I often wonder what it is that makes someone good at what they do. Hard work, dedication, intelligence and strong communication skills are obvious necessary traits, but when it relates to a horse trainer it's even harder to put a finger on it.
Recently I spent a morning filming with Aidan O’Brien, Ireland’s No. 1 racehorse trainer. It was in the lead-up to the Irish Derby, which he had won a record 10 times, and afterwards he added to that tally with yet another success.
The 44-year-old has been the champion trainer in Ireland for an incredible 16 years and quite possibly many more to come.
With 170 horses in his care, at his Ballydoyle stables in County Tipperary, he is a busy man. FULL POST
For a fleeting moment it looked like the eagerly awaited, and long overdue, passing of the torch to the next generation of tennis stars was finally upon us.
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had lost to the Australian teen sensation Nick Kyrgios, defending champion Andy Murray crashed out to 23-year-old Grigor Dimitrov, and both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic appeared on the verge of elimination in their respective quarterfinals.
And yet, when Sunday rolled around, it wasn’t a matchup between two fresh-faced up and comers, but two seasoned veterans of the big finale, with a combined 24 major titles and perhaps even more staggering 37 major final appearances between them. FULL POST
The America's Cup has existed since 1851 and not once has Britain won it in the intervening years. But is that about to change?
The British challenger for the event's next running in 2017 is certainly the strongest, the one that has all the right ingredients for success.
For one it has royal approval from Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. She's probably the most famous person on the planet right now, certainly the most photographed, and to have her present for the official Cup challenge launch of Ben Ainslie Racing was an unbelievable coup.
But her role doesn't stop there. She's a keen sailor herself and, rather than just being a face of the team, she wants to have a hands-on role as well. FULL POST
As an England football fan, I’m well used to the national mood swings that ebb and flow with the fortunes of my country’s team at major tournaments. For a youthful supporter in 1990 and 1996, glorious semi-final runs have defined my recollections of those entire summers.
Equally, the catastrophic capitulation to Germany in 2010 and numerous penalty shootout fiascos are recalled much less fondly.
Either way, something I had usually taken for granted was that every few years I could expect the England team to compete on a major international stage and - for a few weeks - it felt like the whole country was in it together.
Win or lose and whether the failure was triumphant or abject, there was always something comforting about the collective, patriotic experience.
Having moved to the United States a couple of years ago, it quickly struck me that American sports fans have never experienced anything like it. FULL POST
Austrian Red Bull tycoon Dietrich Mateschitz likes to do his talking - and his spending - on the track.
The billionaire made just one low-key public appearance during Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix. He was finally spotted by eagle-eyed TV cameras on lap 23 of the race, but by that point his Red Bull team’s chances of victory had fizzled out.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was lagging a lap off the pace and would later retire. Canada race winner Daniel Ricciardo had to settle for eighth after being shunted out of position at the start.
It was probably not the homecoming Red Bull envisaged but for Mateschitz re-energising one of F1’s best-loved tracks may be reward enough. FULL POST
Hours after Spain's new monarch ascended to one throne, the kings of football - the Spanish nation's pride and joy - were being knocked off theirs.
And while I agree with those citing tiredness as a cause, I think any fatigue was more in the mind than the body.
You only had to look at the demeanor of goalkeeper Iker Casillas to see he was suffering from the sporting equivalent of post-traumatic stress; shellshock brought on by the explosive nature of conceding five goals against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup winners' opening game. FULL POST
It’s the first week of June and the world’s leading tennis stars are bidding for glory at one of the sport’s blue riband events - the French Open.
There’s nothing quite like the clay courts at Roland Garros, and the prize on offer is huge.
But what’s the secret to success?
Like any grand slam, getting to the latter stages requires meticulous planning, preparation, support and, where you can find it, routine. FULL POST
By John Sinnott
It was a side that thrilled the English Premier League.
From the glut of goals provided by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, to the speed of Raheem Sterling and the guile of Philippe Coutinho, as well as the deployment of Steven Gerrard as football's answer to the quarterback, Liverpool's re-emergence last season was the arguably the biggest surprise in the race for the title.
If Liverpool ultimately fell short in finishing second, some compensation came in the form of player awards for Suarez and a manager of the year award for Brendan Rodgers.
But one man’s name was never mentioned in despatches in discussions as to why a team that had finished seventh the previous season gave eventual winners Manchester City the fright of their lives.
That man was Ian Graham, a Cambridge graduate, who holds a PhD in theoretical physics. FULL POST
After the tumult of the trophy lift, as the Real Madrid players frolicked on the Stadium of Light's pitch, the eye was drawn towards Sergio Ramos.
Using a large silk flag as a matador's cloak, he drew loud blasts of "Ole" from the crowd with every swish of the cloth. There was no bull in sight but a beast had been slain; an imaginary one, given tremendous bulk by the club's fervent desire for "La Decima."
With a record-extending 10th European Cup secured, the removal of that burdensome weight helped propel the buoyant celebrations of everyone associated with the tournament's most successful ever team. FULL POST
What’s wrong with Rafael Nadal?
It’s an audacious question to ask of someone who’s just made back-to-back finals, and who is, not to mention, the world's top-ranked men's tennis player.
And yet, many people are asking just that.
The reason is simple. Our expectations for Rafa on clay don’t merely begin and end with winning. We expect complete and utter domination. We expect perfection. FULL POST