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Spokane Olympian gets to the roots of good shooting

SHOOTING — Amanda Furrer, 23, flew into town this week to be with family and celebrate her silver medal from last weekend — a performance that won her a berth on the U.S.Women's World Championship Shooting Team.

Furrer's dad, Michael, who still coaches the Spokane Junior Rifle Team where Amanda got her start, snapped this photo of Amanda giving her niece and nephews a few pointers with the ol' Daisy BB gun in the family's back yard.

I'll bet that Michael has taken the little kids over to the garage in the background to show them the two dimples in the door where Amanda missed the target and backstop by two feet with her first two shots with a pellet gun when she was their age.

I'm also betting that Michael Furrer NEVER repairs those dents.

Bjornsens looked good in Spokane years before Olympics

WINTER SPORTS —They gave us a preview of their world-class talent during Langlauf on Mount Spokane.  

Erik Bjornsen — and his sister Sadie — of Washington's Methow Valley are skiing their hearts out in the nordic events at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  But winning Langlauf, the annual 10K classic event at Mount Spokane, was one of their milestone achievements to get there.

The photo above shows Erik competing today in Sochi. A photo below shows Erik in 2008 at the age of 16 when he was the overall Langlauf champ. He's posing with the top woman that year, Annie Pokorny of Spokane.

The photo at left shows Sadie Bjornsen at the age of 13 when she won the Langlauf women's division — the youngest competitor to take the Langlauf crown.

See today's story about the Bjornsen's attraction to a college in Alaska that's primed them for international competition.

See my story on their connection with the Spokane Langlauf.

Click “continue reading” to see photos of Erik and Sadie Bjornsen in action during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Obama Refuses To Boycott Olympics

President Obama on Friday rejected calls for the United States to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. “I know that one question that's been raised is, how do we approach the Olympics? I want to just make very clear right now I do not think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics. We've got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed,” Obama said. Some have said the U.S. should skip the Games in Sochi, Russia, over the country's harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Others have pushed the boycott to protest Russia's treatment of gays and lesbians/Mario Trujillo, The Hill. More here.

Question: Should the United States boycott the Olympics?

Homeland Security investigating theft of Olympian’s bicycles

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is now investigating the theft of two specialized competition bicycles that Olympic gold medalist Kristin  Armstrong rode in the Olympics. “The bicycles are believed to have been stolen while in transit from Germany to Idaho,” the bureau reported.

HSI special agents in the U.S. and Germany are on the case, and are asking anyone with information to contact the HSI Tip-Line 24/7 at (866) 347-2423 from the U.S., Mexico, or Canada; 1-802-872-6199 (from any country in the world), or online at http://www.ice.gov/tips. In a statement, the agency said, “HSI combats worldwide criminal enterprises who seek to exploit America's legitimate trade, travel and financial systems and enforces America's customs and immigration laws at and beyond our nation's borders.”

Olympic gold medalist’s bikes stolen en route back to Boise

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The bicycles that Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong rode in the Olympics were stolen at some point while they were being shipped to Boise after being on display at an event called “Eurobike” in Germany. Her gold medal time trial bike is worth nearly $30,000 and her road bike is valued at almost that much. Armstrong says the time trial bike is a symbol of all the hard work she put in and she's sad that somebody took that away from her family. The bikes were shipped from Bremen Germany on Sept. 7 and made stops in Frankfurt and Atlanta, but only empty boxes arrived at Armstrong's house Tuesday. It's unknown when the bikes went missing. Her team “Exergy 2012” is offering a substantial reward for the return or knowledge of the whereabouts of the bikes; there's more info here.

Olympic gold medalist to greet Boise fans

Olympic cycling gold medalist, Boisean and University of Idaho alum Kristin Armstrong will greet fans, sign autographs and give away free copies of a new UI poster featuring her in London with her gold medal, pictured above, tomorrow at the Capital City Public Market in downtown Boise. Armstrong's appearance from 10 a.m. to noon outside the Vandal Store, 821 W. Idaho St., is sponsored by the UI, but UI spokeswoman Ysabel Bilbao said it's “not just for Vandals, but for our entire community.” Added Bilbao, “There will be posters for everyone and Kristin will be there to sign anything people want.” Fans are encouraged to bring personal sports memorabilia for the Olympic cyclist to sign.

Armstrong's appearance will be under a Vandal tent outside the store.

The long journey to football season finally ends

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I have been awake a long time. And I haven't done this much reading in a short span since my senior year in college. OK, I'll admit it. I read more this morning than I ever did in college. And today's subject matter (college football, high school football, baseball) was a heck of lot more interesting than “Paradise Lost” or “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Well, the latter was really good, but not as interesting as Christian Caple's feature on WSU coach Mike Leach. Read on.

So long to London

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For the past two weeks or so, the Olympics have not only held our attention spans in sway, but have given me something to write about – if need be – each morning. But that is over now. London 2012 is done, Rio 2016 is the next stop. Read on.

Watching and writing

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:05 A.M.

My attention is split right now. No, I haven't developed a second persona. I am trying to watch the gold medal basketball game while I write. Thus part of me is a writer, part of me a fan. As a writer I have some serious questions about the Olympics I want answered. As a fan I just wonder two things: Who is that homeless guy Spain has playing guard and why can't Kobe guard him. Read on.

Why rant on a day like this?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I really don't have anything to rant about today. Sorry. Though I did notice the stars of the Arena Bowl seemed to be all former Shock players. And Tiger Woods is in position to win another major. And the Mariners threw away what should have been a sure win last night. And … ah, you get the picture. Read on.

