Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Olympics Are Nearly Here!

Olympic Games MessageOlympic Games Message (Photo credit: chooyutshing)

Olympic Fashion

The entire country is going 2012 crazy and Olympic fever will hit fever pitch well before the games kick off in London at the end of July. Details of the torch relay which will go within 10 miles of 95% of everyone living in the UK were announced recently, and the torch will start its trip around the British Isles at the beginning of June. The sporting influence will also affect what we are wearing this summer, but as the head to toe shell suit and trainers look isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there are a few more subtle ways to get into the sporting vibe.

Equestrian

The UK generally performs well in the equestrian events, and riding style is one of the easiest to incorporate into every day wear. Boots such as the Ariat Bromont are designed for riding, but look equally good as casual wear. Team your Ariat Bromont boots with jeans and a smart jacket, or with leggings for an even more horsey look. Riding tops and jackets don’t have to be super smart, and polo shirts and cotton tops are popular to complete the look. The key to this look is taking specific elements and teaming them with ordinary clothes to avoid getting too strong a look, as if you’d just stepped off your steed.

Official Clothing

Never missing the chance for a merchandising opportunity, the organisers of the 2012 Olympics have produced a full range of clothing for both children and adults to tie in with the Games. The tshirts, hoodies, track pants and caps might not be at the cutting edge of fashion, but they are the ideal items to wear to the gym, and keep as a memento of the time the Olympics came to the UK. Kids will love the brightly coloured tshirts with the official games mascots, whereas adults may prefer the subtle Team GB logo items.

Accessorise Olympic Style

For those not into sportswear, show your support for Team GB by wearing a badge, or buying one of the official Team GB scarves. The scarves are being sold through Next, and everyone who buys a scarf is entered into a prize draw. Red, white and blue has been a popular colour combination for many years and choosing accessories and outfits from this colour palette will help you get into the Olympic spirit while not dressing up as an Olympic athlete.

Fly the Flag

Using Union Jack motifs on clothing and accessories is nothing new, and the importance of 2012 with the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics ensures that clothing and accessories with the Union Jack are more popular than ever. All of the major stores are producing tops, bags, belts, shoes and numerous other items which enable you to fly the flag and take pride in being British and supporting the Olympic squad. This is a great way of getting some Olympic flavour into your outfit and accessories without going the whole distance and buying the Ariat Bromont boots for the riding look, or the tracksuit in an attempt to emulate Usain Bolt.

Trot2.com offer a great range of clothing, accessories and footwear including the Ariat Bromont range of boots for equestrian and casual wear.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Winning A Gold Medal Can Change An Athlete’s Life

Usain Bolt in celebration about 1 or 2 seconds...Usain Bolt in celebration about 1 or 2 seconds after his 100m victory at Beijing Olympics 2008, breaking the world record. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Legends will undoubtedly be made at the London Olympics. It’s a time when records can be broken and greatness assured. That’s why it really is the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.

Every athlete dreams of competing in the Olympic Games. The honour of representing your country on the world stage is something we would all love to do. But as well as national pride, there is also individual glory to be won, and in some cases, lost.

Lightning Bolt

In the Beijing Olympics in 2008 there was only one name on everybody’s lips: the phenomenon that is Usain Bolt. Widely known in athletic circles before the games, it was the 100m sprint final that created the legend. Breaking the world record with an astonishing time of 9.69 seconds, Bolt could have run faster had his shoelaces been done up and had he not, somewhat unbelievably, slowed down to celebrate towards the end. He was to shatter his own record and post the superhuman 9.59 seconds two years later in Berlin.

One Giant Leap For Mankind

The Mexico Olympics in 1968 are chiefly remembered for one thing: Bob Beamon going down the runway and literally taking off at the end. His long jump of 8 feet 9 inches was incredible, setting a world record that would last for almost 25 years. Watch the video of his jump to see the visual definition of pure athleticism and grace. It became known as the ‘Leap of the Century’. Although the record was finally beaten by Mike Powell in 1991, Beamon’s monster jump still remains one of the greatest ever sporting moments.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

It wouldn’t be right, in this year of the London Olympics, to not have a Brit featured in the list. Luckily for us, this one just happens to be arguably the greatest Olympian of all time. There have been many spectacular medal hauls over the years. Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz went home with sack fulls of gold, but to win five golds from five different Olympics is something very special indeed. That’s exactly what rower Sir Steve Redgrave achieved in the 2000 Sydney games, sealing his place in the Olympic record books forever.

