20 THINGS YOU MISSED
1. You knew when this cricket dispute was ge¢ing serious when a) the Ashes were threatened, or b) Mitch Starc signed an endorsement deal with a rival company to Cricket Australia’s car sponsor. Or was it when David Warner emerged as the most visible leader of the players in this dispute?
2. The Jeff Horn-Manny Pacquiao fight was re-scored by five judges at the behest of the World Boxing Organisation. Their consensus findings: Horn won six rounds, Pacquiao four, and two were even. The WBO basically leaves us where we were before – in need of a rematch to figure this out.
3. Jamie Whincup, steady accumulator he, equalled the career wins record in Supercars. Whincup’s victory in Townsville was his 105th, tying team-mate Craig Lowndes.
4. Ah, women’s tennis (particularly when Serena Williams is not around): Karolina Pliskova is eliminated in the second round at Wimbledon, reaches no.1 anyway.The 25-year-old Czech reached the top spot with three 2017 victories, in Brisbane, Doha and Eastbourne (yeah, we didn’t know, either).
5. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer, who probably should have a beer grasp of diplomacy, tries to claim Wimbledon semi-finalist Johanna Konta as an Aussie. British tabloid calls it an “outrageous slur”, despite the fact that Konta was born in Sydney.
6. James Hird will hand out the Norm Smith Medal at this year’s AFL Grand Final. It’s an odd one for the optics-conscious league, but it is in keeping with the recent practice of the grand’s best afield –Hird won it in 2000 – returning to present the award.
7. The Houston Astros, noting that outfielder Carlos Beltran hadn’t made a play in the field for two months, hold a “funeral” for Beltran’s glove. Yes, the season is so long and boring, this is how players pass the time. Of course, two days aer Beltran’s glove was buried, he made a running catch on the second pitch of the game ...
8. It’s official: Aussie teams go 0-for-26 against New Zealand’s sides during the 2017 Super Rugby season. As a final grace note, a crowd of only 9771 show up in Canberra for the home final gied to the Brumbies via Super Rugby’s super-contrived format.
9. In Russia, the shirt really does wear you. Next year’s World Cup host will prevent shirtless fans from walking around in public. “There will be no half-naked people roaming the streets and squares of our Russian cities,” deputy interior minister Alexander Gorovoisaid. We absolutely would take the Russians seriously, particularly the terms they use to describe their enforcement: “These cases will be rigidly suppressed.”
10. On the occasion of Greg Norman turning 62, the golfing great Insta’d a picture of himself in the raw in the Colorado wilderness. Shark says he has a personal trainer: “nature”.
11. Tokyo holds “Telework Day”, a dry run to ease the metropolis’ congestion during the 2020 Olympics. Some host cities do test events; the Japanese instead test their commuters. Games organisers hope flexible work arrangements become part of the Olympic legacy, but they’re trying to change a famously fastidious culture in which three-hour trips to work are common. 12. NewWorld Series of Poker champ Sco Blumstein takes home US$8.15m in the third-largest main event field ever. For those home gamers out there, Blumstein won with a deuce on river. 13. Sun Yang beats Mack Horton in the 400m freestyle at the World Championships and lets loose a wild victory celebration. Horton again insists there is no rivalry between them, just the rivalry of clean athletes vs unclean. Or the eternal struggle of light against darkness, or something ... 14. Michael Phelps races a shark ... but not really. The Olympic champion’s selachimorphic showdown turned out to be a virtual stunt. As one American sports commentator asked, why didn’t Phelps race Katie Ledecky instead? 15. Australian cyclist Adam Hansen continues his streak of 18 straight grand tours despite huge saddle sore. “It’s not as big as a tennis ball, but as big as a golf ball,” Hansen told a Sydney newspaper. ”It puts my other two things to shame.” 16. While Bernard Tomic was dividing the nation over the ethics of mailing it in at your job, an injured Nick Kyrgios was found playing social basketball in Canberra. When you get down to it, shouldn’t we be asking whether we’ve got a fundamentally wrong-headed view that playing tennis is fun? 17. A recent study of 111 brains of ex-NFL players found 110 had CTE, or the degenerative disease caused by blows to the head. Note well: these brains were donated, and are not a representative sample of all football players. But the concussion issue continues to inspire dread – rugby league personality Mahew Johns lent weight to it, writing: “Former players who talk about it are met with rolling eyes. People who claim to be affected by it are viewed by some as potential moneygrabbers, looking to double dip on the game in retirement. It beggars belief that so many continue to ignore the clear medical evidence.” 18. A Super League match will be held ... in Wollongong. It’s the first time an English rugby league premiership match will be held outside of Europe (beat you, Toronto!) It will surely be a great way to spread the sport to a place where it’s already played. 19. The son of Dutch football legend Patrick Kluivert signed a sponsorship deal with Nike. Nothing so unusual about that, except when you find out that Shane is nine years old ... 20 Track and field athletes cheated out of medals because of doping finally received a ceremony at the world championships in London, among them retired British face-of-the-Games Jessica Ennis-Hill, who gets a heptathlon gold from six years ago.