Still the world’s greatest athlete?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The names rolled off the tongue like a rap song – though rap hadn't been invented yet. Names like Jim Thorpe, Rafer Johnson, Bob Mathias, Bill Toomey, Bruce Jenner. They were the winners of the Olympic decathlon and they were considered the world's greatest athlete. Read on.

Ex-NIC Star Performs Well w/Turkey

Former North Idaho College stalwart Tugce Canitez’s bid for an Olympic medal has come to a halt. Turkey, Canitez’s homeland, was edged by Russia in a taut 66-63 decision in the women’s basketball quarterfinals on Tuesday night, ending the Turks’ first-ever appearance in the sport. The first-round elimination came after an impressive pool play showing which saw Turkey go 4-1 with wins against  Angola, Czech Republic, China and Croatia. The USA handled Turkey 89-58. Canitez, 21, was the youngest player on the roster and was the 12th-youngest in the 12-team tournament. She saw action in all six contests, averaging 7.4 minutes, 1.3 points and 1.8 rebounds an outing/Ryan Collingwood, VarsityCDA. More here.

Question: Have you ever watched a women's basketball game at North Idaho College?

Learning some perspective

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was a good day. With some time on my hands, I was able to spend a bit of time watching the Olympic men basketball semifinals. And I discovered a group of officials who make the Pac-12's look incredibly talented. Read on.

M’s losses fly under the radar

A GRIP ON SPORTS

With the Olympics going on, it's been a bit harder to stay in touch with the Mariners. But last night, thanks to a rare meltdown by the bullpen, we were all given multiple chances to check in with the M's. Fourteen chances actually. Read on.

It’s time to see WSU in action

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's going to be a warm one today, which is typical for the early part of August in these parts. What is untypical, this year at least, is I'll be out in the heat. Read on.

Doesn’t everybody want to be a Yankee?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Larry Larue, the Tacoma News Tribune Mariners' beat reporter, had fun with Twitter yesterday. He kept re-tweeting Yankee fans' tweets about Felix Hernandez. The basis of the fans' tweets? Why was Felix still with the M's and not a Yankee? He is so good, he should be in New York. Never, ever let anyone tell you Yankee fans aren't arrogant. Read on.

The greatest of all time?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Olympics are dominating the world's sporting consciousness – as they should – even though the main element of the Games, track and field, has just gotten underway. During the first week new faces in gymnastics, cycling and swimming commandeered  the world stage, though there is one familiar fellow we want to talk about. Read on.

Win or win, Olympics draw big ratings

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When it came time to watch television last night, I already knew Michael Phelps had defeated Ryan Lochte, Gabby Douglas was an all-around champion and the U.S. women had won the gold in rowing. But that didn't stop Kim and me from watching the Olympics for four hours. And we were not alone. It seems the tape-delay strategy is paying off (in a whole bunch of moola) for NBC. Read on.

A better type of question about the M’s

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Our poll question today gets away from the London Olympics and brings us back to the Pacific Northwest, where the Mariners haven't lost in a week. Is it real or an illusion? Read on.

Crapo, Risch honor Olympic gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch today honored Boise's Kristin Armstrong on her Olympic gold medal in the cycling time trial in London - her second straight gold in the event, after winning it in 2008 in Beijing - with a statement submitted into the congressional record; Armstrong is shown here celebrating her victory with son Lucas. “Kristin is truly a gifted athlete with immense abilities and talents,” the senators said in the statement. “Her capacity to push forward beyond the challenges provides encouragement to all of us, and we congratulate her on this, and her many, extraordinary achievements.” You can read the full statement here.

AM: Boisean Captures Gold

Kristin Armstrong of the United States, passes through the gates at Hampton Court Palace on her way to winning the gold medal in the Women's Olympic Cycling Time Trial in London today. Story below. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Badminton scandal can wait for NBC’s coverage

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What is the basic mission of a newspaper and its website? To report the news in a timely fashion, right? Well even doing that can lead to some criticism. Read on.

Boise’s Kristin Armstrong wins gold medal in Olympic cycling time trial

Boise's Kristin Armstrong won the gold medal this morning in the Olympic cycling time trial in London, her second straight Olympic gold in the event. Armstrong, 38, beat Judith Arndt of Germany by more than 15 seconds; Arndt took the silver medal, while Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia took the bronze. Click below for a full report from AP sports writer Dave Skretta in London.

A new smile to follow

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The best part of the Olympics? Spending four weeks or so learning about athletes in sports you might not pay all that much attention to during the other 47 months between the Games. Which leads to this question: What's not to like about Missy Franklin? Read on.

Three results of watching the Olympics

1. Desire to get in better shape.

2. Urge to play table tennis.

3. Improved skill at finding world maps on your phone.

A made for a TV sport

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I just have one question. If the participants are wearing makeup, are they participating in a sport? Read on.

Did you notice Ronny Turiaf?

Came in this morning to find several emails from readers who spotted the former GU basketball player in the French contingent Friday night during the opening ceremonies at the Olympics.

Yes, I noticed him, too.

Just wondering

How long does it take for American TV's obsession with U.S. Olympic athletes — some of whom, if the truth were told, are not especially appealing people — to convert you into someone who occasionally roots for competitors from other countries?

When the going gets tough …

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know it's going to be a tough morning when you set the alarm for 5 a.m. You know it's going to be even tougher when your browser crashes at 5:26 a.m. You know it's going to be so tough you'll want to throw your computer against the wall when all your work is lost. Read on.

Back into the swing of things

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The summer lull is officially over. Just about every local college has news to talk about today, something that hasn't happened consistently since March. Not all of it is in the good news variety, that's for sure. Read on.