“ Can you whittle down all the cheers and jeers of your favourite sporting moments to just 10? Let's hear them... „
Wow, what a good Top 10 list idea! The only problem is how do I limit it to just 10?
Well here goes; I'll make this list about recent motorsport moments to spark a little debate amongst motor heads.
1. Moto GP - Last lap of 2009 Catalunya GP saw Valentino Rossi in a tooth and nail battle with young upstart Jorge Lorenzo. This gripping duel went right down to the last corner and saw Rossi grab a stunning and well-earned victory. One of the best last-lap battles ever? Quite possibly!
2. British Superbikes - Leon Camier recovered from a truly horrific crash at the Cadwell Park circuit in 2007 and is now amongst the top-runners in British Superbikes.
3. Brawn GP - The Honda F1 outfit dissolved between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, leaving the redundant and the drivers car-less. Reborn as Brawn GP they have taken the first part of the 2009 season by storm in a true 'phoenix from the flames' fairytale moment.
4. Lewis Hamilton - Crowned F1 World Champion in the last gasps of the 2008 F1 season, Lewis went right down to the penultimate corners of the Brazilian GP to secure a well-deserved first championship. It had been a highly controversial season, beset by on and off-track issues which threatened to derail his aspirations.
5. John McGuiness' 130mph lap - Isle of Man TT legend John McGuiness clocked the first ever 130mph+ average lap on the Isle of Man TT in 2008. For motorsport fans over the world this is an iconic event and AVERAGE speeds of 130mph+ on regular roads still boggles my mind to this day.
6. Ayrton Senna's 1993 European GP - In true Senna style, Ayrton came back from a poor start to take a stunning victory on a saturated Donington Park track, once again asserting his dominance in F1.
7. Michael Schumacher - Clinching his seventh F1 World Championship (and bettering Fangio's previous record by two) - Need I say more? I could have filled this list with his amazing performances alone, but let's just have this entry to cover his entire career! A true legend.
8. Troy Bayliss - Clinching his third World Superbike Championship in 2008, Bayliss then retired whilst on top of the sport as a true icon.
9. Jorge Lorenzo - 2008 Le Mans Moto GP - After a truly breathtaking crash at the previous race weekend , Jorge battled through the pain of two severely damaged ankles to gain a massively respectful second place.
10. Jorge Lorenzo - 2009 Laguna Seca Moto GP - After a crash in qualifying, Jorge legged it back to the pits and jumped on his second bike. After popping his bike on the pole position spot, Jorge promptly suffered another spectacular crash which left his upper body severely battered for the next day's racing. Undeterred, he put in an amazing performance to finish third, and even managed to seriously challenge Valentino Rossi along the way!
These are my top 10 Sporting Moments: (in no particular order)
10. Usain Bolt winning the 100m and 200m sprints in his 1st Olympic Games along with the four by 100m relay for Jamaica; with ease as he began celebrating before the line. After this in many interviews he has been asked why he didn't sprint all the way in to the line, he replied. "I didn't want to run to fast as it would take me a long time to beat them again"
9. Michael Phelps winning 8 Golds in the 2008 Olympic games; my favourite of these wins was the 100m butterfly where he beat Ian Crocker by just millimetres at the line.
8. Recently I went to watch the iRB World Sevens at Twickenham where Kenya, ranked 40th in the world won the bowl competition beating Scotland, USA and Canada who are ranked 10th, 19th and 13th respectivly. There was also a huge crowd supporting Kenya in the South stand.
7. Has to be Johnny Wilkinson's famous drop goal at the 2003 Rugby World Cup to beat Australia.
6. As I quite like athletics as great moment for me was all the way back in 1954 when Roger Bannister was the 1st man to run the 4 minute mile.
5. In the 2000 Olympic games a member of the USA basketball team, Vince Carter dunked and clearly jumper "over" the 7ft 2 Frenchman, Frederic Weis. The USA then went on to win the gold that year.
4. One funny moment, which I have only seen in videos, was Rene Higuita's so called scorpion kick against England in 1995 in a friendly. This is done by jumping up, arching is legs up over his body and clearing the ball away from the goal. He became notorious for taking unnecessary risks in many games, sometimes allowing easy goals in.
3. At the X-Games 12 during the moto-x event Travis Pastrana pulled off the worlds first double backflip which one him a gold in the competition in 2006.
And to finish off with two from my favourite sport. . .
2. In the 2008 NBA dunk contest Dwight Howard famously dressed up as superman and produced a 50/50 rated dunk time after time; leaving all the other competitors way behind.
1. Finally, in 1962 Wilt Chamberlain was the 1st and only man ever to score over 100 points in a regular season game. Which was described by the NBA as one the of the best games ever. He also broke 5 scoring records in his career, four of which still stand.
Thanks For Reading.
I'm going to break away from the norm with this review and tell you about ten sporting experiences I actually attended in person. Enjoy!
Middlesbrough 1 v 0 Roma - March 2006 (Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough)
This game makes my top 10 as it is the only European Club match I've ever attended. It was a cold, rainy night at The Riverside, but that didn't stop the locals coming out in their droves to see a Yakubu penalty seal the win against their more illustrious opponents from Italy.
England v West Indies - May 2007 (Headingley, Leeds)
A cool, blustery day at Headingley, but boy did we see some action! We were lucky enough to witness Kevin Pietersens highest test score of 226, as well as Ryan Sidebottom ripping through The Windies batsmen to claim 4-42, as they slumped to 146 all out. We also saw a lot of the 2nd innings as West Indies were asked to follow on (bat again) in what would be another lowly 141 all out. England wrapped up the game with time to spare.
England v Pakistan - Aug 2006 (Headingley, Leeds)
Another Cricket match at Headingley, another Pietersen century and another England win! Ian Bell also got his century, whilst tail-enders Harmison and Saj Mahmood put on an entertaining partnership of 56 on the way to 515 all out. Unfortunately it was a very good batting pitch as Pakistan accumulated 538 all out in their 1st innings. Luckily England sorted themselves out in the 2nd innings and managed to grab the win.
Snooker World Championships - 2005 (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield)
Steve Davis v Michael Holt - 2nd Round
Davis was 8-2 down at one stage before coming back to win 13-10 against the volatile youngster Michael Holt. We had great seats at this venue, being just a handful of rows back. We were constantly seen on the TV coverage (of which I have a DVD recording showing about 5 hours footage for posterity!!)
England 4 v 2 Croatia - Euro 2004 (Stadium de Luz, Lisbon)
What a terrific game and just so grateful that when we applied for random game tickets before the tournament started, we were lucky enough to get this one!
