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Tag: sport

The all new Sky Sports F1 HD Opening Titles

I have to say that the new opening for Sky Sports F1 coverage is pretty darn good.

Enjoy.

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Formula 1 welcomes a brand new female driver to its ranks

I hadn’t heard of Maria De Villota until moments ago but now she will become a very interesting name to watch after she was signed to the Marussia F1 team as their test driver for the 2012 season.

The 32 year-old Spaniard who has drove in several formulae first drove an F1 car last year at Paul Ricard and has now graduated to official test driver.

This is a very interesting move for the sport as we have seen the effect that Danica Patrick has had over in the States. Her move to NASCAR has made the big sports bulletins and this years Daytona 500 had great TV ratings – both on the Sunday for the rain-out and for the primetime Monday night audience. This is despite Danica Patrick going out on the opening lap.

There are clear differences. Danica is extremely marketable and has been the face of GoDaddy for many years. Also if we are being totally honest the American market are more receptive to female sports and women in sport in general. The culture is different and therefore we can’t really say that this arrival into the world of Formula One will make too much of a wave but a ripple is a good start.

She will be the reserve driver so if either of Marussia’s two race drivers have to sit it out for whatever reason she is next in line to race. Now racing would certainly be a lot different to testing and if she were to race then I can guarantee it will put more bums on seats as the intrigue factor will bring in a lot of casual viewers just to see how she does.

It is a good move forward for the sport and one that hopefully will open the floodgates. Obviously if she does get to race there will be a whole tonne of pressure on her shoulders but should she succeed then many walls could come crumbling down.

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Athletes of London 2012 for the love of you know what – don’t shake hands!

Yes folks The British Olympic Association’s Chief Medical Officer Ian McCurdie is concerned that athletes might be nice to each other and be true sportsmen and women only to receive deadly infections from each other and ruin our chances of sweeping the medal table.

I know it sounds like I’m joking but actually I’m not. That is what he had to say (albeit with a pinch of paraphrasing). The headline on the BBC Sport website is London 2012: Team GB ‘should avoid handshakes’ at Olympics and the story goes on to quote this guy saying that shaking hands with fellow athletes increases the risk of transmitting infections and therefore shouldn’t be done.

The greatest threat to performance is illness and possibly injury. We are talking about minimising risk of illness. It is all about hand hygiene.’ says Mr McCurdle.

He goes on to say the following later in the piece:

‘Being at an Olympic Games means you are normally inside a bubble and so there is effectively quite a limited number of people that you interact with when you are away in another country.

‘In London we do not believe that is going to be the case. The variety of people the athletes and support staff are going to interact with is going to be huge.

‘At an Olympic Games or any major event the performance impact of becoming ill or even feeling a little bit ill can be significant.

‘Essentially we are talking about minimising risk of illness and optimising resistance. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen. Hand hygiene is it.’

I say that is nuts. Crazy as Patsy Kline would say. Yes his point is valid that infections are often spread through hands but does he want the athletes to wear disposable gloves when opening and closing doors to ensure that they don’t get infections that have been left on door handles?

Give me a break. If this is the kind of world we live in then the world has indeed gone mad. Infection prevention over being a good sportsman or sportswoman, that is what Ian McCurdle thinks but he’s just so far off the mark that he can’t even see the mark.

The Olympics are about celebrating what is good and right with the world of sport and not shaking someone’s hand because you might get an infection from it is certainly not what is good and right about the world of sport.

Sometimes I just cant believe people either a) think these things or b) saying say them out loud.

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Now Rubens Barrichello has left F1 who do I root for?

The Formula One season starts in a fortnight – well just under a fortnight and I have a big problem. No the problem won’t be whether I watch on the BBC or Sky Sports (I’ll be watching on Sky Sports as Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz are huge deciding factors for me) but my problem is who will I be rooting for this season?

I have followed the sport for what the best part on 20+ years now and I have followed and rooted for just two drivers. Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello. Now though neither of them are competing following Williams decision to dumb Barrichello for Bruno Senna a couple of months ago. I am still smarting from this and now I need to work out what I’ll do next.

