Monday, September 22, 2008

U.S. Team Wins Ryder Cup in Upset

“I poured my heart and soul into this for two years, and my players poured their hearts into it for this past week, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. The golf was spectacular on both sides, and our guys just came out on top.”

--Paul Azinger, USA team captain.

“I got chills up my spine the whole day today and I’m loving every minute of it. I wouldn’t trade this for $10 million. This has been an experience of a lifetime.”

--Anthony Kim, USA teammate and Ryder Cup rookie that provided a spark to the team.

For the first time since 1999, the USA team beat a heavily favored European team.

Excerpts from the New York Times, 9/22/2008.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Serena Williams Wins U.S. Open Championship

“Yeah, I have amazing will. I love to win.”

--Serena Williams, who won the U.S. Open for the third time last night in New York and captured her ninth career Grand Slam singles title.

Williams completed her surprising climb back to #1 Sunday night with a 6-4, 7-5 victory against Jelena Jankovic.

The 23-year-old Jankovic was appearing in her first Grand Slam final.

The hard-fought victory also gave Williams the #1 ranking in the world by beating the #2 player in the world. The #1 player, Ana Ivanovic, lost in the second round.

“I’m here to stay. Number 1 is not my goal. I know I’ll get that eventually if I continue to play the tournaments.”

--Serena Williams, who once held #1 for 57 straight weeks, but not since August 2003.

Injury, the murder of her half-sister and career interests in fashion and acting, upset her focus, hindered her career and sent her ranking below 125 in the last five years. After a surprising win at the Australian Open in 2007, it took her two years to get back completely.

“She’s working hard now, but it would have come quicker if she had worked harder before, but they [Serena and her sister, Venus] have their other activities. She thinks she’s supposed to win everything, that’s her will. She thinks everything’s hers.”

--Oracene Price, her mother.

“I’m playing a lot more, having more consistent results, and just putting in the effort. I think my results are finally showing,” says Williams.

Excerpts from the New York Times, 09/06/2008 and 09/08/2008.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Managing Emotions: The Key to Victory

“I managed my emotions a lot better. I stayed positive. At Wimbledon I got really negative and lost the only chance I had. This time, when she got in, I just relaxed. When I was up, I stayed relaxed.”

--Serena Williams, after beating sister, Venus, in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.

Serena posted a two-tie-breaker 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7) victory, in a classic match-up that had the feel and electricity of a Grand Slam final.

“I feel like I should have a trophy now. Unfortunately I don’t, and I got to go to the next round,” Serena said.

With a strong will and physical stamina, she rallied from 5-3 deficits in both sets, and overcame eight set points in the second. Serena will play Danara Safina in the semifinals.

Excerpts from the New York Times and AP, 9/4/08.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ryan Hall: Marathon Runner Has a Vision

“One year in middle school, I got this vision that I wanted to run. I think it came from God. I was on my way to a basketball game—it was just this crazy idea that comes into your head, and the desire to act on it. The next weekend, my dad and I ran around the lake, fifteen miles. After that, I decided to start training.”

--Ryan Hall, American Olympian marathon runner.

In 2007, he ran the fastest debut-marathon time by an American, finishing seventh in London in 2 hours 8 minutes 24 seconds. He followed that in November by breaking the Olympic trials marathon record on a tough course in New York with a winning time of 2:09:02.

This year Hall was fifth at London in 2:06:17, making him the second-fastest American ever and giving him the seventh-best time in the world this year.

In August 2008, Hall placed 10th at the Olympics in Beijing with a time of 2:12:33.

Excerpts from the New Yorker, 8/11 & 8/18/2008.