Friday, February 21, 2014

Quotes from Past Winter Olympics Athletes : Katarina Witt

Good morning to those of you in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

Since Bob Costas, the American host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, on NBC told us that social media was on fire with mentions of the women's figure skating results yesterday in which Adelina Sotnikova of Russia upset previous Olympic gold medalist Kim Yuna of South Korea (alas we just discovered we didn't spell her name right on the labels; we'll blame Pyongyang).

So, we thought this would be a good way to get hits on our blog! Yuna got silver; Carolina Kostner of Italy got bronze. And. Gracie Gold of the United States may want to hide in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Bhutan as she came in fourth, which is apparently very difficult for Olympic athletes to deal with.

Our quote tonight/today is from Katarina Witt, who won two gold medals in figure skating in both the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics and 1988 Calgary Olympics. Interestingly enough, with her first win, Witt won a gold medal for a country which no longer exists, East Germany, in a country, that no longer exists, Yugoslavia (Sarajevo is now the capital of Bosnia).

Witt raised eyebrows when she posed nude for "Playboy" in 1998, the issue became only the second time, the men's adult magazine completely sold out. The first time was for an issue with Marilyn Monroe.

Witt also headed an unsuccessful bid for Munich to get the 2018 Winter Olympics, which would have made the German city the first one to host both the summer and winter games (Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics).

Here is Witt's quote, she is now 48 years old:

"When I get up, I have a cup of coffee, surf the Internet, and then do a half-hour run."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Olympics List (10 of 10): The Medalists

1) Felix Loch (pictured). 24. Germany. Men's Luge. Won two gold.
2) Justine Dufour-Lapointe (pictured center). 19. Canada. Quebec. Free-style Skiing. Won Gold.
3) Yuzuru Hanyu (pictured bottom). 19. Japan. Men's Figure Skating. Won gold.
4) Enin Rukajarvi. 23. Finland. Women's Snowboarding. Won silver.
5) David Wise. 23. USA. Reno, Nev. Free-style Skiing. Won gold.
6) Anatasiya Kuzmina. 29. Slovakia. Women's Biathlon. Won gold (only one for Slovakia)
7) Vic Wild. 27. Russia. Men's Snowboarding. Won gold (also an American citizen)
8) Jorien ter Mors. 24. Netherlands. Women's Speed-skating. Won gold.
9) Ivica Kostelic. 34. Croatia. Men's Alpine. Won silver.
10) Martina Sabikova. 26. Czech Republic. Women's Speed-skating. Won gold.
WARNING/SPOILER ALERT: Links may give results of events.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Olympics Lists (9 of 10): Athletes from Asian-Pacific Countries, Including one 'Russian'

We are almost near the finish line! Yes, indeed.

Here is a list of 10 athletes from Asian-Pacific countries as well as some from countries that are located within the vast Pacific Ocean, which I've only seen one time in San Diego, Calif.:

1) Noriaki Kasai. (pictured) 41, Japan. Men's Ski-jumping. Won silver and bronze.

2) Zang Hong. 25. China. Women's Speed-skating. Won gold.

3) Viktor Ahn (Ahn Hyun-Soo). 28. Russia. Short-track Speed-skating. Won gold and silver. Ahn is actually a South Korean who was offered to be in the Olympics representing Russia, and he won!

4) Lee Sang-hwa. 24. South Korea. Women's Short-track Speed-Skating.

5) Michael Martinez. 17. Philippines. Men's Figure Skating. Martinez has become a social media sensation.

6) Katharine Eustace. 38. New Zealand. Women's Skeleton.

7) Pan-To Barton Lui. 20. Hong Kong. Short-track Speed-Skating. He is the only athlete representing Hong Kong.

8) Lydia Lassila. 32. Australia. Free-style skiing. Won bronze.

9) Jossi Wells. 23. New Zealand. Men's free-style skiing. Ouch! (he finished fourth, the event was won by American David Wise).

