Category Archives: The Daily

Daily Athlete on the Rise: Rory Mcilroy

Wells Fargo Championship - Round One
It may seem that an athlete with three major victories and a world ranking of No.1 would be considered ‘on the rise’ and not ‘there.’ But when you rewind to WGC Bridgestone 2007, it is apparent there is still room for him to rise.

WGC Bridgestone from 2007: a dominant Tiger Woods. The large crowds followed him around the course. Aerial shots showed large portions of the course nearly empty and a massive crowd around Tiger’s putting green. Several stewards tagged along with Tiger taking cell phones if necessary and signaling to the crowd when they were to be quite and when they could cheer… And when they could cheer, they did cheer; wildly. Tiger blasted past Formula legend Michael Schumacher’s annual earnings record for an athlete. Pushing that number form $84 million to over $100 million. No athlete has a career earnings greater than Tiger… In any sport.  And there still exist many, many casual golf fans who only tune in if Tiger is in contention.

Now, Mcilroy joins Tiger and Jack Nichlaus as the only golfers to have three major championship victories by the time they were 25. The newscasters are starting to say ‘Tiger and Rory,’ ‘Rory and Tiger.’ They are both Nike athletes, and the shoemaker has realized that they are becoming the two biggest names in golf, running commercial campaigns starring both. And now with Tiger’s fortunes seemingly to deteriorate at a consistency and seriousness that suggests we may never see him at his beast again, can Rory take over? There may never be another Tiger, but can Rory bring the casual fans back, and put the big corporate dollars front and center? That remains to be seen but with his 2014 Bridgestone victory Rory Mcilroy is certainly and athlete on the rise.

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Daily Athlete on the Rise: Peter Sagan

Stage winner, Slovakia's Peter Sagan (C)

‘The Hulk’ Peter Sagan once again dominated the Green jersey competition at this year’s Tour de France. He was frustratingly consistent not winning a single stage but, finishing in the top five on the first seven stages! His team surely had holes in it, but he also seemed to mistime his sprints, seemingly leaving the all-out assault too late.

But he also has the ‘Hulk’ strength to climb hills and small mountains that are too tough for the other sprint contenders to stay in the front of the peloton. This strength allows him to take points on stages that most sprinters would consider to be stages for the climbers or all-arounders. It also allows him to do a sprint for intermediate sprint marks… Making him nearly impossible to beat in the points competition. He has a change to go on win this Green Jersey for another five years.

He’s only 24 and with a huge personality…

peter sagan butt pinch

What will the future bring? All I can say is I can’t wait.. No Matter what team he is on next year? Cannondale-Tinkoff?

Oh he can do wheelies too…

peter sagan wheelie 2

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Daily Athlete on the Rise: Tejay Van Garderen

Le Tour de France 2012 - Previews

Tejay Van Garderen may be the best all-around rider the United States has seen since Lance Armstrong. At 25 he has two top 5 finishes at the Tour de France and he does it with a balanced set of skills. He is good climber, powerful time trialist and he’s strong on the flats, making him a tough rider for his competitors to crack.

This 2014 Tour was a bit a struggle for him and his team. After going through several crashes in the first week, including one on the extremely difficult stage 5 cobbles, he encountered sickness going into the first rest day. Everything seemed to be under control until mid-way through the Alpes; he bonked. Not eating enough on the rest day he conceding over three minutes to his closest rivals. But he stopped the hemorrhaging and rode strong the final week ultimately clawing back one place in the final time trial to 5th place overall.

With his strong 2014 Tour de France performance Tejay not only proved that his 5th place in 2012 finish was no fluke, but also that he could handle the pressure of team leadership and adversity. Look for him to be a podium favorite in 2015 and maybe, just maybe, a Tour de France victory is in his future.

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Daily Athlete on the Rise: Daniel Ricciardo

F1 Young Drivers Testing - Day Two

It’s not often that a sophomore driver moves up to a premiere Formula 1 team and shows up his four-time and defending world champion teammate… in fact it’s never happened, until now.

Daniel Ricciardo has the same material as the great Sebastian Vettel; the same engine, same aerodynamics, same tires, and the same distain for Mercedes’ dominance. But, yet, he’s consistently getting the better of Vettel, and after a convincing win at Hungarian Grand Prix, it seems the better of everyone else too.