First things first I’ll suddenly have more than a passing interest in IndyCar following Rubens’ move to the series. I think the races are live on Sky Sports and are generally on Sunday evenings so I’ll probably catch more than the odd race now to see just how well Rubinho is doing. However F1 is more my thing so do I pick another driver or just enjoy the race?

I can’t support Lewis as I just think he is too aggressive and never seems humble. He thinks he is always in the right when he often isn’t and has had it relatively easy in the sport having been with McLaren since the age of 11. Both Senna and Barrichello had to fight for everything they got and I respect that and Lewis doesn’t have that string to his bow. So he is out and Jenson Button despite clearly being a great guy I always have ITV’s coverage of when they had F1 in my mind and that Jenson Button/Lewis Hamilton love-in that they had going. I just can’t shake it.

Logically Bruno Senna would be my choice being the next Brazilian in line but he was chosen over my boy Rubens and I can’t do that. So now I’m looking down the list of drivers and finding it difficult to find a driver that I both like and truly respect. I quite like the mellowed out version of Michael Schumacher and wouldn’t mind him and Mercedes doing well just to shake things up but can I openly root for him? I don’t think so. The obvious answer is Mark Webber. Great guy and has worked his way up but would he just be a stop-gap chjoice as his career is surely coming to an end?

As much as it pains me I think I’m just going to have to enjoy the racing and see where the mood takes me. I don’t think I can openly root for anyone. No-one really takes my eye as it were. I think I’m just going to root for a close hard fought season amd for one of the young drivers in GP2 and/or GP3 to come through and show me some personality who I can get behind in the future. Both those series will be live on Sky Sports F1 HD for the record.

So Rubens has gone and I don’t feel that there is anyone adequate to replace him in my F1 loving heart. I have a horrible feeling this might happen with Portsmouth Football Club sooner rather than later too. Oh well. Here’s to a great year of racing and maybe a Rubens return in 2013? Well I can but hope…

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The bums that are Dereck Chisora and David Haye

No that title isn’t over the top – and yes they could both beat me up with two arms tied behind their backs.

The behaviour of the two of them in Germany at the weekend was about as classless as you can get. Chisora never deserved a fight with a Klitschko as he’s done nothing in the sport in all honesty. Looking at his résumé his best wins have come over Sam Sexton twice. Not exactly world level now is it? However he got the fight at proceeded to act like a bum throughout. From slapping his opponent at the weigh-in to spitting water at the other Klitschko brother in the ring before the fight.

The behaviour of the two of them is a disgrace and yes they get hit hard but they haven’t been dealt so many blows that they shouldn’t be able to act like human beings!

Classless doesn’t even scratch the surface but then we get to the other person in the title.

David Haye acted like a bum for two years when it came to the Klitschko brothers. Agreed to fight them before pulling out because of injury first and then because he found an easier fight for a title elsewhere. He finally agreed to the fight and got totally outclassed by Wladimir and promptly retired whilst showing his broken toe to the watching media. His antics of turning up in a t-shirt of him holding the decapitated heads of the brothers only gets a footnote which shows you just how poorly he acted.

Fast forward to Saturday night and Chisora was beaten and Haye was talking up a fight with Vitali. Vitali said fine he’s ready for aye and Haye said he was ready for Vitali. Seems simply but in boxing things are never simple. At the post-fight Press Conference Haye shouted from the back of the room. Here is a transcript of the confrontation courtesy of Ben Dirs at BBC Sport

