s choice of noisemaker. Annoying though the things may be, the real story should be about the game.

Posted by skooter at 3:55 PM
Tags: Articles, FIFA, Football, Vuvuzela

June 9, 2010
Wilco's "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" Introduces Hockey Night in Canada


There’s nothing quite so perfect as old school Being There era Wilco to introduce a Blackhawks game.

Posted by skooter at 2:43 AM
Tags: CBC, Hockey, Jeff Tweedy, Wilco

May 20, 2010
Floyd Landis Admits to Using Banned Substances

Floyd Landis has finally admitted what was fairly obvious: that he used banned substances throughout his career, and in particular during his unbelievable Tour de France victory in 2006.

Unfortunately, Landis has demonstrated a lack of class and appears to be trying to take everybody else down with him.

Landis, Admitting Doping, Accuses Top U.S. Cyclists
By JULIET MACUR and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT, Published: May 20, 2010

VISALIA, Calif. — After four years of maintaining his innocence about doping charges that ruined his reputation and caused him to be stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, the American cyclist Floyd Landis has sent e-mail messages to several cycling officials in the United States and in Europe in which he admits using performance-enhancing drugs for most of his career.

In the messages, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Landis accused other top American cyclists on the Postal Service team, including Armstrong, of using performance-enhancing drugs and methods. Other cyclists named were current United States road racing national champion George Hincapie, three-time Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer and five-time United States time trial champion David Zabriskie.

The Toronto Star has coverage, ESPN has video but not the actual interview they conducted and VeloNews has the cycling community’s reaction to the news.

Lance’s official statement in response is after the jump.

RadioShack team leader responds to doping accusations

Lance Armstrong: Obviously everyone has questions about Floyd Landis and his allegations. I would say that I’m a little surprised, but I am not; this has been going on for a long time. The harassment and threats from Floyd started a few years ago and really, at that time, we largely ignored him. Johan can speak to what Floyd exactly wanted from us and the team. A year ago, I told him, ‘listen, you do what you have to do.’ We are not gonna, we have nothing to say and nothing to hide.

They started again with some consistency and energy about a month ago before this race when Floyd continued to text, email and harass myself, Johan, Dave Zabriskie, Levi [Leipheimer], Andrew Messick, the CEO of Amgen, right around the time that they [Ouch-Bahati Foundation Racing Team] was trying to get into this race. Floyd made pointed threats to Messick and to the leadership of Amgen that if he wasn’t let in the race he was going to say X, Y and Z about their product.

I would remind everyone that this is a man that, first of all, from our perspective and from what’s gone on at US Postal and Discovery and all of those Tours, we have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from and if anyone has any questions we would be more than happy to answer them.

I would remind everyone that this is a man that has been under oath several times with a very different version. This is a man that wrote a book for profit that had a completely different version; this is somebody that took close to a million dollars from innocent people for his defence under a different premise and now when it’s all run out the story changes. So we are a little confused, maybe just as confused as you guys.

But with regard to the specific allegations and the specific claims, they are not even worth getting into. I’m not going to waste your time or my time. I think history speaks for itself here. We’ve all followed this case for the last four years. We’ve followed Floyd winning the Tour and we don’t know what he did or didn’t do when he was on that team [Phonak]. We can only speak about what he did when he was on our team. We followed the case, we followed all the drama with regard to the case and now we see something different. That is about it.

Did you ever pay the UCI [International Cycling Union] any money?

Absolutely not. No. That is the other thing, if you get into it. Obviously we’ve seen the email and that is not correct. But a lot of other things in the email, the timeline is off, if you go year by year.

Ultimately all of the other emails that have been sent around will come out. The emails to myself will come out. All of the emails to Andrew Messick will come out, to John Burke from Trek. For someone that says he is here to clear his conscience, why are you sending emails to other people’s sponsors, other people’s partners, to the organizer of the race, to the sponsors of the race? That has nothing to do with your conscience. So, eventually that will all come out. But, no, absolutely not.

Why did he pin-point you and Johan Bruyneel?

He didn’t. He pin-pointed a lot of people and I mean, let’s be honest. Obviously my name will be at the top of the story and my name will be in the headline. But, it goes from myself to Johan, to Levi, to Zabriskie, to Andy Rihs, to Jim Ochowicz to Michael Barry, to Matthew White, to Steve Johnson, to Pat McQuaid. At the end of the day, he pointed his finger at everyone still involved in cycling, everyone that is still enjoying the sport, everyone that still believes in the sport and everyone that still working in the sport was in the cross hairs.

