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Monday, November 30, 2009

Fifa World Cup match balls through time

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, holds the ball used in the 1930 Football World Cup with Gordon Brown who holds the 1966 Football World Cup ball

The 1930 World Cup final was played between the hosts, Uruguay, and Argentina. Due to a dispute, a different ball was used in each half, one chosen by each team. Argentina's ball was used for the first half...
and Uruguay's ball was used for the second half

Allen, the official match ball of the 1938 FIFA World Cup in France
The Super Duplo T, the official match ball of the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Zizinho of Brazil controlling the ball during the 1950 World Cup match between Brazil and Yugoslavia
The official match ball of the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland
The official match ball of the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden
Crack, the official match ball of the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile
The Special Edition Slazenger match ball of the 1966 FIFA World Cup final between England and Germany in England
Alan Ball under pressure from Karl-Heinz Schnellinger during the 1966 Word Cup final between England and West Germany
Adidas Telstar, the official match ball of the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. The ball was painted with black and white panels so it was more visible on black and white television
The ball remained the same for the 1974 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The name Telstar is actually short for television star
Dutch forward Johan Cruyff controls the ball under pressure from a West German player during the 1974 World Cup final
Adidas Tango Durlast, the official match ball of the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina. The design was used for the next twenty years. At the time it was the most expensive ball in history at £50
Adidas Tango Espana, the official match ball of the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. The ball boasted improved water resistant qualities and was the last genuine leather ball to be used in the World Cup
Paolo Rossi of Italy shields the ball from Junior of Brazil during the 1982 World Cup match between Brazil and Italy
Adidas Azteca, the official match ball for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico was the first fully synthetic World Cup ball. The design was inspired by Mexico's native Aztec architecture and murals
Maradona of Argentina scores against England during the 1986 World Cup quarter-final
Adidas Etrusco Unico, the official match ball of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. The name and intricate design took their inspiration from Italy's ancient history and the fine art of the Etruscans
John Barnes in action during the 1990 World Cup match against Ireland in Cagliari in Italy
Adidas Questra, the official match ball of the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA. The ball was popular with strikers as it was made for speed and control however goalkeepers complained of the ball's unpredictability
Adidas Tricolore, the official match ball of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. The design of blue triads decorated with cockerel motifs represented the colours of the French flag. It was the first ball to use colour in its design
Steven Gerrard, left, and David Beckham present the Adidas Fevernova, the official match ball of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. The heavily criticised ball was the first to part from the traditional adidas tango design since 1978
David Beckham places the ball prior to taking a penalty for England against Argentina during their group F match at the 2002 World Cup finals
Zinedine Zidane presents the Adidas Teamgeist, the official match ball of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Designers claimed the ball was the roundest ever
Wayne Rooney clashed with Cristiano Ronaldo during the World Cup 2006 semi-final between England and Portugal. The challenge earnt Rooney a red card
A special edition gold Adidas Teamgeist was created for the 2006 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and France

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

7 Athletes Who Went Directly To Jail

It’s been a rough week for former NFL players on the judicial circuit. O.J. Simpson couldn’t beat a robbery and kidnapping charge and now faces life in prison. Former first-round bust running back Lawrence Phillips got slapped with a 10-year prison sentence following his own checkered career on the wrong side of the law. These sentences may come as a surprise to cynical fans who think there’s no way a famous athlete could end up in prison, but sports figures serving hard time isn’t exactly uncommon. Here are seven who did not pass go, did not collect their $200, and went directly to jail.

Craig MacTavish

As an NHL player, MacTavish was a solid center who enjoyed a long career that spanned from 1979 to 1997. He even won four Stanley Cups. However, he missed the entire 1984-85 season because he was incarcerated. MacTavish had been driving drunk on January 25, 1984, when he was in a wreck that killed a 26-year-old woman. MacTavish was found guilty of vehicular homicide and spent a year in jail before resuming his career. He’s currently the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

. Rae Carruth

Perhaps the most infamous of all NFL players, Rae Carruth’s career as a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers actually got off to a promising start. During his rookie season in 1997, he caught 44 passes, including four touchdowns, and made the NFL’s all-rookie squad. In 1999, though, everything unraveled for him. His pregnant girlfriend was caught in a drive-by shooting. Despite four shots being fired in the car, she managed to call 911 and describe Carruth’s role in the assault. The receiver apparently blocked her car while a shooter in a separate car fired the shots. Carruth posted $3 million bail, but after his girlfriend died, he took off. He was eventually found in Tennessee, hiding in the trunk of a car with a huge pile of cash, some snacks, and a bottle to hold his urine. He’s currently serving no less than 18 years, 11 months in prison following a conviction for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Ugueth Urbina

Baseball fans remember Urbina as a solid right-handed reliever with a nice fastball/slider combo that helped the Florida Marlins win the World Series in 2003. Fans of Venezuelan jurisprudence remember Urbina as the man behind a horrific assault. Urbina was convicted of attempted murder in 2007 following an incident in which he allegedly attacked five workers on his Venezuelan farm with a machete and then tried to douse them in gasoline. Urbina maintains that he was asleep during the attack and that he is innocent. Nevertheless, he received convictions for attempted murder, illegal deprivation of liberty, and violating a Venezuelan law that prohibits taking justice into your own hands. He’s serving a 14-year prison term.

Mike Danton

Lowly players have been known to run afoul of the law, too. Take Mike Danton, a fairly low-level NHL center who played for the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues. Danton racked up 141 penalty minutes during the 2003-04 season, but off the ice he didn’t do his own dirty work. When he wanted his agent, David Frost, dead in 2004, he didn’t want to get his own hands dirty. Instead, he tried to hire a hitman to do the job for him. Unfortunately for Danton, his “hitman” was actually a police dispatcher. Danton pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and is currently serving a 90-month term in federal prison.

Denny McLain

Denny McLain’s career as a Major League pitcher was brilliant. He won two Cy Young awards, an American League MVP award, and a World Series ring during a career that ran from 1963 to 1972. He’s still mentioned on baseball broadcasts as the last man to win 30 games in a season. McLain wasn’t quite a masterful off the field, though. He had a penchant for gambling, which led him to make underworld connections and even run his own bookmaking operation. These troubles eventually led to the end of his baseball career, at which point McLain veered further afoul of the law. He worked for a Florida financial services company with rumored Mob ties, which led to a 1985 conviction for racketeering, extortion, and drug trafficking. He spent a couple of years in jail on that charge, and then bought a Michigan meat-processing plant in 1994. Two years later the plant went bankrupt, and McLain and his partner were charged with looting $12.5 million from the company’s pension fund. McLain spent six years in federal prison for the theft and was released in 2003.

Darryl Henley

Darryl Henley was enjoying a nice career as a starting cornerback for the Los Angeles Rams until 1995, when he was convicted for cocaine trafficking. He received a 20-year sentence for those charges, which quickly ended his NFL career. He made things worse for himself by then attempting to hire a hitman to murder his ex-girlfriend—a former Rams cheerleader and a witness in the trial—and the judge. His sentence then ballooned to 41 years, and he won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 65 years old. To his credit, Henley has realized the error of his ways and now runs a website and charity to try to help other athletes from falling victim to the same forces that brought him down.

Don King

Don King may be known for his trademark fright-wig hair and his inimitable diction, but before he became boxing’s most powerful promoter, he served time. In fact, he killed two different men before his rise to fame. The first case was judged justifiable homicide; King shot a man who had attempted to rob the illegal bookmaking joint he ran. The second killing, though, occurred when King beat to death an employee who owed him money. King was convicted of second-degree murder for this killing, but the charges were later reduced to manslaughter. He ended up spending around four years in jail for the killing.

Greatest Sports Moments of All Time

Dwight Clark

Great Moment: The Catch

The Catch was the winning touchdown reception from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the January 10, 1982 NFC Championship American football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. The Catch is widely regarded as one of the most memorable events in NFL history. Montana threw a high pass to the back of the end zone. 49ers receiver Dwight Clark made a leaping grab with his fingertips from the back of the end zone for the winning touchdown with 51 seconds left in the game.

Diego Maradona

Great Moment: Diego Maradona’s goals for Argentina against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup

AKA The Hand of God and the Goal of the Century. The Hand of God, one of the most controversial goals, was scored as the result of an illegal (but unpenalised) handball by Diego Maradona in the quarter-final match of the 1986 FIFA World Cup between England and Argentina. Five minutes later, Maradona scored another goal, the Goal of the Century, also known as “Greatest Goal in FIFA World Cup History”, was an award given for the greatest goal ever scored in a FIFA World Cup tournament. Maradona then began his 60-metre, 10-second dash towards the English goal, leaving behind five English outfield players (Hodge, Beardsley, Reid, Butcher and Fenwick) as well as goalkeeper Peter Shilton to make the score 2–0 to Argentina.

Rocky Marciano

Great Moment: Rocky Marciano Retires As Heavyweight Champ Undefeated at 49-0

was the heavyweight champion of the world from 1952 to 1956. Marciano, with forty-three knockouts to his credit (87.8% knockout rate), remains the only heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire having won every fight in his professional career.

Kerri Strug

Great Moment: Kerri Strug’s one footed Vault

Was an gymnast for the 1996 Olympics, upon her first attempt Strug under-rotated the landing of her first attempt, causing her to fall and damage her ankle. Strug thus limped slightly to the end of the runway for her second attempt. She landed the vault briefly on both feet, almost instantly hopping onto only her good foot. Strug raised her arms after her vault, saluting the judges. She then needed assistance off the landing platform due to the injury. The completed vault received score of 9.712, which ended all doubt about whether the Americans would receive the gold.

Jackie Robinson

Great Moment: Jackie Robinson Signs a Major League Contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers

He was the first African-American major league baseball player of the modern era in 1947. his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers ended approximately eighty years of baseball segregation. In the United States at this time, many white people believed that blacks and whites should be segregated or kept apart in many aspects of life, including sports.

