I woke up feeling very groggy this morning, not because of any excesses of New Year’s Eve but because my cold has dragged itself into the new decade. Switching on the radio after a long night’s sleep courtesy of the soporific effects of “night nurse” (it really does knock you out!), I heard something along the lines of the following on Five Live (this text is from their website):
“You’ve been voting this morning for who you think deserves the title of Greatest Sporting Achievement of the Decade. Over the past four days you’ve selected the finalists and today you get to decide the winner. The finalists are Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, The England Rugby team, and Sir Steve Redgrave. The result will be announced at 9:45 during the phone in from 9, but apart from the finalists, who else do you think made a great contribution to sport over the past ten years? And let’s not just leave it to the sportstars – what was YOUR own greatest sporting achievement?”
I voted earlier in the week for Lance Armstrong (as well as the rugby) so was glad he made it to the final. Winning the Tour de France on seven consecutive occasions after having come back from suffering from cancer and then coming out of retirement and doing the whole thing again and coming third is a difficult achievement to beat!
However, the most interesting part of the discussion was the contributions from the listeners who were calling in with their own sporting achievements, many of them involving cycling, whether it be the ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End or taking part in the “shadow” Tour de France. As I type, another caller is discussing his Mark Beaumont-like ride from Alaska to Argentina. “The last hurrah of three middle-aged blokes” he says (although he sounds quite young). Another person has cycled across America…. I am not the only one who does this kind of thing!
And the winner of the Greatest Sporting Achievement of the decade is……Steve Redgrave. He deserves it for the same reasons that Lance Armstrong would have deserved it – maintaining an extra-ordinary level of consistency while at the same time tackling medical issues (he is diabetic).
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