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Issue 286 | December 14 2012

ennis &farah and the 50 moments that defined the greatest sporting year of our lives








issue 286, December 14 2012 radar 08 Sporting Twitter stats The facts, figures and most prolific hashtaggers from 2012

10 Buy rugby players’ kit! Including Chris Ashton’s shorts – swallow dives are mandatory if you put ‘em on, though

12 Editor’s letter When it comes to fans behaving badly, footballers aren’t always to blame oFeatures this coming week

17 Sporting moments of 2012 Here’s our top 50: the wonder of Weir, Murray’s Slam and Frankel’s 14th – they’re all in there

36 Jess Ennis The queen of track and field, and our first athlete of the year, tells us about her annus mirabilis...

43 Mo Farah ... and our second explains why his super summer means life will never be quite the same again

48 Premier League preview What to expect, and from whom, in every game this weekend

Cover image: Tadaomi Shibuya. This page: Julian Finney/Getty Images

extra Time


58 Gadgets


The Pure Jongo S340B is a pure joy to behold when it comes to wirelessly streaming music

60 Mariella Pellegrino

Were we in American Pie, we would target this bodybuilder for Shermination

64 Grooming



The best giftsets for him and for her, in case you’re short of ideas. And, let’s face it: you probably are

68 Entertainment

The Hobbit has the stones for an unexpected journey, while the Stones inhabit the Zebra Gallery | December 14 2012 | 05

Radar weety twelve

p10 – Overseas Sports Personality of the Year: our contenders

p10– Get Dan Carter’s boots in your locker

wayne rooney


theo walcott


John terry


oey Barton uses it to share his intellectual leanings, quote Oscar Wilde and abuse Alan Shearer, but what have the rest of us been talking about when it comes to the world of sport on Twitter in 2012? Well, we asked the good people at the microblogging site directly. And they were kind enough to provide us with the top 10 trending sportsmen, sporting trends and the most talked-about moments from the past year. Enjoy it, Joey...


cristiano ronaldo


robin Van Persie


Power PeoPle

The top 10 trending sportspeople in the UK in 2012

sebastian Vettel


Joey Barton


andy carroll


Joe Hart


David Beckham



7% #Paralympics




Magic MoMents The top trending sporting occasions in the UK in 2012 were...




our year of sPort



The top 10 sports trends in the UK in 2012







Dave, Sam Cam and BoJo dance at the Olympic closing ceremony

England lose on penalties to Italy

Usain Bolt wins Olympic 100m final






Mr Bean’s Theo Walcott Chariots of Fire equalises for at the Olympic England against opening Sweden at ceremony the Euros




08 | December 14 2012 |



Joleon Lescott Cristiano scores Ronaldo makes England’s first it 3-2 to Real at the Euros Madrid against Man City

Fernando Torres puts Chelsea in the Champions League final



Danny Welbeck Team GB arrive puts England at the Olympic 3-2 up against opening Sweden at ceremony the Euros

All pictures Getty Images



Out of this world T

his Sunday, the British public will vote for their Sports Personality of the Year, selecting from a shortlist of 12 that we’re sure you know all about. Apparently, some non-Brits also had a successful sporting year. So it is that, before Bradley Wiggins collects his mini-camera trophy, the Overseas Sports Personality of the Year will be named. In our view, these are the contenders...

Michael PhelPs The American has 18 Olympic gold medals. Eighteen. That’s twice as many as anyone else, ever. He added four to his tally this summer, with two silvers for good measure. He wasn’t quite as formidable as in Beijing, when he won eight out of eight, but he’s still won more golds than the entirety of Jamaica.

Usain Bolt The coolest man in sport and two-time Overseas SPOTY winner more than lived up to the hype in defending his Olympic sprint titles. With his false start in Daegu and a credible challenger in Yohan Blake, the lanky speedster had all the pressure in the world on his shoulders. Not that you would have known it.

seRena WilliaMs Recovered from an illness-ravaged 2011 season to win Wimbledon, and then the Olympic singles title without dropping a set – thus becoming the first player ever to complete a Career Golden Slam (all four major titles plus an Olympic gold) in both singles and doubles.

DaviD RUDisha The 23-year-old Kenyan smashed his own 800m world record in what Steve Cram called the “greatest ever 800m race anyone has ever run”. So great, in fact, that it makes it into our top 50 moments of the year (from page 17).

lionel Messi It’s been pointed out that, until Leo Messi’s continued brilliance this year, no one actually knew or cared who held the record for most goals in a calendar year. Still, 86 is an incredible haul. And he still has three games remaining this year in which to better it. Who knows what records he will break in 2013?

Buy my shorts!

10 | December 14 2012 |

All pictures Getty Images


t long last, you can purchase rugby players’ unwanted clothes. Not the used ones, of course – they’re all covered in blood and mud, and that would be unhygienic – but their unworn kits and tracksuits. New website has kit from loads of top players available for sale, including many signed items, with the proceeds going to charity. So, if you fancy getting your hands on Chris Ashton’s shorts, Dan Carter’s boots or Tom Williams’ theatrical make-up set, now’s your chance.

Radar Editor’s letter Emotionally charged: but feelings running high doesn’t excuse fans’ bad behaviour @sportmaguk Free iPad app available on Newsstand

Sport magazine Part of UTV Media plc 18 Hatfields, London SE1 8DJ Telephone: 020 7959 7800 Fax: 020 7959 7942 Email: firstname.lastname@

Don’t blame the players They might be daft sometimes, but that doesn’t excuse the idiocy of some football supporters


ootballers get a bad press much of the time. And, mostly, it’s well deserved. Time and again one of their number lets the side down with some ill-timed nonsense. But they are not responsible for all the ills of football. In fact, everywhere you look you Editor-in-chief can direct blame: from the owners to the Simon Caney managers, to the agents and the fans. Yes, @simoncaney the fans, who so often believe they somehow have different human rights to the players. Fans froth with indignation when opposition players race over to them to celebrate a goal. Agreed, it’s not the smartest thing in the world to do. But it’s not a crime. It doesn’t warrant idiots racing out of the stands to confront or assault them. Quite why Rio Ferdinand got so much stick last weekend is beyond me. Yes, I know emotions run high on the terraces (in the seats), but they run high on the pitch too. Manchester is now a football city with a

genuine rivalry, something it’s not had for an awfully long time. And that’s a good thing: football should be an emotionally-charged sport. There is nothing wrong with a tribal mentality (although fans should remember that, these days, those knights leading them into battle will disappear to their bitter rivals at the first sign of an extra few quid), but there are still basic rules of behaviour in society that need to be observed. That’s why racism is not acceptable. And, of course, it’s magnified if a player is guilty of it, because millions of people will see it. But that doesn’t mean it’s fine for supporters to make monkey gestures in the stands. And I can’t remember many occasions – Cantona and Clough aside – when a player (or manager) has hit a spectator. They are allowed to celebrate, even in ways that are perhaps inadvisable. But they should never be attacked. Those are the rules.

The punch that finished off Manny Pacquiao last weekend was a savage reminder of what boxing is all about. We may have watched Andrew Flintoff giving it his best shot – and all credit to him for getting into the ring at all – but it was a very different brand of boxing that saw Juan Manuel Marquez unload an absolute bomb into Pacquiao’s face (see overleaf). One of the greatest champions of all time was asleep before he hit the canvas. Boxing is a wonderful sport, but it can also be terrifying. We were delighted last week when our iPad app was named Best Sport Magazine at the Digital Magazine Awards. If you’ve not tried it, we suggest you do – although we would say that. And when this mag takes a Christmas break from the streets (next week is our last full issue until January 11), it’ll be the only place you can read Sport for a couple of weeks, with our digital Christmas and New Year editions.

Editorial Editor-in-chief: Simon Caney (7951) Deputy editor: Tony Hodson (7954) Associate editor: Nick Harper (7897) Art editor: John Mahood (7860) Deputy art editor: William Jack (7861) Digital designer: Chris Firth (7624) Subeditor: Graham Willgoss (7431) Senior writers: Sarah Shephard (7958), Alex Reid (7915) Staff writers: Mark Coughlan (7901), Amit Katwala (7914) Picture editor: Julian Wait (7961) Production manager: Tara Dixon (7963) Contributors: Martin Barry Commercial Agency Sales Director: Iain Duffy (7991) Business Director: Kevin O’Byrne (7832) Advertising Managers: Steve Hare (7930), Aaron Pinto del Rio (7918) New Business Sales Executive: Hayley Robertson (7904) Distribution Manager: Sian George (7852) Distribution Assistant: Makrum Dudgeon Head of Online: Matt Davis (7825) Head of Communications: Laura Wootton (7913) Managing Director: Adam Bullock PA to Managing Director: Sophia Koulle (7826) Colour reproduction: Rival Colour Ltd Printed by: Wyndeham Group Ltd © UTV Media plc 2012 UTV Media plc takes no responsibility for the content of advertisements placed in Sport magazine £1 where sold Hearty thanks to: Eleni Lawrence, Pace Sports Management and the fella who switched the electricity back on

Cover of the Year

Reader comments of the week Awesome interview with the man Monty in this week’s @sportmaguk from @otheralexreid Back in action indeed!

@earsopen Twitter

@SarahEffyTaylor Twitter

12 | December 14 2012 |

@Sportmaguk the champions league should reduce in size not get larger. Top 2 max from the big leagues, 16 in total.

@sjrmfc Twitter

Great Hatton pic on pg 19 of @Sportmaguk hits you like one of the great man’s bodyshots #theresonlyone

@AKnight_Esq Twitter

In regards to the best batsmen in the modern era, there can only be one: Sachin. He is strides ahead. However Jacques Kallis is always overlooked. A great bowler, fielder and batsman.



Total Average Distribution: 305,676 Jan-Jun 2012 Don’t forget: Help keep public transport clean

and tidy for everyone by taking your copy of Sport away with you when you leave the bus or train.

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Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand

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3 reasons to smile this morning: Cook’s 190, my wife getting home from work B4 I leave for mine & @Sportmaguk #Monty cover. Best since...

The New Balance 870 Dual density Abzorb crash pad provides a soft cushioned ride

Revolutionary REVlite Technology for even more responsiveness

REVlite meets stability in this revolutionised update. Offering support to the mild overpronators in a material package and experience that doesn’t hold back.

