Thursday, November 24, 2011
"With a career as a professional triathlete spanning over a decade it's now time for a new direction and new goals. Having done triathlons and endurance sports for the better part of my life it's still something I'm very passionate about and I'm happy to stay in the endurance world but now as a coach. With a combination of theoretical knowledge from my university studies and experience from my own career my goal is to offer customized training programs with a personal touch".
Please log onto www.bjornandersson.se for more information or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or just click on the title link)
About Björn Andersson
With a career as a professional spanning over ten years with several international victories as well as eight national titles, Björn Andersson is one of the most successful triathletes coming out of Sweden.
•1st Wildflower triathlon
•1st UK 70.3 Ironman
•1st Timberman 70.3 Ironman
•1st Norseman Xtreme triathlon (course record)
•1st Nautica Malibu triathlon
•3rd European championships Ironman 70.3
•8 time national triathlon champion
•Cycling national team time trial champion
Monday, November 21, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The script for the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco probably didn't go down the way Kelly Slater, or anyone else for that matter, pictured it. First Slater wins his 11th World Title on a perfect day at Ocean Beach. Then Slater discovers he didn't win his 11th World Title thanks to an egregious error by the ASP. Then Slater wins his 11th World Title again, this time in a subdued celebration on a cold, windy day. Then Slater is upset by 17-year-old Gabriel Medina of Brazil, who would go on to defeat Australian Joel Parkinson in the finals to win the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco.
Still, if you were a fan of surfing and wanted to see the world's best surfers tackle the strong currents, heavy waves and blustery conditions that often accompany Ocean Beach, chances are you weren't disappointed.
While the drama surrounding Kelly Slater's 11th World Title captured most of the attention, it was the incredible display of surfing at Ocean Beach that stole the show. Surfers like Slater, Medina, Parko, Taylor Knox and Josh Kerr humbled a lot of Ocean Beach regulars who rarely see the deep barrel rides and aerial displays that the pros did with relative ease. Without question, the thousands of spectators that assembled to watch the world's best surfers certainly didn't leave disappointed.
As for Slater, his San Francisco experience could be best described as a mixed bag. On one hand he won his 11th World Title here, and his first celebration was during an unbelievable day when Ocean Beach was offering perfect surfing conditions under clear, beautiful sunny skies with light offshore winds. The crowd went crazy and Slater had a blast later that evening drinking beer and bowling.
While it was Slater himself who discovered the ASP's mathematical error that resulted in Slater having to go back out and win another heat to make his 11th World Title official, out he went during a colder day with stronger currents and choppier waves to make sure that the chase wouldn't leave San Francisco. What did disappoint Slater a little though was losing in the quarterfinals to eventual contest winner Medina, resulting in finishing the contest tied for fifth place.
"I was totally out of sync, but got the job done earlier," said Slater shortly after his quarterfinal heat. "It's always nice to try and win the event if you're in it. I just couldn't put it together out there. I've had three fifths this year. I hate fifth places." Slater chuckled after that last comment, although given Slater's competitive drive he probably wasn't joking that much.
Slater did get a chance to talk about his experience in San Francisco. "I expected a little more fog than we had," said Slater, who has reportedly been staying in nearby Pacifica. "Basically it's about what I thought. We went and saw some of the sights, and went into the city a little bit so far. I think we're a little bit lucky with the water temp. It's a bit warmer than I think it usually is. I was surprised I didn't need booties or gloves. It was about what I thought wave wise, and it's been a good trip."
Slater is rumored to still be in the San Francisco area. Don't be surprised if you run into him in the city, or see him at Candlestick Park Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants in a pivotal NFC Conference game.
Some other notes and thoughts as the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco has come to a close:
•One of the fascinating aspects of having an ASP World Tour contest in San Francisco was the old school feel of it. On the first day of the contest, with currents running extremely strong going north to south and no PWCs allowed, surfers like Adriano de Souza would catch waves going right, ride them as far in as they could, then run on the beach north before heading back into the water. This is what professional surfers used to do back in the '80s and '90s. Now, most ASP World Tour contests use PWCs to take surfers back to the lineup when currents become an issue. It was fun watching the surfers having to use their legs more than usual.
