Archive for the ‘Winter Sports’ Category

Russ Henshaw Reflects on Skiing on Two torn ACLs.

Men’s Ski Slope-style event specialist Aussie Russ Henshaw is a man on a mission. He competed at the Sochi Winter Olympics this year even after tearing his second anterior cruciate ligament a week out from competition.

“It was all pretty complicated,” said Henshaw to news.com. “I tore my right ACL a year out from Sochi and I decided not to have surgery because of the qualification process.

“If I had surgery I felt like I would only just scrape it in and I wouldn’t be doing any new tricks, I would just have to work on getting back to where I was before.

Russ Henshaw. Image: corporate.olympics.com.au

Russ Henshaw. Image: corporate.olympics.com.au

“Then a week before the Olympics at the X-Games, I tore my left ACL, which was not ideal. It had a lot of bone bruising as well, which was quite painful.

“I knew I could ski, because I had been doing it for a year beforehand but it was stressful at first.

“Then I realised that it doesn’t really matter. I had made it that far and anything else was a bonus. I looked at it as if I was going to go skiing and not competing on the world stage in the biggest event of my life.”

Doctors were at their wits end trying to find pain relievers not on the prohibited substances list for athletes and without significant side-effects.

Henshaw recalls how he felt after qualifying for the finals. “It was my first run in qualifying that got me through to the finals. After having a tough time training, and everything going on during the week, it was such a surreal feeling and something I will never forget.”

After the Olympics Henshaw went into hospital for his much needed, and log overdue, surgery. He has come through rehabilitation with flying colours and is focused on the incipient season.

The world tour begins next month. It kicks off hectic schedule of competitions for the next few months.

“I would obviously love to do well in the X-Games and the world championships, but it is out of your hands,” said Henshaw. “You just have to go there and give the best performance you can.

Marathon World Record Tumbles Again!

Dennis Kimetto. Photo: espn.go.com

Dennis Kimetto. Photo: espn.go.com

Kenyan farmer Dennis Kimetto broke the world marathon record in Berlin on the weekend. This is the sixth time since 2003 the world record has been broken in the same city.

Kimetto’s jaw-dropping time of 2:02.57 has put the two-hour marathon dream on notice. To give you some idea of how fast Kimetto was running, he covered each mile of the 26 mile course in an average time of 4 minutes 41.5 seconds!

Second place getter, compatriot Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai, also came in under the previous record. He dashed across the line with the incredible time of 2:03.13.

When asked if a two-hour marathon was possible Kimetto said, “I am expecting a marathon in two hours. I can break this (today’s) record again.”

Runner-up Mutai agreed. “Today showed the time is coming down and down. To beat two hours is possible. If not today, then tomorrow. Maybe next time we’ll get 2:01.”

A two-hour marathon is one of sport’s last great Everests. Its accomplishment would rate alongside Roger bannister’s four-minute mile and Jim Hines’ sub 10 second 100meters.

High performance coaches within the sport of marathon running agree, it’s not a question of if, but when. The right track, conditions, pacing and training can prepare the right athlete to pass this last great sporting milestone.

Gold Coast on Trial over Pumas – Wallabies Game

Gold Coast rugby fans will be tested tonight as Cbus Stadium plays host to a test match between the Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies.

Pumas vs Wallabies. Photo: www.sanzarrugby.com

Pumas vs Wallabies. Photo: www.sanzarrugby.com

In a year that can best be described as ‘dreary’ the Gold coasters have drifted away from all stadium sports. The hapless Gold Coast Titans have given fans little to cheer about; beginning the season well but getting progressively worse with each game.

And the ARL is aware of this. They do not want their beautiful game besmirched with a poor attendance between two sides; both of whom deserve a packed stadium.

The lowest attendance figure ever for a test match is 15,438; between Australia and Fiji. This was in the nation’s capital Canberra back in 2010. The ARL does not want that record broken.

