Sunday, August 24, 2008

Boxing: Kenny Our Hero

So Kenny didn't take the gold - that doesn't take away from the arrival on the Irish sporting scene of a sportsman of pure class, an example not just to other boxers but to us all.
From the start of his fight with Xiang, we had the feeling that, like with Sutherland in the semi-finals, this was going to be one fight too far. We were right. On the day, the best boxer won, whatever anyone may say about hits not registering and the bias of the judges.
Kenny knew it himself- and, if anything, his impeccable behaviour and sportsmanship (and that of Xiang) after the fight only enhanced his stature. These two gentlemen proved superb ambassadors for their sport.
So did the RTE panel - Mick Dowling, Micheal Carruth, Andy Lee and Bernard Dunne spoke a language (it's called plain English) we don't hear very often in these days of MBA-speak. How refreshing to be reminded that sport commentary doesn't need to be mind-numbingly inane or queasily self-serving.
Then there was Jimmy Magee - what can we say? Aged 75 and still oozing boyish enthusiasm, along with those priceless turns of phrase. Long may you flourish, Jimbo!
By any standard, the Famous Five were the outstanding Irish success story of these Games. All five lost only to gold medal winners, two won bronze and one silver. Not only did they walk the walk but they talked the talk, coming across as a bunch of bright an articulate lads - unlike some of the trash-taking English.
About the only bad news is that high performance director Gary Keegan is about to set off for the Institute of Sport, which is already bearing all the marks of a white elephant on the scale of the National Consumer Agency.
Maybe he will learn to cope with the mountains of paper work, the snail-slow progress, the politics and the aforementioned MBA-speak ("pathways", "best practice", "going forward"), but we suspect he'll very quickly lose patience.
Stick with the boxing Gary - it could get even better.


Legal Mayo said...

I wanted to agree with your comments about the five boxers in Beijing, and the five in the RTE studio (let's not forget Katie Taylor) They are a credit to their sport. Michael Carruth for his sheer decency, Bernard Dunne for enthusiasm and blind faith, Mick Dowling for his insightful analysis, and Andy Lee for his charisma. I hope they go from strength to strength...though admittedly, Mick Dowling is probably passed it at this stage.

Lindie Naughton said...

..he's still better than my pals from athletics, who all seem to have an agenda, although Sonia was a revelation and grew into the job. Gary O'Toole on swimming (a sport I have no interest in) was also excellent.
What will we do with our time now??

Legal Mayo said...

The "I hope they go from strength to strength" comment was with regard to their boxing careers, and that was in respect of Bernard, Andy and Katie (a certain gold medallist if womens boxing is included as expected in 2012). I think Mick Dowling and Michael Carruth have years of analysis ahead of them. Mick Dowling has been great on RTE for years, but the others, like Sonia, grew into the job as the Olympics went on.

I've been reading this morning that Ken Egan is uncertain about his future, and may be lured into the professional sport. What a pity if that becomes necessary for him. As I watched the enthusiasm of Andy Lee for his amateur colleagues, I couldn't help thinking what a shame that he, turned pro after Athens. I believe that he has serious prospects as a professional, but at 24 years of age, he could have been a great prospect for Ireland in Beijing.

I know nothing about swimming either, but Gary O'Toole is a superb analyst too.

What do we do now that it's all over? I may get some sleep for a start, and then start training for London in 2012. I'm considering taking up BMX looks good fun, and not that hard, as a lot of its downhill, and I used to do something like it as a child around the fields at home on my younger sisters bike!

Lindie Naughton said...

Good luck with the BMX - don't know where you live but they have a dirt track in St Ann's Park, Raheny where the falls wouldn't hurt too much!

Legal Mayo said...

No-one told me about the falls...I may have to re-think my plans to become an Irish Olympian!