Friday, October 2, 2009

Olympic Dreams in Chicago- Windy City Blown Away!!


One of my readers suggested I provide some Olympic articles over the next few months. I have worked for the Canadian Olympic Committee and I was a student in the International Centre of Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario (Any sharks out there that have the chance to study under the great Bob Barney at ICOS should do so).

I'm currently watching the IOC vote for the 2016 games. Chicago and Tokyo have been eliminated in the first round.

Chicago would have been a great story. A parade of stars and notable people supported the bid. Long time residents President Obama and Oprah made pitches. Chicago is a great city with a long and rich history, good and bad.

It would have been great to see the games come to a city where the longest serving IOC president (Avery Brundage) lived for so many years. He was an athlete at the 1912 games, ran the USOC from 1928-1972 and was President of the IOC from 1952 to 1972. Simply put, the most powerful figure in modern games history. He left a very large and meaningful collection to the University of Illinois.. all of his Olympic artifacts to be exact. When looking the very critical wikipedia page about him, it's clear to see he had collected many skeletons. I think a more fair depiction of his life and character is expressed in Allan Guttman's biography of Brundage.

So, Chicago was wise to avoid mentioning Brundage and his contribution. It would have played out well with the IOC, but been terrible at home. Obama alone would have been a huge boost.

So why did the bid fail?

Cause the USOC failed to play the game. I don't mean paying off African votes like Salt Lake, I mean focusing their bid on working the political chaos of the IOC without buying off people. It is much tougher to win a Summer Games than a Winter Games, but Chicago could have learned some things from Vancouver
  • Bid video was not impressive
  • They are competing against a European city, thus Europe votes were not there to help them
  • They needed to convince the world why North America needed another games so close to 2010
  • They failed to convince voters that Chicago had the support of the people and was an ideal host city.
In the end, only the voters know why they voted as they did. I am pretty jaded about the motives.

RIO or Madrid- Who should win?

My vote is for Rio. They did a solid job hosting the 2007 Pan American Games, which is the closest games in terms of size and scope that could be used as a trial run for hosting 2016.

The 1992 games were held in Spain and happened only because of then IOC president
Juan Antonio Samaranch. Under his watch, vote buying, doping cover ups and other illegal acitivities ran rampant. He wasn't above doing whatever it took to bring the games to Barcelona and to ensure professional basketball players could play in the Olympics (What, you thought that the Dream Team first appearing in 1992 was a coincidence?)
Here's a breakdown of both bids courtesy Ron Judd of the Seattle Times:

Rio de Janiero: An apparent sentimental favorite among IOC members who see themselves as international missionaries of sport and long to preach the gospel of gold medals to South America for the first time. Brazil has put big money on the table -- projected budget $11 billion plus -- and is widely considered a favorite going into the week. Areas of concern: Security and experience. Lawlessness in parts of the city have plagued other big events, and major glitches befell the Pan Am Games there. Also remember: TV rights and sponsorship potential pales in comparison to a U.S. Games.

Madrid: A stalking horse that very well could snatch the bid away if votes split between Chicago and Rio in first rounds of voting. Solid bid proposal, strong connections to the Euro-dominated IOC board, and the lingering backroom influence of IOC president emeritus Juan Antonio Samaranch should not be underestimated.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

UPA Regionals 2009 Preview for October 1st Weekend


Regionals start this weekend in various parts of America. Here's a preview of the tournaments that involve Canadian teams.

Number of Teams: 14
Number of bids to the UPA Championships: 3
Number of Canadian Teams: 2

This regionals is a pool of Death! At least 4 (maybe 6) teams that are worthy or UPA finals appearance, but only three will get the right to move on.

Furious George of Vancouver seems to be getting stronger as the year progresses. However, they will have to defeat one of the final to make it to Sarasota
  • Sockeye- 3 time UPA Champions
  • Revolver- The exciting California team lead by Mac Taylor and Beau Kittredge
  • Jam- Only the Defending UPA Champs
It's going to be a tall order for the Monkey. They've played all three teams this year, with their only win against the trio coming against JAM (17-16). Expect the 3rd place game to go to feature Furious, and we're hoping they can pull it out.