Bernd Boente, manager of Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko: With the bad experience we’ve had with British fighters, we will now look for other countries. Contrary to David Haye, Dereck Chisora really went for it. He really tried.
David Haye (from rear of the room): You don’t want to fight David Haye, no?
Boente: You had an offer. You didn’t accept it. Now you are out. You are out. Out, out, out. You cannot talk yourself back into the fight; you have no belts. Chisora showed heart, contrary to you. You showed your toe [referring to Haye’s toe injury].
Haye: I accepted your offer in December.
Dereck Chisora: We’ll get it on in London – be quiet. David Haye is an embarrassment, Sky Sports don’t do Box Office any more because of David Haye. He messed it up for all those young fighters coming through. I’m going to give you two slaps for that. If Haye is a fighter, he should fight me.
Haye: You’ve lost three fights in a row (actually three of his last four).
Chisora: Let’s fight.
Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren: I’ve got a great idea. If Dereck fights David, the winner fights Vitali.
Boente: Sounds like the perfect plan.
Haye: Vitali said he could knock me out, do you think you can knock me out?
Chisora’s trainer Don Charles: Be quiet, can security get him out of here?
Haye: Vitali said after his last fight, ‘I want to fight David Haye’. Where is he now? He said he wanted to fight me, I agreed the money, I agreed everything in December.
Chisora: How’s your toe? How’s your toe? How’s your toe?
Haye: You’ve lost your last three fights, you lost to Tyson Fury. You’re a loser.
Chisora: Tell that to my face. I’m coming down, tell that to my face.
Chisora leaves his seat and approaches Haye at the back of the room, where a melee ensues. Haye at one point picks up a video camera tripod and swings it.
The two are eventually pulled apart before Chisora returns to the front of the room.

Chisora: (Shouting and indicating towards Haye). He glassed me. I swear to God, David, I am going to shoot you. I am going to shoot you. I am going to physically shoot David Haye. He glassed me. He glassed me. He glassed me. I’m not having it. He glassed me.
Haye’s trainer Adam Booth approaches Chisora, his head bleeding.
Chisora: (Referring to Booth’s cut) I’m sorry about that. Adam, your fighter glassed me.
Booth: I want to know who glassed me.
Chisora: As you were trying to hold your fighter away, he [Haye] probably glassed you by mistake.
Booth: You hit me with a bottle.
Chisora: David had a bottle in his hand.
Booth: No, no, David didn’t hit me with a bottle. I want to know who glassed me. Someone hit me with a bottle.
The two are separated before Booth addresses Vitali Klitschko.
Booth: Vitali, you are a great fighter but your manager is an embarrassment to the sport. Congratulations for winning.
Chisora: (Addressing Booth) Either we do it in the ring or outside of the ring. Because I want him. If David don’t fight me, Adam, I am telling you the God’s honest truth, I am going to physically burn him. So you tell him I said that. I am going to find him.

Honestly what can you say? The German police arrested Chisora and his trainer at the airport as they tried to leave the country. They were later released without charge. They want to speak with David Haye too.

I am torn as to what I want to happen. I either want them to fight or go away and never be heard from again. Let the two bums fight for the right to be taught a boxing lesson by Vitali. Chisora and Haye can fight in the summer before a December showdown in Germany for the winner.

Seems the best way forward but the way they acted shows so little class that it makes my soul cry inside. The sport of boxing is going through rough times at the moment and all this does is show off just how terrible it can be. I know I would find it hard to root for either of these two against Vitali because they make me ashamed to be British. They act like two liquored up lager louts abroad and that isn’t what makes Britain great.

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We’ve had a gloriously sunny day in the studio, we’ve seen some great action, Jessica Ennis, goodnight

Well John Rawling asked me to write a review of the coverage on Channel Four after I expressed my displeasure at the coverage when it was announced. Mostly I was discontent with Ortis Deley as presenter as I didn’t think he had it in him to be the front man for a major live sporting event. I think I was proved right.

I won’t jump on Ortis’ back here as there are plenty of comments from my readers on the blog post linked above so I won’t get into it. Clearly he was totally out of his depth and the title of this blog post I think sums up everything. So we’ll move on to the other aspects of the coverage.

John Rawling was exactly how I described him in my original post. He is a good solid pair of hands who will never let anyone down. He describes the action well and shows good enthusiasm when needed. However I still don’t think he has it in him to go that memorial call that people will talk about and remember. I have spoken before about Ian Darke so let’s talk about Gus Johnson. He was a CBS announcer for both College Basketball and the NFL but has now moved on to FOX where he’ll cover the NFL and College Football. Here are two YouTube clips – one of his best moments during March Madness and the next of a call on a hail mary from David Garrard last season that blew up twitter.

Now that is special.

