December 13, 2013

Canadian Larisa Yurkiw racing in Meribel, France. Yurkiw is one of the many Olympic hopefuls around the world digging into their own pockets to front of the cost of making an Olympic team.     Photo: Courtesy of LarisaYurkiw.com

Sochi '14: Athletes Crowd-Source Support

Corporate sponsorship has declined since 2010

For many Olympic hopefuls vying to qualify for the Sochi Games in February, it's easier to qualify for the games than to foot the Olympic-size cost required to compete in the first place.

Following the 2010 Vancouver Games, many national skiing federations trimmed budgets amid declining corporate sponsorships, and athletes felt the pinch. Former U.S. ski coach Greg Needell told Bloomberg News that there are 20 to 30 Olympic-caliber alpine skiers around the world struggling to cover their training and competition cost as they try to travel to, and race in, qualifying events.

One of the those athletes is Canadian downhill ski champion Larisa Yurkiw, who placed seventh in a World Cup downhill race in Lake Louise, Canada, on December 6. After losing national team funding in April, she has raised $142,000 in corporate sponsorships on her own. Since Vancouver hosted the 2010 Games, Calgary-based Alpine Canada's annual sponsorship income fell about 25 percent, Bloomberg reports.

U.S. athletes have felt the pressure, too. After years of decline starting in 2009, the USSA has only recently seen a 1.6 percent increase in corporate sponsorship funds, according to data from its annual reports. Spokesman Tom Kelly, told Bloomberg most of the 54 skiers on the U.S. team pay some of their travel costs—typically $20,000 a year—out of their own pockets.

There are, however, new, creative, crowd-source solutions. Lindsey Van, who is expected to represent the United States in women's ski jumping, told The Washington Post her travel, equipment, and lodging cost her $85,000 per year. For support, she turned to online crowdfunding. On RallyMe.com, a kind of KickStarter for athletes, she raised more than $20,000 from 60 donors.

"These are world champions begging for two dollars to do what they love," Bill Kerig, who launched RallyMe.com, told The Post. He estimates that the site features about 100 Olympic hopefuls.

0 Comments

A Canadian army reservists climbs out of a frozen lake during winter warfare training.     Photo: Cpl. Laviolette/Flickr

This Week in Extreme Survival

In this week's installment: A woman survives by the heat of a small dog, a man takes shelter in a guitar case, and a family stays warm with the help of a rock-filled tire.

 

Semi-naked man survives freezing night in guitar case

Frozen pond, South Lodge Crescent, United Kingdom. Photo: Christine Matthews

Oklahoma ranchers found a nearly-naked man sheltered in a guitar case early Wednesday morning after a night when the air temperature was reportedly around 10 degree, with wildchill near zero.

And why would a man hide in a guitar case? For a woman, of course. On a 26-mile, nighttime trek from Cleon, Oklahoma, to Dion, Zack Aders walked across an iced-over pond and fell in. He hoisted himself out of the pond, stripped off to his boxers, and climbed into his guitar case until morning. Aders was taken to a local hospital and has since been released. He was reportedly walking through the frozen landscape to meet a woman.

 

Woman and dog survive three nights in Alaska

Elias Range Tundra, Alaska. Photo: Jack French/Wikimedia

Not that we needed more proof, but a 57-year-old woman discovered that dogs are indeed man's best friend. Vivian Mayo was saved by Elvis, a small, brown dog of unknown breed, when the two were stranded for three nights in Alaska's interior. Mayo was found Wednesday morning taking shelter under a burned-out snowmobile sharing body heat with the dog.


Hot rocks and burned tire keep six alive in Nevada

When temperatures reached -21 degrees on Monday night, the survivors of a Jeep rollover stuffed heated rocks into a spare tire to keep their children warm for two days. The six people were rescued on Tuesday in good condition. Read more: "Survival Skills Keep Six Alive in Nevada"



0 Comments

    Photo: Danny Clinch

Did Armstrong Buy “Million Dollar” Win?

Opponent says Lance paid him to throw race

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories in October 2012 and confessed to doping in January of this year, events Outside has covered extensively. But new allegations against the cyclist early in his career have surfaced, Cycling News reports.

Former pro-rider Roberto Gaggioli told Corriere della Sera and the Italian magazine Cycling Pro that in October of 1993, Armstrong paid him $100,000 to allow him victory during the final leg of the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling later that year. The Triple Crown was the third in a series of races with a cash bounty of $1 million for the rider who could win all three.

“It was a young American colleague [at the door]. He gave me a cake wrapped as a present, wished me ‘Happy Christmas' and then left,” former cyclist Roberto Gaggioli said. “There was $100,000 dollars in small bills in the box. That colleague was Lance Armstrong.”

Gaggioli was racing with the Coors Light team, one of two groups Armstrong allegedly bought off that year—the Mercatone Uno team was the other. Armstrong’s negotiations with the riders secured him the prize money, according to Gaggioli. Way to be, Lance, way to be.

And, in case you missed it, Keith Olbermann dropped a bomb on Armstrong last night on his show regarding the cyclist’s recent interview with ESPN The Magazine.

“...here's the only part of the whole sleazy mess that isn't Lance Armstrong's fault: We enable his delusion, you and I have to tell him what it really is...you're an f-ing schmuck, you're  a fraud, you're a cheat. Happy holidays."

0 Comments

A new report on the Yarnell Hill Fire was released on December 4.     Photo: Ruig/Thinkstock

Harsh New Yarnell Fire Report

Bad decisions blamed for deaths

A second report on the Yarnell Hill Fire was released earlier this month, highlighting new evidence that may explain one of the most tragic wildfires in recent memory. The report, issued by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety & Health, indicated that firefighters were ordered to protect non-defensible structures—houses without safe clearings around them—instead of prioritizing their own safety, reports High Country News.

The new findings draw attention to the lack of discussion surrounding the approaching thunderstorms, which ultimately lead to the fire increasing in power and danger. In addition, the report explores the possible failure of communication before the Granite Mountain Hotshots decided to leave a safety zone in an attempt to escape the growing fire through a neighboring ranch, according to reports from Arizona’s New Times.  

This second report highlights these failures in decision-making as possible explanations for the tragic deaths of the 19 hotshots that were caught in a devastating burn-over. 

Another unfortunate finding of the second report is the near absence of the U.S. Forest Service from the investigation. Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today explains:

"To my knowledge, this is the first time that the USFS has refused categorically to allow their employees to be interviewed following a serious accident that occurred on a fire. ... If this is going to be the policy of the USFS going forward, it can severely disrupt future lessons learned inquiries, and in some cases could make them 'useless.' Interfering with the process of learning of how to prevent similar fatalities does a disservice to the dead firefighters."

For more on the tragic Yarnell Hill Fire and the death of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, see Outside’s November cover story “19: The True Story of the Yarnell Fire.”



0 Comments

Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone Supervolcano is HUGE!

Eruption would spell doom for America

Scientists studying a massive volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park have determine that it is possibly 2.5 times larger than previously thought. When the "supervolcano" last erupted, 640,000 years ago, it blanketed North America in suffocating ash and drastically altered the planet's climate. 

A research team from the University of Utah found that the volcano's magma chamber stretches for more than 55 miles and contains between 200 and 600 cubic kilometers of molten rock. “We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger," University of Utah Professor Bob Smith told the BBC. "But this finding is astounding."

To get an accurate reading of the massive chamber, the team planted seismometers around the park and measured Yellowstone's small but frequent earthquakes. “The waves travel slower through hot and partially molten material," said Dr Jamie Farrell. "With this, we can measure what’s beneath.” They found that not only was the chamber larger than previously thought, but that it pushed much farther into the north east end of the park. “To our knowledge there has been nothing mapped of that size before," Farrell adds.

So, how soon until the molten chamber of destruction unleashes hell upon mankind? That's hard to say given the lack of data. So far there are only three known eruptions of the volcano, 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago. That works out to an average of about 700,000 years based on two events, meaning the next blow could be around the corner. Professo Bob Smith, however, is circumspect: “How many people would buy something on the stock market on two days of stock data," he asked.

0 Comments

Comments