Category Archives: Olympics

LeBron, Not Coach K, Still The Chosen One

When he’s not going by King, LeBron James has been dubbed The Chosen One—or at least, he has since Sports Illustrated pegged him with that title when the King-in-waiting was only a high school junior in 2002. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski coached James this summer as he guided Team USA to a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics.

One day, he told students at “Have a Coke with Coach Cut” Wednesday in the Great Hall, Krzyzewski was talking with James and the superstar had his shirt off, showing off the tattoo on his back that reads “The Chosen One.” Krzyzewski noticed the body ink and asked if he could get a tattoo of the same ilk.

“Coach, I really like you a lot, but no one would choose you,” Krzyzewski recalled James saying to the delight of the approximately 200 students in attendance.

—by Ben Cohen

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Coach K Snags Book Deal

Mike Krzyzewski and his daughter, Duke graduate Jamie Spatola, are co-writing a book about Krzyzewski’s experience with Team USA and how he led 12 of the world’s best basketball players to a gold medal, the Business Plus imprint of Grand Central Publishing announced in a release last week. Krzyzewski and Spatola, who co-wrote Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords For Success, are planning a spring release, according to this item in the NY Post and response on The Big Lead. The book will be a “case study in fundamental management techniques,” as the Post paraphrased Rick Wolff, the executive editor of Business Plus. The Duke release calls it “more than a celebratory book.”

One last note: while TBL speculates that the alleged six-figure deal was in response to the gold medal, Krzyzewski told The Chronicle back in June that Spatola, who holds a degree in English, was traveling with him to Beijing and was planning to pen a book with him about the experience. Of course, withou the gold medal, it might have quickly ended up in the bargain rack.

—by Ben Cohen

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It’s Good to Be a Duke Basketball Player

In an interview with The Chronicle today, sophomores Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler revealed that the entire team got together early Sunday morning to watch the USA take on Spain for the gold medal with a fully catered hot breakfast from Mad Hatters at 2:30 a.m. I’m pretty sure there isn’t another student group on campus that would get that sort of royal food treatment. The highlight of the after-hours feast, they say? French toast.

With Coach K scheduled to arrive at RDU this evening around 5 p.m., the team will be meeting him at his home later tonight to welcome him back to Durham.

—by Meredith Shiner

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Rowbury Takes 7th In Olympic Final

2007 Duke graduate Shannon Rowbury, the fastest American in her field, took seventh place Saturday morning in the 1,500-meter final at the National Stadium  in Beijing, finishing 3.58 seconds behind Kenya’s Nancy Langat, the gold medalist. Rowbury’s finish was the highest ever by an American.

Rowbury was in fifth place with 600 meters left and fourth with 500 remaining but lagged behind in the final laps. The 2007 national champion in the indoor mile and Duke record-holder in the 1,500m was the only American to qualify for the final.

The only Olympians with Duke ties still in competition now are Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski and reserve forward Carlos Boozer. Gail Goestenkors, the former Duke women’s basketball head coach, took a gold medal this morning as an assistant coach. Freshman fencer Becca Ward won two bronze medals earlier in the games.

–by Ben Cohen

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Rowbury Advances To 1,500-Meter Final

Shannon Rowbury, a 2007 Duke graduate, advanced to the finals of the 1,500 meters at the Olympics in Beijing this morning. The only U.S. runner to make it through, Rowbury qualified for the finals after finishing fourth in her heat with a time of 4:03.89. Rowbury will race in the finals Saturday at 7:50 a.m. EST.

Rowbury holds the Duke school record in the 1,500 meters with a 4:14.81, and won a national championship in 2007.

–by Ben Cohen

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Sports Blog’s July Wordle

Lots of news around these parts: Team USA romped over Australia this morning, Reggie Love was featured in an E:60 story last night, 1,700 freshmen moved into East Campus dorms yesterday. We’ll bring you more news in the coming days when daily production starts again (orientation issue Friday, normal schedule begins Monday), but before the grind, we decided to break it up and provide you with The Chronicle’s Sports Blog’s first Wordle, which is described on its own site as a “toy for generating word clouds from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”

What better way to experiment with this new “toy” that put it to the test? We submitted the URL for the collection of July posts, and here’s what Wordle spit out.

Consider this a new monthly feature: on the 1st of every month, we’ll show you the Wordle for the previous month. Don’t forget to keep us on schedule.

If there are any other tricks out there that you’d like us to incorporate, don’t forget to drop us a line, either in the comments section below or by e-mailing Sports Editor Ben Cohen at bzc2@duke.edu.

by Ben Cohen

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Is This Redeem Team Really A Dream Team?

The New York Times’ coverage of these Olympics has been expansive and prolific, from their Olympics blog to their print edition and everything in between (I suppose that’s what happens when you have 32 reporters in Beijing). At Rings today, Team USA (and college basketball) beat writer Pete Thamel, following the lead of Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, proposes whether the 1992 Dream Team, widely acknowledged to be the best collection of basketball talent ever assembled, would be able to beat this 2008 team, commonly known as the Redeem Team after the failures in 2004.

But here’s another wrinkle to this question: If you believe that this year’s team, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, could handle Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, then wouldn’t the title of “Redeem Team” no longer be appropriate? Dream Team may be a cliche applied to every American basketball team whose captain isn’t Allen Iverson, but it seems unfair to label this team anything but.

All summer long, the defining traits of this team have been exhausted. Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Krzyzewski have made the team a three-year commitment to emphasize the importance of bringing back gold; Krzyzewski has supposedly instilled a sense of humility and stripped the team of its American arrogance; the players have, finally, taken pride in their defense and have converted steals, blocks and stops into high-flying dunks. But now, after mundane routs of formidable opponents Greece and Spain, this year’s Team USA may be remembered for the enormous amount of skill. The question, for me, isn’t whether the 1992 Dream Team would beat the 2008 Redeem Team. If Kobe Bryant and LeBron James could handle Jordan and Magic, then why can’t this year’s team be the Dream Team instead?

What do you think: Who would win? Is this team a Dream Team, or a Redeem Team? Or, in a titling situation we haven’t covered, does its identity rest in a combination of the two?

–by Ben Cohen

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