Frozen in time

14 | December 14 2012 |

Al Bello/Getty Images

Goodnight Pac-Man Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have had some ding-dong fights over the years, but none have ended quite like their latest, last weekend. Pacquiao, a seven-weight world champion and all-time great, walked on to an absolute brute of a right hand and was knocked out instantly, lying motionless on the canvas for several minutes. Some said it was justice for Marquez, who was unlucky to lose on points to Pac-Man in 2011; Marquez said he was off to celebrate at home in Mexico. Pacquiao said nothing at all – for a very, very long time.

| 15


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The Top 50 SporTing MoMenTS of The Year Credit

Some good, otherS bad. Some to make you laugh, otherS to make you cry. Some you will already have forgotten, otherS you will remember for a lifetime. here, then, are the 50 Sporting momentS of 2012, aS choSen by uS – and it all StartS back in January, with the return of a familiar face of yeSteryear...

| December 14 2012 | 17

Top 50 Moments

50. return of the king

48. rocket man

46. Written in the stars

“It was a story about football you would tell young children,” said Arsene Wenger of the magical night that saw Thierry Henry score the winner on his second debut for the club – just 13 years after his first. King Henry became an Arsenal player again a month after unveiling a statue of himself outside the Emirates – and it was there, in an FA Cup tie against Leeds United, that the Frenchman was introduced from the bench after 68 minutes with the game poised at 0-0. A peach of a pass from Alex Song 10 minutes later set Henry up for a trademark slotted finish. Were it not for the addition of a big old beard and a barely discernible paunch, it could almost have been the Invincibles era all over again.

In the year the Crucible Theatre bade farewell to its favourite son – Stephen Hendry hitting one final 147 before departing the World Championship and promptly retiring – it is perhaps fitting that the world title went to the greatest talent ever to pick up a cue. Ronnie O’Sullivan’s fourth victory on the sport’s biggest stage was by some distance his best, a devastating 17-day display of controlled but inspired snooker that demolished all in his path. That we may never see him play the game again is a sporting tragedy, but only adds to the legend of what could be his final major tournament victory.

Didier Drogba is an enigma. As a player, the Ivorian is both battering ram and artist, capable of shoulder-barging a defender into next week, but also of shaping a free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards. As a man, too, he divides opinion – a statesmanlike presence in his native country, yet so often a tantrum-throwing baby hurling himself to ground on the pitch. His last game for Chelsea, the Champions League final, had it all. He forced extra time with a powerful header, gave away a penalty with a clumsy foul on Franck Ribery during it... and then, with the final kick of a dramatic shootout, his final kick for Chelsea after eight gloriously decorated years, drove the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. And, just like that, he was gone.

Thierry henry scores his 227Th goal for arsenal, five years afTer number 226

49. 'it's made my day'

All pictures Getty Images

nicola adams wins boxing gold, and The naTion’s hearTs wiTh iT “Really good... a dream come true... to think I’ve finally done it, with all this support here, it’s really made my day.” That, ladies and gentlemen, was the understatement of the Olympic Games, as Nicola Adams reflected on what she’d just done – destroyed triple world champion Ren Cancan 16-7 to become the first woman ever to win Olympic boxing gold. She did it in style, too, knocking Cancan down in the second round and then cruising to victory. Nobody could fail to love the Yorkshire girl with the ever-present smile. Well, maybe Cancan could.

18 | December 14 2012 |

ronnie o’sullivan becomes world snooker champion for The fourTh Time

47. slam dragons

wales beaT france 16-9 To seal Their Third six naTions grand slam in eighT years Mid-March, and all that stood between Wales and a Six Nations Grand Slam was the very same team that had burst their World Cup bubble in such controversial circumstances just five months previously. With a cauldron of noise backing them, though, Warren Gatland’s men weren’t to be denied again, and Alex Cuthbert scythed through the French defence to give Wales an early cushion that they never looked like losing. Sixty minutes later, referee Craig Joubert blew the final whistle, and the ghosts of Eden Park were momentarily silenced. What happened in the following eight months, of course, is best left alone for now...

didier drogba drags chelsea over The champions league line, Then sods off

45. grey national

nepTune collonges becomes firsT grey horse To win The grand naTional since 1961 There are few things we Brits love more than a flashy grey (think Desert Orchid, or Helen Mirren), but it had grown into one of the oft-told sporting truths that grey horses just don’t win the world’s most famous horse race. Said truth became a lie at Aintree in April, however, as Neptune Collonges got up in the last stride to win a dramatic race under jockey Daryl Jacob. In doing so, the 11-year-old became the first grey to win the Grand National since the aptly named Nicolaus Silver in 1961. >

∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙

Chro n o gra p h Wo r l d Ti m e Alar m Back- l i g ht 10 B a r Wate r R e s i s t a n ce Fro m t h e N a i ro b i Co l l e c t i o n PV 4 0 0 5 X1

Top 50 Moments

44. PuP at the double

42. Girls on toP

40. ainslie Gets anGry

Not every top-class batsman manages a Test double-century. It requires not just technique, but also phenomenal resolve and concentration. So the fact that Aussie skipper Michael ’Pup’ Clarke has recorded four in 2012 – from just 15 innings – almost defies belief. In fact, he has three doubles and one treble, starting the year with a bang and an innings of 329 not out against India at Sydney in January. Two games later he rattled off 210, and then last month scored 259 not out and 230 against South Africa, the best team in the world. Let’s hope he’s all batted out by the time of the Ashes.

The writing was on the wall of the Aquatics Centre when 16-year-old Chinese prodigy Ye Shiwen set a blistering world record to win gold in the women’s 400m individual medley in London this summer. Yet few could have predicted Shiwen following up with an Olympic record in the 200m medley, the USA’s Missy Franklin (17 years old) dominating in the 100m and 200m backstroke, and the Plymouthbased 15-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte smashing the opposition in the 100m breaststroke. To top it all off, Katie Ledecky (also 15) took Rebecca Adlington’s Olympic title in the 800m freestyle. The exuberance of youth, indeed.

He had no right to win this one, having lost the first six races of the 11-race Olympic Finn regatta to Denmark’s Jonas Hogh-Christensen. But then, this happened: “Those guys better watch out. They’ve made me angry, and you don’t want to make me angry.” Ainslie was enraged by what he saw as foul play from Hogh-Christensen and the Dutchman Pieter-Jan Postma, and hit the water in pursuit of a fourth Olympic title with the aggression needed to get him back in the race. On the final day’s action, Ainslie pushed his creaking 35-year-old frame to the limit once more, surviving a fraught, tense finale to emerge on top. Turns out he was right.

41. new ball, Please

39. startGate-Gate

There are numerous ways to make a name for yourself in the world of sport, but Paul Wood could have chosen a less painful way. That’s because the Warrington Wolves star took a knee to the groin during October’s Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos, rupturing a testicle, yet proceeded to play on for 20 minutes. In fact, he played on, conducted postmatch interviews and took to the pitch to applaud the fans. He went to hospital only after the club doctor inspected him and said he had to have the offending body part removed, with Wood admitting ”it did smart a bit”. That lad has some serious ball.

If any viewers doubted the commitment of Paralympic athletes, cyclist Jody Cundy’s enraged rant after his disqualification from the C4/5 1k time trial will have put them straight. After four years of training, a startgate malfunction curtailed his start. The UCI felt otherwise, denying him the restart granted to most others in a similar situation. Cundy launched into what the tabloids called an “expletive-laden rant”. He returned the next day to take bronze in the 4k pursuit, setting a time for the first 1k that would have been enough to win him gold if he’d been allowed to ride. >

australia captain Michael clarke bags four test double-hundreds in a year

43. bye bye baltimore bullet

All pictures Getty Images

Michael phelps wins his 18th olyMpic gold Medal in his last ever race There was only ever going to be one exit route for the greatest swimmer in history, and that was via one final Olympic gold. Michael Phelps’ fourth gold of London 2012 was won alongside three of his USA teammates in the 4x100m medley relay, but all eyes were fixed upon the 27-year-old swimming his way into retirement and into the record books. Some 12 years after making his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old, Phelps signed off, having amassed 18 Olympic golds and a grand total of 22 medals of any metal. Officially the most decorated Olympian in history, Phelps leaves the pool with no regrets, no unfinished business, and no plans to return.

20 | December 14 2012 |

a new breed of teenage stars lights up the olyMpic woMen’s swiMMing coMpetition

paul wood ruptures his testicle in the super league grand final – and plays on

ben ainslie becoMes the greatest sailor in olyMpic history, with gold nuMber four

Jody cundy rages against the uci Machine in a defining MoMent of the paralyMpics

Top 50 Moments

38. Formula Fun!

36. BuBBa golF

34. To shake, or noT To shake?

After Sebastian Vettel’s dominance in 2011, Formula 1 needed shaking up. Yes, the German did win a third consecutive title in 2012 – but not in the way he or anyone else would have expected. Seven different winners in the first seven races, and nine overall, made this one of the most memorable F1 seasons of all time. It went down to the wire too, with Vettel and Fernando Alonso both in with a shout of taking the title going into the last race. Vettel qualified ahead of Alonso, but when he spun on the first lap it was all up for grabs. Back and forth it went, until the German prevailed... a fittingly nail-biting conclusion to an incredible season.

In terms of natural talent (he’s never been coached in his life), Bubba Watson is as good as there is. But winning majors needs more than that, and Bubba showed at this year’s Masters that he has the application – as well as the balls – to become one of the best. In winning, he also helped coin a new phrase: Bubba Golf – a fearless, daring approach to the game. Nothing summed it up better than the shot that effectively won him the Green Jacket in a playoff. Stuck in trees, he played an outrageous hook shot with a wedge from 150 yards to the green. Even Seve Ballesteros would have been proud.

Luis Suarez was found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing Patrice Evra, so refused to shake his hand. Anton Ferdinand found out that John Terry (him again) may or may not have racially abused him, so refused to shake his hand – and then refused to shake Ashley Cole’s hand when the Chelsea full-back supported Terry in court. Everywhere you looked in 2012, someone was considering not shaking hands with someone else. Racism is a serious issue that continues to plague football as it does wider society, yet somehow a succession of snubbed handshakes became the more prominent issue for long periods of the year. Another big win for the FA.

One Of the mOst thrilling f1 seasOns ever ends in style – and anOther vettel title

37. CheF Cooks up a reCord

All pictures Getty Images

alastair COOk beCOmes england’s greatest CenturiOn Of all time

Captaincy can sometimes weigh heavily on a cricketer, but not Alastair Cook. Having taken over from Andrew Strauss after the summer, Cook then set about India’s bowlers in some style. In the first three Tests he has scored 548 runs at an average of 110, and in doing so recorded his 23rd Test century – an England record. He’s only 27 (he turns 28 on Christmas Day) and could be doing this for at least another 10 years, by which time he may have broken every record going. Presuming that Sachin Tendulkar actually stops playing some time in the next 10 years, that is.

