Let's go Packers!! I want to congratulate the Green Bay Packers on winning Super Bowl 45. It was a great game that came down to the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. The Packers showed the endurance to last through four tough games. Titletown is deserving of this victory. The fans are among the best. I must point out that there was a great bet made on the Super Bowl between Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. Mike Pesca, Josh Levin, and Steven Fastis provided great recap of the Super Bowl.
I would like to thank Universal Sports for it's month of homage to Bud Greenspan. Bud Greenspan made extraordinary documentaries about the Olympic games starting with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Universal Sports was the appropriate place for the airing of these quality documentaries. The problem I do have with Universal Sports is the shear number of times they repeat the events they do broadcast. It was quite evident with the three or more times that I was flipping channels and ran across the same documentary. I may have had bad luck, but I know very well that the same three events get played all week. The only events I have seen this winter are figure skating, downhill skiing, and skeleton being played on a regular basis. There has been some very limited coverage of cross country skiing and ski jumping, but the truth is that it is nowhere near the coverage from 2009 and 2010. I can only hope that with the more airtime available we will see more of these events televised. I realize that they have very little pull in part because Americans are not the main stars of these sports, but without television coverage there will never be any interest by more than a few American youth. I don't expect to see these events live, but they can easily be played during the week to fill some of the airtime that right now is being used for reruns of races and competitions broadcast on the weekend. Biathlon, a sport consisting of rifle marksmanship and cross country skiing, is going to bring its World Cup to the United States. I can only hope that there might be an outside possibility that we will see this event live or tape delayed during the week immediately following the competition. With the upcoming World Championships for most winter sports I hope to see more variety on Universal Sports.
It is that time of year when we living in the Northern Hemisphere start to feel the drop in daytime temperatures and the deciduous trees begin to turn a beautiful shade of either red, yellow, or brown. The same is true of the sports that we watch and participate in. Baseball is slowly meandering to crown its champion along with several other sports that have seasons that run through the summer. More importantly the road cycling season calls an end to its major events with the Giro d'Lombardia, better known as the race of the falling leaves. Today's race, read the recap here, true to the changing weather was cool and rainy, but the competition was as fierce as ever with Phillipe Gilbert winning the race for a second consecutive year. The truth about our society as expressed through sports is that in two weeks I will be watching the first World Cup downhill skiing events of the year. I won't have taken the time to digest the amazing acts of courage and feats of heroism throughout the summer by the world's best cyclists. On a completely separate note the 2011 Tour de France route will be revealed on Tuesday. Their recent route designs have created great value for the fans on the side of the road and watching on TV.
With cycling in the news again for all the wrong reasons with the news of Alberto Contador apparently testing positive for Clenbutrol; it was refreshing to watch Thor Hushovd of Norway win last weekends World Road Race Cycling Championships down in Australia. Congratulations are well deserved for winning on a difficult and hilly course in Geelong. It is always good to see the world's best professionals show up and put on a competitive and animated race for the all important rainbow jersey. All cycling fans needed this beautiful sight to get us out of the depressive funk of the contador doping case. I am also going to take this opportunity to congratulate Fabian Cancellara on his impressive fourth world time trial championship victory.
In the news this morning was the announcement that Alberto Contador, the winner of this years Tour de France, had tested positive for a prohibited substance. You can read about it here. This seems to be a dietary supplement or other accidental contamination problem due to the low level that was measured and the multiple other tests taken during the tour. The problem is that a presumed clean rider should never be placed in the compromising position of having to defend himself for a substance that he didn't he had ingested. Even with team doctors clearing all supplements and medecine being prescribed there is no sure way to avoid all prohibited substances. In the late 90's when performance enhancing drug use was revealed to be pervasive in sports; the world went about creating a treaty that defined the code of conduct on doping for international sport competitions. We need a treaty that deals with dietary supplements since they are not highly regulated in most countries. If they are properly labeled then athletes will be able to avoid accidentally consuming prohibited substances. Let's all hope that Contador is proven innocent and doesn't have to serve a two year ban.
Concussions have become an important discussion topic since it was revealed several years ago that this injury posed a great risk of permanent brain damage if not treated properly. After the initial report and congressional hearings the NFL finally went about implementing a policy that ends players from playing through concussions in games. I applaud the league for having a policy that intends to mitigate any damage from concussions. The end result is that major players have been forced to miss games due to the new policy. I think that we, the viewers and fans, will finally realize the shear amount of concussions that are pervasive in football. There are only so many rules changes that can be used to reduce concussions. The bigger fear I have is the multitude of young youth who are playing football in pee wee leagues and high school teams. These athletes are undergoing development of their brains and as such brain injuries are capable of more traumatic brain damage. In a New York Times article the quality of medical attention at most high school football games lack certified medical trainers. I understand that this would be an expensive cost for many cash strapped districts and nearly impossible for many rural districts to comply with. In the meantime states should follow the lead of Washington state and pass laws that protect students in high school sports, and mostly football players, from injuring themselves even more when they have a concussion. I think that the end result will be that high schools will be forced to shutdown football teams due to the inherent risk of concussions which may lead to significant brain injuries.
Congratulations go out from this blogger to Alberto Contador on his third successful Tour de France jersey. He now has two of the four closest margins of victory. Lemond's nine second overall victory after the final time trial in '89 still stands. The Schleck-Contador battle this year will go in the annals of tour history right next to Merckx-Ocana, Anquetil-Poulidor, and Lemond-Fignon. As far as I can see Contador could easily surpass Armstrong's record for the most tour victories barring that the Tour adds a team time trial. The question is whether the Schleck brothers will finally break through and win. On another note I really liked Jen Caudil's article on the podium girls. I have to thank her for criticizing the ugly attire of the podium, particularly the KOM dress. I feel sorry for the Radioshack team for trying to honor cancer victims with their 28 jerseys. Sadly the UCI rules prohibit the changing of jerseys in a race. I wish they didn't have to be this picky on the rule but that is how they keep teams in line. This was a very appropriate tribute.