No More Joy on Singo’s face after Gai picks barrier WTF in the Cox Plate … Nike dumps Armstrong but McQuaid clings to the UCI … Sydney braces itself for a summer of Bernie Tomic … Steve Hansen talks about everything but the end of the All Blacks’ winning streak … Richie McCaw cops another knee, then Scott Higginbotham cops four weeks … and it’s Potter’s field next season at Wests Tigers.
Did I fly back from Brisbane into a parallel universe? A lot of the big guys lost this week in the Champions League. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, not to mention Real Madrid and AC Milan, were beaten by the likes of Ajax, Shakhtar, Schalke, Dortmund and Malaga. Never ones to underplay a problem, the British press pondered whether the results meant England was the ”sick man of European football”. The last time things were so grim was this month a decade ago, when Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United and Newcastle were handed their hats by the little guys. United were the only ones to pull off a midweek win but Fergie has his own problems. Anti-racism tee with your newspaper, anyone?
It’s been more than three years since the horrors of the Sri Lankan cricket team’s ordeal in Pakistan. Eight people were killed and seven players wounded when the bus was stopped outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and fired upon by 12 gunmen. No international team has toured the country since, but Pakistan’s cricket chiefs are hoping bulletproof buses will help persuade them to return. The Pakistan Cricket Board has ordered the armored buses this week, and hopes their purchase, along with a new stadium in Islamabad and the success of two exhibition matches in Karachi, will convince other cricket boards to return to the country next year.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
America’s virgin track princess Lolo Jones is going for her third Olympics, only this time it could be the winter one. After a controversy-laden London campaign, Jones was this week named on the US bobsled team as a ”push” athlete – the one who runs behind, pushing the bobsled down the track, before jumping in the back behind her teammate. The women’s coach Todd Hays said he targeted track Olympians to give the team the benefit of their experience, as well as their strength and power. Jones is hoping her performance does the talking this time.
Call him the Nathan Sharpe of American football. Veteran Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has been asked back to the NFL team after his replacement Fred Davis went down with a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. Instead of a ”coffee with [Wallabies coach] Robbie Deans”, a la Sharpie, Cooley took the following steps in his negotiations.
1. Talk to the team doctor: ”Literally, you go into the training room, and the doctor’s like, ‘How are you feeling, man, good? Good. OK, you passed.”’
2. Ask for a slab: ”Literally, I have text correspondence trying to negotiate a case of beer into my contract. They wouldn’t do it. I wanted it in writing so much.”
Let’s hope Sharpie’s getting good advice.
IF YOU’RE NOT WATCHING SPORT, YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO …
Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul. Otis Redding. Long before Jon Cryer was subjugated by Charlie Sheen/Ashton Kutcher he was Duckie in Pretty in Pink, dancing like a champion in a pair of Dr Martens to Try a Little Tenderness. Maybe not complete, but definitely unbelievable. Do I offend?
Meet Australia’s ”extreme utility back”. Taking versatility to new levels, Adam Ashley-Cooper has played an astonishing three Test matches each at fullback, centre and wing this season. That’s nine games out of 11, 80 minutes in all but the horror on the Highveld, and three different positions, three times. Not bad for a bloke who only took up the sport at 15.
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