Feb 192002
 
Authors: Lee Miller

Sunday closed up a great weekend of competition in Salt Lake City. The controversy over the pairs skating medal was settled (sort of), the big dawgs came out to play in the hockey tournament, the curling matches are getting more intense ever so slowly and the 1,000-meter short track races were unbelievable.

Apolo Anton Ohno’s race to the silver was about as heartwrenching as any event could have been. First, he made the other skaters seem to be standing still as he took the lead in the third lap and appeared to take command of the race.

He was leading the pack around the final turn, when he got caught up in a collision caused by one of the other skaters and crashed into the wall. He was able to stumble across the finish line in time to take the silver, after Australia’s Steven Bradbury stole the gold.

Though the race ended with the weakest competitor taking the victory, it was still awesome watching Ohno burst past two other racers, making it look so easy.

Ohno isn’t done yet; he has the 1.500-meter on Wednesday and the 500 and 5,000 coming up this weekend. If you missed the 1,000, definitely try to catch one of these races, because speed skating is sweet.

The trade deadline is fast approaching for the NBA, and the big story around Colorado is that Nuggets point guard Nick Van Exel is requesting a trade.

The Nuggets should not have to think to hard about this one. Van Exel leads the team with 8.1 assists and 21.4 points per game, and has taken on a leadership role with the absence on Antonio McDyess.

But looking back on Van Exel’s time here, he hasn’t been a positive ingredient for this continually struggling team. Van Exel makes lots of headlines, and occasionally they are for hitting a game-winning shot.

But usually Van Exel is in the news because he is so frustrated with his teammates and coaching staff that he tends to whine a lot.

When he came here from Los Angeles a few years ago, he brought with him a reputation of being a self-serving player with a short fuse, and even complained about the fact that he had to play here.

The Nuggets acquired Avery Johnson earlier this year, and though he doesn’t have the scoring ability of Van Exel, he is much more ideal as a team leader, and a veteran to build team character around.

If the Nuggets can get a solid trade for Van Exel, they should take advantage of it and be happy that they don’t have to put up with Van Exel’s crybaby antics anymore.

It will take awhile for the Nuggets to become contenders in the NBA, but by getting rid of Van Exel, they’re taking steps in the right direction.

Finally, John Gruden agreed to a $17.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday. It’s sweet that Bronco fans won’t have to see that nasty grimace on our sidelines every year, but what was Gruden thinking? Perhaps working for Al Davis is truly as horrible as we all imagine, but Gruden had one year left in Oakland, and was maybe one or two defensive players for going all the way next year. Tampa Bay is a perennial playoff contender, but in Oakland Gruden had built a pretty good football team. Oh well, we all know how important loyalty is in professional sports. n

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