Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

Gaining Ben Johnson’s trust

(Editor's note: Gary Hershorn, now Global Editor, Sports Pictures, for Reuters, has covered sport for 35 years. A Canadian, he gained the trust of compatriot Ben Johnson in the run-up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and had special access to the sprinter's training. Here, Hershorn, looks back at that time and at Johnson's downfall.)

By Gary Hershorn

Standing shirtless on the training track, Ben Johnson looked at me, then dropped his running shorts. He stared at me, apparently willing me to take a picture and prove I was just another paparazzo desperate to get a sensational shot of the world's most famous athlete ahead of the Seoul Olympics.

I stared back but did not put my camera to my face. Training over, Johnson told me everything was fine and I could come back and watch him train as often as I liked. I had, it seemed, passed the test and won his trust. Johnson, who generally distrusted the media, completely opened up that July, telling me what time he would train each day, showing up on time and taking me inside his private world, to the weight room and massage room.

Toronto, where I was working, was also Johnson's home. Knowing that pictures of him, the world champion and world-record holder, would be published the world over I had set out to try to get exclusive time with him while he prepared for Seoul. With the help of sports journalist Mary Jollimore, who had been writing about Johnson for a number of years, I was able to spend time at the Toronto Track and Field training center with him and his fellow sprinters Desai Williams, Mark McKoy and Angela Taylor.

Manchester United likely to show patience with David Moyes…for now

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Two defeats and one scrappy draw amid a hat-trick of pitiful performances in as many heavyweight bouts showed in no uncertain terms just why Manchester United manager David Moyes lamented over a tough Premier League start for the English champions when the fixture list was drawn during the close-season.

Sunday’s comprehensive 4-1 drubbing by cross-town rivals City, which followed a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool and a tame goalless stalemate with Chelsea, exposed all the chinks in the armour of a squad who won their 20th league title last season thanks to the scoring prowess of Robin van Persie and the firm steering hand of Alex Ferguson.

Life in the time of Federer and Tendulkar

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In sports, the fear of loss does different things to different people. It spurs athletes to greater heights; for spectators, it often changes the topography of their nails. In some, it induces mild depression.

Its inevitability is creeping into the minds of even the most stoic spectators. Soon, they won’t have Roger Federer and Sachin Tendulkar around anymore. What will be the world like without Federer and Sachin? Surely, the sporting world will move on, for no athlete is bigger than the game. But will it be the same again? Maybe not. Federer brought to tennis a “complete game”, rarely seen before. What made it even surreal was the ease and elegance with which he wielded his racquet.

Interpretation is the problem, not DRS

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The Decision Review System (DRS) in itself can be difficult to comprehend but what is hurting the game more is its varied interpretation by umpires.

The system was introduced to eliminate blatant errors in umpiring but it has failed to do so since there is still enough discretion resting with the umpires, who might or might not have faith in the technology that supports the system.

Confederations Cup: Can the real thing match its dress rehearsal?

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I don’t know if Brazil’s rout of Spain means there will be a shift in the balance of power, but one thing seems pretty certain: If the Confederations Cup was a taste of things to come, we should have a delicious World Cup in a year’s time.

Wildly entertaining in all aspects, the eight-nation tournament, seen as an acid test for the world’s biggest soccer event, produced all the thrills a fan could ask for and was capped by a memorable final in which the reigning world and double European champions were outplayed like never before in recent history.

South Africans haunted by “choker” tag again

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“Chokers” is not an easy tag to get rid of and South Africa’s latest attempt to shed it will haunt them for a while. Worse, they may have ended up reinforcing it.

The Proteas were so afraid of fumbling again that they failed to perform on the field; and the result was a thrashing at the hands of England in the Champions Trophy semi-final.

Champions League final live blog – Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund

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The first all German final of the world’s most prestigious club soccer competition comes to Wembley in London as some of Europe’s finest look to put on a show. Click here to leave comments http://live.reuters.com/Event/Champions_League_final_-_Bayern_Munich_v_Borussia_Dortmund

 

from Photographers' Blog:

Beckham’s final 81st minute

Paris, France

By Gonzalo Fuentes

Since David Beckham arrived in Paris the media have captured every move, every training session, every single time he and his family have roamed around the city.

The infrastructure of the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) stadium was upgraded to handle all the media that he attracts. The media in Paris was ready to follow all his actions as evidenced when 150 journalists were accredited to cover the presentation of his PSG jersey.

from Photographers' Blog:

Augusta: A tournament like no other

Augusta, Georgia

By Phil Noble

It was the author Mark Twain who wrote "Golf is a good walk spoiled" and although the persistent rain that dogged the final round play at this years Masters certainly made it tough for both players and photographers alike, the amazing photographs at the final hole of regular play and the subsequent thrilling playoff certainly ensured our "good walk" wasn't ruined.

I was lucky enough to be asked to return to the Augusta National golf club this year for my second Masters tournament. Along with my Reuters colleagues Mike Segar, Bryan Snyder, Mark Blinch and 24 year Masters veteran Gary Hershorn, who would edit our pictures, we pitched up again at the Mecca of golf to cover a tournament unlike any other.

from Photographers' Blog:

Broken and showing

Indianapolis, Indiana

By Jeff Haynes

I was on the court when Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware went to block the three-point shot of Duke’s Tyler Thornton and landed wrong on his right leg suffering a compound fracture with the shin bone protruding through the skin, with about 3 inches showing.

It is being called one of the most gruesome sports injuries ever to be seen on live TV and then replayed again.

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