October 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Black Power protest at the 1968 Olympics 200m medal ceremony by African American athletes Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right), the gold and bronze medalists. Peter Norman (left), the silver medalist from Australia and an opponent of the White Australia policy, displayed the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). This was – and is – a powerful example of defiance in the face of racist oppression, in particular, and for human rights for all, in general. Continue reading
Ye Shiwen, 16, Gold Medal 400m Medley Swim.
FLASHBACK – The Western press lashed out as one against China’s medal-winning athletes at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Without the slightest shred of evidence, it systematically raised suspicions of doping, pointing the finger in particular at the young swimmer Ye Shiwen. MANLIO DINUCCI* reminds us that such anti-Chinese racism has a bitter taste of déjà vu. Continue reading
His fastball has long since died. He still has a few curveballs which he throws at us routinely. – Nicholas Burns, U.S. State Department Spokesman
BY PETER C. BJARKMAN*
(August 18, 2016) – Most baseball fans tend to take their idle ballpark pastimes far too seriously. On momentary reflection, even a diehard rooter would have to admit that big-league baseball’s most significant historical figures – say, Mantle, Cobb, Barry Bonds, Walter Johnson, even Babe Ruth himself – are only mere blips on the larger canvas of world events. After all, 95 per cent (perhaps more) of the globe’s population has little or no interest whatsoever in what transpires on North American ballpark diamonds. Babe Ruth may well have been one of the grandest icons of American popular culture, yet little in the nature of world events would have been in the slightest degree altered if the flamboyant Babe had never escaped the rustic grounds of St. Mary’s School for Boys in Baltimore. Continue reading
The Hillsborough disaster was a human crush at Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield, England, on 15 April 1989; with 96 dead and 766 injured it is the worst disaster in British sporting history. The victims were overwhelmingly from the working class.
Following the club’s 11th European Cup win, an 1985 article from the archive of History Today explains why the shadow of fascism hangs over Real’s stellar history. During the Franco years, the ostracised regime used football to initiate a gradual road towards acceptance of the the entry of Spain into NATO in 1982 and the EEC in 1985. The Catalans and the Basques, however, used football as a means of popular anti-fascist protest | DUNCAN SHAW (photos and captions added by TS)
On June 21st, 1964, an ecstatic crowd of 120,000, awash in a sea of red and yellow, cheered and applauded Generalissimo Francisco Franco as he stood up to leave the Madrid summer evening gathering. This was no mass rally of political affirmation that the dictator was leaving, but a football match. Spain had just beaten the Soviet Union in the Final of the European Nations’ Cup; so much more than just a football victory: a triumph for international co-operation over Cold War hostility, but, conversely, perhaps also a triumph over the old Red enemies of the Civil War.
GABRIEL MOLINA on how US Major League Baseball and the Eisenhower administration sabotaged professional baseball in Cuba for counter-revolutionary aims
Built in 1946, Estadio Latinoamericano, the home of the Havana Sugar Kings, is by far the largest ballpark in Cuba, with a capacity of 55,000. Known as the Colossus of Cerro and Gran Stadium, the entire grandstand is covered, and there are open bleachers in the outfield. It is the home of Los Industriales and the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame | http://ballparkdigest.com/
Not even organized baseball escaped the many-faceted, relentless undeclared war the U.S. government has been waging against Cuba for the last almost half a century.
An alleged incident in Cerro Stadium on June 25, 1959 served as the pretext for Washington to cancel the island’s franchise for the Cuban Sugar Kings, a team in the Triple-A International League, the doorway to Major League baseball. It was not something that happened by chance or casually. Continue reading
Former Wyoming basketball star Kenny Sailors waves to the crowd during a ceremony in Laramie, Wyo., honouring his election into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. Sailors died at 95 on January 30 in Laramie | Michael Smith/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle via AP
By WILLIAM MCDONALD
New York Times (February 1) – There was just one witness to the moment Kenny Sailors helped revolutionize the game of basketball — his brother, Bud — but by all accounts no one has ever doubted their story.
The moment came on a hot May day in 1934. The two were tussling, one on one, under an iron rim nailed to the side of the family’s windmill, a wood-shingled, big-bladed landmark that their neighbors on the Wyoming high plains recognized for miles around the way sailors of the usual kind know a lighthouse from miles out at sea. Continue reading