I’m standing here with you guys because I won the Tour de France seven times. But, you have to keep in mind that the yellow jersey of this race [Dave Zabriskie] is also in the cross hairs and that is not by accident. Maybe that is a good strategy to get more attention but if I look at, I can use Allen Lim as an example, someone that I view has the highest standards and the highest ethics of anyone in this sport, the fact that he is thrown in there speaks volumes to the credibility of this and I think that’s, if I walk away with one word to sum this all up - credibility. Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago.

What do you think about all the details in the emails?

I think if anyone browses the internet or the news groups of anyone’s Wikipedia page, that time line is easy to put together. I could have made it even juicier. Some of it is off, obviously the timing and the dates are off again, if you saw the rest of the emails that we have it speaks volumes to his mental state, and, the time of the day that he sent it, I don’t need to fill you guys in on people’s habits or lifestyles.

Did you contact him after he was emailing you?

It started a couple of years ago and as texts and I wrote him back after a while. Johan can speak more about what he wanted from the team but after a few of them they got to be so annoying that I wrote him back and said, ‘Floyd leave me alone. Do what you have to do, I’m going to be fine, don’t worry about me but you have to stop texting me, annoying me, you have to stop harassing me.’

Did you see him at the Tour of the Gila?

I saw him every day at the Tour of the Gila. Not one word was said. It was ironic because not one word would be said to any of us during the race. We heard stories about him talking to himself. But we would get home and all of a sudden we would have these emails form him at night. Strange.

Why do you think he chose to send the emails now?

I think the timing of the race is obvious. As I mentioned, he didn’t get in the race. To be honest, I was surprised that it didn’t come up in Sacramento. We were all fully expecting it to come out then. These emails have been out for quite some time.

Will you be taking legal action?

No, my days of legal action are over. Legal action takes time energy and a lot of money. I have sued a few people in my day and have been successful there in proving my innocence. But, I don’t need to do that anymore. My energy needs to be devoted to the team, to Livestrong, to my kids. I’m not going to waste time on that.

Will you cooperate with a Federal Prosecutor if they investigate this?

Absolutely.

Do you think this will affect the rest of the season, the Tour of California or the Tour de France?

It’s definitely news and juicy, but at the end of the day bike fans are going to see the people talked about here, myself, Levi, Zabriskie, George, Johan, they know the truth.

Will this do anything to change your plans for the Tour de France?

Absolutely not. We all know that Floyd won’t be in France telling the story.

What happens if ASO does not let the team into the Tour de France this year?

At the end of the day why would they do that? We have a person who has been under oath several times with a completely different version, written a book with a completely different version, someone that took money. He said he has no proof. It is his word verses ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility. I don’t think there is a lot of credibility on the other side so why would ASO think any differently. Keep in mind back in the day there was all this buzz that Floyd said he had pictures of a refrigerated motorcycle. Where is that? It’s all a bunch of bullshit and never existed.

What about the French prosecutors who have the medical waste deposits?

I have no idea what the story is there and I haven’t been asked about that or informed about that. Other people are aware of that.

You and Landis were close friends?

It is very sad. At one point or another, all of us implicated have cared about Floyd, that is one things that we have shared in common. We might be on different teams, come in different backgrounds or be at different places in our lives but at some point we share this bond that we all gave him ladder at some point in his life when he dug himself a hole. We gave him the ladder to dig out of the Mercury situation. Andy Rihs came on and gave him a ladder to dig out of that hole. People aren’t throwing him ladders anymore. I don’t want to make a personal attack on Landis. I don’t think he is a good guy or a bad guy, he certainly has some issues.

Can you comment on Floyd saying that Johan taught you and him how to dope?

Other than saying it is not true? We can only speak about what happened on our team. I can’t tell you what happened on Phonak and I can’t tell you how he won the 2006 Tour de France. The one thing that brought this about was him testing positive for the synthetic testosterone, that he still denies. We categorically deny Johan teaching anybody, forget about Floyd teaching anybody to do that.

How does this impact US cycling?

It is not a good story. This is a distraction. If you look at this race and the turn out I’d say things are strong. The sponsorship is strong and I feel that the teams here will be in the Tour this summer and I am optimistic that this will, it is something that we have to deal with.

May 2, 2010
Who Has the Best Baseball Fans

A well created and presented infographic tries to quantify which baseball team has the best fans.

Accuracy is pretty good here: the Blue Jays pretty much fall off the radar, just like the fans did when the team started losing after winning back to back world series championships.

Infographic of the Day: Which Baseball Teams Have the Best Fans? | Fast Company

The Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, and Texas Rangers have pathetic fans. Which makes you think: Baseball’s continued rep as America’s game really seems driven by a few old cities, where rooting for the home team is a tradition passed down through generations.

March 3, 2010
Stephen Brunt - On The Olympics

February 21, 2010
Ski Jumping at the Winter Olympics

I remain surprised and a bit disturbed by the fact that women’s ski jumping wasn’t included in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The New York Times is covering it as well.

