Diego Armando Maradona had a troubled life -as human as he was- but that does not take away from his geniality, which should be celebrated as genial.
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CURATING THE BEST IN SPORT
Global Edition
December 1-7, 2020


Graffiti depicting Maradona. Photo: Buenos Aires Street Art
Diego: “Genialize” genius and humanize human
It is absolutely fine not to care about Diego Armando Maradona’s (ARG) death. It is also absolutely fine to criticize a person for their mistakes and harm in life. No one “has to” admire a genius since being a genius does not make you a hero, and blindly following a messiah leads to fanaticism, which is very dangerous. At the same time, just displaying hate against a man that was a genius and has transcended in history might just be ignoring that life is full of hues and is not black or white.

Diego made many mistakes in life but something that made him the idol he is is that he was always authentic. Some people claim that authenticity is not very relevant and that one ought to do what is important to your self-interest, even if that means displaying an image that you would not want, just in order to take advantage of the system. To each their own. But a façade of pretending to be perfect is just lying, and lying is also wrong (with its hues). Let’s embrace humans as the humans they are.

It is a fair point to make that geniality should not be admired because in the end geniality relies on factors that are not controlled by thyself, such as genetics. But at the same time, there are people around the world that have exceptional talent and go through life doing other things because society has defined what success is for them: “you gotta do” what brings you money, fame and social approval. Geniuses do not care. Geniuses relish on their talent and they thrive when they are creating, regardless of what society could tell them. If we did not have people that decide to sacrifice everything else to pursue their genius then the world would stagnate.

And it would not only stagnate because geniuses usually create important advances in history but also because there are some sensations that we can access when geniuses create them. An example is feeling the goosebumps from looking at the “barrilete cósmico” goal by Maradona against England at the Estadio Azteca, in 1986. Some individuals unfortunately cannot or do not want to understand how those small moments of genius in sport can captivate millions. That does not make them smarter. In any case it is a reduced ability to appreciate beauty and aesthetics.

Maradona, regardless of the rest of his life, decided to pursue a path that allowed millions to be inspired, to know that even if odds are against you, you can still remain as human as possible and be successful and loved. Love is what we would see Maradona would have with the ball and the world needs more love, not more false pretension in a society of “homo attentis”, where trying to get others’ attention might seem as the most important. Diego’s genius should be celebrated. While someone devotes energy to jealousy and hate, geniuses keep on working.
 
 

 

Five things to know from last week
  1. How to save a life.  Romain Grosjean (FRA) had one of the biggest accidents seen in the last decades of Grand Prix racing, at the Bahrain Grand Prix. His car ended incrusted in the contention barrier and burst into flames. He came out with some hand burns but walked out of the crash. Several factors combined to save his life, including the halo, the car breakin in two, not losing consciousness, and the actions taken to fight the fire. Lewis Hamilton (ENG, Mercedes-Benz) went on to win his fifth consecutive race, over Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull) and Alex Albon (THA; Red Bull), who inherited the podium after Sergio Pérez’ (MEX, Racing Point) engine blew from third place with two and a half laps to go. Watch the race highlights (F1)
  2. Big in Japan. It was a big weekend for sports in Japan, but the Giants lost to the SoftBank Hawks, who won their fourth straight Japan Series Baseball championship and have now won 12 straight Japan Series Games. In horse racing, Almond Eye (JAP) -ridden by Christophe Lemaire (FRA)- saw her career come to an end by winning the Japan Cup over Triple Crown winners Contrail (JAP) and Daring Tact (JAP). In car racing, Nissan’s Naoki Yamamoto (JAP) and Tadasuke Makino (JAP) won the Super GT GT500 Championship literally in the last meters, when Ryō Hirakawa (JAP) ran out of fuel in the final straight in front of his Toyota home crowd. It was also dramatic in GT300, where Hiroki Yoshida (JAP) and Kohta Kawaai (JAP) won the race but they could not stop Kiyoto Fujinami (JAP) and João Paulo de Oliveira (BRA) from becoming Champions by taking the second place. Finally in Golf, Erika Hara (JAP) took the Japan LPGA Tour Championship, although Ayaka Furue (JAP took the Mercedes ranking. Watch the Fuji 300km race highlight (Super GT)
  3. Germany and Norway lead the way in snow. Winter sports are on. Some athletes and the top two nations in the 2018 Winter Olympics are dominating the scene. Norway took 5 out of 6 gold medals in the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup and both golds in the Nordic Skiing World Cup (Jarl Magnus Riiber), while Germany took a gold and a silver in the FIS Ski Jump World Cup opening round (Markus Eisenbichler), and Halvor Egner Granerud (NOR) took the other one. Where Germany is dominating is in bobsled, with four golds in four Men’s Bobsled World Cup races so far. In Luge they took three out of four golds in the first FIL Luge World Cup. The other dominant force seems to be Latvian Skeleton, with Martins Dukurs (LTA) seeming unstoppable with a home World Cup win following two last weekend, winning over his brother Tomass (LAT) – watch (IBSF).
  4. Consecutive wins. Emily Kristine Pedersen (DEN) became the second player ever -the first in 31 years- to win three consecutive Ladies European Tour (Golf) tournaments after winning the Spanish Open. She also won the Race to Costa del Sol, the end-of-year rankings. Another consecutive victory happened in Table Tennis, where Ma Long (CHN) won again, now taking the WTT Macau, which showcased new made-for-fans rules (Watch the highlights – WTT).
  5. £1m on Darts The PDC Tour season has come to an end with the conclusion of the Players’ Championship, won by Michael van Gerwen (NED) for a sixth time, eight months after his last televised title. He defeated Mervyn King (ENG), who had eliminated World Number One Peter Wright (SCO), who had en erratic performance in the semifinals. Wright, however, ended the year as the first player to top £1m on the Order of Merit. Earlier in the week, José de Sousa (POR) defeated James Wade (ENG) to take the Grand Slam (PDC).
GLOBAL PODIUM OF THE WEEK
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo. Photo: Facebook, Johannes Høsflot KlæboGold: Johannes Høsflot Klæbo
(Norway, Cross-Country Skiing)

