June 27, 2007

Sporting perfection?: The Telegraph's Brendan Gallagher compiles a list of 50 perfect sporting moments. You could go vote for your favourite, but isn't it much more fun to argue about why the list is wrong and how biased it is?

posted by Fence to general at 07:16 AM - 31 comments

Personally the one moment that really comes to mind is Peter Stringer's try in the 2006 Heineken Cup final. But as with all these sort of lists it is always down to personal opinion. Still fun to list them though :)

posted by Fence at 07:19 AM on June 27, 2007

Really nice list. Thanks for posting the link, Fence.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:04 AM on June 27, 2007

Nice list, Fence. Many of the football, rugby, and cricket moments are lost on me, but from the comments in the story, they are certainly not lost on the readers. One event that was not mentioned that I think deserves a nod is the 1977 epic British Open between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson at Turnberry.

posted by Howard_T at 08:47 AM on June 27, 2007

Obviously not on the list, but one that stands out for me was on December 31st, 1988 when Mario Lemieux scored five goals, five different ways: - regular strength - shorthanded - powerplay - penalty shot - empty-net As well, NY Yankee Don Larsen's perfect game during the World Series would be included in the North-American-centric version of this list.

posted by grum@work at 09:39 AM on June 27, 2007

For anyone who's a bit perplexed by the cricket (youtube) : Some of Michael Holding's run up and results. Warnie's ball of the century (worth it for Dickie Bird's puzzled look alone) This one will show you how much Warne could turn the ball

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:34 AM on June 27, 2007

A horse, a gymnasts, ice dancers, and an American swimmer in the top 10? Jessie Owens at #17? Where is John Elway's helicopter dive on 3rd and 6? If they are gonna include American sports, that must be in there. The you tube links are nice. Be sure to watch the rugby try. The juke that gets put on #5 near the touchline is so good it looks like a camera glitch.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 10:47 AM on June 27, 2007

Dammit. My WBotC link looks a lot like their WBotC link, because I pasted the wrong one in. Try this one Where do I hand in my keyboard and license to use the internet?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:59 AM on June 27, 2007

Referring to Shergar as just "a horse" is somewhat under-estimating his impact. The Derby has been run for more than 200 years and Shergar's run is the biggest winning margin in the race's history. What happened to Shergar after his racing career was over probably adds to his reputation too. Shergar's kidnapping.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:06 AM on June 27, 2007

"Perfect sporting moment?" My own local bias points to Kirby Puckett's Game 6 home run in the 1991 World Series. His team was down 3-2 after getting swept in Atlanta, and he wasn't hitting that well, but Puckett told his teammates after batting practice, "Jump on my back tonight, I'm going to carry us." All he did in that game was hit a RBI triple in the 1st, then score, rob Ron Gant of an extra-base hit in the 3rd with an amazing catch, hit a sacrifice fly in the 5th to put the Twins back ahead, and single and steal a base in the 8th to give the Twins a chance to get another run. So when he lead off in the 11th inning with the fans chanting his name, there was only one logical conclusion: a walk-off home run. And that's exactly what happened, which is why I think it qualifies as a "perfect" sporting moment. As with everyone else, just my opinion.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:17 AM on June 27, 2007

Warne was just fantastic, wasn't he? I could watch that all day. For me, this picture says everything you need to know about how good that ball was. Gatting was a decent (if much maligned) player and he was made to look like a fool by some fat, blond child from Australia with his first ever ball in a test match in England. The other link you posted is amazing too, Bismarck, not least for the quality of the umpire's decision (didn't look to me like the ball struck him between the wickets). The Gareth Edwards try is spectacular, but I'm not sure I'd call it perfect. 95% of it is (and the commentary makes it even better), but the last pass goes forward, which has always stuck in my throat a bit. I'm with Howard-T on the duel in the sun, but would suggest that maybe Norman's second round in 1986 at the same course would be something even closer to perfection in golf. Good list though. Speaking of lists: 100 Memorable Sporting Moments (from ArmchairGM)

posted by JJ at 11:24 AM on June 27, 2007

11. Steve Redgrave Gold medallist at five Olympics. As with Michael Phelps, the accumulation of his achievement merges into one perfect sustained effort. YouTube 12. Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe Wimbledon tie-break, 1980. Two Wimbledon legends in an agonising 20-minute epic. Perfectly scripted drama. YouTube 13. Bobby Moore World Cup, 1966. Invidious to single out individuals - by common consent Alan Ball was man of the match - but Moore holding the trophy aloft remains the perfect image. YouTube 14. Michael Johnson 200m world record. The 1996 Atlanta Olympics were the pits, but Johnson provided the enduring memory with his extraordinary run of 19.32sec. YouTube 15. England Beating Germany 5-1 in 2001. Untypically stylish and inspired football from England -and on German soil! YouTube 16. Michael Holding. Fast bowler. Never mind the stats, just remember that glorious, smooth, menacing, repetitively perfect, beautiful and mesmerising run-up. Mr Whispering Death (courtesy of Bismarck... and YouTube) 17. Jesse Owens Four Olympic golds in Berlin in 1936. The perfect riposte from one of the immortals to the braying Adolf Hitler in the stands. YouTube 18. July 6, 2005 London Olympic vote. Lord Coe timed his team's run to perfection in Singapore. Just for once the Brits boxed clever in the smoke-filled rooms. YouTube 19. Ian Botham Taking on Lillee and the new ball at Old Trafford in 1981. Hail his heroics at Headingley, but Manchester was even better. YouTube More later maybe!

posted by JJ at 11:42 AM on June 27, 2007

Where is John Elway's helicopter dive on 3rd and 6? If they are gonna include American sports, that must be in there. How is that "perfection?" It's a good visual moment, but I would think that Marcus Allen's reversing run in the SuperBowl was far closer to "perfection" than a dive for a first down.

posted by grum@work at 12:11 PM on June 27, 2007

Brett Favre's destruction of Oakland right after his father died.

posted by fabulon7 at 12:17 PM on June 27, 2007

It's a good visual moment, but I would think that Marcus Allen's reversing run in the SuperBowl was far closer to "perfection" than a dive for a first down. Seconded.

posted by yerfatma at 12:26 PM on June 27, 2007

For me now and forever always will be watching the Babe come up to the plate and just stand there looking out to the outfield and motioning for the pitcher to just go ahead and try and pitch the damn ball by him. When he hit them the hairs on the back of your neck would come up and it would seem that time would just stop and you would watch the ball rise from his bat and it would seem just keep going going going gone.......My son and I were at Yankee Stadium the day of his tribute and I cried, hell everyone was crying, just watching him try to walk out to homeplate to say his hello's....or goodbye's which ever way you look at it... I have a picture on my desk that is of GEORGE HERMAN (THE BABE) RUTH taking one of many great swings at the plate. I think it was taken in 1930 and it shows him swinging and that little turn he had that made him look like he was screwing himself into the ground. And on the other side of the desk is a picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Ted Williams talking during spring training in 1939 or 40. But I am bias about baseball and I have always felt that the rest of the world didn't get to experience what the United States did with the baseball world during those glory years. Sports memories in regards to perfection isn't always in the eye of the beholder..The Babe will always be the Babe and that is baseball sports perfection to all of us who love baseball. Love him or hate him there will always be that picture in everyone's mind of him swinging the bat at the plate. Other than baseball one of my greatest memories of perfection will be remembering Koufax on the mound, Williams at the plate and Jesse Owens running in the Olympics and reading in the paper how he put some little nobody political leader in his place.....

posted by The Old Man at 01:12 PM on June 27, 2007

Jesse Owens running in the Olympics and reading in the paper how he put some little nobody political leader in his place..... I'd really, really have loved to read that article. Thanks for the secondhand memories.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:25 PM on June 27, 2007

If you're going to talk horses, where the heck is Secretariat winning the Belmont by 30-couple lengths (as one commenter pointed out)?

posted by trox at 02:54 PM on June 27, 2007

The Gareth Edwards try (#4) gets me every single time. Brilliance, absolute sporting brilliance.