In essence, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the IOC was not subject to the Canadian constitution, and that VANOC is not responsible for the content of the games. A political ruling if I’ve ever heard one.

The fact that the IOC hasn’t yet committed to include women’s ski jumping in Sochi in 2014 isn’t promising either. Perhaps an announcement is imminent.

Posted by skooter at 5:48 PM
Tags: 2010, Vancouver Olympics

October 23, 2009
Return of the Star Candidate

I’m not sure the Liberal Party of Canada ever actually learns.A pot smoking snowboarder into a riding seems like a pretty dubious star candidate to start with, and Ross Rebagliati isn’t exactly the sharpest pencil in the box.

They don’t think anybody actually fell for that “second hand smoke” line do they?

Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati to take on Stockwell Day
Posted: October 23, 2009, 7:45 AM by Jeremy Barker
Canwest News Service

KEWLONA, B.C. — Canadian snowboarder and Olympic medal winner Ross Rebagliati plans to beat a new opponent: Stockwell Day.

Mr. Rebagliati will seek the federal Liberal nomination on Monday in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding of central B.C.

Posted by skooter at 1:37 PM
Tags: Liberal, Olympics, Politics, Snowboarding, Sports

October 7, 2009
It's Probably "the fact that I'm Albertan"

There are things I’m not fond of about Vancouver, and amongst the worst of them is the smug air of superiority people here have about the rest of the country. Whistler is worse.

I could be wrong, of course. It could be that some Whistler locals aren’t looking forward to the massive disruption to their lives that’s going to happen from February 1st to the middle of March next year. Honest though, I suspect it’s a combination of smugness and annoyance that Regan Lauscher is feeling.

Whistler lacks ‘Olympic fever,’ and she’s sick of it
‘Why the hate?’ athlete asks in controversial blog alleging resort town has been an unwelcoming place for Albertan athletes like her
ROD MICKLEBURGH
Last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 07, 2009 03:09AM EDT

“My biggest challenge at the moment is surviving life in British Columbia,” Ms. Lauscher wrote after training for less than a week in Whistler, site of the Olympic luge competition.

“To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the people in Whistler dislike more, the fact that I’m Albertan, or that I’m a participant in their perceived ‘Olympic abomination.’ “

Ms. Lauscher, a native of Red Deer, stressed that most Whistler residents are giving her “tons of encouragement.” But there was a “distinct group of people who haven’t caught that metaphorical ‘Olympic’ fever.”

Posted by skooter at 1:36 PM
Tags: 2010, Vancouver Olympics, Whistler

September 2, 2009
I Can't Do Any of This

Posted by skooter at 1:38 AM
Tags: Cycling, German

July 12, 2009
Women's Ski Jumping Still Out

There’s only one sport in the Winter Olympics that’s not open to women: ski jumping. The IOC has various reasons for keeping it out, none of them very good. They’ve cited the lack of participants (though skeleton has fewer), the lack of a range of countries (though Jamaica famously fielded a bobsledding team) and others.

Canadian women ski jumpers decided to take it to court claiming discrimination in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which specifies that (emphasis mine):

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex,…

The Vancouver Sun covers it:

Women ski jumpers lose Olympic fight in B.C. Supreme Court
BY DAPHNE BRAMHAM, VANCOUVER SUNJULY 10, 2009COMMENTS (35)
 
The B.C. Supreme Court has rejected an application from 15 female ski jumpers asking that either they be allowed to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver or that all ski jumping events be cancelled.

The article summarizes the Justice’s findings:

Although Fenlon said that Vanoc is a government entity since it is carrying out government policy in staging the Games and is using significant government funds to build venues and support the Games, she said Vanoc and the governments have no control over designating “Olympic events”

That, she said, solely a decision for the International Olympic Committee.

“I acknowledge that there is something distasteful about a Canadian governmental activity subject to the Charter being delivered in a way that puts into effect a discriminatory decision made by others,” she wrote.

Part of that doesn’t make sense to me. VANOC very clearly operates as a form of subsidiary of the IOC. The contracts that are in place that define it otherwise are little more than a facade. Subsidiaries of multi-national companies operating in Canada are subject to the Charter, and yet the IOC is not. It kind of makes me scratch my head.

Posted by skooter at 3:36 PM
Tags: 2010, Olympics, Vancouver Olympics

June 23, 2009
On Grunting

While I love Wimbledon’s traditionalism, the sport of Tennis does need to grow up a bit.

New Wimbledon roof sparks worries about loud grunts
Kathryn Blaze Carlson, National Post, Monday, June 22, 2009

A new retractable roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court may stave off rain delays, but some fear it will wreak havoc of another sort: the amplification of tennis grunts which, even without the help of an echo-inducing medium, sound like epic battle cries.