•Another unusual aspect of having the contest at Ocean Beach was seeing local surfers repeatedly ignore warnings from the loudspeakers by beach commentators to stay away from the contest zone. This rarely if ever occurs at other ASP World Tour events, although it was a more usual occurrence some 20 years ago. On more than one occasion, you had the best surfers in the world sitting literally in a pack of locals, all of whom were fighting for the same wave. Joel Parkinson reportedly had a local cut him off in the opening round. Kelly Slater was also among the competitors who found themselves at times surrounded by local surfers fighting for the same waves.
•Shortly after Kelly Slater's quarterfinal defeat to Medina, San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith and starting offensive linemen Joe Staley and Adam Snyder, a day removed from the 49ers's 19-11 victory over the Washington Redskins, stopped by Ocean Beach to watch the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco. Slater and Smith chatted for a short while. Slater signed autographs for Snyder, a Southern California native who has surfed since high school and owns six surfboards. The 49ers players brought their families along and looked like they were enjoying themselves.
•It was appalling watching ASP CEO Brodie Carr, who came straight to town after the ASP's World Title blunder, celebrating and having beers with ASP Tour Manager Renato Hickel shortly after the completion of the contest. Even though the majority of the surf community doesn't follow the ASP with the same passion and fervor as say a fan of the NFL does, many were clearly outraged over arguably the biggest blunder in ASP history of miscalculating the necessary points needed for the World Title. Carr did the right thing this week, resigning as CEO of the ASP. "It is my duty to accept responsibility for the recent calculation error that resulted in the premature crowning of Kelly Slater's 11th ASP World Title," said Carr. "The determination of the ASP World Title is the most important moment in professional surfing. Ultimately, the responsibility for every activity within ASP lies with me. Therefore, I have elected to resign my position as CEO." Carr wasn't the only person offering his resignation. Hickel offered to resign as well, but his resignation was declined by the ASP board. Carr's decision restores some integrity to the Association of Surfing Professionals.
•Carr's decision to resign as CEO of the ASP came after a meeting of the ASP Board of Directors in San Francisco, at Japantown's Kabuki Hotel. Carr's resignation wasn't the only issue addressed at the meeting. Acording to The Australian, the ASP board decided that starting next year, the ASP will implement drug testing to the World Tour. Details are very vague at this point, including how the tests will be administered and what drugs they will be testing for.
•It was a curious decision by the Rip Curl Pro organizers not to include Fort Point as a San Francisco location in addition to Ocean Beach, especially since a lot of their merchandise had images of Fort Point on them. During one of the lay days, a large number of pro surfers went to Fort Point to try out one of the few good point breaks north of Santa Cruz. The surfers had a great time with San Francisco's iconic left point break.
•Kalani Miller, Kelly Slater's longtime girlfriend, is a million times hotter in person, both in looks and personality. Miller, a former Roxy model who recently started a business called MIKOH Swimwear that has quickly risen in popularity, usually shows up to contests to support her boyfriend. Considering Slater's history of conquests, including Pamela Anderson, Giselle Bundchen, Bar Rafaeli, and Cameron Diaz, one could be a little surprised considering Miller prefers to be out of the limelight. Given Miller's friendly persona and beautiful looks, one can fully understand why Slater is happy settling down.
•Slater and Miller own a rescue dog named Action. When asked what breed the dog is, Miller said, "Mix. We rescued her, so we don't know the breed." Slater was introducing Action to numerous people after his quarterfinal heat, including some kids who were in the athlete area.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Sad but true, Kelly Slater's eleventh World Title will forever be remembered for the ASP's inexplicable inability to properly calculate the standings and prematurely award him the title. When the news broke on Nov. 4 the surf world reacted with collective bafflement, but to be sure, mistakes happen ... and when it comes to sports, they've happened on a much larger scale. So looking to find some context, here's a few officiating slips that might compare:
On June 2, 2010, Detroit Tiger's pitcher Armando Galarraga throws a perfect game into the bottom of the ninth, then umpire Jim Joyce botches a call that would have been the final out of the game. Galarraga still gets the win, but perfection is denied. "I got a perfect game," Galarraga would tell ESPN.com afterwards. "Maybe it's not in the book, but I'm going to show my son the CD."
There's the famous 1979 Rose Bowl in which the USC and Michigan were locked in a down-to-the-wire battle. Tied at 10 points a piece, USC's Charles White fumbled on the one-yard line, which was then recovered by Michigan. But taking place before the institution of instant replay, officials awarded USC the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. USC won the game 17-10.
