Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Spokane's "Iron Nun" Sister Madonna Buder featured in new Nike commercial

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Spokane's Sister Madonna Buder could outlast most of us when it comes to running. In swimming, and biking, too. The 86-year-old Catholic nun has competed in 45 Ironman Triathlons, breaking the world record for the oldest person ever to finish the grueling race, which she obtained four years ago at age 82. 

Now, Buder is the subject of a feel-good commercial by Nike called "Unlimited Youth," which debuted recently during coverage of the Rio Olympics. Check it out below.

The video's narrator (actor Oscar Isaac, recent star of The Force Awakens and Ex Machina) introduces Sister Buder and her athletic endeavors with admiration — though his entire narration is rather awkwardly presented in a tongue-in-cheek tone — as clips of the outstanding triathlete play across screen.

Cutting to a scene of Buder in an Ironman swim cap and wet suit, Isaac says, "Wait, what — Ironman? Oh no, no, no, no, no sister, this is a bad idea, sister. A real bad idea — somebody stop her!"

"Relax, she's the Iron Nun!" a guy in the crowd of racers says.

"But she won't make it, this is an Ironman!" Isaac's voiceover proclaims.

"The first 45 didn't kill me," Buder yells over her shoulder to anyone else ignorant enough to doubt her.

"You've done 45 of these? Okay. Do your think sister, do you your thing."

She's pretty amazing, right? 

Sister Buder is a member of the non-canonical Sisters for Christian Community. She last competed in an Ironman race back in 2015 (though she didn't finish), and continues to stay active with her intense exercise routine.

Nike also produced a behind-the-scenes video that gives more insight into what keeps this amazing woman and athlete going strong, defying expectations for her age demographic.

"The only failure is not to try. Your effort in itself is a success," she says.

Also, don't forget that this weekend, on Aug. 21, Coeur d'Alene is hosting its Ironman race, kicking off early Sunday morning. While Buder isn't participating this year, there are plenty of amazing endurance athletes who could use the support as they push themselves to complete the 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

A farewell note from our sports writer, Howie Stalwick

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 12:47 PM


Editor's note: Howie Stalwick has been a contributor to the
Inlander and a long list of other media outlets nationwide. This month he announced his retirement from the sports writing world. Since 2002, Stalwick has been a freelancer so he could have more family time and watch all of his eldest daughter’s college softball games. He previously worked on the sports staffs of such daily newspapers as the Coeur d’Alene Press, The Spokesman-Review and The Oregonian. Howie and his wife Jennifer, who he calls "The World’s Most Understanding Spouse," wish to thank their remarkable children, Shanna and Cheyanne, for putting up with, as he says, "their dad’s weird job."

Forty years ago, my Aunt Martie listened politely as I spoke excitedly about my budding career as a sports writer. When I finally paused to take a breath, she asked the only question that seemed relevant to her.

“Do you,” my dearly departed aunt wanted to know, “think you’ll ever be able to work in real journalism?” I guess we’ll never know. After 44 years as a sports writer, it’s a little late for me to become a real journalist, so I am retiring. It’s nothing personal, Mr. and Ms. Reader. I still love ya. I’ll love you until I collapse lips-first on the keyboard of my (somewhat) trusty laptop.

That said, reality has slapped me in the face: I’m an old man taking up a young person’s job, so it’s time for us to part ways. Simply put, I need to stop typing about people who sweat for a living. Or for a scholarship. Or just for the fun of it.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Team USA's women gymnasts won gold in Rio; see them in Spokane next month

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Simone, Gabby, Laurie, Madison and Aly celebrate their team gold win in Rio. - NBCOLYMPICS.COM
  • Simone, Gabby, Laurie, Madison and Aly celebrate their team gold win in Rio.

The Final Five have fulfilled their destiny, living up to everyone's lofty but entirely realistic expectations of becoming team gold medalists in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Tuesday, while most of us were busy at work, the unstoppable quintet of Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian displayed impeccable performances, finishing more than eight points ahead of the silver medalists from Russia. (Click this link to watch routine recaps for the team if you missed any of the action.) 

NBC commentators expressed ceaseless amazement during the competition, event after event, in which the five women continued to outperform themselves compared to their qualification routines just two days earlier. (Check out this sweet feature from the New York Times to see how they pulled it all off.)

With the team gold locked in, next up this Thursday (streaming live starting at noon Pacific Time, with a tape delay airing during NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage) the Greatest Gymnast of All Time, Simone Biles, along with her teammate and now two-time Olympic team gold medalist, Aly Raisman, will vie for spots on the podium in the women's individual all-around competition. (Only two team members per country can compete for the all-around event, which means that even though she placed third overall, 2012 all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas won't be able to defend her title).

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Monday, August 8, 2016

EWU Top 20 in two preseason polls as fall football practice set to start

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 3:36 PM

Cooper Kupp appears to be NFL-bound - EWU ATHLETICS
  • EWU Athletics
  • Cooper Kupp appears to be NFL-bound

Last year didn't exactly go as most Eagles football fans had hoped, as Eastern Washington's first post-Vernon Adams season was a scuffle. The team ended the season with a 6-5 record, and missed the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for just the second time in seven years. 

It looks like the writers and coaches from the Eagles' peer schools expect the team to be right back in the thick of the playoff race this year, as the STATS poll and coaches' poll released Monday both have the Eags in the Top 20 among FCS squads. 

In the STATS preseason poll, the Eagles land at No. 14, while in the coaches preseason Top 25 poll, coach Beau Baldwin's squad comes in at No. 17. Both polls will be updated weekly once the season starts in September. 

The Eagles' 2016 opponents are all over the polls, too, indicating a challenging schedule ahead when the season kicks off Sept. 3. North Dakota State is ranked No. 1 and Northern Iowa is ranked No. 5 in both polls, and both teams are on Eastern's non-conference schedule. Within the Big Sky, conference peers Montana, Northern Arizona and Portland State are all ranked in both polls as well. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Four Spokane Indians players heading to the all-star game

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 4:43 PM

click image Xavier Turner - MILB.COM
  • Xavier Turner
click image Tyler Ferguson - MILB.COM
  • Tyler Ferguson
click image Seth Spivey - MILB.COM
  • Seth Spivey
click image Chad Smith - MILB.COM
  • Chad Smith

The second annual Northwest League vs. Pioneer League All-Star game is back with four Spokane Indians players being selected to play for the NWL team. The players include third baseman Xavier Turner, catcher Seth Spivey, pitcher Tyler Ferguson and outfielder Chad Smith. 

Last year Spokane has hosted the game at Avista Stadium with an almost-full capacity of 7,083 fans attending.

“The is a tremendous honor and a great opportunity to compete against some of the top players at this level,” said Spivey, who was also a mid-season all-star in 2014 as a second baseman. “We look forward to representing Spokane and the NWL in Ogden.”

In addition to Spivey, Smith joins the all-stars as the youngest hitter in the league at 18, former Vanderbilt star Turner is hitting .337, and pitcher Ferguson is fourth in the league in strikeouts despite pitching out of the bullpen, with 41 so far. 

The game is happening on Tuesday, August 2, at 6 pm Pacific at the Lindquist Field in Ogden, Utah. A Home Run Derby will begin before the game at 4 pm, with the first pitch of the game scheduled for 6 pm. 

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Spokane athlete Julianna Pena's victory at UFC 200 brings her closer to a title match

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 12:55 PM

Spokane MMA figher Julianna Pena was victorious over her UFC 200 opponent Cat Zingano. - MMAJUNKIE.COM
  • Spokane MMA figher Julianna Pena was victorious over her UFC 200 opponent Cat Zingano.

Before going into this weekend's landmark UFC 200 event, Spokane-based mixed martial arts fighter Julianna Pena was considered the underdog in her matchup against No. 4-ranked women's bantamweight Cat Zingano.

Yet the "Venezuelan Vixen" was able to dominate her opponent throughout the three-round fight, the main event on the Fox Sports 1 preliminary card airing before Saturday night's pay-per-view. Pena took control through a series of takedowns and strikes, and by keeping Zingano neutralized on the mat through skilled grappling. By the end of the 15-minute match, all three judges scored the contest unanimously in favor of Pena, who remains undefeated (8-2 career; 4-0 UFC) in her UFC career. Sweetening the deal for Pena was a $32,000 fight win bonus to add to her contracted $32,000 paycheck for the event.

