So what the Chinese media questioner wanted to know of Su Bingtian, the morning after the night before, when he had become the first Asian to contest a men’s 100m final at the World Championships, was this:
Sport has never been bigger business or a more prominent strand in the fabric of human affairs. At the same time, millions of people have been left trapped leading lives of grinding poverty, chronic insecurity or worse by the unpredictable economic and political convulsions that mark our times.
So it is hardly surprising that sports leaders find themselves under more and more pressure nowadays to put something back. To contribute more than an entertaining spectacle to a wider society whose support enables athletes, entourage members and officials to lead enviably comfortable, purposeful lives.
The race for the Presidency of the International Federation of Athletics Associations (IAAF) could well be the most significant sporting contest this year. Sergey Bubka or Sebastian Coe will join a very exclusive roll of honour, for only five men have previously led world athletics in the 103-year history of the governing body.
Rio 2016 still faces problems but they are right to believe first Olympics in South America will be success
Last March I came to Rio de Janeiro in what marked one of my first trips outside Europe with insidethegames. Never having been to Brazil before I was rather wowed by everything I saw, and particularly by the city’s glamour, colour and vibrancy. I was consequently rather less sceptical than perhaps I should have been about everything I was told, especially in relation to insistences they would still meet a bid-time legacy commitment to reducing water pollution levels across the city by 80 per cent.
Twenty years on - the extraordinary triple jump world record of a "skinny-looking, very ordinary guy"
Twenty years ago this week a “skinny-looking, very ordinary guy” - his own description - hit the take-off board in Gothenburg’s Ullevi stadium at high speed. By the time his effort came to an end he had left a mark in the sand which, while it was soon smoothed away by an official brush, remains to this day in the form of a world triple jump record of 18.29 metres. Jonathan Edwards, ordinary guy, had done something extraordinary.
Two-horse race for 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics reminiscent of 1981 Summer Games vote between Nagoya and Seoul
Almaty and Beijing are entering the home straight of the contest to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The election in Kuala Lumpur will be the first two-horse race in an Olympic host city election for 34 years.
How the IAAF’s Lausanne Diamond League pointed the way to future successful meetings - no dull world record attempts
No world records were set at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on Thursday night, which was held in an old stadium marked out for destruction. And yet people still managed to enjoy themselves hugely. How was this possible?
For every $6 (£3.70/€5.20) of revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Games that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) collected in its last four-year cycle, $1 (£0.60/€0.90) is being channelled via Olympic Solidarity (OS) on its way back out.
This amounted to $663 million (£470 million/€590 million) from rights for that Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 quadrennium - a substantial wad of cash by any reckoning.
The celebrations which marked the 50th Anniversary running of Oslo’s Bislett Games offered many great athletes the opportunity to reflect on the days of their youth. As the cavalcade of classic open-topped Ford Mustangs made its slow circuit of the Bislett Stadium track before the main meeting began, the waving passengers – John Walker, Roger Moens, Javier Sotomayor, Jan Zelezny, Ingrid Kristiansen, Henry Rono - received warm waves of applause. For many of those rising in acclaim, these middle aged but still largely trim and athletic figures had created indelible memories on this oval patch of ground.
No one was applauding more warmly than Svein Arne Hansen, recently elected President of European Athletics, who has been involved in every Bislett Games since 1965 in various forms, serving as meeting director from 1985 to 2009.
In the run-up to the seventh, and biggest, “official” Women’s World Cup, there have been significant achievements by individuals, teams and National Federations that can only make women more widely welcomed within the football world. There has also been a stealthy growth of playing numbers worldwide.
England is one of the success stories, with the professional league having just started its fifth season, and the number of registered players up to a quarter of a million, according to the Football Association (FA).
The sport was given royal approval when Prince William, taking up his official engagements again after the birth of Princess Charlotte, met the World Cup squad at the FA’s headquarters in Burton-upon-Trent.
A tale of Marius, Juan Antonio and two Thomas-es, or did history repeat itself on the shores of the Black Sea?
Here is a short quiz for keen students of the Olympic Movement.
Who said this? “All over the world people are tired of the insincerity, the excessive cost and the ceremony which accompany the Games. Their huge success in this century is no guarantee for the future.”
Or how about this? “Cooperation with the International [Sports] Federations (IFs) is more than ever necessary. The federations are, as always, ready to cooperate, but expect that this cooperation will be in a spirit of genuine partnership…In society, the role of sport will be ever more important, either with Olympism or without, and therefore the role of the IFs will not cease gaining importance.”
I doubt that Barack Obama includes Denmark among his favourite sports event venues. The Danish capital Copenhagen, after all, was the scene in 2009 of Chicago’s stunning exit from the race to host next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, even though the US President jetted in hoping to help the Windy City to victory.
Outside the White House though, a growing body of opinion now sees this small European nation, perched on top of Germany like the logo on the bonnet of an old Mercedes-Benz, as a leading player in this peculiar branch of the marketing industry.
And, as its reputation has grown, so event hosting has emerged as one of a number of poles of excellence that have steadily transformed Denmark’s image from a byword for blue cheese and bacon to a beacon of civilised living.
It is 6pm in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. Delegates to SportAccord Convention are reaching for their black ties and frocks in preparation for that night’s gala awards ceremony. The local frogs are cranking up for their evening chorus.
Bernard Lapasset, President of World Rugby, is just back from a visit to a nearby national sports coaching and training centre. The calibre of the medical facilities has particularly impressed him.
The approachable 67-year-old Frenchman, from the Pyrenean army town of Tarbes in the deep south, has been an increasingly influential figure in international sports for some time now, helping to secure the right to host the 2007 Rugby World Cup for France and overseeing the sport’s return to the Olympic programme.
For all the bluster and triumphalism of the 40 Agenda 2020 recommendations unanimously passed in Monte Carlo on December 8, it has not escaped the notice of many that, with the possible exception of the Olympic TV Channel, few concrete and definite changes have yet occurred in Thomas Bach’s era of reform.
The decision taken the following day during that International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session to recognise the membership of Kosovo was therefore perhaps the biggest accomplishment so far of the Bachean era. For it was a choice that could have sparked a political maelstrom but seems to have passed with, if not unanimous approval, than more or less universal grudging acceptance.
The background to the decision was complex and our analysis here last year delves only some way into the fascinating blend of history, international relations and sports politics required to come close to understanding the factors at play.
Svein Arne Hansen’s first speech as European Athletics President - delivered at the Congress in Bled where he was voted in as successor to the longstanding appointee Hansjörg Wirz - went down well, with a ripple of laughter greeting his sign-off statement:
“I said I didn’t want people just to be involved, I wanted them to be committed,” Hansen recalls. “My final line was that it was like eggs and bacon - the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.”
At the age of 68, with just one four-year term allowed to him to make his mark, Hansen is determined to make the most of a position he sought four years ago before losing by 28 votes to 22 to the Swiss who has just relinquished his post after 16 years in office.