Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Thorpe risks reputation by jumping back in the pool

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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.

The Australian says his return is not motivated by money but rather by the lure of competition even though he admits failure could harm his legacy.

More often than not, sporting comebacks end in disappointment as great athletes fail to reproduce the form that took them to the top of their chosen sports.

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.”

from Shop Talk:

Olympic Gold for Coke, McDonald’s and Visa

rings1When is Olympic sponsorship money well spent? A Performance Research poll shows it may depend on how the funds are used.

Coke, McDonald's and Visa dominate consumer awareness when it comes to the Olympics, according to a study by the Rhode Island-based research firm that evaluates the sponsorship industry.

from Olympics Notebook: Vancouver 2010:

Winter Games podcast — day seven

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Our latest podcast from downtown Vancouver focuses on the little differences between cultures, the giant war of words between the figure skaters and the surprise visit of the multi-medal winning Michael Phelps.

Sportswrap: redemption special

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Click on the video above for our latest look at the week’s sporting highlights, including an interview with Andre Agassi (in full Edith Piaf mode), the thoughts of Michael Phelps on his trial by textile and the almighty scrap for the last nine World Cup places.

As always, Sportswrap is presented by Owen Wyatt, written by Kevin Fylan and produced from our Canary Wharf HQ.

I just swam the world championship pool

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In the midst of a deluge of world records at the world swimming championships, I was close to breaking the mark for the slowest ever time.

Journalists at the Rome event were given the chance to swim in the outdoor 50 metre pool just hours after Michael Phelps and Federica Pellegrini had graced the same starting blocks and water.

Is it fair to compare greats from different sports?

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I just came across an interesting blog on the bleacher report comparing the greatness of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.

Here in Italy, the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper has been running a series called “Impossible duels” where the likes of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have gone up against each other in a bizarre statistical battle.

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