Klæbo opened the 2020-21 Cross-Country Skiing World Cup season proving why he is still the best in the world and one of the best in history: he successfully defended the Nordic Opening (Ruka Triple) three-day event crown, his third win in the opening round of the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup. He won the overall by taking two golds and a silver in three competitions: gold in 15 km Freestyle Pursuit and the 15 km Classic, and silver in the Sprint, where he was surprised by countryman Erik Valnes (NOR), while Emil Iversen (NOR) completed the Norwegian sweep.

Watch the 15 km Pursuit highlights (FIS Ski)
Therese Johaug (NOR). Photo: Facebook, Therese Johaug.Silver: Therese Johaug
(Norway, Cross-Country Skiing)

Therese won her third Nordic Opening 3-day event, the first event of the 2020-21 FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup season, to again prove that she is the woman to beat this year. She won the Overall standing after winning two of three events: the 10 km Classic and the 10 km Pursuit, although she was 30th in Sprint, having lost out in quarterfinals. The Sprint had a Swedish 1-2-3 sweep with Linn Svahn, Maja Dahlqvist and Jonna Sundling.

Watch the 10 Kilometers Pursuit Highlights
Francesco Fredrich. Photo: IBSF|Viesturs LācisBronze: Francesco Friedrich
(Germany, Bobsleigh)

Francesco Friedrich has won the four opening races of the 2-man Bobsled World Cup in Sigulda, the last two this weekend, where he broke the track record. It was especially impressive that, just as last week, he made it with two different brakemen: Alexander Schueller (GER) and Thorsten Margis (GER). Friedrich now has a total of 27 World Cup gold medals won.
 
Watch the highlights magazine from Sigulda (IBSF)
GLOBAL SPORTS AGENDA

 Week Preview
Formula 1 will have a second consecutive race at Bahrain albeit this time in the outer circuit, which will see the lowest lap times in history of the series. Hamilton will not be able to take a sixth consecutive win since he has tested positive for covid-19 and will have to be substituted. Pietro Fittipaldi (BRA) will make his deébut for Haas F1, replacing injured Romain Grosjean (FRA).

The NFL Game Week has been extended until Wednesday when the Ravens face top league Steelers (10-0). The game has been postponed three times amid a Ravens’ covid-19 outbreak. Covid also affected Broncos, who did not have an eligible Quarterback, which meant they had to use Wide Receiver Kendall Hinton (USA). They only achieved one successful pass in their 37-12 defeat to the Raiders.

Boxing is back in the mainstream not after the more-important Minimum Title fight where Chayaphon Moonsri (THA) was surprised by Panya Pradabsri (THA) but after the exhibition bout where Mike Tyson (USA) unofficially drew to Roy Jones Jr (USA) and YouTuber Jake Paul (USA) knocked former NBA star Nate Robinson (USA) out. This momentum should be carried over to the fight between unbeaten Errol Spence Jr (USA) and Danny Garcia (USA), who lost to Shawn Porter (USA), the last rival Errol beat. There will also be an All-Brit showdown for the WBO Super Middle and an All-Japanese for the WBO Female Minimum Title.

Horse Racing will have Group I races around the world, a week after we saw a Triple Crown winner in Trinidad & Tobago, with Wise Guy (TTO), ridden by Kimal Santo (TTO), and also saw Summer Pudding (RSA) -with Warren Kennedy (RSA) on the mount- take the G1 Gauteng Summer Cup, her ninth win in nine races.

