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Sara Melikian / Flickr

The Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks had one. Professional baseball teams have them. And the U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey team found one in Tacoma. We’re talking about a mental skills coach.

And some of this coach's advice to U.S. Olympians could help the average recreational athlete, too.

Professor Colleen Hacker is taking a break from teaching exercise science and sports psychology at Pacific Lutheran University to travel to Russia with the U.S. men's and women's hockey teams for the Winter Olympics. Hacker's job title is “mental skills coach.” And what is that exactly?

Wikimedia Commons

The Seahawks will be riding the Ducks in Wednesday’s parade through downtown Seattle, but there's no word yet on whether they’ll be issued quacker noisemakers.

City spokesman Kyle Moore says the players, coaches and dignitaries, including Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, will be in about two dozen amphibious Ride the Duck vehicles, which are more often associated with tourist excursions.

Paula Wissel

The day after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, the team store at CenturyLink Field was doing brisk business. Fans crowded into the space, buying everything from towels to shirt to hats sporting the Super Bowl XLVIII logo.

Arby Asatorrians, who'd already waited in line to buy a hat, was holding a souvenir football he planned to purchase. 

“We were already downtown last night, celebrating after the game. I was wanting something to commemorate having a piece of the Super Bowl,” he said.  

Julio Cortez / AP Photo

The Seattle Seahawks' mantra all season was to make each day a championship day.

They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game — sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.

Sergei Kazantsev / Wikimedia

 

The 2014 Winter Olympics begin next week amid persistent concerns about security.

Recent bombings in Russia have stoked worries, but local athletes and coaches are expressing confidence they'll be safe in Sochi. Not a single member of this year's U.S. Olympic Team has changed his or her mind about going to Sochi because of the terrorism threat. 

Still, as American athletes leave for Russia this weekend, some are leaving their families behind.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The rain didn’t dampen the spirit of Seahawks fans who turned out in force for a rally and flag signing at the Seattle Center on Wednesday.

After Mayor Ed Murray and former Seahawks players spoke from an open air stage, a 12th man flag that had flown on top of the Seattle Space Needle was taken down and put in a tent. Fans lined up to sign it.

Gift of John H. Hauberg 91.1.71

It was meant to be a friendly wager with a cultural twist: Seattle Art Museum and Denver Art Museum each bet a temporary loan of a work of art on the Super Bowl.

But SAM has withdrawn its original choice of artwork,"Forehead Mask" by the Nuxalk First Nation, at the request of the Nuxalk, and has replaced it with a different piece.

Jude Freeman / Wikimedia Commons

It's every Olympic athlete's worst nightmare. After years of preparing, training and fundraising, an accident just weeks before the Olympic Games derailed everything for Roberto Carcelen of Seattle.  

But the cross-country skier insists on competing at the Sochi Olympics despite a doctor's advice not to.

Florangela Davila

It isn’t just the Seahawks and the Broncos who are facing off in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The big game ups the ante for the teams' superfans — those over-the-top, devoted individuals who are fixtures off the field.

So how do the two teams' super fans match up? We teamed up with Colorado Public Radio to get up close and personal with four of these off-the-charts characters.

Dirk Heldmaier / Wikimedia

The Northwest contribution to U.S. Olympic team goes beyond athletes. A bunch of top coaches, ski tuners, wax technicians and physical therapists from here are Sochi-bound, too. And then there's the cross-country ski coach from Bend, Oregon who is heading to Russia, but not with Team USA.

J.D. Downing runs the XC Oregon race team and training camps in Bend. Now he's wearing several additional hats, including head coach and "chef de mission" for the 2014 Dominica Olympic Team. Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominica is a former French and British colony in the Eastern Caribbean.

Gift of John H. Hauberg 91.1.71

When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday, the directors at two art museums will be paying close attention to the outcome of the game.

The Seattle Art Museum has bet the Denver Art Museum a temporary loan of a major work of art. The winner gets to display the loser's art, which will be on loan for three months.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A University of Washington professor has come up with a 10-minute test to measure the fervor of your Seattle Seahawks fandom.

Psychologist Anthony Greenwald's test is designed to measure the strength of one’s support for a team over another.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Post-game interviews of NFL players are almost always predictable and boring. They go something like this:

Reporter: "Congratulations. How did you guys turn the game around?"

Player: "One play at a time. The team stuck together. We worked hard. The good Lord was with us. The fans were great. Hi, Mom!"

In 20 seconds Sunday night on Fox-TV, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave one of the most memorable post-game interviews ever — and not just because he shattered the stereotype about how players behave in that situation.

Sarah Brunson / U.S. Freeskiing

It's not just the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that will make for an exciting February for Northwest sports fans. The Winter Olympics start just days later, and more Northwest athletes have punched their tickets to the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will face the best defense they've met all season when they play Richard Sherman's Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

It will be a matchup between the NFL's No. 1 offense, led by Manning, against the NFL's No. 1 "D," led by Sherman, when the AFC's Broncos (15-3) take on the NFC's Seahawks (15-3) on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and Seattle's top-ranked defense forced two late turnovers, lifting the Seahawks into their second Super Bowl with a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship Sunday.

Seattle will meet Denver for the NFL title in two weeks in the New Jersey Meadowlands. It's the first trip to the big game for the Seahawks (15-3) since they lost to Pittsburgh after the 2005 season.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

How would you describe the rivalry between football foes Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers? Share your answer below.

John Campbell

Next month, Sochi, Russia will host athletes from more than 85 nations at the Winter Olympics. Some of those countries might surprise you. They get no snow or have no mountains.

Remember the Disney movie "Cool Runnings?" It immortalized the Jamaican bobsled squad. Team Jamaica is coming back for more this year.

And so is the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. territory will likely be represented by a Whitman College student who calls Sun Valley, Idaho home.

Robert Whitney

Athletes headed to next month's Winter Olympics in Russia can be expected to leverage any advantage that nature or nurture provides, though only a select few could bring the advantage of having a sibling teammate.

Siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen grew up in Washington’s Methow Valley, flanked by former Olympic skiers as neighbors. An enviable 120-mile Nordic trail system starts practically at their doorstep.  

Tom Banse

The month of January promises to serve up lots of excitement, angst and pressure for the many Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest. They’ve got about three weeks left to qualify for a spot on the U.S. team bound for the Winter Olympics which begin in Russia in early February.

More than two dozen skiers, snowboarders and skaters from Oregon, Idaho and Washington have a plausible shot at making the U.S. Olympic team in 2014. Relatively few American athletes have secured their Olympic berths so far. Most slots are still up for grabs.

University of Washington

The University of Washington has announced that Boise State’s Chris Petersen will be the Huskies’ next football coach. Petersen leaves Idaho after 13 years, during eight of which he served as the Broncos' head coach. 

Washington made the announcement official with a press release Friday morning. It marked the end of the first successful effort to lure Petersen out of Idaho. His name had been linked to numerous other jobs the last few years. Two undefeated seasons and three national coach of the year awards helped raise his stock nationally. 

John Froschauer / Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners say that cannot confirm any details of a potential deal with free agent second baseman Robinson Cano.

The team said Friday morning they will announce if an agreement is "completed and finalized" with the Yankees star. The statement came in response to an ESPN report Friday morning that Cano and the Mariners had reached agreement on a $240 million, 10-year contract pending a physical.

Katsumi Kasahara / AP Photo/The Seattle Times

Hiroshi Yamauchi, who ran Nintendo for more than 50 years and led the Japanese company's transition from traditional playing-card maker to video game giant, has died. He was 85.

Kyoto-based Nintendo said Yamauchi, who owned the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it to Nintendo's U.S. unit in 2004, died Thursday of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan.

U. S. Embassy Panama / Flickr

The Seattle Seahawks will take on San Francisco in the season’s home opener Sunday night, and a fan group wants the crowd to get loud—loud enough to set a world record.

The crowd’s roar is powerful enough to disorient opponents and, famously, register on a nearby seismic monitor. So just imagine what it must sound like from smack in the middle of it.

“It’s really hard to describe the feeling,” said Joe Tafoya, the former Seahawks defensive end who’s helping organize the record attempt.

AP Photo

The Mariners are on the road for the next seven games. They're playing the A's in Oakland this weekend.

The team keeps finding more painful ways to lose. And KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the fans end up hurt the most.


Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

NBA veteran center Jason Collins has become the first active male professional athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay.

Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website. The 34-year-old Collins has played for six NBA teams in 12 seasons. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. He says he wants to continue playing.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city's bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. The announcement comes a day after Burkle backed out because of a conflict of interest stemming from his ownership stake in Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players' careers.

Sacramento is in a stronger position to convince the NBA to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle with a deal now in place to build an 18,500-seat arena downtown.

The Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to approve a deal that contributes $258 million to the $447 million project. The city plans to use money earned from leasing parking garages for events at the arena to help pay the public cost of the new arena on the current site of an aging shopping mall.

Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks made two big moves this week, trading for high-profile wide receiver Percy Harvin and signing defensive end Cliff Avril. These moves show that the Seahawks are serious about winning a Super Bowl this upcoming season, says sports commentator Art Thiel. 


sonicsarena.com

Investor Chris Hansen says the proposed arena for Seattle's next NBA team will be an "even better building for hockey."

Hansen on Thursday released preliminary design renderings that show how his planned arena would accommodate an NHL team.

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