Sport

Keirin

So The G carries a nice piece about keirin. Why it started, gambling, place in Japanese society etc. It’s a fun piece.

Except, well, it never actually does explain what keirin is, how it works. Which is a bit odd really. From Wiki:

Riders use brakeless fixed-gear bicycles. Races are typically 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) long: 6 laps on a 250 m (270 yd) track, 4 laps on a 333 m (364 yd) track, or 4 laps on a 400 m (440 yd) track. Lots are drawn to determine starting positions for the sprint riders behind the pacer, which is usually a motorcycle, but can be a derny, electric bicycle or tandem bicycle. Riders must remain behind the pacer for 3 laps on a 250 m (270 yd) track. The pacer starts at 30 km/h (19 mph), gradually increasing to 50 km/h (31 mph) by its final circuit. The pacer leaves the track 750 m (820 yd) before the end of the race (3 laps on a 250 m (270 yd) track). The winner’s finishing speed can exceed 70 km/h (43 mph).

Yes, we can see why that might be attractive to gamblers. Given a program of races over a day a repeated charge of high octane excitement in those final sprints.

But The G’s piece would have been better if it had given a – shorter perhaps – explanation of what it actually is.

Well, yes, sorta and maybe

So, black athlete from poor family represents country at Olympics and:

Eventually it all became too much. Her former PE teacher had to finally stop training her because of his personal obligations, and the lack of training facilities, and having to support her family, meant that Neil made the hugely difficult decision to retire from professional athletics at just 23.

She retired in 1973. And here’s the thing:

….the amateur status of the sport began to be displaced by growing professionalism in the late 1970s…

It wasn’t, really, professional at the time she was doing it.

Yes, yes, shamateurism and all that – look, I lived in Bath in the 80s, I know about this and the rugby club – but the real problem here is not her blackness, poverty, wrong side of the tracks, it’s that she was that decade early in the economic process. All very sad no doubt but it’s not quite the story The G is telling.

Mr Rashford and woeful ignorance

Hasn’t anyone told Marcus how stupid this is?

Marcus Rashford interview: ‘People don’t like to see a young black man being successful’

Hmm.

8.1 million people
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won 3-2 thanks to Bruno Fernandes’ free-kick in the 78th minute at Old Trafford. The tie recorded an average match audience of 8.1 million people, with 2.6 million also watching on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online.

10 million people tune in to see if a young black man is going to be successful on that day, at that hour.

This is “don’t like” is it?

The solution, eh?

As the European Super League debate has played out in England, many voices have suggested the solution to billionaire ownership lies in Germany and the 50+1 rule.

There needs to be a little more explanation here. Why does billionaire ownership have to have a solution?

Billionaires creating a cartel, sure, that’s something that has been solved and should have been. But rich folks owning what are, usually and on average, losing assets is a problem?

Well, yes, but…..

According to Swim England, the sport’s governing body, 95% of black adults and 80% of black children in England do not swim, and only 2% of regular swimmers are black.

Agreed entirely that swimming is a less common leisure activity among those blessed with more melanin. But 2%? That’s hardly a problem, 3% of the country is so blessed after all…..not out of normal statistical variation then.

Actually, it’s not that uncommon

“How many siblings can say they play professional football?” Lauren James asks, laughing. Manchester United’s teenage striker is reflecting on the extraordinary footballing journey that she and older brother Reece have shared, since first kicking a ball against a fence as kids, to becoming two of English football’s hottest young talents.

Charltons (and there were cousins/uncles there too), Nevilles just off the top of my head.

Ability at sport being genetically related even if not determined, d’ye see? Brother and sister being a feature of the rise of women’s sport, the sibling bit is old.

We have a slight problem here

Despite having only sporadically jogged before all this, I’ve run 600km in the past 12 months. I’ve stretched, flexed, accumulated gear and tracked every metre via apps (my full total is actually 642.8km, but who’s counting). To outside eyes, it might seem like I’ve found a burning passion for the hobby, but I’m here to report quite the opposite. I run, and will continue to run, but I hate running with every fast-twitch muscle fibre of my being.

Well, yes, but. We’re talking about a mile a day. That’s 15 minutes at a brisk walk (marching speed) rather than even running. Actually, it’s about the distance I used to swim when the pools were open.

