From seven-time hero to zero? Lance Armstrong has dropped his fight against USADA's doping charges
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HEROES & GOATS: Armstrong makes a forlorn attempt to save his reputation while Inglis and Sandilands produce the goods...
Greg Inglis (South Sydney)
Inglis tore Parramatta to shreds at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, as the Rabbitohs snapped a two-game losing streak with a comfortable 38-6 victory. The South Sydney fullback looked dangerous whenever he was in possession. He had a hand in three tries, and crossed for a double himself. Ever the showman, Inglis put a smile on the face of every Rabbitohs fan when he bowled over Eels and former Bunnies halfback Chris Sandow with a damaging carry of the football. Inglis was only his second match back from a three-game suspension, but he displayed the sort of form that will have South Sydney's rival title contenders looking over their shoulders.
The world's best racehorse got a hell of a lot better on Wednesday, romping to a 13th successive win in the Juddmonte International Stakes in York. The four-year-old colt had never before been tested over 2000m but looked right at home regardless, demolishing the field by seven lengths after jockey Tom Queally kicked with 400m to go. The thoroughbred (worth an estimated $100m) has now won his last six races by a total of 38 lengths, a dominance not seen in Europe since Sea Bird beat all comers in the mid-sixties. Trainer Sir Henry Cecil and owner Prince Khalid Abdullah are reportedly reluctant to enter Frankel into the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, preferring a swansong at Ascot before retiring the horse to stud. Their final decision should not be influenced by Frankel's legacy. His place in history, by now, is assured.
Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle)
In only his second game back after a long injury spell, Sandilands was a dominant figure in Fremantle's win against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday. The giant Docker thrashed in-form opponent Todd Goldstein, restricting the Roos' ruckman to just eight hitouts and two disposals. In contrast, Sandilands had 49 hitouts, 15 touches and a goal. Fremantle's average result in their past six matches without skipper Matthew Pavlich was a 64-point loss but Sandilands was chief among those who ensured the Dockers' finals dream remained alive.
The New Zealand 15-year-old made golfing history on Sunday when she cruised to a three-shot victory in the Canadian Open, becoming the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour. Ko led by a shot after three rounds and extended her margin with a nerveless five-under 67 in Vancouver. To put the teen's win in perspective, nineteen of the world's top 20 were in the field including world no.1 Yani Tseng, who finished 14 shots back. Ko's amateur status means she cannot claim the $300,000 first prize but the trophy will go nicely alongside her Australian Open crown, won in January when she was just 14, becoming the world's youngest winner of a professional golf tournament.
Arguably the biggest doping scandal in sports to date ended with a whimper on Friday as Armstrong dropped his fight against drugs charges. Armstrong claims he was too fed up to continue, but his decision to martyr himself before the USADA's "witch hunt" reads more like a canny PR move to avoid the stigma of being found guilty. It's no secret the USADA has a very strong case against the seven-time Tour de France champion, including testimony from 10 of his former teammates who claim to have witnessed (and even aided) Armstrong's doping. If Lance cared about the sport of cycling as much as he claims he would have taken his licks like many of his peers. Instead, he moved to protect his philanthropic, sponsorship and business interests by dodging the charges altogether.
Australian Rugby League Commission
The ARLC ignored one of its most important stakeholders when it signed the dotted line on a new $1.025 billion five-year television rights deal with Channel Nine and Fox Sports during the week. Under the new agreement, which comes into effect in 2013, only one match will be broadcast live on free to air television per round and the grand final has been changed to a Sunday night timeslot. The night decider replaced a day grand final between 2001 and 2007, but it was move to a twilight kick-off from 2008 to better suit families and those in states other than NSW who don't enjoy a public holiday on the Monday. The decision to return to the night decider suggests the NRL has put itself at the mercy of Nine and Fox Sports in order to crack the $1 billion mark. By comparison, the AFL's television deal is worth more over the same number of years, but they've managed to keep their traditional Saturday afternoon grand final and every FTA game is broadcast live - and all nine matches are live on pay TV.
The former Lions and Dogs star continued his increasingly desperate bid to remain in the public eye by rubbishing retiring Melbourne veteran Brad Green on the day he played his last game. As thousands of Melbourne fans applauded Green from the field after a heavy loss to Adelaide, Akermanis wrote on Twitter: "Brad Green retires. No one give a s---! #dribbler. Helped everyone to kick it to him. retired never winning anything! Fantastic career." Former Demons skipper Green, who played 254 games and kicked 350 goals for the club over 13 seasons, was no champion of the game but he was a much-loved player who, by all accounts, was one of the good guys in the footy fraternity. It's a pity the same can't be said for Akermanis.
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