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22 posts categorized "Sports"

February 27, 2010

Great moments in projection: Olympic edition

Did you know that women are ostensibly banned from Olympic ski jumping due to the governing body's concerns about the well-being of their ovaries?

Gian-Franco Kasper, head of the International Ski Federation, had a pretty explanatory answer:

"Ski jumping is just too dangerous for women. Don't forget, [the landing] it's like jumping down from, let's say, about two meters to the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view."

And it only gets worse. The reasons given to Alissa were a bit more in detail:

"So far, we've been told every excuse in the book. That it's too 'dangerous' for girls. That there aren't enough of us. That we're not good enough. That it would damage our ovaries and uterus and we won't be able to have children, even though that's not true. It's so outdated, it's kind of funny in a way. And then it's not." [feministing, via Pandagon]

It’s touching that the gender that totes its gonads around in little bags outside of the body is so solicitous of the gender that keeps its family jewels stowed safely inside the abdomen.

Hockey players act like hockey players, world aghast

If you win an Olympic gold medal in hockey, you get to drink beer, smoke cigars, and drive the Zamboni. It's that simple.  It's probably in the Canadian constitution somewhere.

Yet suddenly, people couldn't recognize a Zamboni have taken it upon themselves to chide the Canadian women's hockey team for celebrating their 2-0 Olympic gold medal victory over the U.S. on the ice--after the fans had left the arena.

Some players wearing their gold medals were chewing on them. Some were drinking champagne. Some were drinking beer or pouring it into teammates' mouths. Some were doing their drinking while smoking cigars, or reclining on the ice and kicking their feet into the air, or honking the Zamboni's horn, or even attempting to drive the ice-resurfacing vehicle.

Canadians seemed to think this was great, an appropriate response to an emotional triumph. But when a reporter asked someone from the International Olympic Committee - an organization renowned for its stuffiness - that official did not. [...]

Steve Keough, a Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) spokesman, said the celebration was "not something uncommon in Canada." [PI]

You know why Canadians thought it was great? Because we see these women as athletes, not novelty fetish items. Athletes do this sort of thing. These particular athletes had just won a gold medal in Canada's favorite sport.

They were entitled to celebrate. The woman who scored both goals, Marie-Philip Poulin, was photographed drinking a beer. Scolds feigned outrage because she's 18 and the drinking age in British Columbia is 19. A guy who scored two goals in a gold medal game would be allowed to savor a beer in peace. The hockey etiquette police are probably unaware that it's traditional to for the winning team to guzzle champagne from the Stanley Cup.

The women didn't set out to cause a scene. They'd been partying in the locker room and they were invited back out onto the ice by photographers who wanted what should have read as cliches: Victorious athletes celebrating. The New York Times blog suggests that the women were posing for personal souvenir shots and didn't even realize that an AP photographer was still in the building.

But because the winners were women, the rest of the world was scandalized by their harmless exuberance. 

September 19, 2008

Redskins: "We are very sorry that we showed a penis on our website all day yesterday"

Washington Redskins' tight end Chris Cooley recently posted a photo of his playbook on the team's blog. Cooley says he didn't realize that the shot was more explicit than he intended.

The mishap prompted the Redskins site to issue what will surely be remembered as one of the great sports apologies:

"All apologies from the website. We are very sorry that we showed a penis on our website all day yesterday. That was by no means our intention and we did not want to offend anyone. The picture wouldn't have been up for so long, but we were in the middle of winning a big game. Once again, this was a complete accident and we regret not reviewing the post more closely."

Here's the picture, if you're curious.

February 17, 2007

Cycling race didn't test for sponsor's product

Amgen Here's a strange story from the world of professional cycling. The Tour of California now admits that it didn't test for EPO in last year's race. The race's lead sponsor, biotech giant Amgen, happens to make genetically engineered EPO.

The company claims to be outraged by the omission:

And now, organizers of the Tour of California, who boasted after last year’s race that no riders tested positive for banned substances, have acknowledged that riders were not tested for what has become the sport’s most abused drug — the blood booster known as EPO.

That failure is more surprising because the lead sponsor of the Tour of California is Amgen, the California biotechnology company that produces the genetically engineered version of EPO, which is sold primarily to help cancer and dialysis patients battle anemia.

A spokeswoman at Amgen, which had marketed its sponsorship as a way to educate people against improper use of its drug, expressed outrage at the failure to test for it, saying that the company had been repeatedly assured last year that EPO testing was done.

The spokeswoman, Mary Klem, said that when Amgen executives were informed of the oversight, they were angry and surprised. “Our understanding going into the race was that the test would be included,” Klem said. “And we were told afterward that no rider tested positive for EPO or for any banned substances.” [NYT]

Regardless of whether the Amgen crew is telling the truth, the very idea of Amgen sponsoring a long-distance bike race should is one of the dumbest plans in the history of marketing.

