Sports / In Play / Off Season
By: James Smith
As a new feature, Daily Lounge is going to start trying to keep you updated every month about the most important storylines to keep in touch with. Since we’re already halfway through July, we thought we’d start today by catching you up on what’s already happened, then give you the perspective for the rest of the month. This month: Lots of intrigue on the international sports scene!
The Once And Future King: Bridging the end of June and beginning of July, there’s a small tennis tournament in England at a place called Wimbledon where some fairly well-known players like to compete. This year provided some of the most scintillating storylines of any Grand Slam of the last couple of years, though. On the women’s side, reigning No. 1 and French Open champ Maria Sharapova couldn’t even make it to the quarterfinals, opening the door for Serena Williams to take home her fifth Wimbledon title. On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal was shocked in the second round, which gave home favorite Andy Murray the chance to ease through the draw and contest his first Wimbledon final. But the biggest story belonged to the oft-written-off Roger Federer, who came into the tournament with fire in his belly and ended up showing, once again, why he’s tennis’s greatest champion, taking home his seventh Wimbledon title, seventeenth Grand Slam title, and the world No. 1 ranking.
Written in the Stars: Last week saw the 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. The game itself was a dismal affair, an 8-0 shellacking of the American League by the National League and won by knuckleballer RA Dickey of the New York Mets. Perhaps more notable was the Home Run Derby that came the day before, in which Prince Fielder took home his second Derby title in four years -- making him just the second player to win more than one Derby, and the first to win a Derby for each League. Perhaps more important than the All-Star break itself is how it represents the opening of the second half of the season and the heating up of the pennant races in each league.
Bicycle Tours: We’re almost exactly at the halfway point of the world’s most important and prestigious bicycle race, the Tour de France. So far, the biggest story has been further milestones by British athletes: while Andy Murray became the first Brit to contest the Wimbledon final in, like, a billion years, Bradley Wiggins became the first British man in twelve years to wear the yellow jersey as the overall leader of the Tour de France. At time of writing, there were still nine stages left to be contested -- meaning there’s still a lot of time for Wiggins’s not-so-substantial lead of 1:53 to vanish into the ether, especially with defending Tour winner Cadel Evans of Australia hot on his tail.
The Games of the 30th Olympiad: Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that it’s time to start getting really pumped for the Olympics, which are due to start in London on 27 July. Among the storylines: Can Michael Phelps repeat his record-setting eight gold medals from Beijing? Can Andy Murray win a gold medal in tennis on home soil in the same arena where he just lost the Wimbledon title? Will London’s improvements to its public transportation system be adequate? How many events will the Royal Family show up to? All this and more is just two weeks away!
[Pic via Wikimedia Commons - Chitrapa]