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Above left  (Scroll to read) G. Hill suffering from his right ankle, not the first time for him ~  Top right Scroll down to read Turin’s top marks   Courtesy R. Slagter  Bottom right King James repeats a powerful statement


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Doped athletes, what next?

By Alexandre Mignot

Are doped athletes criminals? It is a real question because before being athletes, they are humans. But when an athlete gets caught doping, what should he do? Should he immediately tell the truth and admit his mistakes? Sure he should. To deny it would bring him a real descent into hell. For example, to end the misery he created, Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio threatened to commit suicide by tweeting “Farewell World” at the beginning of October.

“I hate the cheating; I hate the cheaters, but the Santambrogio’s story has not left me indifferent,” said Fred Grappe, coach of the team. “Knowing that most of the ex-dopers want to come back to their sport, it is easier to confess. However, we should not let those who do not want to play this game wander in the nature. They can hurt both themselves and others.

“In my opinion, the UCI should create a little commission that will accompany these former dopers. I don’t really know how it could be organized, and it is not my job, but there is for sure something to do in this area.”

But this job does belong to new UCI president Brian Cookson. He campaigned for the position in the Union Cycliste Internationale with a plan to welcome disgraced cyclists back. First of all, he appealed all the ex-dopers to talk about their past: “I will implement a fully independent investigation into doping in cycling so we can deal once and for all with the past, with amnesties, reductions in sanctions to encourage all those involved to come forward,” he said in a press release in June. Cookson’s solution offers former dopers the road to return only if they admit their mistakes.

What about the others? So far, nothing concrete has been established for those who do not want to confess. They just get the usual penalty, which is a two-year banishment, and they come back afterwards. The Scottish cyclist and former doper David Millar agrees it remains better to admit and seek forgiveness. He did it himself and returned to cycling after his ban.

“Most of the banned riders who come back haven’t suffered anything apart from a two-year salary loss or less,” he posted on his site. “Everybody deserves a second chance but that second chance has to be earned. You can’t come back as if nothing had happened. There should be a rehabilitation process.”

Many athletes could benefit from this rehabilitation process, 29-year-old Santambrogio included. The Italian rider’s life did not end because netizens convinced him not to kill himself, but it will probably not always be the case. 


Mandela’s guiding hand on the NBA

By Malick Daho

After his release from

prisonin 1990, the South

African anti-apartheid icon

envisioned using sports to

help inspire his racially torn

nation. One of those sports

was basketball, which at the

time had only limited

popularity in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela’s impact on

South African basketball

earned him respect and

adulation from the NBA.

LeBron James reacted on Mandela’s death: “His words, his mind will live on forever. In his 95 years, he was able to do some unbelievable things, not just for South Africa but for the world. You hate to lose a pioneer and a great, but what they leave behind means more than anything, and I think what Nelson Mandela will leave behind is more than him himself (@KingJames).”

LBJ compared Madiba to the greatest personalities in the World. What he did is unforgettable.

“It’s going to going to live on forever like Martin Luther King and some of the other greats that have come and gone. It’s a sad day for his family, but I think for us to all be in this position to see what he meant for the world means everything,” he added.

Dikembe Mutombo, Luol Deng, Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka – Africans by birth – paid tribute to Mandela, too: “Rest in Peace Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (@ThaboSefolosha).” “I thank God for giving me a chance to meet a great Leader and man of Faith. Miss you Madiba (@officialmutombo).”

Mandela took steps to form a partnership between South Africa and the NBA. That bond introduced many new people in his country to the game, bringing about a rapid increase of participation.  Now, 800,000 people (about 430,000 adults) play basketball compared to roughly 10,000 people before the 90s. Basketball is the third most popular sport among the black population after soccer and road racing. 

Mandela, Stern. Now 800,000 S. Africans play basketball. Photo: NBA

Jason “January” Kidd, back from the brink as coach


By Antoine Monnet

Winning an NBA Championship? Jason Kidd did it. Being one of the most creative point guards in history? Kidd did it. Setting the NBA’s record in triple doubles? Kidd did it. Sending a kiss to the basket before every free throw attempt? Kidd did it. But, becoming a great coach in his first year? Kidd still has work to do.


“He’s a real legend. He has done many good

things here already, and trust me, he’s not

done yet,” said Brooklyn Nets co-owner

Mikhail Prokhorov on YES Network. 

How long will the front office endorsement

last for Kidd, whose team finished 5-12 in

October and 21-10 on December 31?

The best teams, San Antonio and Pacers,

finished the 2013 schedules with records of 30-8 and 29-7, respectively.

In response in early January,  Kidd, 40, pulled off his biggest win as coach when his Nets edged defending champion Miami in double overtime (104-95).  In the league’s showcase game in London the next week, the Nets beat Atlanta, 127-110. These outcomes gave the Nets (Prokhorov and partner Jay-Z) confidence in their decision to put Kidd in charge.

“We needed someone very tough, with desire to win, and Kidd has it,” insisted Prokhorov, remembering the way Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title in 2010-11.  Plus, Kidd's record of 12 triple-doubles for both  the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons still stands.

Indeed, Kidd transformed his team into a contender. With a 10-2 record for January, the Nets have now an overall record of 20-23; good for 7th place in the East.  And, with their coach off  the coach watch, there is a sense of stability.

The Nets hired Kidd on June 12, 2013.  He played from 1994- 2012 for Dallas, Phoenix, the Knicks and the old New Jersey franchise.  He's the third person since the ABA-NBA merger to debut as an NBA head coach the season after he retired as a player.

“It is a business trip,» said Kidd about the win in London. Getty

Nadal aims for No. 1 book along with his game; explains life-long soccer fever


By Alistair Bouysse

Rafael Nadal celebrated Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup success like a member of the team -- that means being in the dressing room soaked in champagne.  Because Wimbledon ends one week before the 2014 Final in Rio de Janeiro, the 27-year-old extreme soccer enthusiast might be in the center of the celebration with his mates again.  

“I was already crazy about football, playing on the streets with my friends every spare moment my parents let me, and anything that involved a ball was going to be fun. I liked football best. I liked being part of a team.

“[Uncle]Toni says that at first I found tennis boring,” explained Nadal in his autobiography, “Rafa: My Story,” co-written with John Carlin. 

The current world No.1 began playing tennis at only three-years-old. After practicing football and tennis simultaneously for several years, Nadal eventually chose the latter. He turned pro in 2001.

“Football was my passion as a child and remains so today. I can be at a tournament in Australia or Bangkok, and if there is a big Real Madrid game on TV at five in the morning, I’ll wake up to watch it, even  sometimes, if I have a match on later that day. And I’ll build my day’s training program, if need be, around the timing of the games. I’m a fanatic,” wrote the winner of thirteen Grand Slam titles.

Although he grew up in Mallorca, located 340 miles (550 kilometers) away from Madrid, Rafa strongly supports Real Madrid, like his father.  Rafa would swap his tennis career for a place among Real Madrid’s stars, according to family members. This passion never stopped Nadal from being successful on the tennis world tour.

With Spanish teammates, Nadal won four Davis Cup trophies – a exhilerating feeling  he  compares to capturing the FIFA World Cup title. The unity on the Spanish Davis Cup team reminds him of the team spirit in soccer.

“Things might have turned out very differently for me if I’d opted to play football for a living instead of tennis. Football was the game all kids played in Mallorca. I took the game deadly seriously.”

Football plays a crucial part in the Nadal family. An uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, played professionally for FC Barcelona in the 1990s. Rafa can be seen wearing a Barcelona jersey as a kid before one of his uncle’s games. This picture embarrasses him nowadays given the huge rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Nadal won ten titles and reclaimed the No.1 spot last October. Before the inaugural Rio tennis Open in February, Nadal kicked-off the local soccer derby at the Maracana Stadium. He then went on to win the tournament and celebrated this triumph with former Brazil soccer star Ronaldo.

Nadal get his hands on another trophy, another sport/Getty 

Advantage Integration: Until Team Germany falters?

By Julien Meyer 

Taking the view that necessity is the mother of invention, the German national soccer team's need to replenish itself gave birth to a new level of inclusion. A rebuilding program had to be undertaken in the wake of 2004 Euro Portugal disaster, according to observers.

“The necessity was sporting as much as social,,” said Wolfram Pyta, history professor at Stuttgart University. That point of view is shared by many players.

