Favorites Friday: Olympics Songs

I'm really feeling something karmic going on right now, guys. I can't really explain it. Maybe I'm making some of it up, since it IS the one-year mark to Sochi 2014 so news is pouring in and making me happy. But I'm positive that some of it isn't just in my head, and too perfect to be coincidental. There's something that I don't want to talk about and jinx, but I WILL talk about how Jim Craig and Kristi Yamaguchi were just named co-captains of Team Kelloggs for Sochi 2014. I don't even know what Team Kelloggs is, but I refuse to believe it's a coincidence that two of my biggest Olympics icons and favorite human beings were named co-captains. *sniffle* I just... need a moment.

But anyway. There's good energy right now.

For this week, I thought I'd list some of my favorite Olympics songs. :) These aren't "official" Olympics songs -- 'cause most of those are awful -- but the ones that trigger my own personal memories of the Games or are associated with them in some way.

NBC Olympic Style (Gangnam Style Parody) by Teddie Films - Because this is one of the greatest things I've ever seen in my life.

Bang the Drum by Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado - Vancouver 2010 - For some reason I have really vivid memories of Vancouver's Closing Ceremony, and this song is one of them. Just don't pay attention to the lyrics. "Dream big/aim high/even believe you can fly"? Poetry, I tell you.

Strong and Free by the cast of the Vancouver 2010 Closing Ceremony - What can I say? I just have lots of Vancouver feelings, apparently. I love this song. There was some AMAZING mass movement choreography (with the snowboards!) in the ceremony while this song was being sung, which I'm sure contributes to my memory of it. I also happen to have gotten to know the choreographer while I was a London 2012 Ceremonies volunteer, so you know...

Spinnin' for 2012 by Dionne Bromfield and Tinchy Stryder - London 2012 - Where do I even begin with this song? I listened to it literally for hours on end during my shifts at L2012C because it's what the montage was set to, so this will forever be THE London 2012 song in my mind.

And I Will Kiss by Underworld - London 2012 - This is the song that played during the Industrial Revolution/Pandemonium sequence of the Opening Ceremony. It makes me want to get up and climb a mountain (which is probably why it's a killer song to listen to while on the Jacob's ladder at the gym). Just read the YouTube comments. Things like, "If this doesn't get you up in the morning you have died" and, "And by the time it was done, I had divided by zero twice." Flawless.

One Day Like This by Elbow - London 2012 - This was being played while the athletes walked into the closing ceremony, so not only does it remind me of that, but the lyrics are fabulous. "Throw those curtains wide/one day like this a year would see me right." LOVE IT.

Home by Phillip Phillips - London 2012 - Three words: Fierce Five montages. It still makes me a little bit weepy.

Dream on by Aerosmith - Okay, so it's really not an Olympics song at all. But Miracle is basically the real Olympics, right? And come on, tell me the 1980 hockey team isn't the first thing you think of when you hear this song. Because you'd totally be lying!

And last but not least...

Olympic Fanfare and Theme by John Williams - Los Angeles 1984 and forever - Because John freaking Williams.

Of course, I have an entire London 2012 playlist, so this is only the tip of my iceberg! :) Are there any good ones I'm forgetting?

February 7th: One Year to Go!

February 7th marks the one-year-to-go mark until Sochi 2014! Are you as excited as I am?! (I mean, probably not. :P) In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to have a look back through history for other Olympic moments that took place on this day. Why post on February 6th, you ask? Because, while Sochi's opening ceremony will take place on the 7th, competition and coverage begins on the 6th. So I'm just covering all my bases!

February 7th, 1998 - Nagano, Japan - Opening Ceremony.

February 7th, 1976 - Innsbruck, Austria - Women's 1,000m speed skating finals, women's 5 km cross country skiing finals, men's special hill 70m ski jumping finals.

Sheila Young, USA, bronze medalist in the 1000m.
February 7th, 1972 - Sapporo, Japan - Men's 10,000m speed skating finals, men's downhill skiing finals, men's 15 km cross country skiing finals, USA vs. Czechoslovakia in men's ice hockey.

Ard Schenk, NED, gold medalist in the 10,000m.
February 7th, 1968 - Grenoble, France - Men's 30 km cross country skiing finals, USA vs. Sweden in men's ice hockey.

Herb Brooks may have been the last player cut from the 1960 Olympic team, but he played in 1964 and was the captain in 1968.
February 7th, 1964 - Innsbruck, Austria - Men's 10,000m speed skating finals, women's cross country skiing 3x5 km relay finals, USA vs. Finland in men's ice hockey, men's slalom finals.

Medalists in the men's slalom, including Americans Billy Kidd (silver) and Jimmie Heuga (bronze).
February 7th, 1948 - St. Moritz, Switzerland - Bobsledding, ice hockey, ski jumping.

(One of) the US ice hockey team(s). They didn't play on the 7th, but fun story: America accidentally sent two teams and was disqualified from the tournament. Oops?
February 7th, 1936 - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany - USA vs. Switzerland in men's ice hockey, men's and women's combined downhill skiing.

The US Olympic hockey team, 1936.
February 7th, 1932 - Lake Placid, New York, USA - USA vs. Germany in men's ice hockey, men's sled dog racing demonstration.

Because apparently this was a thing!
So, nothing too earth-shattering, but fun nonetheless! Thanks to marcolympics.org for the info -- it makes me happy that there are people as crazy as I am out there who are willing to compile competition info for every day of every Olympics. I might have to do a retrospective like this for my birthday date. ;)

Happy one year to go!

Favorites Friday: RA Dickey

Good to see his delivery face hasn't changed much!
Did YOU know the MLB's current National League Cy Young award winner was an Olympian? Back before he was baffling the majors with his knuckleball, he was a fresh-faced fastball pitcher for Team USA in Atlanta in 1996.

I didn't know this until well after I called myself a huge fan of his, and it just got added onto a rapidly growing list of reasons why I love him. I talked last week about the phenomenon of liking an athlete more the more I get to know about him; RA Dickey was my first (and, until Jim Craig, only) experience with this. But it got to a point where some new little tidbit or sound bite would come to light and I would just laugh, because of course it was perfect. Again.

When Dickey started with the Mets, I knew nothing about him. He pitched about .500 for the season, but always seemed to get awful run support because his ERA was low. So the rest of the team got blamed for that, in my mind. And besides, he was a pitcher that hit pretty decently, so I liked him.

The next season was a hot mess, and due to no fault of his own. Again, his ERA was respectable, but his run support was atrocious. Utterly laughable. I watched him pitch quality start after quality start, only to lose because the team just wasn't hitting. I'm a total sucker for an underdog, so I probably have this awful season to credit my fandom to. I saw this amazing pitcher who was being completely let down by his team and was FURIOUS for him.

This was when I first decided I wanted to buy his jersey and found out that it didn't exist. Seriously. So I had to settle for watching interviews, where I discovered that he's a humble, well-educated, well-read, eloquent, nerdy, soft-spoken, polite family-man, and then get even angrier that I couldn't wear his name and number on my back.

But then he signed a contract extension for 2012 and, hallelujah, the Mets came to their senses! I immediately ran to the Mets store in the mall and bought the first one I could find. Who cares that it was a men's shirt and I was basically drowning in it? I chopped a few inches off the bottom and the sleeves and was good to go!

And then... the 2012 season happened and I wanted to cry with happiness. He became the Mets' star, pitching full games, setting the record for consecutive shutout innings, becoming the first pitcher to reach 10 wins, striking out everyone... I was so proud, and had never felt more like a hipster in my entire life. "I've liked him since before his jersey was available in stores! HAH!"

Then he won the Cy Young Award and the Mets traded him to Toronto. >.< The rational, sport administration major in me understands that this was probably the best for all parties involved and what their goals are, but... god, I still hate the Mets for doing it. I was able to meet him in NYC a week (almost to the day) before he was traded, and after telling him I'm such a huge fan of his (to which he responded "It means so much to me to hear you say that!"), I said, "I might actually cry if you're traded." He laughed in that flattered, embarrassed sort of way, but I was serious.
Best. Day. EVER.

And I did. How can you not cry when a player gets traded and tweets "thank you for making me feel wanted" to his New York fans? It still makes me weepy. He's a player that names his bats after books, travels to India to aid an organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking, and dresses up like Star Wars characters with his kids. He's not exactly your run-of-the-mill athlete.

But he WAS named to Team USA for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which means I can get a jersey with his name on the back and still be able to root for the team on the front. This solves 99% of my baseball-related problems! (The other 1% being how this Miamian/New Yorker is going to watch Toronto's games. I miss him and the season hasn't even started yet.)