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Hillsborough Disaster - 1989 One of the world's most senseless sporting disasters took place on Saturday, April 15, 1989 at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. That afternoon 96 soccer fans were crushed to death before and during the early minutes of an FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest FC. The stadium was a neutral site, but Liverpool had thousands more fans than Nottingham Forest who sought tickets. As is the custom, the two teams' fans were segregated. The Liverpool supporters were generally assigned standing-room tickets on the south terraces--enclosures surrounded by security fences. With the Liverpool terraces already dangerously overcrowded, the situation became exponentially worse when the police outside the stadium, fearing trouble, ordered an exit gate to be opened and 2,000 more fans rushed into the enclosures bypassing the turnstiles. The crush of the crowd caused fans already inside to be pushed and squeezed against the heavy metal fences and die of suffocation. Despite the constant pleas from fans for the police to open security gates to alleviate the pressure, the police on the other side of the fences did nothing. Some fans tried to escape by climbing into an upper deck. Others tried to scale the security fences. About six minutes into the match, the fans in the overcrowded terraces spilled over and through the fences causing the game to be stopped. Most of the fatalities died on the pitch without ever getting to a hospital. A coroner's report suggested that perhaps 40 of the fatalities could have been prevented with quick medical attention. Yet only two ambulances ever entered the stadium while others were stuck in a bottleneck outside the venue. Even with injured and dying fans being brought onto the pitch, most police officers were inexplicably more concerned with preventing rival Forest supporters from entering the field than assisting the injured. Initial reports wrongly blamed drunken and unruly fans for the catastrophe while exonerating the police's actions and inactions. Wildly inaccurate stories about fans pickpocketing the dead and interfering with rescue efforts were published in The Sun tabloid--a newspaper which is largely boycotted in Liverpool to this day. Later investigations indicated that a whitewash of the incident was orchestrated by the police, and rightly placed the blame on a paucity of law enforcement outside the stadium and a lack of police action when the situation on the terraces became dangerous. The ages of those killed ranged from 10 to 72. Eighty-nine of the 96 were males. One 10-year-old who died was the cousin of Steven Gerrard, who would later become Liverpool's captain. Terraces disappeared from most large British soccer venues shortly thereafter.
Tags: Hillsborough  disaster  England  soccer   
Added: 12th July 2014
Views: 2646
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Posted By: Lava1964
1978 World Cup Soccer Fix The 1978 World Cup tournament was held in Argentina during the era when a brutal military junta ruled the South American country. Fearing for their safety, two of the world's best players (Holland's Johann Cruyff and West Germany's Franz Beckenbauer) both boycotted the tourney. The most controversial match pitted the host Argentines versus Peru. The Peruvians were already mathematically eliminated. Argentina had to win by at least four goals to overtake Brazil in the pool standings and qualify to meet the Dutch in the final. Peru put forth an effort so dismal in a 6-0 defeat that the Peruvian players bought newspaper ads in Lima to insist the match hadn't been fixed. Years later, after the junta was toppled, documents indicated that about $50 million was paid by the Argentine government to top Peruvian soccer officials to get the desired result. Argentina defeated Holland in the final.
Tags: soccer  1978  World  Cup  Argentina  Peru 
Added: 12th November 2009
Views: 2539
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Posted By: Lava1964
1973 Wimbledon Boycott In May 1973 Nikola (Niki) Pilic, Yugoslavia's number-one-ranked male tennis player, was suspended by his national tennis association. The governing body claimed he had refused to play in a Davis Cup tie for Yugoslavia against New Zealand earlier that month. Today tennis players routinely turn down invitations to play for their countries in Davis Cup competition, but back in 1973 it was considered a big no-no--especially in an eastern European country. Pilic denied he had done so. Be that as it may, Pilic was initially suspended for nine months. Yugoslavia's suspension was supported by the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF), but it was later reduced to just one month. Nevertheless, that month happened to be when the prestigious Wimbledon championships took place. Thus, Pilic would not be permitted to play at Wimbledon. The recently formed men's players union, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), stated that if Pilic was not allowed to compete, none of its membership should compete. As a result, 81 of the top players, including reigning champion Stan Smith, boycotted Wimbledon in 1973 to protest Pilic's suspension. The initial seeding for the men's draw had already taken place. Thirteen of the 16 men's seeds withdrew. This resulted in an enormous number of qualifiers and lucky losers getting into the main draw. Three leading ATP players, Ilie Nastase, Roger Taylor and Ray Keldie, defied the boycott and were fined by the ATP's disciplinary committee. Also among those who chose to play were two rising stars: Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors, who each advanced to the quarterfinals. Despite the boycott, the attendance of 300,172 was the second highest in Wimbledon's history at that time. The eventual men's champion was Jan Kodes of Czechoslovakia. He defeated Alex Metreveli of the Soviet Union 6-1, 9-8, 6-3 in the final. (Tiebreakers were played at 8-8 in those days.) Kodes is shown here planting a kiss on the championship trophy.
Tags: tennis  Wimbledon  boycott 
Added: 15th September 2012
Views: 3377
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Posted By: Lava1964
Avery Brundage Avery Brundage was the only American ever to become president of the International Olympic Committee--a position he held from 1952 to 1972. He was also the most controversial IOC head. Brundage had competed at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in the decathlon and pentathlon. He later acquired significant wealth from his contruction company combined with some shrewd investments. His vast fortune skewed his views of amateurism. Since he was independently wealthy, he could not see why every other amateur athlete could not be self-sufficient too. As a result, Brundage believed the only true athletes were amateurs. He denounced pro athletes as entertainers. Brundage rose to become head of the United States Olympic Committee by 1936. That year he controversially allowed the American team to compete in the Berlin Olympics despite heavy public pressure to boycott the Nazi-themed Games. He personally disqualified one notable female American athlete, swimmer Eleanor Holm, for allegedly engaging in immoral behavior on the team's ocean voyage to Hamburg. (Years later Holm claimed she had rebuffed the married Brundage's advances and he suspended her out of spite.) After the 1936 Games, Brundage openly praised Nazi Germany's economic resurgence and newfound national pride. By 1952 he became head of the IOC and a staunch defender of pure amateur sports, saying that the ideal Olympian should be a Renaissance person with many interests--not just the financial benefits of being a pro athlete. Critics labelled him "Slavery Avery." Despite being anti-communist, Brundage was impressed by the Soviet Union's national physical fitness programs and was instrumental in getting the USSR into the Olympic movement. Brundage was still at the helm of the IOC at age 85 in 1972 when a terrorist attack killed 11 Israeli team members. Brundage called for a day of mourning and then insisted the Games continue-- a decision still controversial today. In one of his final public speeches as IOC head, Brundage favored abolishing the Winter Olympics because of their growing commercialization. He died in 1975.
Tags: Avery  Brundage  IOC 
Added: 5th February 2013
Views: 1286
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Posted By: Lava1964
Forgotten Sitcom - Phyl and Mikhy If you remember this short-lived CBS citcom you have a great memory and ought to report to the nearest trivia contest. Phyl and Mikhy was about two athletes (one American and one Soviet). The Soviet, Mikhail Orlov, was a decathlete who defected to the Unites States to marry Phyllis Wilson, a star athlete from Pacific Western University. The show starred Murphy Cross as Phyllis (Phyl) and Rick Lohman as Mikhail (Mikhy). Jack Dodson played the head of the school's alumni association. Michael Pataki played a blundering Soviet consulate official assigned to get Mikhy back to the USSR. It was a typical fish-out-of-water sitcom that played upon Cold War politics and the defector's comical adjustment to life in western society. Only six episodes of Phyl and Mikhy aired, beginning on May 26, 1980 and ending on June 30. The fact that the United States had announced its boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics probably made this show even more far-fetched than it already was.
Tags: CBS  sitcom  Phyl  and  Mikhy 
Added: 28th May 2015
Views: 1134
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Posted By: Lava1964

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