That is, he goes for a daily trot. For this there is gear and apps? It’s actually the same distance as I do on my little elliptical machine. Or, as John B puts it:

he prides himself on having run 50k a month or 1 mile a day – when I was 70 I did a couple of 50km races under RWA rules (they took me 6 hours 9 minutes +/- a several seconds each) and did up to 100km in a day in training although recently lockdown (and the after-effects of a torn quadriceps from a long jump) has restricted me around 100km per week. In my 50s I knew a couple of guys also in their 50s who not only *raced* (as distinct from just running) marathons but raced London-Brighton (yes, I do mean that they *raced* it in their 50s!! – I never got near to thinking I could even run it). This wimp got paid to run one-quarter of the distance that this over-70 does in his rehab programme from a major tear in his quadriceps …

Is it young people today? Or just that it’s in The Guardian?

It’s entertainment – you do what the audience wants

At least, if you’re to be a successful entertainer over time you do what the audience wants:

Millwall persuade players not to take the knee but to link arms in effort to stop boos
Players collectively agree to stand arm in arm and parade an anti-racism banner at The Den

Why not just not?

There is a temptation, not unreasonably given the pain etched across the faces of Millwall’s black players, to characterise fans’ hostile reaction to their taking the knee last Saturday as racism, as the latest provocation by a club who love to be loathed. Except the booing of the gesture did not take place solely at the Den. It happened at West Ham and Colchester United, too, suggesting that this was as much a rising swell of discomfort at the injection of potentially divisive politics into sport as a display of naked prejudice.

If the audience doesn’t want it then why do it?

Fancy that, eh?

The Rainbow Laces campaign aimed at tackling homophobia in sport has been slammed as completely ineffective.

Changing the colour of your bootlaces doesn’t stop you calling the fly half a noncy boy poof when he kicks rather than passing to you.

Funny that really. It’s almost as if wearing different coloured ribbons and bracelets and vulva hats and the rest makes no damn difference and that couldn’t possibly be true, could it?

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It’s an excellent try but…….

It’s probably a better try in fact. But, weirdly, it doesn’t have quite the excitement of this one:

It’s not just the extra 10 metres, nor the crowd. Dunno why therefore. Maybe the way that a kick and a hack – which has to go just right of course – isn’t quite the same as a sprint?

It’s not every weekend the local drain cleaner’s son debuts as Ireland’s fly half

No, other than coming from the same place, I have no contact:

Billy Burns, the new Ireland fly-half, has insisted he will not feel conflicted if he runs out at Twickenham against England this weekend.

Burns, who joined Ulster in the Pro14 two years ago and qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandfather, made his Test debut off the bench in the win over Wales last Friday.

Born in Bath, Burns studied at Beechen Cliff School and Hartpury College before making over 100 appearances for Gloucester

There is an amusement that the older brother has turned out as fly half for England. Beechen Cliff is the school just up the road from where I grew up and is a comp. But retains much grammar school influence including playing rugby and having a – small – boarding section. It was the number 2 option for me instead of Downside. Rather better academically than D quite possibly, as it has turned out a Nobel Laureate, not something I think the monks have achieved as yet.

More, the family might be left footers given that they’re using Prior Park as a background for the company photo. And the local Catholic parish that covers that school area was set up by monks from D etc.

But this is all just same town stuff, find connections like that across any few people from the same town.

The one bit that produced a small smile – small, you understand – was the lad’s playing background. For Gloucester, not Bath, as youths. That business, it’s based in Bath, sure, but it’s on the Gloucester Road…..

Logical and obvious but won’t there be shrieking about it?

World Rugby has recommended that transgender women do not play elite women’s rugby following a review.

New guidelines have been drawn up to cover the participation of transgender athletes in men’s and women’s contact rugby where it is possible to do so safely and fairly.

As a result, transgender men are permitted to participate in men’s contact rugby but the same does not apply to transgender women in women’s rugby.

“Given the best available evidence for the effects of testosterone reduction on these physical attributes for transgender women, it was concluded that safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against transwomen in contact rugby,” said a World Rugby statement.

Muscle mass makes this the only sensible outcome.

Do note the asymmetry too – it’s you possibly damaging others that matters. You want to put yourself at risk well, it is a contact sport. Thus F to M, your look out, M to F it’s the external effects that matter.

Prizes will be awarded for the spotting of the first claims of how transpohobic this decision is.