The Dark Side

But not all legends are created for the right reasons. In 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, Canadian Ben Johnson blistered home in a new world record pace in the 100m. But he was later found to have taken performance enhancing drugs. Stripped of his medal, Johnson’s name went down in history but for all the wrong reasons.

Thankfully, the number of positive Olympic legends far outweighs the negative and the games still represent everything that is great about sporting achievement. This year who knows what we might see. Records will undoubtedly fall, great races will be won and hopefully we will see legends being born right before our very eyes. That’s what the Olympics means, not just to the competitors, but to all of us at home watching. It’s going to be great.

Clinton Armitage was once a promising athlete until injury forced him to retire at just 16. Today he writes a regular blog on all things Olympian, sharing his love and passion for athletics with a growing online community. He lives in East London, close to the Olympic Stadium.

The Human Side Of The Olympic Athletes-Life In The Olympic Village 2012

Olympic Games 2016Olympic Games 2016 (Photo credit: hops_76)

The Olympic Games are nearly here and the whole country is buzzing with excitement. The Olympics has brought so many benefits to the UK, not least the fact that thousands of athletes from across the world will be staying at the Olympic Village.

That’s going to amount for lots of washing and a few worn out washing machines needing repairing. But just how much washing will athletes get through at this year’s Olympics. How much shampoo will they use and how much food will they eat? Find the answer to these and other interesting Olympic Village facts below:

How many people will live in the Olympic Village?

During the 2012 games over 14000 officials and competitors will live in the village. During the Paralympic games over 4000 people will sleep, eat, meet their families and prepare for competition in the Olympic Village.

What will happen to the Olympic Village after the games?

After the games, the Olympic Village will be converted into housing. Many of these homes will be used by London’s keyworkers, like teachers, nurses and policemen.

How much food will be eaten by visitors to the Olympic Village

The 14000 people living in the Olympic Village during this summer’s games will not be the only ones chowing down. As well as the fully equipped kitchens of the Olympic Village homes, there will be hundreds of food outlets scattered around the Olympic park too, meaning that over one billion tonnes of food could be consumed during the games.

What will happen to the Olympic Park when the games are over?

After the games the Olympic Park, which is about the size of Alton Towers, will be turned into one of Europe’s largest urban parks. The park will be able to be enjoyed by all Londoners and visitors from further afield.

How many trees will be planted in the Olympic Park?

Up to two thousand trees will be planted in the Olympic Park and 2000 more at the Olympic Village, which makes the Olympics one of the biggest ever tree planting drives in the UK. The park will also contain the largest urban wetland in the UK, with a river and marshes which will contain over 300,000 different types of plants.

How many washing machines are in the Olympic Village?

There have been over 12000 washing machines fitted in the Olympic Village and each Olympian is expected to produce around 20lbs of washing over the course of the games. Washing machines are going to be kept busy in the Olympic Village so washing machine repair London could be in demand.

How much shampoo will the Olympic Villagers use?

Each villager is expected to use on average one bottle of shampoo during their Olympic adventure, which equates to over 14000 bottles of shampoo used during the entire games.

The Olympic Games is filling the UK with a real buzz of excitement and when you consider these Olympic Village facts it’s easy to see just what an enormous event this year’s Olympics will be, so good luck UK!

Jordan Murphy is a London based journalist and blogger. His insightful tips, interesting articles and lifestyle ideas make for a very interesting blog on all things London. When not writing his blog he loves to watch all sports, including athletics.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Guide to Climbing Mt. Whitney

Mount Whitney is a geographical wonder that’s full of contrasts. This first becomes apparent when one realizes that the 14,505 ft behemoth is less than 90 miles away from Badwater at Death Valley National Park, which is the lowest point in North America. Thus, you have the highest point in the continental U.S., and the lowest point on the continent, within extremely close geographical proximity. Contradictions, it seems, are inherent in this region.



Contrasts also abound in terms of the challenges presented to those who wish to reach the mountain’s summit. The most popular path is the Mount Whitney trail, a 22-mile round trip stretch that most can do in two days (though some have made the trip in one). For more technical climbers, the East Face of the mountain offers some of the most challenging opportunities in the U.S. Still others will prefer to “scramble,” up the mountain, which essentially involves climbing up the mountain without the use of technical gear. The record for the fastest round trip scramble to the summit and back is 3 hours and 10 minutes.

The best time to climb Mt. Whitney is between May 1 and November 1st. You must remember, however, that there’s a distinct possibility of snow, ice, and other natural hazards being present towards the top of the mountain, even in the middle of summer. Also, the further up you go, the cooler the temperature will be, so it’s recommended that you have a serious backpack that includes a heavy down jacket. Eddie Bauer is a good brand for this, because the company outfitted the first American attempt to summit K2, and also the first American to summit Everest. There are also a lot of Eddie Bauer coupons online that can save you some money.

