Artificial Turf, Hot Sand and Icy Water

Review of the week: 29 June – 5 July 2015

Carli Lloyd USA vs Can Sep17

Carli Lloyd (above) is smiling because she has captained the United States to its third Women’s World Cup and has scored a hat-trick in the final. After a blistering goal fest, Japan was defeated 5-2, despite artificial turf which had previously been the subject of a petition. The Americans have won four gold medals at the Olympic Games and would be expected to add to that tally but, curiously, no nation has ever won Olympic gold the year after winning the World Cup, so there could yet be an opportunity for Germany or Japan. In Santiago, Argentina reached the final of Copa America for the 27th time in 44 tournaments but were beaten by Chile on penalties. The host country won the trophy for the first time, having lost four previous finals in 99 years of competing for it. Lionel Messi suffered his second loss and will be hoping that he does not have to wait as long.

Brazil has won more Olympic medals in beach volleyball than any other country, but disappointingly few of them have been gold, something which it hopes to put right next year on the familiar sands of Copacabana. It looks likely after a dominant performance at the World Championships in the Netherlands, where its women filled the podium and only silver from a Dutch pair prevented a similar clean sweep in the men’s event. A loser in his final in London, Alison Cerutti must be the favourite in Rio after taking the spoils with his new partner, Bruno Schmidt. In modern pentathlon, Lena Schoneborn, the 2008 Olympic champion, added a world title with victory in her home city of Berlin.

And finally, I could not resist discussing the Island Games, which took place in Jersey this week. The hosts finished first in the medal table but the Isle of Man was the top isle in cycling, despite Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh preferring to ride in the Tour de France. In the swimming pool, the Faroe Islands proved to be the best archipelago with ten gold medals. Five of them were won by Pal Joensen, to add to his 22 golds in previous Games. He is a European silver medallist who has competed for Denmark at the Olympics and even has his own Tumblr page. No wonder he is also smiling (below).

Pál Joensen 2014

I don’t think that Joensen is a one off. There were other Faroese swimming medallists in Jersey and swimmers from the Faroe Islands have won thirteen Paralympic medals, an impressive total for a place with a population of less than 50,000. An explanation is perhaps provided by this tourist website, which reveals a passion for swimming all year round in the chilly waters of the North Atlantic. Brrr! On the other hand, having been in London, where Wimbledon had its hottest ever day, I am starting to see the appeal.

Next week: Wimbledon, US Women’s Open golf, the Tour, and the Pacific Games.

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