Rob Wood

Rob's Sports, Fitness & Science Blog

Wonder Women of Sport

May 6th, 2021 · Sport

I created my list of 7 wonders of the sporting world (greatest athletes). There was some great feedback, including some rightly questioning the lack of female representation on the list.

Although I considered all sports people, men and women, only men made the final top seven list. I would have loved to have included some females, but unfortunately, there was none I considered worthy of the top seven. Sorry but I was never going to just include a female for the sake of inclusiveness, all places had to be rightly earned. Not everyone will agree with my selections, but that is the nature of all such lists, everyone has different opinions. There is no one right answer.

wimbledon tennis

There were females in consideration for the top athletes’ list, but did not make my list of top 7. For example, Serena Williams is one of the greats of tennis, though in my opinion was not greater than Federer. Where she lets herself down in my reckoning is on the role model component. That’s just my opinion. It would be great if there was someone who was worthy of making the list. The reality is that the most anticipated and most-watched sports around the world tend to be male-dominated, and that is what my lists represent. It is not a reflection of the worth of female sports.

The best way I thought to show gender balance was to have a similar list only for females. I think that is better than trying to compare the male and female athletes directly. Here are my top 7, and again apologies if I have left out your favourite, I cannot please everyone.

What constitutes a sporting wonder? It is not just skill and sporting results. A wonder must dominate in their chosen sport, be a good sports person, good role model for the sport, and have worldwide appeal so that their profile is known outside of their sporting circles.

My 7 Wonders of Sport (Women Athletes)

  1. Babe Didrikson Zaharias  (golf, track & field)
  2. Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field)
  3. Serena Williams (tennis)
  4. Annika Sorenstam (golf)
  5. Martina Navratilova (tennis)
  6. Mia Hamm (football/soccer)
  7. Fanny Blankers-Koen  (track & field)

Other females that came close were Nadia Comaneci and Ronda Rousey

My 7 Wonders of Sport (Female Events)

  1. Women’s FIFA World Cup 
  2. Gymnastics at the Olympic Games 
  3. Women’s Singles Final at Wimbledon
  4. Rugby World Cup
  5. Netball World Cup
  6. WNBA finals 
  7. Women’s T20 World Cup final 

Here are some related pages on Topend Sports:

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Street Basketball Comes To The Olympics

April 30th, 2021 · Basketball, Olympic Games

The Olympics are looking for some street cred. The addition of sports such as skateboarding, surfing, and sports climbing is clearly an attempt to make the Olympics more appealing to the younger generation. The basketball event of 3×3 basketball is another. Without needing to go through the voting process of applying to get a new sport included, basketball has just added another event for Tokyo 2020 and doubled the number of medals available in their sport.

Basketball has been played at the Olympic Games since 1936 in Berlin, though there was a demonstration of basketball in St. Louis in 1904, and again in Paris in 1924. Major milestones in the history of Olympic basketball are the addition of a women’s basketball tournament in 1976, allowing professional players and the original US dream team in 1992, and now the addition of this new exciting version of basketball for men and women.

street basketball game

3×3 basketball (also called streetball or street basketball) is a variation of basketball that is played widely all around the world. The 3×3 form of the game is played with two teams of three players (plus one sub), on half a standard court and with just one hoop. The rules are essentially the same as for full-court basketball, the biggest change is in the scoring. Every successful shot from inside the arc of the court is given a point, from outside the arc is worth two points. The first team to score 21 points, or the team with the most points after 10 minutes, wins. If the score is tied after 10 minutes, the game goes into overtime with the first team to score two points is declared the winner. There are just 12 seconds on the shot clock, and play does not stop after a successful shot, making for fast-paced exciting games that will undoubtedly be a popular addition to the Tokyo Games.

Check it out

At Tokyo 2020 there will be an 8-team tournament, for men and women. All games will be held at the Aomi Urban Sports Park. Pool games will be followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals then a bronze medal and gold medal game.

Schedule

  • 24-27 July pool games
  • 27 July quarter-finals
  • 28 July semi-finals
  • 29 July bronze medal game, gold medal game

Related Pages on Topend Sports

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Sports Climbing – A New Olympic Sport?

March 23rd, 2021 · Olympic Games

There are 33 sports on the program for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games – with five of them new to the Olympics. With the Tokyo Games fast approaching, it is time to get up to speed with these new sports. The first I will be featuring is sport climbing. You might be familiar with outdoor rock climbing, however, the Olympic “sport climbing” event is a little different, being performed indoors on an artificial climbing wall, but requiring much the same skills.

sport climbing

Is it really the first time climbing has been at the Olympics?

