A Century Of Sporting Achievments
edited: Sunday, June 09, 2002
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2002
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Athe close of the twentieth century a long list of people had made their mark in the sporting arena . This article remembers some of the achievments and the people who became Champions .
A star contender must prove to all the world that there is none better . There are many who would love to be a champion , but only very few make it .
A champion must show the goods at a very early stage in life .
From a early age boys and girls are picked to compete at the highest level in their sport . Because they are gifted they
are nurtured by professional coaches and must contend with strict training programs . It takes total dedication with a sincere belief from others to shape out a sporting career , then it takes personal courage , sacrifice , suffering , and that special something
called Grace that makes the mould to be filled with the gold of success and have the name of champion attached .
During the twentieth century a list of names have been engraved
on trophies and medals . These elite brigade of sporting men and women have represented their country and have broken and set new world records . Their achievements in sport are what the future generations strive to attain .
In a few months a new millennium will turn the key and the door will open to the Sydney 2000 Olympic games . Before we close the door to this century , I would like to remember some of the sporting achievements made by champions of this century .
One of the greatest footballers this century came from Belfast .
George Best was one of those rare natural talents the world is
lucky to have seen . On the soccer field his genius with the ball was uncanny . His legendary body swerve and speed as the right
winger for Manchester United left many defenders dizzy , and red
faced , at the ease he passed by . His finishing in front of goal was deadly . A true champion always makes it look so easy and that was George Best all over .
Another champion footballer was a gifted player called Pele . His ease with goal scoring said it all . He perfected the art of bending the ball so unpredictable was Pele he could make something out of nothing . He was at his best playing for Brazil and his contribution saw Brazil become world Champions .
There are many other names that must be included in the list of twentieth century soccer superstars .
Stanley Matthews will always be regarded as the man who set the ball rolling for England . He had a tremendous turn of speed and possessed the gift of close ball control and dribbling skills . He found the back of the net as easy and as often as
the opportunity arose .
Franz Beckenbauer , an extremely cool customer played a concrete role in the central back line of the West German defence . His passing of the ball was precise and was talented both in the air and on the deck .
Johan Cryuff was a charismatic player from Holland . His ability take people on and create chances brought new life into a Dutch team that began to emerge as one of the strongest teams at international level .
Michel Platini was a freekick specialist . He had a great sense of placing a ball into the back of the net . Soccer was like a
love affair to him and he played with a French passion that embraced the game . It seemed as if he had nothing to loose but a lot to win and so gave his all , on the ball .
In the Boxing ring Barry Mc Guigan from Northern Ireland brought home the World Championship belt . His determination to win brought tears of joy to Irish eyes all around the world .
Some of the biggest names who stepped into the ring during the twentieth century are Max Schmelling from Germany , Lazio Papp from Hungry , Teofillo Stevenson from Cuba , and two Americans Ray Leonard , and The greatest , Muhammad Ali .
Now and then somebody comes along and invents a new method
to achieving success . This creative genius is the spark of a champion and belonged to a man by the name of Dick Fosbury
who was competing in the high jump on the track and field .
His original back flip jump over the bar brought him gold
in the Olympics and since that event his method of jumping
has been known as the Fosbury Flip . His style has been taken
up by athletes in all major world competitions .
A Superstar of the track was Roger Bannister who was the first to break the four minute mile . Some of the other stars of the track are, Haile Gebrselassi from Ethiopia , Emil Zatopek from Czechoslovakia , Fanny Blankers-Koen from Holland , Betty Cuthbert from Australia , and Americians Evelyn Ashford , Jackie Joyner-Kersee , and Carl Lewis .
The game of Tennis has seen a lot of grand slam champions
Some players are fanatical about their game and this drive
to succeed is one of the factors they do just that . Some
of the biggest names in tennis are ranked with Americans like
Billie-Jean King , John Mc Enroe , Chris Evert , Martina Navratilova , and Arthur Ash . The other names that have made the grade are Bjorn Borg from Sweden , and from Australia
Rod Laver and Margaret Court , another superstar of the tennis court is Steffi Graf from Germany .
Ball games have provided the world with many codes and each
sport has its masters like Jack Nicklaus in Golf , Michael Jordan
with Basketball , Serge Blanco with Rugby , Jo Montana with
Gridiron and Sadahara Oh in Baseball .
These are but a few of my favourite champions .
I’m sure you may have others of your own .
Lets remember them now for a moment .
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Paul Francis Mc Cann