When Kovac opened the scoring for Croatia after just 6 minutes everybody feared the worst. But a young lad called Wayne Rooney (You might have heard of him?) scored a fantastic double, supported by goals from Lampard and Scholes. The 'Stadium of Light' is the best stadium in Portugal and is home to club team Benfica. A massive 63,000 fans attended this game.
England 2 v 1 Slovakia - Euro 2004 Qualifier - 2003 (Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough)
A record crowd of 35,000 was packed in to see England's first ever international match at The Riverside Stadium. A fantastic carnival atmosphere was the precursor to a very important result for England that went a long way towards ensuring I would spend 2 weeks of my summer over in Portugal for Euro 2004. A 2-1 win, thanks to a Michael Owen brace, sent the fans home happy that night!
Italy 1 v 1 Sweden - Euro 2004 (Dragao Stadium, Porto)
A superb atmosphere in the 2nd best stadium in Portugal, home of club side FC Porto. We had brilliant seats for this game, right behind Gianluigi Buffons' goal in the first half in amongst a mixture of Swedish and Italian fans. The banter was all good natured and this complimented the action on the pitch. Antonio Cassano scored first for the Italians, in a match that they had the best of. A late Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal for Sweden punished Italy for missing several good chances. The attendance was just under 45,000. I also munched a hotdog at this match!
Greece 1 v 1 Spain - Euro 2004 (Bessa Stadium, Porto)
Played at the home of club side Boavista. Fernando Morientes put Spain 1-0 up after 27 minutes before Charisteas equalised for Greece in the 65th minute. Although this is in my top 10 live sporting events, I couldn't really concentrate on the match because on the way to the stadium I was pick pocketed getting on a bus :( They stole my wallet but somehow didn't manage to get my passport which was in the same pocket. I got split up from my friends as they couldn't fit on the bus and the doors shut behind me when I squeezed on. Luckily my friends were looking after the match tickets and when we finally met up I managed to cancel my bank cards, but was certainly in no mood for watching Football!
For number 9 I'll briefly mention a number of other events that don't merit a full write up. I've seen Middlesbrough beat Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd at home. I could've mentioned my first Everton match at Goodison Park, but it was a thrilling 0-0 draw against West Ham and I was sat behind a wall! I've also seen a Football match in the 27,000 capacity Darlington Arena (Attendance that day was around 4,000!). I also watched an England U21 match at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, and saw my friend play for England Schoolboys at The Riverside Stadium in 1996.
As my number 10 I thought I'd let you know of sporting events I plan to attend. It's been a relatively quiet time on the sporting front, but one confirmed event will be the International Cricket Test Match as England take on the West Indies at The Riverside Ground (Chester le Street, Durham).
Thanks for reading, it's brought back some happy memories!
I love sports, ok I have my favourites which might feature more predominantly on this list, but I will try not to be biased.
10. England winning the Rugby World Cup 2003
9. England finally winning the Ashes after a long wait
8. Gerrard scoring the decisive goal against Olympiakos to put us through to next stage
7. Sir Redgrave winning his fifth gold in a row
6. Man Utd scoring two goals in injury time to win the champions league
5. Gerrard scoring a dramatic equaliser in the 93rd minute of 2006 FA Cup final
4. Kelly Holmes achieved two gold medals in Olympics
3. Federer equalling Borg's record of 5 Wimbledon titles
2. Nadal beating Federer in 5 sets in Wimbledon 2008
1. Liverpool winning the champions league in a nail biting finale and coming back from three goals down.
I hope you enjoyed my list and as I am sure you can tell I am a Liverpool fan.
Unsurprisingly I am a huge sports fan - it is probably my main passion in life other than my family. My recent experience with sports is more from a spectator point of view than as an athlete, although I did have my time, enjoyed it, and achieved a lot from it.
The following top 10 sporting moments are purely from a personal point of view and are not necessarily moments anyone else would include - like the 1966 World Cup win, or Steve Redgrave's fifth Olympic medal. These are all achievements which made me literally jump about 1.5 meters into the air when I saw them accomplished.
1. Michael Johnson sets 200m World Record
Olympics Games - Atlanta, Georgia 1996
Athletics is my sport, and Johnson was my hero, so inevitably, this moment was always going to occupy the top spot in my top 10. A little bit of history - Johnson is an athletics legend, and a former specialist in the 200m and 400m. He won four Olympic golds and currently holds the 400m world record of 43.18.
Usain Bolt's absolutely amazing 19.3s at this years' Beijing Olympics put me through a mix of emotions. On one hand, it was one of the greatest sporting feats in history, but on the other, his time surpassed what I thought was the greatest world record in the book - Michael Johnson's 19.32s.
When Michael Johnson lined up in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games 200m final, he held the world record of 19.66. Against stiff opposition in the form of the great Frankie Fredericks, something special was anticipated. Wearing gold spikes, he darted out of the blocks and ran the first 100m in 10.1 seconds, just ahead of Fredricks. However, a superhuman 9.2s second 100m saw him power clear of a world class field. It was such a majestic display as he streaked away and crossed the line in 19.32s. As Ato Bolton, who came third, remarked "19.32 isn't a time! It's my dad's birth date." What also made his run look so special was the fact that Fredericks came a distant second in 19.69 - the third fastest of all time.
19.32 was, in my opinion, the greatest World Record in Athletics, and one I thought I'd never see beat in my lifetime. Whilst Usain's run was gripping, it just did not look as jaw-droppingly amazing as Johnson on that August night.
2. England winning the Rugby World Cup
Telstra Stadium, Sydney, Australia 2003
As we all know, seeing England do well in a sporting competition is virtually unheard of. We are classic examples of having good people and teams for sporting events. but getting it wrong at the most crucial times, e.g. World Cup 90, Euro 96, Lewis Hamilton in 2007.
Therefore, as England, managed and coached by the brilliant Clive Woodward, progressed successfully through the World Cup in 2003, the nation was gripped. As we got through to the Semi's, it suddenly seemed that winning was not such a ridiculous possibility.
Getting into the final was a sensational moment, and Woodward's team looked and played like a World Cup Winning side. The faces of Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Matt Dawson and Jason Robinson expressed a real hunger to win and be the best, and as they faced the home side, Australia, it seemed a strong possibility that we would walk away the winners.
I was still at University, so getting up early was unheard of, yet I did for this special final. In typical English fashion we did things the hard way, taking the match into extra time. However, that final moment of play, where Jonny Wilkinson gripped the ball, looked at the H, and blasted the ball to score the goal, was one of the most unbelievable moments in Rugby and English sporting history.
3. Spain wins Euro 2008
Ernst Happel Stadion - Vienna, Austria 2008
Although born to a Spanish father, being born and brought up in England means that my loyalty lies with the latter in sporting competitions. However, as we had no team to support in Euro 2008, I was able to concentrate on Spain and ergo not have my father moaning at me.
