Monday, January 31, 2011

Olympic Thievery

Saw a sad news story online tonight.

Turns out 2002 Olympic gold medalist Tristan Gale Geisler was the victim of a burglary in Oceanside, Calif. Among many treasures stolen from her residence: Her Salt Lake 2002 Olympic gold medal in skeleton.

I was the victim of an Olympic theft a few days prior to flying to Beijing in 2008. Theft sucks. Shame on the thief who took my Olympic vanity plate, and shame on the alleged burglars who invaded Olympian Gale's residence.

Spotting the headline from Oceanside, and Gale's comments about trolling Craig's List for the items she lost, was timely as just yesterday I noticed an Atlanta Olympic medal on the set of the show "Pawn Stars" -- for those not yet familiar, this program is like an edgy "Antiques Road Show" with managers and friends of a Vegas-based family business standing in for the academic and antique experts who appear on the PBS program.

I have an e-mail in to the "Pawn Stars" team to inquire about the '96 Olympic medal back story (there is a small bit of detail at this link). When they reply, it's my intention to suggest they be on the lookout for Gale's medal and help with its safe return.

I'd hate for Gale to go through life like Muhammad Ali lamenting over the lost medal. Fortunately, the IOC provides an option for a replacement for the irreplaceable.

Photo via and AP photographer Laurent Rebours


With thanks to Shreveport, La.-based J. Brian Carberry for flagging the news, today police announced they recovered the stolen Olympic medal and other missing items from Tristan Gale Geisler's burgled abode. WHEW!

Quoting Orson Welles as "The Shadow" ... "Crime ... does NOT pay ... The Shadow knows (bwah-hah-hah!).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

From Ordinary To Extraordinary

Readers of this blog may realize by now that movies are a big part of my spare time. So it was fun to receive an e-mail suggesting I check out a trailer for the upcoming documentary film "From Ordinary To Extraordinary."

According to the film synopsis accompanying the YouTube video trailer,
“In the fall of 2010, three individuals bound by friendship and driven by achievement, set out on mission to step out of their every-day routine of life and challenge themselves by testing their mental, physical, and spiritual stamina to become more than ordinary, but extraordinary. This challenge was the Rohto Ironman Miami – a 70.3-mile triathlon. Filmed several days preceding the race and on race day, the visionary creatives of Affiliate Media chronicle Gershon, Steven and Brian, in ‘From Ordinary to Extraordinary,’ as they achieve against the odds to compete and complete a race that is described as one of the toughest races in the world.”
Looks interesting! Included in the email suggestion, the sender noted that a study conducted by USA Triathlon and TribeGroup showed that only 0.5 percent of U.S. triathletes are African American.
This stat inspired the film's three subjects to get involved, and to recruit friends, to do their part to increase the number of African American participants in the sport.
It will be interesting to see where this documentary film shows up in the next few weeks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Olympic News Briefs

Work's had me on the run of late, but that hasn't stopped Olympic news from arriving at the in box. Here's a quick pick list of recent items on the five-ringed front:

  • Allen Brooks, noted as a “veteran Olympic Games marketer” (according to a press release) joined GMR Marketing as vice president overseeing international client management, specifically to co-lead Procter & Gamble Olympic marketing in London and other future Olympic sites.
  • Rome's 2020 Olympic bid is gaining steam, according to the Associated Press. In other news, a shoe company is handing over a pile of money to refurbish Rome's famed Colosseum.
  • New Waverly, Texas, will be an official training site for USA Gymnastics, according to a local Fox News report noting the decades of work by Bela and Martha Karolyi (disclosure: the Hilton/USA Gymnastics news element of this report is related to clients of Edelman, the P.R. agency where I work).
  • Vancouver is going to celebrate like it's 2010 again!
  • Munich's Olympic bid books are now in the hands of the IOC, according to the AP.
  • Jan. 25 Update: I intended to also include this link to a Natalie Coughlin video related to BMW's support of the USOC and national governing bodies USA Bobsled & Skeleton, USA Swimming, USA Track & Field and US Speedskating.

