Archive for the ‘Professional Sports’ Category

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Bears need to extend Urlacher’s contract


You cant get attached to players in professional sports. Thats any good GMs motto. You pay for future performance and not because there a fan favorite. In this case though, the Chicago Bears need to  make sure Brian Urlacher remains a Chicago Bear after this season.

Urlacher has one year on his deal remaining. He commented a few weeks ago that he will look forward to experiencing free agency next season if the Bears do not get a deal done prior. Urlacher is currently recovering from a knee injury suffered in last years finale. He will be ready for the start of the season by all accounts. Brian Urlacher is the face of what the Chicago Bears are. He needs to get a extension this off season so that he retires a Bear. The Bears dont need another messy contract negotiation like the one they currently have with Matt Forte. A long term deal getting done with Forte seems like a long shot now. The Bears have bigger priorities in Jay Cutler and Brian Urlacher who both will need extension in the next year or two. The Bears have no apparent heir to the middle linebacker position. Even though the linebacker will be 35 next season, he still is performing at a high level.  He has been named to 7 Pro Bowls which is the most in Bears history for a player. In 2011, Urlacher had 92 total tackles and 77 were solo. He had 3 interceptions on the season as well.

Urlachers numbers obviously will slowly start to decline. The production level wont be at its peak, but he should still provide solid production at his position. From a PR standpoint, a extension  keeps the face of the franchise intact. Fans will be thrilled and the locker room of players will be pleased to see how the veteran was treated. When negotiating contracts future production equals the dollar amount. This may be a time though were you pay for the player and not the future numbers. Urlacher remaining with the Bears should be a priority. If they can get a deal done before the opening of camp in Bourbonnais it would great. Its time GM Phil Emery sits down with Brians agent and get this issue resolved.

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Column: Durant is the anti-superstar superstar


Lets get one thing clear right from the start: This is not another rant against LeBron James.

But its sure hard not to root for Kevin Durant and the little city that could from Americas heartland.

James is the best player in the world, hands down, and certainly deserving of his first championship. Rest assured, Commissioner David Stern and the bigwigs over at ABC are sure glad LBJ is back in the NBA finals after the television ratings bonanza he was largely responsible for during Miamis riveting Eastern Conference victory over Boston.

That said, the Oklahoma City Thunder and their gracious star have shown another side to a league where the big names often come across as petty, selfish and overflowing with hubris.

Theres the glasses and backpack Durant wears off the court, which make him look more like a Star Wars nerd than perhaps the second-best player on the planet. Theres the heart-tugging hugs he doled out to his mom and family after beating San Antonio for a spot in the finals, the humility he shows when talking about his stupendous game, the sense that he truly embraces playing in one of the leagues backwater cities.

Hes the anti-superstar superstar.

Kevin gets it, said former player Steve Smith, now an analyst for NBA TV. The way he plays. The way he carries himself. The way he handles the media. What tops it off is his love and passion for the game. During the lockout, he was just continually wanting to play basketball. Thats a treat for me.

Hes kind of a throwback player, like those guys back in the `80s and `90s.

Unlike players such as James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, who either joined new teams as free agents or engineered trades by threatening to bolt, Durant seems perfectly content to stay where he is. Never mind that his marketing clout would be much greater in a city such as New York or Los Angeles.

He passed up even a shot at restricted free agency to quietly sign a new five-year deal with the Thunder, a contract that didnt even come with an opt-out clause _ normally standard operating procedure for someone of his ilk.

While there are players who speak of themselves in the third person and act as though their needs come before the teams, Durant spends most of his time talking humbly about ways to get better, sounding more like a backup than a three-time scoring champion.

He truly seems to have no interest in the trappings of fame.

Theres just something about him. Hes got charisma. Hes the humblest superstar, said Mike Breen, who will call the series for ABC. Hes a special, special player, but he seems to have that charisma people are attracted to even if they arent basketball fans.

No doubt, its easy to get a big head playing in the NBA.

By its very nature, basketball is built on star power. One player can have more impact on the game than any other sport. One player can turn a bad team into a great team, or at least a very good one. Not surprisingly, the small group of athletes who take on these roles can get a very inflated view of themselves, which might lead one of them to, say, hold an hourlong TV special to announce where theyre going to play.

But again, this is not about being anti-LeBron.

Were over The Decision, and its time for rest of the nation to do the same (except Cleveland, which is allowed to keep fuming).

This is about being pro-Durant.

