Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

The Cuban gazelle

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By Desmond Boylan

A mixture of gazelle and human is the impression Dayron gave me when he took off from where I was standing on the training grounds and jumped the first hurdle. He became tiny in the lens very fast, and when he was running towards me there wasn't much time to shoot until he filled the frame.

Dayron Robles is the main sporting figure of the moment in Cuba. In his specialty event of the men's 110m hurdles, he won gold at the Beijing Olympics and is the current world record-holder.

You would not think this when you speak to him. He is humble, reserved, down-to-earth, gentle, agreeable and easygoing, but at the same time there is a distant look in his eyes.

On May 6, he spoke to a Reuters TV crew and clearly announced his plan to retire after the 2012 London Olympics.  His trainer Santiago Antunez also plans to retire. When asked why, he answered that there are a lot of factors involved, like injuries combined with disappointments over several issues. He doesn't care if those issues are resolved anymore because he is definitely retiring. He did not want to go into specifics.

Gatlin’s return throws up 100 metres quandary

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If Justin Gatlin, back in action this week after a four-year doping ban, were to line up alongside Jamaican Usain Bolt in the 2012 Olympic 100 metres final in London, who would American fans want to win?

Having served his time, is former world and Olympic champion Gatlin worthy of his place or, as some have suggested, should all convicted dopers be forced to pin a massive asterisk on their vest to remind the world of how they made it to the top?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

What’s behind Spain’s run of sporting success?

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CYCLING-TOUR/

Spanish sports fans have never had it so good.

The Iberian nation is celebrating its latest triumphs after a month of success that local media have called a golden age.

On Sunday, Alberto Contador sealed his third Tour de France title, Fernando Alonso won the German Formula One Grand Prix, and Jorge Lorenzo roared to MotoGP victory in the U.S.

Inside Track: This league has not reached the diamond level yet

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ATHLETICS/Might the Diamond League be snake-bitten in its initial season? Injuries and other setbacks have taken away a chunk of glitter from the initiative, which was to bring new fans and interest to the sport.

Out for the season apparently are two of the circuit’s biggest names, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and Ethiopian distance king Kenenisa Bekele.

Inside Track: Waiting for the first sprint showdown

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ATHLETICS-WORLD/When will the Diamond League have its first sprint showdown?

That’s a frequent question from athletics followers whose appetites have been whetted by the fast early times of Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt.

We know, according to a Diamond League announcement, all three are scheduled to run a 100 metres in the August 27 Brussels meeting, but you can bet your ever-shrinking euro that Bolt and Gay will race in the same stadium before then.

Inside Track: Who gets the Diamond League dollars?

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ATHLETICS-GOLDEN/Times and distances won’t be the only figures athletes and their managers will be checking on the new Diamond League circuit which began on Friday in Doha.

The amount of money athletes earn from the 14-meeting global series, and how it compares to last season, also will be scrutinized.

Inside Track: Solinsky’s record-breaking debut

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ATHLETICS-WORLD/Except for a training run, new American distance find Chris Solinsky might not have become the first North American runner to break 27 minutes in the 10,000 metres.

“We were planning to run a steeple (3,000 metres steeplechase) actually … until after one of my tempo-runs when Jerry (Coach Jerry Schumacher) decided that we’d switch it to the 10,000,” Solinsky told a conference call.

Does athletics still rule the Olympics?

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Dash or splash? Which is the number one Olympic sport?

Athletics has massive crowds and Usain “Lightning” Bolt torching world records while swimming boasts Michael Phelps ripping off another bundle of world and Olympic records.

Conversations over the past week indicate the argument is heating up.

First, respected U.S. sports analyst Bob Dorfman suggested: “Because of the drug issues, because it (athletics) is not terribly compelling, I think swimming has taken over a little bit in terms of Olympic sports popularity.”

Gay dips under 45 seconds for sprinting milestone

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World silver medallist Tyson Gay’s name should be popping up on more Diamond League announcements after a milestone weekend.

The American became the first sprinter with personal bests under 10 seconds in the 100, 20 seconds in the 200 and 45 seconds in the 400 when he clocked a lifetime best 44.89 seconds for the longer distance at a meeting in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday.

from The Great Debate UK:

What can London 2012 learn from Vancouver? Seb Coe answers your questions

OLYMPICS/The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver were hit at the very start by the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili and for a while the Games struggled to recover, as organisers were faced with problem after problem, from the unseasonably warm weather to transport snarl-ups to scoring problems.

Some even wondered if Vancouver would go on to be called the Worst Games Ever but no one is saying that now, with the action picking up to provide a series of electrifying and heart warming moments while the organisation has settled down.

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