Friday, February 21, 2014

Quotes from Past Winter Olympic Athletes : Peggy Fleming

Today, we quote past Winter Olympians, starting with Peggy Fleming, 65, the American gold medalist in figure skating at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.

This also gives us a chance to randomly mention last night's new gold medal champion Adelina Satnikova of Russia and Kim Yuna, the previous Olympic gold medalist from South Korea.

Here is the quote from Fleming:

"In 1968, in the midst of the tumultuous 1960s, the Olympics were much more than just another event."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Olympics Lists (10 of 10): The Medalists

Greetings to everyone around the world; I'm Bob Costas and you're not (yes, we are making fun of Chevy Chase's signature line from the early days of 'Saturday Night Live.').

Here is our last list:

1) Erin Hamlin. (pictured top). 27. USA. Women's Luge. Won bronze.

2) Denis Ten (pictured center) 20. Kazakhstan. Men's Figure Skating. Won bronze.

3) Torah Bright (pictured bottom). 27. Australia. Women's Snowboarding. Won Silver. Resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

4) Pierre Vaultier. 26. France. Men's Snowboarding. Won gold.

5) Lizzy Yarnold. 25. Great Britain. Women's Skeleton. Won gold.

6) Alexander Treitakov. 28. Russia. Men's Skeleton. Won gold.

7) Alla Tesper. 34. Belarus. Women's Free-style Skiing. Won gold.

8) Zbiginew Brodka. 29. Poland. Men's Speed-skating. Won gold.

9) Carina Vogt. 24. Germany. Women's Ski-jumping. Won gold.

10) Matthias Mayer. 23. Austria. Men's Alpine. Won gold.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Olympic Lists (9 of 10): Athletes from NATO member countries

Who is the man inside the skeleton helmet designed to look like a brain? He is one of the ten athletes we will list who are from NATO member nations. The union of nations which started from the Cold War now includes several countries from the now defunct  eastern bloc. Turkey is the lone Muslim NATO member. Alper Ucar, a men's ice skater who competed in ice dancing, is one of the six athletes from my late father's country. He was mentioned in an earlier blog entry.

Here are the ten:

1) John Fairbairn. (pictured) 30. Canada. Men's Skeleton.

2) Arianna Fontana. 23. Italy. Women's Short-track Speed-skating. Won bronze.

3) Alexander Gazsi. 29. Germany. Ice Dancing.

4) Megan Bozek. 22. USA. Women's Hockey. Plays college hockey for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

5) Michael Mulder. 27. Netherlands. Men's Speed-skating. Won gold and bronze.

6) Lene Nielsen. 27. Denmark. Women's Curling.

7) Magnus Moan. 30. Norway. Men's Alpine. Won silver.

8) Jenny Jones. 33. Great Britain. Snowboarding. Won bronze.

9) Radko Gudas. 23. Czech Republic. Men's hockey. Plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

10) Nicole Rajicova. 18. Slovakia. Women's Figure Skating. Her event starts today; the skater is also an American citizen who resides in New York.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Olympic Lists (8 of 10) Alpine and Mediterranean Nations Combined

We have 8.5 minutes to complete this entry; let's see if we can do it!:

1) Coline Mattel. (pictured) 18. France. Women's Ski-jumping.

2) Adam Lamhammedi. 18. Morocco. Men's Alpine. Adam is a dual-citizen with Canada.

3) Elise Pellegrin. 22. Malta. Women's Alpine. First athlete to represent Malta She is the only athlete from the tiny island nation at the games. Was born and raised in France. Featured in a "Mental Floss" list of athletes who are solely representing their nations.

4) Emre Simsek. 26. Turkey. Men's Alpine.

5) Anna Fenninger. (aka "The Cheetah Girl"). 24. Austria. Women's Alpine. Won gold.

6) Armin Zoeggler. 40. Italy. Men's Luge. Won bronze.

7) Tatjaa Hufner. 30. Germany. Women's Luge. Won Silver

8) Ander Mirambell. 30. Spain. Men's Skeleton.

9) Dominique Gisin. 28. Switzerland. Women's Alpine. Won gold in downhill.

10) Alexi Bychenko. 26. Israel. Men's Figure Skating. Has also skated for his native Ukraine.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Olympics Lists (7 of 10): Snow Sports

While we are doing the laundry, one of the few activities one can do after a major snow storm, we thought we'd take a break and give you yet another Olympics athletes list:

1) Mark McMorris. (pictured). Age 20. Canada. Snowboarding. Won bronze.

