Monthly Archives: April 2012

Vessey passes ‘the World’ to give US win at Penn Relays

Soquel High graduate Maggie Vessey is on our Ones to Watch list of potential 2012 Olympians. The 800-meter star turned on the speed at the Penn Relays today, helping bring home a victory in the sprint medley. Here’s the scoop:

Maggie Vessey made a perfectly timed pass to bring the United States a win in the sprint medley at the Penn Relays on Saturday in Philadelphia.
Running the 800-meter anchor leg, the Soquel graduate passed Greath Britain with 200 meters left in front of a crowd chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!”  to seal the victory. Vessey teammed with Porscha Lucas, Barbara Pierre and Phoebe Wright to record a time of 3 minutes 42.85 seconds in the 1,600 event.
It was the first win in the homeland’s 6-0 sweep of “USA vs. the World” relays.
“I tried to be patient and sit and wait and wait and wait,” Vessey said. “Thankfully, it came together for a fun finish.”

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Horrific injury hasn’t grounded Stanford’s McClain

Here is a segment of a story by Mercury News writer Elliot Almond, who will also be at the Olympics. It’s about Stanford triple jumper . Check out the full version on our website Saturday.


Attention: The following visual is not for the meek. Bay Area triple jumper Erica McLain is about to describe a stomach-turning accident that almost ended her career.

It happened a year ago at Stanford during the second phase of her technical sport. She had gone from one left-foot hop to another smoothly enough. But by the time she landed on her right foot, ready to spring forward into the pit, she had veered off course. Instead of landing squarely on the runway, McLain hit the concrete edge of the runway where it meets the sandpit.

The awkward impact caused her right foot to buckle downward nearly 180 degrees to the inside of her shin, as she tumbled into the sand screaming in pain.

While America’s best triple jumper squirmed in the sand, bones protruding through skin, Cardinal coach Edrick Floreal held her down and tried to calm her by stroking her head.

“It’s just a little twisted,” he told McLain.

“It’s not twisted — it’s upside down,” the jumper replied, immediately figuring the injury to be so serious that her right foot would have to be amputated.

Paramedics administered morphine before taking McLain to Stanford hospital, where she eventually underwent multiple surgeries to clean sand out of the wound, reset bones and reattach torn ligaments.

“It was like throwing a grenade inside somebody’s ankle,” Floreal recalled.

Incredibly she didn’t break any bones. Although a surgeon told her she would never jump again, McLain, 26, almost immediately redoubled her efforts to recover in time to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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AP: Arts to sprout in London this Olympic summer

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A festival of fire at Stonehenge. Acrobatic displays in cathedral naves. String quartets in helicopters.

London Olympic organizers outlined an extravaganza of arts events Thursday to coincide with the 2012 Summer Games, offering a blockbuster program to cheer the nation and celebrate all things arty.

“There will be arts events taking place in unusual places all over the U.K. that will showcase the best in international culture when the eyes of the world are on us this summer,” said festival director Ruth Mackenzie.

Artists including Cate Blanchett, Damien Hirst, Wynton Marsalis, Yoko Ono and Ai Wei Wei are set to take part.

The festival kicks off with Shakespeare and moves on to culture in just about every form imaginable, including an attempt to create the world’s largest Bollywood dance. Artist Richard Wilson will recreate the final scene of the classic British crime film “The Italian Job” by dangling a bus off the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill, south of London.

Performances pop up at all the nicest places — along the River Thames, Hadrian’s Wall, the shores of Lake Windemere. Some 900 venues will be used for the festival, which runs from June 21-to Sept.9.

Some 12,000 events will feature 25,000 artists — including representatives of every nation competing in the Summer Olympics, which start July 27 and end Aug. 12. London is also hosting the Paralympics, which run Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.

Plans include a major concert June 23-24 featuring Jay-Z, Rihanna and Florence + The Machine. Some 100,000 fans are expected for that event, which will take place at the Hackney Marshes in east London.

There are also surprises. Among the unscripted events planned will be a full size “bouncy castle” in the shape of Stonehenge that will go on a nationwide tour.

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Everywhere we go, with nearly everyone we talk to, someone brings up Julie and me going to the Olympics. It’s starting to make me realize that I really need to be on my game this summer. Hope I don’t let anyone down.

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Poster boy Matt Chrabot

Olympic hopefuls Matt Chrabot, right, and Jarrod Shoemaker pose for an Inside Triathlon magazine cover. Chrabot has been training in Santa Cruz for the US Olympic Trials, which will be held in San Diego in May.

Matt Chrabot, a triathlete from Colorado Springs, Colo., who has been training with Santa Cruz’s newest Olympian, Bevan Docherty, here in Santa Cruz, is also a pinup. Well, kind of. He did make the cover of Inside Triathlon with Jarrod Shoemaker.

Check out the cover and a couple of behind-the-scenes photos here.

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We’re not the only one’s getting ready for the Olympics

Olympic Stadium in London is nearing completion. Dec. 2011.

