Archive for August, 2010

Vancouver Opening Ceremony Director Wins Emmy

August 30, 2010 Leave a comment

If you thought the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics was underwhelming, apparently you’re pretty alone in that regard. Bucky Gunts (seriously), who directed the 2010 Olympic opening ceremony, won the Emmy for best directing of a variety, music or comedy series.

And after all the attention presenter Ricky Gervais gave to his name, Bucky Gunts probably was the big winner in tonight’s festivities.

Categories: Winter Tags:

U.S. Women Win Water Polo World Cup

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Australia outscored the US 3-0 in the second half, but it was too little too late as the #1 ranked Americans had built up a 6-0 halftime lead. Elsie Windes and Kelly Rulon scored just 30 seconds apart to give the US a 2-0 lead early, and Lolo Silver scored on a penalty in the waning seconds of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw three more goals for the Americans. Courtney Mathewson, Annika Dries and Maggie Stefens all scored goals to give the US a 6-0 lead at halftime.

Australia managed just 1 4th quarter goal, including killing off a penalty with just 2:30 left.

Since winning the silver at the 2008 Olympics, the US women have now won every major international title since (2 World Super League Finals, FINA World Championship, FINA World Cup)

Kami Craig was the only American named to the all tournament team

For more, go to the USA Water Polo website

Categories: Summer Tags:

FIBA World Championships Predictions

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The FIBA World Championships are set to kick off in four days time in Turkey, and I figured now is as good of a time as any to pick who I think will advance from each of the groups.

There are four groups of 6 teams each, and the top 4 teams from each group advance to the knockout round. Without further ado:

Group A (Argentina, Serbia, Australia, Germany, Angola, Jordan)

Possibly the most cut and dried group. Argentina is ranked #1 in the world after finishing in 3rd in the Olympics, but haven’t won gold or silver at the Worlds since 2002. Serbia has only one player – Nenad Kristic – but are still ranked 5th in the world and finished 2nd at the 2009 EuroBasket tournament. Australia is led by former St. Marys star Patrick Mills, and although Germany is vulnerable without Dirk Nowitzki or Chris Kaman, neither Angola nor Jordan is strong enough to push them

Advancing teams: Argentina, Serbia, Australia, Germany

(For a more in depth look at group A, go to Sparty and Friends)

Group B (USA, Slovenia, Brazil, Croatia, Iran, Tunisia)

Obviously the game to watch here is USA v. Iran, if only for the political connotations. This is easily the most top seeded group as the defending Olympic gold medalists United States are ranked #2 in the world, and the next highest seeded team, Brazil, is ranked 14th. Brazil has some good youngsters, as they made it to the championship of the FIBA U-18 worlds, but this year’s Brazilian team has just two NBA players, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter. Brazil has not medaled at the Worlds since 1978.

Slovenia also have just two NBA players: Goran Dragic and Primoz Brezec. The Slovenians come from Yugoslavia’s rich basketball tradition, but have not had much of their own since splitting. Croatia, another former Yugoslav republic, has not a single NBA player on their roster, but they have many seasoned veterans of international ball who will be a tough out.

Advancing teams: USA, Brazil, Slovenia, Croatia

Group C (Greece, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Russia, China, Ivory Coast)

Greece, the 4th ranked team in the world, has no NBA players, but they have a team whose pick and roll gave the United States fits at the last world championships. Their best known player is Sofoklis Schortsanitis aka Baby Shaq, but Greece has a solid stable of players who should win the group, and should sneak up on teams in the medal round. Watch 20 year old Nikos Pappas, who was named the best young Greek player this year.

Turkey has multiple NBA players, including Hedo Turkoglu, but Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur should miss the tournament due to injury. Turkey has qualified for the worlds only three times, and it will be up to Hedo to carry them as far as they can go.

Puerto Rico is ranked 10th in the world, and their two best players are a pair of quick guards: the Miami Heat’s Carlos Arroyo and the Dallas Mavericks’ Juan Carlos Barrea.

With no Andrei Kirilenko for Russia, we have our first upset:

Advancing teams: Greece, Turkey, Puerto Rico, China

Group D (Spain, France, Canada, Lithuania, New Zealand, Lebanon)

Spain is perhaps the favorite to win the tournament, even without Pau Gasol. Marc Gasol is a capable center and is flanked by some great guards including Rudy Fernandez and Ricky Rubio. Spain might not win the tournament, but they will probably be the most fun team to watch.