Petra Vlhová (SVK) won again, now in the latest Parallel Slalom FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup. Will she also win the Giant Slalom race this weekend?

The UEFA Champions League will have its second-to-last Matchday of the Preliminary Phase. Bayern München (GER), Manchester City (ENG), Chelsea (ENG), Sevilla (ESP), Barcelona (ESP), and Juventus (ITA) are already classified to the knock-out stage.

Yachting has been eventful, as Thomas Coville’s (FRA) Sodebo crossed the equator nine hours ahead of the Round-the-world World Record of the Trophée Jules Verne. Meanwhile, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has seen drama, as third place Kevin Escoffier (FRA) activated his distress button and has just been rescued from his raft by Jen Le Cam (FRA). Five skippers were on the way to rescue him.

The Cyclo-Cross World Cup is now in usual Belgian territory, after a round in Czechia that saw a Belgian 1-2-3-4 (Vanthourenhout-Iserbyt-Van Aert-Aerts) in the men’s race and a Dutch 1-2-3 (Brand-Alvarado-Betsema) in the women’s race.

Alpine Skiing:
FIS World Cup Giant Slalom Italy
FIS World Cup Super G Switzerland

American Football:
NFL Regular Season

Association Football:
UEFA Champions League Matchday

Athletics:
Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP (Platinum)

Auto sport:
FIA Formula 1 (Sakhir, BAH)
FIA World Rally Championship (ACI Rally Monza, ITA)

Biathlon:
IBU World Cup Finland

Billiards:
WPA – Mosconi Cup (England)
WPSBA World Snooker Tour – BETWAY UK CHAMPIONSHIP 2020 (England)
WPSBA World Snooker Tour – Scottish Open 2020 (England)

Bobsled:
Women’s Monobob World Series

Boxing:
World Boxing Organization World Super Middle Title – Billy Joe Saunders (ENG) vs Martin Murray (ENG)
World Boxing Council, International Boxing Federation World Welter Titles – Errol Spence Jr (USA) vs Danny Garcia (USA)
vacant World Boxing Organization World Female Minimum Title – Ayaka Miyao (JAP) vs Etsuko Tada (JAP)

Chess:
Speed Chess Championship Main Event Round of 8 (3 Games)

Cricket:
Men’s T20i South Africa vs England Game 3
Men’s T20i Australia vs India
Men’s ODI Australia vs India
Men’s ODI South Africa vs England
2019–21 ICC World Test Championship New Zealand vs West Indies

Cross-Country Skiing:
FIS World Cup Finland

Cyclo-cross:
2020-2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Belgium

eSports:
Arena of Valor (King Pro League Fall 2020)
PUBG Mobile Global Championship Season 0 starts
Starcraft II – 2020 AfreecaTV GSL Super Tournament 2
Starcraft II – TeamLiquid StarLeague 6

Golf:
LPGA Tour – Volunteers of America Classic (Texas)
PGA Tour – Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN (México)

Horse Racing (Flat)
Kingston Town Classic (Australia)
Clásico El Ensayo (Chile)
Clásico Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (Dominican Republic)
Champions Cup (Japan)
Duke of York Cup (Mauritius)
Captain Cook Stakes (New Zealand)
Clásico Día de la Madre (Panamá)
Clásico Camarero (Puerto Rico)
Cigar Mile H., Starlet S. (USA)

Horse Racing (Jump)
Henry VIII Novices Chase, Tingle Creek Chase (England)
John Durkan Memorial Chase (Ireland)

Luge:
FIL World Cup Germany

Polo:
Argentine Open

Rugby:
Autumn Nations Cup Finals

Sailing:
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Leg 9
Vendée Globe
Tropheé Jules Verne

Simracing:
BMW SIM LIVE Event
rFactor2 GT Pro Series

Ski Jumping:
FIS World Cup (Russia)

*This agenda is based on official information at time of publication. All events are subject to change and/or cancellation.
 
 

Sport’s best values

Small Titan: Christophe Dominici
Small Titan: Christophe Dominici

Christophe Dominici was small in size for Rugby standards but one of the best runners in Rugby, as this tribute video by World Rugby shows. French Rugby legend Dominici passed away this week, aged 48, from injuries sustained in a fall. He had episodes of depression (BBC) in his life but will be remembered for his highs, as shown in this video.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Thanks for your support messages. I will be under observation and I hope to return to the pitch soon”

Raúl Jiménez (MEX)

2012 Olympic Gold Medalist
Wolverhampton Wanders and Mexican National Football Team Player
After suffering a fractured skull from a head clash with David Luiz (BRA)

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