Kobe Bryant – USA, basketball.
I admire Kobe Bryant’s competitiveness and will to win. Bryant has led his Los Angeles Lakers to 5 NBA championships. Bryant missed the Lakers 1st round exit from the current NBA Playoffs with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He’s now 34 and it will be very hard to come back from such a serious injury but if anyone is going to do it, it’s Bryant. In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s character, Billy Beane has a great quote. Beane says “I hate losing more than even I want to win.” I think that quote sums up Bryant perfectly.
Tom Brady – USA, American football.
Tom Brady was the 199th selection in the 2000 NFL draft. Brady was criticised for being too slow and un-athletic. He was eventually picked up by the New England Patriots to be a back up to Drew Bledsoe, but when Bledsoe got hurt, Brady came in and didn’t look back, leading the Patriots all the way to a Super Bowl victory. Brady has transformed into one of the all-time greats of the game, playing in 5 Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and winning 3 of them.
Teddy Tamgho – France, athletics.
Teddy Tamgho broke the World indoor Triple jump record 2010 at age 20 and a couple of months later he had the 3rd longest outdoor jump ever of 17.98m to his name. Ankle injuries derailed his hopes of setting the world alight in 2011 and 2012 as he had to sit back and watch Christian Taylor become World and Olympic champion. I was never a big fan of the triple jump until watching Tamgho compete at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2008. For me, other than actually competing myself, it was the highlight of the championship. Tamgho wore French coloured football socks and was very original in his claps on the runway to get the crowd involved. He ended up winning with a new championship record. He was an absolute showman and definitely made plenty of new fans that day. I can resonate with the injuries that Tamgho has had over the past couple of years and I’d love to see him come back and get to the top.
Felix Sanchez – Dominican Republic, athletics.
Felix Sanchez won gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games. For periods in between those gold medals he was performing mediocre and nobody predicted that he would come back and win the Olympics for a 2nd time. At the London Olympics I roomed with Aussie 400m star John Steffensen, and just prior to Sanchez entering the call room for the 400m hurdles final, he handed his phone and wallet to John, a close friend. Later that night as John and I were drifting off to sleep, we hear a knock on the door. To my surprise it’s Sanchez who has come to pick up his belongings. It was a surreal experience, having a guy who had a fresh new Olympic gold medal hanging around his neck, sitting on the floor in my room and giving me a play by play of everything that had been going through his head during the race and in the few hours after. I could see how much it meant to him after being down and out, with most people thinking he was past it. Felix Sanchez is a great comeback story.
Darrelle Revis – USA, American football.
In American football, my favourite position is that of the cornerback. I know American football is foreign to most, but I like this position because a good cornerback is every quarterback and wide receiver’s worst nightmare. The cornerback has the opportunity to completely flip a game on its ear by making a big interception to swing the momentum in the other direction. Over the last 5 years there has been no better cornerback in the NFL than Darrelle Revis. When Revis is on the field, the area around him is called ‘Revis Island’, a name that he’s trademarked. This means that his opposing player will usually go missing and have a sub-par game, getting lost on Revis Island. Revis got hurt last season and had to have a knee reconstruction. He ended up getting traded by the New York Jets. Revis felt he was let down by the Jets after giving so much for them, then getting hurt, and then the Jets not coming up with his deserved contractual requirements. Revis signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will have a big chip on his shoulder from now on. My tip is he will be unstoppable. Welcome to the Island.
Honourable mentions: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (USA, boxing), Karmichael Hunt (Australia, Australian rules football), Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand, rugby league), Kevin Pietersen (England, cricket), Russell Wilson (USA, American football).
May0820137:39 a.m.I was very happy to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. extend his career boxing record to 44-0 with his victory over Robert Guerrero the other night. I see Mayweather as...
May0120139:54 a.m.This blog has a musical theme. The topic came up recently about how most guys would be embarrassed if someone was to see the most played songs on their iTunes....
Apr24201311:51 a.m.It's been a nice first week up here at Mt. Laguna. There have been no mountain lion sightings so far but James Kaan swears that the big cuts up his leg are due...
Apr1620137:59 a.m.I write this as I’m wedged in the back of a Dodge 4WD on the way from Los Angeles Airport to Mount Laguna. It’s a 3 hour journey but we’re...
Apr1020137:27 a.m.I had a pretty bad run in the Melbourne Track Classic 5000m last Saturday. I felt pretty good for the first ¾ of the race but so did everyone else,...