Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Bolt v Gay to light up Berlin

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boltUsain Bolt versus Tyson Gay is the sort of showdown that would grace any era of athletics and with a bit of luck the world championships in Berlin should give us two takes – in the 100 and 200 metres. 

The match-up between the Jamaican and the American was supposed to be the highlight of the Beijing Olympics but it wasn’t meant to be. Bolt stole the show with three golds and three world records while Gay failed even to make the 100 final. Bolt was in such crowd-pleasing form that in truth you hardly noticed the other seven runners on the track.

Gay leads the world rankings in both events but Bolt is right behind and both are in great form.

Gay has every reason to be hopeful: he’s racing well, he’s the defending champion, he wants revenge and Bolt started the season late after a car crash.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Azteca defeat exposes U.S. weaknesses

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After a wave of optimism following their successful run in the Confederations Cup, the United States have come back down to earth with their 2-1 defeat to Mexico.

 

Although Mexico didn’t seal their victory on Wednesday until Miguel Sabah’s strike seven minutes from the end, the result actually flattered the United States who were outplayed at the Azteca stadium.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Twitter might not be harmless fun for players

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The days when the details of transfer negotiations were closely guarded secrets could be coming to an end with the advent of the 'Twitter transfer'.

On Wednesday, U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore all but announced a move to English Premier League Hull City on the micro-blogging site, keeping his fans updated while Hull remained silent.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Americans fall for soccer but can MLS cash in?

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The US national team beat European champions Spain in the Confederations Cup and give Brazil a scare in the final. In the NFL heartland of Baltimore, 71,000 turn out to watch Chelsea v AC Milan.

In Pasadena, Chelsea v Inter Milan pulls in 81,000.

David Beckham gets booed and jeered on his return for L.A Galaxy and the American sporting public laps it up – top sports talk shows, which usually ignore soccer other than to mock the game occasionally, lead their bulletins on the issue.

Breaking news: Yao Ming to have surgery, will miss whole of 2009-10 season

yaomingHouston Rockets’ Chinese center Yao Ming is to undergo surgery on his foot injury and has been ruled out for the whole of next season.

Yao will have surgery next week to repair the broken bone in his left foot and the Rockets said on their official site that he would have to sit out the 2009-10 season.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

A great win over Spain … now can the U.S surprise some more?

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The Confederations Cup, effectively a warm-up tournament for the World Cup, rarely captures the imagination but fans in the United States aren't lacking enthusiasm for the tournament after their team produced a major upset by defeating European champions Spain 2-0.

Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey ended Spain's world record run of 15 successive victories and their 35-match unbeaten sequence, a world record streak they share with Brazil. That run has taken Spain to world number one in FIFA's global rankings.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

In defence of Giuseppe Rossi

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American soccer fans aren't noted for their nastiness but the reaction to Giuseppe Rossi, New Jersey native, scoring twice for Italy against the U.S in their 3-1 Confederations Cup defeat on Monday has been surprisingly vitriolic.

What has upset U.S fans is that Rossi was born and bred in the U.S. but chose to play for another country and then -- to add insult to injury -- celebrated when he scored twice against his country of birth.

Carolina Hurricanes storm towards playoffs

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The hottest team in the National Hockey League rests atop neither the Eastern nor the Western conference these days.

Like their name implies, the Carolina Hurricanes are the ones blowing away the opposition.

Is baseball finally a world sport?

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The Italians are quite excited about their team doing well at the World Baseball Classic.

They pulled off another European shock on Monday, eliminating a Canada side with Major League players to remain on course for a spot in the second round.

Smith and sport laid the groundwork for Obama’s rise

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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.

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