22 | December 14 2012 |

WatsOn WOWs augusta and gets a neW jaCket intO the bargain

35. don gone

fabiO CapellO takes everyOne by surprise and resigns as england manager John Terry’s ability to outlast managers continued in 2012, with the FA’s decision to strip him of the captaincy for the second time culminating in Fabio Capello’s resignation as England coach shortly before the start of Euro 2012. The Italian took umbrage at his bosses going over his head, spoke his mind on Italian TV and, after brief ’crisis talks’, it was all over. Makes the list for being a truly unexpected turn of events in an era when most managerial changes are hyped for months before they happen, or don’t. Case in point: Harry Redknapp was allegedly a shoo-in to get the job. That didn’t quite work out, did it?

the handshake in fOOtball dOminates the baCk pages, espeCially When it dOesn’t happen

33. ladies' day

saudi arabia allOWs WOmen athletes tO COmpete at the OlympiCs There were enough classic sporting moments during the Olympics to keep us going forever, but possibly the most important of the lot was provided by Sarah Attar. You may not remember her, for she didn’t win a medal, or even come close to it. But in becoming Saudi Arabia’s first ever female Olympic track-and-field athlete at London 2012, she did the sport untold good. Despite the fact she was last in her 800m heat, some 30 seconds behind the rest of the field, she received a huge ovation from the 80,000 crowd – and rightly so. >

Top 50 Moments

32. Queen Victoria steps down

30. punctured By pirlo

28. Foot Fault

“I’m just so glad that’s it all done and I can move on,” said Victoria Pendleton in her last trackside interview. She’d never quite been comfortable with the emotional rollercoaster of top-level competition, but her Olympic farewell was fittingly bumpy. It started with relegation in the team sprint for her and teammate Jess Varnish. Gold followed in the keirin, as Pendleton showed she was still capable of beating the best. But the fairytale ending was not to be – she had to settle for individual sprint silver, losing the first leg of a controversial final after being forced out of the sprinting lane by strongarmed Anna Meares. Sadly, she could not recover.

Joe Hart is a confident man when it comes to facing penalties, but he was no match for Italy’s Andrea Pirlo at Euro 2012. The unofficial player of the tournament stepped up after 120 goalless minutes against England, with his team 2-1 down in the penalty shootout and England fans and players daring to believe. Pirlo destroyed those beliefs with one flick of his right boot, his deft chip into the middle of the goal the ultimate in mind games. Confidence shattered, England duly missed their next two kicks and crashed out of the tournament. We were left in no doubt: Pirlo’s Panenka had been the psychological turning point.

31. Blade runner Blunted

29. the serBinator goes primal

If you’re going to lose, you might as well do it in style – and David Nalbandian definitely took that advice during this year’s Queen’s Club final back in June. Leading Marin Cilic 7-6 3-4, the Argentinian missed one forehand too many for his liking, and lined up a frustrated kick at a nearby advertising board. Sadly, said board was flimsier than he realised; it flew off its hinges and struck line judge Andrew McDougall, drawing blood from his shin and leaving a nasty gash that required medical treatment. Disbelieving umpire Fergus Murphy had no choice but to award the match, and thus the tournament, to Cilic... leaving a Pimm’s-fuelled crowd to hoot their middle-class disapproval.

Ups and downs for the cycling great, before she dances into the sUnset

All pictures Getty Images

oscar pistoriUs falls to a shock defeat in the t44 200m final

Having become the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics only a month earlier, Oscar Pistorius arrived at the Paralympics amid much bluster – and, having set a world record in his T44 200m heat, the South African was all set to take his first individual gold in London. But Alan Oliveira had other ideas; come the final, the Brazilian rapidly closed Pistorius’ home-straight lead to pass him, securing a shock gold. Pistorius was left to grumble about the legality of his conqueror’s blades, while editors across the land rushed to shelve their long-prepared Blades of Glory headlines.

24 | December 14 2012 |

italian maestro deals the fatal blow to england's eUro 2012 hopes in some style

novak djokovic rips off his shirt after winning an epic aUstralian open final

Emerging from an almost six-hour battle against Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic gave the Spaniard a consoling hug, shook the umpire’s hand and promptly launched himself into a shirt-ripping, chest-beating frenzy. A deep roar of testosterone-fuelled pride was released into the Melbourne night by a man who had needed to dig deeper than ever before to win his third consecutive Grand Slam. It was the most masculine moment seen on a tennis court since Tiger Tim retir... ah, who are we kidding? It was the most masculine moment seen on a tennis court, ever.

david nalbandian is disqUalified after injUring a line jUdge

27. Kp: genius

after the hUe and cry, pietersen shows he really is qUite good Kevin Pietersen is England’s most talented batsman. But he had, well, issues in 2012. Having retired from one-day international cricket, he then became embroiled in Textgate, allegedly sending text messages to South African players. He was dropped from the Test team and it looked as though his England career was over. But then, after a period of ’reintegration’, he was back – and his innings of 186 in the second Test against India was simply awesome. On a wickedly turning wicket, Pietersen was the picture of controlled brutality. >




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Top 50 Moments

26. Simm’S great Swim

24. autumn Statement

22. Fight! Fight! Fight!

The stage was set in London for Ellie Simmonds to defend her S6 400m title against American Victoria Arlen, the world record holder. With 50 metres to go, they were neck and neck. Cue the commentary: “This is the last turn... and for the first time, Eleanor Simmonds is into the lead... the crowd are going absolutely bonkers for Eleanor Simmonds... Arlen, the world record holder, dropping back as Simmonds charges again, extending the lead with 15m to go. There is no way she’s going to tie up now, there is just about five metres to go. The gold is going to go to Eleanor Simmonds! It does! 5.19.17. A huge world record!” Indeed it was.

From the moment Swing low drowned out the Haka, there was something special in the air among the 81,000-strong Twickenham crowd earlier this month. New Zealand arrived as world champions and unbeaten in 20 matches, while England were fresh from back-to-back defeats and under pressure. But Stuart Lancaster’s men looked positive from the off, and hit everything that moved in a black shirt. The All Blacks chased shadows, Dan Carter missed two easy penalties, and England played some champagne rugby on the way to a glorious win that shook the world. Can they now develop into genuine contenders for the World Cup in 2015? There have been worse starting points...

The spat between David Haye and Dereck Chisora was laughable, in hindsight: a brawl that was all handbags (and bottles and tripods). It came at the press conference after Chisora had been beaten by Vitali Klitschko, at which Haye inexplicably turned up (and started shouting). A brawl ensued; Chisora claimed he had been glassed, Haye wielded a camera tripod in a manner that was not approved by health and safety, and Chisora responded by claiming he was going to “physically burn” Haye... who then ran off and hid for a few days.

ElliE SimmondS brEakS thE world rEcord to win thE firSt of hEr 2012 ParalymPic goldS

25. FraSer’S wall Getty Images, Action Images / Andrew Couldridge

cEltic kEEP thE might of barcElona at bay. and ScorE a couPlE uP thE othEr End, too If Scotland does get independence and they fancy keeping the rest of us out, they could just replace Hadrian’s Wall with Fraser Forster. Denied a draw in the Nou Camp by Jordi Alba’s injury-time goal, Celtic – and, more specifically, their goalkeeper – would not be denied in the return fixture. Forster kept out 14 shots on target until being beaten only at the death – by which time Victor Wanyama and teenager Tony Watt had given the Bhoys a lead that was to prove unassailable. Celtic had themselves a dream victory – and one that paved their way into the last 16 of this season’s Champions League.

26 | December 14 2012 |

England EntEr thE rEcord bookS in StylE with a 38-21 victory ovEr thE all blackS

23. King DaviD

david rudiSha brEakS thE 800m world rEcord in thE olymPic final No one doubted Kenyan world record holder David Rudisha would win 800m gold at London 2012. But could the 23-year-old really challenge his own world record in the final of a major competition with no pacemaker? The answer, unequivocally, was yes. Rudisha led all the way, striding away to win by yards and become the first man in history to go under one minute 41 seconds. ”I am probably biased,” said former world record holder Lord Coe. ”But when we look across every event, that will be the stand-out performance of these Olympics.”

hayE and chiSora fight likE tankEd-uP girlS on a hEn night in blackPool

21. all gooD thingS...

aftEr taking SilvEr at EvEry olymPicS SincE SydnEy, kathErinE graingEr finally winS gold Rarely has an Olympic silver medal been greeted with such despair as the one Katherine Grainger was awarded in Beijing four years ago. Then, as the realisation of a third consecutive runner’s-up gong set in, Grainger broke down in tears, sinking into a long period of gloom. For months she pondered retirement – but the desire to win returned and, when she joined forces with Anna Watkins in 2010, a gold medal-winning team was formed. They were undefeated going into London 2012, and emerged from the Games with that unblemished record still intact. Finally, Britain’s most decorated female rower had the gold medal that evaded her for so long. And this time, the tears were joyful. >

Top 50 Moments

20. TwenTy20 vision

18. Cold As iCe

16. my beAuTiful boy!

There were a few well-informed sages who tipped the West Indies to win this year’s ICC World Twenty20 – yet when they did, nobody seemed more surprised than the players themselves. Beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka is no easy feat, let alone in a final, and especially when you find yourself 87/5. But Marlon Samuels smashed a brilliant 78 before Sunil Narine (3/9) and Darren Sammy (2/6) squeezed the life out of Sri Lanka’s batsmen. Cue some remarkable celebrations, led by the indefatigable Chris Gayle – who, as you read this, is probably still gangnamming around Colombo.

You’ve got to feel for Mark Slade, Kimi Raikkonen’s race engineer. The Finn is famously difficult, and took things a step further during this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, responding to some pertinent information with the furious: ”Just leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” A few laps later, Slade tried again, bless him, reminding the Finn to keep his tyres warm. Again, he was met with the kind of furious riposte a surly teen might give to a nagging mother: “Yes, yes, yes, yes – I’m doing it all the time. You don’t have to remind me every second.” To be fair to Raikkonen, he went on to win the race. So, clearly, he does indeed know what he’s doing.

In an unlikely twist, the most heartwarming moment of the London 2012 Olympics came when a South African swimmer won gold. Chad Le Clos edged out the great Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly, but it was what happened next that had us all reaching for the tissues. The imperious Clare Balding grabbed Chad’s emotional dad Bert for an interview, which became one of the highlights of the Games. “Unbelievable! Unbelievable! Unbelievable! It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven... this is unbelievable! And look at him! And he’s beautiful! What a beautiful boy!” Good man, Bert. What a dad.

