Olympic links: 21 February, 2013

John Tortorella
John Tortorella, infamous for his lively press conference performances, is in the running to coach the American hockey team in Sochi. More below.
Alpine skiing

Canada won two medals at the Paralympic Alpine World Championships in Spain on Wednesday, with sit-skier Kimberly Joines taking downhill silver and Chris Williamson earning bronze in the men’s visually impaired category. Britain’s Kelly Gallagher took bronze in her opening event, the downhill, behind Joines.

Athletics

Reasonably interesting little article on Puma’s commercial fortunes last year and the involvement of one U Bolt in proceedings.

Britain’s 100m world junior champion, Adam Gemili, has the “mentality and temperament” to one day beat Bolt according to a BBC feature. (“One day” is unspecified. Gemili can always wait till Bolt’s 60-odd then try to take him in an age-group race.)

Boxing

Nicola Adams has revealed she kept a serious hand injury secret on the way to Olympic gold at London 2012.

Curling
Canada Goose parka
Canada Goose parkas – they’ll keep you warm anywhere but on a curling rink.

The National Post published a list of “little-known rules” at national curling competitions like this week’s Scotties. Among the most befuddling is a rule banning parkas on the bench. Sorry coach, you’re just going to have to freeze.

Cycling

GB opened the 2013 World Track Cycling Championships with silver and bronze medals on Wednesday. The Brits failed to defend their title in the men’s team pursuit, finishing second to Australia, while the women’s team sprinters finished third behind Germany and China. Here’s the BBC’s play-by-play live text commentary if you’re looking to re-live it.

Olympic track cycling champ Victoria Pendleton is launching a new women’s racing series to take place in Perthshire.

Fifty-one bags of blood seized by police as part of a doping investigation in Spain have… gone… somewhere.

Going nowhere is Lance Armstrong, who is refusing to be interviewed by US anti-doping body Usada under oath. He has his reasons.

Diving

Is the world giving up on poor Pete Waterfield? A month after the 31-year-old lost his funding, denied retirement and stubbornly secured private funding from elsewhere, Tom Daley announced he’s looking for a new partner anyway.

“Peter is going to be too old to compete in the 2016 Games because his body’s taken a battering over the years,” Daley told BBC Radio Devon.

Thanks for that, Tom. Waterfield, who a week ago said Daley hadn’t phoned him since he lost his funding, must be thrilled.

Freestyle skiing

Canada continued its success in ski cross on Tuesday, with a Canadian women’s one-two finish on the 2014 Olympic course. Kelsey Serwa took the gold – her second this year – while team-mate Marielle Thompson earned silver. In the men’s race, Chris Del Bosco finished second.

Sochi organizers say they are pleased with the test events, despite the warm weather and rain that threatened to cancel the events before they began.

Gymnastics

Which will be the next great rivalry in the US women’s team?

Britain’s gymnastics governing body has, for reasons not immediately made clear (although I can think of enough), been named “most deserving federation” by world governing body the FIG and given a load of cash as a result. (You’ll need to scroll down that document to find the reference. It also confirms Oksana Chusovitina’s move from German nationality to Uzbekistan.)

Hockey (field)

Top Welsh player Sarah Thomas has joined the ranks of Brits retiring from international hockey. Five more players hung up their sticks earlier this week.

Hockey (ice)

Can a leopard change its spots? Can an old dog learn new tricks? Could a kinder, gentler John Tortorella be the man to lead the Americans in Sochi?

In case you’re not familiar with Torts’ famous press conferences, here’s an intro. (This video went viral in Canada last year. If you’re British and don’t understand ice hockey, Ollie says you should watch it anyway as an introduction to the sport’s Sir Alex Ferguson equivalent-of-sorts, at least in curmudgeonliness.)

Modern pentathlon

In its indignation over the dropping of wrestling from the Olympics, most of America gave the impression last week that modern pentathlon was public enemy number one for having survived the vote. Not so in Palm Springs, home of this week’s opening World Cup of the year, where the local paper is positively gushing over pentathlon’s arrival in town.

Oscar Pistorius

The Pistorius bail hearing continues, with witnesses describing the sounds of screaming and gunshots, and the Pistorius explaining that the testosterone in his bathroom was a “legal herbal remedy used by athletes.”

Stunningly, it has now been revealed that the police detective leading the Pistorius inquiry is himself facing seven – SEVEN! – counts of attempted murder dating back to 2011. The man is leading the inquiry.

Till that point, I had found today’s most interesting Pistorius story to be this journalist’s view from the press box. The process of getting accreditation sounds horrific. This piece explains why the media are free to publish so much rumour and guesswork during the trial, as opposed to a British trial where only open court proceedings (and very little else) can be printed. The short answer: there’s no jury so you can’t be held in contempt of court. Presumably the judge just doesn’t read the papers for a few weeks…

Snowboard

Video: Ski Sunday meets the GB slopestyle team. Or for a lighter alternative, this stopmotion animation is a nice slice of ‘domestic’ snowboarding.

Tennis

Remember that article – from two days ago – on Rebecca Marino’s comeback? Well, the Canadian seems to have changed her mind.

Water Polo

Graeme Thompson is Britain’s new women’s water polo performance director, and he’s got his eye on Rio 2016 qualification. GB made it toLondon 2012 by virtue of being the host nation. They finished last in their pool, but were recently awarded a funding increase after placing seventh at the European Championships.

Wrestling

Wrestlers continue to convey their frustration and disappointment after the sport was eliminated from the 2020 Olympic program. Russian president Vladimir Putin announced his intention to fight the decision, while the 1992 Olympic 52-kg champion mailed back his gold medal in a sign of solidarity. Wrestlers competing around the world on Thursday are also being asked to observe a moment of silence in protest.

Iran and the United States, meanwhile, argue the sport has brought the two countries closer together.

Non-Olympic

Otterball! Eddie apparently plays basketball to ease his arthritis. Making the world “Squee!” is just an added bonus.

And this is how you would go about making a PB&J sandwich in space. You know, in case it ever comes up.

Very little has been said about wushu, possibly the least-immediately-obvious of the seven sports (plus wrestling) bidding for admission to the Olympic programme when the IOC votes later this year. Here is an article from Bermuda which helps to illuminate the sport and puts a human face on it.

Lastly, here’s an inspired little Oscars infographic to build your anticipation for Sunday’s ceremony.