Posts Tagged ‘olympics’

UFC Stars Front Media in Melbourne

Rousey image: https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

UFC boss Dana White has fronted the media ahead of UFC 193 in Melbourne. Sitting beside him was MMA superstar Ronda ‘Rowdy’ Rousey, challenger Holly Holm, Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzehczyk, and her challenger the ever hopeful Valerie Letourmeau.

The air was literally electric with anticipation.

It’s been a running joke that White was initially reluctant to have a women’s UFC division. But since changing his mind, Ronda Rousey has become the franchise’s greatest drawcard and asset.

White chuckles about being reminded of his opposition.

“She’s broken through – it’s amazing,” he said to new.com.au. “She’s the biggest star we’ve ever had.”

And White has had some stars. Chuck Liddell crossed over from Strikeforce, Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva were megastars. But no one – and White confirms this – no one has ever been as big as Rousey.

“Normally it’s a f*@king nightmare to manage somebody like her. But the thing with Ronda Rousey is the more rich and famous she gets, the easier she is to deal with. It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s always the complete opposite. Any of these guys, if they get this much fame, this much money, they lose their mind. Ronda is the exact opposite.”

And it’s not just White who benefits.

Rousey was clearly jetlagged when approached by reporters. And while everyone would be wise to be cautious around the most dangerous female athlete on the planet they found her approachable and friendly.

After a recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show the popular talk show host felt she’d got the best from the UFC stable.

“She’s got unbelievable charisma,” White continued describing Rousey. “She’s intelligent. She’s literally the whole package.”

And Ellen DeGeneres agrees.

But Rousey adapts to her situation.

“She’ll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime,” said White about the fighter Rousey. “She’s mean. She’s nasty. She doesn’t just want to beat you, she wants to destroy you. She comes out of that tunnel with bad intentions.”

All of her previous opponents agree.

Cycling Great Cadel Evans Announces Retirement

“Yes it’s true,” cycling great Cadel Evans wrote. “After a long period of contemplation within, and with those closest to me, I feel it is the right time to end my journey in competitive professional cycling.”

Cadel Evans penned his own valedictory with help from Jason Bakker (manager) and BMC team officials. There had been suspicion, even one or two rumours, but it still came as a jolt to the cycling community.

“It has been the journey of more than a lifetime, something I could never have envisaged when first experiencing the joy of riding a bike on the dirt roads of Bamylli (Barunga) Northern Territory.

“It’s amazing how far two wheels can take a person.”

At 37 Cadel Evans realized his body was failing him. Throughout his career he has embodied professionalism, commitment, and talent. But time stops for no man.

But rather than simply leaving Evans will help groom the next team captain in his final few months of racing. He intends his last race to be the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Classic on February 1 next year. And he wants to win it.

The story of Cadel Evans’ rise to sporting superstardom is unique. He was hospitalised as a child after being kicked in the head by a horse; and was lucky not to have been killed. He found he enjoyed cycling the dirt tracks and dusty roads of the Northern Territory. He fell into mountain bike racing and pursued the spot to its very pinnacle.

Cadel Evans. Photo: www.foxsports.com.au

Cadel Evans. Photo: www.foxsports.com.au

Evans astonished Australian Institute of Sports scientists when they tested him. His aerobic results surpassed even those of Lance Armstrong – confessed drug cheat.

Soon European Road Racing teams were asking him to try out. His mountain biking strength allowed him to maintain a superior top-end speed, which sapped the will of his rivals.

The rest, as they say, is history: Cadel Evans has won just about everything in profession road cycling. Best of all, he won the most hotly contested Tour de France ever in 2011.

In a race amongst the best-of-the-best Evans showed them who was boss.

Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse to Investigate Dropping of Charges Against Scott Volkers.

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse will investigate events leading to the decision drop sex charges against swim coach Scott Volkers. The roles of then Queensland attorney-general Rod Welford, the director of public prosecutions Leanne Clare, her assistant Paul Routledge and other legal figures will come under scrutiny.

A former CMC investigation into the probity of officials involved in the case found no evidence of misconduct or interference by the Department of Public Prosecutions. It did, however, isolate a number of errors made by the DPP in their handling of the case, noting there “were more defects than one would ordinarily expect to find in an examination of a matter of this kind.”

Following a twelve-month investigation, Scott Volkers was ordered to stand trial on seven charges of indecently dealing with a minor. This was in 2002. Six months after his arrest all charges were dropped. The DPP believed the evidence constituted ‘no reasonable basis’ from which to expect a conviction.

The announcement was met with a storm of outrage from alleged victims. Lawyers and politicians raised questions at the time over ‘procedural issues’ and called for the CMC to investigate.

Scott Volkers. Photo www.smh.com.au

Scott Volkers. Photo www.smh.com.au

In 2010 the Commissioner for Children and Young people refused to issue Volkers with a Blue Card, allowing him to work with children.

Volkers was recognized as one of Swimming Australia’s great coaches. He guided Samantha Riley and Susie O’Neill though the high points of their career and substantially enriched the depth of national swim talent.

Volkers was accused by several of his former charges of inappropriate behaviour, including fondling a 13 year-old girl. He has stridently denied any wrongdoing. For the last two years Volkers has been coaching in Brazil. He will be bringing a squad to Australia in August for the Pan Pacific Games.

Pistorius trial continues

Oscar Pistorius

The trial of one-time sporting hero Oscar Pistorius continues to generate huge media interest. Pistorius, who shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013, has plead not guilty to the murder charge, claiming that he believed Steenkamp to be an intruder.

