Alan Hubbard

By the stretch of anyone’s imagination, Donald Trump, soon to be the ex-President of the United States, could not be called a good sport. His hysterical reaction to being kicked into touch by Democrat Joe Biden is a sure indication that he has patented the art of being a sore loser.

As from next week he can wave an un-fond farewell to his few friends in sport, not least those who play alongside him on the golf courses he owns. Indeed, an entire book has been written about how Trump cheats at golf.

His love of sport, which he professes to be rooted in his heart, is actually quite tenuous; a brief flirtation with boxing in the 1980s, when he hitched himself to Mike Tyson’s promotional bandwagon as a financial advisor to the world heavyweight champion, his vicious knee-jerk reaction to those who kneeled in support of anti-racism and the Black Lives Matter protest movement. And his lewd description of how to greet women, which he dismissed as "locker room banter".

And now the coup de disgrace. Trump is to be denied his dream of staging the British Open at Turnberry after the Scottish links he owns was ruled out following the anarchic storming of Capitol Hill by his supporters. This move by the Royal and Ancient came just hours after his Bedminster course was dropped as the venue of next year's US Professional Golfers' Association Championship.

Donald Trump's fondness for golf - if not perhaps it's rules - is well know ©Getty Images
Donald Trump's fondness for golf - if not perhaps it's rules - is well know ©Getty Images

America First has always been the rogue Republican's Presidential policy, on and off the playing field, and if they don’t come first, by fair means or foul, then he simply kicks them in the teeth.

That may be a simplistic view of The Donald’s sports philosophies but it is not that far off the mark when you shake it all down. He is only interested in sport when there is money or political advantage in it, but when you dig down into the grassroots of his sporting soul there has been nothing much for this professed fan to shout about.

At least the man who has supplanted him in the White House appears to hold a genuine love of sport, one who has played quite a few of them and in the case of football, the American version, to a reasonably high level. He also likes what the Americans continue to call soccer. All this augurs well for the future. Biden may be older, but he is certainly wiser when it comes to matters of state - and sport.

Whereas Trump, in his four years of political buffoonery, has shown himself on so many cases to be the very antithesis of a fair player, Biden looks set to be a far more rational and internationally respected team leader.

So much for the politics. The one certainty is that the man who as a young athlete was known as "Dash" - not only because of his speed on the football field but also for a stammer when he spoke - will be better for sport domestically and internationally.

The Professional Golfers' Association of America this week moved its flagship event from one of Donald Trump's courses ©Getty Images
The Professional Golfers' Association of America this week moved its flagship event from one of Donald Trump's courses ©Getty Images

The majority of the US - and the rest of the world - collectively breathed a sigh of relief when former vice-president Biden won the 2020 Presidential election, defeating Trump and ending four years of a tumultuous Presidency. Biden's tenure will surely be a positive step forward, shifting away from the dangerous and exclusionary rhetoric that Trump would engage in while in office.

Biden is an alumnus of Archmere Academy, a Delaware prep school, where he first gained his nickname and ultimately overcame his impediment.

"As much as I now like my confidence in my ability to communicate verbally I always had confidence in my athletic ability", he wrote in his memoir. "Sports were as natural to me as speaking was unnatural. And sports turned out to be my ticket to acceptance and more. I wasn’t readily intimidated in a game so even when I started I was always a kid who said “give me the ball."

Former graduates and team mates say that Biden combined both ferocity and fairness when playing baseball and football. One critic wrote in 1960 that his skills in college football as a pass-catcher "were among the best in game", and footage of his exploits on the football field exists online today.

Biden’s grip on politics tightened when he went to law school but his passion for the discipline of sport remained and there is no doubt now that his perspective on sport as a metaphor for life will be welcomed by International Federations, especially the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Friends and colleagues say his belief in seeking a common ground and compromise will be a hallmark of Biden's Presidency.

He is an internationalist by temperament, so his election most probably unlike that of Trump should certainly be welcomed by IOC President Thomas Bach, who has regularly spoken of the need for unity in recent months.

Despite rising tensions over China among the US and allies on human rights issues, Biden is not likely to back calls for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Another advantage that Biden will have over Trump is that he is not an arrogant man, and has already made more friends than Trump ever did among the international sporting community.

He did not support a US boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and declared it was "outrageous" that the US Government threatened to invalidate the passports of American athletes who competed. 

Now, his avowed battle for the US to gain control pf the coronavirus pandemic will have implications on sport, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Biden must know that unlike Trump’s laissez faire attitude, his positivity will help enhance the confidence of athletes and International Federations in the planning and operation of major global events, such as the 2026 FIFA World Cup which the US will co-host with Canada and Mexico. 

Joe Biden attended part of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images
Joe Biden attended part of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images

The Invictus Games, for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel, could also return to the US. Both Biden and his wife Jill have been associated with the event that was held in Orlando in 2016, which has led to the suggestion - one with which I suspect Her Majesty might not be amused - that Games founder Prince Harry, with his wife Meghan Markle, will be among the first foreign visitors at the White House once Biden has moved in.

Biden also forged a friendship with Sebastian Coe around the London 2012 Olympics when he was vice-president, and Coe chairman of the Organising Committee. Apparently they got on well despite in theory being on opposite sides of the political fence - co is a former Conservative Member of Parliament - and were said to share a similar approach to sporting life and its value to society.

Little doubt that he will rub along nicely with Bach on Olympic issues. Trump never professed any great affinity with the Olympics head honcho, presumably not relishing the thought of anyone outside his own political realm holding any sort of world power.

So goodbye to megalomania. Finally trumped by a sporting ace.