Monday, August 6, 2012

London 2012: Local Connections Update - WPXI Pittsburgh

What follows is an update on how the athletes with Pittsburgh-area connections are doing in London. Make sure to click on the links for exclusive pictures, stories and videos!

Other links of interest:
The London Games So Far = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/2012/best-of-london-week-1.html
Caught Up In Awkwardness = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/2012/caught-up-in-awkwardness.html
Michael Phelps: 22 Olympic Medals = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/swimming/michael-phelps-16-olympic-medals-and-counting.html
Where Are The Royals Today? = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/2012/royals-at-olympic-events.html
Beach Volleyball's Finest Fans = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/beach-volleyball/beach-volleyballs-finest-fans.html
Tennis Closes With A Bang = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/tennis/tennis-closes-with-a-bang.html
Usain Bolt: The London 100m = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/track-and-field/usain-bolt-the-london-100m.html
Three-peat! Golden Girls Carly, Nastia, And Gabby = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/gymnastics/three-peat-golden-girls-carly-nastia-and-gabby.html
What Winning Looks Like = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/photos/2012/what-winning-looks-like.html

Highlights: Usain Bolt Wins 2nd Consecutive 100m Gold = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/track-and-field/highlights-usain-bolt-wins-2nd-consecutive-100m-gold.html
Best of Week 1 = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/2012/best-of-week-1.html
Science Of Olympics = Usain Bolt's Biomechanics = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/track-and-field/science-of-olympics-usain-bolts-biomechanics.html
Highlights: Sanya Richards-Ross Wins 400m Gold = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/track-and-field/highlights-sanya-richards-ross-wins-400m-gold.html?chrcontext=top-nbc-moments
Highlights: McKayla Maroney Falls In Vault Final, Wins Silver = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/gymnastics/highlights-mckayla-maroney-falls-in-vault-final-wins-silver.html
Michael Phelps On A Mission To Increase Water Safety = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/2012/michael-phelps-on-a-mission-to-increase-water-safety.html
Looking Back At The 'Dream Team' 20 Years Later = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/basketball/looking-back-at-the-dream-team-20-years-later.html?chrcontext=top-nbc-moments
Heavy Baggage = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/2012/heavy-baggage.html
British Culinary Traditions = www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/video/2012/british-culinary-traditions.html
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In addition, local hypnotist/sports mental trainer Dr. Daniel Vitchoff, of PA Hypnosis Center, took his Terrible Towel to London. Dr. Vitchoff is working with the U.S. shooting team. Below is the summary he sent to WPXI.com on Aug. 1:

USA Shooting Team Makes History in London

The U.S. shooting team has worked hard to prepare both physically and mentally for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The team already made history when Kim Rhode won a Gold Medal in Women's Skeet, making her the first U.S. athlete to medal in five straight Olympics. Rhode's performance was nearly perfect, hitting 99 out of 100 targets and setting an Olympic record. Pittsburgh mental coach Dan Vitchoff, who is traveling with the USA Shooting Team, said that Kim was relaxed and confident going into competition. Rhode is thoroughly enjoying the Olympic experience. The day before competition, she was talking to Vitchoff about making homemade jams and jellies, and after her win, she was featured on NBC's Today Show.

Returning Olympic gold medalist, Vincent Hancock, was absolutely perfect in the Men's Skeet final. He set a new Olympic record and became the first athlete in history to win back-to-back gold medals in Men's Skeet. Going into the finals, Vitchoff said that Hancock is the most focused that he's ever seen him.

August 2 brings two fellow soldiers and friends competing against each other. Glenn Eller, 2008 Olympic gold medalist, is returning to see if he can strike gold again, while his friend and fellow soldier, 2012 World Cup champion, Joshua Richmond, a Pennsylvania native, is also vying for the gold. Richmond is currently ranked No. 1 and Sports Illustrated is predicting that he will win the gold in Men's Double Trap.

Vitchoff, a common thread in the competitions, says this shooting team is focused and confident. He notes, "London is great. The team is in a great frame of mind. The coaches and team leaders have been working very hard to make sure that the athletes are prepared both mentally and physically. Each athlete has a strong support system. Their friends and families have all traveled a long way to watch their dreams come true."

In a recent interview with Pittsburgh Tribune Review sports writer Bob Cohn, Richmond talked about the importance of the mental training, "When shooters start out, it's about 90 percent physical. When they become a competitive shooter, it becomes 90 or 95 percent mental." He went on to talk about his work with Vitchoff more specifically. "He was somewhat intrigued with my profession, and I was somewhat intrigued with his. We took it from there, and we never stopped working together."

Vitchoff is very proud of all of the athletes on the USA Shooting Team, and he encourages all Americans to tune into www.nbcolympics.com/wpxi/ to watch online as the USA Shooting Team continues to make history in London.

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