Monthly Archives: October 2010

Skeleton vs Luge (vs Bob)

I was just idly wondering which of the two suicidal winter sports, skeleton or luge, is the faster, when I chanced upon this article, which is worth a peruse, containing such snippets as:

Lugers are quick to point out how much more sophisticated their sport is. They tamper constantly with the steel composites on the blades of their sleds; they are obsessed with the geometry of the runners, the parallels and degrees and millimeters. Their sport is riddled with espionage; luger Thorpe says his room has been broken into on more than one occasion by rival coaches seeking to take the top-secret measurements of his sled.

“You see lots of skeleton people cross over to luge,” says Thorpe. “But you almost never see luge people go back to skeleton. It’s a control issue.”

This forum thread actually discusses speeds, and suggests luge has it over skeleton, but bob is the fastest of all. At some point I might research this properly 😉

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Fastest bowler in history?

Two of the contenders for the hallowed title of Fastest Bowler Ever are of course Frank Tyson and Michael Holding. (Jeff Thomson would be many people’s vote, especially the paltry Tests he played before his shoulder injury – I read of one incident where a bouncer of his sailed over the batsman & hit the sightscreen on the volley for 6 byes). And there was one Test where people were trying to get to Marshall’s end to escape Patrick Patterson, but I digress).

I’ve read some great anecdotes about Tyson. When he made his debut for Northants (slow, pudding pitches they had up there) the slips went down for his first ball, the batsman edged, and first slip was felled in agony as the ball smashed him on the shin before he could move. The other slips gave each other a look and moved back 10 yards. Apparently they stood back as much as 40 years in Australia.

Len Hutton, who chose Tyson as a wild-card pick to go to Australia, was asked when he knew England would win that Ashes series of 1954/5 (they were smashed to hell in the first Test and came back). He said it was when he saw Tyson hit Neil Harvey on the pad, and Harvey removed the pad to rub the spot of impact.

Anyway, I’m reading this book Grovel! about the ’76 Windies tour of England (more here), and on p119 there’s a quote from Trevor Bailey on Holding:

Today is the first time I have seen anyone bowl faster than Frank Tyson at his peak.

…which is interesting, and the first time I’ve ever heard a contemporary of Tyson say any such thing.

From p.214 of the same book there’s this comment on the famous 5th Test of ’76 at The Oval, where Holding took 14 wickets on a featherbed and all other bowlers (including Roberts) died a thousand deaths, Greenidge has just hit 3 fours off the first Bob Willis over of a spell, and 2 in the next:

To see the supposed saviour of England’s fast bowling being dealt with so callously so soon after Holding’s brilliance brought the home side’s predicament even more sharply into focus. The subsequent comment of former Australian batsman David Hookes that ‘Bob was a fucking off-spinner compared to Michael’ could easily have had its roots at the Oval.

Levi Meeuwenberg – more incredible Parkour

Levi Meeuwenberg – Freerunning Showreel ’09

My fave bits on there are not the most spectacular – one is the liquid smooth dive and roll he does at 1’41”, but the most incredible thing is at 2’51”, where he swan dives onto an iron bar, and takes his whole flying body weight on his arms in a catch-and-hold. I suspect this guy can do several press-ups in a row.

Damien Walters – incredible Parkour/gymnastics

Astonishing.

Richards v Richards

Am reading the very interesting Grovel!, the story of the West Indies’ 1976 tour of England.

I was drawn to the quote from ex-England spinner Pat Pocock on p.79, where he says of Viv Richards that he “…was the second-best player I ever bowled to, behind Barry Richards”.

It’s not often you see explicit comparisons of the two great namesakes, and highlights yet again what a loss B.A.Richards was to Test Cricket.