SportsNet - June 2012
Well here we are in silly season again. It appears that the steady march of the trolls on social media sites has not encompassed the higher echelons of football ownership.
We all thought that Daniel Levy's appointment of Harry Redknapp in 2008 was one of the most inspired pieces of management in recent football history. The club was at the bottom of the Premier League and heading for Armageddon. Then, along came Harry on his white horse and transformed them into a Champions League club in a matter of two seasons.
Had it not been for one of the most unlikely Champions League winners in history, he would have guided the Spurs to the Champions League again next season, after finishing fourth yet again in the Premier League. In fact, his last three seasons, he has led his team to fourth, fifth and fourth in the Table.
After being substituted in the EURO 2012 Group match against Germany, Dutch winger, Arjen Robben decided to take the shorter route by jumping over the advertisement boards on the other end of the pitch, thus ignoring the customary manner of player substitutions. He also considered a handshake with the player he was substituted with unnecessary. He looked far from happy to say the least, with the Netherlands trailing by a solitary goal and ten odd minutes to go he believed the substitution was ill timed. He made it amply clear by taking his shirt off on his way to the Netherlands bench.
This post takes a look at the 28-year old Robben's dip in form, which has coincided with the Netherlands losing both their group matches. They are perilously close to exiting the tournament at the group stage itself, an embarrassment of sorts for a team touted among the favorites to win the tournament.
The current season
Roger Federer has been supremely dominant on the tennis court for years. There are the present rivals in top-two ranked Nadal and Djokovic but tennis' future powerhouses are just beginning to surface. One of them is a 21 year-old named Milos Raonic.
Milos Raonic has competed twice with Federer this season. Once was on the hard court at Indian Wells and once on clay in Madrid. Both were close in three-set matches. Now Raonic is set to clash again with Federer for the quarterfinals in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open. This time it will be on grass. This is definitely a season for Raonic to make his mark and test his skills.
Fewer than 2 years ago, Raonic was a somewhat gangly, very quiet player at the ATP Challenger event in Aptos, CA. He didn't even make an impression there other than he seemed to move around the court like it was small and he had a style that was very reminiscent of a more advanced player. It was like he was practicing for the top-20 on the ATP ranking. As they always say, how you practice is how you play. It didn't take him that long to play well and to get ready to crack the top 20. He currently is ranked 21st.
The fight is over. The final horn has sounded we've watched all the replays, and we've listened to Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg give their take on the fight. The fighters stand to either side of the referee, while Bruce Buffer, the UFC octagon announcer, gathers the judges' scorecards and prepares to read the official decision. But everyone knows who won. Anyone with a working set of eyes could see that one fighter clearly outperformed the other. The decision should be nothing more than a formality. And yet this moment is one of the most tense moments in the Mixed Martial Arts. Because all too often, it seems the wrong guy wins.
In these modern times, whenever an athlete is incredibly successful it is automatically assumed that they used performance-enhancing drugs. In the case of legendary American cyclist Lance Armstrong, the doubts were inevitable. In the latest chapter of Armstrong's battle against accusation, the seven-time Tour de France Winner is being dragged down by formal charges by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
The USADA released a 15-page letter claiming that it spoke with numerous sources that were aware of Armstrong and his team's experience with PEDs. The letter accused others, including team manager Johan Bruyneel, team doctors Luis Garcia del Moral and Pedro Celaya, and consulting doctor Jose Marti. Specific doping methods include blood transfusions and the administration of Human Growth Hormone.