Amgen makes the most abused substance in the sport. The abuse problem is not under control, and it's only a matter of time before someone tests positive for Amgen's product at the Amgen Tour of California.

For Amgen to sponsor the Tour of California would be like OxyContin sponsoring the Rush Limbaugh Show.

February 09, 2007

Africa's first amputee cup begins in Sierra Leone

Africa's first amputee soccer cup begins today in Sierra Leone.

In this tournament, the outfield players are missing a leg and the goalkeepers are missing an arm. Many of these players lost their limbs in civil wars.

Five African teams are competing in this tournament. The winning team will advance to the Amputee World Football Championship in Turkey.

Sierra Leone is facing off against Nigeria in the opening match in Freetown. The game is expected to draw thousands of fans.


January 22, 2007

Wife enduces labor so husband can watch Bears/Saints game?

Congratulations to Colleen and Mark Pavelka on the birth of their son Mark. But the timing of this joyous event raises interesting and unusual problem for medical ethics...

Mark, Jr. was due to be born today, but according to the AP's sports reporter, Colleen opted to induce labor on Friday so that her husband wouldn't lose out on his Bears/Saints football tickets.

Due to give birth on Monday, Pavelka's doctor told her Friday she could induce labor early. She opted for the Friday delivery.

"I thought, how could [Mark] miss this one opportunity that he might never have again in his life?" said Pavelka, 28, from the southwestern Chicago suburb of Homer Glen.

At 10:45 p.m. Friday, Mark Patrick Pavelka was born at Palos Community Hospital after close to six hours of labor.

While her husband watched the Bears play the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field Sunday, Colleen planned to watch in the hospital with the baby wrapped in a Bears blanket -- a Christmas gift from his grandmother. [AP]

I hope Mark, Sr. buys his Colleen Bears season tickets for life. He really owes her.

I'm assuming that inducing labor a few days early carries little or no risk to mother and baby. I've heard that obstetricians routinely induce labor just to get off work at a reasonable hour. Obviously, it's not right to induce labor under the guise of medical necessity when you really just want to get off work. On the other hand, if it's true that otherwise ethical doctors induce labor for their own convenience, I don't see why families shouldn't be allowed to access the same technologies.

A lot of people are going to be outraged by Colleen's decision, but if she really wanted to do this, I don't see a problem.

I gather that she's a diehard fan herself who would have wanted to be at the game. No matter which day she delivered she couldn't go, but if she could arrange it so her husband could go, why not? I think it's telling that the AP headline writer put her husband's desires front-and-center, while Colleen's own preferences were relegated to the body of the story. I gather from the story that she was looking forward to at least watching the game on TV, instead of delivering a baby that day.

It would be different if Colleen were indifferent to football and her husband pressured her undergo a medical procedure purely for his convenience and enjoyment. If my partner asked me to induce labor for a sports match, I'd be shocked and appalled. (He's not a diehard fan of any sport and neither am I.) But given that this is a family of sports fans, I can imagine Colleen voluntarily undergoing induced labor.

As Angry Black Bitch points out, a lot of otherwise well-meaning people tend to romanticize labor and childbirth. Obviously, unlike many of the births ABB talks about, the Pavelka's decision was made under relative privilege--getting to choose the timing of your birth is a luxury. On the other hand, given that you're lucky enough to have such an option, I don't see any a priori reason not to exercise it.

Ultimately, women should have the power and the social approval to induce labor at their own convenience, within the bounds of sound medical advice.

Help the (re)Fugees

Meet the (re)Fugees--an all refugee soccer club for kids ages 9 to 17 in Clarkston GA. The Fugees are seeking a new home after the mayor kicked them out of the city park.

Philosoraptor was so moved by the team's predicament that he emailed the coach to ask what he could do to help. You can learn more about the team and make a donation at

Philosoraptor also volunteered to make some fundraising t-shirts. The next question is what to put on said t-shirts. Hivemind, submit your t-shirt ideas.

August 03, 2006

Jockey banned for headbutting horse

Jockey Paul O'Neill received a one-day ban from racing for headbutting his horse.

Okay, Zidane has officially corrupted civilization. Now, Warner Music has a hit song glorifying Zizou's capital retaliation against Marco Materrazi in the final match of the World Cup:

`Head Butt,'' a song by two French brothers and a friend, published by Warner Music France SA today hit the top spot on the weekly charts, according to the Ifop survey institute, a Paris-based polling company. As of July 29, the one-song CD had sold over 60,000 copies, Ifop said. Warner released the CD on July 20, and sold about 17,000 copies on the two first days. [Bloomberg]

See the video of the Zidane song, marvel at the sheer depravity.

July 13, 2006

FIFA opens probe on Materazzi comments

FIFA has opened an official probe into Marco Materazzi's comments to Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup Final. Both athletes will appear before a disciplinary committee on July 20th.

July 11, 2006

Zidane headbutt in LEGO

Headbutt, originally uploaded by Mads Boedker.

Today's Flickrfind.