Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tour Champion Contador Tests Positive For Clenbuterol, Suspended

We all know that the sports world is a pretty tough one. Those who rise in the race and continue to be champions did so by being the best in their chosen sports. Unfortunately in their hope of becoming more or in the case of some remaining in the top form and spot, they make the mistake of getting the help unnaturally. Take for example Alberto Contador who is a three-time Tour de France champion who tested positive for a banned drug clenbuterol. Although it is said that only a very small concentration of this muscle-building and fat-burning drug has been found in the Spanish rider’s sample unfortunately both A and B samples tested positive. Alberto Contador, considered the greatest rider of his generation at 27 years old has been “formally and provisionally suspensed” according the International Cycling Union (UCI). There hasn’t been a statement yet whether Contador will be stripped off his title or banned.

Clenbuterol is a substance that has been used for over 20 to 30 years so it’s not something that can be inadvertently taken. Primarily, clenbuterol is s a sympathomimetic amine used by sufferers of breathing disorders as a decongestant and bronchodilator. Athletes taking the drug have one goal and that is to enhance muscle size and to burn fat. Simultaneously it can have short-term stimulant effects including increasing aerobic capacity, blood pressure and alertness. It has led to bans for cyclists in the past.

The Contador side released a statement insisting that food contamination as the only possible explanation for the result. And Canadian experts agree that the miniscule finding of the banned drug could have come from the meat because Clenbuterol which is fed to livestock to obtain leaner meats and it can be stored in their intramuscular fat.

What is sad is that this is not the first time athletes have had this problem nor is Contador the first athlete to be suspended. A number of athletes have been banned after testing positive including table tennis player Dimitrij Ovtcharov who is playing for Germany’s national team, Polish canoeist Adam Seroczynski, British hurdler Callum Priestley, Chinese Olympic judo champion Tong Wen, and St. Louis Cardinals Minor League shortstop Lainer Bueno. In 2008, American swimmer Jessica Hardy served a one-year suspension after she tested positive for this banned drug although the Court of Arbitration for Sports accepted her explanation of food supplement contamination and not intentional intake.

This surely should show athletes and those who want to pursue their love for their sport professionally that they really have to be more careful with what they take in, as they can ruin what you have worked hard for. Like I have always said, being worthy of the accolade of your fans and not simply the team you are in, the sportswear uniform you wear, the championships you win, and the fame and money that comes with it. More important is that you are someone who will be a good example for other people, especially the young fans. They look up to these sports superstars and they should be good models. Yes, they are human but they are not entitled to be bad. It's a good thing there are still some out there worthy enough to be called sports heroes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reggie Bush Returns his Heisman Trophy

Reginald Alfred "Reggie" Bush II returns his Heisman Trophy amidst the scandal. And so for the year 2005 there will be no Heisman Trophy winner.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity no matter what sportswear uniform you wear. In 2005, it was awarded to Reggie Bush of USC Trojans but the scandal that tinted his award and has left USC heavily penalized. In fact due to the violation (inadvertently according to Bush) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) caused the USC Trojans a lot including “a two-year ban on post-season games, placed on four years of probation, lost 30 scholarships, and were forced to forfeit their 2004-05 victories.” And then USC decided to return the school’s trophy and though the Heisman Trust have said they have not made a decision yet to strip Bush of his trophy, it was returned back to them by Bush himself.

The scandal started with the NCAA’s investigation on what they believed as Bush rules violations of when he was a Trojan football scholar. According to the 4 year investigation made by NCAA investigators, Bush received impermissible benefits, meaning cash and gifts as well as picking up the tab for tens of thousands of dollars worth of housing for him and his family by 2 sports marketing companies.

Bush returning his Heisman Trophy only removes the trophy and leaves the position vacant. He may have violated the rules but we cannot discount that in 2005 he was still the most outstanding college football player. Not that I am saying it’s okay to cheat. But his being given impermissible benefits certainly disqualifies him from the award but does not take anything out of his playing ability as a running back. Even the runner up Vince Young is not willing to accept the award if ever because he also believes that Reggie Bush is still the Heisman awardee and Bush is still the 2005 best college football player.

Let us just take the lessons that can be learned from this which is know the rules first and strictly follow it in order that your winning is not tainted by any scandal. And I am not just talking about college football but in everything that you do. And if there is one opinion that I see quite fit for this is what Los Angeles Times put very concisely:

What schools can and should do is make it abundantly clear to athletes, coaches and athletic directors that sports take a back seat to studies.
Because of the monetary benefits as well as fame that these young sportsmen are getting, many are easily corrupted and forget why you really went to college and that was to finish your education.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rafa Wins the 2010 US Open

After 8 long and grueling years, finally Rafa wins the US Open. The top-seeded Rafael Nadal has been working really hard for this especially because it is only the U.S. Open that he has not won. And now it’s official, he has won the 2010 U.S. Open.

