I’m back from a summer break in Australia for the festive period – and glad to be so. Not just to be back in Europe and away from sweltering Sydney, but also to be back on deck for a new year. There’s so much to do!
I started these awards last year because so much happened in the world of sport that we at SKINS care very deeply about. After thinking that 2015 might be about as big as it could get in terms of sports corruption and governance, 2016 didn’t really give any respite – so here we are again!
My previous post – on saying ‘nyet’ to Russia – was somewhat prescient.
If you’ll excuse the pun, I’ve got some skin in the game of what I’m about to write about.
Earlier this month, we announced a new partnership with a sporting team. Nothing unusual in that. Brands like SKINS do it all the time.
I rarely, if ever, use my Watercooler blog to exhort you to buy SKINS gear.
I don’t know about you but I’m fairly certain UK Athletics Chairman, Ed Warner, wouldn’t have made-up what he, as a minimum, thought he heard about Qatar paying bribes to land the 2017 IAAF world championships. Having said that, I am not saying that Seb Coe is not telling the truth; or, indeed, the other four witnesses the IAAF’s ethics board spoke with about the issue.
I caught the end of a documentary on Tuesday evening on television in Australia. It’s called Man Up, put together by Gus Worland, a radio personality.
As some readers are aware, earlier this year an athlete supported by SKINS, Rob Young of the UK, attempted a record Trans-America run attempt. He didn’t make it, pulling out of the attempt after 36 days citing an injury.
There have been a few issues swirling around in recent weeks.
I promised I wouldn’t write for a while since my most recent stint of the ‘Olympic Series’ but it would be remiss of me not to mention the Paralympics. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to watch it as much as the Olympics Games. I was on holiday during the Olympics so I had the time and opportunity to watch; now I’m back at work with the usual busy schedule so it’s mainly highlights that I catch.
The IOC does many things I do not approve of; I wrote about one yesterday. It also does things which are worthy of praise; I wrote about one last week. For my final Olympic blog, I want to talk about another positive initiative from the IOC – the Refugee Olympic Team.
I care so deeply about the issue of LGBTI rights, especially amongst sportsmen and women, that earlier this year SKINS conducted a #RainbowLaces campaign in my home turf of Australia to raise awareness about homophobia in sport.
Today I highlight three Olympians, across 36 years, who demonstrate humility and dignity and have made me go “wow”.
I had tended to think of Dutch athlete, Fanny Blankers-Koen, simply in terms of considerable athleticism and her four Gold Medals at the London 1948 Olympic Games. But she was much more. She was a game-change in world athletics and, more importantly, for all women athletes.
Many say that ‘sport and politics shouldn’t mix’, but they are more often than not inextricably tied. Sometimes the co-mingling of the two is actively sought. The Olympic Games is set against a backdrop of the social, cultural and political environment in the host country, the competing nations and the relationships between nations.
Michael Phelps of the USA was on my list to include in this series of Olympic blog before these Olympic Games ….
Not everyone’s a winner. The three stories I share today are evidence of that. They all came gloriously and spectacularly last. But they have one much more important factor in common. They each embody the spirit of the Olympics: an athlete wanting to compete at the highest level possible, to the best of their ability, with participation being more important than winning.