Friday, February 26, 2010

Congratulations Erin and Elana!

It was big, big day last night as Erin Pac and Elana Meyers brought home the bronze medal! At the Olympics, medals, regardless of color, are so hard to come by. You get one shot every four years to get one, so when you do it's truly amazing. Think of that, it's not like other championships, which are held every year. You lost the Superbowl, well guess what, you get a shot next year. At the Olympics, it's you had a bad day, maybe again four years from now. Four years. Four years is a long time. Most average NFL careers are three years. There's no guarantee in four years you will even make another games. So when you have athletes win medals, it's a big deal and something that they should be extremely proud of for the rest of your life. Congrats Erin and Elana, you guys were amazing when it counted.

The pics are Elana and I right after she got third place and Erin and Elana getting ready to accept their bronze medal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Planks as a body assessment?

I was reading through the Conditioning Research blog and the guy mentioned he uses Dan Johns Plank Assessment. I found it pretty interesting. Start in a normal front plank position. First raise the right leg as high as you can and hold it for twenty seconds. Then without leaving the plank, switch to the left leg. After another twenty seconds, switch to the regular front plank, both legs down. What they evaluate is if there is discomfort in the armpit, more back work in the form of rows are needed. If you feel it in your hamstring with either leg raised, more posterior chain work is needed. If you just shake like crazy you need more core. 60 seconds total. What I found when I did this myself was that my left quad felt it the most with my right leg in the air. This has confirmed for me that my left quad from an old back/bobsled injury has left my left quad much weaker/tighter. Give it a shot.

Today was the first day of the girls race. Were sitting in 2nd and two teams tied at 6th. Full report tomorrow, hope to say we have a medal!

Monday, February 22, 2010

2man Race Results

Going into the final day of competition the USA 1 sled was .12 from a bronze and in the medal hunt. Sad to say,it didn't last and ended up 6th. It's hard to beat the Germans, Andre Lange is just a driving machine. Although we weren't favored to get a medal in two man, when after the first day, your in the hunt, it's hard not to get your hopes up.

Andre Lange with brakemen Kevin Kuske (the biggest guy on tour at 262 lb) won gold. He's a class act as well, carries himself how you picture a champion would. Thomas Floreschutz (another German pilot) with brakemen Richard Adjei won silver. Russian team of Alexander Zubkov and brakemen Alexei Voevoea won bronze. An interesting tidbit, Voeyvoda was the World Arm Wrestling Champion. I've seen him arm wrestle some big dudes on tour and he would pin them like he was wrestling air. He has some pretty cool training video's on youtube.

Well we have a day off here in Whistler, going to go try to catch some ski jumping live. Four man training begins tomorrow and the kick off of the Womens race as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympics: First day of 2man Race

The first day of two man turned out to be a real head turner, filled with some great action and jubilation and also some great heartache. Right now the US teams are sitting in 4th (Steve Holcumb and Curt Tomasevicz) just .12 out from the bronze and 11,12 respectively. Mike Kohn is in 12 having moved up from 18th on his last run of the day. Mike has the fewest trips on this track then anyone in the competition.

Curt propelled the USA 1 sled to some of the fastest pushes of the day, solidifying in my mind that he is the best pusher in the world. There are a few surprises, Romania is hanging around in the 9th position. They have a young brakemen that is showing some real talent. It's always fun to have a smaller country push themselves up into the top ten.

The real heartache of the day goes to Canada 1 Lyndon Rush. They were cruising, having the top pushes and some of the top speeds and he lost it in curve 13. Curve 11,12,13 are some of the trickiest in the world. Holcumb almost crashed on his first run today. Lyndon actually finished the race upside down and is in 18th place. To understand why everyone is so bummed out is that Lyndon is a great guy, you can't help but root for him. Just the other day he was helping out our young driver John Napier with lines. Lines are where a driver is steering. Basically he was giving him his inside information to help a rival out. You never see that kind of friendliness in bobsled. He still has four man and should be a threat, but if Lyndon doesn't win a medal, he will still walk away a champion.

Tomorrow will bring some great action I presume. Were .12 from a medal. Snap your fingers. The time it took you to snap your fingers is longer then the time we need to make up. So keep your fingers crossed. Lets get that Bronze.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Take Nothing For Granted

Sports is predictably unpredictable. What's the old saying, "that's why you play the game." Because what you think may happen doesn't always happen. Earlier this year we lost a great pilot due to a dramatic injury. Taking his place was another pilot for the US that had just refused to quit. He just wouldn't go away and now he's in the Olympics piloting a sled down the fastest track in the world. Earlier this week a top pilot for Latvia had an acute appendicitis and underwent surgery. He won the four man event last year on this track and had a strong chance to be a contender for an Olympic medal. He says he will race, but that would be a long shot now. Yesterday on the first day of training, the pilot and potentially the best push athlete in the world for Switzerland crashed and received a very bad concussion. He's doubtful to be able to compete this weekend. There's never more truth in the saying as taking it one day at a time, one step at a time and being grateful to be healthy, then in sport. Because you never know when it will be gone.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Free Stress Lectures on ITunes

There are a few great free lectures about stress on ITunes, by Robert Sapolsky. One is called "Why Zebras don't get ulcers." The other is "What baboons can teach us." They are really good at looking at what stress will do to the body. It's a great part of Stanfords Healthy living series under ITunes U.

Canadian Hospitality

One thing that has struck me ever since I got off the plane in Vancouver is the Canadian Hospitality and how much the Canadians want to make this a great Olympic experience for all those involved. We call them the blue coats. Every Canadian you see in the Vancouver 2010 blue coats are volunteers. There are at least 3 volunteers for every athlete here. In talking to some of these volunteers, the general picture is this. Each one works 8-12 hour shifts. Some jobs are just to open doors and be present, present to answer questions or give directions. There friendly and do there job well. They aren't paid, there volunteers. What struck me the most though, many of these people took a leave of absence from work for a month! Unpaid. One women had saved for the previous four years so she could take the time to volunteer and be apart. They want to know they were apart of making a great Olympic experience, that Canada did it right.

Tonight we went out for oysters at Bearfoot Bistro in the Whistler Village. I can't recommend this place enough and that was before tonight. The owner took us down into the most impressive wine cellar i've ever seen in a movie or real life. He told us the story of champagne, and proceeded to show us how to saber off the top of a bottle of Dom Perignon. It's from Napoleonic days, and before war they would chop off the top of a bottle and if successful, it meant good karma and if not, drink up, because you may not be coming back. Later we had Nitro ice cream. They make it in front of you with special cream and liquid dry ice. It was amazing. When we got ready to leave the owner simply said it was on the house, have a great Olympics. Hospitality.

The athletes that have been to 3 and even 4 Olympics say that this is by far the best Olympic experience they've ever had. I can't begin to say how much energy and good will is around. This has become such a great experience because of people that have given their time and energy to make sure we are having a good time. My friend Billy successfully chopped off the bottle. Good Omen? I think so. Training starts tomorrow, but no matter what, I will know this, Canada got it right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Opening Pics, "Arnold" and Schedule Link

Heres a few pics I took at opening ceremonies, kinda shows where I was sitting, either way I like these. Also that morning got a chance to meet the Govenator! It was pretty cool. In case you were wondering or always looking around to when the Olympic events take place heres a great little link from NBC.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Opening Ceremonies

It was a world wind day, a day I will never forget. Everyone had said that opening ceremonies are amazing. They understated it. The day started at 130 for us, with getting dressed and driving over to the waiting venue. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife met with us and talked to us for a bit. I'm usually a bit bored by speeches, but this was actually really good. It's no wonder he's made it far in public office.

When we finally made it into the arena underground waiting for our nation USA to get the call, (it goes alphabetically) we had been waiting for close to 5 hours. During that time, the performers who danced in the Program were down there, I got to talk to one of the dancers for awhile. It turned out it was Brock Jennings, the lead Tap dance guy.

During this whole time, we were all sweating like crazy, the sweater, polo jacket and hat are extremely warm. I had heard from other guys that had been to outside ceremonies, where the close were to light, they were always cold. This was definitely not the case.

When we finally got to enter the arena, the roar was deafening, the lights, the flashes, it was overwhelming. It was to put it simply, amazing. You try to take it all in, but you simply can't. I was trying to take some video's with my camera, but I honestly don't think I will ever forget it.

The part of the ceremony we got to see was outstanding, the creativity, colors and majesty was awesome. We had been guessing all week who would light the opening ceremonies torch, Wayne Gretzky was a cool choice. When the flame got lit, it was official, I was at the Olympics, and that fact still blows me away.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One day and Counting ......