As for Rob Walker I was a bit meh to be honest. I just wasn’t feeling it. I thought neither Dean Macey nor Iwan Thomas were brilliant either. I really didn’t like Iwan Thomas screaming ‘Yes, Yes, Yes’ as Dai Green was winning his gold for the 400metres hurdles. It reminded me of Euro 2004 when Joe Royle screamed for about five seconds when Frank Lampard equalised for England in their quarter-final with Portugal. A good co-commentator first of all doesn’t speak over the play-by-play guy and speaks only when prompted and/or to add valuable insight. Screaming ‘Yessssss’ is not valuable insight in my view.

Also the adverts were bloody annoying and not sticking with the Pole Vault final with only two left to jump to go to some crap daytime show that could easily have been pushed back five minutes was a disgrace. Channel Four basically had Michael Johnson and John Rawling who in my view can hold their heads high and Rob Walker didn’t do anything wrong but just didn’t grab me. The rest of the team were disappointing and nowhere near their BBC colleagues and when I say nowhere near I mean nowhere near.

If Channel Four are serious about athletics then they need to take a long hard look at themselves and make major changes before the Palalympics and the 2013 World Athletics Championships but that is just one pointless bloggers view I suppose…

Anyway time is running out…we’ve had a gloriously sunny day in the studio, we’ve seen some great action, Jessica Ennis, goodnight

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Ortis Deley axed as Athletics front man at Channel 4

So after three days of to be frank cringe-worthy presenting Channel 4 have removed Ortis Deley from the main achor role on their live coverage of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea. I don’t think anyone will be surprised but if you haven’t watched any of it and don’t believe it can be so bad that it warranted his removal within three days then please watched the following.

Yeah pretty darn awful.

I wrote a couple of months ago about Ortis’ appointment, ‘The front man will be former CBBC and The Gadget Show presenter Ortis Deley. I know over on the BBC Jake Humphrey was given the prime job of fronting the F1 coverage having come from a Children’s TV background but his track record had been in live television – Deley’s has not been. It just isn’t grabbing me. Obviously they couldn’t bring in Sue Barker but Ortis seems uninspired. When Channel 4 brought in the cricket they went with Mark Nicholas who was an inspired choice and their commentary and pundit team was first rate. Maybe I should move on to the good moves.’ That is from my blog lamenting the Channel 4 coverage.

As you can see that blog post has got 30 comments at this current juncture and very few are positive. I have been bits and pieces in the past few days and will do a review of the coverage after I was asked to by lead commentator John Rawling himself. What I don’t need to do clearly is talk about Ortis Deley’s performance. I won’t knock Ortis too much but more Channel 4 for hiring a guy with no live television experience for the lead role in a major project. Getting the World Athletic Championships was a real coup for the channel but putting someone who to be frank wasn’t ready for the big time in live television in the hot seat has overshadowed the wonderful Michael Johnson.

It was sad this had to happen but hopefully Channel 4 will learn from it. You give important jobs to someone who is fully ready to handle it. People need to work their way up and this appointment was terrible from the word go – and when some bum like me knows that – not just thinks that – knows that – then you know there is a problem.

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Six Nations to remain on the BBC through 2016

The Rambles of Neil Monnery understands that the RFU and the BBC have agreed in principle to a deal that will see all 15 games of the Six Nations tournament remain live on the BBC in the United Kingdom. The deal could be announced any day now and it is expected the deal will be the final nail in the coffin of the BBC’s Formula One rights, which run out after the 2013 season.

The BBC are paying £40million a year under the terms of the present deal but as we understand it the BBC will be paying less this time around – by possibly up to £10million a year to retain the rights. The RFU were keen to maximise their revenue but still keep games on Free To Air TV.

ITV had a lot of interest in taking on the contract but when their plans for games to be on Friday Nights and Saturday Evenings the RFU were less than keen. Both sides were believed to be willing to pay broadly the same so the decision was to keep with the same broadcast partner for the tournament, which will see the competitions stay with the most watched channel in the UK run to 14 years.

With the widespread belief that one of the big four sport TV contracts would have to go from the BBC, this news should it be confirmed will see the likelihood of Formula 1 moving to Channel Four or Five.tv rise to a significant extent. Both stations are said to be very interested in the year-long circus. ITV are said to be interested more in taking the Premier League highlights, which are also up for grabs but the BBC are expected to keep them and Wimbledon will not be leaving the BBC any time soon.