“The fact that 11 of the 23 members of the World Cup squad had a migration background shows that the national squad stands for openness to the world,” German team manager Oliver Bierhoff said.

The Federation began to prioritize young players and – surprisingly – binational players, meaning those from foreign ancestry, such as Miroslav Klose. From Polish ancestry, he is currently the best World Cup striker in history with 16 goals. Advantage, Germany.

“My parents wanted to leave Poland because they felt that Germany could offer us better opportunities for the future. I learned German very fast by speaking with my new friends. Soccer is an amazing way to get integrated. As the other kids noticed I was a good player, then I was always the first player to be selected,” said Klose, who played on the Kaiserslautern, Bremen, Bayern München and Lazio Roma teams. He hoisted the 2014 World Cup trophy with jubilant teammates in Brazil.

Mesüt Özil represents another gripping example of the binational infusion onto the national team. From Turkish ancestry, he plays for Arsenal London and symbolizes perfect integration. In harmony with the journalists, he speaks German (he was born in Gelsenkirchen in 1988) and Turkish. More than 2 million people speak Turkish in Germany.

“We had to integrate this new German generation from foreign working-class parents,” declared Gerhard-Mayer Vorfelder, the former German Federation President, during an interview for news channel Arte. From the end of the 1950s to 1973, people relocated from southern Europe and Turkey to work in factories across the country. The children of these generations make up the current roster.

Indeed, the German generation that reached the World Cup final in 2002 has aged. Klose (71 goals in 137 selections with the German National Team) and Özil (18 goals in 62 selections) bring to life the new identity which former National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann and others predicted.

Is this love temporary?

Where there's immigration, integration and patriotism, there's also skepticism.

“The year when the team would lose, German people will be annoyed with this integration system,”offered professor Diethelm Blecking, a sports sociologist, historian and journalist.

In 2014, while German nationals made up 91.5% of the country's population, other influences were reported from Turkey (2.4%) and other European countries. The remaining 6.1% of the population came from Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, even Serbo-Croatian and Spanish ancestries, according to the CIA World Factbook.

SCROLL for Terrific Turin Derby

Handing over the money to Qatar's handball recruits

By Jean-Guy Lebreton 

Bolstered by $100,000 bonuses per win per player and staggering $1,000,000 ($1 million) bonuses per player for the final victory, the Qatari melting-pot squad became the first non-European team to reach the final of the World Cup Handball championship. Was the team really non-European, though? Credit goes to the multi-national roster for Qatar's highest level of success in 47 years of competition.

"I am very, very happy. We spent six months practicing to live these moments,” smiled Bertrand Roiné (pictured above), a French-Qatari player and previously a member of the World Champion French team (2011). "It has been supported by a lot of public interest, so it was great,” he added after the semi-final.


"He (Valero Rivera) recruited wisely. He needed a large pivot; he picked it up in Spain (Borja Vidal), and that is very bright. He needed a back left shooter; he turned to a Cuban native (Rafael Capote)," pointed out Daniel Costantini, the former French national coach.

Indeed, with the pursestrings loosened, the handball federation lured world-class foreign players from European clubs. Qatar then naturalized these recruited foreigners for the duration of the competition. Thus, the Spanish, Tunisian, Iranian, French, and Egyptian recruits – even a superstar from Latin America – were backed up by standout Bosnian goalkeeper Danijel Saric, twice elected best goalkeeper in the Spanish league.

"If I speak only handball, I am quite appreciative of what they have built. They have a game perfectly suited to the quality of players they have. They have a collective game that compensates for this very slight lack of individual talent,” confessed Alain Portes, an expert in the sport and the coach of the French women's national team.

Eight of the sixteen players refined their teamwork and precision on club Al Jaish, the military club. Add Spain's world champion coach "El Maestro Rivera," and you understand how this team lived this epic journey.


Responding to questions about the international makeup of his team, the Qatari coach refused to get into the argument. "It's better to talk about handball, OK?" answered Rivera.


While Qatar's played perfectly within the rules of the International Federation with its selection process, not everyone was convinced it is in the spirit of the competition. " I think it is not the sense of a world championship," Austrian goalkeeper Thomas Bauer said after his country's defeat at the hands of the Qataris. "It feels like playing against a world selection team."

