Daily Buzz: US Olympian Katie Uhlaender never rides alone
When US skeleton rider Katie Uhlaender speeds headlong down the track this week in Sochi, it may appear as though she’s doing it alone. But as it turns out, the 2012 world champion brings her dad along for the ride each and every time.
Uhlaender’s father, Ted — a former Major League outfielder with the Twins, Indians and Reds — died of a heart attack in February 2009, one year before her disappointing 11th-place finish at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
After her final run at those games, Uhlaender broke down on the track, but after that vulnerable moment, she was finally able to begin healing, with the help of gold-medal skier and FOX analyst Picabo Street.
"She started making me think about things my dad did because he never gave me straight-up advice," Uhlaender told USA Today. "He would always make me think about it and figure it out. She helped me rediscover that I have the tools to live life on my own.
"In fact, maybe create my own destiny and something more awesome. I can do it on my own now. I didn’t really need him to be there. But I reference him all the time in my thoughts."
She also keeps her dad close to her heart, wearing a small silver baseball locket containing some of his ashes when she takes to the course. In addition, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Uhlaender sometimes carries one of her father’s baseball cards or his 1972 National League championship ring with her on the track.
“Before he died, I would call him every day of a race, even if for just five minutes. He gave me this undeniable sense of purpose,” Uhlaender told the Plain-Dealer. “That’s what gave me the drive of a warrior.
“When I lost him, I had no purpose, and a ton of passion and nowhere to put it. To get it back was such a long road. I was like an adolescent teenager stomping my feet, saying, ‘I want my dad!’ I didn’t want to do it by myself.
“Now I’ve grown up and see I have the tools he left behind for me.”
After her first two heats of competition Thursday, Uhlaender found herself in fourth place, two spots behind teammate Noelle Pikus-Pace, .14 seconds out of third and .69 seconds behind gold medal frontrunner Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain.
Friday’s final two heats will determine whether Uhlaender is able to fulfill her Olympic dream after a long road back following the loss of her dad, and if she does, her father’s memory will certainly accompany her to the medal stand.
“He didn’t hand you anything. He wanted you to earn it,” Uhlaender told reporters at the Olympic Summit in October. “That’s what my father was about. … I can’t guarantee I’m going to win. But I can guarantee I’m gonna make it real hard to lose.”
Now, for some links:
• Ed Reed had $50K stolen out of the front seat of his car, which begs the question: Why did Ed Reed have $50K in the front seat of his car?
• There’s a college football proposal on the table that, if passed, would lead to teams being penalized for moving too fast between plays.
• The Knicks are on pace to be the least-fouled team in NBA history.
• It’s all fun and games until a piece of a disco ball falls out of the sky:
• Jim Boeheim offers free-agency advice to Carmelo Anthony, tells him New York isn’t the place to win a title:
• Dwight Howard busts out his latest impersonation, this one of Kevin McHale:
• If you are scared of heights, this video of Russian daredevils climbing the world’s second-tallest building is not for you:
• What’s it like to be a pizza delivery driver on Super Bowl Sunday?
• Something fishy is going on with the operator of some big-money Vegas sports pools.
• Andre Johnson said he would trade the Texans’ No. 1 pick if it were up to him.
• Hanley Ramirez says he wants to be a Dodger for life.
• Oregon baseball takes a page out of the Oregon football helmet book:
— MLB Fan Cave (@MLBFanCave) February 13, 2014
• Here’s the New Orleans Pelicans mascot’s new look:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 13, 2014
• Finland’s hockey team rode bikes to Thursday’s game in Sochi:
• Not everyone was impressed with Anthony Bennett’s career night Tuesday:
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) February 12, 2014
• Wednesday night, Amir Johnson rocked a jersey-vest — for the guy who isn’t playing but wants to feel like part of the team:
Amir looking dapper, rocking a jersey-vest on the Raptors bench pic.twitter.com/9tCYdlpAGk
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) February 13, 2014
• Big news video gamers: "Shaq-Fu 2" is coming, says Shaq.
• In honor of Derek Jeter’s pending retirement, read this hilarious Twitter story accusing Jeter of stealing a guy’s date from a club.
• Not sure why he needs to steal a random girl at a bar, though, given some of his other past girlfriends:
Here's a look at Derek Jeter's dating diamond. pic.twitter.com/jB3lPsvhQk
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) February 13, 2014
• From the people who brought us Chris Bosh as an actual raptor, here’s "Space Jam," in video-game form:
• US freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has all of the puppies:
puppy love is real to puppies. pic.twitter.com/krauCUPjOg
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 11, 2014
• This fella is cheering for everybody, it seems:
A different kind of cheesehead – an Olympic curling fan pic.twitter.com/Ro5v6q0viB
— Cordelia Price (@CordeliaGymFan) February 12, 2014