Have a great week!

Photo of Munich Olympiapark via Reuters

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Atlanta Defrosts After Ice Apocalypse

This time last week, I joined the legions of Atlantans who trekked to the grocery store in anticipation of snow and ice predicted for the city.
While most snow/ice warnings of the last 15 years were false alarms, Ice Storm 2011 was the real deal (much more like the great Ang Lee film "The Ice Storm" starring longtime favorite Sigourney Weaver).

It was an ice storm that welcomed my arrival in Atlanta during the first days of 1996. That holiday season of 1995, while packing for the move to work at the Olympic organizing committee, I bragged to snowbound friends in Minnesota and St. Louis that the South's warm winter temperatures would be a welcome change.

Of course, within hours of arriving in Atlanta, the thermometer dipped to the teens, and the next few days brought more than an inch of ice, wreaking havoc on the city and the super-sensitive diesel components of the silver VW Jetta for which I held the keys.

The winter storm this week was fun, but it's good to get back to "normal" this weekend which honors Atlanta's first Nobel Prize winner (make Monday a day on, not a day off!).

Today I screened "The Fighter" (excellent film), did a little homework, and tonight look forward to the Atlanta Falcons versus Green Bay Packers game. Not much of a football fan here, but with my girlfriend's family in Milwaukee, it's irresistible to root for the Falcons and put down the Packers (even though in general I pull for neither team as I am a post-season-only fan and viewer of the NFL).

No matter the victors of tonight's game, the crowd inside the Georgia Dome will no doubt melt any remaining ice atop the stadium, creating a nice ice moat that may remind the Wisconsin fans of home.

Go Falcons!

Photo via the Georgia Dome
Post-Game Update 1/16/2011 -- Packers beat Falcons 48-21. Embarrassing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reality TV: The Biggest Winner

Learned recently (but did not tune in to the premiere) that Olympic wrestling champion Rulon Gardner is competing on the current season of "The Biggest Loser," seeking to regain his Olympian physique after a few years of snacking sans exercise. I found it interesting his inspiration to join the show originated in Oklahoma, according to this USA Today article.

It's also interesting to me that reality shows keep tapping Olympians as contestants. Gardner on "The Biggest Loser," Shawn Johnson on "Dancing With The Stars." Jonny Mosely on "Skating With The Stars." There are bound to be others.

Just wondering the extent to which the Olympic star-status serves as an inspiration for reality TV viewers versus turning the Olympians into sideshows.
It's great that the shows provide the Olympians with a post-athletic career source of income or building their brand. But at what cost to their elite (or recent/former elite) status?

Photo via

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Faux Controversy for Rio 2016 Logo

Less than 48 hours from the logo launch for Rio 2016, "controversy" emerged with regards to the new emblem as a nonprofit in Colorado noted similarities to its own logo.

Now a prominent Olympic blog has stirred the pot, with more than 2,200 comments on the new design so far.

From my view the new logo does share similarities to the non-profit's mark, but to call this plagiarism is not apt.

Also, I think it is fine that the creators of the new logo drew inspiration from the people dancing in a circle, a la the sardana dance of Spanish culture.

Can't we all just get along with the new logo? It's just a logo, for goodness sake.

Photo via

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Rio 2016 Olympic Logo Unveiled

As noted on New Year's Eve, the Rio 2016 organizing committee unveiled the new 2016 Olympic logo at Copacabana beach with more than 1 million revellers in attendance.

I first glanced at the new logo online just a few minutes before heading out for New Year's Eve in Atlanta (the unveil occurred a time zone or two ahead of EST), and both my girlfriend and I instantly loved the new design, which is the first Olympic logo that is truly three dimensional (or are there others I just don't recall?).

We also loved the cursive script, another first. As predicted, green and yellow factored into the design. This will make for some lovely "look of the Games" decor around the city come Games time, and the pins and other memorabilia will be gorgeous with this color scheme. Bravo, Rio!

What do you think of the new emblem?

Logo via the Rio 2016 Olympic Organizing Committee

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