▪ Euro 2016 is back underway Thursday with Poland taking on Portugal in the weekend’s first Quarterfinal-round match. But it’s Iceland that has become the Cinderella story of the tournament after advancing out of the group stage and beating England 2-1 in the Round of 16 on Monday. The upset is considered one of the biggest in England’s history and one that Icelanders will look back on fondly.
For perspective, it is estimated 27,000 fans, or 8 percent of the Icelandic population, made the journey to the Euros to support their team. Leicester, the 13th-largest city in England, has about the same population.
The rest of Iceland was watching too. According to AS, 99.8 percent of the country’s television audience tuned in to watch the Icelanders upset England. By now, Iceland certainly seems comfortable in their underdog role as they prepare for an even more daunting match against host country France, a tournament favorite to win it all, on Sunday in Saint-Denis.
▪ It’s officially summer and with it comes thunderstorms and wild weather in Colorado. The Rockies experienced it firsthand on Tuesday night, when a hailstorm flooded the field, dugouts and tunnels leading to the clubhouse in a 2 1/2-hour delay.
Somehow, the Colorado grounds crew was able to make the field playable again after scooping hail by the shovelful for the game to resume.
▪ Since it’s summer, it feels too early to start talking about football. That didn’t stop Andrew Luck from signing a new six-year $140 million dollar contract with the Colts on Wednesday, keeping him with the team until 2021. The deal makes him the highest paid player in league history, according to Albert Breer.
▪ Olympics season is well underway, with U.S. Swimming trials kicking off this week and track and field trials set for the weekend. And already the most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps became the first U.S. swimmer to make five Olympic teams after beating out Tom Shields in the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials in 1 minute, 54.84 seconds.
Phelps has two Olympic gold medals in the 200 butterfly, but he fell in the 2012 Games to South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.
▪ On the women’s side, Missy Franklin overcame a seventh-place finish in Tuesday’s backstroke — a race she won gold in at the London Games — by placing second in the the 100 freestyle and earning a chance to compete at the Games in Rio.
▪ Some local athletes are also trying to qualify for the Olympics, including former Arroyo Grande star Stephanie Brown Trafton, Jordan Hasay, Ben Bruce, John Prader, Maggie Vessey, Sharon Day-Monroe and Barbara Nwaba.
▪ The NHL erupted in a flurry of moves on Wednesday, including the Oilers’ trade of the former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to the Devils. Also traded on Wednesday was Canadians’ defenseman P.K. Subban for the Predator’s defenseman Shea Webber in a straight one-for-one swap.
The Oilers narrowly avoided Subban’s no-movement clause, which would have taken effect July 1.
Steven Stamkos also signed an eight-year $68 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, ending any speculation about where the biggest free agent in the NHL would go this offseason.
▪ And finally, in case you missed it, here’s a kid who made the most of his camera time at the College World Series.