After lobbying for inclusion into the Olympic Games for many years, sport climbing was finally accepted onto the program for 2020. But it is not really the first time that climbing has been part of the Olympics. In the early years of the Olympics, there was another climbing event as part of the gymnastics program – rope climbing. In this event, the competitors climbed a suspended vertical rope as fast as possible using only their hands. It was not just a one-off event either, rope climbing was part of the official Olympic program in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932.

There have been more Olympic climbing, though not as a medal event. Back in 1924, there was a mountain climbing prize. There was no actual competition, the Olympic “Alpinism Prize” was awarded for the most notable alpinism feat accomplished during the previous four years. And probably best forgotten, is the pole climbing competition that was part of the racist 1904 Anthropology Days, where men from indigenous populations competed in various events so that anthropologists could see how they compared to the white man.

So really, it is not the first time climbing has been part of the Olympics, but it is the first time in this current competitive format.

What Does Sport Climbing Involve?

The sport climbing event that will make its debut in Tokyo requires great feats of strength, speed and flexibility and a lot of skill. It will be exciting to watch. Climbers use a range of hand and footholds of different shapes and sizes to scale a vertical wall. The wall can feature both positive and negative angles. The competitors must climb using only their bare hands and climbing shoes, though in some disciplines safety gear may be worn.

The climbing competition at the Olympics is divided into three disciplines – lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering.

  1. Speed climbing – two athletes race up a 15-meter wall side-by-side on an identical course. The first to the top wins and progresses to the next round
  2. Bouldering – the competitors attempt to scale fixed routes of varying difficulty on a 4.5m wall in a set time.
  3. Lead Climbing – how high a climber can go in six minutes?

There is one gold medal for male and females up for grabs. The final rankings are determined by multiplying the place in each of the three disciplines, with the athlete with the lowest score winning.

The sport climbing event will be held from Aug 2-5 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park, a temporary venue in the waterfront Aomi district. Make sure you tune in to see history being made.

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Just Exercise – With or Without a Mask

February 10th, 2021 · Fitness, Sports Medicine

It is not easy to exercise while wearing a mask. While the science behind the benefits of wearing a mask for limiting the spread of coronavirus is clear, the act of wearing one has become politicised in some parts of the world. Whatever fence you sit on, to wear a mask or not, I want to encourage you all to keep on exercising.

The benefits of exercise are hopefully very clear and widely accepted. Here are just some of the reasons to exercise. It is good for managing your weight, strengthening muscles and bones, improving heart health, reducing the risk of many diseases, improving quality of sleep, improving mood, and it gets you out of the house. Do you need any more reasons?

Some people have stopped or significantly reduced the amount of exercise they are doing. Some of the restrictions in place make it hard to exercise, with gyms closed, community sports cancelled and curfews in place. However, it is important that people continue to exercise. There are enough people with coronavirus-related health issues in the community, we don’t need to add the effects of lack of exercise. Also, if by chance you catch COVID-19, being fitter and healthier with help your immune system fight the virus.

running-with-masks

So make sure you exercise, and wear a mask if you are asked to by the authorities, and are able to. In some places, it is recommended to wear a mask whenever you are outdoors. Some regulations state that you have to wear them while exercising, while others allow that exception. If you are not wearing a mask, at least practice good social distancing, this works too.

The potential problem of exercising with facemasks is that the face covering could decrease airflow, making it slightly harder to breathe and to get enough oxygen. Also, the mask could trap carbon dioxide and make you feel unwell.

However, a study by Shaw et al. 2020, is one of many which have found that wearing face masks has no effect on athletic performance. Any decrease in airflow and CO2 trapping, while possibly making it uncomfortable, is not going to slow you down.

Individuals may differ in their response, and anyone with asthma or breathing issues should be careful. It is important to take it easy, particularly at first, and take breaks when you need to. Any exercise is better than none at all.

Just make sure you still exercise.

Some References

  • Shaw K, Butcher S, Ko J, Zello GA, Chilibeck PD. Wearing of Cloth or Disposable Surgical Face Masks has no Effect on Vigorous Exercise Performance in Healthy Individuals. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(21):8110.
  • Chandrasekaran B, Fernandes S. “Exercise with facemask; Are we handling a devil’s sword?” – A physiological hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2020;144:110002.

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Proposal to change the way of awarding the “FIFA BEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR”

September 2nd, 2020 · Football (Soccer)

This is a guest post from Davies Simposya from Zambia, with his comments on the current system for awarding the FIFA best player of the year, and a proposal for changes to the award.