Throughout this 2014 season, Ricciardo has been the only driver able to crack Mercedes stronghold on victory lane. He’s the only non-Mercedes driver to win a grand prix this year; winning both the Canadian and HUngarian Grand Prix. And that’s pretty impressive considering the likes of Alonso, Raikkonen and, of course, Vettel are behind the wheel as well. A combined 7 World Championships between them! And its Ricciardo who is single-handedly chasing down the turbo scientists at Mercedes.

With his recent victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix he is now back into the world championship conversation. It’s going to be a tall ask to knock off both of the Mercedes drivers, but just being in the conversation at this point in the season is a huge coup for Ricciardo. So, grip the TV remote steering wheel tight for the finale of this season, as the young Ricciardo lays chase to the dominate Mercedes.

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Daily Athlete on the Rise: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Physical Monsters still exist! And Milwaukee Buck’s forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of them. Nicknamed the ‘Greek Freak’ he’s currently preparing to embarrass people in his second NBA season.

Antetokounmpo was taken 15th overall in the 2013 draft by the Bucks. The Greek Freak didn’t see much of the court last season, but began to pick up playing time toward the end of the year. Expect to see his minutes per game rise from 24.6 to well into the 30’s. Why use one of our famous daily spotlights on a second year player who is yet to put up impressive numbers in the NBA?

Lets start with his athleticism. In the combine, Giannis recorded a 44-inch vertical. And that’s at 6’9” with a 7’3” wingspan! But thats just the beginning. He started his NBA career just under 6’9”… stay with me… Now, as he is preparing for his sophomore season, he is measuring out at 6’11” flat, with his  wingspan spreading to 7’4”! Revised draft big boards suggest that with those measurements, the Greek Freak would have been a unanimous 1st overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. What makes this all even more impressive is Giannis Antetokoumnpo is only 19 years old. That’s right, this monster can’t even enjoy a beer yet.

Stats are great, but how does this translate into performance? Kevin Durant found out the hard way.

antetokounmpo block

This one of the most impressive blocks of the entire season. Take a closer look; note where Antetokounmpo’s hand is when the block is made compared to the rim. People aren’t supposed to be able to do that! His hand is a clean 6-8 inches above the rim.

During this years summer league in Las Vegas, Antetokounmpo really impressed. Over a span of four games, he averaged 17 PPG and nearly 6 RPG. He displayed his refined jumper, which granted him success from the mid range, and from behind the arch, while still showcasing his dangerous driving ability. His quickness was hard for even smaller forwards and guards to contain.

With the size of a true NBA 4 or 5, the handling skills of a point guard, and the scoring ability of a wing, he may be the most versatile player in the NBA. Bucks coach Jason Kidd has already told the media of his plans to use Giannis at Point Guard, a position he played in Greece.

Everyone in the world of basketball, maybe the world of sports, should keep their eye on Antetokoumnpo this upcoming season. With more minutes coming his way, and more positions on the court, the sky is the limit for Antetokounmpo.

Just enjoy this kid’s ability one more time.

giannis

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Daily Athlete on the Rise: Marcel Kittel

Mercel Kittel

Known mostly for having the hair of virgin angels and for his stellar performance in 1985 classic Rocky IV, Marcel Kittel has also emerged the world’s most dominant sprinter in 2014 Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish’s replacement as the foremost sprinter in the world was inevitable, but I don’t think any of us thought it would happen quite so quickly or with so much force. In last year’s Tour de France, Kittel went head-to-head with the great Mark Cavendish. He took the first stage, the last stage and a few in-between for good measure. No doubt getting the better of the ‘Manx Missile.’ This year, sans Mark Cavendish, he was even more dominate, again taking the first stage, the crown jewel of the Champs-Elysee and two more stages in-between. He handles himself with class and restraint. No head butts in the final 200 meters for this guy, probably in an effort not to disturb the hair, but whatever the reason, the fans appreciate it. And at the tender age of twenty-six there could still be a half-decade of dominance ahead for Kittel. His stock is definitely up after this Tour de France, look for his face to be a few more Deutsche-Wheaties in the coming months.

As Ivan Drago ’85:

ivan drago

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