Another classic is Scotty Pippen's "phantom foul" from Game Five of the 1994 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Knicks. With Michael Jordan off playing baseball, the weight of the Bulls was on Pippen's shoulders. In the closing seconds of the game Chicago was clinging to a narrow lead when referee Hue Hollins called Pippen for a foul against guard Hubert Davis during an unsuccessful three-point attempt. Davis would make all three shots to win the game, but shortly thereafter a photo would emerge that proved without doubt that Pippen had not committed a foul. Ultimately, the Knicks won the series in Game Seven.
In a 1990 NCAA football game Colorado was playing Missouri. On forth down, with seconds remaining, Buffalo quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball to stop the clock. Due to the officials not properly changing the down marker, Johnson received an "extra" down and would go in to score a touchdown and win the game. Colorado went on to win the National Championship that season, but not until years later did Coach Bill McCartney call the mistake "truly remorseful."
Of more legendary note, there's the 1927 Heavyweight Boxing Championship against Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey. After upsetting Dempsey in their first fight, the two met again on Sept. 27, 1927, at Chicago's Soldier Field. Tunney was clearly winning the fight after six rounds, but in the seventh Dempsey lands a four-punch combo to knock Tunney down. While referee Dave Barry is moving Dempsey to his corner the timekeeper starts to count. When the ref returns to where Tunney is laying he should begin on the count of six, but instead begins counting at one. Tunney stays on the canvas until the count of nine, when he gets up and continues the fight. Instead of the standard 10 seconds, Tunney gets 15 seconds to recover. He would win the fight by an unanimous 10-round decision.
And finally, in 1972 the U.S. and U.S.S.R. met in the Olympic Basketball finals. With just a couple ticks left on the clock America's Doug Collins is fouled hard while cutting to the hoop. He makes the first free throw, which tied the game. Before shooting his second free throw the buzzer goes off, signaling the end of the game. But the Soviets protest, saying they called timeout before the final buzzer sounded and officials add three seconds to the clock. The Soviets inbound the ball and blow their opportunity, but while the American players are celebrating the Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation orders the refs to reset the clock again because they had put the ball into play before the clock had been officially reset. The Soviets win the game with a lay-up. The Americans are enraged and refuse to claim their silver medals, which still sit in a Swiss vault.
So there you have it, was the bad call that delayed Slater's eleventh World Title the worst call in sports history? Hardly. Embarrassing to be sure, but at the end of the day, the right guy won. And while the ASP may have some work to do polishing its image, as they say, no harm, no foul. Slater's still the best, and there's no denying that.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
"something magical happened," Kelly Slater told the crowd in his moment of triumph, and he spoke not just for himself, but for the nearly 2,000 people who showed up at Ocean Beach on Wednesday to watch one of history's greatest athletes clinch his 11th world title on the pro surfing tour.
Slater was carried up the beach on the shoulders of two friends, having won his Round 3 heat in the Rip Curl Pro Search event to clinch at least ninth place in the event, which mathematically secures the world title. A constant refrain could be heard from longtime members of the Bay Area surf community: "I can't believe it happened here."
Ocean Beach will never be a popular destination among travel-minded surfers. With its punishing surf, shifting currents and utter unpredictability, it's not even on many locals' radar. But it came to life in all its autumnal glory Wednesday, with balmy weather, offshore winds and gorgeous, blue-green waves up to eight feet on the face.
"Look at this," said Slater, surveying the breadth of Ocean Beach to the south. "The whole beach is just going off."
Just two days before, Slater stood at the site in cold, gloomy conditions and pictured "a ghost town" when the contest began. "I literally wondered if anyone would show up," he said. "And I didn't know what to expect. I'd been hearing all these rumors about people (grumpy locals) messing with the event. But everybody's been so cool. The turnout was incredible. I've had kids coming up to me saying, 'I'm so stoked to have you at our home break.' It's a very special time."
Most special of all, perhaps, is Slater's place in sports history. It may startle you to realize this, but by significant measure - absolute dominance over a long period of time - he is the greatest athlete of all time.
Slater won his first world championship in 1992, and his 2011 title - at the age of 39 - marks a 20-year span. Only briefly, during that entire time, has anyone been considered even close to Slater in reputation and competitive performance. That was the late Andy Irons, a three-time world champion who died of heart failure a year ago Wednesday.
Irons won his three titles consecutively (2002 to '04), but in two of those years Slater was in semi-retirement and not a presence on tour. And it's safe to say that at no point in those 20 years, no matter what the circumstances, did Slater lose his global reputation as the world's best.
