July 22, 2012
The overwhelming victory by Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 edition of the Tour de France which finished in Paris today is of historic proportions. I believe it is the greatest achievement by any British athlete since Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954.
It is a victory, too, for the entire Sky team which was designed specifically to bring about this result. The team thoroughly dominated and controlled the Tour this year and another member, Christopher Froome, took second spot on the podium this morning. There is little doubt that, had he not been a loyal lieutenant to Wiggins, Froome could have taken the Tour victory himself, and I hope he goes on to win the Veulta d’Espana later this year.
Now, for the Brits, it is on to the Olympics where yet another Sky team member, Mark Cavendish (who won today’s stage with a brilliant finish), will be favourite for the road race gold.
July 22, 2012
Continuing the brilliant sumo he has shown for the last two weeks at the Nagaoya basho, ozeki Harumafuji defeated fading superstar yokozuna Hakuho to take his third Emperor’s Cup last night. Last night’s bout was the first time in 29 years that two rikishi with 14-0 records in a basho had faced off for the championship.
It is unfortunate to have to report that Hakuho — who as yokozuna (or grand champion) has trumpeted his adherence to classic sumo dignities — had the previous night maintained his unbeaten record (and thus set up the contest with Harumafuji) only by pulling a henka, a move that while legal is considered akin to cheating and is regularly booed when attempted by lower-ranked rikishi. No yokozuna in living memory has used the move and there was a stunned and painful silence in the packed arena. This will taint his legacy, I believe.
Last year’s victory by Harumafiji was reported here.