10) Mao Asada. 23. Japan. Women's Figure Skating. The event is traditionally the most watched event during the games; competitions starts today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Olympic Lists (8 of 10) Balkan and Black Sea Regions Combined

There are six countries in the Black Sea: Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and Russia. As all of you know, the Olympic games are being held in Sochi, Russia, which is right across the sea from Trabzon, Turkey, one of the largest cities on the Black Sea.

Balkan nations consist of the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey among other.

We are combining the two regions for this list:

1) Alisa Agafonova. 23. Turkey. Ice Dancing. She is pictured here with partner Alper Ucar. Agafonova is a Ukrainian who gained Turkish citizenship to compete with Ucar.

2) Alexandr Smyshylyaev. 25. Russia. Men's Free-Style Skiing.

3) Alxandra Jekova. 26. Bulgaria. Women's Snowboarding.

4) Zoltan Kelemen. 27. Romania. Men's Figure Skating.

5) Panagiosta Tsakiri. 23. Greece. Women's Cross-country skiing. She was the flag bearer for Greece.

6) Dmytro Pidruchnyi. 22. Ukraine. Men's Biathlon.

7) Tina Maze. 30. Slovenia. Women's Alpine. She has won two gold medals.

8) Iason Abrahamshvili. 25. Georgia. Men's Alpine.

9) Andrea Komsic. 17. Croatia. Women's Alpine Skiing.

10) Vuk Radenovic. 30. Serbia. Men's Bobsledding.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Olympics Lists (7 of 10): Ice Sports

For those of you in Floyd, Va., a small community 25 miles north of Roanoke, who got 24 inches of snow yesterday, we are curious to know if any of you will find a way to get out of the driveway.

Here is a list of 10 athletes who are athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, now in its seventh day of competition, engaged in ice sports:

1) Sven Kramer (pictured). 27. Netherlands. Men's Speed-skating. Won gold. (In fact, the Dutch won lots of gold in this sport....again!)...........we didn't spell Sven's last name right on our labels, this is the correct spelling.

2) Elizabeth Yarnold. 25. Great Britain. Women's Skeleton. Her competition was completed today, and we would say how she finished, but we don't want to have to issue a SPOILER ALERT.

3) Yuzuru Hanyu. 19. Japan. Men's Figure Skating. See #2.

4) Julie Chu. 31. USA. Women's Hockey. She has been in a Bounty paper towels tv ad.

5) Christopher Mazdzer. 25. USA. Men's Luge.

6) Jennifer Jones. 39. Canada. Women's Curling.

7) Loui Eriksson. 28. Sweden. Men's Hockey. Plays for the Boston Bruins.

8) Alisa Agafonova. 23. Turkey. Ice dancing. Interesting story: She is actually a Ukrainian, but she obtained Turkish citizenship to compete with her Turkish dance partner Alper Ucar.

9) Jason Brown. 19. USA. Men's Figure Skating.

10) Kim Yuna. 23. South Korea. Women's Figure Skating. She is the defending Olympic champion


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Olympic(s) Lists (6 of 10): Athletes with Long Last Names

Since there is 18 inches of snow in our front yard, we thought what better time to get the next freaking list out of the way, and this time, we turn our attention to Olympic athletes with long or cumbersome last names. Of course, we realize that in their countries, our names would be challenging too.

1) Krista Lahteenmaki (pictured). Age 23. Finland. Women's Cross-Country Skiing.

2) Mohammad Kiadarbandsari. Age 24. Iran. Men's Alpine Skiing (as one might expect, there are no female athletes from Iran!).

3) Kelime Cetinkaya. Age 31. Turkey. Women's Cross-Country Skiing.

4) Mats Zuccaerllo-Aasen. Age 28. Norway. Men's Hockey. Plays for the New York Rangers.

5) Yekatrina Smolentseva. Age 32. Russia. Women's Hockey

6) Iouri Podladtchikov. Age 25. Switzerland. Men's Snowboarding. Won gold. Was born in Russia, and is of Russian heritage. A crowd-favorite in Sochi.

7) Yekatrina Tudegesheva. Age 26. Russia. Women's Snowboarding.

