Sunday, 16 August 2009

The British Media have become notorious throughout the passing of time for their ability to build up sports stars only to knock them back down. Notable examples include such stars as Paul Gascgoigne and David Beckham as both have lived out their lives under the watchful eye of the media.
However it is becoming increasingly evident that this attitude is filtering down from the media and into society in general.
This is no more evident than in the case of Tom Daley.
On the face of it Daley appears to have it all. A competitor in the Beijing Olympics at 14, he recently became Britain's youngest World Champion in any sport after winning the recent World Diving Championships held in Rome.
As it turns out, though, his success has brought with it great difficulty, culminating in him being removed from his school after suffering persistent bullying at the hands of his classmates.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph Daley said: "It began with 'Speedo Boy', then 'Diver Boy', and that was ok, but then the younger kids started doing it too. I wasn't upset, just annoyed that I couldn't go anywhere without being hassled. It then graduated to things like 'How much are your legs worth?Shall I break them for you?' and I was getting pencil cases, rolls of masking tape and other stuff lobbed at me. By the end they were deliberately tripping me up."
It is a sad state of affairs that such a talented young man has become such a victim of his own astonishing success.
We are just lucky that he is able to rise above the lousy behaviour of his peers, surely motivated by jealousy at what Daley has already achieved in such a short time.
Fortunately, though, his passion for divind remains undimmed as he focuses on more success in the future.
"I may have just won gold, but thinking about what you've done doesn't get you anywhere. As far as diving goes, I'm back to square one, and three years of hard work for 2012."

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Schumacher back in town

Comebacks in sport have been a hot topic of conversation in 2009 ever since Lance Armstrong returned to the cycling peloton after an absence of three years.
However anybody who knows anything about Armstrong wouldn't have been too surprised when he announced his comeback. He has a competitive instinct, so deeply ingrained in his character, that couldn't be fulfilled running marathons and working for his fantastic charity, Livestrong.
However the comeback of Michael Schumacher to the Formula One grid is one that has shocked the world of sport.
Schumacher and Armstrong are undoubtedly cut from the same competitive cloth with both having an amazing desire to be the very best at what they do.
Despite this, though, it always seemed highly unlikely that we would ever see Schumacher behind the wheel of a Ferrari again.
Many people said when he left the sport in 2006 it was so his good friend Felipe Massa wouldn't lose his seat with Kimi Raikonnen set to join the team for the 2007 season.
It therefore seemed unlikely that Schumacher would ever be needed by Ferrari again with Raikonnen winning the world title in 2007 and Felipe Massa missing his world title dream by a breath to Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
With Fernando Alonso widely expected to join the team in either 2009 or 2010 it seemed Schumacher could look forward to a comfortable retirement and a job for life as an adviser to the team.
All that changed, though, when part of Rubens Barrichello's car flew into the face of Massa during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix which resulted in a fracture of Massa's skull.
Who else could step in but the man widely regarded as the greatest man ever to get behind the wheel of an F1 car.
But just what is he capable of after a three year sabbatical from the sport?
There is no doubt that in recent races the standard of the Ferrari's car has been improving, most evident in the last race with Raikonnen coming home in second place, and the team will surely make further improvements to satisfy the high standards that will surely be demanded by Schumacher.
Can he win a race this year? Probably not. The Red Bulls are dominant and Brawn GP are more than capable of a resurgence as the season draws to a close.
However with seven races to go he could have a massive part to play in the destination of the 2009 World Title.
Schumacher was a truly great driver. I look forward to the old magic dazzling Formula One fans for the rest of the season.