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No place for that dreaded “c” word in America’s Cup wash-up

Australia may not occupy too much of the high ground in international sport these days, but it certainly hasn’t prevented serial Kiwi knockers from revelling in New Zealand’s America’s Cup misery.

And fair enough, too. Had the roles been reversed, there’s no doubt many of our friends from across the ditch would have taken great delight in seeing an Australian team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in such spectacular fashion.

Having shown my true colours in a recent blog, I have no trouble acknowledging the achievement of Team USA (albeit an Aussie-studded team of Cup mercenaries, with one solitary American on board) as one of the genuinely great sporting comebacks.

What I can’t cop, though, is the suggestion that the Kiwis produced one of sport’s great chokes – fit to rate right up there with the likes of Jana Novotna, Jean Van de Velde and, yes, Greg Norman.

Sure, losing 9-8 after at one stage enjoying a whopping 8-1 lead strongly suggests the sort of mental disintegration that characterised those horrendous collapses by Novotna (Wimbledon, 1993), Van de Velde (British Open, 1999) and Norman (US Masters, 1996).

But if you’d followed Fox Sport’s live America’s Cup action from the get-go – not, thanks to such scant Australian print media coverage, discovered the event was on only when it was virtually over — you’d appreciate that was far from being the case.

As the more serious, sober observers noted in their America’s Cup critiques, the Kiwis – twice denied by the weather gods, and once by the clock, when in a position to clinch that last, elusive victory – simply found themselves ground down by an America boat, off the pace in the early exchanges, that found a few more gears the longer the event wore on.

Jimmy Spithill and co obviously deserve every bit of praise that’s flowed their way in the America’s Cup wash-up but, by the same token, Dean Barker’s Kiwi outfit don’t deserve to be labelled a bunch of chokers.

To me, that not only demeans New Zealand’s contribution to a classic David/Goliath contest, but, just as unfairly, diminishes Team USA’s stunning achievement.

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Hawthorn’s hard-earned grand final victory has capped a memorable AFL season for our intrepid form analyst/tipster David White.

YT, who outpointed the top media “experts” in the land during the home-and-away season, had tipped the Hawks way back before a ball was kicked in anger — topping his predicted final eight which included six of the ultimate September contenders.

YT’s hot form also extended to last week’s Brownlow Medal. In doing a favour for a Melbourne mate, involved in a competition to tip the top vote earners from every club, he came up with 15 of the 18 (including, of course, now dual gong winner Gary Ablett).

— Peter Thomson

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2 Responses to No place for that dreaded “c” word in America’s Cup wash-up

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  • Plenty of Paine for Tim Posted on: Jan 2nd, 2017

    He suffered a shocking thumb injury, and unfortunately for Tasmanian wicketkeeper Tim Paine it came at the wrong time…

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