To see more photos of the Olympic Park, as well as a time lapse sequence of its construction, visit

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Speaking of Mary Lou …

A little Olympic flashback, since Julie brought her up.

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An introduction to Julie Jag

When she was in elementary school, Julie Jag wore a leotard just like Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton's to her Jazzercise gym class.


The Mary Lou Retton leotard — white with red stripes and blue accents — that I wore during Jazzercise in my elementary school gym class should have been a dead giveaway.
I was born to go to the Olympics.
OK, I’m not going to compete, but this is almost as good. In 100 days — on July 27 to be exact — I will be at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, covering it for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, of which I am the sports editor. It’s quite the honor —  the Sentinel is one of, if not the, smallest papers to receive a credential for these Games. My husband, Sentinel graphic designer and freelance photographer Anthony L. Solis, didn’t have a leotard and hasn’t been quite so lucky. He’s going as well, but will be covering the games from outside the venues unless his fortunes turn around and a press credential comes his way.
Like any decent athlete, I’ve been training hard for my Olympic debut. So far, I’ve worked on my weightlifting, fencing and gymnastics skills. I’m hoping to try a few more before we leave. Stay tuned to the Sentinel and this blog to read about my adventures in the world of obscure Olympic sports.
Once the Games begin, keep an eye out for updates on local athletes competing in the Games as well as a few touching stories about those from a little farther away. We’ll also try to show you what the Games look like from the inside — from the food at the athlete’s village to the green rooms, where sporting types psych themselves up to perform on their biggest stage.
It’s going to be fun and frenetic. We’d love to hear from you along the way, so email us at or direct message me on Twitter @julie_jag.
Now excuse me while I work on my floor routine.

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PRESS RELEASE: USA closing ceremony uniforms

Colorado Springs, CO-The United States Olympic Committee debuted Ralph Lauren’s signature U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremony Parade Uniforms and casual village wear for the London 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Games during a fashion segment on this morning’s Today Show.

“Ralph Lauren takes great pride in understanding our U.S. athletes and creating a sense of patriotism through clothing,” said Peter Zeytoonjian, managing director of consumer products and licensing for the USOC. “The Closing Ceremony garments embody our national sentiment of what it means to be an American.”

Drawing on the heritage and sophistication of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and a tradition of refined American style, Ralph Lauren’s 2012 Team USA Closing Ceremony Uniforms feature exceptionally elegant silhouettes in a timeless palette of all white with touches of red and navy.

Olympic taekwondo medalists Diana and Steven Lopez revealed the men’s and women’s Closing Ceremony parade uniforms. Diana was dressed in a crisp white blouse emblazoned with the official U.S. Olympic Team logo and Big Pony logo at the chest, paired with a breezy knee-length white skirt. The look was finished with a sporty repp-stripe silk belt in red, white and navy and matching silk scarf that tied at the neck.  For men, the parade uniform is highlighted by a luxe white cotton sport shirt detailed with the official U.S. Olympic Team logo and a slightly smaller navy Big Pony logo. White trousers feature a subtle pleated front and cuff, echoing an old world athletic tradition. The men’s look is also finished with a red, white and navy repp-striped silk belt.

Olympic decathlon champion Bryan Clay, Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Soni, 2012 Olympic gymnastics hopeful Aly Raisman and three-time Olympic water polo medalist Tony Azevedo modeled iconic pieces from the Ralph Lauren village wear collection including the mesh polo, Create Your Own USA polo, Olympic tank and tunic.

The USOC is proud to have Ralph Lauren as an official outfitter of Team USA, providing iconic parade uniforms and an authentic sportswear collection of commemorative pieces for men, women and children. The Ralph Lauren 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Opening Ceremony Parade Uniforms will be revealed this summer.

The Ralph Lauren 2012 Team USA Olympic Collection for men, women and children will be available starting April 18 online at Beginning in May, the collection will be available in select Ralph Lauren retail stores, Team USA shops, select U.S. department stores and TeamUSAShop.comIn recognition of Visa’s support of the Olympic Games, the USOC is proud to accept only Visa at

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Santa Cruz gains an Olympian for London 2012

What better way to kick off the 100-day countdown until the 2012 Summer Olympics than to announce that a Santa Cruz athlete has qualified to go. Bevan Docherty, one of only two men to hold two Olympic medals in triathlon, will look to add gold to his silver and bronze this summer.

Docherty, who has been living and training in Santa Cruz since 2010, was given the nod by his native New Zealand late Tuesday night. Last weekend, he finished 12th in an ITU World Triathlon Series race in Sydney, which improved his chances for one of the country’s likely three Olympic berths. Kris Gemmell, who raced in 2008 in Beijing, took the automatic qualification by finishing sixth, and as the top Kiwi, in Sydney.

“After winning bronze in Beijing to go with my silver from Athens I made it clear the only thing missing was the gold to go with the collection.

“I have not wavered from that thought; that is my goal, to go to London and win gold. I am as excited about this opportunity as any in my career,” Docherty, 35, said in a statement.

If New Zealand secures a third berth, that spot will be filled by Ryan Sissons.

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