guardian sport


The Guardian’s delightful ‘How the 2016-17 Premier League title was won by Chelsea’ video.

It’s a good distillation of our road to the title, but it’s also worth it just for the gag at the end. (And the little animated Kanté is perfect.)

The Italian cyclist Ado Moser carrying his bicycle over a pile of snow during the 20th stage between Madesimo and Stelvio during the 1965 Giro d’Italia. The Giro heads to the high mountains tomorrow with the first rider over the Colle dell’Agnello taking the Cima Coppi title. The Giorgio Lotti photograph appeared in The Guardian’s look back at the Giro’s history 

When I was [first] photographing myself, I would look at the pictures and think, oh, my belly is there and it’s fat. But over time, I realized that I’m really strong to be able to hold these poses. My belly is there, and I’m still strong.

Jessamyn Stanley, a yoga teacher who travels the world giving seminars to her fans, isn’t white and she isn’t skinny – and saw neither as a hindrance to her yoga devotion

A video posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on Jul 12, 2016 at 6:22pm PDT

When female athletes are paid unequally – or nothing – it compounds the very clear message that they are seen as lesser: less interesting, less important, less real – and this is true in sports where it seems there is parity. Serena Williams made $11m in sponsorship deals last year – poor ol’ deprived Federer made $52m. Ask yourself why it is the men’s, and not the women’s, final that is the big closing event in tennis grand slams, or why the men’s 100m gets so much Olympics coverage and the women’s is barely acknowledged. Compare the coverage of England’s women cricketers winning the Ashes this year with the amount devoted to Kevin Pietersen’s silly book.

Heck, women weren’t even allowed to compete in various sports until recently: women’s football was banned by the FA on FA-affiliated grounds until 1971; Olympic women’s marathons were banned until 1984; and the women’s ski-jump was kept out of the Olympics until 2014. Yes, 2014 (“It seems not appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view,” demurred the International Ski Federation president in 2005, clutching his handkerchief.) On Thursday Frank Warren wrote in the Independent that women shouldn’t box. On Tuesday an FA official was suspended for telling a female referee that “Your place is in the kitchen”. But remember! Sexism is not the root problem here.

Laurine van Riessen of the Netherlands rides on the barrier wall with Virginie Cueff of France after avoiding a crash during the second heat of the keirin race first round, at the Olympic velodrome in Rio de Janeiro. The Dave Hunt photograph was published in The Guardian’s Sport picture of the day.

Kaldorei Pankration

The Pankration is a Night Elven sparring and athletic practice adopted by various groups during the Long Vigil as a way of exercising, having fun, and keeping the warrior traditions of the Kaldorei alive during peace time.

Based on a blend of boxing and wrestling, Pankration matches can appear to outsiders as having no rules at all. There is also much variation between versions of the sport and the context in which it is practiced - sometimes weapons are involved, sometimes not, and the criteria for winning varies between practitioners and events. Unifying them all is an emphasis on ferocity and agility and un-armoured combat.

The game consists of a contest of strength and skill centred on grapples, throws, locks, and kicks, until one combatant yields. Sometimes a blade is involved  - a simple knife or 3-bladed glaive - placed in the centre of the field for combatants to fight over; in these cases the game usually ends when first blood is drawn. There are no hard rules banning certain moves or tricks but gratuitous violence is frowned upon and any competitors not respecting their opponents or the spirit of the game bring dishonour on themselves in the eyes of the Kaldorei. Magic of any kind is not allowed.

Combatants compete in varying states of undress, wearing anything from loosely fitting cloths and hides to simple loincloths. They only weapons allowed in the Pankration are those placed there as part of the game - in matches with blades some form of bracers as wrist protection are always worn.

Matches are presided over by a referee and combatants are usually segregated by gender. Pankration between Night Elf women are considered the most skilled and ferocious and are often more bloody than matches between their male counterparts. The referee’s role is to split up fights that go too far and ensure competitors respect each other properly throughout the event.

Due to its emphasis on ferocity and agility Pankration events are popular around festivals dedicated to Goldrinn, the Wolf Ancient. During these the referee will usually be a Druid and will bless combatants before they begin and dedicate the fight in the Ancient’s honour.


1 x Open Space

2 x Combatants (lightly armoured, matched by gender. In cross-racial contests size categories are considered)

Optional: A dagger or 3-bladed glaive

Fighters take up positions at either end of the open space and the weapon, if being used, is placed by the referee equidistant between them.

Combat begins after the referee has explained the parameters of the contest (what armour, what weapons, yield vs first blood, etc) and announced they may begin. Combatants can then attack as they see fit.

Free emotes are used to represent the cut-and-thrust of combat, with a system of consecutive rolls determining the winner. Each time contact is made (a hold attempted, a hit launched, control of the blade challenged) both combatants roll; the winner of the roll comes out on top as a result of the exchange and emotes accordingly. Repeat until one competitor yields willingly or until one combatant wins 3 consecutive rolls.

Skilled competitors make the best use of their environment and their opponents weaknesses, and the bloodiest no-holds-barred games can leave combatants with broken or dislocated bones and deep cuts. Variations in weapons put down can lead to a host of different tactics; fights without a blade can look very different to a fight around a dagger, which itself will look very different to a fight around a glaive. Some variations of the game - found mostly between Sentinels - equip combatants with light armour and a short bow, placing a single arrow on the ground between them. What ensues is a fast-paced contest of skill and ingenuity and spectacular feats of close-quarters archery.

This is of course a headcanon thing that I wrote for use by my guild and any other Night Elf players out there who like the look of it. Feel free to pick it up and use it, or critique as you fancy!  The rolling rules I’ve written are just a guide and can be dispensed with if you don’t fancy doing it like that.

Inspired by that BBC show ‘Atlantis’ where they did something similar in an episode, my rudimentary understanding of actual Pankration, and @isei-silva‘s Jed’hin concept for getting me thinking about cultural sparring/wargames in the first place.
Ibtihaj Muhammad stoic in defeat: 'I feel proud to represent Team USA'
The fencer missed out on a medal in the women’s sabre but by competing as a proud Muslim American she played an important role for her country
By Les Carpenter

“My presence on Team USA … it’s challenging those misconceptions that people have about who the Muslim woman is,” said Ibtihaj Muhammad. 

They have a day where you come in, and you read the contract together, and you sign it. And that’s when I found out I was making $10 an hour. I remember just being outraged.

Lauren Herington, former NBA cheerleader

Salaries and profits of NBA and NFL players and teams are widely available. Until recently, there was little reason to suspect that within these wildly profitable sports organizations, cheerleaders were being mistreated and underpaid. Visit The Guardian to read about the stress fractures, hunger and low pay that made up one woman’s life as an NBA cheerleader.


The Female Boxers of Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s female boxing team is fighting against the odds to compete at the 2016 Olympics. The Afghanistan National Olympic Committee boxing club has fewer than a dozen members and little money—but the women spar together and support one another in their bid to attain Olympic glory.

Image credit: AP

Source: The Guardian