Anorak News | Winning At Last

Winning At Last

by | 20th, December 2005

‘NO-ONE could have predicted that in 2005, Lord Sebastian Coe would once again find himself the toast of the nation. Yet the former Olympic champion’s work in stuffing it to the French and bringing the 2012 games to London surely outshines even his two Olympic golds.

London property developers, politicians and the entire construction industry danced in the streets at the good news in July. And Coe pulled off a second incredible feat by appearing to be even smugger than usual.

(Sadly, the Olympic joy soon paled into insignificance with the horrific terrorist attacks in the capital the following day.)

England’s heroic cricketers also gave us something to cheer about when they finally wrestled the Ashes from the hands of their Aussie counterparts.

Although the ensuing media frenzy – comparing the victory to that of 1966 – may well have been down to one too many Pimms in the newsroom. The comparison would have been apt if the World Cup was played every couple of years and only England and Germany took part.

Still, suddenly everyone wanted to be a paid up member of that ‘crazy’ and ‘mental’ barmy army, wearing khaki shorts, dock shoes and reading the Daily Mail.

Local parks were packed to the brim with youngsters eschewing their Playstations for the satisfying thud of leather on willow. Many others, young and old, took inspiration from Andrew Flintoff, and got on with some serious binge drinking.

Flintoff’s post-Ashes, red-eyed debauchery was cheered by the media – but one wonders if the same treatment would have been given to Wayne Rooney or John Terry.

No doubt many of the barmy army are also regular visitors to Wimbledon’s Henman Hill. This year, however, Tiger Tim was outshone by a new kid on the block in the gangly form of Scotland’s teenage whirlwind Andrew Murray.

The charismatic youngster’s mix of unreserved passion and all-action play was a breath of fresh air for British tennis. His momentous victory over the ageing and morbidly uninteresting Henman in Switzerland signalled an overdue changing of the guard in the domestic game.

In the Six Nations rugby, some more Celts were making waves, with the Welsh side bagging their first Grand Slam since 1978.

However things didn’t go so smoothly for the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand. Indeed, the bizarre double act of Sir Clive Woodward and Alistair Campbell contrived to turn the tour down under into an unmitigated disaster.

No clumsily contrived photo opportunities or self-deluded excuses could mask the embarrassment of it all. In Woodward’s case, the Lions loss is Southampton FC’s gain. Or is it the other way round?

One British sportsperson who did successfully negotiate her way around the choppy waters of the Southern Hemisphere was the ubiquitous Ellen MacArthur. The diminutive Derbyshire yachtswoman bagged herself yet another record, this time for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe.

Yet arguably the most memorable sporting moment of 2005 may well belong to the nation’s sweetheart Paula Radcliffe. The sight of our head-bobbing track queen performing her one-woman dirty protest in the middle of the London marathon before going on to win the race was both disgusting and inspiring.

A bit like Chelsea…’

Posted: 20th, December 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink