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Sunday column: Two hundred days to the torch

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

The Sunday column starts a 200-day countdown to the Sochi Olympics by sizing up the Pittsburgh contingent likely to make the the 5,000-mile trek. As you might expect, that contingent will be packing a lot of pucks.

One guy sure to go pulled this off in Vancouver in 2010 …

Look forward to your feedback, as always. But I’d really welcome hearing from anyone aware of any local athlete with any chance at making the U.S. Olympic team.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. Drew71 says:

    Olympics? ALREADY??

    Well, I’m NOT ready.

    I wanted to talk about the mild surprise of Martino emerging as the likely next coach of Barcelona.

    And offer best wishes to Tito Vilanova.

    That’s what EYE wanted to talk about.

  2. Drew71 says:

    And holy crap.

    Real Madrid stands with Barca and Vilanova.

    Nice to see.

    And even more surprising than seeing me write about soccer.

    Well. Maybe not.

  3. Drew71 says:

    I wonder what kinda bench Real Madrid has this year.

    And whether they can spare a backup catcher.

    There. Now I feel better.

  4. Jandy says:

    Well, Drew Dahling, you SHOULD feel better, cuz you were first, second, AND third poster :)

  5. Jandy says:

    Shout out to Rad Lad, hope the concert was good…and that you avoided the accident on Route 22 afterwards! Stay safe!

  6. Ghost says:

    Not local for Western Pa., and not a prospect for the Sochi Olympics, but out here Randall Cunningham Jr. is considered a shot for the next summer games. Best high school high jump in the nation this year. Younger sister, Vashti, had fourth best female high jump in the nation, by the way. And she was only a HS freshman. Might see both these kids in 2016. Besides being the kids of Eagles QB Randall Cunningham, I only found out this past year that Sam “The Bam” Cunningham is their uncle. Quite a gene pool in that family.

  7. Ghost says:

    Drewpy Dog is putting the “poster” in “imposter.”

  8. theplanisworking says:

    There you are !!!!!

  9. theplanisworking says:

    Oh no, Ghostie.

    Sand Crabs are VERY real.
    Just not Madrid.

  10. Ghost says:

    Drew is a sand crab???
    Oh. I thought he was this guy…
    http://tinyurl.com/leejeff

  11. Jandy says:

    Hipposter!!!! Quick hello. I gotta get some ZZzZ’s, it’s at past my bedtime

  12. Lad9 says:

    Hey Jandy! Missed ya today. Tough one on the blog – could have used those size 9 wides a few times. No concert for me – we had a game in Washington that went without incident. Maybe that is what you were thinking of. :)

  13. Jandy says:

    LOL cute Ghostie!

  14. theplanisworking says:

    Night !!!

  15. Jandy says:

    ahhh maybe…but someone was going to see Zac Brown I forget who….I suffer from CRS…..glad the game went well.
    As for this blog, it’s ridiculous at times. I decided when it gets like that I shall bow out a while. But I’ll always be back :)
    Celebrating my birthday this weekend, it’s today (Sunday), but hubby is spoiling me all weekend. So I didn’t get on today, was busy being pampered :)
    Catch ya’ll soon….night!

  16. Lad9 says:

    Sleep well!

  17. Ghost says:

    Night Jandy, Hip Cat, Lad and Drewp Dogg.
    Got an early one (for me), too. Raining heavy here again, anyway. Satellite TV is down and I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost my internet for 2nd straight night.

    I’ll leave everyone with this thought: Mariners managed to beat the Astros 4-2 with only one hit. Gang, don’t tell Neal such a thing is possible.

  18. JW says:

    How does this year compare to 1998, when it seemed like a quarter of the gold medal Czech team were Penguins?

    DK: Off top of my head, I want to say there were seven total Penguins in Nagano, notably the Czechs you mention: Jagr, Straka, Lang, Slegr. But Jagr is the only star comparable to the two they’ll have in Sochi. And of course, no GM, coach or — above all — local talent was there.

  19. Brandie says:

    Just getting up. Wishing Jandy a very happy birthday!

  20. Karen22 says:

    HAAPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jandy!

  21. Jim S. says:

    Headed to the game in Cincy! Two tough losses in a row, but my kids and I will try to turn this thing around and get it headed back in the right direction today. My son is going with the Clemente throwback jersey! That has to be the difference, right?

    Happy Birthday, Janday!

    Talk to you all tomorrow!

  22. Jim S. says:

    Oops! Meant Jandy, of course! I don’t know of any Jandays here.

  23. theplanisworking says:

    Bring back a win, Jim!

  24. Brandie says:

    Have a wonderful time, Jim. Sending all. Good vibes your way.

  25. theplanisworking says:

    Branimal, sometimes I think you have an unlimited supply of good vibes!
    (Which is not a bad thing).

  26. 21sthebest says:

    Ditto! Many more Jandy!

  27. My countdown is to arriving in Pittsburgh: eight days! :)

  28. Brandie says:

    I have had plenty of dark days, Plan. All I know is life is short. The good vibes are there, so I freely give freely.

  29. theplanisworking says:

    Muppet, off to seize the day here.
    Catch you guys, gals, and others for the Buc game.

    Feel free to categorize yourselves into any of the 3 categories……….

  30. theplanisworking says:

    Welcome!
    Bring beer!

  31. Brandie says:

    Good city. Place of my birth. Have an awesome time. Safe travels.

  32. Drew71 says:

    PARTY TIME!!!

    Happy happy happy!!!

    i KNEW there would be a good reason to drink this morning

  33. Brandie says:

    Leave it to you, Scooby Drew!

  34. Drew71 says:

    Our old friend Erik Bedard is in the news with a story that is odd on several levels.

    http://m.espn.go.com/mlb/story?storyId=9496259

  35. Eric Bowser says:

    * I guess if you’re looking for local athletes, I’m going to break the silence and admit, I’m going for Olympic gold in the 100m Jack Daniels Run.

    * Watching that golden goal by Sidney Crosby, two players I hope aren’t on the ice for Team USA this time around are Brian Rafalski and Ryan Miller. I would say they let down a nation but I doubt few Americans even remember the play, let alone those two were the culprits.

    * Team USA is going to have a good team in Sochi and for once in my lifetime, I’d like to experience a gold medal in hockey that I watched lived (on tv) since I was only 2 years old in 1980.

    * I’ve really heard enough about the Pirates need to improve the bench. Have you watched this team from the first to sixth inning from the regular lineup? If you acquire legit RF and 1B, that pushes Tabata and Jones to the bench and that’s how you improve it.

    * Seen enough of Michael McKenry, it is time for Tony Sanchez. Now!

    * Which brings me to my final point. If you think all those prospects are going to be there in the next few years and tapped their potential and actually earned their way to the majors, you are sorely mistaken. Guys flame out all the time. Honestly, how many of you think the Pirates could play this well for another season or two before Taillon, Polanco, and Hanson prove they have what it takes to be a major leaguer? Let’s not forget they have an aging A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, Russell Martin and Jason Grilli. 2013 IS the window. They need more help to bridge the next two years and need help to win it all in 2013. 11 games are left before the trade deadline, this team can’t afford to go 4-7, which is the route they are on right now with the offense so…. so…. offensive.

    * Are you all in?

  36. The Gunner says:

    Bedard continues to be a total waste of life in 2013

  37. pattonbb says:

    Get a win for us, Jim!

  38. Karen22 says:

    Eric….Your last three points on the Pirates: BINGO!!

  39. That fellow is “odd on several levels”.

  40. Eric Bowser says:

    What… you don’t think I’m an Olympic hopeful?!? HA HA HA

  41. The Gunner says:

    Eric

    The ball is now in the BMTIB’s court. We’ll see how “all in” this ownership is.

  42. JohninOshkosh says:

    Tiger misses a par put on 1 that the “old” Tiger would have dropped every time. Phil has an incredible up and down on 4, the type you only see on links courses.

    Going to be a fun day at the British Open (it will always be the British Open to me).

    Hoping Zach Johnson can win although ESPN will probably only show Woods.

  43. Drew71 says:

    That’s right.

    Cause one way or another, I woulda found a reason.

  44. JD says:

    You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.

  45. pattonbb says:

    Tiger’s a mess. Would like to see Hunter Mahan make some noise.

  46. Thundercrack says:

    “I’ve had three shoulder surgeries,” Bedard, who was once traded to the Mariners for three eventual All-Stars, explained to reporters. “I’m not going over 110 [pitches]. I’d rather pitch a couple more years than face another batter.”

    I kinda admired the guy for admitting it. And I hardly think he is a total was of life.

  47. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  48. Thundercrack says:

    It’s why a call went out to the Marlins a few weeks ago, wondering what it might take to pry Giancarlo Stanton out of Miami.

