Saturday, 18 June 2005

LMWN's Greatest Living Englishmen part 1

by Ted Hoffman

Despite the name, this series of posts (if it turns out to be a series of posts) is not exclusively male. The likes of Paula Radcliffe and Delia may well appear with the title altered accordingly, but I have a strong aversion to using Englishperson, I'm not sure why.

Darren Campbell
With a personal best of 10.04 at the 100 meters, and 20.13 at the 200, Darren Campbell is on paper a very good, but not quite top tier sprinter. Except by the time he chooses to retire he will have a trophy cabinet so stuffed full of major medals as to make a mockery of those who have much faster times.

Darren is a European Junior champion at the 100 and 200 meters, a World Junior silver and gold medal winner, in seniors events he has won the AAAs (British Championship), the European cup, European Golds, 2 World Championship medals, and achieved the heights of Olympic silver and gold. His finest individual hour was the Sydney Olympics, where the gold was kept from him only by the highly suspicious speed of the Greek Kostas Kederis.

It is a running theme that no matter what hiccups he encounters at a competition and what odds are apparently stacked against him, he always walks away with a medal. He can line up injured against 7 others with better season best times and he will duck over the line ahead of enough of them to win something.

How does he achieve this apparent dichotomy? I have no ready explanation, thought I suspect he bows to no one when it comes to the size of his balls.

When you add to this that he seems a thoroughly nice chap and will leave the sport free of drug use allegations, he surely has his name down on any list of great living Englishmen.

No comments: