American swim star Amanda Beard – the ex-girlfriend of Ryk Neethling – is looking at competing at her fifth Olympics in London 2012.
That’s amazing longevity. Neethling himself was an ageing warrior at his fourth Olympics in Beijing 2008. Veteran Roland Schoeman will compete at his fourth Games if he makes the team for London.
At her first Games in Atlanta 1996, Beard played second fiddle to SA’s breaststroke queen Penny Heyns, who became the first (and so far only) woman to win both the 100m and 200m races at a single Games.
According to Peter McAllister in his book “Manthropolgy”, any Neanderthal woman would have beaten Arnold Schwarzenegger at arm-wrestling. Click here to read the full story.
Fascinating stuff. Imagine seeing boxers, at their peaks, like George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano – let alone Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather – getting blown away by your average caveman!!!
Presumably our physical decline has coincided with an intellectual growth, although I know some people, especially politicians and sports administrators, who make me think otherwise.
Two top sporting personalities have retired today. The one is Austrian Alpine skiing champion Hermann Maier, 36. The other is Irish race horse Sea The Stars, just three years old.Skiing is a spectacular sport, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a crack at it in both the Alps and the Rockies. I have yet to get to Tiffendell – SA’s only ski resort, as far as I know – but if you ever get the chance to try out the sport, give it a go.
As for horse racing, I hate it. I think it’s cruel for the horses (for instance, Australian jockeys went on strike recently because of limitations on how often they could whip their steeds!). On top of that, wherever betting is allowed, there are always going to be unscrupulous activities.
I love golf – playing and watching it. And I have no problem with the sport winning a spot on the Olympic programme for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro (see full story here).
The problem, I reckon, is the format – a 72-hole strokeplay tournament contested by a 60-strong fields of professionals in both the men’s and women’s events. Remember the good old days when Olympicism was about amateur codes? Of the former mainstream sports, boxing is the only truly amateur code.
I understand that sport is about money, and the Olympics would love to boost their value by potentially getting Tiger Woods into their line-up. But why a strokeplay event?
The pinnacle of professional golf remains the US Masters, closely followed by the British Open. The other two Majors are the US Open and PGA Championship. They’re all strokeplay events. Olympic golf should have been a matchplay tournament between two-person teams, playing twice a day.
Starting with a 64-team draw they could get a winner in three full days of play (64 to 32 to 16 on day one; 16 to eight and four on day two; and four to two to champion on day three), with an extra day or two being set aside in case of bad weather.
That would have given Olympic golf a meaning. But in its strokeplay form, it’s not going to surpass the Masters and the other Majors for me – even if every top golfer in the world competes. It’s like Olympic tennis for me – I still rate Wimbledon higher than the Olympic title.
Rugby Sevens will be a big hit for South African fans, but I hope it doesn’t detract from other members of the SA team, like the top swimmers, athletes, rowers, canoeists, etc.
Remember all the critics predicting that South Africa wouldn’t get the 2010 World Cup stadia ready in time?
Well, they certainly weren’t alone when it comes to “going slow” in preparation for big events. For the past few months there has been widespread concern over the ability of Delhi to get everything ready in time for the Commonwealth Games in October next year.
And today there have been two separate stories about other potential preparation problems. In one, the International Olympic Committee is concerned that the 2012 London Games organisers haven’t yet finalised plans for some sports venues, involving badminton, rhythmic gymnastics and boxing!
In another wire story from abroad, a senior European football official has called on Ukraine to speed up their preparations for the 2012 Euro Champs. Apparently they still need to build hotels, stadia and even airports! Ukraine are to co-host the event with Poland, although some people reckon that they will end up losing some venues to the Poles.
Must be something in the water!
That’s the best Olympic news in a damn long time – the Rio Games are going to be a festival to remember.
I have no doubt that the Brazilians will be able to match – if not surpass – the amazing spirit fostered by the Australians at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Yes, the Athens and Beijing affairs were well organised, but they were a little sterile when it came to that special gees.
You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be atmosphere to spare come the Olympic samba in seven years time. That’s an Olympics I would love to cover.