Monday, September 09, 2002

Often, when you watch competitive sport, you see young competitors winning. The best of them have an unbelievable amount of focus, they have little experience of anything but winning, and often don't seem to realise what a big deal it is. Pete Sampras was like that when he became the youngest person to win the US Open in 1990, and he was like that for most of his wins at Wimbledon. Sometimes, however, you see a great sportsman, who it appears the younger players have caught up with and, who it appears is past his best and the media has declared him 'finished', find something, somewhere inside him that reminds him that he still is a great player, and that he can win one last time. This is really nice when it happens, because competitors who do this know how hard it is and really appreciate the fact that the old man has done it one last time. I remember Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters in 1986. And of course Pete Sampras this week. The trouble is of course that in this case the 'old man' is younger than I am, and I don't feel old. From the point of view of Australian sports fans, another key instance of this is swimmer Kieran Perkins winning the 1500m freestyle at the Atlanta Olympics. I think we has about 22 at the time, so "old man" can mean some odd things in these circumstances.

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