The controversy over the case has arguably already overshadowed Pistorius’ sporting achievements. Prior to Steenkamp’s death, Pistorius was heralded as a sporting hero – the first disabled person to compete at the Olympic Games, and a double amputee with a swathe of Paralympic medals under his belt, the man dubbed ‘Blade Runner’ was, for a time, among the most celebrate sportspeople in the world.

Olympics Day 8 - AthleticsNow, with a throng of media gathered outside the Pretoria courtroom and a 24-hour television channel devoted to the trial, Pistorius has gone from sporting hero to potential media scapegoat.

Pistorius has been visibily emotional during the case so far – particularly when lawyers recounted how Steenkamp had been injured by the three bullets that hit (and ultimately killed) her. Witness testimonies so far have contradicted Pistorius’ version of events, with nieghbours claiming that they could hear Steenkamp screaming both before and after shots were fired. This throws into doubt the athlete’s assertions that he thought he was shooting at an intruder.

In a more recent development, a friend of Pistorius has claimed that the runner once fired a shot in a restaurant, and asked a third party to take the blame in an attempt to avoid public and media scrutiny.

The controversy of the trial can be explained not only by Pistorius’ high profile, but by the high rate of gun ownership in South Africa, which is attributed to the high crime rate there. The victim’s mother, June Steenkamp, attended the first day of the trial to signal her forgiveness of her daughter’s killer.

If found guilty, Pistorius could spend 25 years in jail.

Hackett in rehab?

hackett-pool

Grant Hackett has flown this week to America to seek treatment for a reputed addiction to prescription medication, following an intervention staged by family and friends.

Although it has not been confirmed, it is thought that Hackett’s treatment will attempt to break an addiction to sleeping medication Stilnox, which the Westpac executive labelled “evil” in 2012.

hackett-laWhen Hackett was met by a media pack in LA after landing, he denied that he would be going to rehab, instead saying that he would be taking time to rest and relax after a stressful period in his personal life.

Contrary to this denial, Hackett’s father has told the media that his son would be seeking treatment at a rehabilitation facility. Neville Hackett claimed that the swimmer is in “a little bit of denial” over his addiction.

Last week, Grant Hackett was pictured in a near-nude state in Melbourne Crowne casino – apparently searching for one his children in the building’s foyer. In the past, Hackett has endured a number of personal problems, including a difficult split in 2012 from wife Candice Alley after allegations of alcohol-fuelled violence and intimidation.

Hackett’s latest personal troubles closely follow a 60 Minutes interview with two-time Olympic medallist Scott Miller, which explored the swimmer’s own history of drug abuse and pimping.

Completing the trifecta, of course, is Ian Thorpe, who was recently admitted to a Sydney rehabilitation clinic after police confronted him a daze-like state near his parents’ home in southern Sydney.

This has caused some journalists to remark on the correlation between the intense training regimes these athletes work under, and the challenges they face outside the pool. The likes of Thorpe, Miller and Hackett undertake taxing training schedules at very young ages. Just like child stars of the entertainment world, they’re not given the same opportunities to try and fail, to embarrass ourselves without widespread criticism, and to simply grow up that we normal folk are.

Being lauded as a national hero, only to be largely forgotten by the press and the public (save for the occasional negative scandal) after retirement, is sure to be emotionally and mentally draining. Then there’s the “what next?” question. Apart from the option of a commentating/media career, there are few obvious avenues open to ex-sportspeople.

For years, Australia has prided itself on its prowess in the pool. But at what cost?

Tinder Mania in Sochi

tinder-anderson

Winter Olympic gold medallist Jamie Anderson has revealed that hook-up app Tinder is proving very lucrative in Sochi. Anderson, who won the women’s slopestyle event, described the Olympic Village Tinder action as “next level” and “hilarious.”

Elite athletes have long declared the Olympics as a ripe breeding ground for, well, breeding. Former Olympian Ronda Rousey typified the atmosphere in the Olympic Village in both 2004 and 2008 as debauched.

Sochi is clearly no different. Organisers are said to have distributed 100,000 condoms to athletes – that’s about thirteen per person. Whether these supplies, intended to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDs, will last for the duration of the sixteen day event remains to be seen. In Anderson’s case, the temptation of sex seemingly proved rather distracting, with the athlete deciding to delete the app in order to maintain her focus on her events. Perhaps once she’s done and dusted, she’ll re-install.

tinder-basketballThe commonality of sex at the Olympics makes a lot of sense, really. Thousands of extremely fit, active and motivated people descend on a small geographic space, all toned bodies and nerves. They’re exercising at a high level, creating adrenaline and exhilaration. Barrels and barrels of free booze are on offer, with athletes understandably looking to celebrate, commiserate or blow off steam after their events.

The event is one of extreme emotional intensity, no doubt causing many athletes to throw caution to the wind – explaining the need for those condoms. We’re unsure whether the bulk of sexual activity comes prior to or after athletes compete. Perhaps it’s part of the warm-up process for some.

Not included in this group are LGBT athletes. It has been claimed that, in accordance with Russia’s anti-LGBT stance, gay hook-up apps have been hacked – some allege by the government itself. Days prior to the commencement of the Winter Games, thousands of profiles and messages deleted from around Russia. However, given the rather ramshackle state of the Olympic Village, we’re not sure the facilities would be all that conducive to sexual activity, anyway.