8) Dmytro Pidruchnyi. Age 22. Ukraine. Men's Biathlon.

9) Elena Khrustaleva. Age 33. Kazakhstan. Women's Biathlon.

10) Albert Demchenko. Age 42. Russia. Men's Luge. Won silver.

Links: (In Finnish)

The Olympic Lists (5 of 10): Athletes from the European Union Nations

Yes, we are buried in snow here in Virginia as our folks in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, West Virginia, Washington DC, New York fact, we may get at least 24 inches........maybe even up to 32 inches by day's end! The Weather Channel is reporting 14 inches in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., at this hour.

But, for those of you not watching the live figure skating from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics with commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, we have a list of Olympic athletes from 10 of the 28 European Union countries:

1) Tina Maze (pictured) 30. Women's Slovenia. Women's Alpine Skiing. Has won gold and bronze.

2) Viktor Roanenkov. 20. Estonia. Men's Figure Skating.

3) Lelde Priedulena. 20. Latvia. Women's Skeleton.

4) Matthias Mayer. 23. Austria. Men's Alpine Skiing. Won gold.

5) Coline Mattel. 18. France. Women's Ski-jumping. Won bronze.

6) Zoltan Kelemen. 27. Romania. Men's Figure Skating.

7) Ireen Wust. 27. Netherlands. Women's Speed-skating. Won gold and silver. (She is the lesbian athlete who got a surprising hug from Russian premiere Vladamir Putin).

8) Felix Loch. 24. Germany. Men's Luge. Won gold.

9) Andrea Kesler. 24. Hungary. Women's Short-track Speed-skating.

10) Marcus Kruger. 23. Sweden. Men's Hockey. Plays for Chicago Blackhawks. His team bat the Czech Republic (Radio Netherlands)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Olympics List (4 of 10): The Canadians

While those of us on the east coast of the United States are in the midst of yet another major snowstorm mess which will probably provide fodder for Bill O'Reilly to say Al Gore is wrong, there is no global warming, ya da ya da ya da..........we have noticed that there is seemingly no snow in Sochi!

With that in mind, here is our list of ten Canadian athletes who are assuredly more used to snow than students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, one of the zip codes affected by today's storm:

1) Alex Bilodeau. Age 26. Home province: Quebec. Men's Free-style Skiing. Has won gold.

2) Dara Howell. Age 19. Home province: Ontario. Women's Free-style Skiing.  Has won gold.

3) Jesse Lumsden. Age 31. Home province: Alberta. Men's Bobsledding.

4) Heather Moyse. Age 35. Home province: Prince Edward Island. Women's Bobsledding.

5) Ryan Fry. Age 35. Home province: Ontario. Men's Curling. The team beat Russia 7-4  today.

6) Jennifer Jones. Age 39. Home province: Manitoba. Women's Curling. The team beat Great Britain 9-6 today.

7) Shea Weber. Age 28. Home province: British Columbia. Men's Hockey. Plays for Nashville Predators (pictured).

8) Laura Fortino. Age 23. Home province: Ontario. Women's Hockey. Plays for Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The team beat the United States 3-2 today.

9) Charles Hamelin. Age 29. Home province: Quebec. Men's Short-track Speed-skating. Won gold.

10) Rosalind Groenewood. Age 24. Home province: Alberta. Free-style Skiing.

For our list of athletes from Scandinavian countries, go to our sister blog

SIDEBAR: NBC News is reporting that my beloved hometown of Roanoke, Va., will get 10-15 inches of snow during the major storm which will hit virtually the entire east coast. This is virtually the same amount of snow they are expecting in Rutland, Vermont! Major metro areas which have been affected include Atlanta, Columbia (SC), Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh (NC), Richmond (Va), Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top 10 Olympic Lists (3 of 10): From Russia with Love

We were going to post photos of several Russia athletes, but we have time constraints (well, doesn't everyone), but here are our list of ten winter Olympic athletes competing for the home team in Sochi. Ironically, Alex Ovechkin, the captain of Team Russia, is a star player for the Washington Capitals. The world has indeed changed since 1980 Lake Placid Olympics:

1) Evreni Plushenko. Age 31. Men's Figure Skating (won team gold)

2) Julia Lipnitskaia. Age 15. Women's Figure Skating (won team gold)

3) Olga Vilukhina Age25. Biathlon (won individual gold)

4) Egor Korotkov. Age 27. Men's Ski Cross.

