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Gareth Edwards in the mall

Sunday, 15 September, 2013 0 Comments

In 2003, a poll of international rugby players conducted by Rugby World magazine declared Gareth Edwards the greatest player of all time. A year earlier, a life-size bronze statue of the outstanding Welsh scrum-half by the New Zealand sculptor Bonar Dunlop was unveiled in St Davids shopping mall in Cardiff. “He was a supreme athlete […]

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Well done, Andy!

Sunday, 7 July, 2013 0 Comments

“The public never appears to tire of endless courses of strawberries and cream, and the theory that you run the risk of boring people with endless photo montages of the Chelsea Pensioners in their dress reds, or close-ups of a Pimm’s Cup sprouting all kinda of flora, has yet to be proven. People like Wimbledon in the same way they like blue jeans or even their own spouses: for the pleasure yielded by their reliable sameness.” Peter Bodo, Courts of Babylon

Andy Murray

Epic wonderland

Thursday, 13 June, 2013 0 Comments

“Huge thank you to the region of Trentino, Italy for having me as a guest in your epic wonderland!” So says Matty Brown, the creator of this awesome clip. “This is incredible,”commented Ryan Dury. “Tons of creative footage. Beautiful region. I once had a day in Bolzano. Great editing!” Matty Brown’s video brings back happy memories of our wanderings across these parts of Playground, Italy, especially around Renon/Ritten.

The Special Ones: José Mourinho and Abel Rodríguez

Friday, 12 April, 2013 0 Comments

And then there were four: In today’s Champions League semi-final draw we have Barcelona, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Will it be Bundesliga vs. Bundesliga and Primera División vs. Primera División with the best of both meeting in Wembley Stadium on 25 May? Exciting.

While we’re counting down to the draw, let’s read about Abel Rodríguez from Mexico, who waxes floors for a living in Los Angeles and takes two weeks holiday every year to work for free for Real Madrid when the club does its summer training in Los Angeles. He had always dreamed of seeing Real playing their great rivals Barca in Madrid in El Clásico, as fans call the contest, so his family urged him to go. And he went. Without a match ticket or a hotel reservation. He arrived in the Spanish capital and sat outside the club’s training grounds for hours until manager José Mourinho spotted him as he was leaving. “Stop! It’s the guy from Los Angeles.” And that’s how the magical journey of Abel Rodríguez began. It’s documented beautifully by Grant Wahl in Sports Illustrated. Snippet:

“Mourinho called an assistant and arranged for Rodríguez to have his own room at the fancy hotel where Real Madrid was staying before the Barcelona game. Mourinho instructed him to get some rest at the hotel and meet him at the training site the next morning. That evening, the night before El Clásico, the two men caught up for 90 minutes together before sharing dinner with the Real Madrid coaching staff.”

It’s only a game, some say.

UPDATE: Bayern München vs. Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid. The semi-final first legs will be on 23 and 24 April and the return legs on 30 April and 1 May.

Why? Because we can — maybe.

Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 0 Comments

“Space exploration? Send a robot. Deep-sea exploration? Send a robot. Killing people on the Afghan-Pakistan border? Send a drone. This is linked to the question of risk, since the main part of what makes experiments with humans expensive is the need to keep them alive.” So wrote John Lanchester in the London Review of Books […]

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Lance Armstrong: “our collective discomfort with a cyborg nature”

Monday, 3 September, 2012

Cyborgology? “Today, with the vast proliferation and diffusion of new technologies throughout society, techno-human syntheses occur in more aspects of our lives than ever before. Advances in medicine augment our bodies with technology (e.g., pills, pacemakers, IUDs, breast implants, Viagra, contact lenses).” That’s the standpoint from which Jenny Davis proceeds in “Resistant Cyborgs: Lessons from […]

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The Games of the XX Olympiad in Munich and their victims

Sunday, 26 August, 2012

On this day in 1972, the Games of the XX Olympiad began in Munich and continued until 10 September. At 4:30am on the morning of 5 September, a group of Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village and entered two apartments being used by the Israeli team at 31 Connollystraße. The memorial plaque on the […]

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The Freedom Games

Monday, 13 August, 2012

As George Michael sang Freedom during the closing ceremony of the London Olympics last night, the stadium lighting system flashed the world “Freedom” across the crowded arena. It was a wonderful moment because these really were the Freedom Games. And the proof was provided by the medal table, where the tally of the United States, […]

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Alberto Salazar and the art of exhaustion

Tuesday, 7 August, 2012

On Saturday night in London, Mo Farah and Galen Rupp disrupted the African hegemony of long-distance running events by winning gold and sliver in the 10,000 metres race. How did they manage it? In essence, Farah moved to Oregon last year to train with Rupp under the guidance of Alberto Salazar. In the current issue […]

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More than money

Saturday, 28 July, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games are upon us and there’s no better way to wake up to the first day of competition in London than with an English song by and English singer: Seth Lakeman. More than Money is the opening track on his sixth solo album, Tales from the Barrel House. Despite many of the […]

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Let the Games begin!

Friday, 27 July, 2012

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle covered the 1908 London Olympics for The Daily Mail. “I do not often do journalistic work, but I was tempted chiefly by the offer of an excellent seat,” he recalled in his autobiography. Upon seeing the fatigued Italian marathon runner, Dorando Pietri, entering the stadium at White City, Doyle wrote: “It […]

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