THE “FIFA BEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR” AWARD IN ITS CURRENT FORM

Let me narrow down to the reason for this write-up. I have observed with admiration the changes and reforms that are taking place at FIFA; all of which are aimed at making football more and more all-embracing. This is very commendable. Even on the field of play changes are being introduced to increase fairness and reduce errors. Even when it comes to rewarding players and managers for some outstanding achievements, positive changes are being made.

In the same vein, I am proposing a change to the mode of choosing the “FIFA Best Player of the Year”. In its current form, it is more of a “FIFA Best Offensive Player of the Year Award”.

Why do I say so? It is easier to notice and appreciate the performances of offensive players on the pitch (ie, strikers and offensive midfielders). And their feats are more enduring in the minds of spectators. A striker’s goal will more likely be remembered by the panel of judges than the last-ditch tackle of a defender. When we are watching a game of football, what we expect are goals. When there are no goals, however exciting the football match can be, that match will more likely be said to have “fallen short”. Even the loudest cheer is reserved for goals.

Defensive midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers are disadvantaged under the current system of picking the “FIFA Best Player of the Year”. Their roles on the field of play are less glamorous than those of offensive midfielders and strikers. Therefore their contributions to the overall success of the team are more likely to go unnoticed than those of the forwards.

Let me use this illustration to drive my point home, hypothetical though it is.

Let us take a goalkeeper, a central defender (No. 5) and a forward (No. 9); all playing for the same club and country. During a particular year, the goalkeeper makes a total of 40 spectacular saves for club and country; the No5 makes 45 eye-catching, last-ditch tackles for club and country and the No9 scores a total of 38 goals for club and country. And in that year their club wins 3 major trophies. Their country happens to win the FIFA World Cup that same year. Assuming no other players anywhere have matched or surpassed their achievements for that year and so they are the three finalists in the race for the FIFA Best Player of the Year Award. I am pretty sure the No9 will emerge as the winner of the award. Since we use goals to determine who wins a particular match, we are inclined to appreciate more the goals of the No9 than the spectacular saves of the goalkeeper or the last-ditch tackles of the No5.

Defensive players are disadvantaged under the current mode of picking the best player of the year.

THE PROPOSAL

To level the playing field, I propose a like-against-like system of selecting the FIFA Best Player of The Year. Under this system, players will be segregated according to their primary role on the pitch. This means goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards will compete for the accolade as distinct groups. This, in essence, means the FIFA Best Player of The Year will now have four winners who will be called FIFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year, FIFA Best Defender of The Year, FIFA Best Midfielder of The Year and FIFA Best Striker of The Year. This proposed change will increase competitiveness among players as they will know they have a chance to be awarded for outstanding performance in their PRIMARY ROLE on the field of play. The midfielder will know his or her ball distribution assists and helping out in defence will not be measured against the goals scored by the striker. If along the way he or she even scores a number of goals (which is usually the case), it just adds to their chances of being picked as the best player of the year. Similarly, the goalkeeper will know their spectacular saves, their gravity-defying leaps to punch the ball away from danger will not be measured against the goals of the striker.

I noticed that among the recipients of the FIFA Best Player of The Year there is not a single goalkeeper. And only one defender has ever won it. Does this mean there have been no goalkeepers or defenders who have done exceptionally well to deserve recognition as the world’s best? My answer is a polite but emphatic NO. The sole reason they are not picked is that their achievements are overshadowed by the achievements of their teammates (strikers) whose roles on the pitch are more glamorous and appealing to the panel of adjudicators. I do not mean to take away anything from the recipients of the award so far. They worked hard and merited it. I personally have over the years enjoyed watching them display their skills and goal-scoring capabilities.

Our inclination to value goal-scoring more than other roles on the pitch is reflected in the transfer fees paid for players. The price tag of the most expensive defender ever can go into the price tag of the most expensive forward ever 3-4 times.

CONCLUSION

It is my firm belief that this proposal will add value to the game of football. It will give belief to upcoming players whose primary role on the pitch is not goal-scoring, that they too stand a chance to win the most prestigious individual accolade in football, and therefore will be more motivated. Furthermore, the proposed format will signify that football is a team sport, with players assigned different roles, some glamorous and can be done with flair; and some arduous yet equally important to the success of the team.

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The Wonders of Sport

August 15th, 2020 · Major Events, Sport

I hope that you are staying safe and healthy. Where I live we are slowly getting back to pre-COVID normality, and I hope you are too. For many of us, sport is back on, and the chance to go and see your teams live is hopefully not too far away.

