Ray North’s Top 10 Sporting Disappointments of 2012

by George_East on January 20, 2013

Sport fail

This is a post by Ray North which was originally posted on 29 December 2012 but which was lost from the site during our recent difficulties.  It is not clear whether the post is complete and unfortunately all comments on the post and any graphics originally posted have been lost.

Normally, at this time of year, I do a Top 10 Sporting Moments Review, but this has been such a vintage year for British Sport, there is no challenge in cobbling together ten great moments – from Chelsea winning the Champions League, Wales’ Grand Slam to Andy Murray and a whole host of Olympians, 2012 was positively dripping with sporting success.

So, instead, I decided to take a different look back at the year and consider the disappointments, after all, sport is not just about success, it is about failure, for every winner there has to be someone with their head in their hands wondering how it all went so wrong – it’s what makes sport so compelling. So, here, in no particular order are my Top 10 Sporting Disappointments of 2012.

1. The Olympic Road Race.

After all the build-up and the wonderful opening ceremony, the Olympics really got going on the first Sunday when the cyclists took to the road – as far as I was concerned it was all set for Mark Cavendish to enter The Mall and sprint to glory and pave the way for the rest of the games. Alas, it was not to be, the tactics didn’t really come together and Cav was left with too much to do and came home in 29th place.

2. England v Pakistan Cricket.

England went to the UAE to play Pakistan in good form and promptly got gubbed 3-0 in a test series which suggested that the Test team was in a bit of disarray – fair play however, they regrouped, appointed a new skipper in the wonderful Alistair Cook, rehabilitated Kevin Petersen and went on to record a historic test series win in India.

3. Dai Greene 400m Hurdles Olympics.

It was clear from the early rounds that, UK Athletics Captain, Dai Greene wasn’t it tip-top form coming into the Olympics, he crawled into the final by the skin of his teeth and then came home a gallant, but disappointing fourth.

4. The UK Swimming Team.

The rumours are that the preparation of the British swimmers wasn’t all that it should have been, with some saying that they peaked months before the games – which, isn’t a great deal of use – no golds, one silver and two bronze was a bit crap, especially when everyone else was doing so well.

5. England Euro 2012 defeat on penalties (again).

England played alright in the European Championships, sort of; ok, they held there own, winning the group stage and scoring some great goals. Then they faced Italy in the quarter finals and were hammered by an Andre Pirlo inspired Azzurri – but, miraculously, they were still in it after 120 minutes and then, even more amazingly, went ahead in the inevitable penalty shoot out when Gerrard and Rooney slotted home the first two pens, and one of the Italians put his wide. Then, England remembered that they are England and the plot is always the same, they never win on penalties – Ashley’s Cole and Young missed and Roy’s boys went home.

6. Wales’ Tour of Australia, Rugby.

Wales won the Grand Slam with a great display of powerful and controlled rugby – it came on the back of strong showing in the World Cup – things looked rosy for us Cymraeg for whom rugby is far more important than it should be. Next step, Australia to see if we could achieve something that we haven’t achieved in 40 years, a victorious tour down under – we were confident, we were well prepared – we lost 3 – 0.

7. Paula Radcliffe failure to run in the Olympic Marathon.

I’ve always been fascinated by Paula Radcliffe – at times her performances in various Marathons have been extraordinary, but her career has been tinged with tragic and public failure as she has occasionally pushed her fragile body beyond its limit. Everyone hoped that this Olympics would provide Paula with a chance to finish her career with a glorious run through London – but, alas it wasn’t to be, once again, her body let her down and she didn’t start the race.

8. Andy Murray loses Wimbledon Final.

I would have put my house on Andy Murray winning the final of the All England Tennis Championship – he had breezed to the final and faced a Roger Federer who, surely, was in decline – it seemed that everything pointed to a Murray win – he even took the first set of the final, then, Federer, far from being steamrolled, upped his game and played some of the most fantastic tennis even seen to win in four sets. Britain would have to wait for a first Grand Slam champion for 76 years, but, thankfully the wait was only a matter of weeks as Murray took the US Open.

9. Ricky Hatton’s Comeback. Ricky Hatton was a great boxer and seems like a great bloke – sadly, like many sportsmen (and in particular Boxers), Ricky has struggled to come to terms with retirement – he craves the limelight, the adrenalin of competition and the structure of being training. After retiring in 2009, after a bloody defeat to Manny Pacquiao, Ricky couldn’t resist a come-back and in September 2012, took to the ring to fight the Ukrainian Senchenko – he started well, but, sadly, it became clear that Ricky’s best days were behind him – and he was stopped in round 9.

10. Kauto Star fails to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Kauto Star had come back from injury to take his place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup which he had won twice before – everyone knew that this would probably be his last big race, everyone wanted him to win – sadly, in the event, Kauto Star pulled up after the first circuit and traipsed into retirement.

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