Feature/interview: Michael Socolow explores evolution of global sports broadcasting through prism of 1936 Berlin Olympics in award-winning book | The Japan Times

With a sharp eye for detail, American author and media historian Michael Socolow combines elements of geopolitical intrigue, Olympic history and sports broadcasting exploration infused with vigorous enthusiasm for rowing in his notable November 2016 book “Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics.”

On the May 9 “Huddlin’ With The Pros” podcast host David Weinstein referred to the influential time period of Socolow’s book by describing it as “the genesis of global sportscasting and how we all now pay attention to sports.”

Six Minutes in Berlin caught the attention of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, which named Socolow the winner of its 2018 Broadcasting Historian Award.

“As my book points out, NHK were the only foreign broadcasters to travel to Los Angeles in 1932 for those (Olympic) Games, but the Olympic organizers prohibited live broadcasts (the Japanese sportscaster would take notes in the stadium, drive to NBC’s Los Angeles studio, and re-create the event),” Socolow stated in a recent interview. “The signal would be sent to San Francisco for relay to Tokyo.”

In describing what Socolow accomplished in his thorough research and reporting, the news release announcing the award summed up his ambitious feat.

“Socolow uses a single case study — the gold-medal winning rowing crew from the University of Washington, which upset the Germans in front of Adolf Hitler and 75,000 fans — to illustrate the development of sports broadcasting at the personal, national, and global levels,” the news release stated. “He interweaves the broadcast of that race, heard by millions in the United States, with the memories of the oarsmen and contemporaneous press accounts to revisit the dramatic and exciting origins of live global sportscasting.”

Source: Michael Socolow explores evolution of global sports broadcasting through prism of 1936 Berlin Olympics in award-winning book | The Japan Times

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FEATURE FLASHBACK: Prefontaine’s legacy still growing 40 years after death | The Japan Times

Ed Odeven Reporting

I’m not afraid of losing. But if I do, I want it to be a good race. I’m an artist, a performer. I want people to appreciate the way I run.” — Steve Prefontaine

Source: Prefontaine’s legacy still growing 40 years after death | The Japan Times

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B. LEAGUE NOTEBOOK: League powers Jets, Alvark set for title tilt | The Japan Times

With the biggest of stakes on the line, the Chiba Jets Funabashi and Alvark Tokyo renew their rivalry on Saturday afternoon.

The site: Yokohama Arena. The occasion: the B. League Championship final. Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m. as Jets bench boss Atsushi Ono and Alvark head coach Luka Pavicevic match wits on the hardwood.

Little separated the two East Division powerhouses during the regular season — two victories to be precise. The Jets went 46-14 to claim the title; the Alvark won 44 of 60.

When they squared off six times during the 60-game B. League season, there were tight games, blowouts and one decided by the thinnest of margin. Also, it’s interesting to note that the loser of all six contests failed to score 70 or more points.

Source: League powers Jets, Alvark set for title tilt | The Japan Times

Column flashback: Billy Mills recalls his 10,000-meter victory in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and always believing in himself

Ed Odeven Reporting

Billy_Mills_in_2010Olympic legend Billy Mills speaking in 2010. PUBLIC DOMAIN

This column appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun on July 15, 2004.

By Ed Odeven

Forty years later, Mills’ message still strong

Most Olympians fade from our collective memories just a few years after they captivate us with their extraordinary feats. But 40 years after winning an Olympic gold medal, Billy Mills is still a name people cannot forget.

The only individual from the Americas — North, South or Central — to win a 10,000-meter race at the Olympics, Billy Mills still matters.

That’s right. Mills is still a well-known figure. And it’s not just because he won a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Mills is a tireless ambassador for good causes. He travels the nation for Running Strong for American Indian Youth and visits country after country (he’s been to 87 nations) delivering positive messages.

Many individuals can…

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Feature flashback: V.I.P. soccer program for players with physical and mental disabilities and special needs provides life-enriching pleasures

This feature appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun in May 2004.

Everybody wins with V.I.P. soccer program

By Ed Odeven

We have witnessed these scenes too many times: Coaches screaming at a referee, questioning his/her intellect and demanding that they get thicker glasses or a hearing aid; fans taunting an opposing player who’s had a tough game; and parents berating a coach for not giving their kid enough playing time.

 

Many times, the joy of sports — watching or playing — is lost because people spoil the atmosphere. But remember this: We’re talking about games here. They are supposed to be fun.

 

And everyone deserves the chance to experience the pleasure of winning and being part of a team. Kudos to the American Youth Soccer Organization for recognizing this and establishing the V.I.P. (Very Important Player) Program 15 years ago.

 

The V.I.P. Program gives individuals 4 1/2 and older (there’s no age limit) with physical and mental disabilities and special needs a chance to play soccer and experience these life-enriching pleasures.

 

The local AYSO, which serves Flagstaff, Williams and the surrounding areas, began its V.I.P. Program last year with 14 students, ranging in age from 5 to 15. Lori Diver is the team’s coach. Dave Kelly, the organization’s former coach administrator, is the V.I.P. director.