Grunting, long a part of an otherwise prim and proper tournament, has only become controversial as of late, with 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito facing accusations that her gutteral cries might actually be a strategic way of distracting her opponent.

Grunting isn’t a new controversy at all in tennis. It’s typically an involuntary reaction to athletic exertion, and the rules that discourage women from grunting while saying nothing about men are nothing less then sexist. Women’s professional tennis has been getting increasingly athletic over the years, and treating it any differently than the men’s game shows a lack of respect.

Posted by skooter at 1:34 PM
Tags: Tennis, Wimbledon

June 19, 2009
Without Ferrari, it's not Formula One

Frankly, if Ferrari and McLaren stick to their guns on this they will win. That’s where the dedicated fan base is.

Formula One in Turmoil as 8 Teams Break Away
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Published: June 19, 2009

SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Ferrari, McLaren and six other teams have announced plans for a rival series to Formula One in 2010 after the collapse of heated negotiations with F1 organizers over a budget cap for next season.

Ferrari, which has participated since the inaugural championship in 1950, and current championship leader Brawn GP were among the members of the Formula One Teams Association which announced the split Friday, ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Posted by skooter at 1:57 PM
Tags: Formula One, Racing

May 19, 2009
Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Wilco

Posted by skooter at 2:03 AM
Tags: Baseball, Wilco

May 1, 2009
I Was Always a Leafs Fan

This comes about 30 years too late to help the cause.

Guy Lafleur found guilty
INGRID PERITZ, Globe and Mail Update, May 1, 2009 at 10:04 AM EDT

MONTREAL — Hockey legend Guy Lafleur was found guilty this morning of giving contradictory evidence to the court, a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Quebec Court Judge Claude Parent said Mr. Lafleur had lied when he testified during his son’s bail hearing in 2007 that he was unaware his son had slept in a hotel in breach of a court-ordered curfew.

The Vancouver Sun covers it here.

Posted by skooter at 3:14 PM
Tags: Hockey, Maple Leafs, Montreal

April 18, 2009
Tyler Hamilton & Helmets

Two stories on Outside Magazine’s blog were interesting today. First comes the news that Tyler Hamilton has tested positive for a banned substance…again. He says he’s retiring from professional cycling. (Velonews has more detailed coverage, of course.)

Whether this test was due to a prescribed medication or not, Tyler should be smart enough to make sure that he doesn’t test positive again. His first positive test resulted in a ban which Tyler fought vigorously. As part of his defense he claimed that the genetic markers for the drug were the result of an unborn twin residing in his body. Ridiculous.

If Tyler had admitted fault and not put forward such a ridiculous defence, it might be possible to have sympathy at this point. It’s not.

Vail Resorts will be requiring its on mountain employees to wear helmets while working and skiing or snowboarding. This is a very good thing. As helmets become more common on ski hills, the ridiculous social stigma that prevents people from wearing them will disappear. It can’t happen soon enough for my taste.

Posted by skooter at 11:28 PM
Tags: Cycling, Helmets, Skiing

April 14, 2009
Apparently Mats Sundin had never SEEN the Canucks Play

Of course the likelihood that he’d ever get this chance with the Toronto Maple Leafs might be even more remote. I’ve got more faith in Brian Burke than I do in the current Canucks management though.

The Canucks get the post-season jitters more than any team I’ve ever seen. Out goalies play phenomenal regular seasons and then just seem to forget that they’re suppose to stop the damn puck when the post-season comes around.

‘I wanted … a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup’: Sundin
BY BRAD ZIEMER, VANCOUVER SUN, APRIL 13, 2009

It is one rather glaring omission on an otherwise impeccable resume.

And as Mats Sundin began contemplating his future last summer, a long and deliberate process that continued deep into the fall, he kept coming back to the one thing that would complete his hockey-playing life.

He could not get the Stanley Cup out of his head.

Posted by skooter at 1:23 PM
Tags: Hockey, Vancouver Canucks, Yeah Canucks Rule!

February 18, 2009
Levi Leipheimer at the AMGEN Tour de California

Levi Leipheimer’s leading the race, and Velonews has an impressive sequence of photos showing his crash earlier today.

In other news Lance Armstrong’s bike was stolen which just seems stupid. Here’s hoping he had a lot of Kryptonite locks on that thing: it’s one of a kind probably worth a fortune.

Posted by skooter at 7:17 AM
Tags: Cycling, Lance Armstrong

February 1, 2009
Yeah, Canucks Rule!