The Titans have not drawn a sell-out crowd this year. The best attendance was for a match against their close rivals the Broncos of 20,500. Cbus stadium still has another test match locked in. But whether it will be awarded any more will depend, to a great extent, on tonight’s numbers.

In a previous visit to the Gold coast the Pumas attracted 22,278 visitors. And their side is, if anything, even more impressive now.

Captain Agustin Creevy has been given the nickname ‘Sonny Bill’ for his freakish ability to off-load under pressure. His pack are big and fit and have shown they are well-disciplined and smart. On top of this, many of the Argentine side boast international experience, having played in respected sides throughout Europe.

Glamour Australian sides, like the Western Force, have had their sights on a few of the Pumas already. Hulking speedster, Manuel Monetero – a trim, taut and terrific 105 kg winger (yes, you read that right – WINGER!), is off contract at the end of the season. And the Force is reputedly targeting him.

Creevy has played for English club Worcester and is attracting a lot of interest throughout Rugby clubs around the globe.

And while the Pumas haven’t always been able to produce victories on the field, they have always been very, very competitive.

If the Wallabies think they’ve got an easy game ahead of them tonight, they’re wrong.

Des Hassler Apologizes to Canterbury Fans After Bizarre Golden Point Loss to Titans

It has been called one of the most bizarre and thrilling NRL games ever played. On Sunday the Gold Coast Titans eked out a Golden Point victory over their fancied rivals, the Canterbury Bulldogs. But it was the course the match took that had fans and commentators bewildered.

Des Hassler apologises to Canterbury fans. Photo: article.wn.com

Des Hassler apologises to Canterbury fans. Photo: article.wn.com

In fact, flanked by Bulldogs Captain Michael Ennis, coach Des Hassler apologised to the Canterbury fans. He was apologising not only for blowing an 18 – 0 lead, but also for a string of bizarre incidents.

Just seconds before halftime Josh Reynolds cantered towards the sideline with the ball under his arm; as he crossed the touch line he threw the ball infield to Titans’ winger Anthony Don. Don was quick enough to play to the whistle rather than the assumption and sprinted towards the try line.

Inexplicably, the referee called Don back and awarded the Titans a penalty. He deemed Reynolds’ action a deliberate forward pass – even though the sideline official had raised his flag, calling him out of bounds.

With the halftime siren wailing the Titans were given one last opportunity for points.

They failed. But it seemed from this point on the rot had set in for Canterbury.

In the second half the bulldogs were kept scoreless. The Titans capitalised from Bulldog errors, and scored two tries. Another try came from lazy Canterbury defence; while a fourth resulted simply from a rising sense of belief.

During this time several scuffles broke out and the big men from each side – Tony Williams and Dave Taylor were put on report. Williams for a possible shoulder charge, Taylor for back-slamming an opponent.

Anthony Minechello, in his final NRL game, looked to score the match winner. But with the Titans’ kicker off the field the stand-in was unable to convert. The scores were tied at 18 – 18 as the final hooter sounded.

The Bulldogs squandered their attempt at a field-goal. The Titans didn’t.

Ice Hockey Player Does Break Dance Celebration a Risky Move

Perth Thunder ice hockey player Ric Del Basso stunned the crowd with a slamming goal to win a shootout in the sixth round of the Australian Hockey league. But what came next had the world gasping.

Ric Del Basso - Ice hockey break dancer. Photo: tvasports.ca

Ric Del Basso – Ice hockey break dancer. Photo: tvasports.ca

After slotting home the goal Del Basso got some speed up and slid on his head, like a break dancer. It was understandably difficult for him to balance considering he had a stick in one hand and the slippery nature of his helmet against the ice. But Del Basso wbbled on his head for over ten meters.

His goal celebration prompted bemusement from sports commentators around the world. Many have questioned the sense behind doing so.

The break dancing sensation of the eighties and nineties left behind a litany of serious neck and back injuries. Medical practitioners warned against it at the time, but were unable to protect people against themselves. Attempts were even made at the time to outlaw the practice.

