Monday, February 26, 2007

Greatest Sporting Moment #2 (Eric Liddell)

I wasn’t alive when this happened as it was in 1924 but it is still such an inspiring story that was retold by the very 1980’s film Chariots Of Fire – with some artistic re-writing.

Eric Liddell was the son of Scottish missionaries and spend his first 5 years in China before going to school in England. He was a sporting all rounder and played rugby for Scotland. His speed earned him the nickname “The Flying Scotsman” and he was one of Britain’s best hopes for an Olympic 100 metre gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He was also renown for his unconventional running style of sticking his head back and waving his arms.

His determination to put God first meant he was not prepared to compete on a Sunday and so pulled out of that event deciding instead to compete in the 440 yards (400m) – an event he was far less familiar with.

The standard was high and in the first semi-final the world record was broken by one of Liddell’s opponents, then in the second semi, the record was broken again. Liddell had the outside lane for the final and just ran flat out from the gun – in his own fantastic words, “I run the first 200 metres as hard as I can. Then, for the second 200 metres, with God's help, I run faster”.

The other competitors were so blown away by his pace, in trying to catch him 2 of them just collapsed before reaching the finish. He set another world record of 47.6 seconds in taking the gold medal.

He gave up competitive running to become a missionary in China where he worked up to and during the Japanese and Chinese war where he tirelessly served in a medical centre putting his life at risk on numerous occasions. He died in an internment camp at the age of 43.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Greatest Sporting Moment #1 (Nancy Kerrigan v Tonya Harding)

I know figure skating is not the most thrilling of sports but for one night in 1994 it provided one of the most gripping stories the Olympics have ever seen.

Two American skaters, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were USA’s best hopes for gold in Lillehammer but during a training session for the US Championships in January 1994 Kerrigan was attacked as she left the ice. She was struck just above the knee by a metal police baton. Harding won the competition while Kerrigan had to withdraw.

As it transpired, Harding’s ex-husband had hired a man to make the attack and Harding admitted to helping to cover up the attack but the United States Olympic Committee were unable to remove her from the Olympic team. They were still arguing the point after the opening ceremony. Kerrigan was also selected if she could recover in time.

Everything was set up for the most dramatic finale to the story but there was so much more to come.

Kerrigan led the competition after the short programme with Harding down in 10th. When it came to the long programme, Harding’s name was called but she didn’t appear for over a minute and a half, racing onto the ice, inhaler in hand.
She missed her first jump and dissolved into tears. She explained to the judges that a lace had broken during her warm-up and that she had not had time to fix it. 20 minutes later Harding returned, hit four triple jumps and moved up to eighth place.

Kerrigan skated the performance of her life, just making one double jump instead of a triple. She was placed first – a remarkable comeback.

All except for one thing – Ukrainian 16 year old and World Champion, Oksana Baiul.
She herself had been injured after training colliding with another skater and needed pain-killing injections.

She ended up taking the gold by 0.1 of a point in a 5-4 decision by the judges. Kerrigan had to settle for the silver.

Where are they now?
Nancy Kerrigan: She was criticized for leaving the Olympic venue before the closing ceremonies to take part in Disney World parade and was heard to say: “This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done.”

Oksana Baiul: Emigrated to America and was arrested for drink driving and went into rehab. She also has her own line of clothing and jewellery.

Tonya Harding: She was stripped of her 1994 US title, then stripped to become an internet porn star. She saved an 81 year old woman with mouth to mouth resuscitation. She then became a professional female boxer, winning 3 fights.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Stupid Stupid Stupid Government

Right - The government want to charge us for every car journey we make. OK so they want to cut down on congestion - fine! BUT they propose fitting cars with tracking devices - which we have to pay for - that registers how far we go / how fast we travel etc etc. Then charge us for each journey.

We already have a tax for how often we use our cars on FUEL. So why don't they just put up tax on fuel???? Saves the nonsense over making us pay for our own tracking devices, it's also means that more fuel efficient cars are charged less too.


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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beer-Holder

A nice little article on the old BBC website gives this as the formula for the beer goggle effect (how attractive someone becomes after alcohol).

Aswell as the amount of alcohol consumed, it takes into account light in the room, your vision, and the distance from object of attention.

A score of:
less than 1 means no effect.
1-50 means slight effect.
51-100 means non-appealing becomes suddenly attractive.
more than 100 means minger becomes supermodel.

So next time you're out on the pull, don't forget your light meter, tape measure and calculator!

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