As Spain won game after game with ease, it felt nice to support a team that did not have you on the edge of your seat shouting at them for stupid mistakes. Being born to a Spaniard means that I have a very passionate and sometimes overbearing enthusiasm, meaning that as we inched closer and closer to the final, I was punching the air in abundance.
I was mesmerised when watching the final, not as much as if watching England in a similar predicament, but very close. For the first time in National football, to all intents and purposes, I was able to say my team were in the final. I was totally gripped. The first goal saw me leap off my seat and jump all over my living room. It was a magic moment. When the final whistle went I was ecstatic. Probably even more so than my father, who I called straight after.
4. Michael Phelps' great 8!
The Watercube, Bejing National Aquatic Centre, China 2008
Michael Phelps' achievement in the 2008 Olympic Games was the greatest feat ever achieved in Sports, generally. To be the Olympic Champion in anything, means you are the greatest in the world, and the world consists of billions of people. Therefore, it has to be put into perspective, that to be an Olympic Champion in eight separate events in one single Olympic Games is an achievement that is outside of the realms of possibility and reality.
Even more amazing is that Phelps achieved his 8 gold medal haul by smashing the World record in 7 of the 8 events. In some races, he was miles ahead of the field. Although swimming is a sport where world records go all the time, it took nothing away from the fact Phelps reigned supreme in 8 events that many swimming professionals have been training all their life for.
5. Nadal conquers Wimbledon King Federer
Wimbledon, Centre Court, 2008
Federer had ruled Wimbledon for five years going into the final of this year's unforgetable final. Only one opponent has been able to play in the same league as Federer in recent years, and that is the powerful master Rafael Nadal.
Both players mercilessly eviscerated their opponents in the lead up to the final. Even an impressive Andy Murray was just torn to shreds in systematic fashion in the Quarter Final, signalling Nadal's nearly invincible form.
Going into the final, the probability, based on Federer's grass court prowess, incredible form and Wimbledon's dominating, was that Roger would take his historic 6th successive title and cement his immortality in the game. However, Nadal paid no attention to the facts and figures as he inflicted a crushing punishment of Federer by ripping him to pieces and going 2-0 ahead in the final. It seemed like it could be a remarkable straight sets victory before 4pm. However, the gladiatorial Federer came back to his best as he battled eye-poppingly hard to just take the following two sets and take the game to past 9pm.
The final set was a thriller. I cannot put into words what emotions I experienced, other than frustration, inspiration, jubilation, disappointment etc. What I can say is that the tennis was perfect. The performances of Nadal and Federer were at their peak, and no-one on earth would have touched them on that night.
In an epic final set, which went to 9-7, Nadal emerged the phemonenal victor. I have never seen tennis so good, and it was a final worthy of a Hollywood film.
6. Senna's 1991 victory in Brazil
Brazilian GP, Interlagos 1991.
The late Ayrton Senna - the greatest Formula One driver of all time, was in unstoppable, untouchable and insurmountable form in the 1991 season. He killed the competition in this brilliant season with his tremendous skills, his fearless attitude and his 'pushing to the limit and beyond' approach.
However, things did not go his way at the Brazilian Grand Prix - his home circuit. Senna was a true, patriotic and passionate Brazilian, and winning this Grand Prix was something he wanted more than anything for his homeland and millions of fans. Although he had been in the sport since 1984, and despite his unrivalled speed and virtuoso skills, he had never won at Brazil. Going into the race as reigning World Champion, this seemed the big opportunity.
After securing pole position and pleasing his tirade of fans, Senna made a brilliant start. Leading for 60 of 71 laps, it seemed the dream would come true. However, on the 60th lap, Senna's gearbox broke, in that 3rd and 5th gear would not work. Nowadays it would signal the end of a Grand Prix for a driver. This meant Senna had to drive the rest of the race in sixth gear, having to drive so focussed that he would not stall through the tight and slow areas of the track.
It was an incredible display, as Senna was being caught rapidly, whilst the rain bucketed down - which made driving nearly impossible on slicks. Senna was signalling frantically, begging for the officials to stop the race, but to no avail. Senna victoriously crossed the line 2.9 seconds ahead of Riccardo Patrese, and pulled over as he literally could not carry on. Senna battled so intensely to get his car to the finish that he had to be physically lifted from the car due to total exhaustion. He went on to become that year's World Champion for a third and last time before his death at the Imola circuit in 1994.
7. Man Utd winning Champions League
Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, May 1999
I have supported Manchester United since 1990, the days of Parker, Robson, Hughes and Sharpe. They have always been my team, one way or another, even though, since 1996, I have become a more dedicated fan to Reading F.C.
When Man Utd made the final of the Champions League in 1999, I felt the anxiety, nerves and butterflies as if I was lining up for the Champions League Anthem to roar in the stadium. After a gutting first goal from Munich, United were never able to equalise. In the 90th minute, it felt over. The long Champions League campaign was coming to an end Man Utd were almost but not quite the winners.
Then, from out of the blue, the ball snuck into Bayern's goal by Teddy Sheringham, and my jaw dropped. I could not believe the timing! The game was taken to extra time, where, seconds later, from a corner, a neatly taken cross put the ball in font of Ole Gunner Solskjaer, who powered the ball past Oliver Khan and into the back of the net to mark the greatest comeback I had seen. I jumped so high in my bedroom that I am sure my head touched the ceiling. Man Utd went on to win the game and the trophy.
8. Jonathan Edwards sets new precedent
World Championships, Gothenburg, 1995
1995 proved to be a golden year for British triple jumper, Jonathan Edwards. Nowadays, you don't see people jumping further than 17.70m, let alone 18m. Back in 1995, the world record for the triple jump was 17.97, held by Willie Banks of America. However, on a summer's day, Jonathan Edwards produced 17.98 to break it for the first time by one centimetre.
Competing in the European Cup that year, Edwards leaped out to a gigantic 18.43 metres. It was wind-assisted meaning it did not count as a world record, but it was an amazing jump that signalled the exceptional form Jonathan Edwards was in.
Then at the World Championships at Gothenburg, Jonathan Edwards was ready to take triple jumping to another level. At this point, a legal 18m jump had never been achieved, but with a brilliant run up, and a great hop and step phase, Edwards leaped out to 18.16m... and it was legal! He was ecstatic and he jumped and punched the air. Edwards, full of adrenalin, then pulled it off again - in a brilliant series, he landed in the sand at 18.29m to create a marvellous, and long lasting world record and take the World title.
13 years on, there are no signs of anyone coming near it, and there have been only a handful of triple jumps that have gone beyond 18m since then.
