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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 5 June, 2020

The Sunday Papers: some of the week's best sportswriting

Take a little time out from watching sport by reading about some more sport. Go on, we know you love it.

Kobe Bryant gets cosy with the media in London.
Kobe Bryant gets cosy with the media in London.
Image: Stephen Pond/PA Wire/Press Association Images

1. “The two men, both 27, are good friends. They’re sharing a suite in the athletes village. Each night, just as they have done at every major Championships they’ve been at together since Beijing, they’ll sit down to play spades, the only hard and fast rule they have is that neither is allowed to talk about swimming. Lochte, always quick with a quip, even has a catchphrase – Jeah.”

They’ve raced once already at the London Olympics, so The Guardian’s Andy Bull looks behind Ryan Lochte’s charisma and Michael Phelps’medal-haul with a little help from ‘The Dude’.

2. “I had a chronic hand injury going into the 1996 season. I had broken fingers and broken bones in my hand. It was all beginning to take its toll. I had broken a bone in the back of my hand and it was a matter of waiting for it to fix up. My hands tell the story of my career. They show you what happens when you don’t catch the ball properly. In the end, I was breaking my fingers and I wasn’t bothering to get them fixed. One of my fingers is facing Dublin and the other is facing London.”

As part of’s museum Legends Tour series, former Wexford hurling All-Star George O’Connor recounts his bruising 15-year career at the top. Part one can be found here, and you can find the excellent part two here.

3. “Coverage of women’s gymnastics falls squarely into one of two camps: tales of plucky, lovable teens wearing their perma-smiles to the winners’ podium, or exposés of the sport’s seedy underbelly, of eating disorders, abusive training methods, of cruel coaches and broken bodies. It’s either Nadia Comăneci’s perfect 10 or Cathy Rigby’s bulimia.”

Asking whether we can ever find a happy middle ground in gymnastics, Dvora Meyers for Deadspin.

4. “How much money would you be willing to pay for a ticket to see a 51-year-old Dennis Rodman hoist up a dozen 3-pointers? What if Mitch Richmond, who appears to be pushing 260 on the scale at age 47, got tossed in the deal? Not convinced? What if we added two more members of the Chicago Bulls’ 1990s dynasty, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant.”

Grantland’s Rafe Bartholemew on the once-great NBA stars adding to their pension fund in Manilla.

5. “When the Belgian rider Eddy Merckx won four tours in a row in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972, the French made a joke of it. Among the suggestions French cartoonists and comedians came up with for defeating him was to give the rest of the peleton a two-hour start. It was funny at the time.”

“But never has a grape harvest been so sour as when Bradley Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour. As soon as it became clear he would be atop the podium, the grumbles began; Anglo-Saxon capitalism was infecting the race; Wiggins and his Team Sky had won through cash, control and uninspired “scientific” cycling; Wiggins “lacked panache”. It was “boring”…”

Behind the giddy excitement of English media seeing their man on the front page of L’Equipe. Kim Willsher of the Guardian lets us know what the French really think of Bradley Wiggins.

6. “Another of the more memorable meetings with Els came at the ropes of an Augusta fairway in 2005, when a pattern of decline was beginning to develop. It was on the third day, when he was among the early starters after barely surviving the cut. He was curious to know why one had elected to form possibly the smallest gallery on the course. It was explained that it was a beautiful morning for a stroll and one hardly marred by the company of his swing.”

In the wake of his late drive to win The Open Championship, The Independent‘s James Lawton tells us of the esteem he holds for Ernie Els, the man and the golfer.

Cavendish left stranded as Vinokourov takes road race gold

‘I’ll come back stronger’ – Kieran Behan

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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