The future for the 26-year-old Spokanite is looking bright, despite a few major setbacks she's faced in the past few years. The first was a devastating knee injury sustained during practice back in early 2014 that almost ended her career. More recently, Pena faced assault charges after a late-night bar brawl in downtown Spokane last December.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Former WSU star Klay Thompson to play on the U.S. Olympic basketball team

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 4:59 PM

Klay then: a star for the WSU team during his time there.
  • Klay then: a star for the WSU team during his time there.

With the NBA finals concluding Sunday, now our collective attention mostly turns toward this summer's Olympics, beginning August 5 in Rio de Janeiro. (Meanwhile, here's a look at how things are shaping up at the Games' host site...)

Today it was announced that former WSU basketball star Klay Thompson, now a shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors, has committed to play on the USA men's Olympic basketball team. This decision comes on the heels of the Warriors' championship series loss just four days ago to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Klay today: still a star, but this time for the Warriors.
  • Klay today: still a star, but this time for the Warriors.

While ESPN is reporting that Cavs' MVP LeBron James won't be joining the team — he's been a member of the team for every summer games since 2000 — other players who have also committed to play for the US of A include Carmelo Anthony, who has three Olympic gold medals on his resume, along with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and DeAndre Jordan, among others. The full 12-man team roster is to be announced sometime next week.

Having spent three seasons at WSU, from 2008-2011, before being selected by Golden State in the first round of the draft in 2011, this will be Thompson's Olympic debut. 

You can bet the whole of Coug Nation, including this alumni who watched Klay and company on the court for many a game, will be rooting for the U.S. team in full force.
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Voters on Reddit confirm what we already know — that WSU has the best logo

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 3:30 PM

The Redditors have spoken.

Recently, on the massively popular online bulletin board/social news website's college football board, a bracket to determine the college with the best logo resulted in users naming Washington State University's as No. 1.

As any alumni or Cougar fan knows, this is true. Now with the powerful backing of Reddit users (there are 106,000+ subscribers on the college football board, /r/CFB), we can proclaim this affirmation loud and clear.

Created in 1936 by art student Randall Johnson, the crimson-colored WSU logo was a gift to the school after administration accepted the design. When the then Washington State College became a university, he changed the C to a U to become the logo we see today.

Below is what the voting bracket looked like. WSU was named winner with 56.3 percent of the final vote against Michigan State's spartan silhouette. Before that, WSU beat out San Diego State, Southern California, Cal, LSU, West Virginia, and Virginia.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Bloomsday results book out Tuesday; plus, plan for runners who didn't get a shirt

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2016 at 2:05 PM

There's a pretty good chance you, or at least someone you know, ran Bloomsday on Sunday. Nearly 50,000 people took to the streets of Spokane for the annual road race, pounding the pavement on a hot May 1. 

The official results book will be hitting the streets Tuesday, and you can check out an array of great photos from the day right here. And you should really read our oral history of the race if you haven't yet. 

The official count from race director Don Kardong was 46,566 registered runners, and it turns out some of them didn't get their official Bloomsday shirt after supplies ran out. So the race is making it right for all finishers, by asking them to email [email protected] by 5 pm Friday and submitting the name, race number, postal address and phone number, as well as the shirt size, so they can send along a shirt to those affected. 

Here's a look at the cover of the results book, coming Tuesday: 

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Way to keep it tight, Spokane! Fitbit ranks us the third-fittest city

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Spokanites getting in their steps in 1979, well before Fitbit staring counting. - BLOOMSDAY
  • Bloomsday
  • Spokanites getting in their steps in 1979, well before Fitbit staring counting.

This will not come as a shock to anyone who lives in the Inland Northwest, but according to numbers taken from more than 10 million FitBit users in 2015, Spokane is the third-fittest city in the country.

That's right, we're looking good! 

The Lilac City comes in right behind Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. And while you might be surprised that a place whose culinary scene is based on cheese (that'd be Madison), and another who's weather keeps people inside for months on end (hello, Twin Cities), are both so fit, Spokane makes sense thanks to the insanely active running community full of jogging clubs and events like this Sunday's Bloomsday. 

Speaking of which, have you read our oral history of Bloomsday yet? You really should. 

The data from Fitbit shows that Spokanites have an average resting heart rate of 69 beats per minute, takes 7,779 steps every day and is active an average of about 15 minutes per day. 

This should be a nice source for civic pride — hey, we're taking a lot of steps, people! — and Spokane came in ahead of neighbors like Portland (No. 5), Seattle (No. 9) and Boise (No. 20).
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