Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

World records, cramp and crashes; Olympic velodrome’s got it all


Excited Britons Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish interrupted their post-race media interviews to roar on four-times Olympic champion Chris Hoy after demolishing the women’s team sprint world record at the World Cup on Friday, one of four world-record breaking rides around the 2012 Olympics velodrome on day two of the test event’s competition.

Having sat down to avoid leg cramps, rather than standing like the other cyclists while reporters hustled them for a quick word, they paused as Hoy whizzed past at the Olympic velodrome amid a cauldron of noise and then promptly joined in.

“Go Chris!” they screamed at the top of their lungs, the pair having just slashed 0.074 of a second off the world record set minutes earlier by Australian world champions Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch.

“It’s just unbelievable, this track is amazing,” Varnish said as the partisan crowd cheered despite 10-times world champion Hoy only managing bronze in the men’s team sprint.

Thorpe risks reputation by jumping back in the pool


USA/Ian Thorpe’s decision to make a return to competitive swimming has already raised the prospect of a mouthwatering clash with Michael Phelps at the 2012 London Olympics, but at the possible risk of damaging his reputation.

As one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Thorpe’s chances of making a successful comeback cannot be discounted but the odds are stacked against him adding to his collection of five Olympic gold medals.

USA Track & Field heeded the call for further change


Williams of the U.S. talks to her teammate Edwards after their women's 4 x 100m relay heat at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games A task force delving into the disappointments of the Beijing Olympics urged the U.S. governing body to make sweeping changes to its selection policies for coaches and its management of athletes at Olympic Games and world championships.

But will the proposed restructuring be enough to ensure USATF chief executive Doug Logan achieves his goal of 30 medals at the 2012 London Olympics?