9. Paul Hunter's epic Masters win.
The Snooker Masters 2004 - Wembley, London
Ronnie O'Sullivan, love him or hate him, is the greatest ever talent in Snooker. He's achieved the fastest 147 in history, and the most, and has destroyed some truly great players, such as Hendry in a 17-4 defeat in 2004, and Ding Jun Hui 10-3 in the 2007 Masters Final (which I attended). When you are 7-2 down to him, in a first to 10 final, it'd normally be time to put your cue back in the case and shake hands to avoid further punishment... but not for one man.
On this spectacular night, his opponent happened to be the late Paul Hunter, who heartbreakingly died back in 2006 of cancer at the age of 27. Paul Hunter, the 'Beckham of the Baize' was a two-time Masters Champion, but was up against the ropes against an imperious O'Sullivan. However, the amazing spirit that typified the gifted youngster saw him grit his teeth and spark a terrific comeback to win 10-9. Paul claimed his third and last Masters title, and thankfully we can all remember him for this incomprehensible comeback.
10. Becoming Under-17 National Javelin Champion
National Athletics Championships, Cwmbran, Wales, 1998
In 1997, I came third in the U-15 Discus at the AA Berkshire Championships as part of Newbury Athletics Club. I trained hard and came back in 1998 as an U-17, by winning the Javelin and Shot Putt gold medals by about a mile, meaning I would be making the coach trip to the National Athletics Championships in the Cwmbran Stadium in July 1998 as part of the Berkshire team.
As typical of Wales, the venue was rain-soaked and continuing to bucket down. My first event was the Shot Putt at 12.30pm, where I threw a sub-standard distance to win the silver medal. Had I thrown the distance I won the AA with, I would have won. I may have been 11 stone, but had a very effective technique, which meant I could throw as far as the 15 stoners.
Then at 3pm came the Javelin final. I was among 15 throwers and we had four throws each, and I was one of the last to throw. It was nearly my turn to throw, when suddenly my good friend ran up to me. He came second in the 100m at the Berkshire championships, and had a place in the relay. However he had injured himself on the day. He managed to persuade the officials to let me run in his place in the final, which was due to take place in 15 minutes. I told him I could not possible leave the Javelin, but he virtually begged. I thought I could do my leg of the relay and come back with two throws to go, so I said yes.
I was at the beginning of the run-up, with my Javelin. I looked straight ahead with my javelin elevated horizontally above my head. I ran hard on the run-up, and the Javelin felt slippery in my hand. I thought the Javelin would slip when I threw, but I managed to transfer my speed into the throw, I launched the Javelin at around 50 degrees and it flew. I could not believe the throw, it just flew and flew and landed at what looked like the 60 metre mark. My personal best was 48.12 metres so I was in shock. The official told me I had thrown 57.33 metres and I jumped in the air. I could not believe it, and I was in the lead.
The relay was delayed for 15 minutes, but at this stage I was already at my position on the track, so I looked on as the javelin event continued, not being able to respond to any throws that could beat mine. I chatted to another runner doing the third leg for another team, who actually happened to be Tim Benjamin who ran the 400m for GB.
We came 4th in the relay, outside of the medals, which left me thinking it was a waste of effort. I went back to the Javelin and it was the final round, and I had missed my turn. I was gutted - absolutely gutted. However, I was told that I had won it, by 7 metres. I was National Champion!
So those are my favourite 10 sporting moments. I have watched some truly terrific moments which are not on here, but deserve a mention such as Kelly Holmes double gold in Athens and Chris Hoy's 3 gold medals at Beijing, and one of Phil Taylor's numerous 9 dart finishers. One thing is for sure, and that is if you want to experience some great moments, keep watching the sports.
Sports fans listen up. The Guru of sport is about to announce the official top 10 sporting moments ever. Nah im just kidding, im not really a sporting guru, though, my body is a temple!! Anyway..
10. England beat West Germany 4-2 in the final of the 1966 world cup. After going 1-0 down within the first 15 minutes, Geoff Hurst leveled it out 5 minutes later. In the 77th minute, we were ahead by a goal from Martin Peters, however in the last minute of added time Germany equalized. Boo. Then during E.T, Geoff Hurst whipped in 2 more goals to make England World Cup winners.
9. Michael Schumacher wins 7 world championships in 2004. He won a record 12/ 13 races in the 2004 season, only to be eclipsed by magnificent upcomers, the likes of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
8. Yesterday, Usain Bolt broke the 100 metres world record to set a time of 9.69 seconds. He was celebrating the last 20 metres of the race, as he new he had won. He originally was never going to run the 100m as he is a 200m runner. His shoelace was also untied.
7. Kelly Holmes taking double gold medals in the 2004 summer Olympics. She won both the 800m and 1500m events. Dedicated to koshkha, and her strong minded ways.
6. Three time boxing heavyweight champion of the world Muhammed Ali, defeats George Foreman to retain his title after tough times in his life. The fight known as 'The Rumble in the Jungle'.
5. Diego Maradonas goal against England in the 1986 World Cup. Haaa. This makes me laugh to this day, when he slapped the ball in the back of the net. This could be even funnier than Graham Poles three yellow cards!
4. Lance Armstrong wins the Tour De France 7 times in a row. Having defeated cancer, he managed to defeat his demons also. Probably the best athlete in the world.
3. Lewis Hamilton loses the 2007 F1 championship to Kimi Raikkonen in the last race of the season. He came second infront of his team mate Fernando Alonso, but drew on 109 points. Raikkonen had 110 points.
2. Sir Steve Redgrave wins the gold 5 times in 5 consequetive Olympic games. Also has won a bronze in Seoul 1988. He competed in both the coxless pair and the coxed four.
1. 2003 Rugby World Cup. England defeat Australia 20-17 after extra time. Jonny Wilkinson drop goals the 3 points on the dead of full time. The only try coming fom Jason Robinson. Good job lads.
Brought to you by the sporting Guru.
Well I'm a keep fan of sport and have seen many magic moments over the years. Heres my favourite ten sporting moments.
10. Steve Redgrave wins his 5th olympic rowing gold medal. A simply stunning achievement that cemented his name as an olympic legend.
9. Paul Robinson kicks the air against Croatia. The worst keeper in English football history was humbled as he missed the ball and watched helpless as it trundled into his empty net. Oh dear.
8. Diego Maradona's goals for Argentina against England in the 1986 world cup in Mexico. Two goals of absolute genius as the little magician stormed towards world cup glory.
7.Ben Johnson's 100m title win at the 1988 summer olympics. A victory of monumental size that was sadly later soured following a positive drugs teat.
6. Cambridge sinking at the 1978 boat race. It's a pity it doesn't happen more often!
5. Eric Cantona's kung-fu kick on a Palace fan. Shook the world of sport as this legend went from hero to zero.
4. Pat Cash winning Wimbledon in 1987. It felt as if the whole world was backing Pat.
3. Brian Lara chalking up 375 runs against England in 1994. Men against boys.
2. Roger Bannister breaks the 4 minute mile in 1954. Wrote his name in history with this titanic effort.
1. My favorite moment would have to be Nadia Comaneci at 14 years old becoming the first gymnast to achieve prefect 10. Simply breathtaking.
With me currently enjoying playing poker, I've decided to put both sport and poker together in a review (much like my first experiment at mixing two subjects in a review a computer mouse and polotics, this is likely to make no sense), to rate the top 10 sporting moments as poker hands. I hope you like this silly approach and even see the correlation between them. I know some brilliant achievements have been missed out (such as beating the Germans 5-1, winning the Rugby world cup etc) but as with most things it's my list, I decide whats on it.
10-Hagler V Hearns (Boxing)
Poker ranking-Pocket 3's with Ace kicker (2-3-3-9-A)
The best 9 minutes of boxing ever as these 2 warriors spent 2 and a bit rounds beating the living snot out of each other in a fight regularly called the greatest war in a boxing ring. The tall, uniquely built fast rangy power punching Tommy "The hitman" Hearns was getting the better of the first two rounds causing a punch on the bald head of the Marvellous one, a teak tough monster who could take anything anyone could throw at him, and throw more back. The two went toe to toe until Hagler landed the final punch and left Tommy on his back with his long spindly legs flat on the canvas.
9-Sob6rs Six Six6s (Cricket)
Poker ranking-Pocket 6's with a moustached Jack kicker (6-6-7-10-J)
Without having the details of this at hand I'm so sorry for being incredibly obscure. In cricket an over is 6 balls with a possiblilty of hitting each ball for a 6 but the likeliness of this is so stupidly low and even more so at the time of Sober's (pre-20/20 advent), so what good old Gary do? Well He launches the full over over the boundary, and hits several of the balls out of the stadium in the progress, what a way to go to set the first 36 runs in an over in history.
8-Frankies 7 (Horse Racing)
Poker Ranking-Pair of 7's (4-5-7-7-K)
Again my detasils from memory are sketchy but I'll keep to what I do remember of it, Frankie Dettori winning 7 races at one race meeting, a feat in which the bookies took a pounding and hasn't been done since. The event took Frankie from being a normal rider to being a superstar that everyone had heard of and even helped launch him as a bit of a loveable sports-super-star with a role on Question of Sport following. The midget done good for himself, thats for sure.
7-Malinga's 4 (Cricket)
Poker hand-Three of a kind 4 (4-4-4-5-9)
With hat-tricks being a rarer enough feat Malinga did the even rare and tok 4 wickets in 4 balls, in sensational fashion, and got his reputation as one of the hardest bowlers to face on your first ball as he's consistantly balling the late out swingers that a batsman hate to face. Taking 4 in an over is just a wonderful feat but taking them ball after ball is even more amazing and when it's aaginst one of the top teams should we complain at all?
6-The Double double (football)
Poker hand-Two pairs (10-J-J-K-K) (and yes I know a Trips is better but shush)
Manchester United the dominant english team of the 90's managed the original double (of the premier league era) and then followed it up as the millenium drew to a close. The first team to achieve the double of FA cup and Premier league title twice (a feat that I think only Arsenal and Chelsea have ever done once) really set the scene for the Royal Flush a little while later (which is also featured on this list) when they managed to add the champions league title to the two english ones.
5-Ronnies Rapid 147 (Snooker)
Poker hand-Trips 7 (7-7-7-8-A)
Ronnie O'Sullivan, probably the greatest snooker player of all time (especially when he has his head screwed on) and most certainly the new whirlwind in terms of playing style, as was proven by this sub 4 minute break of 147. O'Sullivan cleared up the table and took the maximum in record fashion blasting all the previous records out of the table. The Rocket living upto his name and his perceived talent in style. The video of this can most certainly be found online, and is well worth searching for to see a genious at work.
4-Joe Calzaghe V Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy (Boxing)
Poker hand-Flush Ace high (suited 2-5-9-J-A)
The apparent welsh slapper was to face the muscle heavy and the heir apparent to create a dynasty at 168, the American power punching machine Jeff Lacy was being talked up as a mini Tyson who was just walking through everyone with a left hook here and their. What happened was the best boxing performance by any boxer (not just British) ever, Calzaghe didn't just manage to make Lacy look stupid in the fight but won every round against the guy who was meant to walk through him. Calzaghe put on a white wash that threw himself into the mix for the american audiences.
3-Redgraves 5 Gold's (Rowing)
Poker hand-The Wheel (suited A-2-3-4-5)
Much like a wheel it's self Redgrave managed to roll over and over, often rolling back the clock to win the 5 Olympic medals he's known for an allowing him to be dcescribed as the greatest British Olympian ever. The guy's a machine who into his 40's is fitter than most average people (not saying much with the current society we live in, but who cares about technicalities), and infact he'll likely remain this way until the point where most of us get knackered after a 20 mins walk (annoyingly I'm 20 years younger than him but will be in a nursing home whilst he's out doing marathons). A British legend.
2-1966 World Cup (Football)
Poker hand-4 of a kind (10-10-10-10-A)
Yes I know many would expect this here to be number 1, but alas, the fact we've been so terrible since (come on Fabio) has meant I've only been able to give this #2. The win over the krauts was brilliant, and the match still stands the test of time (a rarity for a 40 year old sporting event), with re-watches of highlights still getting me off my seat when the crowd run on the pitch. The one time in which being an england football fan has had no negatives, well done lad.
1-The Treble (Football)
Poker hand-Royal Flush (Suited 10-J-Q-K-A)
What more can we say about this? The Treble, the crowning moment in Alex Ferguson's career, and the culmination of years of hard work, he finally got the elusive champions league trophy to add to the now semi-regular doubles. The greatest moment in British club football history, and I got to see the finishing touches (which is why I rate it better than the '66 world cup which was done 20 years before I was born). The final game of the year created a legend who has sadly not been able to cement his own iconic status at the club due to injuries (obvious the baby faced assasain Ole Gunnar Spellingstohard). Thank you Bayern Munich.
~ ~ As a golfer for over 52 years (since I was 4-years-old) I suppose its only natural that the majority of my top sporting moments would be golf related. But theres a few footy moments thrown in as well.
1. Ryder Cup 1985 The Belfry - Sam Torrance
The last time that the then UK & Ireland team had managed to defeat the golfing might of the USA had been way back in 1950s. But the new European side, with British golfing legend Tony Jacklin as their non-playing Captain, had shown in the USA in 1983 that they were more than capable of giving the Americans a good run for their money, when they had been defeated by only a single point at the PGA National Club in Florida. So European hopes were running high when the Yanks visited the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield two years later in 1985.