5) Yulia Livinskaya. Age 23. Women's Ski Cross.

6) Alex Ovechkin. Age 28. Men's Hockey (pictured)

7) Anna Prugova. 20. Women's Hockey

8) Viktor Ahn* (Ahn Hyun Soo). Age 28. Short-track Speed-skating. (won individual bronze)

9) Olga Belyakova** Age 25. Women's Short-track Speed-skating

10) Dimitry Vassilve. Age 34. Ski-jumping.

*-One of the more interesting of the games is that this South Korean short-track speed-skater was angry at his country's speed-skating federation, so he shocked the sports world by becoming a Russia citizen and skating for the host nation.

**-There is a women's body builder with the same name!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Olympics Top Ten List (2 of 10): The Americans

Here are a list of ten American athletes competing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia; some have already competed and some have not.

For a list of ten more Americans at the Olympics, go to our sister blog:

1) Erin Hamlin (pictured top) Luge. Age 27. New Hartford, NY

2) Gus Kenworthy (pictured center). Free-style skiing. Telluride, Colo.

3) Heather Lynn Richardson (pictured bottom). Speed-skating. Age 24. High Point, NC.

4) Andy Newell. Cross-country skiing. Weston, Vermont.

5) Gracie Gold. Figure Skating. Age 18. Newton, Mass.

6) Justin Olsen. Bob-sledding. Age 26. San Antonio, Tex.

7) Lanny Barnes. Women's Biathlon. Age 31. Durango, Colo.

8) Jeremy Abbott. Figure Skating. Age 28. Aspen, Colo.

9) Mikaela Siffrin. Women's Alpine Skiing. Age 18. East Burke, Vermont.

10) Aaron Blunck. Free-style skiing. Age 17. Crested Butte, Colo.

UPDATE 02/11/14: Kudos to Erin Hamlin; she won bronze in women's luge and she is the first American to ever medal in the Olympics at the sport. Hamlin can also been in the United Airlines tv spot that is running during the games.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Top Ten Olympic Lists (1 of 10): The Flag Bearers; 55 is NEVER Too Old to Compete

Greetings to our blog readers in Kenya, Honduras and Taiwan (yes, we are aware none of these countries are Winter Olympics contenders). We intended to start this whole project on Thursday, in conjunction with the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which is somehow two hours ahead of Trabzon, Turkey, even though the two cities are across the Black Sea from each other.

Here are ten flag-bearers; there will be ten more on our sister blog

Here we go:

1) Greece. Panagiota Tsakiri. Women's Cross Country (pictured top)

2) Mexico: Hubertus von Hohenlohe. Men's Alpine (actually a 55-year-olf European prince who was profiled in "Mental Floss," pictured center)

3) Finland. Enin Rukajarvi. Women's Snowboarding (pictured bottom)

4. Australia. Alex Pullin. Men's Snowboarding.

5. Belgium. Hanna Marien. Women's Bobsled.

6. Sweden. Anders Sodergen. Men's Cross-country Skiing.

7. Jamaica. Marvin Dixon. Men's Bobsledding.

8. Great Britain. Jon Eley, Short-track Speed-skating.

9. Germany. Maria Hofl-Reisch. Women's Alpine Skiing.

10. Slovenia. Tomaz Razinger. Men's hockey.

"The Washington Post" Comics Survey: The Gold Goes to Denmark ("WUMO")

Greetings to our blog readers in Turkey, Israel and Singapore.