2) Anatasiya Kuzmina. Age 29. Slovakia. Women's Biathlon. Won gold (the only medal so far for her country).

3) Peter Prevc. Age 21. Slovenia. Ski-jumping. Won silver.

4) Nina Li. Age 31. China. Aerial Skiing.

5) Jared Goldberg. Age 22. USA. Alpine Skiing. Interesting enough, we found out about him through an Israeli publication's article on Jewish athletes at the games.

6) Julia Mancusco. Age 29. USA. Alpine Skiing. Won bronze.

7) Jess Christensen. Age 22. USA. Free-style Skiing. Won gold.

8) Jacky Chamoun. Age 22. Lebanon. Women's Alpine Skiing. She is embroiled in a scandal back home due to some topless photos she had taken of her.

9) Aleksandr Smyshylyaev. Age 25. Russia. Men's Free-style Skiing. Won bronze.

10) Rana Okada. Age 23. Japan. Women's Snowboarding.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Olympics Lists (6 of 10): Those who Finished Fourth

In the summer of 2012, I read a great article in "The Washington Post" about the devastation of finishing fourth, especially in sports like the marathon! Psychologically, finishing fourth at the Olympics can have a very adverse effect, given all the years of training involved.

So, we compiled a list of fourth place finishers at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The most famous fourth-place finisher at the 2014 Sochi Olympics is Shaun White, but he has won gold in men's snowboarding at the two prior Olympics.

Lolo Jones, who was a fourth -place finisher in a sprint at the 2012 London Olympics, turned her attention to bobsledding; she is now part of the American delegation in Russia.

Here are the fourth-place finishers:

1) Simon Eder (pictured). Age 30. Austria. Biathlon.

2) Alex Gough. Age 26. Canada. Women's Luge.

3) Sven Thorgen. Age 19. Sweden. Men's Snowboarding.

4) Hannah Teter. Age 27. USA. Women's Snowboarding.

5)  Andi Langerhan. Age 29. Germany. Men's Luge.

6) Sina Candrian. Age 25. Switzerland. Women's Snowboarding.

7) Anton Shipulin. Age 28. Russia. Men's Biathlon.

8) Eliza Outtrim. Age 28. USA. Free-style Skiing.

9) J.R. Celski. Age 23. USA. Men's Short-track Speed-skating.

10) Daniela Merighetti. Italy. Women's Alpine Skiing. (In Italian)

Top 10 Olympic Lists (5 of 10): Athletes from European Nations

Stefan Grothius, a gold medal winner in speed-skating for the Netherlands, is our pictured athlete; he is NOT the Dutch speed-skater who is engaged to American speed-skater Heather Richardson from High Point, NC. North Carolina is one of many states seeing major snowfall in America, which has also hit South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland very hard.

In fact, the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC, tweeted that they were closed for the day!

Here are our ten athletes from European Union countries:

1) Stefan Groothius. 32. Netherlands. Men's Speed-skating. Won gold.

2) Jenni Asserholt. 25. Sweden. Women's Hockey.

3) Marian Hossa. 35. Slovakia. Men's Hockey. Plays for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Slovakian team lost to the USA by a score of 7-1.

4) Justnya Kowalczyk. 31. Poland. Women's Cross-country Skiing. Won gold.

5) Martin Erat. 32. Czech Republic. Men's Hockey. Plays for the Washington Capitals. The Czechs lost 4-2 to Sweden yesterday.

6) Tatjana Hufner. 30. Germany. Women's luge. Won silver.

7) Ander Mirambell. 30. Spain. Men's Skeleton.

8) Mae Berenie Meite. 19. France. Women's Figure Skating.

9) Armin Zoggeler. 40. Italy. Men's Luge. Won bronze. He is among the most decorated athletes ever in his sport.

10) Jenny Jones. 33. Great Britain. Snowboarding. Won bronze. She is the only medalist for her country as of this entry. (Radio Netherlands)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Top 10 Olympic Lists (4 of 10): Remember The Vikings...........

First of all, we are sending a 'gecmis olsun'/"may it pass closely" (Turkish expression) to Bob Costas, the NBC commentator for the 2014 Sochi Olympics; he is suffering from pink-eye.

Here is a list of ten Scandinavian athletes who are competing at the games; some of them have in fact finished competition. We hope we spelled everyone's name correctly as we don't want any angry emails from The Danish embassy in Washington, DC, which is enduring a major winter storm as is everyone residing from Atlanta to Portland, Maine!:

1) Ragmus Stjerne. 25. Denmark. Men's Curling.

2) Margaretha Sigfridsson. 38. Sweden. Women's Curling.

3) Einar Kristgeirsson. 20. Iceland. Alpine Skiing.

4) Julia Kykkaenen. 19. Finland. Women's Ski-jumping.

5) Andres Bardal. 31. Norway. Men's Ski-jumping. Won bronze.

6) Maiken Caspersen Falla. 28. Norway. Cross-country Skiing. Won gold (pictured)

7) Kjetil Jansrud. 28. Norway. Alpine Skiing.

8) Charlotte Kalla. 26. Sweden. Women's Cross-country Skiing. Won silver.

9) Aleksander Barkos, Jr. 18. Finland. Men's Hockey. Plays for Florida Panthers.

10) Michelle Karvinen. 23. Finland. Women's Hockey. Plays for the Univ. of North Dakota. (The Danish Embassy in Washington, DC) (Our sister blog with more Olympics Lists)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top 10 Olympic Lists (3 of 10): Athletes from Former Soviet Republics

Here are ten athletes competing for former Soviet Republics; one of the more interesting ones is Patrick Brachner, who skis for Azerbaijan, but he is an Austrian. Brachner was originally slated to be Azerbaijan's flag-bearer.
Our image is of Yulia Galysheva, a free-style skier from Kazakhstan.

Here is our list:

1. Roman Krech. 24. Kazakhstan. Speed-skating.

2. Yulia Galysheva. 21. Kazakhstan. Free-style Skiing.

3) Yosef Penyak. 20. Ukraine. Snowboarding.

4) Patrick Brachner. 22. Azerbaijan. Alpine Skiing.

5) Hanna Huskova. 21. Belarus. Free-style Skiing.

6) Lelde Gasuna. 23. Latvia. Women's Alpine Skiing.

7) Andris Sics. 28. Latvia. Men's Luge.

8) Katya Galstyan. 21. Armenia. Cross-country Skiing.

9) Kadri Lehta. 28. Estonia. Biathlon.

10) Dmitry Treleveski. 30. Kyrgyzstan. Alpine Skiing. (Shaun White is going for gold number three today) (Curling is among the sports that is of most interest in Great Britain).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Top 10 Olympic Lists (2 of 10): The Americans

Here are 10 American Olympians, for ten more go to our sister blog:

1. John Shuster. Men's Curling. Age 31. Chisholm, Minn. Day Job: Bartender. (pict. top)

2. Ashley Wagner. Figure Skating. Age 22. Alexandria, Va. (pict. center)

3. Ryan Kesler. Men's Hockey. Age 29. Livonia, Mich. Plays for the Vancouver Canucks (pict. bottom)

4. Holly Brooks. Cross-country Skiing. Age 31. Anchorage, Alaska.

5. Bode Miller. Alpine Skiing. Age 36. Easton, New Hamp.

6. Sophie Caldwell. Cross-country skiing. Age 23. Peru, Vermont.

7. Paul Statsny. Men's Hockey. Age 28. Denver, Colo. Plays for the Colorado Avalanche

8. Noelle Pikus-Pace. Skeleton. Age 31. Orem, Utah.

9. Alex Deibold. Men's Snowboarding. Boulder, Colo.

10. Ashley Caldwell. Free-style skiing. Age 20. Ashburn, Va.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Top 10 Olympic Lists (1 of 10): The Flag Bearers; We Spelled the Japanese Curlers Name Right (we hope)

We had planned to post this by Thursday or Friday, but we finally managed to get it up. As it is, several countries, such as Azerbaijan, changed flag bearers at the last minute. Here are ten select flag bearers from the opening ceremonies, for ten more, go to our sister blog:

1. USA. Todd Lodwick. Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Nordic-combined. (pictured top)

2. Japan. Ayumi Ogasawara. Women's Curling. (pictured center)

3. Turkey. Alper Ucar. Ice Dancing (pictured bottom: his partner is actually Alisa Agafonova, a Ukrainian who will compete for Turkey)