In the end the resurgent European team literally ran away with the match, eventually winning by the hitherto unprecedented margin of 16.5 points to the USAs 11.5 points.
What made the win even sweeter was that the winning putt on the 18th green was sunk by a boyhood golfing contemporary of mine, Sam Torrance from Largs in Scotland. Who could ever forget the image of Sam standing over his final 18 foot birdie putt, hardly able to even see the ball for the tears of raw emotion running down his cheeks? Of course, the putt dropped, and the European team had finally managed to put one over on the Americans, a feat we have achieved on a regular basis ever since.
But 1985 was the turning point for European golf. We have never looked back since in terms of golfing glory and prowess, and this golden moment will live forever in my memory.
2. Celtic European Cup 1967
No UK team had ever won the European Cup (predecessor to the Champions League) before Glasgow Celtic achieved the pinnacle of European soccer back in 1967. People (well, English people!) tend to forget that this was a year before Manchester United won the same trophy a year later.
I was a football mad 16-year-old at the time, and the memory of that golden night in Lisbon against the might of Italian football in the shape of Inter Milan will live in my memory forever. Celtic came from a goal behind to win the trophy 2-1 with a team that was totally made up of Scottish players, all who had been born within a 20 mile radius of the Celtic stadium in Glasgow. This is an achievement that is highly unlikely to ever be repeated, as football today has become a truly international sport, with most modern teams now a multi-national mixture of players from around the globe.
Celtic won the match with style, playing an exciting attacking formation, against the Italian deep defensive style of play. The following quote from the late, great Celtic manager Jock Stein sums the match up perfectly.
There is not a prouder man on God's Earth than me at this moment. Winning was important, aye, but it was the way that we won that has filled me with satisfaction. We did it by playing football; pure, beautiful, inventive football. There was not a negative thought in our heads. Inter played right into our hands; it's so sad to see such gifted players shackled by a system that restricts their freedom to think and to act. Our fans would never accept that sort of sterile approach. Our objective is always to try to win with style.
Ronnie Simpson (Goalkeeper)
Jim Craig (Right back)
Tommy Gemmell (Left wing back)
Bobby Murdoch (Right half)
Billy McNeill (Captain, Centre half)
John Clark (Left half)
Jimmy Johnstone (Outside right)
Willie Wallace (Inside right)
Stevie Chalmers (Centre forward)
Bertie Auld (Inside left)
Bobby Lennox (Outside left)
John Fallon (substitute Goalkeeper, not used)
Jock Stein (Manager)
3. Jack Nicklaus US Masters Golf 1986
In 1986 Jack Nicklaus was 46 years of age, and considered by most golf pundits and commentators to be well past his sell by date in terms of being a serious competitor in the ultra-competitive world of professional golf. He had won 17 Major titles, but his last successes had been back in 1980, when at the age of 40 he had won both the US Open and USPGA Championships. So nobody really considered he had any real chance of adding another Major title to his collection at the US Masters at Augusta in 1986.
But they had underestimated the true grit and competitive spirit of Nicklaus, who after two run of the mill opening rounds of 74 and 71 suddenly caught fire and shot rounds of 69 and 65 to become the oldest ever winner of the much coveted green jacket. With his son Jack Junior acting as his caddie, Jack rolled back the years, especially in the last nine holes of his final round, which he covered in a mind boggling 30 shots, with a run of eagle, birdie, birdie on holes 15, 16, and 17 respectively.
His last round, and especially those last nine holes, was as near to golfing perfection as I have ever witnessed, and I sat transfixed to the TV screen while Nicklaus (again) made golfing history.
4. Sandy Lyle British Open Sandwich -1985
Sandy Lyle, the Scottish professional golfer, was always one of my favourite players, even though he speaks with an English accent. (Scots mum and dad, but raised in England.) I always liked his style of play, and thought he was one of the most natural golfers on the European Tour in the late 1970s and 1980s. In my opinion it was only a matter of time before he won a Major championship, so it was all the sweeter when it happened to be the British Open at Sandwich Golf Club in 1985 the first UK golfer to do so since Tony Jacklin in 1969 at Royal Lytham and Saint Annes.
Two holes stick out in my memory in an outstanding back nine on the final day in extremely windy and rough weather. After driving into the thick rough on the par-5 fourteenth hole, all Sandy could do was hack out a sand iron about 80 yards back into the fairway. He then hit the sweetest two iron all of 240 yards to the front edge of the green into the teeth of the gale, and then proceeded to roll in a 45 foot putt for the most unlikely of birdies.
Even then the drama wasnt finished. Sandy totally fluffed a pitch at the last hole, and I thought hed blown his chance, with the late, great American golfer Payne Stewart hot on his tail. But in the end he hung on to the slenderest of one shot leads to win the greatest championship in the world.
Of course, it didnt hurt that I had a £50 each way bet on Sandy at the highly generous odds of 33/1, which won me over £2,000!
5. Sandy Lyle US Masters 1988
Hot on the heels of his win in the British Open of 1985 (well, only 3 years on) Sandy Lyle was once again in the winners circle in a Major Championship, this time in the Yanks own backyard of Augusta National in Georgia.
His win in the 1988 Masters Championship will live in my memory forever because of his incredibly brave 7-iron shot from the left hand fairway bunker on the 18th hole of the final round, which ended only ten feet beyond the cup. Of course, he duly dispatched the birdie putt (no gimmie; it was a ferocious downhill breaker) to win by a single shot from American Mark Calcavecchia.
6. Scotland World Cup Argentina 1978
For many fans of the Scottish international football team, the best chance we ever had to win the World Cup was in Argentina way back in 1978, under the charismatic manager Ally MacLeod. (Who can remember the song Allys Tartan Army?) The team was playing great football in the lead in to the tournament, and Scots expectations were higher than they had ever been at any other World Cup.
Of course, as is the habit of the Scottish team, we then proceeded to shoot ourselves in both feet by getting drubbed 3-1 by Peru in our opening match, and then only managing a 1-1 draw with lowly Iran in our second game.
So we went into the last match of the group stages knowing that we were already on our way home, and with no great expectations against the footballing might of the then all-conquering Dutch side. (Remember total football?) Nobody expected the dramatic result, with Scotland eventually running out 3-2 winners thanks to a golden individualistic goal from the boot of Archie Gemmil of Derby County.