Who else can say that? Not Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali or Roger Federer. Most of the great ones were immersed in rivalries: Ali-Joe Frazier, Federer-Rafael Nadal, Jack Nicklaus-Arnold Palmer, Magic Johnson-Larry Bird. And even among those who had no peers - the likes of Woods, Jordan and Gretzky - the dominance wasn't sustained for 20 years.
The subject of pure athletic ability is a matter of personal taste. Most would find it distasteful to bring a surfer into any conversation that concerns hitting a baseball, carrying a football into a den of violence, or standing up to 12 rounds of prizefight punishment. The comparisons hardly seem appropriate.
On the other hand, give me any living athlete in the pantheon of his sport, and let me unveil some Slater footage: dropping into a 20-foot Pipeline wave, winning the prestigious Eddie Aikau event at Waimea Bay, taking on the almost mythically dangerous reef break at Teahupo'o, Tahiti. I'll guarantee you that person's mind will be blown. Slater may have finessed his way to glory in front of the Ocean Beach crowd, but this is a serious, relentless competitor in life-threatening conditions as extreme as any sport can provide.
Fittingly, there was high drama to Slater's Round 3 heat against Australia's Dan Ross, who had the lead until the last four minutes. At that point, Slater needed a score of 6.88 (on a scale of 10) to win the man-on-man heat. At about the 3:45 mark, he picked off an ordinary wave and tore it apart with a sequence of strong, well-timed maneuvers. "Not a great wave," someone remarked in the press area, "until Kelly made it great."
With about a minute to go, the judges' score came through: 7.60. Ross was fully capable of taking back the lead, but with the seconds counting down and the sea gone quiet, he never got the chance.
Whisked onto a podium for interviews, Slater heard many questions about his age. "To me, it's literally just a number," he said. "You see people 100 years old and you can't believe they lived that long, but to them, it's not baffling. I don't see why at 50 I can't be in better shape than I am right now. I think I'm going to be. That's what I'd like to represent. I mean, 39 is young to half the people in this world."
As he talked, everyone took a glance back at the ocean. After hours and hours of pure conditions, the wind was changing. Just a slight hint of onshore flow.
For the fanciful at heart, it was something magical, a sign that nothing could change until Slater clinched his title, the power of which would draw those contrary winds toward shore like a magnet.
Naturally, that's not what really happened. No way, right? Of course not.
-- Before the contest, some 40 surfers paddled out and gathered in a circle to pay tribute to Andy Irons, the three-time world champion who died a year ago Wednesday. Irons, who had taken ill during a contest in Puerto Rico, died of heart failure in a Dallas hotel room en route home to his native Kauai.
-- Dusty Payne, the 22-year-old Hawaiian surfer who claimed to have seen a shark during his first-round heat Tuesday, lost his man-on-man heat to Brazil's Raoni Monteiro and was eliminated from the contest.
-- Australia's Kieren Perrow had a huge day, knocking off former world champion Mick Fanning in the morning (Round 2) and world No. 3 Adriano de Souza in the afternoon (Round 3).
-- Legendary bodysurfer Mark Cunningham, visiting from Hawaii to witness the event, walked about a mile to the south of the contest site to join Dan Malloy, Tim Reyes, Steve Dwyer, Ryan Seelbach and local mainstay Kevin Starr, among others, in an all-star morning session.
-- Kelly Slater's triumph made it feel as if the contest had ended, but in fact, the climactic rounds are at hand. There's little chance of it resuming today, with smaller surf and contrary (northwest) winds predicted, and it may be several days before the northwesterlies subside.
Best of the best
To be at the top of your sport for two decades, as Kelly Slater has been for surfing, is hard to imagine. Here are some other athletes who dominated their sports, and how long they were able to sustain that dominance (years approximate in some cases):
Tiger Woods, golf: 12 years
Roger Federer, tennis: 8 years
Wayne Gretzky, hockey: 10 years
Bill Russell, NBA: 13 years
Michael Jordan, NBA: 8 years
Jerry Rice, NFL: 10 years
Edwin Moses, 400-meter hurdles: 10 years
Eddy Merckx, cycling: 12 years
Alexander Karelin, Greco-Roman wrestling heavyweight: 13 years
Carl Lewis, long jump: 16 years
Babe Ruth, baseball: 13 years
John Force, drag racing: 21 years
Pele, soccer: 13 years
Michael Schumacher, Formula 1: 11 years