Continuing last week’s Olympic theme, and reprising a favourite topic of mine – apt sporting names – I present my Top 5 Headline-Friendly Names from Beijing. Usain Bolt has been excluded because he appeared in an earlier column, so there are surprise packets galore.
1. Feng Shi
This Chinese swimmer promised much in the Men’s 100m butterfly as he eased into the semi-finals. However the arrangement of the furniture and the presence of Michael Phelps were not conducive to his progress: he missed the medal round after splashing in fifth.
2. Keith Beavers
Call me juvenile (I am), but has there ever been a better name for a hard-working Canadian? Unfortunately, the Maple Leafs’ 200m Individual Medley hope was another Phelps victim, finishing seventh in the final. Further childish sniggers were heard as Beavers was followed in by Britain’s Liam Tancock.
3. Adrian Annus
More adolescent mirth potential here, but this Hungarian athlete gets a guernsey for his potential to be ‘Annus Mirabilis’ or ‘Annus Horribilis’ in tabloid headlines. Honestly, that’s why.
4. Vladimir Jeronimo
This Angolan basketballer is a picture of cross-cultural confusion. Born at the height of his country’s civil war (not difficult, as it lasted 27 years), his handle epitomizes both the communist MPLA and anti-communist UNITA factions. He is presumably known for an eclectic mix of inspirational battle cries and dogmatic statements in the team huddle.
5. The Yingdong Natatorium
Sure, you’ve all heard of the Water Cube, but what about the location for the water polo? Already the scene of some ‘yingdong battles’ (it seems Australia has won or lost every single match by one goal), it also has the poly-lingual charm of a first-class Washeteria. It’s just a shame Italian Robert Acquafresca is a footballer – Acquafresca in the Natatorium would have been a sight to sea.
Incidentally, even more confusing than Vladimir Jeronimo’s name is the statement on Wikipedia that “both the Soviet Union and the U.S. considered [the Angolan civil war] critical to the global balance of power and to the outcome of the Cold War.”
Andrew Jones has been the CEO of Cricket NSW since 2013, overseeing a successful period for the sport in the state which has seen Sydney-based clubs win both the BBL and WBBL and the NSW Breakers become the first fully professional women's sporting team in Australia.
The celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games will be a glowing reminder of the critical role sport plays in modern societies, particularly as nations across the world continue to grapple with the serious consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.