Blackfish of Vancouver suffered the most of any team from Furious retirements and recruitment of new players. However, in losing players like Adam Silverstein and Alex Davis, the team simply has spent the summer developing a new class of talent. That's what good teams with good leadership (Moses, Gats, etc) do.

According tho their kick a$$ site, the goal is to make it to regional quarters. That would likely include a great matchup against the big boys, which to me seems quite realistic.

Number of Teams: 8
Number of bids to the UPA Championships: 4
Number of Canadian Teams: 1

Traffic from Vancouver enters the weekend with a very strong chance of making it to Florida. Despite being seeded 5th, Traffic simply have to finish ahead of one of four teams to make it:

  • Fury- Probably not going to happen against San Francisco's finest (0-3 season record in favor of Fury)
  • Riot- Seattle's top squad (1-2 record)
  • Zeitgeist- Traffic beat them 15-10 at ECC 2009 in only match up
  • Underground- 2-2 record against Seattle's B team
Realistically, the difference between Traffic and seeds 6-8 is great, so Traffic should find themselves beating one of the top four and make travel plans!

Number of Teams: 16
Number of bids to the UPA Championships: 3
Number of Canadian Teams: 1

Edmonton's best club team, Physchoplastique, will take on some of the best coed teams in the country to win a spot at UPA Finals. It will be tough.

Seeded 8th with only 3 spots to Florida, they should expect nothing short of a quarterfinals appearance.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CUUC 2009 website and Suggestions for Pre CUUC 2009 Interviews


The CUUC 2009 is up and here's a link to it. If you're a university squad that hasn't confirmed your presence yet, please do so. With travel subsidies, great travel deals with WestJet and a host city like Montreal, you'd be silly not to do so.

I'm looking to conduct some interviews with key teams and players before CUUC takes place. As a reader, which team do you want to learn more about? Which players should I speak to?

How do we explain Spirit of the Game to the Outside World?


CEUUC 2009 TD Nick Gifford gives a solid interview for the London Free Press.

In particular, I liked his effort to explain spirit of the game to the reporter. It's not easy to explain it to someone with no grasp of the game with a mic in your face.

In light of some of the focus this issue/question gets in all media interviews this year, I have to ask if CUPA should develop some talking points regarding this question and others we face from main media and outside observers.

So, what should that definition be?

At No Borders, the "professional" announcer really couldn't get over/accept the non referee aspect. His tone suggested that no refs= Anarchy. In retrospect, I would have liked (hindsight, so clear and easy) for one of the announcers to simply explain how it does make sense- When you have someone policing both teams, the strategy becomes "let's cheat as much as we get away with". Under spirit of the game, I play by the rules because if I don't, you won't either. We police ourselves for mutually beneficial reasons.

It's a simple question and answer, but if we can work as a sport to better explain this unique part of our game, we can easily market spirit of the game to be reported and viewed as a positive uniqueness, rather than used to categorize us as fringe.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CEUUC 2009- Shark Bite!!!!

Congratulations to the University of Western Ontario Sharks, who defeated the University of Toronto Torontula 11-7 to win the Canadian Eastern University Ultimate Championship.

This is the first championship for Western. Torontula had won the three previous CEUUC and National championships.

On the women's side, the University of Ottawa Gee Gees won their 4th straight CEUUC title. Newcomer U de Montreal Diva had an impressive tournament and finished in 2nd place.

(Top 8 Listed today, the rest tomorrow on the tournament site)


1. University of Ottawa - GeeGees
2. Université de Montréal - Ultime Diva
3. McGill University - Martlets
4. University Toronto - Torontula
5. Guelph University - Guelph
6. University of Western Ontario - Sharkbait
7. Queen's University- Paper Bag Princess
8. University of Waterloo - Waterloo
1. University of Western Ontario - Sharks
2. University of Toronto - Torontula
3. Carleton University - Ravens
4. University of Guelph - Guelph
5. Queen's University - Mothership
6. University of Ottawa - GeeGees
7. McGill University - Redmen
8. McMaster University - McMaster