This 12-year-old Australian boy, James Gallaugher, has been dubbed “the Aussie Usain Bolt”. He’s fast alright. But is he faster than a sports car?
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson plans to race against Gallaugher and Olympian Sally Pearson at the two-day Top Gear festival in Sydney next week. He’ll be driving a Nissan GT-R, which has a top speed of 311km/h. Should be a close contest.
So what’s on your mind today? Let’s get a debate going. On your marks, get set… go!
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Oscar Pistorius, the usually smiling South African, has come across as embittered and petty today.
A quick recap. Overnight, the South African “Blade Runner” became the fade runner. Pistorius had won the T44 200m at the last two Paralympics, but was mowed down in the final few metres. He then sharpened a few blades of his own.
The South African, who also competed at the London Olympics, claimed that his conqueror, Brazilian Alan Oliveira had an unfair advantage due to oversized carbon blades which allow a greater stride length.
Last night the House of Representatives debated a motion to make a posthumous apology to arguably our greatest ever male sprinter Peter Norman, whose legacy is so much greater than just his feats on the track. This is an edited version of a speech to the parliament by the Member for Bennelong John Alexander.
I rise to recognise the unique contribution made by Australian athlete Peter Norman to the worlds of both sport and politics. In sport Norman’s feet did the talking, becoming the highest achieving Australian male sprinter in our nation’s history. In politics, Norman’s statement was not through the delivery of a speech but simply through the wearing of a badge.
The badge said: ‘Olympic Project for Human Rights’. The venue was the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. The year 1968 is often referred to as the year the world changed - the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy; the raging of the Vietnam War; riots in Paris; industrial strikes across Europe; and uprisings in Czechoslovakia and Pakistan.
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Little Athletics has shepherded many young Australians onto the track leading to eventual Olympic stardom. Sally Pearson, for one. Pole-vaulter Steve Hooker, another. Clubs have huffed and puffed their way forward on the fumes of a well-worn pair of joggers, kept going by committed parent-volunteers and income stemming from low rego fees.
Fewer boys and girls are “taking their marks” because of time and financial pressures on parents, Fairfax reports, leaving clubs in a poor state. And Little A’s clubs are leery about raising entry fees, which generally range between $60 and $130, to ease some of those pressures.
Junior sport can teach kids important lessons about fitness and success. It keeps them doing something productive instead of scrawling toddler hieroglyphics on your walls. But how much can a parent invest in junior sport nowadays? If you’re a parent, how much time and money do you put in to your kids’ sports clubs? And if you’re not, how much would you?
It’s Monday. What’s racing around your minds?
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If this was a page, not a computer screen, it would be horribly smudged with tears today and you’d barely be able to read a word.
Overnight, two wonderful Australian sporstwomen won Olympic gold medals, each as thrilling as the next. First Anna Meares destroyed England’s velodrome queen, Victoria Pendleton. Then in the faint light of an Australian dawn, as rain tumbled on the London track, Sally Pearson won the one we’d all been waiting for, the 100m hurdles.
Afterwards, Sally said she felt like she’s walking on clouds. We all do this morning, Sally. After a stuttering first 10 days, Australia is finally making its presence felt at these Olympics, with victories we can all savour whether we’re once-every-four-years enthusiasts or diehard members of the Oi! Oi! Oi! brigade with Southern Cross tattoos on our necks.
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The problem with 400m runner John Steffensen is that he’s modelled himself on Anthony Mundine. He’d be better off acting like a man instead of “The Man”, and copping his selection omission on the chin.
When Mundine switched from rugby league to boxing, he claimed league selectors wouldn’t pick him in representative teams because of the colour of his skin. That line was always ridiculous given the numerous dark-skinned players in rep teams at the time.
John Steffensen peddled a similar load of garbage this weekend, accusing Athletics Australia of racism after their failure to pick him for the individual 400m event in London, even though he’s still in the relay. It was a rant as hollow and unbalanced as anything Mundine ever delivered.
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Happy Friday folks. Hope you approached you’ve jumped some hurdles this week. If not, hope you at least share this Chinese athlete’s Live Free Or Die attitude to the obstacles in his way.
What’s on your mind today?
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Back in 2004, all eyes were on an Australian female hurdler as our Olympians readied themselves for Athens. Our strongest ever Olympic team would eventually win 17 gold medals, yet the pre-Games hype was all about Jana Pittman, who would go on to win nothing.
So here we are eight years on and again, the focus is on a female hurdler. Only this time it’s different. This time the hurdler is naturally charming, not attention-seeking. This time she’s fit and firing, not half broken down. This time you sense she’s doing it for all of us, not just herself.
Sally Pearson was 22 when she won silver in the 100m hurdles at Beijing. The race was thrilling. But it was THAT post-race interview with Seven’s Pat Welsh which really burned her name and face into our minds.
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Oscar Pistorius is a 400m runner who won a silver medal last week at the World Athletics Championships, with his approved set of carbon fibre prosthetic legs.
Terence Parkin won a silver medal in 200m breaststroke at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Sekou Kanneh is an Australian eleven-year-old aspiring Olympic sprinter, running competitively in both the 100m and 200m events.
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I can’t believe I’m saying this about the woman who had her fake breast removed for Australia, but I think it’s time we let Jana Rawlinson go from the shackles of her colonial confinement.
As much as the Commonwealth Games champ has showered Australia with gratitude for all the years of Woman’s Day covers and tolerance of her Olympic choking, it’s pretty clear we haven’t lived up to our end of the bargain.
Now she’s pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to say Jana, it breaks our hearts, but if you want to go and run for England in the London Olympics we’ll try very hard to get over it.
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Morning, all. I’ve written a profile piece on Olympic and world Champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker in today’s Weekend Australian Magazine.
As I was writing the piece, I pretty much came to the conclusion that Hooker is Australia’s best current athlete in any sport. If not him, then who?
I’m going to run through a few candidates, then throw it over to you. But my vote goes to the 27 year old Victorian who, apart from being an absolute genius with a five metre pole in his hands, is one of the most natural, chatty, intelligent individuals on the sporting scene.
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Losing is not something we like to talk about much at this time of year.
We’re reminded of the greatest premiership winning teams, the possibility of St. Kilda or Parramatta breaking the drought or Geelong or Melbourne Storm cementing their place as real champion teams.
But given that the team or individual that we follow is more often going to lose the premiership, not win the gold, or fail at the World Cup, our experiences with losing are arguably are more important in defining our support of the team or person than that of winning.
So in the lead up to the two biggest sporting weekends of the year The Punch writers have compiled, in no particular order, the ten teams or people that have let us down or just not performed when it mattered in Australia’s recent sporting history. What are yours?
An endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, a gender expert and a psychologist are involved in a round of “gender verification” tests on Caster Semenya, who overnight won gold in the 800m at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. The alarm bells were raised some time ago after Semenya, who has lived her whole life as a woman, started demolishing fields and winning by extraordinary margins.
The Daily Mail has an excellent round up here of the story, including some photos of previous female competitors who were later revealed as men - but there’s more photos and a video interview with Semenya below, where you can hear her speaking.
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It has been an extraordinary few hours in sport.
Overnight Usain Bolt ran a world-record 9.58sec in the 100m sprint, and Tiger Woods just lost the US PGA Championship to Y.E. Yang - the first time he has ever lost a major tournament having held the lead at the start of the final day.
So here’s a question for you: Which do you think is the more amazing feat? I say Tiger’s defeat, and here’s why.
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