 

“I thought with this program we ought to be getting more kids out to play who have never had a chance to do this,” Kelly was saying in a phone conversation Tuesday.

 

Reflecting on last year’s season, Kelly spoke volumes about the positive aspects of the program.

 

“I’ve coached soccer for a long time,” he says. “Of course, we all want to win, right? It’s not that way (with this group). They just want to play and have success. They root for each other no matter what team they are on.”

 

The V.I.P. games can’t be defined as sticking to by-the-book regulations. For instance, games generally last “around an hour,” Kelly points out. Score isn’t kept, either.

 

“It’s a dynamic type of thing,” Kelly says. “You can’t be real structured and worry about the laws of the game too much. It’s a very special thing. We play on a very small field, but for a lot of these kids it’s a huge field to them.”

 

Games are held at Marshall Elementary School on an under-8 field, which signifies that the size of the field (about 30 yards wide by 40 yards long) is the same as that used by the AYSO’s 6- and 7-year-olds. Corner flags are set up, as are center circles and lines — trademarks of any regulation field. (This year, the team also plans to play a mainstream U-12 girls club.)

 

“I really want the kids to really feel they are playing a sport just like anybody else is doing,” Kelly says.

 

“(First of all), we want them to have fun,” he continues. “That’s the big thing. And we want to give these kids, to the best of their ability, a chance to understand the game, learn about teamwork, playing fair and also to increase their self-esteem and become more physically fit.

 

“For a lot of these kids, the chance to meet and be comfortable around new people helps a lot.”

 

Last year, there were kids with Down Syndrome and autism on the team. Josiah Finney, who uses a wheelchair, played goal with the assistance of his father, who helped him turn aside shots. If parents have a blind child who wants to play, the team can arrange to get a ball that beeps, Kelly said.

 

Players from the AYSO’s mainstream teams volunteered to be buddies for the V.I.P. players last year, showing up at practices and rooting them on during their games. This really helped raise the kids’ self-esteem, Kelly observed. Among the regular volunteers last year were Lynnae Kelly, 14, and 15-year-olds Amanda Thornsley and Karen Driver.

 

Besides helping kids build self-esteem and enjoy the camaraderie of their teammates, the V.I.P. Program proved to be a hit for spectators. Or as Kelly puts it, “I think that the parents, the families and the friends that have come to watch, they have as much fun as the players are. You can’t but help it because the players are having so much fun.”

 

Before V.I.P. games are officially declared finished, every player will score at least once. They all get a chance to dribble the ball, undefended and blast it or tap it into the back of the net.

 

“We had one kid last year who couldn’t kick the ball very well,” Kelly recalls. “He would take what would seem like an eternity. Everyone would cheer for Chris. When he finally put it in, you’d have thought he won the World Cup with all the cheering from the sideline.”

 

For sure, more kids and their families and friends would like to experience moments like that this season.

 

“Everyone has success,” Kelly concludes. “It’s amazing. … Competition that is so evident on the mainstream teams is just not there. So they are able to root for each other in such an honest way that it’s just very unusual.”

 

The goal is to expand the V.I.P. Program to 30 players this season, which will begin on June 5. The cost is $15 per player. Volunteers and team buddies are also needed.

 

For more information, call Kelly at 527-0508 or visit flagsoccer.org and click on the V.I.P. Program link.

 

 

HOOP SCOOP column: Josh Peppers and Michael Parker reaping rewards after years of hard work in Japanese hoop scene | The Japan Times

John Neumann gave the green light to bring American forwards Josh Peppers and Michael Parker to Japan. He had a good reason: He needed good players to make Rizing Fukuoka competitive during the expansion team’s inaugural 2007-08 campaign in the bj-league.

An astute talent evaluator, Neumann’s instincts were spot-on about both players. And really, he should’ve known. Neumann, after all, had been a high school superstar and scoring machine at the University of Mississippi, leading the NCAA in scoring with an astounding 40.1 points per game in 1970-71 before a playing career in the ABA, NBA and overseas that led to an extended global odyssey as a head coach in several countries.

Peppers and Parker helped the Rizing immensely in the team’s early history, and both continue to make important contributions more than a decade later for their respective teams.

Source: Josh Peppers and Michael Parker reaping rewards after years of hard work in Japanese hoop scene | The Japan Times

(Column flashback) Remembering the late Johanna Nilsson and one of her finest hours as an athlete

Ed Odeven Reporting

This column appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun on Dec. 3, 2005.

Note: Johanna Nilsson was one of the most supremely talented athletes I’ve ever seen. She passed away at age 30 in June 2013 in an apparent suicide.

Nilsson’s run-away cross country championship was no small feat

By Ed Odeven

Winning should be enjoyable for any athlete. Sometimes, though, it’s even more enjoyable for a coach.

Such was the case for NAU cross country coach John Hayes on Nov. 21 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

While at nationals, Hayes witnessed history being made in the women’s 6-kilometer race. Lumberjacks standout Johanna Nilsson took first in a field of 253 runners, setting a course-record of 19 minutes, 34 seconds in the process. Nilsson shared or held the lead for the entire race.

“As a coach, you may or may not ever have another NCAA cross-country…

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