At this rate, it’s easier to be a Leafs fan:

Canucks lose their 8th in a row
Last Updated: Saturday, January 31, 2009 | 10:06 PM PT, CBC Sports

The return of all-star goaltender Roberto Luongo and addition of high-scoring Mats Sundin was supposed to turn the Vancouver Canucks into Stanley Cup contenders.

But at the rate they’re going, the Canucks will be lucky to qualify for the playoffs

Posted by skooter at 3:55 PM
Tags: Hockey, Vancouver Canucks

January 21, 2009
Where Have You Gone Mats Sundin / The Nation Turns It's Lonely Eyes to You

Ok, wasn’t Mats Sundin supposed to save the Canucks? On another note, did anybody publish a story today that didn’t include a superfluous reference to Barak Obama’s inauguration?

Canucks lose to Sharks in last-minute heartbreaker
BY BRAD ZIEMER, VANCOUVER SUNJANUARY 20, 2009
  
SAN JOSE On the day the United States and its new president began what Americans hope will be a journey of renewal, the Vancouver Canucks continued down that bumpy road to ruin.

The Canucks played the San Jose Sharks extremely tough Tuesday night, but surrendered the tying goal with 40 seconds left in the third period and then lost…

Ottawa’s Kathleen Edwards dedicated her song Copied Keys to Sundin on Friday night. The opening line:

This is not my town and it will never be

She’s a funny lady.

January 10, 2009
Vancouver's Olympic Village Funding

Ah, the Olympics. The sporting and athletic aspects of them always seem to come off so smoothly, and the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee assured us that the financial aspects of of Vancouver’s games were going as planned.

It looks like, perhaps, this was true from only the most selfish of perspectives: stricly speaking it’s not VANOC’s fault that the private developer behind the Olympic Village appears to have failed, but it certainly doesn’t put the Olympics in a good light. John Furlong can deny responsibility if he wants too, but a the moment Vancouver tax payers are on the hook for a whole lot of unplanned money. With a year to go, the potential for more is high.

Olympic Village may cost Vancouver taxpayers $875M: Mayor
Last Updated: Friday, January 9, 2009, CBC News

The Southeast False Creek development site comprises 32 hectares of land, seven of which will be temporarily transformed into the Olympic Village during the Games. (CBC)
Vancouver taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $875 million to complete the Olympic Athletes Village unless city council can reopen a loan given to the developer or find new financing.

The city has been forking out money to keep construction going since New York-based hedge fund Fortress Investment Group stopped advancing funds in September to Millennium Development Corp., Mayor Gregor Robertson said Friday.

Posted by skooter at 4:49 PM
Tags: 2010, Olympics, Vancouver Olympics

December 22, 2008
Oh, the Indignity of the Sports Star

I’m not sure that $20 Million is enough to make up for the indignity of a front page headline discussing your groin, but to each his own I suppose.

Sundin says groin is fully healed
Newest Vancouver Canuck credits time off with injury recovery
Last Updated: Saturday, December 20, 2008
CBC Sports

Mats Sundin says the groin problems he suffered last March will not be a factor as he prepares for his debut with the Vancouver Canucks.

I’m also not sure that one player makes an offence, and this team needs one badly. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

Posted by skooter at 12:56 PM
Tags: Hockey, Vancouver Canucks

August 10, 2008
Can't Stop the Wave

NBC just doesn’t get it. Still.

Tape Delay by NBC Faces End Run by Online Fans
By BRIAN STELTER
Published: August 8, 2008

NBC, which owns the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States, spent most of Friday trying to keep it that way.

NBC’s decision to delay broadcasting the opening ceremonies by 12 hours sent people across the country to their computers to poke holes in NBC’s technological wall — by finding newsfeeds on foreign broadcasters’ Web sites and by watching clips of the ceremonies on YouTube and other sites.

In response, NBC sent frantic requests to Web sites, asking them to take down the illicit clips and restrict authorized video to host countries. As the four-hour ceremony progressed, a game of digital whack-a-mole took place. Network executives tried to regulate leaks on the Web and shut down unauthorized video, while viewers deftly traded new links on blogs and on the Twitter site, redirecting one another to coverage from, say, Germany, or a site with a grainy Spanish-language video stream.

As the first Summer Games of the broadband age commenced in China, old network habits have never seemed so archaic — or so irrelevant.

Posted by skooter at 12:44 AM
Tags: Copyright, Olympics, Television

August 8, 2008
Beijing 2008

With David Emerson and his Conservative government afraid to rock the boat on issues that truly matter, it’s nice to see Irwin Cotler speaking his mind about the China issue.

I only wish I weren’t cynical enough to believe that if the Conservatives were speaking out about China’s human rights record, the Liberals would be telling Canadians that the Olympics were not a political event, but a sporting one.