So tomorrow is opening ceremonies. Our time here in Vancouver is coming to a close. But, what a great time it was. Tomorrow morning is the last training session we will have here at Vancouver College. (In case you didn't know College in Canada is like High School in the states.) They were awesome in letting us use there facility. Here's a pic of the weight room there and a few of our guys training. A special thanks goes to Scott Vass, he is there High Performance Coordinator for the school. The few days I got to talk to him, I got the impression he is doing some awesome things with the kids he has in terms of developing their athletic abilities. Again, I've always enjoyed talking training with knowledgeable minds. He went out of his way to clear gym time, weight room and track time so our teams could use them whenever. Today we got to share lunch with the first graders there. As you can see, we turned some Canadians into big USA supporters, it was honestly unprompted...which made it that much funnier.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Power Clean-Olympic Brakemen

This is Curt Tomasevicz brakemen for the USA 1 team. Usually the brakemen are the fastest position on the teams, but Curt just happens to be the strongest. He has amazing acceleration. While the power clean isn't textbook, he shows some brutal power. He trains with John Carlock in Colorado Springs, CO. This is him cleaning 168K. He has done 172 before. Thats a little over 374lb's if your wondering. Curt will be racing the 2 man event and 4 man event in the upcoming weeks in Whistler.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

First Morning in Vancouver

Woke up this morning to this sunrise over the bay. We proceeded to breakfast and to Olympic orientation. Special guest speaker was Dan Obrien. If you don't know who Dan Obrien is.....well come on! He's the Gold medal winner in the Decathlon in the 96 Atlanta games. One of the few who walk this earth with the title Worlds Greatest Athlete. He's the first athlete I can remember growing up really following and rooting for. Remember the Dan vs Dave Reebok commercials? I was devastated when he didn't make the 92 Olympics. He talked about how his biggest disappointment spring boarded him to his greatest success. It was really cool to meet someone you grew up watching and rooting for.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Motivation

It's always more interesting when your following sports, when you know the story of the athletes. Check out this article on It's about Bill Schuffenhauer. His story is definitely a motivator. Take the time to read it. You won't be disappointed.

We're off to Vancouver this morning. It seems like we have been getting ready for this for so long. We will spend three days there, before moving into the athletes village in Whistler.

Friday, February 5, 2010

High Speed 15m Sprint Analysis

Every now and then it's fun to film the athletes I'm working with and look at movement quality. After running a few I could tell the hips weren't moving like we wanted with fluidity and power, to much stiffness. So we stressed that over the next few days.

Another Vit D Endorsement

Just in case you hadn't fully jumped on the Vit D bandwagon, Charles Poliquin recently wrote this article endorsing the supplement. He actually goes on to say that he believes it's more important then Fish Oil. Here's the LINK.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

San Diego Training Camp

It was a great week in Chula Vista, California. It was so nice to be back in some warmth and sun. We spent a week there training and recovering. A horrendous virus wreaked havoc on our teams in Austria, so much of the week the athletes spent eating, gaining back the several kilos that were lost through enteric violence.

Personally I would like to thank the training staff there as they helped me get back on my feet after a little back problem flared up and knocked me on my back a few days.

I roomed with two awesome strength coaches. Jon Carlcok and Jason Hartman. Jon was in this months Outside magazine and Jason was in last months Mens Health. It was fun to talk training with two extremely smart but humble people. One of his athletes told me that Jason has 16 athletes going to compete in Vancouver. 16! Awesome.

Today I found out Proctor and Gamble is giving 3000 dollars in a gift card to all the Olympic Athletes moms. They said the moms deserve a thanks for doing all the've done. Pretty Sweet! United airlines has been a sponsor for awhile. It was really nice of them to let me not pay the $125 overweight fee on one of my bags. Thanks!

We're in Park City, UT today through Monday before heading up to the "Big Show." The "Today Show" was up at the track today, Lester took a ride with Steven Holcumb and his crew. Not sure when that will air, but keep an eye out.

Until then .....

Monday, February 1, 2010

russian leans

This is one of the most impressive things I've witnessed in training. This is tremendously hard to do. This is Olympic athlete Emily Azevedo brakemen for the US. She trains under John Carlock, who was just recently in Outside magazine. (My favorite magazine) John runs the Colorado Springs training facility. If you doubt how hard this is, try it out and feel your hamstrings about blow off the bone, most people and high level athletes can't even lower themselves to the floor under control!