Beyond the News
Before I start my Sports Review of this weekend I would like to send my condolences to Allan Simonsen’s family. The Danish driver died on Saturday during Le Mans 2013 after crashing at Tertre Rouge, one of fastest corners at Circuit de la Sarthe. Simonsen is the 22nd racer to die at Le Mans, the first in this century! The last fatal accident happened in 1997 when a local driver named Sébastien Enjolras died during the practices. The Austrian Josef “Jo” Gartner was until Saturday the last racer to lose his life during the competition itself. It was in 1986.
Despite the tragedy, Aston Martin decided to continue in the race this year with an apparent support of Simonsen’s family that would have asked for the British automaker to not discontinue its participation in Le Mans this weekend. Aston Martin also published a statement signed by its racing director John Gaw to extend its condolences to Simonsen’s family and friends.
The Danish driver Tom Kristensen once again won the race as he did 8 times in the past. His last triumph was in 2008. This year he went out with the drivers Allan McNish, from UK and Loic Duval, from France, on the board of an Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro.
Another great news from LeMans is that Porsche has announced its return to the traditional French race in 2014 to compete at LMP1 prototype category. Kristensen’s first victory in LeMans back in 1997 was on board of a Porsche prototype built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing and run by Joest Racing. At the opportunity, Kristensen raced with the Italian legend Michele Alboreto (1953-2001) and the Sweden Stefan Johansson. However, beside the 2003 edition when Kristensen run with Bentley Speed 8, the Danish driver has been partnering with Audi since 2000 and it is unlike he will be joining Porsche next year. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that major car manufacturers are returning to invest in racing at higher level. In the beginning of this year, Honda announced its return to F-1 in 2015.
In basketball, LeBron James made history! His performance last Thursday in the NBA Final was above and beyond to his 2011 appearance, when he was accused of not doing enough to prevent Dallas Mavericks first title ever. And I am not only talking about his last jump shot in the last 30 second of 4th quarter, he was a “monster” for the entire game. There were 37 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assistances. That is “ridiculous”! As a comparison, the 3 points king Dwyane Wade scored only 23 points and Ray Allen did not even manage to throw a ball inside the baskets in Miami.
San Antonio Spurs did what was possible to do and put a great show together. The match was very close, an extension to what happened in the entire play-off! But it was clear that Miami Heat had the control, or better saying, James had the control of the game and was just waiting for the right moment to decide. Congratulations Heat! It is their first back to back Championship victory in just 25 years of history. Miami Heat was also champion in 2006.
The Confederations Cup, which in Brazil has been also called as “Manifestations” Cup, closed its group of stage last weekend. Brazil beat Italy on Saturday by 4 x 2 showing a solid football, different to what I said here one week ago. The team is finally playing as a “team” and Neymar is proving why Barcelona paid so much for his skills! The host nation qualified in first with 3 victories in 3 matches, while Italy came in second with only one lost to Brazil.
On Group B, Spain suffered against a well fit Nigeria that put a lot of pressure on the World and European champions from the very beginning. While the Africans bet their money on fast contra-attacks, the Spanish team focused on their pass skills to score 3 x 0. In the other game of this group, Uruguay defeated Tahiti by 8 x 0 and will face Brazil in the semifinals. Spain x Italy is the other clash.
So far there were two great moments in this Confederations Cup that I would like to highlight. First, the Brazilian supporters who sang their national anthem until the end even though the sound system cut it half way through last Wednesday and Saturday. It was really touching! The second highlight was the way how Tahiti left the competition. For a team that suffered 24 goals and scored only 1 in 3 matches, this event should be considered as a shame one for any squad, not for them. Tahitian players wrapped themselves in the Brazilian flag and run around the stadium waiving at the supporters who were standing and clapping back at them.
With 22 of their 23 players being amateurs, their visit to Brazil this year was the best award they could get after winning the Oceania Cup. What they did not know was that Brazilians would be handling a “trophy” even bigger than the one that will be given to this competition’s winner: the recognition for their efforts!
To come this week
Today Boston Bruins will host the 6th play-off final match against Chicago Blackhawks, and they are in big trouble. Bruins must win tonight to force the last game away. They seemed to have lost their confidence after been defeated at home in the 4th game last Wednesday. Blackhawks on the other hand are getting stronger and stronger; however, in Ice Hockey a fraction of a second may make a difference between an easy win and a painful lost! You should not miss the game tonight!
This Monday also marks the beginning of Wimbledon 2013 in London. The oldest tennis tournament (it is been held since 1877) has some interesting particularities this year. The current ATP number 1 player, Novak Djokovic, seems to have a free road ahead to the final with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray seating on the other side of the draw. By the way, Nadal and Federer can only meet up this year in the quarter-finals. And if Murray wants revenge against the Swiss legend from last year’s lost in the final, then he will have to do it in the semi-final.
I will be back next Monday with some bets on Wimbledon 2013 because during the French Open I went wrong on all of them. So, let’s wait a few more days before risking some scores. Ah, next weekend the F-1 will be back too with the British GP. The sports agenda in UK will be busy this week! Get ready!