Watching Bill Burr‘s hysterical bit on the Conan O’Brien show four years ago when he dissected Oprah‘s big reveal interview with Lance Armstrong – during which the disgraced Tour de France cyclist finally copped to the drug use that everyone had suspected for years – it dawned on me, if Lance was always assumed to be guilty though he passed every drug test, why hasn’t the public made the same assumption about the biggest names in athletics? Or maybe they have.
I’m not suggesting anything, just wondering out loud how the public mind works. (Really, this is just an excuse to post Bill Burr’s take on Oprah and Lance, which is funny and insightful at the same time, no easy task.)
So let’s look at the situation with athletics, especially in light of German ARD TV‘s recent investigation alleging the IOC covered up positive Jamaican test results from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where the sprint juggernaut won eleven medals.
First, both cycling and athletics have been awash in performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) for years, to the gills. And while people all around them get popped, the top guy who produces historic performances continues to sail along testing clean while whooping all the dirty boys.
That was the glory for Lance, right, how the one clean guy who had overcome cancer was able to beat all the drugged up guys. Isn’t that Usain Bolt, minus the cancer? Or is the difference in public outlook simply a matter of personality? Continue reading
Tesfaye Abera wins in Dubai over defender Birhanu
Last night’s Standard Charter Dubai Marathon showed in microcosm all the strengths as well as all the weaknesses confronting foot racing as public spectacle. From a purely athletic standpoint it was a terrific show with 23 year-old unknown Tesfaye Abera of Ethiopia coming back in the final 500 meters to sling shot past defending champion Hayle Lemi Berhanu by nine seconds in 2:04:24 to notch a five-minute PR!
But except for a small, but enthusiastic gathering of Ethiopian ex-pats at the finish, the dead flat, three-turned Dubai course layout was as empty as the Revlon makeup counter at the local mosque.
“Money” Mayweather bling
Say what you will about Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, the recently retired-now unretired boxing champion (and richest sportsman in the world in 2015), the guy could sell the be-jeezus out of his fights. People just hated the guy with a passion for his swaggering, make-it-rain lifestyle, his pimped up, iced-out persona. And boy, did the people want to see him get his ass handed to him. The fact that none of his opponents could knock his block off just made his next fight sell all the more pay-per-view buys. The guy could sell the sh*t out of his fights.
But the fact is, however you chose to see Mayweather – and his numerous trips to court to defend his treatment of women gave validity to the charge he wasn’t putting on that much of a show, he might actually have been a bit of a d*ck after all – a sport needs its Black Hats to gin up interest going up against the good guy White Hats to promote the game. Continue reading