Medical professionals say the spine has evolved to take pressure top downwards. Inverting yourself effectively reverses this. The pressure on the spine in this position is unnatural and therefore very risky.

Inverting yourself while moving along a hard surface is virtually daring an injury to happen.

For Del Basso it was all just a bit of fun. He is unlikely to be disciplined for the stunt by team management as he is the co-owner of the Thunder. But he may receive a quiet word from the league organisers.

ASADA Offers Deal

The joke that is the ASADA investigation into illegal doping within the NRL is building up to its punchline. ASADA has effectively cut a deal with players given ‘show cause’ notices. 17 past and present Cronulla players have been given the opportunity to admit the club gave them banned substances.

But they have been given a get-out-of-jail-free card. Should the players say they were unwittingly deceived into taking the substances their ban will be significantly reduced. Playing this care will result in a mere one-year suspension BACKDATED TO NOVEMBER 1 2013.

This means an admission of guilt in the use of banned substances will result in only 10 weeks on the sideline. Conveniently, the player bans will end the day new NRL contracts become registered – effectively not prejudicing any of them.

Players like team captain Paul Gallen won’t even miss playing for Australia, in the Four Nations Test, after the regular season. At worst he may only miss one game and perhaps have to postpone a scheduled boxing match.

The five current Cronulla players with ‘show cause’ notices are: Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Nathan Gardner, Anthony Tupou, John Morris. The other players (part of the 2011 squad) are: Kade Snowden (Knights) Jeremy Smith (Knights), Luke Douglas (Titans), Albert Kelly (Titans), Mathew Wright (cowboys), Broderick Wright (retired), Colin Best (retired), Paul Aiton (Leeds), Stuart Flanagan (Appin), John Williams (retired), Josh Cordoba (London) and Ben Pomeroy (Catalan Dragons).

For Queensland Origin fans this must be a lot to stomach. Just as Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France victories when he admitted being a drug cheat so too should the New South Wales Blues forfeit their Origin wins.

Players have until Friday to decide whether they wish to take the deal. Refusing to do so will expose them to a mandatory two-year suspension should they be found guilty.

Frizelle Calls on Titan Supporters Not to Abandon the Club

Titan’s chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle has made the announcement we all knew was coming, ‘Get behind the Titans or say goodbye to another Gold Coast NRL franchise.

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo: www.couriermail.com.au

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo: www.couriermail.com.au

Speaking to The Sunday Mail Frizelle has begged the fans not to abandon the Titans in their moment of greatest need. The club is currently on life support after the resignations of long-time coach John Carrtwright and founder Michael Searle. Add to this a second investigation for supposed financial irregularities, poor on-field performances, plummeting attendance, and the recent loss of their number one sponsor and it seems perhaps it’s time to pull the plug.

The Gold Coast has, at best, a spotty record with the NRL. The Titans are the seventh attempt to embed the game in the minds of residents. And while Coast fans are fiercely parochial when it comes to Origin, it seems they are less resilient with club football.

Both the Gold Coast United soccer team and the Gold Coast Suns AFL team siphoned fans away from the Titans. GC United has since met its demise, at the hands of owner Clive Palmer. But apathetic on-field performances have ensured the fans chose the Suns over the Titans.

Attendance numbers average a little over half of what they were during the club’s inaugural year (21, 489 in 2007 – down to 13,382 today).

The Gold Coast is fast getting the reputation of a graveyard for NRL clubs. Frizelle believes there is no common denominator between the previous six failed attempts and the current failing one, “Each,” she said, “has had its own set of circumstances and issues.”

The Titans have endured one catastrophe after another during their brief existence: a $25 million debt that almost ruined the club, a first financial scandal involving its Center of Excellence, and suggestions of it being an NRL retirement club.

Frizelle believes if the fans return, the sponsors will return. With sponsorship they can amass a winning team. With a winning team they can repay the fans.

Rugby Nines to Begin Early Next Year

New Zealand rugby seem keen to reclaim their top spot in Nines rugby. Perhaps that’s why they have pushed forward the starting date of next year’s pre-season tournament?

During the Commonwealth Games the New Zealand side were narrowly beaten by South Africa for the gold medal. The win by the South Africans ended a 16 year winning streak for the New Zealanders; a winning streak that makes Queensland’s dominance in recent years’ Origins seem paltry.

Photo: www.sportsholidays.com

Photo: www.sportsholidays.com

The Auckland Nines is an NRL affiliated event. Therefore the players at next year’s Auckland Nines will not be the same as those contesting the Commonwealth Games. But Duco Events and the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development were keen to capitalise on their nation’s current attention and keep Rugby Nines firmly on the agenda of sports fans.

All 16 NRL teams will attend to battle it out for the $2.4 million in prize money. Each team will bring between 16 and 18 players

Earlier in 2014 the North Queensland Cowboys won the Nines tournament. Estimates put the crowed attendance for the two day event at around 90,000.

Titans Lose Main Sponsor.

Moribund NRL football club the Gold Coast Titans have had another nail hammered into their coffin. Their major sponsor iSelect has pulled the pin on it’s four-year deal, leaving the club with no sponsor at the end of the year. iSelect had the option of remaining the club’s main sponsor until the end of 2016, but have chosen to part ways with the club in the wake of fresh investigations from the NRL integrity unit.

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo: www.couriermail.com.au

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo: www.couriermail.com.au

Just like the inquiry into illegal drugs in sport, the integrity unit’s probe is dragging ever on. The investigation is now into its eighth month, with no sign of a conclusion on the horizon. “We haven’t been given time frames,” said a clearly frustrated Rebecca Frizelle (Titans’ chairwoman), “as it is an NRL investigation which is ongoing at this point in time, however the NRL has indicated that they would like to finalise it as soon as possible.”

Titans boss, graham Anneslyey, is out beating the drum in a desperate effort to replace the income deficit left by iSelect’s departure. He told reporters he will be meeting with two major international businesses this week.

On Friday Pivotal Homes signed up with the Titans as sponsors to next year’s Auckland Nines tournament. And while this is one piece of most needed good news for the football franchise, it is nowhere near enough.

Frizelle reiterated the club’s openness and compliance with the NRL auditors, “We have provided full access to all Titans records and documentation including the financials,” she said.

Should the Titans be dragged down by this latest controversy the consequences would be severe. Should the Gold Coast franchise lose their right to host a club in the NRL it is unlikely they would get the opportunity again.

Titans face audit for financial ‘irregularities’

NRL whipping boys, the Gold Coast Titans, are being investigated (again) for possible payment irregularities. Already struggling with on-field performances, this latest probe further embroils the club and alienates it from its fans.

Integrity-unit auditors have begun combing through the Titan’s books after being alerted to possible irregularities. These have been rumoured to be worth around $400,000. Strangely, it was the Titans’ boss Graham Annesley who reported the concerns.

Annesley was quick to not point the finger at his predecessor Michael Searle. Both Searle and David May (previous CEO) have denied any criminality and say they are happy to assist the investigation.

Michael Searle. Photo: www.dailytelegraph.com.au

Michael Searle. Photo: www.dailytelegraph.com.au

The Titans will have their books examined for a number of irregularities, much of which seem to have taken place under Searle’s directorship: A $417,392 lan to Titans 4 Tomorrow from the Titans football club (Searle says the loan has been repaid); concerns over the $2.32 million of government funding received by the Titans last year and the $1.98 million paid in wages to staff; questions over an undisclosed merchandise deal; the rumors of a survey predicting anything up to 87% of members would return if Searle was removed; questions from key Titan employees over methods employed in routine bookkeeping.

This integrity-unit examination comes as the club has ordered an internal review to understand what is going wrong – both on the field and off it. Michael Searle insists the Titans are properly run and the future of the club is bright. The newly installed board is determined to rebuild the titans and the integrity-unit have been given unhindered access to whatever materials they need.