What sporting events are you most looking forward to? Our major events world calendar has taken a beating, many of the events since April 2020 have been cancelled or postponed. We have tried to keep up but plans have been changing regularly. The major postponement was the 2020 Olympic Games, which was due to begin on July 24 this year, but is now due to start nearly a year later (hopefully!)

There are Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, so why not a sporting version? Have you ever considered what might be the best Sporting World Wonders – the stadiums, events and athletes that epitomise what we love about sport?

There already is a sporting wonder!

On the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, one of the wonders had a sporting link, the Statue of Zeus. The ancient Olympic Games were held in honor of their King of gods, Zeus. In the ancient Greek city of Olympia, sculptor Pheidias carved the enormous statue of Zeus, in the 5th century B.C. It was made of gold and ivory and was reputed to be 40 ft high.

And another one added!

A New Seven Wonders of the World was created in 2007, and that new list included another sporting wonder, the Colosseum in Rome. This arena, built in 80 AD, was one of the first great classic stadiums and is considered the father of all modern sporting stadiums. The arena was primarily a stage for combat, which is not unlike the sporting events of today.

We have created a few wonder lists of our own, for venues, events and athletes. As with the previous 7 Wonder lists, the items are listed in no particular order.

Rob at the colosseum in Rome, Italy

Seven Wonders of the Sporting World (Athletes) 

Here are my top 7 athletes of all time. A wonder must dominate in their chosen sport, be a great athlete, a good role model for the sport, and have worldwide appeal so that their profile is known outside of their sporting circles. I think the off-court behaviour is very important when assessing our greatest athletes, though sometimes the performances are so overwhelmingly great it is hard to leave them off (e.g. Tiger Woods and Serena Williams). 

  1. Lionel Messi
  2. Usain Bolt
  3. Muhammad Ali
  4. Roger Federer
  5. Michael Jordan
  6. Don Bradman
  7. Tiger Woods

Although both males and females were considered for the Athlete list of 7 Wonders, the only female that was close to making the top-7 was Serena Williams. Rather than trying to compare the males and females directly, I also created a female-only 7-Wonders list as the best way to highlight the best of women’s sport.

  1. Babe Didrikson Zaharias (golf, track & field)
  2. Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field)
  3. Serena Williams (tennis)
  4. Annika Sorenstam (golf)
  5. Martina Navratilova (tennis)
  6. Mia Hamm (football/soccer)
  7. Fanny Blankers-Koen (track & field)

Seven Wonders of the Sporting World (Events) 

Here are the top 7 sporting events from around the world. These events are the mecca of elite world sport, the must-see events of every sports fan.

  1. FIFA World Cup
  2. Summer Olympic Games
  3. Tour de France
  4. NFL Super Bowl
  5. Wimbledon
  6. Monaco Grand Prix
  7. Baseball World Series

As with the athlete list, I created a female sporting events list to highlight the best of women’s sport from around the world. These events are the mecca of elite women’s world sport, the must-see events for all sports fans.

  1. FIFA Women’s World Cup final
  2. Women’s Singles Final at Wimbledon
  3. Netball World Cup final
  4. Women’s Rugby World Cup final
  5. Gymnastics at the Olympic Games
  6. WNBA final
  7. Women’s Cricket Twenty20 World Cup final

Seven Wonders of the Sporting World (Venues)

Here are the top 7 sporting stadiums from around the world. These are iconic and ‘the’ place to watch the chosen sport. They are unique, architecturally striking and stand out in the world of sport.

  1. Panathenaic Stadium
  2. Bird’s Nest
  3. St Andrews Old Course
  4. Wembley Stadium
  5. Fenway Park
  6. Melbourne Cricket Ground
  7. Maracanã Stadium

You Don’t Agree?

These are just my personal opinions, some food for thought, and I don’t expect to be able to please everyone. I main hope is that these events continue as usual, and we can all go out and enjoy them.

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Topend Sports and the Coronavirus

May 5th, 2020 · Fitness, Fitness Testing, Sports Nutrition

To all the visitors to my site, the Topend Sports community, I hope that you are staying safe and healthy.

I am fortunate to run this website from my home and have been able to continue as before, though like many other businesses around the world, we are being impacted by the lockdowns.

Most sporting competitions around the world have stopped, people are not searching for sport-related information, so website traffic has been reduced. Many businesses are struggling too, and cannot afford the same advertising budgets as before.