I remember this match as clearly as if it was yesterday, as I was attending a cousins wedding that same afternoon, and changed into my wedding suit at half time in a pub toilet. (Heh, heh)
7. Ireland World Cup Italy 1990
Can you still remember the Jack Charlton era in Irish football in the late 80s and 90s, when the big Geordie was prevailed upon to take over a then dreadful Irish team. Charlton wasnt everyones cup of tea in Irish soccer. For starters, he was an *ENGLISHMAN*, which didnt sit too comfortably in some circles. He then proceeded to make the most of the somewhat meager talent at his disposal by resorting to the long ball game. (Kick it into the opponents penalty area at each and every opportunity!) But to the average Irish football fan he was almost a God, as he took us first to the European Championships in Stuttgart in 1988 and to the World Cup Finals in Italy in 1990.
For me, the greatest achievement of the Charlton era was the World Cup in Italy. It came at a time when the country was still in the throes of a decade long depression, with huge unemployment and even less prospects. (Little did we know then that we were literally on the cusp of Celtic Tiger era, which has brought unprecedented wealth and prosperity to Ireland)
The whole country got behind the team, and we didnt fail to deliver. Draws against the might of England and Holland, and against Egypt saw us through to the knockout stages. (After a drawing of lots!)
We then came up against a good Romanian side. A draw after extra time, and it was down to a penalty shootout! Packie Bonner, the Celtic goalkeeper pulled off a wonder save, and then David OLeary (who Charlton always hated!) duly dispatched the winning penalty. The country literally went bananas! Everyone poured out of their houses and the pubs onto the streets, hugging complete strangers, and every car horn in the country was sounded in unison for the rest of the evening. Ive never experienced anything like it, and dont expect to ever again. That we went down 1-0 to the Italians in the last 16 was almost irrelevant, although we gave them a good run for their money.
8. Ireland European Championships Stuttgart 1988
The 12th June 1988. A date that will forever be etched in the memories of Irish football fans!
A game against the auld enemy, England, in Stuttgart. And not just any old game. The first match in the Qualifying Group for the European Championships. Literally nobody gave Jack Charltons Ireland a snowballs chance in hell against the might of Bobby Robsons England.
But when Ray Houghton (a Scotsman with Irish ancestry) curled in a goal in only the 6th minute of the match, Ireland dared to hope. The rest of the match was a desperate rearguard action against a much superior England side, but the Irish hung on grimly to achieve a 1-0 result that electrified the nation.
Never mind that we then went on to fail to qualify for the knockout stages! This result was one that Irish football fans will relish forever.
9. Ryder Cup Belfry - 1989
Europe held the trophy, having retained the Cup in the USA in 1987. The mighty Yanks had been beaten twice in a row, and were smarting for revenge.
The last day singles were as tight as could be, and the whole match hung in the balance. But cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Christy OConnor Junior, nephew of the great Christy Senior, came to the last hole all square with a stalwart of the US team, the mighty Fred Couples. Christy, the likable Irishman, was really only a journeyman professional, who had played out of his skin the previous season to make the Ryder Cup team. Christy only hit a so-so drive up the long par-4 last hole, which left him all of a two iron to the green. Couples was a mere pitch away with a nine iron.
Christy hit the shot of his life, leaving the ball only a mere 4 feet from the hole. The rattled Couples then proceeded to hit his short chip into the water fronting the green, and the European Team had retained the cup yet again with a 14-14 draw.
This shot by OConnor has since been immortalized by the Scottish sports artist Graham Baxter, and I have a copy of the limited edition print hanging on my wall.
10. Scotland - European Championships Qualifier Paris September 2007
The Scots football team has been in the doldrums for so long that it was beginning to feel we would never perform well on the world stage again.
But promise was shown when Walter Smith (now managing Glasgow Rangers) and more recently Alex McLeish (former Rangers manager) took over the running of the national side from the useless German Bertie Vogts.
We were drawn in the group of death in the qualifying stages for the 2008 European Championships. With only two teams to qualify, Scotland were up against the mighty French (World Cup runners up) and the current World Champions Italy.
What nobody expected was that the lowly Scots would not once, but *TWICE* turn over the mighty French, first with a memorable 1-0 victory at Hampden Park in October 2006, and more recently in the French national stadium in Paris earlier this month, again by a 1-0 margin.
I watched the game on tenterhooks, and literally couldnt believe it when in the 64th minute James McFadden of Everton spun on a sixpence from 30 yards from goal and unleashed a thunderous shot that split the French net. Scotland had threatened to be overwhelmed by a French team that was vastly superior in skill, but hung on grimly to the end to achieve one of the best ever results in Scottish football history.
Whether we can now finish the job and actually manage to qualify for the finals remains to be seen, but this result will live in my sporting memory forever.
© KenJ October 2007
With England embarrassing themselves in the Cricket and Rugby World Cups this week its time to lift the spirits with my top ten sporting moments. The above two sports of cricket and rugby start us off as we go back to glorious battles with Australia for those patriotic moments when you want to kiss the badge, as we did after McLaren finally got the national football team going to beat Russia. World Cup 66 isnt here as I wasnt born then so its somebody elses treasured memory.
Sport may only mean chunky thighs and pert bottoms to the girls but to the boys its life and death
The Ashes 2005
Being a huge cricket fan this series was as good as it gets as far as the international game goes. Forget the commercial World Cup that sees fans removed of all their branded goods before they go in the stadiums, or even the domestic season and the frantic Twenty20. If you want atmosphere it has to be a developing test match, beer in hand, the banter at full tilt, on and off the pitch. One wicket can turn a game on a sixpence in the five days and this series spun us dizzy like Shane Warnes magical fingers did the ball. It was quite extraordinary.
There were many great moments-Jones catch to win the forth test one of the more memorable, even though the batsmen wasnt officially out as he had taken his lead hand of the bat when he nicked it to the keepers gloves. Who will ever forget the brave Aussies batting out the last hour to save test three. Or perhaps Kevin Pietersen, blitzing Brent Lee out of the bowling to edge the game our way and tick off yet more valuable overs to secure the urn with run after run. You wont get a more tense and complete sporting event than the Ashes of 2005. It even had people that detest cricket (my mum!) tune into to see if the Three Lions could finally take back the little Urn.
The Rugby World Cup Final
Telstradome, Sydney, 2003
Im not a rugby fan but will tune in for the big England matches. There was a time when the sport really annoyed me because the players would shake hands or give each other a nod when they scored a try. That gentleman and players crap always diluted it. Now its much more fun, elaborate celebrations and huge beery crowds enjoying the resurgence of the public school riot.
What I love about Wilkinsons winning kick, apart from the obvious reward, was the precision and build-up to it. The whole team knew that if they could get Johnny in the right place and angle he would slot the points and win the World Cup. His amazingly accurate kicking had got them through to the final, including that soggy semi against the French, and here he was about to play the perfect game. Even though we didnt score in the second half of the final against the Aussies his extra-time winner was perfection, a machine working to its potential, the ball sent spinning over the bar for England to be the best in the World.