As expected, Qatar lost against the long-standing powerhouse French team (25-22) for the gold medal. Before this tournament, which was played in the city of Lusail in Qatar, the hosts never even reached a quarterfinal.

Integration wins as Germany cruises to the 2014 World Cup title~ AFP

5 reasons to watch the Turin Derby

By Ruben Slagter

(TURINO, Italy) Going to a football match always stirs

the emotions, but some of the games offer that little

extra. The Derby della Mole – the Derby of Turin

between Juventus and Torino FC – is one of those

special events. From the 140st match in April 2015,

here are my 5 reasons to follow this electric showdown.

5. Two historic clubs

The highest-profile and most popular Italian

football club, Juventus has won the Scudetto – or

the Italian Serie A – 31 times. Two times Juventus

was best of Europe (1985, 1996) and will play the

Champions League Final in 2015. Since their

comeback in 2006, the bianconeri have been ruling

Italian football. The club was founded in 1897.

Nearly a decade later, in 1906, businessman Alfred Dick founded Torino FC. The Swiss financier left the board of Juventus because he didn’t like the  commercial approach. He preferred the competitive aspect as the guiding principle. And even though Juventus reached great heights in Italy, rival Torino kept up with Juve. Between 1943 and 1949,  Torino even won the Scudetto 5 times. The cycle of victories abruptly ended on May, 4 1949, when an airplane crash ended the dream of the club: the whole team died  on the way home from a friendly match against Benfica. The club never recovered its previous level, but the memory remains there for the supporters of Il Toro.

4. Two amazing stadiums

Juventus is the only ‘modern’ club in Italy. The new stadium (2011) just outside of Turin provides high-tech conveniences, which place supporters close to the pitch. The latter follows the model of the English stadiums. Even though other clubs in Italy want to follow (Rome, Milan), they are still miles away from everything Juventus already makes available.

Torino is playing in the old Olympic Stadium: in the heart of the city and with all the history attached to it. Juve played there for a long time, but now Torino is the sole owner of the Olympic Stadium. The physical environment    is still like it was 20 years ago: a confusing mess. People sell food and jerseys. Inside, the Gladiator atmosphere survives because supporters encircle the pitch. Clearly, no modernity here!

3. An unique rivalry

Juventus carries the mantle of the standard-bearer in the entire country,but in Turin, Torino is the club. La Granata is strongly connected to the city and the region of Piedmont. The inhabitants of the city don’t like the (inter)national and commercial approach of Juve. From this contrast comes the strength of the rivalry and it's the reason that Torino gets a lot of respect from all the Italian locales.  Because La Granata holds close the regional ties, Juventus never wants to lose against Torino. They want to be the best of the city, even if this city isn’t supporting the club.

2. Andrea Pirlo

Last, but not least: you’ll have the luck to see Andrea Pirlo play a match. Both the teams have great players (Paul Pogba, Gianluigi Buffon, Carlos Tevez, Matteo Darmian, Fabio Quagliarella, Maxi Lopez), but Pirlo is one-of-a-kind.  In a world where football players have to be quick, wear pink shoes and laugh all the time, Pirlo isn’t interested. Il Maestro doesn’t laugh.  He’s doing his job – and with a particular style. Pirlo plays the like  footballers played 20 years ago, the 'slow' way, yet still he pulls it off on the highest international level. In the Serie A, it’s amazing to watch this throwback. For derbies and big matches, he even adds that little extra. In the last two derbies against Torino, he was by far the best player on the pitch, with goals scored in each match and creating a lot of opportunities for his teammates. You should be quick to catch him in action, though, because the 36-year-old will surely be retiring soon. Turin’s Derby Draw?

Tearful supporters of Torino FC with a Juve tombstone, which they could show for the first time since 1995. Courtesy Slagter

Who’s the NBA’s most injured since 1999?


By Niels Onimus, December 14, 2015


    During the last few years, many NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and even Shaq missed games claiming injuries. But if you take a closer look at the most injured players in the NBA since 1999, you will see that those superstars are far from them.

    Some players have seen their careers ruined by injuries. It’s the case of Grant Hill. The Co-Rookie of the Year (with Jason Kidd) missed 42% of the games he could play because of his ankles. In 2000, he injured his left ankle after only four games with the Magic of Orlando. The next season, he played only fourteen games of 82 and missed the entire 2003-2004 season for a total of 467 games missed  – of 1132 during his entire career.

    Same thing for Penny Hardaway. After 8 seasons at a good level, the No. 3 pick of the 1993 NBA Draft missed all but four games during the 2000-2001 season because of his left knee (micro fracture surgeries). The small forward never reclaimed his best level. Finally, Penny missed 255 games of 574 (45%).

    Andrew Bynum is another example of that kind of player. Even if the 7-footer won two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, he missed a lot of games because of knees problems. He played more than 70 games only one season (2006-2007). The big man missed 304 games of 722 meaning 42%, but nobody wants to bet on him nowadays.

    So don’t worry for Kobe

(17%), KD (20%) and their

consorts; they’re having

good careers.

Thus, ranking of most injured NBA stars since 1999:

·         1st: Greg Oden (82%)

·         2nd: Jonathan Bender (64%)

·         3rd: Baron Davis (48%)

·         4th: Penny Hardaway (45%)

·         5th: Andrew Bynum & Grant Hill (42%)

·         6th: Derrick Rose (39%)

·         7th: Yao Ming (34%)

·         8th: Chris Webber (32%)

Others: Shaq and Amar’e Stoudemire (24%), T-Mac and D-Wade (21%)

Stats from and

Greg Oden looks disappointed after being injured… again.

What color is your race car?


By Lucas Vinois, Feb. 26, 2016

Ludovic Pezé decided on a red-and-black color scheme for his race car at age 13. But at age 22, the plan hit the brakes. He nearly died after falling into a coma brought on by bacterial meningitis type B. The debilitating disease claims the lives of 20 - 30% of the patients. With his second chance at life, he’s going for the checkered flag and the winner’s circle, literally.

«When I woke up after the coma,

I said to myself, ‘Hey mate you

survived. You managed to do such an

almost impossible thing. Now, try to

put all of your energy, passion and

dedication into your business idea

with Mauritius Formula Team

(MFT),’” said Pezé, who has been

keen on auto sports since his childhood. 


He doesn’t consider himself a “miracle man, but rather a fighter, « especially when I read my medical file. Doctors couldn’t guarantee if I would be able to survive or not,” said the Monaco resident. 


After three days in a deep coma, one week in intensive care, and seven months of rehabilitation, Pezé learned slowly and surely to walk again. Surviving the grips of meningitis changed him from being an incredibly pessimistic person. He believes he will succeed and eventually watch his team’s race cars scream down the track at 155 miles an hour.


Indeed, it’s absolutely impossible to ignore the phenomenal re-engagement in his goals. The formerly secret project to build the race team is a full-blown business plan now. 

«I had my first contact with motorsports when I was two or three years old. From that time, it became my passion,” said the holder of an advanced technician certificate (BTS) from Albert 1st of Monaco High School. Before his life-threatening battle, he often floundered when he asked himself which job he would like to do. 

“Before my illness I never found the right answer.”


Pezé’s stable of 2 cars needs money to race: $190,000. It could seem insurmountable to a family not named Schumacher, nor Andretti, nor Foyt. But Pezé’s accomplished a lot by still being alive.  


«Keep fighting and never give up,” Pezé reminds himself to live this motto in his everyday life as well as in his quest for sponsors.  


He believes he can lasso a benefactor to support the project from top to bottom. To this date, the Mauritius Formula Team has been entirely financed by his personal savings. Once full funding is secured, the team, with Pezé as manager, will start in Formula One 2.0. It will race in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. MFT will develop prototypes in order to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans, also. 

He foresees winner’s checks and prize money — ranging from $200 to $2000 — to fortify the meningitis foundation which helped him to stay positive during his long convalescence. The other idea is to promote road safety to reduce the many lethal car accidents on roads in Mauritius, his birthplace. 

«Mauritians are full of values, moving forward no matter the context, making every effort with what we have and sharing moments with friends,” he said.

Pezé, from Mauritius, fights everyday to build his race team  after beating death.