It is not all bad news though, the forced stay at home and extra time available is enabling me to get on top of lots of projects, fix things that are broken, add content and update information that I have long been meaning to do.

For the visitors to my site, there are many resources that can be useful during your forced downtime. Here are some of them.

Keeping Fit at Home

Lunge Exercise

Being confined to your home while doing your bit to slow down the spread of coronavirus is a balancing act. Trying to do some work, maintaining the household, looking after kids, and staying fit and healthy – it all takes up a lot of time. Therefore, many things drop down on your priority list, including your fitness.

However, your fitness workouts do not have to stop. A really effective workout you can do is the 7-minute Workout, or make up your own using this list of fitness exercises you can do at home. For a detailed discussion about staying healthy while working from home, see this article How To Stay Fit While Working From Home.

Don’t forget to stretch during long hours at a desk. Take a couple of minutes every hour to stand up and stretch your entire body. Check out our list of stretches, and use with these stretching guidelines.

Home Fitness Testing

Home Push Up Test

Many of the hundreds of fitness tests described on this site require specialist equipment or training, however not all do. Some fitness tests can be performed at home with equipment you can find around the home. Check out these home fitness tests which are designed to quickly and simply assess a person’s general fitness level.

On our partner website, you can download the Home fitness Test, a free ebook manual to guide you through a fitness assessment program that can be done at home with minimal equipment. The ebook includes all you need to know to perform 10 fitness tests that you can do yourself.

Staying Healthy

Spending more time at home means it is easy to eat more and exercise less (with the result being weight gain!). Find out about what is your healthy weight, and measure it too. Now might be the right time to make changes to improve your health and weight. Aim to follow these simple strategies for weight loss, and avoid some common fad diets.

It is easy to fall into the trap of snacking too often. Make sure you keep healthy snacks available for when you do get low in energy and need a boost, especially if you spend long hours doing tedious or tough work. Always follow a healthy diet, based on solid science-based principles. A well-balanced diet with good variety ensures adequate intake of all the essential nutrients in the diet.

Thank You

Thanks for your time on my site and I hope you can continue to find the information useful, and by supporting my advertisers you can help my business a little too.

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At the FIFA World Cup, Does Size Matter?

July 13th, 2018 · FIFA World Cup, Fitness Testing, Football (Soccer), Sports Nutrition

The FIFA Football World Cup in Russia is coming to its conclusion in a couple of days with the final between France and Croatia. Many of the top teams have been surprisingly knocked out early or not even making the tournament. It is challenging predicting which team will be successful, with none of the top three teams who were predicted to win making the final. What makes a team successful? There is no one factor which determines success; factors such as player skill, speed, agility, game experience, teamwork, coaching, fatigue level and mental focus are just some of the elements. Another factor, body size, may have only a minor effect, but an effect nonetheless.

Prior to the tournament, FIFA released the anthropometric data of the 736 players (squads of 23 from the 32 nations), which gave us the opportunity to compare the body size of players from each team and playing position. We found that out of all the teams, the goalkeepers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup stood out – they tended to be older, taller and heavier than the field players. The youngest players were the forwards, the shortest the midfielders, and the leanest based on BMI were the midfielders. Now that the two teams that are to battle out the final on Sunday are known, we have pulled out their team data and had a look at how they match up.

silhouettes of soccer players

Squads Compared

We compared the body size data of the French and Croatian 23-man squads. The Croatians are on average older (27.9 v 26.0 years), a couple of centimetres (an inch) taller (185.3 v 183.3), but of similar average weight (79.3 v 80.0kg). If we just compare the expected starting 11 players (based on their semi-final match), the age difference is even greater (29.5 v 26.2 years). For both teams, the average weight of the players in the starting 11 is lower than the full squad average (Croatia 79.3 to 77.6kg, France 80.0 to 78.9kg), indicating the top players are leaner. The lower weight was not just because they are shorter, as the Body Mass Index was lower too (Croatia 23.1 to 22.8, France 23.8 to 23.5).

Players Compared

The two goalkeepers expected to play in the final are Danijel Subasic of Croatia and Hugo Lloris of France. The Croatian has a couple of years more experience (aged 33.7 versus 31.5 years), and also has an advantage in size: he is taller (191 v 188cm) and heavier (84 v 82 kg).

Of the starting four defenders, the noteworthy difference is their age. The Croatians are on average more than five years older (28.9 v 23.6 years). If this age difference translates to greater maturity and experience on the field, then they have a distinct advantage.