Its no real surprise Johnny hasnt been the same man since, picking up all those injuries over the last four years trying to achieve the impossible-being better than that 2003 Johnny. It was just an exquisite moment of team work perfection in sport.
Manchester United 3 Barcelona 0
UEFA CUP 1984
United were two down to Maradonas Barcelona from the first leg and needed to win by three clear goals. Bryan Robson was Englands captain marvel and had always led from the front, this match no exception.
The atmosphere was amazing at the Old Trafford second leg, especially after Robo scored early with a spearing header, and when Frank Stapleton got the second the miracle was on, Maradona in Robbos pocket. When the great man lashed the third and final winning goal the place went mad. I was there and it was certainly the best United game I had ever seen. Alex Ferguson was in the crowd that day and I think he knew this team could be the one for him.
Manchester United 2 Bayern Munich 1
Champions League Final 1999
Its 8 years since Ole Gunnar Solskjar disbelievingly lashed the ball into the roof of the net to secure Uniteds first European Cup for 31 years. Man U hadnt ever deserved to win the game and only got into a position when Teddy Sherringham managed to work one into the far corner of the net on 90 minutes. That got the German heads down and when they werent looking up Ole nipped in on a corner and stole it to the utter disbelief to all in that stadium. I wasnt there but I know people who were and I have to tell you the Germans were beaten in many ways. Their club football never recovered and they havent made the semi finals since.
Stephen Redgrave 5th Olympic Gold
Sydney Olympics 2000
On a smog ridden purpose built marina a young working class lad from Woking College won his first gold medal in the double-skulls boat race.16 years later, riddled with diabetes, he won his record fifth gold medal in dramatic style in the four man boat, his four time Olympian partner Mathew Pinsett along side.
Rowing was so middle class Redgrave was almost unique in the sport back then, that adversity and natural ability winning through to bag those five golds. It was that fifth gold that was so special-a record-his three team mates dragging the old boy over the line as their lead slipped and slipped, holding on by his last breath and a fag paper distance between the two lead boats in the most dramatic win in rowing history.
Dennis Taylor V Steve Davis
1985 World Snooker Championship Final and that black
When you get a 15 million TV audience up past midnight you know you have sporting drama. When people start complaining to the Iranian Embassy that their siege has taken the coverage off the air then you know its special (Yes, someone rang up the Embassy and told the SAS to get on with it as it was 15 frames all and very exciting).
Im a big Davis fan and the Nugget looked like he had it sewn up with an early 8-0 lead, leveling at 12-12. But Taylor had lost his mum just before the tournament and wasnt going to lose, not with her looking down on the Cathedral arena, the final frame drama and deciding black at 17-17 gripping the nation. Each player had four goes at the black, punting it around the baize; static sparking off the ball in the intense atmosphere, before Davis missed a good chance and Taylor slotted the easy pot to win an amazing final. Now that was pressure!
The Olympic 100 meters Final
At any Olympic Games this is the race that has the most drama, be it a world record, the posing and strutting, or the later drugs test. It has everything. No one will ever forget Carl Lewis winning those four gold medals as they wont forget the shifty blood shot eyes and bulking shoulders of the prowling Ben Johnson. Linfords gold was my greatest Olympic memory, until the suspicions arose, the Coe and Ovett duel long sine trumping Christies Ging Sing miracle.
The 100m has always been about more than just the fastest man over the distance. Its about black emancipation and the way out of poverty, the lucrative deals that follow if you go sub-ten worth cheating for. Sport is absolute freedom. You see nine guys on the line that give everything in their physical and mental make-up to be first through the tape. It just encapsulates so much in sport. The sacrifice and the risk.
THE RYDER CUP 1995
Oak Hill, Rochester
After Europe were invited to bolster the GB & Ireland teams we pulled off a brilliant victory at the Belfry in 89 ,the first win for 30 years,only to lose the next two. But the jubliant team set off to America in 95 with a great team. It was tough enough winning the famous old trophy here after a long gap and to win it there would be huge. But we did, and like all Ryder Cups, its some of the best sporting drama you can get.
The GB& Europe teams are always stronger in the team aspect and then the Americans came back in the selfish singles, as they always did. Oak Hill was packed with howling drunken Americans, intimidating stuff. It all came down to a double-bogey putt by Phil Walton and he nailed it, the team going wild. Sometimes its just as good beating the Americans as it is the Aussies in sport!
Nigel Mansell wins at Silverstone
The British Grand Prix in 1985
I was there and on the track with the delirious mob as the great Mansell won in the Williams at Silverstone in the season he nearly won the World Championship for the first time. This is my best personal sporting moment as I was part of it, watching the great man fizz that car around the track, eating up every inch to beat the great Senna.
Mansell was a great driver because he made the most of what he had and always burnt the best out of the car out after each race. We all piled onto the track at Club Corner, ripping down the mesh fencing, banging his car as it went past on the warm down lap, someone stealing his mirror, another draping his helmet with the Union Jack, Senna nearly taking of my feet as he growled past and through the mob. Not even Martin Brundle would get to do a cool grid walk like that one!
Cliff Thorburns 147
1983 Embassy World Snooker Championships in Sheffield
Im probably getting dull now but there was just something about the World Championships first maximum break that was so enthralling. The handsome Canadian had already won the championship in 1980 and was methodically potting his way though to the grand final showdown with Steve Davis. Davis had already claimed the first ever 147 in 1982 on TV (the Lada Cars Classic I believe) and Cliffs Canadian team mate Kirk Stevens would soon claim another for the BBC in the B&H.
There was just something about the methodical way he did it under so much pressure and the all seeing TV cameras, that rock hard bridge hand, those sparkling blue eyes lining the pots up to a millimeter. I know my mum fancied him and when his wife lost a baby later that week in Canada, crumbling in the final, he can still look back to that break and say that was sporting perfection, a big bear hug from the equally big Bill Werbeniuk.
BENN V EUBANK
The 80s was the golden era of British boxing as ITV-and to some extent the BBC-bought us superb coverage from guys like the lump that was Bruno or the pocket dynamo that was McGuigan. But the real clash was angry ex-squaddie Nigel Benn V the eccentric Chris Eubank, the whitest Blackman in Britain.
These two hated each other and produced two of the greatest and most brutal fights ever seen here. Ben wanted to rip off Eubanks head and spit down the hole whilst Chris spent his days disssing the sport that made him, pi**ing off Benn more. Chris hated being who he was, dressing like a pratt to be someone else he never could be, whilst Benn just loved himself, the idea ingredient for some serious tear ups. The guys just kept punching each other to a stand still, neither backing down, the crowd roaring for a kill. It really was barbaric and roar, blood and saliva splattering the ringside high rollers and haggard sports writers like a wet fish, the last morsels of brain matter mixed in. Now that\t was fighting.