Inside Lines: How come Daley isn't up to scratch?
Sunday 29 June 2008
Why was Daley Thompson not among the six British Olympians nominated to appear on the new National Lottery scratchcard to raise cash for 2012? Overlooking the back-to-back Olympic champion was even described by Seb Coe as "astonishing". Coe is there alongside Kelly Holmes, Steve Redgrave, Jonathan Edwards, Duncan Goodhew and Sally Gunnell, all said to have emerged as the top six in a poll conducted on behalf of Camelot. Yet the omission of Thompson – voted Britain's greatest all-round sportsman of the 20th Century and, in another poll only last week, as the nation's favourite Olympian – seems a snub of Olympian proportions. The choice of Goodhew, who won his gold with no Americans present, is surely controversial. Goodhew has been an ardent supporter of the Lottery whereas Thompson has been critical of the way some of the money is distributed. And we know from personal experience how touchy the Lottery bods can be about this. OK, so it is only a bit of fun and no doubt all quite above board, but if it was one of those dodgy TV phone-ins we'd be demanding an inquiry.
'Greatest' Tiger yet to earn his stripes
While on the subject of subjectivity, it seems that the golfing groupies have clubbed together and decided that Tiger Woods is now the greatest sports figure of all time, surpassing even Muhammad Ali, whom one dismissed as "the darling of the liberal sportswriter". Great as he undoubtedly is, we'd like to see Tiger attempting to sink a six-foot putt with punches fizzing into his face. And put him in a mix with, say, Ali, Pele, Garry Sobers, Jesse Owens, Michael Jordan, Rod Laver, Jack Nicklaus and Roger Federer, could he even be sure of making the cut?
Why Brailsford is the wheel deal
What would the Football Association give to have unearthed a home-grown coach like cycling's Dave Brailsford who has pushed his sport to the top of the world? Last week the 44-year-old big wheel behind Britain's global successes (nine current World Championship golds) gave a captivating address at a Sports Journalists' Association lunch, including the revelation that the graft, guile and technical expertise that has produced track supremacy is to be employed in launching a £6 million British bid to win the Tour de France, setting up a drugs-free road team that will be "the Manchester United of cycling" by 2010. He even promises a Wayne Rooney in young hope Mark Cavendish. The Tour may be tainted, but Brailsford's no dope.
Pedal power for kids on road show
While talent-spotting for the 2010 Tour, perhaps Dave Brailsford should be keeping an eye on the six intrepid 16-year-olds from Wellington College, Crowthorne, who have raised £50,000 for male cancer charities, including the Lance Armstrong Fund, by cycling the 1,000 miles from John O'Groats to Land's End. They set out 11 days ago after finishing their GCSEs and one of them, Charlie Byrd, from Wimbledon, has been bitten by the bug. Literally, unfortunately, as he ended up in hospital in Bristol with an infected hand. In times when kids get a lot of stick, it is good to record that such youthful enterprise flourishes.
It's not cricket but Mugabe plays on
While a cricket ban looms, there is no chance of Zimbabwe being kicked out of the Olympics, as they were when known as Rhodesia, according to International Olympic Committee sources. Moreover under IOC rules the British Government will be powerless to prevent Robert Mugabe from turning up in the VIP box in 2012, if he's still around.
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