Posts tagged ‘sports’

July 28, 2010

Ahmadinejad vs. Paul: Should the West take action?

IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD regards himself as something of an authority on world affairs and twentieth century history. But who would have thought he was also an expert on sea life? 

So far, oceanography hasn’t exactly been Ahmadinejad’s calling card. He is best known for such fatuous (but frequently disputed) statements as: “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury,” “There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world, … The World without Zionism,” “we don’t accept this claim [of the holocaust],” or for glibly  claiming that…


July 14, 2010

Death of an octopus: When revenge turns squishy

I GUESS IT’S JUST one of those tragedies that was waiting to happen. After all, killing the messenger who brings bad news is a time-honored practice. And what worse news could there be than losing the Soccer World Cup? In this year’s championship, one bearer of much bad news – at least for half the spectators of any given game – has been Paul the Octopus, the showpiece of the Sea Life Center in the German town of Oberhausen and, arguably, the most celebrated octopus of all times. Paul famously predicted the outcome of eight soccer games, including the final between Spain and the Netherlands, by draping his tentacles across a treat-filled glass box bearing the flag of the respective winning national team. No wonder the authorities in Oberhausen have stepped up security…


June 14, 2010

Of Soccer World Cups and “inner Nuremberg Rallies”

I HAD NEVER HEARD of TV commentator Katrin Müller-Hohenstein before, but I know how her mind works. And doesn’t everyone else in Germany? As I made my way to the office this morning, I tried to think of how to explain why I didn’t bother watching the big Germany vs. Australia soccer game in South Africa yesterday (in the end, nobody did ask). I thought I’d say something like: “You know, I’ve never cared much for the Nuremberg Rallies. This Soccer World Cup, with all the flags on the cars and all the shouting and trumpets and fireworks, sounds too much like Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fußball for my taste.’” Germany won 4-0 by the way, or at last that’s what I heard on the BBC at breakfast.

The similarities are indeed more than obvious, but it doesn’t exactly do your career a lot of good to mention the fact. Ms. Müller-Hohenstein learned this the hard way yesterday when she made the following comment about a spectacular goal shot by German player Miro Klose: “For Miro Klose it’s an inner Nuremberg Rally [Reichsparteitag], honestly, that he shot this goal today.”


August 19, 2009

East German doping scandal refuses to die

Oral Turinabol


THE PROTEST WAS INTENDED to be low-key. Victims of East Germany’s state-run doping program merely stood at the entrance to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium and passed out thousands of purple cardboard “glasses” to spectators of the 2009 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics bearing the words “Ich will das nicht sehen” (awkwardly translated as “I don’t want to see cheats”). In fact, the action looked downright harmless, which made the enraged reaction by German discus throwing champion Robert Harting on August 18 all the harder for many guests to understand. “I hope,” Harting told a press conference, “that when I throw my discus it’ll head straight for those glasses, and then they won’t see anything anymore.”

ich will das nicht sehen

Outside the IAAF World Championships in
Athletics at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium

The protesters don’t just have Harting spewing threats, but have upset Germany’s entire sports establishment. And yet, it wasn’t originally meant to be this way. Twenty years ago, these athletes were not passing out cardboard glasses. No, back then they were the ones standing proudly on the winners’ podium receiving medals. A lot of medals. But today, in their thirties, forties, and fifties, they are instead receiving treatment for a whole range of ailments, ranging from sterility, hormonal dysfunction, asthma, diabetes, chronic joint and back pain to heart disease and kidney failure. And they want the world to know about it. …