Anorak News | All That Glisters

All That Glisters

by | 24th, July 2003

‘JAMES Gibson is Britain’s newest champion and the toast of the Independent. Gibson has just won gold in the 50m breaststroke at the world swimming championships.

‘And I did it without armbands’

It gets better when you learn that the 23-year-old is the first British individual champion in 28 years. It’s been a long journey from 1975, when David Wilkie won gold.

But Gibson’s training regime at the University of Loughborough is not as tricky as that endured by Mohammad Abbas.

The Indy says that Abbas, an Iraqi swimmer, was denied access to his country’s only indoor pool after the delightful United States army ‘requisitioned’ it. So he began training in the Tigris River.

Only problem was that the Tigris was full of mines and explosives. ‘For safety reasons, we stopped,’ says Abbas.

Meanwhile, other non-swimming Americans were watching Manchester United take on Celtic in Seattle.

When a friendly match gets this much coverage something is very odd in the world of sport. The game itself was won 4-0 by United.

The Telegraph actually deems this runabout worthy of a full match report. The Times cuts to the chase and focuses on the marketing aspects.

The intention was to win over the Americans to football and, most vitally, to make them fans of Manchester untied.

‘You guys are awesome!’ screams one new American fan. ‘Is soccer always like this? It ROCKS!’

Soccer? Rocks? He then claims this to be the ‘best day in his life’ – something we can all too easily believe.

A crowd of 67,000 showed up to watch the game, made up of what the paper calls ‘soccer virgins’.

The problem is that United are OK in the land of the big apple pies so long as they win. ‘Celtic, you SUCK!’ screamed a new fan as the Glasgow side missed a penalty.

And if United have their way, Americans will soon all suck – on United Cola.

Posted: 24th, July 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink