Wednesday, 23 July 2014

1986 Commonwealth Games: Clash of the Rivals

The 1986 Commonwealth Games may have been hit by a widespread boycott - for more information on this see my blog last week - but at least there were still a couple of rivalries that were able to flourish during the championships. Coe, Ovett and Cram were kept apart for various reasons (illness in Coe's case, and Ovett running the 5000 metres didn't help either), yet in the field two British women were able to go head-to-head once more, and the pool would see the renewal of a battle that had begun at Brisbane in 1982.

This week I am taking a look back at the Moorhouse-Davis rivalry in the pool, and the Sanderson-Whitbread clash in the javelin at Edinburgh 1986. Duels that would see a few upsets along the way, and the beginning of an unlikely beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

1986 Commonwealth Games: The Boycott Games

If I am being honest, I had not heard anything about the Commonwealth Games before the 1986 event approached. But what an introduction I was in for. All of a sudden, the Edinburgh Games were making headlines for unwanted reasons, dominating the front pages of the newspapers and lead stories on the news, and this was even before a starting pistol had been fired.

This week I am going to look back on the turmoil surrounding the 1986 Commonwealth Games, as sport and politics collided and left a sorry state behind.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

1989 Open Championship: As it happened

This week I am attempting to pay a tribute to the excellent Guardian Open Championship live blogs that run every year. I've turned back time and revisited the first ever four-hole play-off at the Open Championship in 1989, and had a stab at writing a "as it happened" piece.

Please note: the times below are a rough approximation of the actual timetable of events, so please don't be too harsh on me if I am a couple of minutes out here or there.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

1986: England v India First Test

Cricket, like most sports, has a few examples of history repeating itself. Just ask Peter Moores. In 2007 Moores took charge of an England side that had lost 5-0 in Australia, and then suffered a series defeat at home to an Asian team after previously having that country nine wickets down at Lord's in an agonising draw (I'm ignoring the West Indian series for the purposes of my comparison). Sounds slightly familiar doesn't it?

Want another example? No? Well you're going to get one regardless. In 1985, a 28-year-old left-handed batsman led England to a home Ashes series win (after winning away in India) and all seemed rosy in the English garden. But then followed a demoralising 5-0 reverse in a series overseas, which snowballed into a home series defeat against an Asian team that they were expected to beat. Alastair Cook may think things are tough at the moment, but at least he has managed to cling on to his job. In 1986, David Gower was not so lucky.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

1982 World Cup: Brazil's Goals 15 to 1

Brazil 1982. The mere mention of that country and year combo brings back a host of memories for anyone lucky enough to have lived through the experience first time round. It pains me to say that they were just before my time, that I caught the football bug one year too late, and that my first exposure to football was of the slightly less vintage Arsenal 1983 team (trust me, it wasn't pretty).

So after passing on my affliction to my 7-year-old son, I decided to sit him down and show him every goal that Brazil scored at the 1982 World Cup. And then I decided to rank them 15 to 1. You may disagree with my final chart countdown, although I promise not to be too bothered. After all, I got to sit through numerous YouTube clips of this fabulous team. There are worse ways to spend your time.

Friday, 20 June 2014

1988 Wimbledon

Continuing my 1988 Grand Slam tennis series, a look back this week on the 1988 Wimbledon Championships. A tournament that saw one Grand Slam ambition end and another continue, more British disappointment, classic semi-finals, and a Swede confirm his undoubted talent by winning the Wimbledon title.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Ivan Lendl - The Man Who Made Murray

It is dangerous to go through your life with the same opinions on someone or something that you have always believed to be true. So as my life has progressed, I have always tried to educate myself on matters that I feel need addressing. Obviously with me that involves sporting issues rather than sensible, grown-up things, but what do you expect?

Therefore, reading Ivan Lendl - The Man Who Made Murray by Mark Hodgkinson was a valuable experience for me, a real eye-opener. Previously I had held the firm belief that Lendl was dull, cold, boring, and seriously lacking on the personality front. As I read the book, I discovered that I was not alone in this view, after all, Lendl was hardly Mr Popular on the international tennis scene in the 1980s. But in his excellent and engrossing book, Hodgkinson sets about tackling the misconceptions and myths surrounding the man, who would eventually win eight Grand Slam singles titles, and as the title suggests, help Andy Murray to realise his ambitions.