Windies Win the World Cup, and the party’s still going on someWhere

19. Awesome foursome

All pictures Getty Images

ameriCan Women smash longstanding 4x100m World reCord Of all the world records to fall at London 2012, perhaps the most surprising was in the women’s 4x100m relay on the track. The previous best of 41.37s had stood since 1985, an intimidating mark set by a muscly East German quartet upon whom suspicions of doping had always centred. Not that any of that seemed to worry Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight or Carmelita Jeter, who screamed their way round the Olympic Stadium track in a barely believable 40.82s. ”It’s an honour to be part of this team,” said Felix, the individual 200m champion, afterwards. ”Our names are going down in history.”

28 | December 14 2012 |

Kimi raiKKonen KnoWs What he’s doing, just in Case you Weren’t sure

17. sTArT of The gold rush

roWers helen glover and heather stanning Win team gB’s first gold medal of 2012 After four days of Olympic competition in which not a single gold medal had been won by Team GB, the nation was becoming restless, the brows of British officials increasingly furrowed. On the fifth day, though, came former PE teacher Helen Glover and Royal Artillery captain Heather Stanning. British Rowing may have had better-known names on its books over the years, but it is this women’s pair who will go down in history as the first British female rowers to win Olympic gold – and the girls who started an avalanche of gold for Team GB at our home Games.

Bert le Clos Weeps on telly as son Chad Wins sWimming gold

15. sue bArker: Terrible womAn andy murray BreaKs doWn after losing his first WimBledon final

A few weeks before the tears of Bert, there came the tears of Andy. Andy Murray, to be exact, struggling to squeeze out the words “I’m getting closer” through his post-match blubbing at Wimbledon this summer. As the victorious Roger Federer stood grinning smugly in the background, Murray asked chief tormenter/interviewer Sue Barker for a minute to compose himself – during which time the cameras closed in on a man whose emotions were on the verge of completely destroying the image of staid Scot he’d spent years perfecting. Finally, the British public were permitted a peek behind the barriers Murray has built up. >

Top 50 Moments

14. Fourteen and out

12. the King is dead

10. medals a-hoy!

After 13 wins from 13 starts across a three-year racing career, the mighty Frankel headed for his final start at Ascot in October. He was to face the toughest opposition of his life on heavy, rain-soaked ground that was far from certain to suit his exuberant style, with an adoring nation watching on with bated breath. But, with cancer-stricken trainer Henry Cecil watching nervously from the stands, the majestic four-year-old produced one final performance of greatness to win the Champion Stakes by almost two lengths. Jockey, trainer and crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief, before roaring the great beast into a retirement of expensive rutting.

The moment Lance Armstrong removed the words “7-time Tour de France Winner” from his Twitter profile, the game was up. UCI president Pat McQuaid had, hours earlier, responded to the US Anti Doping Agency report in which Armstrong was described as head honcho of “the most sophisticated doping programme that sport has ever seen” with this damning statement: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten.” With those words, a man who had become a worldwide icon was consigned to the annals of sporting skullduggery. Good riddance.

He was already a knight of the realm before 2012, but Chris Hoy is now, officially, our greatest ever Olympian. Sir Christopher overtook Sir Steven’s five-gold haul with a storming victory in the keirin, roared home by a Velodrome crowd that was beside itself in the presence of greatness. But that’s enough about Prince Harry – the moment was all Hoy’s, and the significance was not lost on him as he dissolved into tears. “This is enough for me,” he said. “This is the perfect end to my Olympic career.” He didn’t mention people shooting him if he got back on a bike, mind – Sir Steve still has the best scripts.

11. mediterranean massacre

9. Weir and WonderFul

The strikerless system adopted by the defending champions during Euro 2012 caused much head-scratching. They were criticised for being ponderous, dull to watch and for lacking a cutting edge. An uninspiring run to the final did little to change perceptions, but they silenced critics by ruthlessly eviscerating Italy in the final, with Jordi Alba’s lung-bursting second goal a highlight. Collecting it inside his own half, the full-back laid the ball off to Xavi, and then set off. Seven seconds, and one beautifully weighted through ball later, he picked it up on the edge of the area and fired past Gianluigi Buffon. How’s that for cutting edge?

The final day of the Paralympics, and thousands of people lined the streets one last time. To soak up the last ounce of the Games, to bid an emotional farewell to a great summer. But mainly to see the Weirwolf. David Weir took to the streets of London having already won three golds across six races, totalling nearly 9.1 competitive miles, in seven days. This was day eight, though, and there were 26.2 more miles to go. A poor start left him behind Marcel Hug and Kurt Fearnley, but he stayed in touch, caught them and then pulled clear as they entered the Mall. Four golds from four, and Weir’s work was done. >

Frankel wins his 14th consecutive race and retires undeFeated

13. Zlat’s entertainment

All pictures Getty Images

Zlatan ibrahimovic rounds oFF a Four-goal salvo against england with a wonder strike Never mind Mario Balotelli’s nonsense, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has long been the true enigma of world football. Captaining the Swedish international side for their inaugural match at the new Friends Arena, Zlat was always going to do something ridiculous or sublime. And he chose the latter, adding to an already impressive hat-trick with an outrageous but entirely intended 35-yard overhead kick that screamed class. It gave his nation a 4-2 win, and had many knee-jerk judges claiming it to be the best goal ever. That’s one for debate, but it very nearly sent Twitter into meltdown. Good enough for us.

30 | December 14 2012 |

lance armstrong is outed as a cheat and stripped oF his seven tour de France titles

spain smash italy 4-0 to retain their crown as the world’s best team

sir chris becomes our greatest ever olympian

david weir sprints home in the marathon to seal a Fourth paralympic gold

The stiff upper ht i lip. t il Thel steely t l glint li t iin tthe h eye. The stoutness of heart. Each of these things made Britain great in the field of combat; but all the grit, pluck and spunk in the world is nothing without the hardware to match. Now World of Tanks brings you the finest armoured vehicles this country has ever produced – including the Churchill, Cromwell, Crusader, Black Prince, Centurion and Comet – all yours to command in free to play, team-based, global online tank battles.


8/10 “A great, accessible shooter” 85/100 “A near-perfect populist combat sim”


Top 50 Moments

8. Bolt and the Beast

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake light Up the track at london 2012 Every Coe needs an Ovett, every McEnroe his Borg. So it was only right that, at London 2012, Usain Bolt had The Beast. Despite him being the reigning 100m world champion, there weren’t many who gave Yohan ’The Beast’ Blake a hope in hell of beating Bolt to the finish line in Stratford. But then came the Jamaican Olympic trials, when a disturbedlooking Bolt was beaten fair and square over both 100m and 200m by his teammate, training partner and fellow cricket fan. From then on, Bolt’s Olympic hopes became inextricably linked with Blake’s; wagers were made, predictions proffered, before – finally – the talking stopped and the two men sank silently into their blocks. When all the races were run, it was Bolt, and not The Beast, who took the glory. The pair celebrated together, the watching world enchanted. But this is a tale only half told – there is more to come from these two men.

7. ooeeeuuuurrrrrrrghhhhhhh! All pictures Getty Images

garY neville gets overexcited as chelsea march on towards champions leagUe historY In many ways, the Neviller’s semi-orgasmic mixture of shock and awe summed it up. Chelsea – a club that had installed a caretaker manager less than seven weeks previously – had just secured a place in the Champions League final. By beating Barcelona. With 10 men. And the man who scored the last-minute goal? None other than £50m flop

32 | December 14 2012 |

Fernando Torres. Hollywood scriptwriters couldn’t make this one up. Sure, the goal didn’t actually mean that much, because Chelsea would have gone through anyway, but why let facts ruin a good story? Chelsea went on to make history and put their name on the trophy their owner so covets for the first time. But for Gary’s reaction alone – and the subsequent parodying all across that there interweb – that semi-final victory at the Nou Camp is our absolute favourite moment of their victorious march to Munich.

6. France Bows to Brad

BradleY wiggins Becomes the first British winner of the toUr de france “Right, er, we’re just gonna draw the raffle numbers...” That was how the Kid from Kilburn – as Wiggins has taken to calling himself – began his Tour de France victory speech. Team Sky’s main man was understated as ever, despite having worn the Yellow Jersey as early as Stage 7 and kept hold of it all the way to Paris. He finished in style too, swapping the race leader’s traditional, leisurely lap of the Champs-Elysées for a high-speed stint at the front to help lead out teammate Mark Cavendish for the Manxman’s fourth successive win on the iconic stage. But it was Wiggins’ address to the gathered hordes that marked him out as a man the British public can embrace – for the French had already taken Le Gentleman to their hearts. “Some dreams do come true,“ he said. “My old mother over there, her son’s just won the Tour de France.” With that, Wiggins wished everyone a safe journey and advised them not to get too drunk.

5. Poulter wins the ryder cuP eUrope, led BY their talisman, hUnt down the Us in the greatest match ever

Ian James Poulter – the self-styled ’Postman’ – comes alive at the Ryder Cup, and so it proved again in 2012. With his side 10-5 down, Poulter and partner Rory McIlroy were two down with seven to play against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner; an overnight 11-5 deficit going into the singles would have been too much to haul back. But Poulter would not be denied and pulled off five birdies on the trot to win the match and give Europe the merest whiff of cordite. It was all they needed; the final day saw the leaderboard smeared in European blue, and the US lead whittled away until Martin Kaymer sank the putt that sent his teammates into ecstasy.

4. King oF new yorK

andY mUrraY finallY wins his first grand slam to roUnd off a memoraBle Year In his 28th Grand Slam event, and his fifth final, Andy Murray, who just happens to be the best British tennis player most of us have seen, finally got himself off the mark that matters. That he did so at the US Open, the major immediately following his public breakdown after losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer (see number 15), was testament to his strength of character; that his Flushing Meadows triumph came over Novak Djokovic, now the world’s greatest player, to his significant reserves of both talent and stamina. More of the same next year Andy, if you please. >

Top 50 Moments

3. Saving the beSt for laSt

2. good evening, Mr bond

1. Saturday getS Super

Manchester United fans may disagree, of course. But they’ve had their share of Premier League moments over the years, so they can just pipe down for a minute. Because this was a moment for City and their long-suffering fans, who entered added time at the end of the last Premier League season trailing 2-1 at home to QPR, an elusive first Premier League title seemingly slipping from their grasp at the very last. But then Edin Dzeko headed an equaliser and, with the clock ticking, Mario Balotelli slid the ball through to Sergio Aguero. The little Argentine smashed home, Martin Tyler started screamed, Roberto Mancini did a little dance... and Sir Alex Ferguson strode from the Stadium of Light pitch with a face of thunder. The remarkable climax to the 20th season of the Premier League had proven what Sky had been telling us all along – it may be a shambles at times (Sky don’t mention that bit), but the Premier League really is the best league in the world.

