There is a US television presenter this week who needs to go back to the drawing board and make sure she does her research before making a complete idiot of herself in front of millions of viewers.
Mo Farah, one of the most recognisable faces to have come out of the London2012 Olympics, had just won the New Orleans half marathon in a record time of 61 minutes. Imagine his surprise to be asked by the anchor, LaTonya Norton, firstly “Haven’t you run before?” and then “This isn’t your first time?” Surely this is on a par with asking whether the Pope is a Catholic?
Viewers were left cringing throughout the interview on local television station WDSU – she quite clearly had no idea who he was – something perhaps a quick Google search might have sorted out for her? I thought that was what the numbers on their vests were for, to help news crews identify the individual runners. This seems to work for most other sports.
It is unsurprising therefore that someone has taken the opportunity to update the list of anchors on WDSU’s Wikipedia page to read ‘LaTonya ‘Doesn’t know who Mo Farah is’ Norton’.
So Ms Norton, let me put you in the picture. Farah secured his place in history in London last summer, becoming the first British man to win Olympic gold in the 10,000m, and one of only five people to also win gold in the 5,000m. Britain’s most successful distance runner of all time, he was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
He has had two post boxes painted gold as a permanent tribute to his achievements, one in Isleworth, where he grew up, and the other in neighbouring Teddington, in south west London, where the athlete spent time training. A nice touch with the one in Teddington is that it is right across the road from a Fara charity shop which has had its signwriting changed to Mo Fara as a further tribute to a local hero’s success!
Who are you, LaTonya Norton?????
Now that the London Olympics are finished, the next big sporting occasion to look forward to is the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. The official mascot of the Games was unveiled this week as a Thistle man named Clyde. Clyde is the brainchild of Cumbernauld schoolgirl Beth Gilmour whose mascot design was chosen from more than 4000 entries in a UK-wide competition.
Beth, who won four tickets to the Games opening ceremony as part of her prize, said: “My idea was that Clyde was friendly and sporty. On my entry, I drew him running and winking so he’s a wee bit cheeky as well. He’s exactly how I pictured him.”
and Glasgow 2014 chairman, Lord Smith, said: “Beth’s design captured the imagination and the spirit of not only the Games, but also of Glasgow and Scotland. Clyde is the cheeky but friendly face of Glasgow 2014 and will take the Games message to the people of Scotland.”
Clyde, named after the our City’s famous river, was introduced in a short animated film narrated by 2014 Games ambassador Billy Connolly. It tells the story of how the thistle was planted by Captain Bristle and taken around the Commonwealth on HMS Shipshape. The captain then returned to his base on the Clyde, where the thistle came to life.
The excitement is starting to build – I’m sure that Clyde will be popping up all over the place in the next 2 years – keep your eyes peeled!!!
This morning Andy Murray is $1.9m better off after [finally] winning a Grand Slam and in doing so has ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion with an epic victory over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. Murray, 25, emulated Fred Perry’s 1936 achievement, winning 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in four hours 54 minutes in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York. Beating the world number two and defending champion makes him the first British man to win an Olympic gold and the US Open in the same year.
It was incredible that Murray served out the championship 76 years to the day – on the same court – that Perry won the first of eight major singles crowns but I should imagine the 4 hours and 54 minutes that it took were the longest of his life!
Murray had plenty of noteworthy fans in the stands cheering him on, including a pair of Scots who crashed his news conference after his semi-final: actor Sean Connery and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson. Also spotted in the crowd were Patrick Stewart and Kevin Spacey.
For the last few points everyone was on their feet, desperately hoping that they were just about to witness something special and for once they weren’t disappointed. As Andy sank to his knees, the relief on his face was palpable and I swear there was just the smallest hint of a smile on his face. He did say in his post match interview that he was “smiling on the inside” but as usual it didn’t quite make it to his mouth!
A fabulous end to a great summer of sport for the UK and a belief that maybe, just maybe, we’re getting better at this sport malarkey!
Having just sat through almost 4 hours of TV coverage of the opening ceremony of London2012, I can’t help wondering what the rest of the world made of Danny Boyle’s ceremony. His concept was to give us “a celebration of the creativity, exuberance and, above all, the generosity of the British people”. Undeniably clever, for the viewing public it was certainly a spectacle but a lot of it would have been lost on you if you weren’t British!
What we were all waiting for though was to find out the identity of who was to light the symbolic flame which had been shrouded in secrecy ahead of the ceremony. Fittingly it was a group of seven young athletes, chosen by British Olympic champions, who each lit a single tiny flame on the ground, igniting 204 petals, one for each competing nation or territory. Long stems then rose towards each other to form a cauldron, signifying unity. This for me was the highlight of the whole night – incredible!
There was so much happening that this post would become something akin to War & Peace if I tried to cover it all, so as I’ve given you my highlight of the occasion I should probably mention my lowlight …..
Sorry all you Beatles fans out there but Paul McCartney was DREADFUL!!! His performance out of tune and completely shambolic at the start. He did get a bit better as he warmed up but I think that it is probably time he gives up and goes home – it’s not like he needs the money!
Following on from my previous post “Athletic Art“, I’ve managed to find a YouTube clip showing the double-decker bus that has been turned into a sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups – you can see it in action here, it’s so clever! If you get the chance to pop along to Islington and see it for yourself, please send me your pictures!
Just to prove that I am not completely negative about the London2012 Olympics, I wanted to share with you these spectacular images that Olympic bosses beamed onto the Houses of Parliament in a truly dazzling display last night.
