Olympic fever grips rugby sevens
Rugby sevens will make its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro at 2016 Games.
March 28th, 2014
11:32 AM ET

Olympic fever grips rugby sevens

“Que?” says the boy as he takes the oblong shaped ball in his hands, a perplexed look on his face.

“Play,” we say. The boy shrugs, gathers his friends and does the first thing that comes naturally to a Brazilian with a ball - keepy-uppy.

But even these naturally fleet of foot local Sao Paulo boys soon tire of their kick-about with a rugby ball.

Handing back the oval-shaped imposter, they return to the spherical football they love so much.

While the majority of Brazilians may not be familiar with a rugby ball or have even heard of Rugby Sevens, come August 2016 this soccer-loving nation is set to transform the fortunes of the game when it makes its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro.

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Has golf made the right decision for the wrong reasons?
Condaleezza Rice was one of two women admitting to Augusta's membership last year. (Getty Images)
March 26th, 2014
04:13 PM ET

Has golf made the right decision for the wrong reasons?

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews should be admired for many reasons but not for finally asking its members to admit women after 260 years.

Seen as golf’s spiritual home, St Andrews is urging its 2,500 members to vote in favor of abolishing its men-only policy and a vote on the issue will be held in September.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s certainly the right decision. By all means say, “Congratulations and welcome to the 21st century” but the announcement seems to be motivated by self-interest more than a sudden enlightenment of the men who run the club. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Golf
Postcard from America: U.S. sport leads by example in anti-homophobia fight
Michael Sam's agent Cameron Weiss says the NFL has been "amazing" since the defensive end came out.
March 17th, 2014
11:05 AM ET

Postcard from America: U.S. sport leads by example in anti-homophobia fight

These are seminal times in the United States. In the space of just a year, the landscape of professional sports here has been transformed with the emergence of three openly gay athletes.

Robbie Rogers, who now plays for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, broke the mould, before Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in any of the four major U.S. sports.

The 35-year-old Collins was only signed on a 10 day contract by the Brooklyn Nets (subsequently signing for another 10 days) but the impact was huge.

So think what it will be like if Michael Sam joins the NFL. Sam is a defensive end and has just completed his education at the University of Missouri –if he’s drafted in May, he’d become the first active NFL player to have declared his homosexuality publicly.

In the macho world of testosterone-fuelled locker-rooms, homosexuality is seen as the last taboo.

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March 11th, 2014
05:41 PM ET

Rising star Patrick Reed: Confident or too cocky?

Patrick Reed’s victory at the WGC Cadillac Championship was validation for sure. Validation in his golfing talent, proof of his own inner-belief mechanism and justification of the long and endless amount of work required to succeed at the highest levels of the game.

The 23-year-old delivered the goods under an enormous spotlight in Florida on Sunday and he wasn’t shy about projecting his ambitions in public.

The Texan's post-round comments about seeing himself as a world top-five player can be misconstrued as arrogance, but they are also an indication of the strength in depth that is emerging among the Tiger generation and their bulletproof certainty about where they see themselves going in the game. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Golf
Can football change the world in its fight against poverty?
Football great Zinedine Zidane took part in the annual Match against Poverty.
March 5th, 2014
01:47 PM ET

Can football change the world in its fight against poverty?

By Tom McGowan

A band of heroes unite to change the lives of those in need, to feed the starving and house the homeless.

This is the rationale behind a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiative which it hopes will help halve world poverty by 2015.

Arguably the UN faces an uphill struggle.

A recent Oxfam report estimated that the world's richest 85 people share a combined wealth of $1.67 trillion, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world's population.

The World Bank's definition of poverty is based on an income of less than $2 a day, or a calorie intake of less than 2100 calories.

Football stars Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane are the faces of the Match Against Poverty, launched in 2003 and now an annual event aimed at raising funds for the impoverished.

"It's the world's most accessible and equal sport. You can even make your own football," Petra Lantz, director of the UNDP representation office in Geneva, told CNN.

"I've seen that with kids who use paper and string, then they have a football and they pretend that they're Ronaldo or Zidane.

"If you want to reach these kids who are no longer in school, sport is an excellent activity. Football is a sport that is accessible even for those who are poor."

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Filed under:  Football • World Sport Analysis