posted by afx237vi at 03:14 PM on June 27, 2007

I think that rather than Elway's run, you could pick any one of about 20 of Barry Sanders' carries and come closer to sporting perfection than the Duke going airborne.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:26 PM on June 27, 2007

Torvill and Dean deserve to be up there. I still remember watching that live. (One of those 24 million.) As for Maradona, yeah, great goal, but fuck Maradona the cheating little cokewhore. The fact Nigel Mansell's 1987 British Grand Prix win isn't on the list means it's utter piffle. 30 seconds down with a puncture, he fights back, setting fastest lap after fastest lap, passes a very beligerent Piquet a couple of laps from the end, crossed the line with his fuel gauge reading in the minus figures, and the pistons in his engine MELTED on the slow down lap. Fernando's pass of that german bastard in Japan in 2005 is on the list, but Raikkonen WINNING the fucking thing, with an astonishing pass of the leader on the final lap, having started way at to the back of the grid, isn't... I want what the writer's smoking...

posted by Drood at 04:22 PM on June 27, 2007

And Shergar is unique on that list. It's the only athlete on the list who most likely wound up in a pie.

posted by Drood at 04:23 PM on June 27, 2007

How is that "perfection?" No, you are right. I have the context all wrong. I was thinking more along the lines of "perfect sporting moment". Ya know, like a movie script. Upon reading the comments from others and looking at the list more closely, that is not what this list is about at all. My bad. So let me try again (unless my daily 'bitch' ration has been forfeited): Where is Eric Heiden's 1980 Olympic performance?

posted by r8rh8r27 at 04:38 PM on June 27, 2007

Though it's something of a cliche, I thought Jordan draining his last shot in the finals and holding the pose was mighty perfect. Although maybe tarnished a bit as he had retired an returned already and then retired and returned again. OK, you're right.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:49 PM on June 27, 2007

While I can't say this is a "perfect sporting moment", but watching Ekatarina Gordeeva (sorry if I mangled the spelling of her name) and Serge Grinkov skate was like watching poetry in motion. The skill, passion, and joy they shared while skating was spellbinding, like watching two skate as one.

posted by steelergirl at 09:20 PM on June 27, 2007

posted by HATER 187 at 11:36 PM on June 27, 2007

As for perfect sports moments in my lifetime: Messier and his guarantee Gretzky's hat trick in game 7 of the '93 Campbell Confrence Finals Derek Jeter's play at the plate in '01 ALDS Reggie Millers 9 points in 8.9 seconds in the '95 Eastern Confrence Semifinals

posted by HATER 187 at 12:01 AM on June 28, 2007

"Messier and his guarantee" I'll skip town as soon as a big contract appears? (Am I bitter? Probably.)

posted by Drood at 01:43 AM on June 28, 2007

Derek Jeter's play at the plate in '01 ALDS Giambi was safe! Actually, it was a great play, but it was more of a "quick thinking" than "perfect" play. Non-pitching performances that are "perfect" are hard to find in baseball. Since I only have access to stats after 1957, I'd have to say that this is closest thing to "perfection" as a batter.

posted by grum@work at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2007

Fred Lynn's 18 total bases might work.

posted by yerfatma at 11:56 AM on June 28, 2007

I am surprised there is no mention of Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile especially since this list came from England. Many people, such as sports writer Bob Burns, mentioned that Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile barrier was the most notable sporting event of their lifetime. I can't disagree with the Beamon jump of 29' 2.5" being at or near the top of the list since he broke the record by nearly 2 feet when these records are usually broken by just a few inches at a time. Beamon was never capable of even jumping 27' for the remainder of his career after setting this record. The Soviet Union defeating the US in basketall during the 1972 Olympics was a big upset but was a tarnished victory since the Soviet Union was given three chances to beat them at the end of the game. As a result the US players refused to accept the silver medal. The most notable event I can remember is the US hockey team defeating Russia in the 1980 Olympics. Prior to the Olympics, Russia had defeated the NHL all-star team.

posted by longgreenline at 01:16 AM on June 29, 2007

World Cup, 1950: USA 1, England 0.

posted by dave2007 at 10:24 PM on June 29, 2007

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