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Channel 4 announce Athletics commentary and presenting team – I’m not impressed

I know Channel 4 will be distraught that I’m not giving them the thumbs up but heck I’ll write the blog post anyway. Channel 4 have taken over the rights for the World Athletics Championships in both 2011 and 2013. It is a bold move by Channel 4 and might give an insight into these constant swirling stories that the channel are interested in Formula 1. So last week they announced who they had signed-up and apart from one or two good moves – the rest are distinctly meh.

The front man will be former CBBC and The Gadget Show presenter Ortis Deley. I know over on the BBC Jake Humphrey was given the prime job of fronting the F1 coverage having come from a Children’s TV background but his track record had been in live television – Deley’s has not been. It just isn’t grabbing me. Obviously they couldn’t bring in Sue Barker but Ortis seems uninspired. When Channel 4 brought in the cricket they went with Mark Nicholas who was an inspired choice and their commentary and pundit team was first rate. Maybe I should move on to the good moves.

They begin (and nearly end with) Michael Johnson. Johnson is a freelancer and will work with the channel for this event but will return to the BBC for athletics events at London 2012. Johnson is the supreme pundit out there so bringing him in seems like a slam-dunk move. I also like Katherine Merry. Think she’s an excellent pundit. Iwan Thomas and Dean Macey less so. However this might not be ideal but then we get to another disappointment.

The BBC have a first-rate commentary team on athletics. Jonathan Edwards, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Paul Dickenson, etc… but none of them hve been loaned out to Channel 4 for the Athletics and they have instead gone with John Rawling and Rob Walker. Rawling is a safe pair of hands but that is about it. Best known for being ITV’s voice of boxing when it was involved in the sport in the last decade and is now involved with Sky’s boxing coverage. Walker is best known for announcing the snooker players into the arena at major BBC snooker events. He does have a background in commentating on IAAF events (I’m presuming for a world feed) but it’s not the voices you’d expect to hear. I have no idea if they channel approached the BBC about their commentary team and a loan agreement but if they didn’t then I’d be disappointed.

The trackside reporting will be Sonja McLaughlan who has performed that role on radio for several years.

All in all I’m not inspired by these choices but heck who gives a damn what I think. I do think that Ortis might be in a trial run for the F1 job should the channel take those rights as Jake Humphrey is not leaving the BBC with Olympics and World Cup opportunities ahead of him at the Beeb.

Edit August 31: Ortis Deley has been removed by Channel 4 as lead presenter. Read the full story behind this link

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I’m an idiot – official

I believed in David Haye. I believed his hype. I believed that it wasn’t just trash talk to sell a fight. I believed that he’d really go for it and try and knock Wladimir Klitschko out. Instead what we were served up with on Saturday night was a pathetic limp performance from a man who had said so much but delivered so little.

Had I spent £14.95 on the fight then I’d have been pissed off (I didn’t – I watched for free on Al-Jeezera 3) but had I spent serious money to follow Haye to Hamburg then I’d be absolutely fuming. At least when Hatton was outclassed in Vegas to Pacquiao and Mayweather he tried and went out on his shield. Haye went out with in a shambolic limp-wristed excuse-ridden display.

David Haye was a great cruiserweight and an undisputed champion but at heavyweight he has done very little. He won a paper title and defended it twice against guys that he should have beaten easily – neither of which in all honesty deserved to be in a ring with a World Heavyweight Champion.

The 30 year-old has said he’d retire at 31 for an eon. We all know boxers say they are going to retire but rarely do. Haye though has nothing to box for except money. His career defining fight is behind him and his career is in tatters. Who else is out there and more importantly who wants to watch him anymore?

Boxing needed a showman but it needed a showman with the heart to go with the words. Boxing does not have that with David Haye. For all the vitriol hurled at Audley Harrison by the public and David Haye himself after their fight in December, Haye should get the same. A broken toe is an excuse but a pathetic one.

Where does David Haye and Boxing go from here? I am not sure but the former is done and the latter is on life support,

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