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How to Win the Gold Medal

The 2012 London Olympics have come to a close.  Now, I can’t pretend to tell you how to win an Olympic gold medal.  I can’t tell you how to get to the Olympics.  What I do know is that there were teenagers doing incredible Olympic feats at the 2012 London Games.  To even get to the Olympics is amazing—to win a medal is incredible.  To win a landmark medal is astounding.  Claressa Shields, 17, won the first gold medal ever awarded for women’s middleweight boxing.

Gabby Douglas, 16, is the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and the team competitions.

Kirani James, 19, won the first gold medal ever for his country of Grenada by winning the gold in the 400 meter race.

Missy Franklin, 17, won 4 gold medals and set several American records.  This YouTube video was created by a fan.

Wow.  These teens are absolutely inspirational.  Check out these books about teens, sports, and life.


Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane

Happy reading and happy sporting!

Olympic Mania-Let the Games Begin!

In just a few hours the XXX Olympiad will kick off with a star studded Opening Ceremony. The Games will officially be opened by the Queen of England, but not before British actor Daniel Craig makes an appearance as English super spy James Bond.  Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has designed the ceremonies to reflect both the urban and rural aspects of Britain.  Music from wide ranging sources will be featured throughout the event.  A medley of songs in Punjab to reflect Britain’s Indian influences, plus the theme from English TV series Dr. Who, English rock band Muse and Sir Paul McCartney will be featured.

A lot has been made of controversies surrounding this Olympic Games in London from security concerns to transportation but there’s no denying that the Olympics has created some of the most amazing  examples of sportsmanship, achievement and triumph over great odds.

Here are a few of my favorite Olympic moments to get you ready.

Kerri Strug completes a perfect vault on an injured ankle to clinch the all around gold medal for her team!

Michael Phelps wins just one of a record 8 gold medals at single Olympics in 2008

A team of amateur US hockey players defeat the Russian hockey power house despite all the odds in 1980

– Brooke, CLP-South Side

On Your Mark, Get Set…GO!

Here’s a shout-out to East Liberty, Homewood, Friendship, and Shadyside on Sunday during the Pittsburgh Marathon!  I am particular to them because they carried me through all 6.1 miles of my relay leg.  Everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather, cheering us on as we thundered through their neighborhoods in our running shoes and sweat.  Music blasting from the street corners, lyrics joining the cheers and encouragement as it pounded through our blood.  Even now, a few days later, I am still affected by the support of the neighborhoods, and as spectators they certainly deserve 1st place!

As you may have already guessed, cross-country running is my go-to, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying many other recreational sports or activities.  (WARNING: I like them but it doesn’t mean I’m any good ;)) What’s got you hooked, your heart-racing adrenaline taking over?  As a spectator or a contender, the emotion of an event can be rather exciting!  Whether it is basketball, football, hockey, golf, tennis, volleyball, or some other cool activity, you’ll be sure to find fans and players alike are all rooting for the big WIN!  If you are the type that prefer to do computer whiz fun, getting artsy, or gaming (don’t worry, I didn’t forget you either) check out the sweet things that will get you up and running, too!  (Well, maybe not literally…)

Ultimate Sports: Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults edited by Donald R. Gallo

  Sixteen original sports stories featuring young men and women playing basketball and football, running track and cross-     country, and training for the triathlon, as well as participating in water sports, raquetball, tennis, boxing, wrestling, and the ultimate sport of the future.

 

Guide to Outdoor Sports edited and written by Jonathan Hanson and Roseann Beggy Hanson

   All you need to get started camping, dayhiking, backpacking,
mountain biking, sea kayaking, canoeing, river running,
cross-country skiing, and climbing. 

 

 

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets.  He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”  ~Emil Zatopek

Will this be the Pirates’ year?

Can the Pirates end their infamous losing streak this year?  In two words- probably not.  In the early part of the season, there has been a glaring weakness for the team- they CAN’T HIT the ball!  They rank near the bottom of almost every hitting statistic in the league.  They are last in batting average, home runs, and on base percentage.  And they are not even last by a point or two.  It’s a pretty big gap in almost every stat between them and the next worst team.  Their power hitter of the future, Pedro Alvarez, is batting around .050 and is on pace to break the alltime record for strikeouts by a better in one season!  On the bright side, the pitching looks pretty good, Andrew McCutchen is signed to a long term deal, and PNC Park is still a great place to watch a game.  But to me, that is not nearly enough to end the Pirates‘ 19 year losing streak.  It looks like they will make it two straight decades of losing.


Spare Your Body! Last Chance to Get Fit Before Fall Sports

If you’ve been following the upcoming NFL season, you may have caught news that Lions rookie running back Mikel Leshoure suffered a torn Achilles tendon and will be out for the season. He marks the 10th torn Achilles’ in NFL training camps to date; according to this USA Today article, half are rookies (only one is older than 25) and are almost certainly hurt due to a lack of preparedness because of the lockout-shortened pre-season.

So, as football, soccer, and other fall sports approach, make sure your body is ready for the physical challenges of competition. Luckily, the library has books that can get you up to game speed in no time.

Fitness Information for Teens
edited by Lisa Bakewell

Everything from working your muscles to proper stretching and nutrition is covered in this detailed guide, designed specifically for the teenage anatomy. Different chapters also cover issues related to specific sports, from softball to skating.

Strength and Power
by Avery D. Faigenbaum and Wayne L. Westcott

This book is designed specifically for building muscle strength and athleticism. Reduce injuries with the increased strength and power designed through the workouts in this book, as well as the sport-specific workouts for power sports, jumping sports, striking sports, and endurance sports.

Fitness Training for Girls
by Katrina Gaede, Alan Lachica, and Doug Werner

Whether by joining a gym, working out at home, playing sports, or just living a more active life, this is a book geared towards being a mentally tough, physically strong young woman.

Peak Performance
by Donna Shryer

The foods and nutrition guidelines in this book are specifically designed for your athletic training and performance, from what meals to eat, which vitamins and supplements to take, and when you should consume all these things for maximum impact.

So get training and get ready to kick, pass, run, tackle, jump, and whatever else your sporty self desires–and do it safely!

~Joseph
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Skate or Die! Thrasher Magazine Archives Now Online

Check out a 13 year-old Tony Hawk (bottom right) from Thrasher Magazine's inaugural August 1981 issue.

If you’re a skate head, you probably already know Thrasher Magazine. But did you know that they recently started publishing their back issues online? Check out their covers index, and you’ll find fully scanned archives of every magazine from 1981-1988.

"Look lady, just leave me alone, O.K.?" Bright, anti-authoritarian covers turned Thrasher Magazine into a magnet for young me and plenty of rebellious kids everywhere.

If you’re interested in exploring the three rivers on four wheels, select a skateboard and head on over to your local skate shop. After that, check out a bunch of skate-related books (both fiction and non-fiction) from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and you’ll be thrashing before you know it.

~Joseph
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

March Madness Continued!

Today begins the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament.  Although local favorite Pitt has been eliminated, there are some great matchups to be played this weekend.  At the start of the tournament, I predicted the Final Four would be Duke, Ohio St., Kansas and Wisconsin.  All four of my Final Four teams are still alive entering this weekend.  Who do you think will make the Final Four?  Who will win the whole tournament?  Let us know what you think and enjoy the games!

Jim C.
West End

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