    That reported by Rob Biertempfel.
    I’d still be very surprised if that was true.

  49. TJ says:

    Eric spot on for your last comment. Was thinking the same thing the other day and even more so after reading the article from Biertempfel. The last comment from NH really stuck out to me.

    “You learn from past experiences, but I don’t know that what we’ve done in the past will impact what we’re looking to do this year,”

    Now I know he’s speaking in terms of adding players to the major league roster but he should have learned from past experiences on trading for highly regarded prospects that never pan out. We can make a rather nice list of highly touted players the pirates acquired from Laroche to Lastings to Clement.

    Your exactly right Eric; the players the Pirates deem valuable to their future are 2 or 3 years away from proving their major league players. I believe its more of a gamble to sit on every last one of them than it is to give up one of these guys to make a run this year.

  50. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    It doesn’t cost anything to ask.

  52. Thundercrack says:

    Great column by Joe Starkey in today’s Trib.

  53. Arriba Wilver says:

    Happy Birthday, Jandy!

  54. Drew71 says:

    Wimbledon. The burned out, rotting, hulking wreck known as the Tour de France. The Middleton Baby. Lee Westwood and the Open Championship.

    It’s the Year of the Brit.

  55. JohninOshkosh says:

    Mickelson with a solid -2 on the front nine as he makes the turn 3 shots off Westwood’s lead.

    Woods struggling. Too bad :)

  56. TJ says:

    Doesn’t cost anything to say you asked either

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    + fish and chips

  58. TJ says:

    The funny thing about Woods in this tournament is that he really didn’t play himself into the lead; everyone else fell back to him. He’s had a good tournament but he would have run away with these types of tournaments where the pack struggles in the past.

  59. JohninOshkosh says:

    What a great bogey by Westwood as his lead drops to one.

    I know all about

  60. JohninOshkosh says:

    …great bogeys.

  61. Thundercrack says:

    Yes…what he said.

    :-)

  62. Drew71 says:

    I sometimes think Tiger is too aggressive for his own good.

    If it happens again, it will not be the first time over the past several years of majors where Tiger enters the final round 1-3 strokes off the lead, and the whole tournament backs up to where Tiger was. Not is. Was.

    He’s busy chasing the lead rather than letting the lead come to him.

    I remember about a decade ago, in the midst of a difficult US Open (that he won), Tiger said par is a good score today.

    If he had taken his own advice today, and one or two other majors recently, the lead would have backed up to or beyond him.

    And we’d be talking about a growing chance at Jack’s record rather than yet another Tiger Final Round Fade.

  63. Drew71 says:

    Morning starts at midnight.

  64. 21sthebest says:

    +2

    He maybe denied Astros fans of some excitement but I don’t blame him.

  65. Drew71 says:

    And right on cue. Lead is now -1, where Tiger started his “charge” this morning.

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    …and Woods with the birdie.

  67. Drew71 says:

    Wouldn’t it be fun if Adam Scott takes the championship with Tiger along as a disgruntled participant? With all the other baggage between them, too?

    Press Conference Question: “Tiger. What was it like today to play with greatness?”

  68. TJ says:

    We’ve heard the “all in” phrase already this year; didn’t work out to well. But jeez I’d love to see the Pirates do something productive and soon.

  69. JohninOshkosh says:

    This is going to be a great finish….c’mon Zach Johnson!

  70. 21sthebest says:

    Doesn’t cost anything to write that they asked.

  71. Thundercrack says:

    I would believe it happened a lot more if there was something along the lines of “a person close to the situation said…” would have been included in the story

  72. scapper says:

    The Tour has been incredible once again. There have been so many stirring moments this year that brought this cycling fan out of his seat and even made the ol’ eyes well up. It’s sport at its absolute best.

    And today’s finish? First time ever at dusk and they are going to circle the yellow-lit Arc for the first time. Going to be absolutely magical, especially if the great Cavendish can once again out-sprint the others on the Champs Elysee.

    (And please, hold the doping comments, especially if you have been any kind of football fan for the past 40 years. The most talented dopers won a lot of Tours just like the most talented group of dopers have always won the Super Bowl and will no doubt win this year’s and next year’s Super Bowls.)

  73. theplanisworking says:

    I forgot to wish her a Happy Birthday earlier! (But I didnt know it was her birthday, either). :(

  74. Thanks, guys. I won’t be able to drink beer, though. They won’t let me in the plane with it. :)

 
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