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Ice Follies

March 03, 2014
March 03, 2014

Table of Contents
March 3, 2014

SI.com
THE MAIL
2014 OLYMPICS
MOTOR SPORTS
BASEBALL
  • THE MONEYBALL ERA MOCKED SMALL BALL, BUT DIDN'T TOTALLY DISCREDIT IT. WITH THE GAME IN THE MIDST OF A SCORING DROUGHT, TAKING CARE OF THE LITTLE THINGS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

THE BIRTH OF SHOWTIME
  • In the early '80s, Pat Riley and Magic Johnson began a transformation that put the Lakers on the leading edge of sports culture. But it took a really, really strange series of events—and some Magicavellian maneuvering—to set the stage

Brazil
  • AS THE WORLD TURNS ITS EYES TOWARD THE NEXT OLYMPIC GAMES, IN RIO, AND ON THE EVE OF A WORLD CUP IN THE SPIRITUAL HOME OF SOCCER, A QUESTION HANGS IN THE AIR LIKE A LINGERING CLOUD OF TEAR GAS: HOW DO YOU RECONCILE

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Ice Follies

A woeful U.S. team went home without a long-track medal

What happened to the U.S. long-track speedskating team? It came to Sochi with 12 victories and 28 World Cup medals this season but endured its first Olympic medal shutout since 1984. Could it be that the competition simply knew how to peak better? The Dutch won 23 of 36 medals and eight of 12 golds. "We weren't the only nation that got smoked by the Netherlands," says Alan Ashley, the USOC's chief of sport performance, who acknowledges that the committee will work with U.S. Speedskating to study its program and examine reasons for the Sochi slump. "It's a deep dive that requires a thorough analysis."

This is an article from the March 3, 2014 issue Original Layout

Was it the choice to train at altitude in Salt Lake City and outdoors in Collablo, Italy, sites that bore little resemblance to the sea-level, indoor conditions in Sochi? Was the friendlier, more upbeat two-time Olympic champ Shani Davis (who finished no higher than eighth in an individual event in Sochi) better when he skated as though the world were out to get him, as he did in Turin and Vancouver? Should the team have tested those unfamiliar suits from Under Armour in competition before the Games? Was the failure some combination of all of these? Fingers are already being pointed, and with so much on the line—speedskating has traditionally been a leading source of America's Winter Olympic medals—the U.S. federation will have to defend its methods. Team member Maria Lamb said during the Games that U.S. skaters have succeeded in the past "in spite of the organization, rather than because of it."

PHOTOAL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (DAVIS)CRASHED DAVIS A favorite to medal at 1,000 and 1,500 meters, Shani (center) was eighth and 11th.