Another thing to be wary of is that Mt. Whitney trail is very popular, so hiking permits can be difficult to come by. It is much easier to get a day permit than an overnight permit, so if you’re an experienced climber with a lot of endurance, attempting to do the hike in a 24 hour period will be less hassle and less expensive. If you’re like most of us, however, it’s recommended that you’ll probably want the overnight one. Either way, permits are awarded through a lottery system, which begins on February 15th. To be considered for the lottery, hopeful climbers must mail their application (yes old-fashioned style mail, it’s the only way) to the Mt. Whitney Permit Office, the address of which can be found on the mountain’s website. It’s recommended that you get your application in early, because once they hit their quota of climbers, that’s it.

If you are lucky enough to receive an invitation to climb Mount Whitney, the best and safest way to go about your climb is through a two-day hike on the Mount Whitney Trail. You will be able to camp almost anywhere during this hike, but most people prefer one of two camping spots, Outpost Camp and Trail Camp. The latter is a bit more treacherous, but it is 6.3 miles from the trailhead (as compared to only around 3.8 for Outpost Camp), making it a better day hike, and also providing for a more balanced amount of hiking over the two-day stretch. Trail Camp also provides access to a lake, which is a good source of drinking water.

Climbing Mt. Whitney can be a really special experience, especially since it carries with it the title of the highest point on the continental U.S. If you want to make the hike, make sure you apply for a permit sooner than later, because winning their lottery is the only way you’ll be able to touch the mountain. Once you do have a permit, plan out which style of hike you want to attempt, and then make sure you have adequate supplies to complete it safely. Good luck, and happy peaking!

Stefan Georgi is an avid outdoorsman who has been to the summit of some of the highest points in the U.S. He highly recommends using Eddie Bauer coupons when buying a jacket for this hike.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Siberian Black Ice Race About to Kick Off

First-time contenders in the Siberian Black Ice Race are about to get a serious education in adrenaline fueled extreme sports. The Siberian Black Ice Race 2012 is about to kick off and give everyone - women included - a serious boost of testosterone. All mothers out there shouldn’t watch the race, it’ll make you cry with pride, and some fear thrown in for good measure.

The Black Ice Race

At midday on March 17th the super cool – by super cool we mean extremely cold – ice race will start on the world’s deepest and one of the oldest lakes, Lake Baikal, which is also known as the “World’s most terrifying lake.” It has a dark eerie layer of ice covering the lake. With temperatures as low as -40, it’s set to be one of the globe’s most extreme multi-disciplined ice races ever. Endurance is essential to survival but we’re sure the contenders are set to give it their aces. The Black Ice Race was designed for people who want to test their boundaries and push the envelope in the way of adventure. The race runs over three weeks and may not necessarily be a once in a lifetime opportunity but there aren’t many people who would do it more than once. Are there?

The race is extreme south and north-pole races. Competitors for the Ice Race may choose between the 379 Mile Marathon or the 155 Mile Sprint using non-motorised transport such as skates, foot, skis or bikes. 2012 Is the second Black Ice Race in one of the harshest landscapes in the world. Anyone lacking experience or having heart problem should opt to be spectators instead. The Siberian Black Ice Race pushes the human body to the ultimate limit, and then some!

Set Up

The team from Extreme World Races are already setting-up tents, cookers, hovercraft and snowmobile hangars and everything that will be required for the Black Ice Race to go off without a hitch. Apparently the weather is pretty warm at -6! Um...! The Ice Race team are working to ensure all safety aspects are completely met.

Countdown

Two more days to go to the start of the Siberian Black Ice Race and contenders are probably getting itchy feet to get stuck in. All we can say is, take it easy because your body is going to hate you enough when you start the race, let it chill for the next couple of days. Good Luck!

Vida Denning is a freelance writer married to an extremist who has competed in a couple of races and swears by his workwear trousers and safety workwear in times of extreme conditions.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Skating – Then And Now

English: amateur ice hockey skates with transp...Image via Wikipedia

It is altogether exhilarating and romantic to strap on a pair of skates and take off around the local skating rink. Skating offers a different experience when compared to its cousin, the skateboard. The first obvious difference is that skating resemble running more while skateboarding resembles surfing. While the difference may seem trivial, the obvious is lost in a battle between the supporters. However the cookie may crumble, one thing is for certain, skates require more skill, they require more grace and the certainly require more practice.