Hes a superstar player whos as likable off the court as he is effective on it, said another player-turned-NBA TV analyst, Greg Anthony. That bodes well for the game.

The NBA finals, which begin Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, are certainly being viewed by many as good vs. evil, a story line that is largely rooted in James 2010 decision to leave Cleveland and his lifelong roots in northern Ohio to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on a South Beach super team. The move represented all thats wrong about the NBA: a superstar turning his back on a worshipping city, three guys gaming the system to get on the same team, a glitzy franchise trying to ensure itself of a championship simply by pulling out its checkbook.

Never mind that these sort of tactics have gone on for years in all professional sports. James certainly deserved criticism for the way he announced he was dumping the Cavaliers in favor of the Heat, and the over-the-top ceremony that welcomed the Big Three to Miami justifiably left the rest of the league seething.

But its time to get past it and recognize James for what he is: the No. 1 player in the game and certain to go down as one of the greatest of all time. His performance in the playoffs _ especially after Bosh went down with an injury _ was beyond spectacular. Anyone who doubted the heart and willpower of this guy was apparently not watching games 6 and 7 against the Celtics.

James, a three-time league MVP, stared down Beantown and took the Heat on his back, single-handedly carrying them to the finals for the second year in a row.

He is worthy of your admiration, if not your adulation.

This guy is a great player who plays very hard, very unselfishly, said former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy, who will serve as ABCs analyst in the series. If the biggest mistake hes made in his life is how he announced that he was exercising his free agency decision and, then, the celebration that ensued because of it, I really dont get (why) for casual NBA fans or fans in other NBA cities, it provokes bitterness and animosity thats lasted this long.

The way he goes about his business and the way he plays the game, Van Gundy went on, are models for the way you should play the game.

But Durant is just so darn likable.

Sorry, LeBron, but its hard to root against him.


Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at) or

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Young professional sports car racer Dion von Moltke endorses Dr …


CORAL GABLES, Fla., June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
Grand-Am and American Le Mans series rising star Dion von Moltke is on a quest to become a multiple champion at the highest levels of sports car racing. In addition to maintaining a grueling physical training regimen and a disciplined nutrition program, Dion recognized early on that the ‘mental game’ was perhaps the most critical component necessary for him to achieve his performance goals. His research to find the best solution to help him master this component of the success equation led him to the doorstep of internationally-respected performance specialist Dr. Jacques Dallaire of Performance Prime.

Dr. Dallaire has worked with more than 700 high-performance racing drivers, as well as many hundreds of top-level athletes and high-risk/high-demand occupational professionals from different walks of life. In the sport of motor racing, he has worked with such iconic names as Senna, Mansell, Fittipaldi, Unser, Gordon, Haywood, Bell, Castroneves, and many more.

“I knew that well-developed mental skills were critical to my performance in a race car and learned that Dr. Dallaire has worked with many of the most successful race car drivers in the world. While he doesn’t advertise his services and many of his clients never discuss it, I luckily found out about his work from another competitor in the paddock who was willing to share with me what he got from his experience working with Dr. Dallaire. I decided that I had no choice but to contact him and find out more about his performance programs,” said Dion. “I’m so glad that I did because the experience and what I learned through his program has truly been life-changing for me as well!”

Dr. Jacques Dallaire shared this observation: “Every one of us mentally sabotages ourselves on a regular basis… it seems to be a trait shared by all humans! However, when we understand how this process of self-sabotage occurs and how we can more effectively control our thoughts, performance improves. My goal has always been to shed light on these issues and provide solutions that work, and Dion has been a top student who has really learned how to incorporate this kind of mental control into his work as a professional racing driver and into his life in general. He has over time, transformed his approach to performance and is developing a level of mental toughness that high-performance people dream of.”

Young von Moltke is enthusiastic about the new book just released by Dr. Dallaire. “Dr. Jacques’ new book ‘Performance Thinking – Mental Skills for the Competitive World…and for Life!’ addresses two basic but profoundly important questions for anyone interested in performance like me: How do I mentally sabotage my own performance? and How can I control my thinking in order to optimize my own performance? I am confident that it will help people clearly understand how the way that they think directly influences how they perform and it will help them to learn what I’ve learned… how to bring laser focus to everything I do, and how confidence plays into how I perform. While I’m not really happy that my competitors now have such easy access to this information with this book, I am excited that this information is now getting out to a lot more people who can certainly benefit from it.”

Dion, who has been supported in his racing efforts for many years by PR Newswire and South African Airways, plans to continue to work with Dr. Dallaire as he advances in international sports car racing and strives to establish himself as a household name in the racing world. He has come to realize that the knowledge he has acquired from his work with Dr. Dallaire can help him to transfer this knowledge to other racers and performance-driven clients and he is incorporating the principles, concepts, and techniques that he has learned into the way he approaches his driver training sessions. His clients will be the beneficiaries of his quest for excellence and as he commits to further developing his mental skills and the mindset of a champion, he is confident that it may some day help him to win more racing championships around the world.

About Dion von Moltke: Dion von Moltke, who is managed by Team Vomo, is a professional race car driver who has multiple wins in Skip Barber, Grand-Am, and the American Le Mans series, including a recent win at the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring. Dion, also a highly popular driver instructor who focuses on all aspects of peak performance, will compete in the Grand-AM Rolex season in the APR Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, with co-driver Dr. Jim Norman. Visit to find out more about Dion, his resume, and his 2012 racing program.

About Dr. Jacques Dallaire: Dr. Jacques Dallaire, President of Performance Prime, is an internationally-respected performance specialist who has worked with thousands of high-level athletes, race car drivers, occupational specialists, and business professionals over the past 40 years. Visit for more information about Dr. Dallaire and Performance Prime.

About PR NEWSWIRE ( ): PR Newswire is the premier global provider of multimedia platforms that enable marketers, corporate communicators, sustainability officers, public affairs and investor relations officers to leverage content to engage with all their key audiences. Having pioneered the commercial news distribution industry 57 years ago, PR Newswire today provides end-to-end solutions to produce, optimize and target content — from rich media to online video to multimedia — and then distribute content and measure results across traditional, digital, mobile and social channels. Combining the world’s largest multi-channel, multi-cultural content distribution and optimization network with comprehensive workflow tools and platforms, PR Newswire enables the world’s enterprises to engage opportunity everywhere it exists. PR Newswire serves tens of thousands of clients from offices in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and is a UBM plc company.

About South African Airways: South African Airways features daily nonstop service from the U.S. to South Africa with morning departures from New York JFK and afternoon direct service from Washington Dulles (with a stop in Dakar, Senegal) that offer travel convenience and award-winning service. Travelers in Premium Business Class enjoy 180-degree fully flat-bed seats, and in Economy Class enjoy the most legroom versus competitors. Every seat on board offers an individual on-demand entertainment system, plush pillow, warm blanket and amenity kit. SAA’s unrivaled network, featuring seamless connections to nearly 20 destinations within South Africa, and more than 25 cities across the rest of the continent, makes the airline the savvy traveler’s “gateway to Africa.” To complement this network, a world of privileges awaits those who join Voyager, South African Airways’ premier mileage program. To sign up, visit , and link to the Voyager icon. As a Star Alliance member, South African Airways is able to offer its customers 1,290 destinations in 189 countries and more than 21,000 flights daily, including convenient connections from more than 25 cities in the U.S. through code share service with Star Alliance member United Airlines. Members of United’s, US Airways’ and Air Canada’s frequent traveler programs are able to earn and redeem miles on all SAA flights. For more information on South African Airways, please call (800) 722-9675 or visit , where travelers can sign up to be notified of other great travel deals and vacation packages. For information about South Africa, visit .

SOURCE Team Vomo

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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Cuban hero Stevenson passes away


Cubas three-time Olympic heavyweight champion Teofilo Stevenson has died at the age of 60, reportedly from a heart attack.

In the 1970s, US boxing promoters offered Stevenson $5m to turn professional and fight then world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

But the boxer stayed loyal to the Cuban revolution, which outlawed professional sports, and refused. He said: I prefer the affection of eight million Cubans.

Stevenson was born in Las Tunas province in eastern Cuba and fought his first bout at the age of 14.

He went on to win gold medals as a heavyweight in three consecutive Olympic Games — 1972 in Munich, 1976 in Montreal and 1980 in Moscow — and was widely considered the greatest amateur boxer of his time.

The Olympic Games in Munich and Montreal are the fondest memories I have from my life, the best stage of my career, he said earlier this year.

Boxing fans were keen to see him face Ali in what they hoped would be the fight of the century, but Stevenson turned the offer down.

He missed a shot at a fourth Olympic gold when Cuba joined the Soviet boycott of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He retired in 1988 after Cuba opted to skip the Seoul Olympics as well.

After retiring, Stevenson became a coach and served as vice president of the Cuban Boxing Federation.

Irish Independent