Vonn is latest to feel effect of SI jinx

February 12, 2010|By Peter Schmuck

News item: Skier Lindsey Vonn, one of the USA's top medal contenders in the upcoming Winter Olympics, is not sure she will be able to compete in Vancouver after suffering a deep shin bruise in a Feb. 2 training accident.

My take: This is the same young woman who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Olympic Preview Issue and also is prominent in this year's SI Swimsuit Issue. Talk about tempting fate -- and the SI jinx. I'm surprised she hasn't been run over by a truck.

Related news item: Vonn's decision to pose in the bikini photo spread has some women's sports advocates -- and sports columnists -- squirming over the supposed mixed message she might be sending to young female athletes.

My take: Spare me. I've heard a lot of the talk about her allowing herself to be objectified at the expense of her sport, and I've got a question. Is there really some big moral or ethical difference between exploiting your physical appearance as a bikini model and exploiting your physical talent to slide down a hill really fast?

Bonus take: Funny, I don't remember a lot of self-righteous outrage when Jim Palmer was modeling underwear. Whether you like it or not, we -- as a society -- pay a disproportionate amount of attention to the most attractive people taking part in any endeavor. It's a burden sometimes, but I try not to show it.

News item: The Maryland men's basketball team faces rival Duke today at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

My take: It's a tall order, but I'm picking the rested Terps to take over first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (by percentage points) with their third road victory of the ACC season.

News item: Orioles pitcher Brad Bergesen, who missed part of last season with a deep shin bruise that also would have kept him out of the women's downhill in the Winter Olympics, slightly injured his shoulder filming a commercial for the Orioles in December.

My take: It's probably no big deal, but if it is a big deal, we may already have a winner in the Major League Stupid Injury of the Year competition.

News item: Baseball great Tom Glavine officially announced retirement this week and will join the Braves front office as assistant to club president John Schuerholz.

My take: Obviously, the announcement was no great surprise, since Glavine did not pitch last year, but it does allow you to mark your calendar for July, 2014 , when he and Greg Maddux likely will be on the same stage at Cooperstown.

Bonus take: Oh, and Frank Thomas might be there, too.

News item: Brett Favre posted a message to fans on his Web site thanking them for their support this year and giving no hint whether he'll play another season for the Minnesota Vikings.

My take: That's not a good sign. Usually, at this time of year, he pretty much announces his retirement, then waffles about it for six months. If he's not doing that, maybe that means he actually will retire this time. Or maybe he posted the cryptic message just to throw us off the scent. My head hurts.

News item: Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has emphatically denied a report that he's interested in returning to the NBA to coach the New Jersey Nets.

My take: In other words, Rick Pitino is going to return to the NBA to coach the New Jersey Nets.

News item: Former Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller reportedly is engaged to former Miss California and Miss USA runnerup Carrie Prejean.

My take: And you thought Kyle couldn't win the big one.

News item: Phil Itzoe, who worked for the Orioles for 45 years and was the longest-standing traveling secretary (41 years) in the history of major American professional sports died this week at the age of 72.

My take: "Fabulous Phil" -- as Jim Palmer used to call him -- was simply the best. If you doubt that, ask yourself this. How many middle management guys in baseball have a nickname that starts with "Fabulous?" Rest in peace.

Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "Sportsline" on WBAL (1090 AM) and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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