Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Past, present, and future, Part II

OK--here's part 2.

The Detroit Free Press lists the top ten villains in sports of 2007. Marion Jones makes the list for her doping offenses, as does Martina Hingis for her alleged cocaine use, denial, and subsequent retirement. And, of course, Don Imus is right up there with the all the dopers and steroid-user deniers. I was a little surprised to see Hingis listed as a villain for alleged cocaine use given all the actual, proven drug use of various professional athletes in basketball and football in the United States. Hingis just seems to have this aura that makes (some of) the media dislike her (i.e. the Black Widow label).
Fox Sports asks (and answers) its top ten questions in women's tennis in 2008. Question #7's answer, can Amelie Mauresmo hold up French tennis? is a likely no. And though, as a huge fan, it disappoints me to say this. I think writer Matt Cronin is right. But I take exception to his comment that she "burned out" in 2007. She had an appendectomy. You try playing tennis after that. Or maybe try four weeks after giving birth via Cesarean like Lindsay Davenport. Cronin also asks if Ana Ivanovic will be the next elite player. I think Jankovic with her determination and fitness level and what I see as a healthy attitude toward the game (despite playing too many events last year) is far more likely to be the next elite player--and she's already ranked ahead of Ivanovic. Ok, yes, she needs to work on her serve, but so do (have) a lot of other players who have made it further in the game. And then there's the unasked question, that actually everyone else seems to be asking, who will be the first player on the women's tour caught in gambling scandal?
Fox Sports also trotted out their top ten worst sport stories of 2007 which closely resembles the top villains story out of Detroit including Marion Jones's apology for doping, and Imus's racial slurs (not not so tearful apology).
A paper out of China named the top ten international sports stories of the year. Number 5 on the list was Germany's defense of their World Cup title in China in September. Number 6 was Marion Jones. *
USA Today's review of the year in sports calls 2007 the worst year for sports since 1919 (Black Sox scandal). The two requisite mentions: Imus and Marion Jones contribute to this, of course. But Christine Brennan also cites Michelle Wie's weird year of growing pains and the Hope Solo-Greg Ryan controversy at the World Cup. (This was the first mention of this incident in any top ten/year in review that I have seen. Interesting given that it garnered so many headlines in September.

So that's it. It's 2008; we're moving on. Bring on the doping, gambling, the investigative reports into said offenses--because what else are the sports writers going to talk about next year if not for sports' sins?

*I am starting to think maybe I should have actually blogged about this Marion Jones thing when it happened. Though it seems to be a pretty big gap in my coverage, I can't say that I was really that interested in the story. In general I haven't written about doping because there are plenty of blogs out there that do and frankly I am quite cynical about that whole thing. I did admire Marion Jones and think she did a lot for women's sports but I was not all that surprised by her confession.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I am sick to death of hearing about Amelie's "burnout." She not only had appendicitis and a long recovery, she then had a recovery-related injury. And it's not as though she were injury-prone; she fixed that problem when she modified her serve several years ago.

I have a good feeling about Amelie in 2008. I have a kind of good feeling about Golovin, too--her game has improved SO much--but one has to wonder about those ankles of hers. A Frenchwoman to watch this season is Virginie Razzano, the hard-working player who finally had her breakthrough in 2007. She was just defeated by Dominika Cibulkova, but--in my opinion--Cibulkova has a good chance of being one of this year's breakout stars. She is really good.