Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rio in M

Another pre-Games milestone crept up on the calendar this week: 1,000 days to Rio!

Looks like the Brazilian team organizing the 2016 Olympic Games celebrated the countdown with special events and photo opps. The Associated Press chose to mark the occasion with an update on an ambitious sponsorship goal, while reporters provided a journalistic kick-in-the-rear to underscore the urgency of Games prep yet to come.

The pictograms turned out nice. Though the designers refer to their round outlines as "pebbles" they struck me as individual guitar picks like the ones Charlie Byrd may have used in the studio sessions for "Brazilian Byrd."

Images via Rio 2016

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Coming Soon: High Flying Adored

If you didn't yet hear that women's ski jump competition gets its Olympic debut in Sochi, you will.

Count on it.

The P.R. machine for Women's Ski Jumping USA is hitting its stride, and the Salt Lake Tribune's July 6 headline "Women's ski jump team prepping for Olympic media onslaught" was and remains apt.

At the recent Team USA Olympic Media Summit in Park City, Utah, where the women's team lives and trains, dozens of sports and entertainment reporters -- and even a few Olympic bloggers -- flocked to meet the Sochi Olympic hopefuls who are medal stand favorites going into the Games. At times, journalists huddled in rows three or four deep to pose questions, with photographers and TV cameras encircling each young woman.

All the attention is well-deserved. At the media summit, Sarah Hendrickson, Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van explained their version of events leading to women's ski jump gaining Olympic competition status. It took, after all, several years, legal battles, IOC lobbying and an abundance of perseverance to create the five-ringed opportunity for Team USA and international competitors to jump in Russia during 2014.

To my bewildered eyes, the English language version of the website still does not (at less than 100 days to the Games) include Women's Ski Jump in the official description of the 2014 ski jump competition.

However, the schedule section does note February 11 as the big day for women's jumping for joy (and gold).

I aim to be among the 7,500+ spectators in the RusSki Gorki venue. From a peek at the interactive map (screen grab shown), the viewing stands and the jumps are nestled among the tracks for bobsled, luge and skeleton competition, much like the set-up in Park City for 2002. Globally, women's ski jump athlete qualification -- which involves number crunching of FIS World
Cup and Grand Prix results -- continues through January 19, according to the Team USA Media Guide. Here in the USA, the athletes are selected through rankings and results of competitions held Nov. 15 to Jan. 19, with one spot TBD on Dec. 29 at the Olympic Trials.

By my count via the FIS ski jump athlete pages, there are 22 nations who may field women's ski jump entrants from three continents: North America (Canada, USA), Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Poland) and Asia (China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Russia).

May the best woman ski faster, lunge higher and land stronger in the Sochi ski jump competition.

Images via, WSJ-USA and Newscom

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