4. Iceland. Saevar Birgisson. Men's Cross-Country Skiing.

5. Netherlands. Jorien ten Mors. Men's Speed-skating.

6. Russia. Alexandr Zubkov. Men's Bobsledding.

7. Norway. Aksel Lund Svindal. Men's Alpine Skiing. (Yikes...we almost didn't spell his name right!)

8. Poland. Dawid Kupczyk, Men's Bobsledding.

9. Switzerland. Simon Ammann. Men's Ski-jumping.

10. Canada. Hayley Wickenheiser. Women's Ice Hockey. (Turkish Olympic Team, in Turkish)

Our Top Ten Comic Strips from "The Roanoke Times:" Blondie Actually Makes the Top Ten; Speed Bump Wins the Survey

Greetings to our blog readers in Canada, Spain and Switzerland.

And, a shout-out to our celebrity visitors George Lucas, Jane Fonda and Nancy Kerrigan (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Here is our top ten:

1) Speed Bump: In Dave Coverly's one panel strip one of the Easter Island heads acts up, and his mother straightens him out

2) Get Fuzzy: In this strip, the age-old battle of which pet is more popular: the cat or the dog takes center stage.

3) Pearls Before Swine: Stephan Pastis goes autobiographical again, this time asking his own creations, the rat and the goat, how he looks with a beard and a beret. (Hmmm....yeah, I suppose some of you are imagining Che Guevara right now)

4) Doonesbury

5) Dilbert

6) Blondie: Dagwood goes ski jumping?!! This should make the strip more popular in Finland.

7) Funky Winkerbean

8) Zits

9) Mutts

10) Agnes

SIDEBAR: Last night in Boston, Yale actually upset Harvard in men's basketball by a score of 74-67, but perhaps no noticed as everyone in the world is watching Bob Costas and NBC's coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

And, this is our 2,225th blog entry!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Little Thinkers Quotes (16 of 16): Davy Crockett

"Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks."

Little Thinkers Quotes (15 of 16): Jane Austen

Greetings to our blog readers in Azerbaijan, The Bahamas and Guatemala.

Today, we quote Jane Austen:

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Little Thinkers Quotes (14 of 16): Eleanor Roosevelt

Greetings to our blog-readers in Turkey*, Indonesia and Peru.

We are making this short and sweet so we can watch the 2014 Winter Olympics live from Sochi, Russia, with Jay Leno.....err, we mean Bob Costas (we know one of them retired!).....(and, it is actually 5:00 a.m. in Sochi).

Here is our quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

*- "Gecmis Olsun/May it pass quickly, to the passengers on the Pegasus Airlines flight where an attempted hijacking occurred. The Ukrainian national responsible for this fallacy wanted to divert the commercial airplane to Sochi, but it landed in Istanbul, the flight's intended destination, instead.

Little Thinkers' Quotes (13 of 16): Charles Dickens

Today's quote is from Charles Dickens, a favorite author of my friend Tom Angleberger, now a well-known children's book writer. Dickens is best-known for penning classics like "A Tale of Two Cities," "Oliver Twist" and "A Christmas Carol."

A new film about Dickens' love interest entitled "The Invisible Woman" stars Felicity Jones. The film is now showing at the Grandin Theatre in my hometown of Roanoke, Va.; and Jones recently made the cover of "Film Comment" in a photo still from the film.

Here is the Dickens quote:

"There is wisdom of the head, and wisdom of the heart."

Best Comics from the Sunday Washington Post (....and, how you can win a free trip to Amsterdam)

Thanks again for taking a look at this blog as we post our long-overdue entry on he best comic strips from the Sunday Feb.2nd edition of "The Washington Post"...........oh, about that trip to Amsterdam, we sort of used that just to get your attention (there is no free trip to Holland). Our apologies to Rudolf Bekink, the Dutch ambassador to the USA, for that! But, perhaps, you can go there and see an Ajax Amsterdam soccer game on your own dime:)

This Sunday, 1) Lio invited some ghoulish friends to watch the Super Bowl; 2) Hagar the Horrible reused to do the laundry (that strip did not make the top ten); and 3) there was a family feud in "Foxtrot" over whether to watch the Super Bowl or "Dowton Abbey." Of course, since the Seattle Seahawks won the 105-3, this proved to be a mute point in reality.

Here is the top ten:

1) Lio

2) Foxtrot


4) Sherman's Lagoon

5) Brewster Rockit: Space Guy

6) Pearls Before Swine

7) Reply All

8) The Argyle Sweater

9) Prickly City

10) Dustin