Although this isn’t a traditionally strong Lithuanian team, they should have enough to finish second in the group. They played the US tough early in an exhibition game before being overrun by superior athleticism. They’re not the greatest shooters, so they need to slow the game down and work the ball inside.

France would look a lot better with Tony Parker, but they have some NBA players including captain Boris Diaw who should ensure the French get to the knockout round.

Canada hasn’t been to a world championships since 2002 and have never medaled. Former Syracuse star Andy Rautins could shoot the Canadians into the medal round.

Advancing teams: Spain, Lithuania, Canada, France

Categories: Summer Tags:

FIBA Might Switch from “World Championships” to “World Cup”

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Although the basketball World Championships are of secondary importance in the United States (see the 2008 Olympic roster vs. the 2010 Worlds roster), but for the rest of the world, the tournaments are at least close to being on an equal plain. To get the Worlds on an equal level, FIBA is considering switching from the World Championships to either the FIBA World Cup, Basketball World Cup or World Cup of Basketball.

Reportedly David Stern is in favor of this, and could even be described as a driving force. And as Bill Simmons continuously points out, the man is possibly the most powerful man in sports. Even FIBA wouldn’t want to cross this guy. Bet on the 2014 Worlds in Spain being called the World Cup.

(h/t Pro Basketball Talk)

Categories: Summer Tags:

Rogers, Dalhausser Set Record

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

It took a lot of work, but Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won their 9th FIVB title of the year over the weekend in Aland, Finland. They beat the Brazilian duo of Marcio Araujo and Ricardo Santos in 3 sets to claim the record. They lost their second set by a demoralizing 10-21 score, and just eeked out the 3rd set 15-13.

In the second set Rogers was given a red card when he argued with the ref over a 4 hit call. Dallhauser and Santos each went for the ball at the net, Dalhausser flicked it up to Rogers, who set it back to Dalhausser. In earning a red card, a point was awarded to Brazil. Brazil then had a 6-0 run that effectively ended the Americans’ chances in the 2nd game.

With this record, Dalhausser and Rogers now have the 2007 World title, 2008 Olympic title, 2010 FIVB title and the record for most titles in a season. They are perhaps the best mens duo of all time.

Categories: Summer Tags:

Lochte, U.S. Dominate Pan-Pacs

August 22, 2010 Leave a comment

With Michael Phelps dropping out of the 200 IM to focus on the medley relay, Ryan Lochte was the presumed favorite. Truthfully though, even if Phelps had competed Lochte would have cruised to yet another gold. He almost set the world record (which he owns), swimming a 1:54.43 to set the Pan Pacs record, set by Phelps four years ago. For his exploits, Lochte was named the swimmer of the meet and while Phelps still has the higher ceiling, there is no doubt that Lochte is the best swimmer in the world at the moment. The Worlds in Shanghai next year will probably provide a better measuring stick as to which American is truly the best, but if you’re a sports fan at all the 2012 Olympic swimming events will be must see TV.

As mentioned before, Phelps dropped out of the 200 IM to focus on the medley relay, and thankfully so as the US had to comeback to beat Japan. Aaron Piersol (backstroke) and Mark Gangloff (breaststroke) had the US in contention after the first half, but Phelps (butterfly) overtook Masayuki Kishida on the second half of his leg and gave Nathan Adrian (freestyle) a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

Speaking of Adrian, he swept the freestyle sprints, winning the 50m with a time of 21.55 seconds. Brazil’s Caesar Cielo Filho finished second and, for now, will have to relinquish his title as fastest man in the pool.

The American men and women swept all the relays.

While this isn’t a huge meet, it was a dominant one for US Swimming and a celebration is in order. So how is the best swimmer on Earth celebrating?

Vegas of course

Lochte Wins 400 IM at Pan-Pacs

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

It was a night to remember for US swimming as a whole, but Ryan Lochte shone brightest as he won the 400 IM with a very impressive 4:07.59 time that saw him be under the world record pace for much of the race. Fellow American Tyler Clary finished 2nd, but surprisingly Michael Phelps didn’t even qualify for the final. This was because of a rule that states a country can have a maximum of two swimmers in the final. Phelps’s prelim time was 4th fastest, but both Lochte and Clary were faster.

In the 100m freestyle, Nathan Adrian set a Pan Pacs record, while Rebecca Soni swam the 3rd fastest time ever in the women’s 100m breaststroke.

Natalie Coughlin won her third consecutive 100m freestyle in the Pan Pacs, and both the mens and women’s 4X200 freestyle relay teams set Pan Pacs records.