Enormous images including world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, a giant Union Jack flag, and the Olympic rings were among those beamed on to one of London’s most iconic buildings as final Games preparations took place. Enjoy!
This is my favourite image so far of the imminent London2012 Olympics!
A Czech artist has re-modelled a traditional London double-decker bus into a mechanical sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups to celebrate the Olympic Games opening in the British capital on Friday.
David Cerny bought the 1957 bus from an owner in the Netherlands, attached two huge arms, an electrical engine and a lot of wiring and suspension tools to make it into a piece of art named “London Boosted”.
Cerny, whose past works have enraged European politicians and sought to poke fun at rival artists, has installed the bus outside the Czech Olympic House in London’s Islington neighbourhood.
“There is one common exercise for every sportsman in the world, and that is push-ups,” Cerny said. “It is training for sport activities but at the same time it is also punishment in armies and prisons. So the push-ups are a very universal physical activity…It is in a way very ironic.”
For regular travellers on this particular transport however, the irony might be the fact that there’s only one and not 3 identical buses there at the same time!
The term Glass Ceiling refers to “the seen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. The Glass Wall – Refers to the phenomenon of high rates of women advancing to executive positions but only in certain industries.
Throughout history women have become aware of the strains being put on them and have begun to fight it. An example of this would be Hillary Clinton’s run for presidency, which is often seen as the highest glass ceiling in America. While many women have already broken these barriers and have successfully become CEO’s of companies, putting a woman in the White House remains the ultimate challenge.
It was with delight, and not a little amazement, therefore to discover that the TUC, which throughout its 200 year history has always been “also known as the Men’s Movement”, has chosen a woman, Frances O’Grady, to be its new leader.
Ms O’Grady (age 52) has been an active trade unionist and campaigner all her working life. As Deputy General Secretary of the TUC since 2003, she led on winning the 2012 Principles of Co-operation Agreement with the Olympic Authorities, guaranteeing on-site minimum standards for local jobs, health and safety and the London living wage. Ms O’Grady has also led on industrial policy arguing the case for a strategic approach to rebalancing the economy in the wake of the financial crash. Fair pay remains a core ambition and she represents the TUC on the Low Pay and the High Pay Commissions, and on the Resolution Foundation’s Commission on Living Standards. Frances is a strong believer in protecting the public service ethos, opposes privatisation and leads the TUC campaign to save the NHS.
There is no questioning her credentials or her suitability for this role. A little part of me can’t help but think though that they thought they were appointing a Francis instead of a Frances – nudge, nudge, wink, wink!
Today bought 3 shock results/news items in the world of sport.
Firstly we discovered that David Beckham had been left out of the GB Olympic Squad by Stuart Pearce who, in his infinite wisdom decided he had a strong enough midfield and so picked Manchester City defender Micah Richards ahead of him. (Yes, the same Micah Richards who refused to be on stand-by for the England Squad for Euro2012). When he only had the choice of three over 23 year olds, it seems bonkers to me that Beckham wasn’t chosen – he was part of the Olympic flame handover ceremony in May, bringing it to Britain for the torch relay. He also played a major role as a sporting ambassador when London won the 2012 bid, and has made no secret of his desire to captain Team GB.
So then we came to this evening’s entertainment! Starting with the Euro2012 semi-final between Italy and Germany. With the Germans the strong favourites I don’t think any of the neutrals watching could believe the happenings on the pitch! The Germans were rubbish and the Italians were magnificent. Two sensational goals from the super-loopy Mario Balotelli catapulted them into the final against Spain on Sunday. There was a wee flurry in extra time where the Germans were awarded a penalty and despite a brilliant strike from Ozil to make it 2-1, it was too little, too late and Italy were the victors.
That just left enough time for me to switch over to BBC2 to see the world No.2, Rafael Nadal, get beaten in the 5th set in the 2nd round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol, a player who is ranked 100th in the world!
“I know Nadal is only human. Nadal played a good match but I think I was a little bit better.”
The last few games that I was able to watch definitely proved this – he was exciting to watch and I was rather sorry I’d elected to watch the football instead of this tennis match but they were both equally unexpected results which is always refreshing for the armchair sports fan!
Oh well, that’s enough excitement for one day – only the Final on Sunday and the 2nd week of Wimbledon to look forward to before the Olympics – how will I cope???
I’ve often wondered if sporting activity is really good for you. In the light of some of the recent events in the world of the elite sportsman, I’m starting to think I might actually have something!
The dramatic pictures of Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers footballer, suffering a heart attack at the age of 23 on the pitch at White Hart Lane during the FA Cup quarter final against Spurs, were shocking to say the least, but happily, despite being technically dead for 78 minutes, he appears to be making a miraculous recovery and we can only hope that he continues to progress well.
The Motherwell FC player, Phil O’Donnell was not as fortunate. He died following a cardiac arrest during a game against Dundee on 29th December 2007. He was 35 years old, married and had 4 young children.
So it was yet another shock to read in the news today of the death of Norway’s world swimming champion, Alexander Dale Oen, at the age of 26. Again, he had suffered a cardiac arrest. He was found collapsed in a shower yesterday evening after a training session in Arizona. Having won silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Norway’s first Olympic swimming medal, he was considered a strong hope for this summer’s London Games.
My thoughts and good wishes are with all the families, to lose a loved one at any age is difficult but particularly harrowing if they are in their prime with everything to live for.