Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Merritt unfazed by Bolt’s 400 metres talk



Jamaican 100 and 200 metres world record holder Usain Bolt’s talk of the running the 400 metres competitively, maybe even in the 2012 London Olympics, is not causing current Games champion LaShawn Merritt a lot of concern.

“I am not going to lose any sleep over it,” Merritt told Reuters. “If he moves up, he moves up. “If he does, he will have a lane and I will have a lane, and we are going to go at it,” the 22-year-old Merritt said.

“He is a great, talented athlete. But if he steps up in the quarter, we are going to run and the best man is going to win it.”

Many are predicting that Bolt, with intense training, could smash Michael Johnson’s 1999 record of 43.18 seconds.

Nothing to lose in Bolt’s Manchester street dash



Commercial endorsements plus appearance and prize monies are projected to bring as much as $10 million a year to Jamaican Usain Bolt since he shattered the world 100 and 200 records in Beijing last year.

One of Bolt’s goals is to make the sort of money during a short career that will match the incomes of leading European soccer players and his peers in U.S. basketball and football.

Restrospective testing gives pause for thought


Ben Johnson

It has always been an accepted fact that the dope cheats – much better financed and sometimes state sponsored – will always have the march on the testers.

The testers have sometimes therefore been portrayed as barely competent do-gooders blundering around in the dark, while the cheats blithely continue with their cheating.

Handball threatens to implode


German handball fans have been watching in shock as allegations of match-fixing in their sport have surfaced almost daily.

Handball, or Team Handball as it is known in the United States, may not be hugely popular around the world but in Germany, home of the world champions, the sport enjoys a strong following.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

British Olympic soccer team becomes right royal farce

There has not been one since 1960, the Scottish don’t want its return, neither do the Welsh, nor the Northern Irish and yet the prospect of a British soccer team at the 2012 London Olympics remains.

The English Football Association is refusing to relinquish an idea that nobody else seems to care about.

I wasn’t blown away by DeGale, were you?


Olympic gold medallist James DeGale made his professional debut on Saturday but despite getting the verdict the chorus or boos that rang around the Birmingham Indoor Arena and the reluctance of a poorly matched opponent to fight left me seeing similarities with the last Briton to win a Boxing gold.

Audley Harrison, labelled ‘Ordinary Harrison’ by some in the media, claimed gold in the 2000 Sydney Games but never transferred that success to the professional ranks.

New Olympic rights deal is not all that bad


It’s official. The International Olympic Committee has broken with a 52-year-old tradition and sold the European broadcasting rights for the 2014 Winter Games and the 2016 Summer Olympics to sports agency SPORTFIVE.

It had earlier rejected a European Broadcasting Union umbrella offer, ending a long partnership with Europe’s state broadcasters.

Smith and sport laid the groundwork for Obama’s rise


John Carlos and Tommie Smith receive their "Arthur Ashe Courage Awards" at the 2008 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, REUTERS/Danny MoloshokTommie Smith in retirement is relaxed and friendly. He speaks without rancour of the harsh years after he outraged white America by raising a black-gloved fist and bowing his head on the victory podium at the 1968 Olympics in protest at his country’s treatment of its blacks.

Yet at the age of 64, the ex-athlete still finds it hard to believe he emerged alive from the Mexico City Games.
On the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Smith received a special award during an NBA game between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns. He was asked if at any point during his silent
gesture he could have visualised the possibility of a black man as president.
“I didn’t think about what was possible or what wasn’t,” Smith replied. “I didn’t think getting off the podium was possible for me with all the death threats I had received.”
Smith’s paranoia was justified. In 1968 Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot dead. American cities burned as the black ghettos revolted and students rioted on the streets throughout the western world. It was also the year Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for a second term as president because of mounting opposition to the Vietnam war.
Smith has written in chilling detail of the long moments he stood on the podium praying he would not be shot after winning the 200 metres final in world record time.

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?