Opening ceremonies can be a bit hit and miss, to say the least, so it was with some nervousness that we tuned in on the evening of July 27, along with the rest of the world, to see what Danny Boyle had cooked up for London 2012. Somehow, despite a cast of thousands, organisers had managed to #savethesurprise, so we really didn’t know what we were in for, other than the fact it was called isles of wonder and would cost only around a third of the Beijing opening ceremony. In other words, what we all worried was whether it’d look like we’d knocked it out on the cheap. As it turned out, it was a complete triumph. A bit of Industrial Revolution, a bit of the NHS, some Mr Bean and the coup de grace: persuading the Queen (“the actual Queen”, as we all referred to her in the aftermath) to take part in a James Bond sketch became maybe the best TV moment we’ve ever witnessed. The London Olympics really couldn’t have got off to a better start. Arise, Sir Danny?

Athletics is simple – who can run fastest, jump highest, throw furthest? But rarely in British sporting history has it looked that way. In Beijing four years ago, there was a solitary gold medal for Team GB on the track, won by Christine Ohuruogu, and a grand total of four medals altogether. A repeat performance in the showpiece event of a home Olympic Games did not even bear thinking about. So when Jess Ennis lined up for the 800m, the final event of a heptathlon she had dominated, on day eight of London 2012, there was no sense of complacency – either from a nervy-looking Ennis or the 80,000 anxious spectators packed into the Olympic Stadium. But then weird things started to happen. First, Ennis ran a superb 800m to cross the line ahead of her rivals and fulfil her role as the golden girl of Team GB. Then, with Mo Farah some two laps into his bid for 10,000m gold, Greg Rutherford earned Britain its first Olympic gold in the long jump since 1964. Things were getting odder by the minute in east London. Farah, meanwhile, was still at war. With five laps of the race to go, he made his opening move, easing into third. Another surge with 800m remaining saw Farah into second, from where he kicked again at the final bell, bursting into the lead to become the first Briton ever to win the Olympic 10,000m title. In the space of a single, surreal hour, Team GB had three gold medals – two of them won by the people we have chosen as our athletes of the year. Which brings us on to the Jess & Mo show...

All pictures Getty Images

Sergio Aguero winS the Premier LeAgue for mAncheSter city

the queen jumPS out of A heLicoPter. DAnny BoyLe, tAke A Bow

teAm gB AthLeteS turn A former PAtch of eASt LonDon wASteLAnD into hALLoweD grounD

| December 14 2012 | 35

Athletes of the Year Jess Ennis

Heroine cHic Jess ennis began the year as a former world champion carrying the burden of a nation’s expectations into london 2012. she ends it as a multi-award-winning olympic goldmedallist and the undisputed darling of british sport. in an exclusive interview with Sport, she looks back on the year of her dreams and the Journey that brought her to it

Tadaomi Shibuya


essica ennis is crying. she has not long stepped off the track after the final event of her olympic heptathlon campaign, the eternally gruelling 800m, and she is exhausted. she is at the end of a four-year cycle that started with her missing the Beijing games through injury, watching on distraught from afar as other athletes got to live out her lifelong dream; but that cycle has now drawn to a close on home soil, in front of 80,000 adoring fans in the olympic stadium, and that dream is now hers alone. Jessica ennis, olympic champion, is crying tears of joy. “i saw that bit of the BBc interview [with phil Jones] when i was crying the other day, and it made me really emotional watching it again,“ she says, perhaps unaware that the whole country was weeping with her. “it’s just weird, and i think those closest to me – [fiancé] andy and my family – were really taken aback, because i never normally cry in public. i always save my tears for behind closed doors. But during that interview, talking about how i had felt four years ago, and thinking about how much time and effort everyone around me had put into helping me get there... well, it just really choked me up.“ it’s almost impossible to watch footage of that interview without experiencing the same feelings; but, strange as it may seem to ennis and her family, such an outpouring of emotion was only to be expected after the build-up experienced by this very special athlete. the moment that ennis returned from a stress fracture of the right foot to become world champion in Berlin in 2009, posting what

36 | December 14 2012 |

was then the third-highest first-day heptathlon score in history along the way, was the moment at which she became the unofficial face of london 2012. athletics is the showpiece sport of the olympic games, and in ennis a demanding British public had found their darling: fast and powerful but elegant and articulate, the smiling girl from sheffield was the athlete upon whom we were to pin our greatest hopes. put bluntly, she was to our home games what cathy freeman was to sydney 2000. “i did feel a lot of pressure, and in the lead-up i think it did get on top of me,“ she admits. “But then everyone was so positive and wished me well. you could feel that in the stadium from the very start, that everyone was just so excited and wanted the home athletes to do as well as they could. “that was a massive advantage. other athletes from around the world thought it would be a disadvantage for us because there was loads of pressure; and there was, but it was such an advantage having that crowd. stepping out into that stadium for the first time was like nothing i’d ever experienced in athletics before.“

WHy not kill myself?

appropriately, the 26-year-old responded to that atmosphere by producing something she had never produced in athletics before. her time of 12.54s for the 100m hurdles didn’t just see her into an early lead and set a new British record; it also equalled the time >

| 37

Jess Ennis

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

"you can't really do the arms up over the line thing when you're coming through in fifth, can you? it's much nicer to do it when you've come first" the American athlete Dawn Harper had clocked when winning gold in the individual event in Beijing. Her hurdles heroics represented the first of three personal bests Ennis was to set during the London 2012 heptathlon; make that four if you count her overall score of 6,955 points, another British record. It was a nigh-on perfect execution of every athlete’s ambition to peak on the biggest stage, and ensured that Ennis went into the final event, the aforementioned 800m, with a practically unassailable lead. Gold may have been assured, but that didn’t mean the Olympic champion elect was about to let up. “I’d done all that hard training, a lot of horrible, horrible 800m sessions when I was literally dying on the track,“ she recalls. “Every time I did one of those sessions, I’d tell myself it would all be worth it because it was going to help me in that one moment in London. I knew I had a massive lead and would have to do something really stupid not to win, but I still wanted to give it everything because it was the last event. I’d done all the hard work, so why not kill myself one last time and have that amazing crowd cheer me up the home straight? “I knew the gold was pretty much there, but finishing that race first and actually being able to celebrate was the icing on the cake... you can’t really do the arms up over the line thing when you’re coming through in fifth, can you? It’s much nicer to do it when you’ve come first.“ Such is the competitive spirit, a streak of absolute ruthlessness, that lies behind the enchanting smile. It wasn’t always like that, though. In her recently released autobiography, Unbelievable, Ennis entitles one of the earlier chapters The Reluctant Athlete – and refers to a pivotal moment when, at the age of 16, she went to a friend’s house party the night before a competition. “I drank too much and crashed out,“ Ennis reveals in the book. “The next morning, grandad arrived to take me to my competition. I pulled the pillow over my head and tried to ignore the crushing headache. I really did not want to go, but I knew I had no choice. I got out of the house and was sick before I even got into grandad’s car. We drove to the track in silence and I could tell how annoyed he was. I got changed and then I was sick again.“

38 | December 14 2012 |

A decade on, the self-assured young woman sitting opposite us remembers that nauseous teen all too well. “I actually went and jumped a personal best in the high jump that day,“ she laughs. “I felt just awful though, and it had definitely got to a stage where I had to decide what was more important to me. What was the point of going to training with a hangover? I’d get nothing from the session and it would just be a total waste of time. I could either go out, socialise and get drunk, or do something to make myself feel good and potentially make my life really great through athletics.“

steel lady

It was a call that the 16-year-old Ennis took little time to make, and one that started her out on a path of dedication to athletics that culminated with that emotional gold in London this summer. She speaks with no sense of regret at a decision not to move into halls of residence for her first year of university, conscious of the potentially detrimental effects of being surrounded by the associated drinking culture. She is equally unequivocal when we remind her that Charles Van Commenee, the former head coach of UK Athletics, openly stated his wish that she relocate her training base away from her hometown of Sheffield. “It’s a very individual thing, and you have to make the decision that is right for you,“ explains Ennis. “For Mo [Farah], it was a great call to move out to America and change coaches, because that has obviously really helped his performance in the past couple of years. For me, though, I knew it was right not to uproot myself. I had great people around me and everything I needed, and saw no need to move. “To a certain extent, your whole life does have to be athletics, and definitely so when preparing for an Olympics. But you have to be able to switch off in some way, and the people around me and my home life is how I do that. That’s how I create that balance, so I knew that the last thing I wanted to do was move down to London and get even more heavily intense. That would have been way too much.“ Unlike a lot of elite sportspeople, Ennis retains an exceptionally healthy relationship with her parents – something she agrees >

Lapping it up: Ennis milks the applause from the Olympic Stadium as she wins her final event

Jess Ennis

"i reMind Myself that i wasn't part of the last olyMpics at all. i would never want to wish these tiMes away"

David Davies/AFP/Getty Images

has helped foster her continued love for the sport. “They always encouraged me to keep going with athletics, but never in an overly pressured way,“ she says. “They’re really proud and always come and support me, but if I asked my dad what my hurdles PB is he probably wouldn’t be able to say! They love watching me compete, but they don’t need to know all the details and be massive stattos, do they?“ The details are instead left to the man who has been coaching Ennis since she was 13 years old. Toni Minichiello has been the guiding influence on his star athlete for half of her lifetime; it has been a turbulent and often rocky road, Ennis admits, but she is in no doubt that this is the defining relationship of her sporting career. “I was a 13-year-old girl coming into the sport and knowing nothing, and Chell was learning the coaching side of the sport back then, so there were always going to be ups and downs,“ she remembers. “He tried to encourage me and push me as much as he could, but you’ve got to be careful dealing with a teenage girl... you want to push yourself, but probably not quite to the same extent as your coach, so you do get upset. “But I always knew he was good, a great coach, and I’ve never wanted to give up on anything. He saw that I had talent and always had a long-term plan. It was never about instant success, but a gradual thing; and, as I got older and we got to know each other better, it grew into a relationship that works. We still have arguments and disagree about stuff all the time, but I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done for me over the years. He’s a larger-than-life character, very funny and always interesting – but it works really well.“

Manners froM heaven

Ennis is a charming and generous interviewee who never seems to tire of giving her time, whether it be in the immediate aftermath of competition or, as we meet her, away from the track. But is there another reality behind the smile, one in which she wearies of an endless stream of interviews and yearns for a life in which she is no longer the public property she has now become?

40 | December 14 2012 |

“I’ve always found that in interviews like this, and whatever you do in life, you should just try to be yourself, as natural as possible,“ she counters. “Then it’s not like you’re putting on an act, which is always easier. And I suppose I’ve always been brought up to be as polite and nice as possible. Of course you have those times when you’re tired after training, doing circuits and sweating, and then a bunch of kids come over and take pictures and stuff... sometimes you do think maybe not now, it’s not the best time. But then everyone has always been so positive and lovely. I always remind myself that I wasn’t part of the last Olympics at all, and that this is now a really unique position I find myself in. I would never want to wish these times away.“ That said, these times inevitably give way to the future. Ennis desperately wants to regain the world title she lost to Tatyana Chernova in Daegu last year, but admits to being intrigued at how far she can go over the sprint hurdles. “I think next year has got to be the heptathlon,“ she says. “I’ve got to do a little bit more. Having got so close to 7,000 points, and with it being a World Championships year again, I think it’s right for me to push on with the heptathlon a little bit more. But the hurdles is very tempting, and it’s great that I still have an opportunity to try and be competitive in the individual event. There’s definitely still time, and I do think how nice it would be to go into an event knowing that I don’t have an 800m at the end of two days of competition. Just a couple of runs...“ Here she drifts off, daydreaming of a life spent focusing on just the one event rather than seven. That time will very likely come. But for now, Ennis can sit back and enjoy the fact that she is exactly what she always dreamed of becoming: the Olympic heptathlon champion. She carried the hopes of a nation into London 2012, and duly delivered what we all desperately wanted on a night we have rightly identified as our top sporting moment of a glorious year. For that, how could anyone else be our athlete of the year? Tony Hodson @tonyhodson1 Jess Ennis’ book Unbelievable is out now, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £20

A unique position: Ennis on Team GB’s open-top bus parade through London in September

Game ChanGer

Athletes of the Year Mo Farah

It was the stuff of dreams when mo farah wrapped up hIs double long-dIstance gold In the olympIc stadIum thIs summer, shortly before another more personal double was added to hIs collectIon. Sport spoke to hIm to fInd out what happens when the dreamIng stops, and real lIfe begIns agaIn


hatever challenge mo farah decIdes to tackle next, wherever he decides the future lies for his growing family, and whenever he decides to reveal the full story of the twin brother he kept under wraps for so long, London 2012 will always be the time that changed his life forever. “What a year!” he exclaims, and shakes his head before repeating a phrase that has been used so often by British Olympians in 2012, they should have it trademarked. “It’s never going to be the same again.” Of all London’s Olympic champions, that statement rings most true for Farah, after he became the first British male ever to win a global title over 10,000m. That was merely the warm-up, though, for the Olympic 5,000m title followed a week later, granting Farah entry into a select group of athletic greats who have achieved the gruelling long-distance double. Then, less than a fortnight after Farah’s triumph on the track, came another double – the arrival of his twin daughters, Aisha and Amani. If he was in any doubt before, they are two constant reminders that the 29-year-old’s life will indeed never be the same again.

Tadaomi Shibuya


Not that he isn’t trying to get back to some semblance of normality. With winter training already under way in Portland, Oregon, alongside his coach and former marathon superstar Alberto Salazar, Farah is taking the first tentative steps into a potentially tricky period of his career. In winning double Olympic gold, Farah answered >

| December 14 2012 | 43

Mo Farah

Michael Steele/Getty Images

"I am one of the best In the world" a question that had been asked of him ever since he became European junior 5,000m champion in 2001. That first major title showed he had the potential to rule Europe on the senior stage, but how would this talented youngster fare against the world’s best? And, specifically, how would he fare against the east Africans who had ruled longdistance racing for so long? Pretty well, as it turns out. Now, the question is surely one of motivation. For years, Farah has worked to prove the Kenyans and Ethiopians can be beaten. So, now that he’s done exactly that, how will it affect his mental approach to training and racing? He muses for a few seconds. “I haven’t even thought that far ahead yet, to be honest,” he begins. “I’m just getting back into training, really. But I’m sure when it all starts ramping up again ahead of the World Championships next year, I’ll be thinking about it more. I guess as an athlete you want to be able to win medals and run good times in your career, though, and that will always be my aim – to continue doing that. That’s all the motivation I need.” Knowing that he is the best in the world must have some effect on his mindset, though. His chest will surely puff out a little further, his head will automatically lift a degree higher and that last, painful rep will be pushed out with just a bit more vigour than before. “I am one of the best in the world,” Farah agrees, without any semblance of arrogance. “But nothing’s changed because of that. You just have to kind of forget about it while still using the confidence it has given you – and I’m really confident at the moment – to start all over again. “You can’t always be thinking ‘I did this‘ or ‘I did that’. It’s in the past now. So you just have to get on with your training and look forwards.”

44 | December 14 2012 |

GoInG lonG

Athletics observers have talked of Farah stepping up to the marathon distance, keen to see how his tactical nous and speed translates on to the road. With just one half-marathon to his name – New York, in an impressive debut time of 60:23 – however, Farah’s capability over 26.2 miles is uncertain. For the man himself, it remains a goal. “I remember watching the London Marathon on TV as a kid and it being brilliant,“ he recalls. “It’s something that I see myself doing one day. It’s at home, you know? One of the biggest marathons in the world and it’s right on my doorstep, so it’s another chance to win something on home soil. It would be nice to become one of the marathon greats like Haile Gebrselassie. But, you know, that’s a long way away yet. When I do it, I want to do it properly.” Farah and his coach rule out the possibility of running the marathon at next year’s World Championships in Moscow, preferring instead to concentrate on defending his world 5,000m title and trying to add the 10,000m to that. Salazar insists that “once you move up [to the marathon], it’s not that you can’t come back down, but you probably won’t improve any more”. For him, it’s a case of squeezing as much out of Farah’s ability on the track as he can before changing the game. The landscape has shifted dramatically in all other areas of his life, but Farah can at least rely on one place where it will, for now, remain consistent. The track is where the double gold-medallist experienced two life-changing moments, but it’s also where he can pretend nothing has changed. He’s still just a runner trying to beat the clock – albeit now one with four women waiting for him at home, rather than two. Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag

No going back: Farah crosses the line to take the Olympic 5,000m gold in London

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John Gurzinski/AFP/Getty Images

Saturday BOxING | AMIR KHAN v CARLOS MOLINA | SPORTS ARENA, LOS ANGELES | SKy Amir Khan starts Saturday night’s light-welterweight clash with the fourth different trainer of his sevenyear professional career. However, it’s another four that will be of most concern to him: a fourth loss in the paid ranks (and a third in succession) would finish entirely his elite-level pretensions. Virgil Hunter, trainer of the magnificent US super-middleweight Andre Ward, is the man charged with cooling Khan’s temperament and ensuring he follows a gameplan for more than just the first few rounds. Khan’s problem isn’t simply that he possesses a less than granite chin – it’s that he overcommits to his rapid-fire attacks and, when hurt, his instinct is to fire back rather than survive.

It’s no easy task to rebuild the habits of a 26-year-old boxer, but the new Team Khan starts in a smart place with Carlos Molina. The Californian is unbeaten in 18 fights, but the seven knockouts he’s recorded against relatively

DEC HIGHLIGHTS 14-DEC 20 » Football: Premier League Preview » p48 » Darts: Ladbrokes World Championship » p50 » Capital One Cup: Leeds v Chelsea » p52 » Rugby Union: Saracens v Munster » p54 » Best of the Rest » p54

SPORTS 1 1AM unknown opposition indicate he probably struggles to make a dent in his hard-boiled egg of a morning, such is his lack of power. Khan is strongly favoured to record his 27th win, but observers will be keen to note any changes that Hunter has been able to instil. He recently compared Khan to “a young leopard, just starting to hunt on his own”. He meant it in reference to Khan’s impressive offensive prowess, while emphasising his need to improve his “stealthiness” in the ring. But can this particular leopard really change his spots?

King Khan the fourth 46 | December 14 2012 |

7 Days

Premier League


Tottenham and Swansea have Previous for letting their focus slip this season. Come on lads, it’s only 90 minutes... SUNDAY TOTTENHAM v SWANSEA | WHITE HART LANE SKY SPORTS 1 1.30PM

Finally, Manchester City have lost in the league, and at home – a double whammy that leaves them looking up at title rivals Manchester United from six points behind. Roberto Mancini saw his side sink into their shells after conceding first in the Manchester derby last weekend, but will take heart from the way City clawed their way back into the game. The champions have not lost at St James’ Park in their past five visits, and the Magpies have been sketchy at home this season. Injuries have robbed Newcastle of influential players too often of late, but boss Alan Pardew will trust Hatem Ben Arfa will continue to have the same influence as in his return at Fulham last Monday – and help create chances against a side that has leaked just five goals away from home.


Tottenham are making a habit of losing games in the closing stages, which doesn’t bode well with Swansea the next side to visit White Hart Lane . The Swans started their previous league outing against Norwich (a team that had only scored five goals on the road all season before their visit to south Wales) by conceding three times in the opening 45 minutes. But Michael Laudrup sent his players out for the second half with renewed purpose and it almost paid off – Swansea scored twice in 15 minutes to narrow the gap to one goal before Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick sealed the win. Quizzed after Spurs fell victim to Everton’s late pressure – losing 2-1 at Goodison Park despite being 1-0 up on 90 minutes – Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas denied his side suffer from being mentally fragile. But the croaky one couldn’t quite put his finger on why they keep conceding late on. “There are so many different reasons, because a couple of them come from different situations,” he said, somewhat mysteriously. Whatever the reasons, the cost to Spurs’

48 | December 14 2012 |

campaign is painfully clear – if all games ended on 80 minutes, they would be top of the Premier League. For Swansea, who tasted defeat for the first time in eight games last weekend, the trip to north London is an opportunity to draw level on points with their opponents. They lost 3-1 at White Hart Lane last season though, when Emmanuel Adebayor’s brace did the damage. And with Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Gareth Bale all hoping to make their returns from injury for Spurs this weekend (the first two of whom are yet to kick a ball in the league this season), the home side are a different proposition to the one that capitulated on Merseyside.


Spurs have lost only only once this season when Moussa Dembele has started – last weekend against Everton

Such is the congestion in the league table from its mid-point upwards, that Liverpool’s fifth win of the season last weekend has taken them to within four points of fourth spot – although the drop into the relegation places is only nine points away. It’s not quite as uncomfortably close for the Reds as it is for Aston Villa, however. Despite being on a decent run of four without defeat, Paul Lambert’s side are the lowest scorers in the league, with a grand total of 12. With Liverpool striker Luis Suarez back from suspension for Saturday’s game (providing he can wrestle his spot back from Jonjo Shelvey, that is), Villa might need to raise their goal-per-game average to keep pace. Time to start Darren Bent at long, long last?


Only a Peter Crouch own goal salvaged a point for Everton at Stoke last season, and David Moyes takes his side there on Saturday knowing they could need that slice of luck again if they’re to breach a defence that has conceded the fewest goals in the league. Up to fourth courtesy of a win against Spurs, the Toffees will hope their first win in a month gives them the momentum to stay in touch with the big boys.


There were disappointing results for both these teams last weekend, with West Brom blaming bad officiating at Arsenal and West Ham ruing the injury that robbed them of a rampaging Mohamed Diame after 73 minutes of their match against Liverpool. The midfielder is out for up to 12 weeks, and the Baggies will take heart from the way Liverpool gained a foothold in midfield once Diame was out of the game.

A single goal decided both meetings between these two last season, each one in United’s favour. Alex Ferguson will hope for a more convincing victory against struggling Sunderland this weekend to keep Manchester City at arm’s length. And, judging by the clinical manner with which they despatched the champions – with three goals scored from three shots on target – Fergie may well get his wish.


Arsenal have scored one goal from open play in their past four league games, so it may do them good to return to the venue where they smashed in seven in the League Cup a couple of months ago. That cup victory was Arsenal’s 10th win over Reading out of 10 meetings between the sides. Another one on Monday would give Arsenal back-toback wins in the league for the first time since September.


Unbeaten in their past nine league games, Norwich will fancy their chances of making it 10 against a team to whom they’ve lost just once in seven meetings. That sole Wigan victory came in the FA Cup 25 years ago, with their two most recent meetings in the top flight both ending in 1-1 draws. Wes Hoolahan scored both Norwich goals against the Latics last season, and will look to make it three out of three this weekend.

Premier League table 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

P Man Utd 16 Man City 16 Chelsea 16 Everton 16 Tottenham 16 West Brom 16 Arsenal 16 Swansea 16 Stoke 16 Liverpool 16 West Ham 16 Norwich 16 Fulham 16 Newcastle 16 Southampton16 Aston Villa 16 Wigan 16 Sunderland* 15 Reading* 15 QPR 16


W 13 9 8 6 8 8 6 6 5 5 6 5 5 4 4 3 4 2 1 0

D 0 6 5 8 2 2 6 5 8 7 4 7 5 5 3 6 3 7 6 7

L 3 1 3 2 6 6 4 5 3 4 6 4 6 7 9 7 9 6 8 9

F 40 30 28 27 29 24 26 26 14 22 21 17 27 18 22 12 17 14 19 13

A 23 14 17 20 25 21 16 21 12 20 20 24 27 23 32 23 30 21 28 29

Pts 39 33 29 26 26 26 24 23 23 22 22 22 20 17 15 15 15 13 9 7

Of 18 goals scored in the Premier League on Saturday, seven were finished by a Spaniard, with Mikel Arteta , Michu and Fernando Torres netting braces and Juan Mata getting one

| 49

All pictures Getty Images

“I can only do what I can with what I’ve got,” said QPR manager Harry Redknapp after Rangers failed to win for the 16th time this season last weekend. That excuse will only wash until the new influx in January, so it’s only fair that ‘Arry makes use of it while he still can. Until the transfer window opens, QPR have a chance to settle under their new boss – something defender Clint Hill (above) is hoping will lead to that elusive first win. “We need a bit of stability at the moment,” he said. “And a system of play that suits us.” Three points were in sight for QPR at the DW last time out, until slack defending allowed Wigan to equalise. Redknapp will see the visit of local rivals Fulham as a prime opportunity to get over the line. Despite a good win against Newcastle on Monday, the Cottagers have won only once away from home this season. Could it be a fourth draw in a row for Redknapp? Most likely.


*Table correct at time of going to press, prior to Sunderland v Reading


7 Days Friday > Darts | PDC WorlD ChamPionshiP | alexanDra PalaCe, lonDon | sky sPorts 1 7Pm

Board meeting The 20th PDC World Championship gets under way tonight. and, with 72 players competing for the brand new silverware – named the sid Waddell trophy after the legendary

commentator who died this year – and a first prize of £200,000, it’s set to be the toughest tournament yet. only five men have won the tournament since its inception in 1994, but andy ‘the hammer’ hamilton’s run to last year’s final proved that form often goes out of the window here. Unlike hamilton, James Wade is yet to make a World Championship final, but he should see off Peter hudson in his first-round tie on

AdrIAn ‘JACkpot’ LeWIs What do you make of your draw? “I don’t really know too much about Gino Vos, except that he’s come from the BDO and he’s played in a few pro tour events. What I do know is if he’s Dutch [which he is], he’ll be a fast thrower. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a slow Dutch player.”

Tom Shaw/Getty Images, Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Are you under more pressure because of your two wins in a row? “No, I don’t feel under pressure at all actually. Obviously I was under pressure last year, because I was defending my title and I had to prove my previous win wasn’t a one-off. I don’t have anything to prove now, though, because I’ve done it. I can just go out and play.”

monday night, while raymond van Barneveld faces michael smith on sunday. Gary anderson and michael Van Gerwen, meanwhile, have both had a fantastic year – Van Gerwen in particular – and are in action on sunday and thursday respectively, against the winners of the day’s preliminary matches. the main attractions, though, are two men from stoke: Phil ‘the Power’ taylor and adrian ‘Jackpot’ lewis, who have dominated the event for the past four years.

taylor has actually taken the title an incredible 13 times – with a run of eight consecutive wins between 1995 and 2002 – and begins his campaign against michael mansell tomorrow night. lewis, meanwhile, is looking for a hat-trick of victories this year, and kicks off tonight against youngster Gino Vos. We caught up with the two masters to get their thoughts ahead of stepping up to the toughest oche in the business. let’s play darts...

phIL ‘the poWer’ tAyLor What makes the World Championship so special? “It’s just a great tournament. It doesn’t get any bigger than the worlds, with all the best players at a great venue with a loud crowd. All that comes together to make a fantastic event. I just can’t wait to get started again, so I’m glad I’m playing on the opening night.” Is it true you had no sleep before last year’s final? “Not quite. I think I got less than four hours, though. My semi final went on so long that we didn’t finish until about 1.20am. Then I had to do a drugs test, so I was there until about five. It definitely made the final more difficult. But it’s the World Championship, so tiredness quickly left my body.”

What do you make of your draw? “It’s great. There are some tough draws for some of the lads, I tell you. I’ve got a tough draw as well, with Michael, which is always a good thing because it means I’ll prepare properly and get ready for him. Sometimes a tough draw in the first round can set you up for the rest of the tournament, because you have to be on your game. So I’m happy.” What makes the worlds so special? “It’s the big one, isn’t it? This is the one we’re all after – this is the daddy.” does last year’s shock exit motivate you? “Yeah, because everyone keeps reminding me about it! I’d love to win it, just one last time, and it’d be

extra special because of Sid – he was one of my best friends in darts. On top of that, Bruce Spendley – the MC I’ve worked with for 25 years – is retiring, and he’s calling the final scores. I’d love to win it for him.” your fitness regimes are well publicised. What kind of shape are you in? “I’m always experimenting and trying different regimes, and I’m doing a lot of juicing at the minute – which I’m enjoying. I feel better than I have done for a while. Just myself, I guess. I suppose age is catching up with me, so I have to put more work in to keep up.” Finally, we keep hearing it’s your last year? “No, you’re not getting rid of me that easily!”

The Ladbrokes World Darts Championship is live on Sky Sports HD, including the semi finals and final in 3D. Join the conversation at #Ladbrokesdarts

50 | December 14 2012 |




Completely free every Friday. The UK’s top sport magazine The biggest interviews The best previews

iPad edition on Newsstand now | 51

7 Days FriDAY BOxing | wOrLd series OF BOxing: BriTish LiOnheArTs v gerMAn eAgLes | eArLs COurT, LOndOn | espn 11pM No headgear, no vests, five-round bouts and scoring via the 10-point must system: the world series of Boxing (wsB) is still classed as amateur boxing, but it bears more than a passing resemblance to its professional cousin. it’s also a team event competed in by nation-based franchises, with the British Lionhearts debuting this year. results have been good, with 4-1 wins against italia Thunder and the usA knockouts in the best-of-five bouts format – until a 5-0 defeat against kazakhstan halted their progress last week. This is the big one, however. The german eagles swoop into London, and the British have selected some of the squad’s big guns to shoot them down. Olympic silver-medallist Fred evans (pictured, on the left) competes at middleweight against fellow Olympian Vasilii Belous, while another Team gB member, Andrew selby, is in a tough bantamweight contest against the wily redouane Asloum. The pick of the bouts could be at light-heavyweight, where gifted irish teenager Joe ward takes on kevin kunzel: unbeaten in two and a half seasons of wsB action. with two other bouts at lightweight and heavyweight (featuring sam Maxwell and Joe Joyce for Britain), it’s an enticing event.

Eagle versus lion

WEDNESDAY FOOTBALL | CApiTAL One Cup QuArTer FinAL: Leeds v CheLseA | eLLAnd rOAd | sky spOrTs 1 7.45pM

Scott Heavey/Getty Images, Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Flight to fight

52 | December 14 2012 |

Assuming all goes well in the World Club Cup, Chelsea won’t actually be back from Japan until the early hours of Monday morning. So it’ll be tired legs and minds making the trip to Leeds for the League Cup quarter final on Wednesday evening. Leeds and Chelsea fans and players haven’t got along in the past. And, in 2003, Leeds named Chelsea as their second biggest rivals. Of course, back then they were genuinely competing for the same trophies before the Yorkshire club’s crash through the divisions. Rafa Benitez is no stranger to inexplicable animosities himself, but – despite the protestations of Chelsea’s fans – he has his side scoring goals and looking sturdier at the back than they did under Roberto di Matteo. The welcome returns of Frank Lampard and John Terry will bolster things further – they are also the only two survivors from Chelsea’s last trip to Elland Road in 2003. While no longer blessed with the attacking talents of Alan Smith and Mark Viduka, as they were that day, Neil Warnock’s side do still pose a threat going forward. The sharp attacking play and movement of Luciano Becchio and spitting machine El Hadji Diouf could unsettle Chelsea if they show any signs of complacency, and the local crowd would love a high-profile scalp. Rafa’s will do.

7 Days Sunday Rugby union | heineken cup: SaRacenS v MunSteR | VicaRage Road | Sky SpoRtS 2 3pM It’s payback time across the continent, as the visitors from the third round of Heineken Cup pool games become the hosts for round four. and the pick of the weekend’s action comes from Watford, where two-time european champions Munster are in town to face Saracens, with the duo locked on 10 points apiece atop pool 1. Last week’s visit to thomond park saw Sarries match Munster’s physicality and european nous in a tight 15-9 defeat; that they came away with only a losing bonus point owes more to the boot of owen Farrell (left), who missed four penalty attempts, than anything more worrying. this week, though, the Londoners are at home, and don’t have the thomond park effect to deal with. a more solid lineout can be expected, which means bigger carries around the base, and better ball for a dangerous backline that started to threaten late on in Limerick. if Farrell’s radar is switched on, Sarries can be confident of a win and a commanding position in the pool. that said, this is Munster we’re talking about – and Rob penney’s men don’t lose easily in the heineken cup. dave o’callaghan and James coughlan in particular put in barnstorming performances to penetrate the Saracens defence last week, and with Ronan o’gara’s boot behind them – not to mention the return to form of keith earls – Munster are always dangerous and should be written off at their opponents’ peril. a win will do nicely for the home side. elsewhere this weekend, Leinster are out for revenge having had their unbeaten run ended in France last time round. Clermont’s win puts them firmly in charge of pool 5, but the irish side will have been disappointed to come away with just a bonus point – they’ll be going for the jugular on Saturday afternoon (Sky Sports 1, 3.40pm). With andrew goodman offering a new threat in their backline, Leinster are a dangerous prospect right now. and, with an impassioned home crowd, the heineken cup holders will be looking for a big win. anything less and an away quarter final looks the best they can do.

Familiar foes BEST OF THE REST


David Rogers/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

cRicket india v england: Fourth test, day2,nagpur,Sky Sports13.55am cRicket australia v Sri Lanka: First test, day 2, hobart, Sky Sports 3 11.25pm uFc Sotiropoulos v pearson, gold coast convention & exhibition centre, Queensland, eSpn 2am

SATURDAY SWiMMing World Short course championships: day 4, istanbul, british eurosport 8am 54 | December 14 2012 |

WinteR SpoRt FiS alpine Skiing World cup, Val d’isere, british eurosport hd 9.45am hoRSe Racing international hurdle, cheltenham, channel 4 3.05pm FootbaLL championship: barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday, oakwell Stadium, Sky Sports 2 5.15pm

SUNDAY cRicket big bash League: Sydney Sixers v perth Scorchers, Sydney cricket ground, Sky Sports 3 8am

goLF alfred dunhill championship: day 4, Leopard creek cc, Malelane, South africa, Sky Sports 4 10.30am FootbaLL La Liga: Real Madrid v espanyol, bernabeu, Sky Sports 3 6pm FootbaLL La Liga: barcelona v atletico Madrid, camp nou, Sky Sports 3 8pm SnookeR players tour championship: Round 5, Ravenscraig, Scotland, british eurosport 2 8.45pm

MONDAY cRicket india v england: Fourth test, day 5, nagpur, Sky Sports 1 3.55am

WEDNESDAY cRicket big bash League: Melbourne Renegades v hobart hurricanes, etihad Stadium, Sky Sports 1 8am eQueStRian London international horse Show, olympia, british eurosport 2 9pm

nba ny knicks v brooklyn nets (with Carmelo Anthony, below), Madison Square garden, eSpn 12am

THURSDAY cRicket india v england: 1st t20, pune, Sky Sports 1 1pm nba dallas Mavericks v Miami heat, american airlines center, eSpn 2.30am

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Register your interest online: NOW Applications open: January 3 Applications close: January 14 Selection day: January 21 Protein Project begins: February 11 2013

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*NIeLseN scANTrAcK: DATA To we13.10.12 (ToTAL coverAGe - MAT - vALUe sALes)

the support of a Maximuscle nutritionist throughout the entirety of the 12-week challenge. The average guy who is voted as the overall winner at the end of those 12 weeks will also win a year’s sponsorship from Maximuscle, becoming an official ambassador for the UK’s number one protein brand*, as well as a £5,000 cash prize.

P68 Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins takes us back to Middle Earth. Again

Extra time Gadgets

Making the most of your time and money

Box clever This week, some very smart boxes indeed – a high-end TV, a personal cloud, and one that will help you win at Call of Duty

LG 84LM960V 84-inch Ultra HD TV Now, 84 inches might only be double the size of your regular 42-inch set, but it offers a resolution four times greater than your typical high-definition TV. Combine ultra-HD technology ready for the next wave of content and a Magic Remote that lets you control streaming services with your voice, and you have a TV that will be cutting edge for years... provided you can get it through the door. £22,500 |

Pure Jongo S340B

Turtle Beach Ear Force Call of Duty: Black Ops II Tango Headset Optimised specifically for a certain first-person shooter (can you guess which one?), these headphones let you instantly amplify things such as footsteps or explosions to give you a gaming edge. £175 |

58 | December 14 2012 |

Toshiba STOR.E Cloud If you don’t trust yourself or the likes of Apple and Google with your data, why not set up your own personal cloud? This box offers just that, with 3TB of wireless storage accessible from anywhere in the world – and it’s compatible with both Macs and PCs. £150 |

Ignore the odd name – these boxes are pretty handy. They’ll let you stream music wirelessly to them via Wi-Fi and, if you have more than one, you can use them together for house-filling sound with powerful bass. And, no, they don’t (so far as we know) have them in the Congo. £150 |

Igor Gentili/Mandarine Media/Lipstick Syndication

Extra time Mariella Pellegrino

Forza Italiana!


ariella Pellegrino may not, at first glance, appear to be the tanned adonis-like bodybuilder who could crush you in the nook of either bicep. But she is, in fact, a winner of the Italian muscle showpiece the Trofeo Due Torri, and is most at home strutting her stuff at events such as the Arnold Classic Europe – renowned as one of the most high-profile dates in the strongman calendar. The annual bodybuilding competition is named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, naturally, and is an offshoot

60 | December 14 2012 |

of its 23-year-old Stateside forebear. The original Ohio-based event offers a first prize of $130,000 and a Hummer (of course it does) – which we would suggest Miss Pellegrino look into, particularly because she seems to be without her clothes, boots and, indeed, a ruddy great 4x4. That, though, might have to wait, because her fake-bake-and-bikini look was ultimately unsuccessful at the Arnold Classic Europe this year. But don’t worry. She’ll be back.

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Extra time Kit

Christmas wrapping







Keep your head warm while you fight the Christmas crowds this winter

1Patagonia Lined Beanie

Available in a variety of funky (people still say that) patterns, Patagonia’s beanie boasts a mixture of merino wool and fast-drying nylon to keep you warm and dry, while the polyester fleece lining feels smooth against your heed. £29 | 020 3137 6518

2 Rohan Stronsay Reversible

A quick-drying polyester inner retains warmth in freezing temperatures, while the reflective strip – and a high-vis orange reversible inner for when you fancy a noticeable change – will keep you visible in the dark. £22 |

3 Result Aspen Knitted Hat

Also available in blue, Result’s double-knit hat will keep you insulated and looking good on the coldest of days. Which is, wait for it, a result! £10 |

4 Hilly TwinSkin Hat

Perfect for staying a bit more active in the winter months, the TwinSkin offers a dry acrylic outer layer for keeping the rain out. A merino wool inner keeps you cosy, meanwhile, and a reflective tab makes you... well, reflective. £14 |

5 Kangol XO Cable Hat

In among all the ear-flaps, bobble tops and patterned numbers, the simple chunky wool look will always have a faithful following – and this burgundy number ticks all boxes fashion and warmth. £26 |

6 Under Armour Blustery Beanie

The base layer specialists continue to grow their array of clothing options, and their latest hat, available in four different colours, is filled with all the usual tech and brilliance to keep your bonce warm and dry. £12 |

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Extra time Grooming: Gift Sets for Her

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What’s in the box? Present-buying time is running short. As ever, your uncle Sport is here to help – for her on this page; for him on the next

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Extra time Grooming: Gift Sets for Him er unt o c n in E es, nd Kle spic om a f

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Extra time Entertainment

The old ones are the best


A week of nostalgia – with revisitings, both old and new, of some cultural classics ExhiBiTion

Brown Sugar on Main Street

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

In case you hadn’t heard, the Rolling Stones have this year been celebrating a half-century of making music and misbehaving. Both are captured in the equally playful and intimate photography of Peter Webb and Dominique Tarle, whose separate works have been combined in this exhibition at London’s Zebra Gallery. The carefully curated collection of just 20 shots provides a fascinating insight into the band’s public and private personas during a period of creative (and other such) highs in the early 1970s – and also reminds us that Keith Richards was once a devilishly handsome young rogue.

Sir Ian McKellen as the irresistible Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as the ethereal Galadriel, and of course Andy Serkis as the compellingly detestable Gollum... can it really be more than a decade since director Peter Jackson brought JRR Tolkien’s fabled characters to silver-screen life in the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Well, they are all back, as Jackson returns us to Middle Earth for

Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown This hardback companion to a major new six-part BBC series could act as the perfect coffee-table material over the festive period. With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, naturally, the tome reveals the undiscovered side of Africa and features a plethora of stunning images (including our baboon friend, above) – 21 of which can be brought to spectacular moving life through the use of augmented reality.

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The Killing Trilogy Season 1-3 Boxset

The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald

The dark adventures of everyone’s favourite Danish knitwear milf are set to draw to a close on BBC Four this weekend – but you can have every last moment of Sarah Lund action on DVD as soon as Monday. Deadly compelling from first to the dramatic last.

The sharper among you will know this is not a new release. But The Great Gatsby is one of the truly great American novels, and publishers Arcturus have just released this deluxe collector’s edition complete with slipcase. Fitzgerald’s enigmatic antihero would definitely approve, and so do we.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Whatever else happened in the year the Rolling Stones formed, we wonder? What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, for one, and Robert Aldrich’s tense psychological thriller is enjoying a 50th-anniversary cinematic rerelease to mark the occasion. Bette Davis (above, right) is all macabre menace as the decaying former child star finding ever more villainous ways to torture her invalid sister (Joan Crawford).

Rolling Stones: Glimmer by Peter Webb, Gelada Baboon by Anup Shah/


Tolkien’s gentler (and shorter) tale about a little hobbit going on a rather big adventure. Martin Freeman brings a predictable but charming understatement to the role of Bilbo Baggins, while McKellen is all raised eyebrows and fun. At just under three hours, however – and that just for instalment one of yet another trilogy – it will test the stamina of even the most fervent Tolkien fans.


Sport magazine 286  

Sport magazine 286