Category: winter Olympic sports

BBC SPOTY 2010 – the nominees

By , 15th December 2010 23:17

Last year SportingLandmarks mapped the home-towns of the nominees for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and speculated on the extent to which block votes might influence the result.

Unlike 2009, all members of the 2010 shortlist were actually born in the British Isles.  While Northern Ireland will celebrate two nominees this year, Scotland and Wales – which provided the winners in 2008 and 2009 respectively – have none.  David Haye is the only Londoner – compared with three in 2010 – and Mark Cavendish flies the flag for the Isle of Man for the second year running.


View SPOTY 2010 – The Nominees in a larger map

If block votes are significant, the psephologists will be interested to see how the golfing vote will be divided by Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell.

Last year, SportingLandmarks also pondered the importance of social media in mobilising the electorate.  This year, only Amy Williams has no obvious twitter presence.  Tom Daley and Jessica Ennis both have more than one ‘official’ twitter profile while @jessicaennisftw which appeared shortly after @SporLand tweeted about SPOTY last year has been resurrected to renew their campaign for a Jess victory in 2010.

If the number of twitter followers is significant, a quick survey – undertaken on 15 December – suggests Graeme Swann looks to be in poll position to pick-up the trophy. Ryan Giggs secured the 2009 title with 151, 842 votes – a 29.4% share of the total.  Swann currently has approaching 120,000 followers and the vote takes place in the middle of the third Ashes test in Perth at a time when the nation’s enthusiasm for cricket is high.

The SPOTY 2010 nominees and their twitter followers:

Graeme Swann, cricketer.  Born: Northampton, 24 March 1979 @swannyg66 (116, 197 followers)

David Haye, boxer.  Born: Bermondsey, 13 October 1990  @mrdavidhaye (81,794)

Lee Westwood, golfer. Born: Worksop, 24 April 1973  @westwoodlee (64,563)

Graeme McDowell, golfer.  Born: Portrush, 30 July 1979  @graeme_mcdowell (62,267)

Tom Daley, diver. Born: Plymouth, 21 May 1994  @tomdaley1994 (29,228) @TomDaleytv (1,327)

Jessica Ennis, heptathlete. Born: Sheffield, 28 January 1986  @j_ennis (19,343) @JessicaEnnisNet (1,378) @JessicaEnnisftw (307)

Mark Cavendish, cyclist. Born: Douglas, Isle of Man,  21 May 1985  @cavendishmark (17,649)

Phil Taylor, darts player. Born: Burslem, 13 August 1960  @PhilDTaylor (8,112)

AP McCoy, National Hunt Jockey. Born: Moneyglass, 4 May 1974  @apmccoy (971)

Amy Williams, Bob Skelton. Born: Cambridge, 29 September 1982  (not on twitter!)

SportingLandmarks forwarded some of SporLand’s #SP09 tweets Carl Doran, SPOTY’s editor last year. In his reply, Carl admitted that he was not, then, twitter-savvy.  However @BBCSPOTY is now live and promoting this year’s show: 888 followers as of 15 December.

Prince’s, Knightsbridge: the first Olympic ice-sport venue

By , 15th January 2010 17:48

This week’s tragic earthquake in Haiti appears to have prompted a tweet from London 2012 linking to a web page that reminds us that the 1908 Games came to London at short notice after Italy withdrew Rome as host city following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Missing from LOCOG’s list of innovations that first appeared at London 1908 was the fact that these Games heralded the Olympic Winter Games by including ice skating for the first time.

According to the organisers’ official report (pp 328-341),

Through the goodwill and assistance of the Duchess of Bedford the rink at Prince’s Skating Club was specially opened on October 9 for the practice of competitors. This rink, at which the competitions were held, measures 200 feet by 52 feet (62 x 16m.). A substantial period for practice was thus assured.

Located on the western side of Cadogan Square in Belgravia,  the rink was made available to competitors for training for ten hours a day but, unlike modern Olympic venues, remained open to members at other times.

Competition opened on Wednesday October 28 with Compulsory Figures – the Ladies in the morning and Gentlemen in the afternoon.  A Special Figure Competition was held on the morning of Thursday October 29  with Ladies and Gentlemen’s Free Skating and Pairs competitions in the afternoon.

Pre-dating the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix by 16 years, London 1908 presented Sweden’s Ulrich Salchow (1877-1949) with his only opportunity to skate for an Olympic medal.  Salchow dominated figure skating in the first decade of the 20th Century winning ten world championships (1901-5, 1907-11 ) and nine European titles.  He was successful in adding the London Olympic Gold to his trophy cabinet. Today, Salchow is one of the most frequently used words amongst ice skating commentators.  The jump he invented involves taking off while going backwards from the back inside edge of one blade and landing on the back outside edge of the other blade.  It also comes in double and triple versions depending on the number of full rotations completed in the air.

In winning the Special Figure Competition, N. Panin, also known as Nikolai Alexandrovich Kolomenkin, (1871-1956)  became Russia’s first ever Olympic Gold medalist.

The Prince’s Skating Club opened as an exclusive private members club on 7 November 1896 and became home of the Prince’s Ice Hockey Club by the end of the year.  The rink hosted the first Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity Ice Hockey match in 1900.

In 1902, the London Canadians became the second ice hockey club to be based at Prince’s.  Over the winter of 1903-4, both clubs participated with four others in Europe’s first ice hockey league. The Canadians ended the season as champions with Prince’s runners-up.

A Prince’s vs Paris match at the rink in 1908 was the first in Britain held under the rules of the recently formed  International Ice Hockey Federation.  The first England v Scotland match was hosted in 1910. The British Ice Hockey Association was established at a meeting at the club in 1914.  The BIHA remained the governing body for British ice hockey until 1999 when Ice Hockey UK took over the role.

Prince’s closed in the summer of 1917 and the building was later demolished.

Lake of Monteith, Stirling; would-be venue for rare curling bonspiel

By , 12th January 2010 14:35

Sorry to read that the hopes of Scottish curlers for a rare “bonspiel” have melted away.

One of the most eagerly awaited and rarest sporting events in Scotland – a mass curling competition involving 2,000 players on a frozen Highland loch – has been called off because of safety fears.

via Ban the bonspiel: Scotland’s curling fans gutted as mass match cancelled | UK news | guardian.co.uk.

More on Scotland’s (by-definition) chilly curling landmarks can be found here.

Mapping historical curling places at the Royal Caledonian Curling Club

By , 22nd November 2009 12:01

While creating the map of sporting museums and collections, I was browsing around the website of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club when I stumbled upon a remarkable labour of love – a database of more than 2700 places in Scotland that have an association with the sport.

Fastidious members are progressively plotting the locations on a map which can be found at Historical Curling Places ( scroll down when the page opens).  Knowing how long it took to plot the 56 sporting museums, I tip my hat to my curling counterparts.  More sports should think about how they can exploit the internet to collate, preserve and share their heritage.

And curling has quite a heritage.  According to the RCCC website, curling’s written history dates back to February 1541 when John McQuhin reported a challenge about throwing stones across ice between a monk and a relative of the abbot at Paisley Abbey.

RCCC was founded in 1838 as the Grand Caledonian Curling Club and secured royal patronage in 1842.  In the context of the history of organised sport, the RCCC pre-dates the (English) Football Association – the world’s first football governing body – by a quarter of a century.

The Royal Caledonian Curling Club hopes to include a museum in the proposed Kinross National Curling Academy as mentioned here in the sport’s dedicated historical research blog.

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