2018 Winter Olympics: A concise viewing guide with stars, medals and flags

Each day during the Olympics, I’ll be telling you what to watch and making a few predictions. You can also find my daily previews at Bleacher Report. Time difference and schedule/streaming options: The Pyeongchang schedule is … Eight hours ahead of a … Continue reading 2018 Winter Olympics: A concise viewing guide with stars, medals and flags

Curling: Huge win for U.S. Olympic hopeful

Yes, it’s already curling season. In fact, we’re less than two months away from the Olympic Trials, set for Nov. 11-18. Curling isn’t the most predictable sport in the world, but the four-team (or five, pending an appeal by Todd Birr) men’s competition has a clear favorite. John Shuster has been the skip in the last two Olympics after taking bronze on Pete Fenson’s team in 2006. His current team — Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner — has qualified for the World Championships three straight years and done no worse than fifth, making the playoffs each of the last … Continue reading Curling: Huge win for U.S. Olympic hopeful

2018 medal projections: 31 today

NBC’s Nick Zaccardi has taken care of something I had planned to do, rounding up this winter’s World Championship results into a medal projection. His numbers: 34 Germany 28 USA 27 Norway 26 Canada 22 France Compare this to the most recent Virtual Medal Table from Gracenote, which compiles all results: 34 Germany 34 Norway 31 USA 29 Canada (only 5 gold) 23 Russia I haven’t done a full-fledged projection (and I might not), but I’ll take a quick pass through the World Championship results and assign a plus or minus to Nick’s count: ALPINE SKIING Medals won: 3 Mikaela Shiffrin: … Continue reading 2018 medal projections: 31 today

Handicapping the men’s world curling championship

There might be some geoblocking on the YouTube feed. Let’s hope not. This is going to be fun. A look at each team, in order of year-to-date Order of Merit: CANADA: Kevin Koe is the skip after winning a masterful performance at the Brier, his team’s sixth win in 11 events this year. He won the world title in 2010 and was fourth in 2014, but he has a totally new crew now. Order of Merit, total: 4th Order of Merit, year-to-date: 1st Best finish in 2015-16: 1st. Often. SWEDEN: Niklas Edin isn’t just the top non-Canadian curler in the world. He’s the … Continue reading Handicapping the men’s world curling championship

Curling controversy swirls at nationals

I’ve been writing about U.S. Soccer’s efforts to cultivate elite play even if it means breaking up teams and long-established ways of organizing competition. Turns out there’s a similar story in curling. Part of the issue: The High Performance program, which takes top players and forms teams under a national-team staff. Another part of the issue: The World Championship berths at stake are decided by a convoluted points system that robs the national championship of some of its suspense. And so some people on the CurlingZone forums are a bit cynical about the big event going on in Jacksonville this week. … Continue reading Curling controversy swirls at nationals

Curling at the crossroads

Here’s why you should be paying attention to curling right now: The Challenge Round, to fill out the field for the national championships, is underway. The national championships this year are in the unlikely venue of Jacksonville, Fla., a sure sign that someone is bullish on the idea of curling expanding beyond the states that border Canada. USA Curling, responding to a couple of lackluster performances in the Olympics, now has a “High Performance” program that dominates discussion at CurlingZone. The High Performance program is a major change in the way curling teams are formed. Curlers usually pick their own teammates, … Continue reading Curling at the crossroads

Beijing’s bid for the Winter Games

Curling at the Water Cube? Please make this happen! The rest of this USA TODAY story is more skeptical, perhaps with good reason. China isn’t known for skiing, to put it mildly. But one of their local ski resorts is getting good reviews at TripAdvisor. And it’s probably too late to consider splitting the Games to put ice events in Beijing and snow events in Norway, so it’s either this or Almaty. Continue reading Beijing’s bid for the Winter Games

Whither the Winter Games? A study in arrogance

The Winter Olympics aren’t that expensive. Not if you already have most of the infrastructure in place — a sliding track, ski jumps, a solid Alpine skiing area, and maybe four or five arenas ranging from 3,000 (curling) to 15,000 (figure skating). Russia spent $51 billion, allegedly, to stage the 2014 Games. That’s Russia. That’s the hubris of building things from scratch and the corruption to get it done in haphazard fashion. Sochi will host some other stuff, from the (men’s soccer) World Cup to Formula 1 to the Magnus Carlsen-Vishy Anand World Chess Championship rematch, but we’ll have to see … Continue reading Whither the Winter Games? A study in arrogance

Monday Myriad, Aug. 4: Flip and fight

Starting with a few bits of news: – Both U.S. teams won their first matches at the 2014 Chess Olympiad, then faltered today against high seeds. The U.S. open team lost 2.5-1.5 to the Netherlands, while the U.S. women lost 3-1 to China. Only eight rounds to go. – The U.S. women’s volleyball team had a disappointing 1-2 start in the monthlong World Grand Prix, righting the ship against Japan. The #USAVWNT (@usavolleyball) defeated Japan at the #FIVBGrandPrix: http://t.co/OcJwYcy8ak — NBC OlympicTalk (@NBCOlympicTalk) August 3, 2014 – Nothing else happened. Seriously. It’s a slow week. Thank goodness two UFC fighters decided … Continue reading Monday Myriad, Aug. 4: Flip and fight