Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Politics Of Sport - When A Poppy Becomes State-Sanctioned Remembrance

By Shane Thomas

It's said that Christmas starts earlier every year. It increasingly feels the same regarding the wearing of poppies in November to commemorate Britain's Armed Forces. Two years ago, the cause célèbre was the wearing (or non-wearing) of the "poppy hijab". In 2016, it's football that is the site of controversy, as England played Scotland at Wembley last Friday. To mark Armistice Day, the players wore black armbands with poppies embroidered onto them. This was in deliberate contravention of FIFA regulations, which decree, "political, religious, commercial, personal statements, images and/or other announcements, is strictly prohibited."

Read the rest of this piece on Media Diversified.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

After Rio

By Shane Thomas

Given the panoply of portentous prognostications leading into Rio 2016, received wisdom ultimately deemed this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games as a success: The sport was thrilling; the events passed without much disruption; athletes weren't ridden by the Zika virus; and Brazil doesn't appear to be a real-life rendering of The Walking Dead. What were we all so worried about?

And if your took your cue from the bulk of the established press, it would be understandable for you to have reached the same conclusion. Despite the anxiety, the displacement, and the protests, it was quite clear after the first few days of competition that even if it was an unwise choice for the Games to be in Rio, they were here now, so we may as well try to enjoy it.

But our concerns should never really have been about what happened during the Games. It should be about what's going to happen now that they are over...

Read the rest of the piece at Media Diversified.

The Greatest Events in Sporting History" is available to download from http://www.simplysyndicated.com/shows/sportinghistory/, e-mail us at sportshistoryshow@googlemail.com and you can follow us on Twitter @TGEISH

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Paralympics Lesson In Allyship

By Shane Thomas

I'm sure you've heard of the African aphorism (used to the point of such cliche that one sometimes questions its origins), "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Well, in the Paralympics, get you an athlete who can do both.

One of the standout events of the athletics portion of the Games are the T11 (visually impaired) sprints, where the sprinter in question is attached (normally by the wrist) to a guide, who is there to offset the sprinters lack of sight.

While the natural speed of the athlete is crucial, of equal importance is the way they collaborate with their guide. It was meant as a flippant joke, but Channel 4's The Last Leg has a point when they quipped that you couldn't attach Usain Bolt to a toddler and expect it to win T11 races...

Read the rest of the piece at Media Diversified.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

By Shane Thomas

I'm sure many of us have done at least one thing in our lives that took a substantial amount of time and effort: completing a degree; moving house; or passing your driving test. And when it's done, we can relax, look back on our achievement and think, "Glad that's over. Don't fancy going through that again."

But imagine that being your whole life. Daunting challenges being the norm, rather than the exception. And not only do you accept this as your state of being; you actively embrace it.

Can you relate? No, me neither. But elite athletes can, not least the ones currently competing in Rio. And in that exclusive sphere of athletes is an even more exclusive group; sportspeople for whom once wasn't enough. They've already reached the pinnacle of their sport, and have come back for more. Why climb Everest? Because it's there. Already climbed Everest? Climb it again...

Read the rest of the piece at Media Diversified.

The Greatest Events in Sporting History" is available to download from http://www.simplysyndicated.com/shows/sportinghistory/, e-mail us at sportshistoryshow@googlemail.com and you can follow us on Twitter @TGEISH

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

When Being The Face Of The Games Goes Wrong

By Shane Thomas

Before Rio 2016 began, we published a piece on what we were looking forward to watching the most. The athlete I singled out was Alan Oliveira, who went into the Paralympics as arguably Brazil's biggest hope for home success. While the host nation has other accomplished athletes such as Daniel Dias and Terezinha Guilhermina, Oliveira was the marquee name, not just because of his gold medal performance at London 2012, but because it came at the expense of Oscar Pistorius...

Read the rest of the piece on Media Diversified.