Cotler blasts China’s human rights record
Last Updated: Thursday, August 7, 2008
CBC News

On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler sharply criticized China’s human rights record and called the awarding of the Games to Beijing a betrayal of the Olympic Charter.

The MP made the comments Thursday at a press conference in Ottawa flanked by journalist Beryl Wajsman, human rights activist and former Miss World Canada Nazanin Afshin-Jam and former Liberal MP David Kilgour.

Posted by skooter at 1:07 PM
Tags: China, Human Rights, Olympics, Politics

June 3, 2008
When You Need Something Done in a Pinch...

you can always count on a penguin.

Posted by skooter at 7:52 PM
Tags: Hockey, Stanley Cup

May 19, 2008
With the Canucks Out

It should come as no secret who I’m cheering for in this year’s Stanley Cup Final.penguinsLogo.jpeg

Posted by skooter at 6:53 PM
Tags: Hockey, Penguins

April 30, 2008
Trippy, But Kind of Cool 2010 Mascot Cartoon

Posted by skooter at 5:59 AM
Tags: Olympics, Vancouver Olympics

April 8, 2008
Tibet & The Olympics

Tibetan National Flag I’ve been mulling over the issue of Tibet, the Olympics and a potential boycott for a bit now. I don’t buy the argument that “the games aren’t political…” or that “the last boycott wasn’t effective, so why bother this time…” but it seems as if there’s no appetite for a boycott, so such is life. Welcome to the modern politician: no backbone.

So here’s a thought…why wouldn’t the Canadian Olympic Team give every Canadian athlete a Tibetan flag. When the team entered the stadium the athletes could raise them in support.

If every nation considering a boycott did this instead, this would be a massive show of public support broadcast into every corner of the world.

No discussion of boycotting Olympics’ opening ceremonies: MacKay
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | 5:24 AM ET
CBC News

The federal government hasn’t considered the possibility of boycotting the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, according to the defence minister.

Repeating comments made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week, Peter MacKay told reporters Monday the issue has not been addressed by the federal cabinet.

“Without having the discussion, we can’t rule anything out, so we’re not at that point,” MacKay said.

Posted by skooter at 2:15 PM
Tags: China, Olympics, Tibet

April 2, 2008
Best Sports Coverage Ever

Posted by skooter at 3:23 AM
Tags: Basketball, CBC, Sports

March 22, 2008
Skis at Cypress Bowl

This isn’t every pair of skis I used this year: sometimes I forgot my cell phone in the car, and I didn’t take pictures the first couple of weeks I went up. It’s a pretty good representation though.

Pictures are in the order they were taken. Some pairs repeat, some don’t: O’Malley was a favourite pair, and the first night I skied on Willis the phrase What’chyoo talkin’ about was used more than once…that was a great night.

Posted by skooter at 6:26 AM
Tags: Cypress Bowl, Exercise, Skis

February 24, 2008
Spring Skiing...

in Vancouver is great not just because it’s only a 60 km. round trip from home, but also because of the view through your sunroof during the drive.
View through the Volvo's sunroof A few more weeks of this I think.

Posted by skooter at 3:13 AM
Tags: Cypress Bowl, Skiing, Volvo

February 18, 2008
Top of the World, Callaghan Valley, Whistler, BC

Whistler Olympic Park is open, with a huge network of new (and spectacular) cross country ski trails.

The Norwegian ski team was testing skis on the Olympic trails when we were there. A brief chat with the coach was fun, and I offered him a business card “in case you need an extra for 2010.” His smile and laugh were characteristic of what turned out to be a most amazing day.

Posted by skooter at 2:02 PM
Tags: 2010, Skiing, Vancouver Olympics, Whistler

February 13, 2008
Decades of Human Rights Abuses? No Problem.

I’m tempted to admire Spielberg for this, if there weren’t so many better (and long standing) reasons not to support the Chinese government in pretty much anything.

Spielberg quits Olympics work to protest Chinese inaction
By Helene Cooper Published: February 13, 2008

WASHINGTON: The movie director Steven Spielberg has said he is withdrawing as an artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing after almost a year of trying unsuccessfully to prod President Hu Jintao to do more to try to end Sudan’s attacks in the Darfur region.

I wonder if he’ll protest the Vancouver Olympics because the Canadian government lacks the same level of slavish devotion to Israel that the U.S. demonstrates?

Posted by skooter at 1:58 PM
Tags: 2010, Olympics

February 12, 2008
Representing Kingston, The Tragically Hip

Reality TV never ceases to amaze me with its strangeness, although I’m surprised this idea came out of the United States.

Rock stars courted for curling reality show
Bon Jovi, Springsteen, said to be closet curlers, courted for NBC series that could lead to Olympics
Feb 11, 2008 04:30 AM
CHRIS ZELKOVICH , SPORTS MEDIA COLUMNIST

Move over American Idol and make room for Rockstar Curling, a reality television show that may indeed have a rock-star connection.

