Category Archives: Olympics

July 30, 2012

Olympic Athletes Funny Photos

London2012The Olympics are now underway, and we are eager spectators of every thrilling minute! We’ve saved some of our favorite photos from the first few days in London. View below the athletes battling for Olympic gold, giving their all in practice and competition. I include the official “serious” captions for each photo, but you can have fun creating your own captions in the Comments.

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July 29, 2012

U.S.A. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team

Posted by at 3:51 am in Authors, Olympics, Reads, Summer | Permalink

London2012Today's post is written by Donna Freitas, author of Gold Medal Summer.

 In Gold Medal Summer, Joey Jordan's best events are Beam and Floor. In order to fulfill her dream of winning gold, Joey has to find routines on both events that play to her strengths, not just what her coach values, and that means valuing artistry over tumbling, at times. 

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July 27, 2012

Interview with Olympic Swimmer Lia Neal!

Posted by at 3:34 am in Olympics, Summer | Permalink

London2012Olympic Swimmer Lia Neal

The Olympics are almost upon us, and we here at the STACKS are SO EXCITED!

I’m extra-excited because my friend, Lia Neal, has made the U.S. Olympic swimming team! At the U.S. Olympic Trials she made the women’s team for the 4×100 freestyle relay. After beating out her competition – a number of them past Olympic medalists, like Natalie Coughlin – Lia, at only 17 years old, was 4th to the wall in the event, securing a spot as a member of the 2012 team. It was so incredible! She immediately burst into tears. Called a “source of inspiration for a younger generation” by The New York Times and “Official 2012 Olympic Athlete of The Sports Section” by New York Magazine, the teenage girl from Brooklyn, New York is making a name for herself as an athlete to watch! She’s also one of the nicest people I know. Now training in France with the rest of the U.S. swim team, she was kind enough to take a break from her rigorous training schedule to answer a few questions for the STACKS.  

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July 25, 2012

Olympic Sports Books

Posted by at 9:42 am in Olympics, Reads, Summer | Permalink

Ssc_130The Olympics are almost here! The athletes competing in London are so inspiring they have us all hoping for gold and dreaming of world records. Did you know there is a world record being broken right now that you can be a part of? It's true! You can still go for the gold . . . with reading!

Readers around the world just blew past the summer reading world record with the Scholastic Summer Challenge. But we don't want to just beat it, we want to crush it! How many more minutes can we log by the end of the summer? How much can we beat the record by? We can’t wait to see where we end up but we need you to help us get there! How? Exercise your reading muscles with a literary Olympics!

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July 24, 2012

Olympic Games Trivia

Posted by at 1:51 am in Olympics, Summer, Trivia | Permalink

London2012It's almost time for the Olympics! Ringing in day 2 of our Olympic Games-themed week is this fun trivia quiz on all things interesting, weird, and plain silly about Olympic years past. I like to joke, when people ask me if I play any sports that I do marathons all the time . . . marathons of my favorite TV shows that is! So, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, here's a little multiple-choice action fun:

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July 23, 2012

Create a Caption: Olympic Games

London2012The Olympic Games are almost upon us!!!!!!!!! Is anyone else as excited as I am? I can barely hold it in!

We thought it would be a great idea to build up our anticipation here at the STACKS by having an Olympics-themed week on Ink Splot 26. The Games begin on Friday, July 27, 2012. We’ve got all sorts of fun stuff planned until then (with a few surprises), so stay tuned!

To kick things off, let’s CREATE A CAPTION! What do you think would be a great caption for the photo of this Olympic Table Tennis player in the heat of a competition?

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February 25, 2010

Olympic Women’s Snowboarders!

Posted by at 8:25 am in Olympics | Permalink

Hannah_teter I know not all of you are sports fans, and I have to admit, I don’t really *follow* snowboarding, but there is something about the Olympics that just gets me so pumped! I get so into it, I’m in my living room jumping up and down and cheering like a crazy person. OK I’m not so crazy that I would paint USA on my stomach and go running around in the snow, but I still get pretty excited.

It’s been a great Olympics for the U.S. Snowboarders. Shaun White took Gold in the Men’s halfpipe, and Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark went 2,3 in the Women’s halfpipe. We had a chance to talk to Hannah before the Olympics started. It turns out she’s really big into saving the world. How cool!

Somewhere really far away from snowboarding, in a country you’ve probably never been to, down a road you’ll probably never travel down, there’s a town you’ve probably never heard of. Thanks to Hannah’s charity, Hannah’s Gold, that town, Kirindon, Kenya has clean drinking water and a higher quality of life. After she won a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics, Hannah started a charity called Hannah’s Gold which has raised more than $60,000 for this village. On top of that, Hannah donates all her contest winnings to the charity.