Bob Beamon

Great Moment: Bob Beamon long jumps 29' 2 1/2 inches to shatter the world record by more than two feet

On October 18, 1968 at Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Beamon set a World record for the Long jump with a jump of 8.90 m (29 ft. 2½ in.). Destroying the last record by about 2 ft. Sports journalist Dick Schaap wrote a book about the leap, called The Perfect Jump. The record stood for 23 years until Mike Powell broke it by only 2 inches in 1991.

Lou Gehrig

Great Moment: Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech

A native of New York City, he played for the New York Yankees until his career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now commonly referred to in the United States as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Over a 15-season span between 1925 and 1939, he played in 2,130 consecutive games. On July 4, 1939, a dying man stood before over 60,000 people and told them he was the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” for being able to play in ballparks for 17 years, and recieve nothing but kindness and encouragement from his fans. Lou Gehrig became a symbol of what sports, and maybe life is all about. accepting your destiny, giving it your all, and enjoying every moment, good or ill.

Mark McGwire

Great Moment: Mark McGwire over Sammy Sosa, 70-66, for the new home-run crown

There was much media speculation as to where Maris’ HR record would be broken in 1998, and a debate as to who would break it, Ken Griffey, Jr. or McGwire. As the 1998 season progressed, it became clear that McGwire, Griffey, and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa were all on track to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record. The race to break the record first became a media spectacle as the lead swung back and forth. On September 8, 1998 at 8:18 p.m. et, McGwire hit a pitch by the Chicago Cubs’ Steve Trachsel over the left field wall for his record-breaking 62nd home run, setting off huge celebrations at Busch Stadium. McGwire finished the 1998 season with 70 home runs, four ahead of Sosa’s 66.

Bobby Thompson

Great Moment: Bobby Thompson’s shot heard round the world

Thomson became a celebrity for hitting a game-winning home run in a playoff game, off of Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, to win the 1951 National League pennant. The home run (nicknamed the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”) is perhaps the most famous in baseball history. The Dodgers and Giants split the first two games. This forced the decisive contest on October 3rd at the Polo Grounds. The Dodgers took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Giants’ cause appeared lost. But Thomson’s homer turned what looked like a certain defeat into a 5-4 victory. The moment was immortalized by the famous call of Giants play-by-play announcer Russ Hodges who cried, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”

Wilt Chamberlain

Great Moment: Wilt Chamberlain Scores 100 Points in a Single Game

Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, named by the National Basketball Association as one of its greatest games, took place between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962 at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. With 46 seconds left, Chamberlin had 98 pts. Chamberlain got free from the five Knicks, jumped high and stuffed the ball through the hoop for an alley-oop slam dunk to hit the century mark. The arena exploded in a frenzy. Over 200 spectators stormed the floor, wanting to touch the hero of the night. Some confusion remains about whether the game’s last 46 seconds were played. According to the NBA, play was halted and never resumed.


Great Moment: Cal-Stanford Play

The Play refers to a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the University of California Golden Bears and the Stanford University Cardinal on November 20, 1982. Given the circumstances and rivalry, the wild game that preceded it, the very unusual way in which The Play unfolded, and its lingering aftermath on players and fans, it is recognized as a highly memorable play in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports.

Jesse Owens

Great Moment: Jesse Owens Debunks Aryan Myth

Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes German athletes would dominate the games with victories. Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of “Aryan racial superiority” and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals. one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team.

Michael Phelps

Great Moment: Michael Phelps wins 8 Gold Medals at the Olympics

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals, the record for the most medals won at a single olympics. With this record, he surpassed Mark Spitz, who had held the previous gold medal total with the seven. In the 2008 Olympics Michael Phelps set 7 new world records, only missing the 100 m Butterfly, where he beat Milorad Cavic by 0.01 seconds.

Michael Jordan

Great Moment: Michael Jordan’s Final Shot

Michael Jordan is often referred to as the best player to play the game. He is a 5 time NBA MVP and 6 time NBA finals MVP. Michael Jordan played his last game with the bulls
in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals at the Delta Center, the Chicago Bulls led the series 3-2, but trailed the game 86-85 with 10 seconds left. Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left. Jordan then released a shot that would be rebroadcast innumerable times in years to come. The perfect way to go out. We can all just pretend the wizards never really happened.

US Hockey Team

Great Moment: 1980 USA Hockey Team Defeats Soviet

Rag tag bunch of mostly teenaged amateurs, barely together a few months and playing a sport invented and perfected elsewhere, take on the most polished, professional and unbeatable team in the history of international hockey, and win it. In exhibitions that year, Soviet club teams had gone 5–3–1 against National Hockey League teams, and a year earlier the Soviet national team had defeated the NHL All-Stars 6–0 to win the Challenge Cup. The Soviet and American teams were natural rivals due to the decades-old Cold War. In the final seconds of the game the crowd began to count down the seconds left. Sportscaster Al Michaels, who was calling the game on ABC along with former Montreal Canadians goalie Ken Dryden, picked up on the countdown in his broadcast, and delivered his famous call “…Eleven seconds, you’ve got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk…five seconds left in the game…Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” US won the game 4-3. This victory was voted the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated.