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Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Gold Diggers

Over the past two weeks the country has been gripped with Olympic fever and for a small Island we have been punching way above our weight as far as our success is concerned.
If you were to compare our medal haul with our national population then we would be clear leaders in the merit tables.
However to measure our games purely on our sporting achievements would be like glancing at the cover of a book and believing you understood the content.
The real tale lies underneath, within the pages, some of it obvious and some subtly interwoven within the storyline.

One of the less obvious consequences is the affect that the event has had on the media.

Regrettably football or Soccer as its known in America is our national sport and as such it normally dominates both the front and the back pages of our Newspapers.
When I say 'regrettably', I am not referring to the actual sport, but its troublesome bi products:-

The players and their WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends)

With a few notable exceptions the majority of our footballers are selfish, greedy, and arrogant.
They are disrespectful of themselves, other players and officials.

They are disloyal to their wives, partners and teammates
They are yobbish, crude and illiterate.
It does not surprise me that many of them use 'Twitter' to communicate, because using any other form they would struggle to string TWO sentences together.

Finally .......continuing with my rant ..............they are hardly patriotic!
When they line up for England they play with less passion and pride then most couch potatoes viewing them. 
Sadly they are also obscenely overpaid and often 'recievce' in a weekend what an average supporter earns for the whole years work. 

Unfortunately such bounty often attract women with the same levels of morality.

To snare a footballer is  regarded as an actual career choice which fortunately for some have no formal  educational requirements.
The application process does expect some essential characteristics though
These include a high level of silicone, regular botox, and a size 0 frame. 

Despite their objections both the players and WAGS appear to crave the limelight, and the paparazzi are all too keen to help out.
The result is that we get very little worthy news.
Any interest into the richness of life appears to have been diluted into a preoccupation with the lives of these creatures.
The WAG and her Mate have evolved into cut out rolemodels that children worryingly look up to - hardly a lofty  aspiration. 

Over the past two weeks, new and legitimate role models have evolved, who have been so influential that the media have abandoned the Gold Diggers and embraced the Gold Getters.
This is none more so then with our women pursuit riders Laura Trott, Dani King, and Jo Rowsell.
They are everything that the WAGs are not.
Brave, committed, loyal, patriotic, respectful, hard working  and now very much loved.   

Last Saturday In the Olympic final, they smashed the world record for the sixth successive time.

Behind each Olympian there is a story, usually of total commitment and sacrifice, with  great highs and lows that come with four years of training. For this trio there is no difference.
Each of the trio, in different ways, has overcome adversity in their journey to the top of the podium.
Jo Rowsell who shares the same birthday as me has shown such courage in her battle with alopecia.
Brought up in Surrey she used to wear her long auburn hair in plaits.
"I remember crying to my parents and asking why it was happening," Rowsell once said when remembering the day her alopecia was diagnosed at the age of 10. "They said they would get someone to fix it."

Alopecia, however, can only be treated rather than cured. Rowsell became inhibited, concentrating on her schoolwork as a way of avoiding thinking too much about her appearance. She did not dare imagine a life where she might feel confident enough to have a boyfriend. It was then, when she was 15, that a small sporting miracle intervened. Rowsell's undoubted physical potential was spotted by a British cycling scout who visited her school in Sutton in 2004.
Cycling transformed Rowsell. In return, she has provided Dave Brailsford's programme at British cycling with a rider who, at 23, is the steady heartbeat who leads out this young team.
Her humanity resounds and, again with some bravery, she admitted her vulnerability on the last occasion all her hair fell out.
She had just met her boyfriend. "I was so worried he wasn't going to like me," she said.
LauraTrott, the new star of British cycling and the strongest rider of the three is a double Olympian having secured the Omnium on Tuesday the track equivalent of the Heptathlon.

Trott claims to "love that weird feeling you get in your mouth when the pain is so bad it tastes like blood". Trott pushes herself so hard that she regularly vomits after races.
To have her on the track in itself is a miracle as she was born with a collapsed lung, and her life was in jeopardy for six weeks. This contributed to a constant struggle with asthma which she has had to overcome.
The 21-year-old Dani King, meanwhile faced her own serious test three years ago. King's hopes of being offered a place on British cycling's elite programme looked like they would be ended by a serious bout of glandular fever. The illness had such a ravaging impact on King that there were doubts she would ever make it as an elite cyclist.

Travelling without my Mule

Last week my training was interrupted by a work trip to New York and I decided to take my Mule shirt with me on the off chance that I might be able to ride.
The last time that I had visited New York was when they had black and White Televisions and any cycle I owned probably still had three wheels.
Although I was working I wasted no time, opting to rise with the sun to ensure that I could experience as much as possible. All around the city were stalls that sold everything from key rings to T Shirts depicting the slogan 'I Love NY' and I am not surprised. I loved it too. As cities go 
I found it to be Warm (Actually it was scorching) vibrant and diverse. Totally cosmopolitan and displayed all the positive aspects of Americana.
The only shortcoming I detected though was its limited encouragement for urban cycling and commuting.

Apart from Brooklyn Bridge (Above) and Central Park it appeared that any cycling journey would be like undertaking some medieval quest, with hazards abound and beasties at every corner.
Having said that I thought that the cycling facilities in central Park were amazing and was able to experience them for myself by hiring a bike from one of the many outlets.
'What a training ground' - The park offered smooth roads,  hills, fast flats, all surrounded in a beautiful setting surrounded by Iconic landmarks.

Although I did not have my own 'Mule' with me I soon became acquainted with its distant cousin, who performed admirably.
The only downside was my choice of  sports shorts which was not the ideal clothing to interact with a saddle at 100 degrees of heat, but jeans were my only other choice.
 Note to myself  'always bring bibs or cycle shorts for such eventualities'
The seven miles that I appear to have registered was my shortest ride of the year and certainly the slowest,
but I was equipped with a bell that said 'I love New York'
As I sounded it that was certainly the tune I heard too.


1 comment:

  1. Being from Indiana, I dig your Colts cap!

    Thanks for sharing the stories of the 3 British cycling lasses. They admirably live the Olympic spirit and, like all the UK cyclists, are worthy competitors and are class acts.

    This has been a great year for cycling. Congrats to Wiggo and Froome also.


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