Dates On Skates

Growing up, there were countless dates on skates. The romantic side of skating certainly had its appeal. There were many opportunities to show gallantry by coming to the rescue of a damsel in skating distress. However, as skill levels increased so did the adventure; and, romantic interludes on skates made way to rough and tumble jaunts with the guys. Simple skates were traded in for more complex pairs. And in a seeming instant, pairs that once were tied on with laces gave way to snap-ons, with teflon braking systems and micro steering.

Technology Never Sleeps

It seems technology has even pervaded the realm of the simple pleasure. And that is a very good thing. The fun has escalated to the heavens with lighter, faster more high-tech skates. Along with the mounting speed, safety has also been significantly beefed up. Skates have even been streamlines to offer greater agility while improving its stability. By altering the tandem wheel base to an in-line format, the designers reduced the ground contact surface area and allowed for more manoeuvrability.

Skates have also upgraded the materials from which they are made. When first entering the market, the base was steel, the wheels were a hard resin and the ball bearings in were steel. That has mostly been altered where now, composite materials are used and the construction of these skates have tended toward sophisticated.

Advanced Protection

Every skater is aware that among the many possible injuries that can ensue from an incident is the sprain of the ankles. It’s hard not to do when one takes a tumble and the legs, below the knees, are going in one direction with the skates, while the center of mass is headed in another. The only way to control the severity of the damage is to use skates that lock in the ankles, just as it’s done when skiing.

It makes the most sense when embarking on a new hobby such as skiing to first consider the safety of the sport. It is one of the most important things to consider protecting the hot spots – the ankles, the knees, the elbows and the head. Today there are many more options to protect yourself while skating. The lightweight flexible pads are comfortable enough you will forget you are wearing them. All else – well, they'll make good war stories.

Your author Linda Evans enjoys writing on her favorite hobbies which include ice hockey skates and also roller skates.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The World's Most Terrifying Ski Runs

Lighthearted blue slopes not your thing?

Well, let's ramp it up a notch; vertical drops, sharp banking turns, speeds of up to 80mph, does that sound more like it?

(In the interests of safety, we would like to note that these runs are for hardcore skiers only, and many pros take years of their lives preparing, and you should always seek the help of an experienced guide when thinking about tackling these runs for the first time).

Corbet's Couloir, Jackson Hole

Situated in Wyoming, USA, this slope is known as America's scariest ski run. The allure lies unmistakably in the slope's opening drop; a thirty foot free-fall to the banks below. Once skiers have overcome this beast, and landed on the soft snow, they forget their worries, and can enjoy one of the best runs of their life. The resort itself is beautifully decorated with log cabins, lodges, and ranches.

The Swiss Wall, Avoriaz

Located at the Portes Du Soleil ski resort, this slope may seem scary at first, but with the right amount of snow cover, this is actually a run which many can take part in. Again, it is the initial drop that spooks even the sturdiest skier, and is difficult to pilot in the wrong conditions, but once bested, the slope evens out and is great for a skier testing out their own ability for more challenging slopes.

Le Tunnel, Alpe d'Huez

Found high up in the French Alps, this black run is located in the same resort as the longest ski slope in Europe, yet is considered significantly more daunting. After skirting along the initial drop, you are led to 'the tunnel', a small hollowed out section in the rock, which leads to a rather horrifying sight as the slope drops rapidly to your left once you've exited the tunnel. Again, it's dependent on the weather conditions, but is certainly one of the more unique runs in Europe.

Tortin, Verbier

This one is truly terrifying; full concentration is vital if you are to steer your way down this slope safely. Like many of these runs, the hardest part is perhaps having the nerve to stand on the brink, and push yourself off, especially as the early view can be quite intimidating -- it starts off in similar vein to a rollercoaster, and you will traverse sharply in each direction, and across steep sloping bumps, but as you get on, it eases off, becoming considerably smoother, and surprisingly, the resort is considered ideal for beginner/intermediate skiers.

La Grave, France


Ominously named, and for good reason, this French Alps-based ski slope is unpisted, and skiers are strongly recommended to take an experienced guide. There are two main descent routes for skiers, on the left and the right of the gondola station, both which run through rocky terrain, and based on the weather, can sometimes lead to small icefalls on the run or even grass meadows.

Not for the faint hearted, these slopes are designed to test and challenge; do you have what it takes?


The author is a keen skier and blogger who has stayed in many European resorts including chalets in Val d'Isere, Alpe d'Huez and Verbier.

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