Comparing the midfielders, the French players are on average quite a bit heavier (76.7 v 70.7 kg) despite being of very similar height. At this level, we don’t expect players to be carrying much excess body fat, so the difference in weight would be mostly due to them being more solidly built, having more muscle and therefore being stronger. If this World Cup final becomes a physical encounter, the French midfield players are going to have a big advantage.

The Croatian forwards are also a couple of inches taller than their French counterparts (187.0 v 181.7cm), which may be an advantage around the goals, particularly for corners and other set pieces.

Conclusion

When it comes to the physical attributes of the two teams, in most cases it has been the Croatian team that has the advantage. Of course, body size is not the most important factor for successful performance in football, though, if all other things are equal then it may be the difference that could win a World Cup for Croatia. However, it may just come down to luck, particularly if it finishes with a penalty shootout.

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50 Years Ago In Sport

June 23rd, 2016 · Major Events, Sport

The year 1966 is a very significant one for me as it is the year I was born. A lot has changed in the world of sports since then, when I think about the sports I followed growing up and the athletes who have come and gone.

In most parts, sport in 1966 was played without the hype and celebrity mania of today’s elite sport. One exception of the day was Muhammad Ali, who only passed away very recently. Ali was at the peak of his career in 1966, both in his boxing and public life. He defended his title five times, though shortly after he was in the midst of controversy for refusing to be inducted into the armed forces to fight in the Vietnam War. Up until that time he was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion, however he would not fight again until 1970.

Boxer Muhammad Ali

One of the major events of the year was the FIFA World Cup tournament, one that will particularly live on in the memories of the English fans. In a hotly contested final, the host country England won their first and only World Cup title by defeating West Germany 4-2 after extra time. As time ran out, the sealer was struck to the famous words by BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme “Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over. It is now!”

The English were also involved in the Commonwealth Games (then called the British Commonwealth Games) which were held in Kingston, Jamaica. The Asian Games were in Bangkok, Thailand and the Central American and Caribbean Games held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The year saw the emergence of a young American women’s tennis star Billie Jean King who won her first grand slam title. It was the start of a career that would finish with a total of 12 grand slam titles. Margaret Court won the Australian Open for the seventh straight time, a feat that has not been achieved by any other man or women. Both of these women would years later be famously involved in the battle of the sexes matches against Bobby Riggs.

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus successfully defended his Masters Tournament title, which was also his third win at the event. He also won The Open Championship for the first time in his career and his sixth major title. With these wins be became the fourth player to win all four major professional championships. Considering his lifetime achievements in which he would win 18 majors, the last one in 1986, this was just the beginning for The Golden Bear.

Jack Brabham won the F1 driver’s championship for the third and last time, one of 10 drivers who has achieved this feat in the history of the event. He is the only driver to win a championship in a car of his own team.

This is just a sample of the highlights from 1966. On our sports timeline you can read more details of the sporting results from 1966.

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Rio Medal Predictions Change Over Time

May 18th, 2016 · Olympic Games

Wouldn’t it be great to know the results before the Olympic Games start? For the London Olympics in 2012 I made a prediction for the final medal tally. It was mostly based on my own guesswork, and surprisingly was not too far wrong in the end. For the Rio Games, I predict that the USA will again win the most medals, a pretty safe bet, but not based on any specialist knowledge or special formula. However, I prefer to rely on those a little more knowledgeable to predict the results.

There are plenty of people making predictions about the upcoming Rio Olympics. There are two main categories of medal count predictions. One way to predict the final medal tally is from scholars using economics and a range of factors to base their predictions. The other is to use actual competition results leading up to the Olympics to predict the specific winners of each event. After the London Games, I compared some of these predictions to the final medal count, and predictions using both of these methods were quite accurate.

It seems more logical to base the predictions on actual sports results, and we would assume that the most recent results would be the best indicators. The company Gracenote (was Infostrada) sports regularly update their predictions based on sporting results from around the world. The graphs below show how their predictions have changed over the last year for the top three countries. While the predictions of the actual number of medals has varied, the order has not changed – the USA is predicted to win both the most medals and most golds.

predicted gold

The most recent medal predictions, made with 100 days to go, show the USA pulling away from China and Russia on the table above. A factor that has not been considered is that Russian athletes may still be banned from attending the Games, which would put a large dent in their medal count.

predicted total

I will continue to monitor the changes in these predictions leading up to the Games, and afterwards, I will again compare these predictions to the actual results. So far I am feeling pretty confident about my prediction of the USA leading the medal count, it will be a big upset if they don’t.

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