The Greatest Events in Sporting History" is available to download from http://www.simplysyndicated.com/shows/sportinghistory/, e-mail us at sportshistoryshow@googlemail.com and you can follow us on Twitter @TGEISH

Kare Adenegan: Young, Gifted, and Black

By Shane Thomas

When Laverne Cox began to achieve a level of fame that made her a regular interview subject, a common question she had to field was whether, as a black trans woman, she saw herself as a role model. Cox rejected the label, before adding the caveat, "but I do like the term possibility model."

This observation springs to mind when considering the nature of possibility. It's a powerful notion, especially when it appears in sport.

Last night, Hannah Cockcroft continued her era of dominance with her 3rd Paralympic gold, winning the T34 100 metres. Yet also of significance was the performance of Kare Adenegan. She won the silver medal, and at only 15-years-old, she carries with her something else that's precious: potential...

Read the rest of the piece at Media Diversified.

The Greatest Events in Sporting History" is available to download from http://www.simplysyndicated.com/shows/sportinghistory/, e-mail us at sportshistoryshow@googlemail.com and you can follow us on Twitter @TGEISH

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Paralympics Isn't Great Sport With Caveats. It's Great Sport

By Shane Thomas

In the days after the Closing Ceremony of the Rio Olympics, the media narrative centred around the Brazilian party being over, with the nation now having to deal with the residue of the Olympic circus.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

What Makes Mo Farah So Good?

By Shane Thomas

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved athletics[1]. With the exception of football, it was probably the sport that first grabbed my attention, with the catalyst being Linford Christie crossing the line first in the 1992 Olympics.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Allyson Felix demonstrates that elite sport has virtues beyond trophies

By Shane Thomas

Many athletes have graced the Rio Olympics, but none have done so with as much grace as Allyson Felix. Looking for a fourth Olympic title last night, Felix finished second in the 400 metres, denied gold by Shaunae Miller's best Indiana Jones impersonation on the line.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Usain Bolt: The Greatest Showman on Earth

By Shane Thomas

If the Olympics is the greatest show on Earth, then its greatest showman is Usain Bolt. Sprinting's irresistible force and its immovable object, and arguably the most famous athlete on a global scale since Muhammad Ali, Bolt delighted the watching world by winning an unprecedented third Olympic 100 metre title in a row.

Will Michael Phelps Be Able To Say Goodbye

By Shane Thomas

Back in 2003, I remember sitting in the cinema to watch the final film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I remember watching the climax to one of Western cinema's landmark achievements. I remember my chest swelling as I was about to exhale a fulfilled sigh as the film ended.

And then I remember the film not ending.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Inevitability of Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky

By Shane Thomas

There are times when an athlete feels less like an athlete and more like a fixed point in existence - think of visiting the Great Wall of China, or the Grand Canyon. After a while, they stop being extraordinary. They just feel inevitable.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Rio Olympics 2016: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Shane Thomas

There are a number of things in this world that I have little direct interest in: cookery programmes; the fashion industry; or TV shows from Shonda Rhimes. But that doesn't stop me appreciating their wider social impact. It's not difficult to comprehend the significance of Nadiya Hussain, Jourdan Dunn, or Shonda Rhimes's influence on Western popular culture.

It's with this in mind that Media Diversified begins its series of articles on the upcoming Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio. I confess on the rare occasions I penned a missive about sport on this site, it brought with it a degree of worry that the reader would go little further than the opening paragraph, before dismissing the piece out of hand.

I'm not ignorant of the way that in a space normally reserved for social, cultural, and political commentary, sport is largely viewed as an incongruous and unwelcome interloper, and while that's not an entirely fair response, there are reasons that make such a reaction understandable...

Read the whole piece on Media Diversified.

The Greatest Events in Sporting History" is available to download from http://www.simplysyndicated.com/shows/sportinghistory/, e-mail us at sportshistoryshow@googlemail.com and you can follow us on Twitter @TGEISH

Saturday, 16 July 2016

(Guest Post) England's Ongoing Failures

By Sathesh Alagappan

Iceland’s victory over England at Euro 2016 sent shockwaves through the footballing world; the latest episode in a long history of underachievement failure for the England men's national team. The toothless nature of the performance, and the lowly standing of the opponents made this defeat particularly hard to take.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Individual Greatness Always Needs Teamwork

By Shane Thomas

In the past few months, we've seen two sporting stories that will be forever engraved onto the memory of all those who witnessed it. LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal. Victories that have enshrined both men as all-time of all-time; encased in glory forever.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Politics of Sport: Brexit Could Spell a Farewell for Team GB

By Jonathan Wilkinson

4th August 2012 – Super Saturday. The greatest day in the history of British Sport. A day when Great Britain would win 6 Gold medals at the London Olympics. In the Olympic Stadium itself, 3 golds were delivered by Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford. As Shane described it...

    “But it was a day for Britain. A day to cherish and revel in. 24 hours that will be recounted for generations. Whatever positive emotions you felt as a result of British success, remember it, hold onto it. As we'll never see a day as glorious as this one again.”[1]

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Arjen Robben's Final Failure

By Shane Thomas

It's morbidly self-indulgent for one to look back over what they have written in the past, but it turned out quite useful in this instance. After the 2010 World Cup final, I wrote of Arjen Robben's performance, "A good performance from the Bayern Munich man, but the bottom line is he missed two great chances that would have given the Netherlands the World Cup. When his chance came to seize the occasion, he choked."

Saturday, 25 June 2016

A Sporting Epic Completes The Legend of LeBron James

By Shane Thomas

This was the NBA's version of the Thrilla' in Manilla; the basketball equivalent of Manchester United and Arsenal at Villa Park in 1999; Federer and Nadal at Wimbledon 2008 on the hardwood.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

So, How Did England Do Against Russia?

By Shane Thomas

This is something of an odd feeling for fans of the England men's team today. Not specifically having to reconcile a disappointing result, but that it dovetailed with a performance that was - if not as brilliant as some have claimed - on the encouraging side.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Euro 2016 - England Squad Preview

By Shane Thomas

The England men''s team begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia later today, so it's just as well that I've managed to get this preview of Roy Hodgson's squad done before kick-off.

Monday, 30 May 2016

(Guest Post) The Politics of Sport: Divided Ireland - A Footballing Rivalry

By Sathesh Alagappan

For the first time this summer, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will be playing at the European Championships, making it a fitting time to explore the long-running rivalry between these not-so-friendly neighbours.

Friday, 27 May 2016

The Premier League Team of The Season 2015/16

By Shane Thomas

A slight change to how we do things this season. Rather than a singular choice, I'm selecting the best performers in each respective position, and sequentially ordering them in terms of how much they impressed me since August.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Politics of Sport - When The Medals Don't Matter

By Shane Thomas

British cycling has arguably been the country's biggest sporting success story in this generation. A glut of medals, a seemingly uninterrupted conveyor belt of elite level riders, and even having a considerable influence on wider British society - in fact, one could argue that it's one of the nation's biggest success stories - sporting, or otherwise (I said as much back in 2013).

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Politics of Sport - Looking Beyond the Scoreboard

By Shane Thomas

If you haven't heard the news, English rugby union is back. After being ignominiously dumped out of a World Cup that they were hosting last autumn, they have since recovered to win their first Grand Slam for 13 years in the Six Nations, beating France a little over a week ago to establish themselves as Europe's premier rugby union nation again.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Politics of Sport - The Superbowl. America's Crucible

By Shane Thomas

So, it turns out that I couldn't indulge in my yearly tradition of having no chill towards Peyton Manning for the final time. This won't be a breakdown of the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 - best to leave that to the likes of Bruce Arthur and Bill Barnwell - only to say, that we should be wary about reverting to the cliche of defense winning championships, as it's a lot easier for that good defense when the opposing offense is non-existent.