NBC confirmed yesterday it has an exclusive option to air a 10-episode sports reality show that will give the winners a shot at competing in the U.S. championships and even going to the 2010 Olympics.

And one aspect that would make this a draw to the button for NBC is a plan to land closet curlers Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi as part of the show, assuming the rockers aren’t worried what being connected to a sport with brooms might do to their images.

Posted by skooter at 1:59 PM
Tags: Curling, Music, Sports

February 1, 2008
Guy Lafleur Turns Himself In

Guy Lafleur Twenty years to late to help the damn Toronto Maple Leafs. Where’s Ken Dryden to make the save when you need it, huh Guy?

Posted by skooter at 6:21 AM
Tags: Canadiens, Hockey, Maple Leafs

January 17, 2008
Ok Lance, We Get It...

You’re the man. Point taken.

Lance Armstrong to run in Boston Marathon
Associated Press / January 17, 2008

BOSTON — Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong plans to run the Boston Marathon in April to raise money for his foundation.
more stories like this

Armstrong, 36, qualified for Boston by finishing last year’s New York City Marathon in 2:46:43, good enough for 214th place among men. The Boston qualifying time for men ages 35-39 is 3:15.

Posted by skooter at 6:41 PM
Tags: Cycling, Lance Armstrong, Sports

December 2, 2007
Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel was a bona fide super star in the late 70s and early 80s. His death was noted, but barely, by the New York Times.
Evel Knievel jumps at Caesar's Palace

Evel Knievel, 69, Daredevil on a Motorcycle, Dies

Evel Knievel, the hard-living, death-defying adventurer who went from stealing motorcycles to riding them in a series of spectacular airborne stunts in the 1960s and ’70s that brought him worldwide fame as the quintessential daredevil performer, died yesterday in Clearwater, Fla. He was 69.

Posted by skooter at 4:40 PM
Tags: Articles, Obituaries

October 14, 2007
Blue, Baby, Blue

When I was at the University of Toronto and all my friends were at the University of Waterloo, the Waterloo football team was so bad that they were all trying out. Not that they were horrible players but, you know, we were all math guys…not athletes. Cycling was our favourite form of exercise: not the stuff that football greats are made of.

How depressing to find out that the University of Toronto now holds the record for the most consecutive losses in Canadian university history.

Posted by skooter at 3:06 AM
Tags: Football, University of Toronto

October 9, 2007
Some Things Americans Just Don't Get

Hockey is one of them, although they keep winning that damn Stanley Cup.

Nike abandons hockey
Oct 09, 2007 04:30 AM
RICK WESTHEAD
STAFF REPORTER

Nike just couldn’t do it.

Thirteen years after it skated into the hockey industry with its purchase of the world’s largest hockey company, Nike is abandoning Canada’s national game.

Posted by skooter at 1:47 PM
Tags: Articles, Hockey, Nike, Sports

March 19, 2007
For you...Ten Dollars!

Shimano Thumbshifters, $10 I had no idea Shimano ever made 5 speed thumbshifters.

Posted by skooter at 7:37 PM
Tags: Bikes, Cameraphone, Shimano

January 25, 2007
The NHL Finally Gets the Internet

I don’t think it will help hockey’s popularity in America one bit, or save a troubled league but it’s nice to see professional sports getting the Internet a bit.

Posted by skooter at 12:21 PM
Tags: Hockey, NHL

November 21, 2006
A National Event

Given the glowing coverage of the CFL in general and the Grey Cup specifically (for obvious reasons) in British Columbia, I was somewhat surprised to read this in the Toronto Star.

Grey Cup not only thing broken

Nov. 20, 2006. 12:44 PM
DAMIEN COX
WINNIPEG - Snapped the 97-year-old Grey Cup in half, they did. Left the national treasure being hoisted by the joyful victors in two separate pieces, a large silver saucer and a well-dented, headless torso.

That, one supposes, was a fitting conclusion to the CFL’s championship contest yesterday, for it nicely symbolized a formerly enthralling brand of football that appears curiously broken at the moment.

How broken? The lowest-scoring Grey Cup “classic” since the dud in Toronto 15 years ago won’t have anybody outside of British Columbia talking about this one past, well, today.

Posted by skooter at 6:56 AM
Tags: CFL, Football

July 27, 2006
Uh oh. This is not good.

This is really well beyond not good. Let’s all keep in mind that the B sample hasn’t been tested, and there are legitimate reasons for an elevated testosterone level.

Still not good.

Phonak confirms Landis rider in question
This report filed July 27, 2006

The Phonak Cycling Team confirmed Thursday that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is the rider who submitted a positive “A” sample following the 17th stage of this year’s Tour de France.