And, our shout-outs to celebrities who regularly  visit this blog, including George F. Will, Alicia Sacramone and Tonya Harding (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Chicken McNuggets may not be very appetizing, but they were the subject of a hilarious comic strip "WUMO," which originated in Denmark of all places.

Our favorite second comic strip from the Sunday, Feb.9th edition of "The Washington Post" was "Speed Bump." This week's edition of Dave Coverly's strip had one of the Easter Island (Chile) heads acting up and irritating his mother.

Other comic strips which made the top ten include: 1) "Sherman's Lagoon" where an albatross gives romantic advice to a turtle; 2) "Lio" where the title character visits an aquarium and takes delight upon seeing a squid; 3) and "Brewster Rockit: Space Guy" where Frankenstein and his would-be-bride have a lovers spat.

Here is the top ten:


2) Speed Bump

3) Lio

4) The Argyle Sweater

5) Sherman's Lagoon

6) Rhymes with Orange

7) Brewster Rockit: Space Guy

8) Pearls Before Swine

9) Dustin

10) Judge Parker

SIDEBAR: Kudos to Samantha Peszek from the UCLA Bruins' women's gymnastics team; she had a perfect ten on bars yesterday in a meet against Arizona State, which was won by the Bruins.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Little Thinkers (16 of 16): Louis Pasteurized Milk

Greetings to our blog readers in Croatia, Norway and New Zealand. And, to those of you who have the misfortune of being on death row in Huntsville, Texas, perhaps for a murder you didn't commit. Oh....our best regards to Gov. Rick Perry (editorial comment: Thank God, he's not our president).

From what I've been told, we 've had many celebrities visit this blog recently, including Bill Bragg, Toby Keith and Neil Diamond.

Here is today's quote from Louis Pasteur, the last in our series of Little Thinkers quotes:

"It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes."

Little Thinkers Quotes (15 of 16): Vincent Van Gogh

Greetings to our blog readers in Slovakia, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.

Also, we want to say a special hello to our good friends Mitt Romney, Michael Moore and Dick Vitale; we are sure all three of them are looking at this blog instead of watching college basketball or men's speed skating at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia!

Here is the quote from the great Dutch master:

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Little Thinkers Quotes (14 of 16): Frank Lloyd Wright

Greetings to our blog-readers in Greece, Kenya and Japan.

Tonight, we are trying to make a mad dash through our Little Thinkers series, so we can start blogging about the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, even though we are nine hours away here in Hartford, Conn. (not really where we are at).....

So, we turn our attention to great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, perhaps the folks at the National Building Museum, which I almost got kicked out of for using a cellphone (only half-true) can assist you (of course, we are not suggesting you actually pester them).

Here is the quote from a man who was also mentioned in a Simon and Garfunkel song:

"Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world." (Link to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C, it's a great place)

Little Thinkers' Quotes (13 of 16): Kurt Vonnegut

Here is today's quote from Kurt Vonnegut, author of "Slaughterhouse Five." When I was a reporter in Woodstock, Va., several years and touring the local jail, I was amused to see there was a copy of this novel in the prison library:

"True terror is to wake up one morning and realize that your high school class is running the country."

I also have to wonder if Vonnegut ever met the engaging Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek before the author's death in 2007.

"The Roanoke Times" Comic Strips Survey (....and, how you can win a free trip to Rome)

We are actually shoplifting the idea of a 'Free Trip to Rome' from WUNC-FM, an NPR station that is legitimately offering a free trip to Italy. Of course, we just used that in the header to grab your attention!

Here are our ten favorite comic strips from The Sunday, Feb. 2 edition of "The Roanoke Times," which included: 1) Two faculty members walking through a massive snowstorm in "Funky Winkerbean;" 2) A unique look at how to use email and social media in "Pearls Before Swine," which Dale Carnegie would perhaps not have recommended; 3) the staff deciding how to divide a pizza for the office in "Dilbert:"

1. Pearls Before Swine

2. Funky Winkerbean

3. Doonesbury

4. Get Fuzzy

5. Dilbert

6. Zits

7. Garfield

8. Speed Bump

9. Agnes

10. Jump Start