So, let me get this straight.
The year is 2014, but everything seems completely upside-down.
Apparently, the reigning Wimbledon gentleman’s singles champion is British.
And the reigning Wimbledon ladies’ singles champion is retired.
And only one of the top 60 male tennis players in the world is American. And not one active US male tennis player has won a Grand Slam tournament.
And the highest ranked Swedish player is a guy called Markus Eriksson who’s ranked 362nd.
It’s not just tennis, either.
The four most recent winners of the Tour de France are from Great Britain, Great Britain, Australia and Luxembourg.
Meanwhile, according to the official records, no cyclist won the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005. Yep, apparently we spent many hours over 7 years wondering who was going to win events that ultimately wouldn’t have a winner.
But let’s move on.
Countries who are seeded in this month’s World Cup in Brazil include Switzerland and Belgium. Countries who are not seeded include Italy, England and the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, FIFA have awarded the World Cup for 2022 to a country where the average temperature in June-July exceeds 50C. The average minimum temperature doesn’t drop below 30C. It is also a country whose soccer team has never qualified for the World Cup previously.
You’d think that things in Australia wouldn’t be so bizarre. But you’d be wrong.
The trainer of the reigning Melbourne Cup winner is female.
Fremantle played in the most recent AFL Grand Final.
Kevin Sheedy finished his coaching career with a 6.82% winning percentage at his club.
One state has won 8 consecutive State of Origin series.
Not one long-course swimming world record is held by an Australian. And not one active Australian swimmer has won an Olympic gold medal.
The world’s number 1 ranked golfer and last year’s US Masters champion is Australian.
Two Aussies are playing in the NBA Finals.
Yep, the country is ordinary where it is usually good and good where it is usually ordinary.
And we can’t even expect some sense of normality to be restored by some of the great rocks of the sporting world. For even many of the most reliable athletes in history are not able to help our cause.
In 3 of the last 4 Grand Slam tournaments, Roger Federer hasn’t reached the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods hasn’t won any of the last 18 major tournaments he’s entered.
Seriously, everywhere you turn it keeps gets stranger.
A third of America’s gold medals at this year’s Winter Olympics were in an event called ‘slopestyle’.
The reigning 4x400m Olympic gold medallists aren’t even American. They’re from the Bahamas.
I mean, even test cricket, that most traditional, slowly-evolving of sports, is peculiar to the eye.
South Africa’s most recent test match scorecard did not include the name J.H.Kallis.
India’s most recent test match scorecard did not include the name S.R.Tendulkar.
And just when one thinks they’ve found a familiar corner of the sporting world, when one thinks that surely the strangeness can’t reach them there, one reads this week’s news.
Irene Van Dyk’s retired.