The Winter Olympics have come and gone. Sad to see them go. There were so many great moments and fantastic accomplishments achieved by so many athletes from all around the world. Thoughts on the Winter Olympics in a little bit. The Stack is here with that and plenty more from a busy weekend in the world of sports so let's get right to it and see what's in "the stack" for today, Monday, February 24:
Winter Olympics closing thoughts
For 17 days, athletes from all around the world dazzled us with some amazing runs, skates and overall sheer willpower and athleticism. There were heartbreaking moments not just for US athletes, but for athletes of almost every other country too including Bode Miller missing out on the podium and Shawn White failing to medal in the halfpipe. There were also some fantastic moments such as Canada's Alex Bilodeau winning men's moguls for a second straight time and embracing his brother who is battling cerebral palsy. For all of the talk that surrounded the games coming in about security concerns and accommodations for media members and the athletes themselves, once the games started, you didn't hear a word of that. No attacks on the games. No issues with security and we saw the best the world had to offer. Sure Sochi created some havoc with their weather. The summer vacation destination saw some days in the 60s which made for some slushy snow and more difficult conditions for cross country and nordic racers and for snowboarders, but for the most part, the games went off without a hitch.
NBC I thought for the most part did a fantastic job as usual in broadcasting these games. Sure they got some slack from people on the internet regarding what they're showing or how they broadcast the live events, but it's a difficult thing to do when you're nine time zones ahead of people on the east coast. With the platform that NBC has and the variety of networks (NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN) and their aps, they are the ideal channel to broadcast the Olympics and they do a great job.
It was a little tough for America in these Winter Olympics. They won 37 overall medals in Vancouver, most of any nation. In Sochi, 28. Russia, the hosts, won 33 overall medals, most of any nation. Areas where Americans struggled included speed skating and curling. Alpine skiing and snowboarding each saw disappointing results. The women lost to Canada in women's hockey in the gold medal game to earn silver. They had a 2-0 lead in the third period and lost 3-2 in overtime. The men lost to Canada 1-0 in the semi-finals and mailed it in in the bronze medal game, losing 5-0 to Finland. No medal, nothing at all. Canada by the way won the gold medal game against Sweden 3-0. The US hasn't won a medal away from North America in men's hockey since 1972. In ladies figure skating, the USA failed to medal anyone for the first time since 1936.
But there were some great moments for team USA. Bobsled did exceptionally well earning four medals. Five medals in snowboarding. Meryl Davis and Charlie White stole the show in pairs figure skating, taking home gold. They were fantastic. As much as some of the losses hurt (hockey hurts real bad for me), we have to remember those who did so great and left us with memories we'll remember for a long time. Every athlete I would hope gave it their all and represented the USA proud. That should be the same for every athlete in these Olympics.
So it is time to say so long to these Olympics, the 22nd (XXII) Winter Olympiad. The closing segment of the closing ceremonies on NBC was great, re-living some of the best moments these games had to offer as well as scenery and aerial views from Russia. Always good. We wait four years for the world's best to reconvene in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Time zone and live sports will certainly be a challenge, but that is for a discussion another time. May it be as memorable as these ones were and the Vancouver ones before that. The Summer Olympics are two-and-a-half years away in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Can't wait for those either. We'll see you then.
Daytona 500 marred by weather
Lost in the excitement of the Winter Olympics and the NBA resuming play after the All-Star break, NASCAR's 2014 season was getting underway this weekend with the running of the Daytona 500. I was thinking Jimmie Johnson or Brad Keselowski would win the race. Rain and heavy storms delayed the conclusion of the Daytona 500. They had to stop the race to only 52 laps in. At that time, Denny Hamlin was leading. While the delay was going on Sunday, FOX aired a replay of the 2013 Daytona 500 race. Some viewers mistakingly thought that it was the current race and were all abuzz on Twitter that Jimmie Johnson had won the Daytona 500. Whoops!! Live and learn. When the race resumed and the checkered flag waved in the winner, it wasn't Hamlin who finished first. No, it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finally! The number #88 car narrowly won over Hamlin by .091 seconds. That is close. Keselowski finished 3rd while Jeff Gordon and Johnson rounded out the top five.
Jason Collins signs with the Nets
Two weeks after NFL hopeful Michael Sam announced that he was gay, another gay athlete will become the first actively gay player in one of the four professional sports. Jason Collins who announced last year that he was gay has signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Collins hasn't played in a game since April last year as a member of the Washington Wizards. He didn't receive an invitation to any of the 30 NBA team's training camps before the season started. Some took that as not wanting a gay player to jion the team. Others said it was due to his age and decline in his game. Well the Nets are giving him a chance. Big guy Brook Lopez is out for the year and the Nets need depth. Collins has been a servicable player throughout his career. Here's hoping he gets some playing time and will be around longer than his 10 day contract. He suited up and played for the Nets last night against the Los Angeles Lakers. In eleven minutes, he was 0-for-1 from the floor, grabbed two rebounds, had one steal, two turnovers and committed five fouls. First game under the belt, has to feel good getting it out of the way. Looking forward to seeing how the next few games are for him.
Jim Boeheim costs Syracuse
The number one team in the land in college basketball last week will not be the number one team in the country today. Syracuse lost at home to Boston College and then traveled to Cameron Indoor Saturday to take on Duke. Another good game between two of the best teams in the country and with ten seconds left and Syracuse trailing by 3 points, C.J. Fair drove baseline for a bucket. He was called for a charge. Definitely a questionable call, one that probably should have gone against Duke rather than Syracuse. The Orange were only down by three. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was incredulous with the call and blew his lid, getting a technical and yelling BS (that was the actual expletive he said) to the refs. He was ejected and Duke iced the game with technical free throws, winning 66-60. Boeheim cost Syracuse this game. His reaction to the call was the reason why Syracuse wound up losing, not because of the call itself. Make no mistake about it, Syracuse may not have won this game had Boeheim kept his cool, but his actions made it impossible for Syracuse to come back and win. Again, I'm not sold on Syracuse on making a Final Four run, but they certainly won't make it if Boeheim does that again. A painful lesson for the team. I'm guessing the veteran head coach won't do that again.
NFL Scouting Combine underway
The NFL world has gathered in Indianapolis for the Underwear Olympics, aka the NFL Scouting Combine. There is plenty going on and players are making a name for themselves good or bad. NFL.com, ESPN.com and ProFootball Talk (PFT) and are keeping up with it all. Great resources to find out what is all happening. Fast 40-yard dash times, 3 cone drills, intereviews and much much more.
However, there is another big story that broke from PFT over the weekend that the Cleveland Browns made a run at San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to be their next head coach by result of a trade. Remember when Jon Gruden got traded from Oakland to Tampa Bay and wound up winning the Super Bowl with the Bucs in his first year? Probably wouldn't have happened that way in Cleveland, but it would have been a hell of a splash for the Browns and their fan base. San Francisco has denied any truth to the report, but Browns owner Jimmy Haslem confirmed there were talks about such a deal. Harbaugh has a frosty relationship with some members of the 49ers including GM Trent Baalke. This probably won't help matters much. At least it makes for interesting talk during the NFL offseason.
Coming up Tuesday: Reaction to top stories in the sports world
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