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’s testosterone levels were found to be unusually high in an official doping test during the race, the Phonak cycling team announced Thursday.

Posted by skooter at 8:24 AM
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 22, 2006
Tour de France 2006: An American In Paris

It’s old news by now that Floyd Landis has won today’s time trial, all but clinching victory in Paris tomorrow.

This has been the most exciting tour to watch since 1989, when Greg LeMond faced Laurent Fignon in the final time trial and snatched the closest victory ever: 8 seconds.

That Landis’ victory today came as much as a result of Oscar Pereiro’s failure as his own effort does not diminish from his achievement.

This was a great race.

Posted by skooter at 12:40 PM
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 21, 2006
3 men, 57 km, 30 seconds

As expected, after one of the greatest days in the history of the tour, Floyd Landis and the other race leaders took it easy today and hung together in the Peloton.

Tomorrow’s penultimate stage is a 57km kilometre time trial. They call the time trial the race of truth — there is no hiding in the peloton, no group times assigned, no moments of rest to be found in the French heat.

3 men are separated by only 30 seconds, a difference so small that it will be impossible to know who has won this race until the last man crosses the finish line — barring major incident.

The evidence of yesterday’s ride suggest that Landis is able to dig deeper than most at moments that matter to find those extra precious seconds that separate those who have the will to win from those who have the desire to win.

All bets are off, but if I were a betting man I’d put my money on that will.

Posted by skooter at 8:16 AM
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 20, 2006
Tour de France, Cote de Chatilon-sur-Cluses, July 19, 2006

Cote de Chatilon-sur-Cluses

Not taken by me, but by a friend.

One of the greatest tour days ever

Posted by skooter at 12:51 PM
Tags: Cycling, Floyd Landis, Tour de France

July 18, 2006
L'Alpe D'Huez, site de triomphe

Alpe D’Huez is steeped in history, the site of so many historic moments in Le Tour that it has become the stuff of legends. Last year’s time trial (the first up this mountain road with 22 leg burning switchbacks) was, perhaps, Lance Armstrong’s greatest single moment of glory, in a career with many to choose from.

This year is no different.

When Floyd Landis took the yellow jersey, only to lose it a couple of days later people questioned it.

Floyd was just resting. Letting legs recover.

Today, placing fourth in the stage, Floyd has once again assumed the lead, gaining over a minute of time on his most serious competitor.

Le Tour, thanks to a spanish drug scandal, seems once again destined to be won by an American…and once again victory has been proclaimed at the summit of Alpe d’Huez.

Posted by skooter at 10:11 AM
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 13, 2006
Le Maillot Jaune

George Hincapie has slid, as I expected, off the back of the peloton and into the history books of American cycling: Le Tour 2006 is not his to be had.

Instead, Floyd Landis sits in first by the thinnest of thin margins and takes his place at the vanguard of the future of the post-Lance era. His lead going into Bastille Day is only 8 seconds.

Of course, any devotee of the race will recognize that number and its significance. 8 seconds can be all it takes to win.

Posted by skooter at 12:38 PM
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 10, 2006
Yellow Jersey

This years Tour de France was rocked by scandal the day before the start, with the top contentders — Basso and Ulrich — pulled from the race.

It’s been an interesting first week, with George Hincapie the top American in the race and placing very well in the general classifcation.

Until the first time trial.

Hincapie is out, too far behind at this point to make up the difference.

I’ve got a consistent line about the tour and it’s based on experience in recent years: you win in the time trials, and lose in the mountains.

Hincapie is a great climber, but not a good time trialist. Now we need only wait and see if Floyd Landis — scheduled to undergo hip surgery as soon as August — can hold his own going uphill as the American contender.

Posted by skooter at 2:24 PM
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

May 1, 2006
Woo Hoo - Outside gets RSS

The wonderful Outside Magazine has finally gotten RSS feeds

Tonight I’m going to party like it’s 1999!

The best part is, of course, they don’t work with Safari’s integrated RSS support, thanks to a server side error.

Posted by skooter at 6:33 PM

December 20, 2005
Wayne Gretzky's Mom

That the death, earlier today, of Wayne Gretzyky’s Mom, is national news speaks to the respect with which Canadians treat one of our nicest heroes. That Gretzky lived in Los Angeles for many years, and now coaches (and owns) the Phoenix Coyotes means little: he remains — and always will — the consumate Canadian kid, who flew home to Brampton, Ontario a couple of days ago to be by her side.

Our nation’s collective heart is with Wayne and his family now, in what should be a time of happiness for his family.

Posted by skooter at 6:17 AM
Tags: Hockey, Obituaries

August 2016
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31