Tag Archives | Sports
Many of the strangest aspects of this year’s World Cup relate to team North Korea. The latest intrigue: were the throngs of “North Korean soccer fans” filling stands in the match against Brazil actually Chinese actors? The London Evening Standard writes:
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Perhaps it was their identical red outfits or how their applause was directed by a “conductor” that suggested the North Koreans in the Ellis Park stadium in South Africa were no ordinary fans. FIFA officials and millions of television viewers were surprised when rows of red-clad “North Koreans” took their seats, believing the harsh regime had allowed its citizens freedom to travel.
Although they sang their national anthem loudly, the group tended only to cheer when directed by a man who stood before them like an orchestra’s conductor.
Meanwhile, another party of fans confirmed rumors they were Chinese, having obtained tickets through a Chinese sports PR agency, authorized to sell part of the North Korean allocation of 1,400 seats.
I already love soccer, but the mere fact that the likes of Glenn Beck feel threatened by its mainstream popularity in the United States makes me want to love the beautiful game even more! Dave Zirin writes for The Nation/NPR:
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Every World Cup, it arrives like clockwork. As sure as the ultimate soccer spectacle brings guaranteed adrenaline and agony to fans across the United States, it also drives the right-wing noise machine utterly insane.
“It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us,” yipped the Prom King of new right, Glenn Beck. “It doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.”
Beck’s wingnut godfather, G. Gordon Liddy also said on his radio program,
‘Whatever happened to American exceptionalism?
That new Michael Jordan campaign for Hanes, really does have people buzzing, though it's not Jordan's "lie-flat collar" that they're fixated on. Viewers instead seem to be stupefied by his attempt to bring back the "Hitler mustache," which has pretty soundly been out of fashion since, you know, Hitler. Technically called a "toothbrush mustache," this facial styling was actually quite popular in the 1920s, and still makes the occasional appearance on the faces of foul-tempered tyrants like Robert Mugabe and J. Jonah Jameson. Maybe Jordan feels he simply transcends the clear cultural need to avoid looking like history's most vile psychopath. Maybe he's on a quest to reclaim a symbolic styling of the industrial working class, and a mediocre underwear ad seemed like the right forum. Or maybe the copywriters simply loved the irony of mocking some poor guy's "bacon neck" while the star of the ad blatantly sports a damn Hitler 'stache.
Alex Lightman was the CTO for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization. Now he compares the NASA Mission Control room to Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book, and asks whether we can harness the multi-billion dollar sports betting community to predict elections, markets, wars and weather?
A new company is trying to tap millions of users for a massive “crowd-sourced” prediction site inspired by both open source software and sports gambling. “If predictive entertainment ends up with the same ‘S-curve’ growth as the Internet itself, humanity could develop a sort of social superorganism superpower of precognition…” Using complexity to solve complexity, the site allows recorded, ranked predictions to be made millions of times an hour. “The open source model allows for parallel input of multiple approaches, agendas, knowledge banks, and priorities with far more flexibility and speed than traditionally closed or centralized models…”
But the implications are far-reaching.… Read the rest
Since the advent of our nation's pastime, there has been a longstanding tradition of the fan who thinks it will be just HILARIOUS to jump onto a baseball diamond and get his or her 15 minutes of fame before getting tackled by security guards. On Monday, 17-year-old Steve Consalvi decided to do just that during a Philadelphia Phillies game. Except this time, the overzealous fan who told his dad he was looking for a "once in a lifetime experience" got a little more than he bargained for: he got Tasered. It's the first time a Taser has been used to stop a spectator who's running on the field.
The kid's OK, and now the Phillies and Philadelphia police are investigating whether the officer's use of the Taser was appropriate...
A survey reveals that some soccer fans are so eager to see their national team win at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa that they’d give up a body part to make it happen. I really want England to win, but I’m not sure I’d go that far … would you? Reported by Reuters:
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Fifty-one percent of respondents to the tongue-in-cheek survey of 20,000 people, who live in North America but hail from countries with teams in the June 11-July 11 World Cup, said they would starve themselves for a week if that would bring victory to their national squad.
More than 40 percent offered to give up dating for a year, while seven percent said they would gladly give up their job to see their country win the title.
A further four percent were willing to give away a body part.
The survey was conducted by U.S.-based international calling firm VIP Communications Inc (www.JoinVIP.com) ahead of the South African extravaganza featuring 32 nations.
It may carry a lower profile than the International Olympic Committee, another controversial, Swiss-based international sports body. And to many Americans, Fifa, which stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association, means nothing alongside the likes of the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. But the overseer of international soccer captained by Joseph "Sepp" Blatter has repeatedly shaken off allegations of corruption and regional in-fighting as well as a global recession to become arguably the most powerful sports organization on the planet. It's all down to the World Cup -- the quadrennial extravaganza that crowns the world's soccer champion and is rivaled only by the Olympics as the most watched sporting event around the globe. Blatter last month was able to brag that Fifa's annual 2009 revenues passed the $1 billion level for the first time in its history, leaving the organization with a $196 million surplus...
Perhaps taking a cue from the emergency shipment of condoms sent to Vancouver after the Olympic village exhausted supplies, soccer’s World Cup in South Africa, coming up in June, is making sure that the AIDS-ravaged nation has ample supplies, as reported in the Guardian:
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Britain is to give 42m condoms to South Africa in response to a request for an extra billion as part of an HIV prevention drive before the World Cup, the government will announce today.
The request for British help in stockpiling sufficient condoms for the expected influx of thousands of football supporters in three months’ time was made during President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to the UK to meet the Queen.
“Obviously there’s a big focus on the World Cup coming up and a huge increase in the number of people coming into South Africa,” said the international development minister, Gareth Thomas, who will announce the £1m funding today at an emergency summit in London on HIV prevention and treatment.