Category - Sports

Iditarod start moved north due to lack of snow

Snow trucked in, starting place moved north for famed Iditarod dog sled race amid unusually warm and dry Alaska winter

Al Jazeera / AP, March 8

A lack of snow has forced the Iditarod dog sled race to relocate its traditional start on Monday from Anchorage to Fairbanks, for the second time in the history of the event.

A stalled jet stream pushed Arctic air and snow into the U.S. Midwest and the East Coast, but kept Alaska fairly warm and dry this winter, especially south of the Alaska Range where the Iditarod was due to begin. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, received only about a third of its normal winter snowfall, making for treacherous trail conditions and forcing race officials to make the course adjustment.

On Saturday, snow was trucked into Anchorage for the ceremonial start, which is a show for fans who can’t make it to the actual race’s rugged thousand-mile trail that will stretch from Fairbanks to Nome this year.

City crews overnight delivered up to 350 dump truck loads of snow and spread it out over city blocks so the show could go on. City maintenance workers stockpiled snow from neighborhoods the past few months and kept it for winter events, culminating with the Iditarod, said Paul VanLandingham with the public works department.

The festivities started Saturday morning in very un-Iditarod-like conditions — almost 40 degrees with a light rain falling before the start.

Belmont Stakes

For those that might not have noticed, there’s an important horse race to be run today at Belmont Park, New York.

To begin, California Chrome has a chance to win the Triple Crown, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1978. This entails winning three consecutive races against the best three year-old Thoroughbreds in the country, The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and finally the Belmont Stakes. While there are more valuable races, none carry the prestige of these three classics. Read More

Putin On The Fritz

Well, we’re literally days away from the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, and Vladimir Putin is starting to see his chickens come home to roost:

The Olympic teams of Germany, Hungary and Italy said Wednesday that they had received emails threatening attacks at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, adding to mounting security fears two weeks before competition begins.

The International Olympic Committee told NBC News that it did not consider the threats credible and said that they appeared to be “a random message from a member of the public.”

Still, the threats arrived as Russian security forces were hunting for at least five suspected terrorists who may be plotting attacks against the Olympic torch relay or the games themselves, according to noticed posted in Sochi.

Read More

Imma Guess the Olympics Has Claimed Another Victory

Now if we can only get Putin to change his mind about teh gheys:

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s parliament on Wednesday passed an amnesty bill that will likely apply to the 30-member crew of a Greenpeace ship detained after an Arctic protest, but it wasn’t immediately clear if and when the activists would be allowed to leave the country.

The amnesty, which also would likely free the two jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band, has been largely viewed as the Kremlin’s attempt to soothe criticism of Russia’s human rights records ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. But opposition lawmakers argued it doesn’t go nearly far enough and the complicated legislation appeared to leave many questions open.

The State Duma on Wednesday voted 446-0 in favor of the carefully tailored bill, which mostly applies to those who haven’t committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children. Lawmakers said they expect about 2,000 people to be released from jail.

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Sochi Agonists

I’m on the fence about boycotting the Sochi Olympics next year over the LGBT punishments handed out by Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.

I can certainly see the point of making a boycott, withdrawing our athletes over treating anyone as subhuman – altho it’s interesting that many of the people rallying for a boycott oppose intervention in Syria over a far worse human rights abuse…one of the reasons I’m on the fence here, because I’m on the fence there, too.

Still, something about it all bothered me, and then I happened to catch this on the new ESPN show, “Olbermann,” the new home of an old friend of the blog, Keith Olbermann.

Watch Johnny Weir speak passionately on not boycotting and then tell me if I’m wrong that his point about Jesse Owens isn’t one of the most powerful statements made about this issue, altho Keith Olbermann made a great point about Marty Glickman at those same Games.