Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Greg Lemond

Somehow there is a tendency to root for the underdog. Somehow, at least I, am most of the time looking at the Tour de France and waiting, in vain, for the favorite to collapse. The time that the one I am rooting for is coming from behind and snatches victory is extremely rare. It did happen though in 1989 with the most dramatic conclusion of the tour ever.

By exception, the last stage of the tour was a time trial, not a normal stage. We went into the time trial with Laurent Fignon as the number one with a 50 second lead on Greg Lemond. Fignon was a great time trialer, but had lost around half a minute to Lemond in similar trials earlier. So for the fans of Lemond (I was one of them) there was a glint of hope.

Greg was not just coming from behind in this stage, he was also coming from behind after having been seriously hurt in a hunting accident and also after having lost half his team during this tour. But none of this stopped him any more. In this last stage it was just between him and Fignon and he could defeat him, the question was only, by how large a margin.

As it goes with time trials, the first in the classement, finishes last and so, while Lemond had already finished, we were looking at Fignon running to the line with the seconds ticking away. It was close and in the end only 8 seconds separated the two. 8 seconds for Lemond to win the tour.

Is it because of this that I kept on thinking of Greg as the most sympathetic of champions? I hope to think not. This feat was heroic; what makes Greg sympathetic is his personality.

Opnieuw Niko Koffeman

Eerder heb ik geleden onder een interview met Koffeman bij de VPRO. Nu is er een interview te beluisteren met Martin Simek. Deze keer was het niet zo tenenkrommend, al loop ik er niet mee weg.

Martin maakte het Koffeman niet moeilijk, zodat de teflon op zijn ziel minder opviel, maar het blijft zo dat alles wat hij vertelt een groot, heldhaftig feest is. Zo kwam kleine Niko op voor buitenbeentjes op het schoolplein toen hij nog een jongetje was. Dat komt door het mededogen dat hij van zijn adventistische ouders heeft meegekregen. Gelukkig was hij zelf geen buitenbeentje, zodat dat allemaal goed kon. Is een jochie dat op zaterdag naar de kerk gaat en geen vlees eet geen buitenbeentje? Toch wel, maar kleine Niko was al populair.

Misschien was hij toen ook al zo bewust hoe hij overkomt. Misschien kon hij zichzelf toen ook al als een feilloze gozer presenteren. Ik word vreselijk kriegel van die man, maar het zal wel aan mij liggen. Misschien is hij helemaal niet nep en krijg je hem nog best aardig te kennen. Luister zelf.

Oordeel zelf of er tussen de cliche's en de prachtige, succesvolle en positieve vertelsels nog iets te ontdekken is dat het gevoel van aanraking, hart en dromen geeft. Aan Martin zal het niet liggen. Eerst dacht hij met een idealist van doen te hebben en roept vervolgens uit: 'oh maar eigenlijk bent u een revolutionair!'

Haniyeh stages a show

This picture is all over the media this morning. I find it rather sickening. The subtext of the pic is that Haniyeh sort of personally rescued Alan Johnston. And I doubt that. I can't tell the group that abducted the BBC reporter from any Hamas cell, but that is hard to dissect from here anyway. Nevertheless, even if we suppose Haniyeh has nothing to do with it and was in some way instrumental in Alan's release, the big smiles are just too sweet for my taste. It looks like a politician stealing a picture with a sports champion on all accounts.

On a side note, Fatah is not so happy with the media swirl Haniyeh makes here either.
Yasser Abd Rabbo said Wednesday that Hamas' release of the Briton, held in Gaza for nearly four months, from the custody of militant group Army of Islam, had been staged, as the two groups were in league with each other. He said Hamas staged the rescue in order to "appear as if [Hamas] respects international law."

"We're watching a movie, where the thieves in Gaza fall out and one of them claims to be honest and brave, and the other is the bad guy. This Hamas game fools no one," Rabbo said.

Sour grapes from Abbas? The pot and the kettle? Well, Haniyeh certainly shows being savvy at showing himself to the international public. Where is Joris Luyendijk who said the Palestinians were no good at that?