Happy March everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 1, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The Vancouver Olympic flame has been extinguished. Canada beat the U.S. 3-2 in a thrilling overtime game to win the gold medal in hockey.
* The U.S. set a record for most medals at a winter games with 37.
* Shaquille O'Neal of Cleveland will miss the rest of the regular season with thumb surgery.
* We're #1, we're # 1! Syracuse's basketball team will be voted #1 today for the first time in 20 years. (OK, so I went to Syracuse and announced the basketball games there... there may be no cheering in the press box, but the Top 5 has different rules.)
2. Oh Canada!
Now that was a hockey game! Skating, passing, non-stop up and down action. Unlike slogging through an NHL season. The weekend of the Miracle on Ice, 30 years ago, I interviewed Phil Esposito of the Rangers. He said it was unfair to compare a short, tension-filled tournament with a long NHL season. He's probably right. But funny, in Olympic hockey, there are few penalties and no fights. A reminder of what a great sport hockey can be. The NHL has been making noises about not participating in the 2014 Olympics. Just shut up.
3. The Medal Count
Am I un-American for not jumping up and down over the U.S. medal count? For one thing, they've created lots of new events to attract young people and U.S. television viewers. Hence all those snowboarding and short track skating medals. And in truth, isn't sports about winning? The U.S. came in tied for third with Norway in the gold medal race. If second and third are so important, how come they have only one winner's circle in horse racing?
4. The Happy Recap
So what was the moment of the Winter Olympics? Probably Sidney Crosby's winning goal for Canada. But there were so many other candidates. You had those cigar-smoking, booze-guzzling Canadian gold medal women hockey players. You had an American snowboarder sent packing for suggestive party pictures. A Dutch speed skater took a wrong turn and threw away the gold. A cat fight among U.S. women skiers. Then there was the German luger who won a medal, posed for pictures biting it, and broke a tooth. So much to choose from.
5. Final Words
And as a final nod to the Olympics, we offer IOC President Jacques Rogge. In summing up the death of the Georgian luger he said the IOC has a moral responsibility for the tragedy but not a legal one. In other words we don't think ya' can sue us. That's the Olympic spirit.
Happy Birthday: Michigan running back Butch Woolfolk, a first round pick of the Giants. 50.
Bonus Birthday: Hey classical music fans, got a "minute for a waltz?" Chopin was born 200 years ago today. 1810.
Today in Sports: A dark day. My hero, Mickey Mantle, announces his retirement. 1969.
Bonus Event: Somebody had to do it. The first guy jumps out of a moving airplane. (He wore a parachute and nobody got hurt.) 1912.