This makes him one of only 3 tennis greats (Steffi Graff and Andre Agassi) to capture the career Golden Slam, which is the 4 majors plus an Olympic Gold. Another thing he has accomplished at only 24 is become the seventh man to complete the career Grand Slam and the youngest at that to accomplish the deed in the Open Era. He follows Rod Laver, Pete Smapras and Roger Federer as the fourth tennis champion to win three consecutive Grand Slam championships in the Open Era. He is only the only other player other than Rod Laver who has won in Paris, London and New York in one season. There have been major and high-achievement tennis players like Bjorn Borg who never achieved Career Grand Slam either because they did not have a long career or in the case of Borg particular tournaments were ill-suited to their games. Borg has never won the Australian Open and the US Open which is both played on hard courts. While some players don’t win the French Open which is played on clay or the Wimbledon which is played on grass. Rafael Nadal on the other hand has been victorious in all of these tournaments which have a variety of surfaces.

What I believe is the greatest difference is that Rafa is only 24 and he has a long way more to go. Federer is still the greatest tennis player but he has reached his peak while Rafael is getting better every game, and even his opponent Novak Djokovic noted that he was more in awe of Nadals win because Federer was playing as one of the best players in the world but Rafa,
Djokovic added:
“who is just proving each day, each year that he's getting better.That's what's so frustrating. He's getting better each time you play him. He's so mentally strong and dedicated to this sport. He has all the capabilities, everything he needs, in order to be the biggest ever, in my opinion. He has lots to come if he physically holds in the next five, six, seven years.”

When he wins the Australian Open, not if but when, then everybody can say he is without equal. But according to his uncle Toni who has been mentoring and coaching Rafa, he does not believe that his nephew is already the greatest player. According to Uncle Ton:
“The best players were Federer, Laver, Borg - Rafael is far away from them, although he is a very good player.”
When asked if his nephew is the greatest player his answer was to ask him 5 or 6 years from now.
Here is the current standing for the 4 Majors:

Australian Open
Tournament Dates: 18 January – 31 January
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne
Current Men's Single Champion: Roger Federer
Current Women's Single Champion: Serena Williams

French Open
Tournament Dates: 23 May – 6 June
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Current Men's Single Champion: Rafael Nadal
Current Women's Single Champion: Francesca Schiavone
Wimbledon Championship
Tournament Dates: 21 June – 4 July
Venue: All England Tennis Club, London
Current Men's Single Champion: Rafael Nadal
Current Women's Single Champion: Serena Williams

US Open
Tournament Dates: 30 August - 12 September
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
Current Men's Single Champion: Rafael Nadal
Current Women's Single Champion: Kim Clijsters

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World

According to Forbes Magazine these are the most valuable sports teams for 2010. As you can see, one thing common about these teams are their logos and sportswear uniforms are easily recognizable. They have a huge fan base and almost all their games are sold-out making them a very valuable sports team.

No. 1: Manchester United
Sport: soccer
Value: $1.83 billion
Owner: Glazer family
Revenue: $459 million
The Red Devils lay claim to having 333 million followers and 139 million core fans worldwide.

No. 2: Dallas Cowboys
Sport: football
Value: $1.65 billion
Owner: Jerral Jones
Revenue: $280 million
New stadium landed NCAA Men's Final Four, NBA All-Star Game and Super Bowl.

No. 3: New York Yankees
Sport: baseball
Value: $1.6 billion
Owner: Steinbrenner family
Revenue: $441 million
Leveraged most valuable brand in sports to create rich cable network and venue hospitality business.

No. 4: Washington Redskins
Sport: football
Value: $1.55 billion
Owner: Daniel Snyder
Revenue: $345 million
Average operating income of $77 million over past five seasons is the highest in the NFL.

No. 5: New England Patriots
Sport: football
Value: $1.36 billion
Owner: Robert Kraft
Revenue: $302 million
Built Patriot Place adjacent to Gillette Stadium, featuring shopping, dining and entertainment.

No. 6: Real Madrid
Sport: soccer
Value: $1.32 billion
Owner: club members
Revenue: $563 million
Generates $225 million annually from broadcasting fees, the most in sports.

No. 7: New York Giants
Sport: football
Value: $1.18 billion
Owner: John Mara, Steven Tisch
Revenue: $230 million
Sold naming rights to practice facility for more than $35 million over 15 years and is close to selling out season tickets for new stadium.

No. 8: Arsenal
Sport: soccer
Value: $1.18 billion
Owner: Stanley Kroenke
Revenue: $369 million
Arsenal's $102 million operating income trailed only Man U among English Premier League teams last year.

No. 9: New York Jets
Sport: football
Value: $1.17 billion
Owner: Robert Wood Johnson IV
Revenue: $227 million
Having difficulty selling personal seat licenses for season tickets at new stadium.

No. 10: Houston Texans
Sport: football
Value: $1.15 billion
Owner: Robert McNair
Revenue: $256 million
Stadium naming rights deal with Reliant is the richest in the NFL, worth $300 million.

Part 2 next week!