Q: What is your most memorable experience snowboarding?

Hannah: I have been provided with so many memorable experiences, it is tough to narrow it down. One funny one that stands out was when I was a crazy teen (would never think of doing this now!) and was at my second X-Games in Aspen. I had this intelligent idea of doing a victory lap wearing only my jersey in the 0 degree night pipe contest. Everything went great besides the face plant on my last hit.

Q: What has been, hands down, your scariest experience on a snowboard?

Hannah: Getting landed on, squashed, and broken by an oversized Japanese man at a World Cup in Japan.

Q: What would a 2010 Olympic Gold Medal mean to you?

Hannah: It would mean feeding a lot more hungry babies in the third world countries, and creating bigger opportunities to work with programs that make a lasting difference in the lives of those that are under-privileged and suffering greatly.

Well, she didn’t win gold, but that is not stopping her from continuing with her awesome charity work! Hannah is still working to raise money to help people all over the world.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

Photo by: Todd Korol/Reuters/Landov

February 13, 2010

2010 Olympic Snowboarder Shaun White!

Posted by at 10:24 am in Olympics | Permalink

Swhite_130 Imagine skiing at age four, snowboarding at six, then winning world championships, X Games and Olympic medals. Where do you go from there?

Try developing your own clothing line . . . video game . . . kids snowboard line . . . winning some ESPY Awards . . . making sunglasses for Oakley, and the list goes on! These are just a few of the things on snowboarder Shaun White's resume. Not to mention helping with St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital Target House for kids needing long-term treatment. (Shaun had two major heart surgeries as a baby to correct a heart defect. Ever since, he's kept things pumping – on the snow and off.)

Besides 14 medals in the X Games (!!) Shaun won GOLD in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and he's going for more this month in the 2010 Olympics. We got a chance to sit down with him for this interview. Not only is he an insanely good snowboarder . . . but he's an insanely cool guy.

Q: How did you first get into snowboarding?

Shaun:
I started skiing at four. I was six when I started snowboarding, because my brother did it. Everything went fast from there. I basically got sponsored at seven years old, and I started competing and winning competitions.

[Ratha: Wow, I was still playing with my Barbies then.]

Shaun:
When I was thirteen, I'd been winning the amateurs for five years straight. I was the overall champion every single time. I was becoming bored with the same old event, and I was winning events without learning any tricks, so I definitely thought it was time to move up. I went pro at thirteen and that's when things really started to kick in.

Q: Where do you get ideas for new moves?

Shaun:
I think actually creating a brand new trick can come from anywhere. I've had a dream about skateboarding tricks and woke up the next day and rushed to the ramps and figured it out.

[Ratha: I had a friend in college who dreamed she was drinking Coke, and woke up and drank 2 cans of Coke in the middle of the night. Not the same though, huh?]

Q: Is there any particular trick that you dream of doing – that nobody's done?

Shaun:
It's funny that you ask, because last season, one of my sponsors, Red Bull, basically helped build this massive half pipe out in the wilderness near Silverton, CO. We took the half pipe and halfway down, we would cut it off in an abrupt wall. And we added a foam pit so I could try these tricks that I'd been thinking of, and land in the foam, and not get injured. It's what guys on motorcycles do. So while I was out there I was able to invent about four new tricks, which was really cool.

Swhite Q: Are we going to see them at the Olympics?

Shaun:
Yeah! I just did one in the qualifying events for the Olympics. It's a sensai double core 1080. Everybody's been calling it the double eagle though. It's an over rotation of what I'm trying to land at. So when you add it up – two 180s, 360, then you add another 180 on that so 540, then a 720, then a 900 all adds up to a 1080. So while doing this 1080, the cork is referring to spinning.

[Ratha: Like my head – which is also spinning!]

Shaun: We call it cork because you're not upside down, but you're just kind of sideways. Obviously at certain points you go upside down but it's referring to how you spin sideways. Then what happens is – I start out doing a backflip and then as I finish the backflip, I do probably 720 degrees of rotation and then I go into a front flip and add the rest of the rotation to add up to a 1080. So it's two flips in the air while spinning and rotating. You hold your board, you do the whole deal.

[Ratha: Wow. Not something you see every day.]

Q: Were you always a daredevil, even as a little kid?

Shaun:
I was always doing wild stuff but I never considered it dangerous. Now that I look back I think, “Gosh, I can't believe I pulled that.” But when you're young everything seems so feasible and you bounce back quickly.

Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you do before you compete?

Shaun:
Last time I did the Olympics, I started out the event and they ask you what song you want to hear before you drop in. I picked AC/DC's “Back in Black.” It's a rock and roll song and I won the event. So they were like, “Well what do you want to hear at the next event?” “Well, we might as well play the AC/DC song again.” And then they did and I won again, so it became, “Go ahead and play it again.” Why mess with what's working out?

Q: Can you explain what you think about when you're flying through the air?

Shaun:
The way I describe it to people is when you've read a book, but you can't really recall what happened, or specific moments. It's kind of like that – being in sort of a “zone.” You get in this mesmerized state and you just kind of go. I'm usually thinking one wall ahead. So while I'm spinning and flipping doing my one trick, I'm thinking about the next wall.

Q: What else do you need besides talent need to become a successful snowboarder?
Shaun:
I think no matter what it should take a certain level of love for the sport. You can't get too far, if your heart's not into it. The days that I just go out and have a good time is when I learn the most.

Q: Even when you compete you've got that smile on your face that makes everybody else smile.

Shaun:
That's what's funny is that's the most dangerous game face. It's when I'm having fun! Because it means I'm relaxed and I'm confident and I'm comfortable with what I'm going to do.

Q: What is your training schedule?

Shaun:
Basically all winter I snowboard, and in the summertime I compete professionally in skateboarding. I'm always competing in something. I always have new goals but I swear that that's been my success in the sport. I found the only reason why I still snowboard is because of skateboarding. It's been my escape from everything.

[Ratha: Bonus Trivia Tidbit: Shaun was mentored by Tony Hawk when he was nine years old. Not a bad beginning, huh?]

Shaun:
So I found that right when I get tired of snowboarding, my skateboarding kicks in and then right when I get tired of skateboarding, my snowboarding kicks in. So it's been a nice cycle of staying fresh and excited about doing sports still.

So are you pumped for the Winter Olympics? After Shaun's interview, I'm more psyched to see the snowboarding events than ever! The Kids Press Corps has some more awesome Olympics coverage for all the winter sports. Kid reporter Daniel Wetter will be reporting from Vancouver as the Games continue, so check it out!

Drop a line in The Comments and let me know what you think!

— Ratha, Stacks Writer

Interview by Marie Morreale
Photo by Peter Dejong/AP Wide World

August 26, 2008

2008 Olympic Games = Michael Phelps! And Others?

Posted by at 12:10 pm in Olympics, Summer | Permalink

The 2008 Olympics games saw the making of one of the most decorated athletes of all time, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two weeks, you know exactly who I am talking about: Michael Phelps.

The media has taken notice of this remarkable athlete who was born for the sport. With eight gold medals at these Olympics alone, how could any one deny that he isn’t one of greatest swimmers of all time?

However, what about the other athletes at these games? What about the other swimmers in the sport who were completely discredited or hidden under the media’s fascination for Phelps?

As a former competitive swimmer, I know how hard the training, dedication, motivation, and physical strain takes on any swimmer’s body and mentality. Like Michael Phelps, all competitive and driven swimmers wake up at the crack of dawn to swim for 2–3 hours and then come back in the afternoon for another 2–3 hour practice followed by an hour of dry-land training. Hence the normal routine for any swimmer is: sleep, swim, eat, swim, eat, and repeat.

Understanding that all Olympic swimmers train with almost the same difficult and grueling routine as Michael Phelps — though without his extraordinary genetic makeup — I think that they should be given some deserved recognition as well. I felt that there were so many incredible races, I couldn’t quite pinpoint which athlete and race to focus on. So I asked Katie, my friend and a former teammate of silver medalist, Matt Grevers, to give me her take on the athletes and races she thinks should be given the same attention as Michael Phelps. Here are her top 5 choices:

5. Ryan Lochte winning gold in the men’s 200 backstroke

4. Rebecca Soni and her incredible win over Aussie favorite, Leisel Jones, in the women’s 200 breaststroke

3. Great Britain’s Rebecca Adlington, who beat the 20-year-old world record in the women’s 800 freestyle

2. Brazil’s Caesar Cielo and his emotional men’s 50 freestyle win

1. Jason Lezak and his astonishing finish in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, just beating out the French favorites and keeping Phelps’ 8 gold-medal goal alive

Regardless of the media’s overwhelming interest in Michael Phelps, I am thrilled that the sport of swimming is FINALLY moving up the ranks to become almost as popular as basketball, football, and baseball. Well, maybe not, but at least it’s more watched than equestrian!

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer