Thursday, November 29, 2012

BBC Sport discovers women have personalities

BBC nominees for Sports Personality of the Year 2012
That's a great picture to share especially in light of last year's sexist line-up which didn't even include one woman. 

This year voters can chose from Jessica Ennis, heptathlete/ Nicola Adams, boxer/ Ellie Simmonds, swimmer/ Sarah Storey, cyclist/ Katherine Grainger, rower

Curiously this year's batch were selected using a different method - last year's was done by sports editors from various British newspapers. It bothers me that they had to dump the media who should be more aware than anyone of the talent out there to make a representative list. 

The Beeb posted earlier on how divisive last year's panel was, so this year's is broader. 

*Barbara Slater,  Director of BBC Sport (Chair) /*The BBC’s Head of TV Sport (Philip Bernie)/*The Executive Editor of BBC Sports Personality of the Year (Carl Doran)./*A representative from BBC Radio 5 Live - this year, Eleanor Oldroyd./*Three national newspaper sports editors (to be rotated annually) - this year, Mike Dunn (The Sun), Lee Clayton (Daily Mail) and Matthew Hancock (Observer)/*Three former nominees (to be appointed annually) - this year, Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and Denise Lewis OBE/*A pan-sports broadcaster/journalist - this year, Sue Mott and *Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport.

At least now when the public vote takes place on the overall winner, there is a fair chance of a woman winning if she deserves it. 

For a look at the Irish equivalent, the RTE Sports Person of the Year, pop over to Action81 and this post 'From Derval to Katie and how we ought to use surnames'. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Photographer Camilla Stoddart in World Open final

Camilla Stoddart, a sports/action photographer whose work often features on this blog, is a finalist in the 2012 World Open Of Photography. Some incredible shots from everyone in this contest, but the Scotswoman's shots always speak to me. Follow the links below to her entries, they're non-downloadable so can't put them here.

My favourite is this MTB shot taken at St Bathans in New Zealand. It shows Kiwi Kelly McGarry on what looks like a vertical slope down into an old gold mine.

But this shot of Mitch Coll base-jumping - flying really - is also hard to stop looking at. I've been reading a lot about Base Jumping lately, could be time for another documentary I think. Fascinates me how they just don't seem to be afraid at all.

The World Open winners will be announced on November 30th.  

This shot from Camilla Stoddart's blog. 

Stoddart's website with more great shots like this one is here.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Dame Kelly Holmes in the abstract

What do you make of this?

Thanks to Maria for sending this, she said: '(sending you ) a data visualisation about Dame Kelly Holmes we have just released. In conjunction with Planet K2, London studio Accept & Proceed took Dame Kelly Holmes’ 800m and 1500m races in Athens 2004 and turned them into a piece of artwork as part of the Art of Performance series.

There are more examples including Paula Radcliffe's 2003 London Marathon here. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Surfer Easkey Britton in Iran

I had lots of fun working on a piece about Irish surfer Easkey Britton this week, one of the most inspiring sports women around really. This video was shot when she travelled to Iran on a surfing trip. Yes, Iran. 
Easkey Britton surf en Iran- from marion poizeau on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When women's magazines make you fat

When I lived in Sydney my favourite sports mag was 'Women's Health'.  So when I moved back to Ireland, it was sorely missed.

The buzz when I saw a new UK edition launched recently was mighty as they say in Ireland, only mighty ... until I opened it.

Models so thin they clearly have never worked out in their lives, no muscle defintiion, stories about sex lives and chocolate with a singer on the cover. Oh, and a banner across the top proclaiming: ' 7-day gym pass for every reader'. Well, that's alright then.

Aside from telling me I perhaps should have stayed in Sydney, the mag just disappointed me so much. Is this really what Irish and British women want from a sports magazine? I mean, 'Women's Running' is nothing like this - it's great. But is only about running, ahem obviously.

I was really looking forward to WH - the Aussie edition is brimming over with nutrition advice - not diet, nutrition - training tips, gear and equipment advice, new sports you might not have heard about before and it made me feel healthy just reading it.

Then this morning I hear that the Irish government is thinking about introducing a Sugar Tax to force people to stop eating crap. Our obesity levels are the 4th highest in Europe.

Is there a connection I ask myself? Oh yes there is - get out do sport, real sport not just wearing an expensive tracksuit in your high heels and you won't be obese.

Too simplistic a message? Sorry. (I'm not really) 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

World Champion boxer Deirdre Gogarty visits Ireland

The walls of St Saviour’s Boxing Gym in Dublin are covered with photos of tough-looking men, gloved-up and ready to fight. But next to Muhammed Ali, there’s a photo of Deirdre Gogarty with a World Title belt around her waist. 

World Champion 1997 Irish Boxer Deirdre Gogarty (this pic from 1994)

Deirdre Gogarty won that belt in 1997 after ten years of training in Ireland and America. Women’s boxing was illegal in Ireland then so she’d moved to Louisiana

“I started in Saviour’s really, I was young then and thought no-one in the world could beat me. It was an instinct in me to fight, it was just something I had to do,” she says, standing next to the ring.

Now a boxing coach and graphic artist in Louisiana, I met her in October when she came to Ireland to launch her autobiography. She also made time for a training session with Olympic champion Katie Taylor. 

Gogarty and Taylor go back a long way. When Gogarty won her Women’s International Federation of Boxing title in New Orleans, 11-year-old Taylor wrote to her.

“I kept a letter she sent congratulating me on wining the world title. And at the bottom she said maybe one they will let us box at the Olympics,” Gogarty says.

“It is brilliant to see her now. I’m living a little bit through her, I would have wanted everything she did and it’s just great she has the chance now.”

But she says thinking any amateur boxer can make an easy transition to professional fighting is a mistake. Gogarty herself went straight into the pro game but she says for anyone with a choice that would be “madness”.

Aside from the obvious differences of no head-gear and smaller gloves, the Drogheda woman says the fights are tougher.

“You are paid so you are expected to handle a lot more punishment and fouls. You get fouled more – head-butts, low blows and kidney punches. You are more prone to getting cut too. But in amateur the emphasis is on safety,” she says.

And you’re alone, she says, there is no support like the High Performance Team gives to amateur boxers in Ireland. She refers to professional boxing promoters as “sharks”. In contrast amateur boxers compete in highly-regulated tournaments. 

One of Gogarty’s most famous fights was on the undercard for Mike Tyson Vs Frank Bruno in 1996. Her opponent’s battered face put women’s boxing on the map for millions of viewers. 

But she hopes people will realise the huge differences between professional and amateur scenes.
She says: “Boxing is tough at any level. But everyone should absolutely try amateur boxing. Knowing you are fighting and being able to prepare for that is a life experience that will stand to you.”

Gogarty hopes the so-called ‘Katie Taylor” effect will bring girls into boxing gyms. But she’s unsure how many could ever compete at Olympic level.

“There are not very many people, boys or girls, who go into competition. It takes a special person to climb into that ring. It takes a lot of courage. This is not a sport for everybody,” she says.

(and in Easons if you're in Ireland!) 

A version of this story first appeared in the Irish Independent's FIT magazine.