Good Sports

With Euro 2012 only a matter of days away and Wimbledon and the Olympics on the horizon as well, I’m looking forward to cover a fair bit of sport over this summer, and it got me thinking about my top 5 sporting moments.

Just missing out were Michael Phelps’ gold rush at the Beijing games, Gazza’s 1996 goal against Scotland, Wales’ Grand Slam victories and for sheer showmanship, Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick save against England.

5. Best Goal Celebration Ever?

When I was a kid Eric Cantona was my idol. He was a brilliant player and super cool.

Possibly his best moment is scoring a fantastic goal against Sunderland which he caps with a simple, swaggering celebration that seems to say “Yeah, I’m awesome.” Its about 40 seconds into this video.

4. Federer vs Roddick

Wimbledon, 2009. The final is between Swiss legend Federer and Andy Roddick and everyone, probably even Roddick’s mum, thinks Federer’s gonna win it. Its only a question of how easily he does it.

Not at all easily.

Roddick played the game of his life, and it went the distance, with Federer eventually triumphing 16-14. The whole game was amazing with both players giving it their all and trading points. It remains the greatest tennis match I’ve ever seen.

Federer and Roddick.

3. Derby Victory

In November 2009 I got to cover the South Wales derby as a sports reporter for local radio. You’d think that I’d be over the moon, but at the time every Swansea match I reported on ended up with us losing, and I feared I was cursed. And I really didn’t want to feel responsible if our major rivals beat us.

Luckily, the Swans powered to a 3-2 victory and I vowed that my second born would be named Darren, after Darren Pratley who bagged our winning goal. It was a thrilling match, with a fantastic atmosphere, probably the best I’ve witnessed at a game and its always good to beat your rivals. You can read what I said at the time here.

Pratley celebrates.

2. Bolt

Beijing Olympics 2008, and the world is introduced to an instant sporting icon, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who sets a new world record in the 100 metres, but what makes it more remarkable is the run itself, where Bolt leaves his opponents trailing behind him and starts celebrating before even crossing the line. It could have been seen as arrogant, but personally I just think its wonderful to see someone who’s clearly enjoying themselves, and proud of themselves. A magic Olympic moment.

1. Psycho Scores

This one is all about the backstory. In the 1990 World Cup semi final, England’s Stuart “Psycho” Pearce missed in the penalty shootout, and while not as bad as Chris Waddle’s effort, it helped dump them out of the tournament.

Six years later, England are in another shootout against Spain in front of a home crowd. Pearce steps up to be one of the five. Its a tense moment, Pearce knowing what’s at stake.

He steps up and hammers it into the net, its a wondeful moment, made even better by the sheer joy and passion that pours out of Pearce after he scores.

I remember jumping about with joy as I watched the game and Pearce’s roar of celebration remains one of the most iconic and wonderful sporting moments I’ve ever seen.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO

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