Matthew Cowdrey celebrates one of his five gold medals at the Paralympics in London
Photo: Getty Images
Matthew Cowdrey (Australia)
Australia’s Paralympics answer to Michael Phelps overtook compatriot Tim Sullivan’s record of 10 Paralympic victories in defending his S9 50m freestyle title, then topped it off by winning gold in the S9 100m freestyle and SM9 200m individual medley events for the third Games in a row to collect a total of five gold medals in London. With his overall haul of 13 gold, seven silver and two bronze medals, Cowdrey now has a total of 22 medals collected over three Games – all at the ripe old age of 23. An honourable mention to fellow Jacqueline Freney who is hot on Cowdrey's heels after winning eight gold medals in London.
Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)
The Dallas quarterback threw a match-winning three touchdown passes in the NFL season-opener to give his team the perfect start with a 24-17 victory against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. Prone to last-quarter capitulations in previous years when facing the Giants, Romo's team kept their cool after the home team threatened in the closing minutes, with the Cowboys star complementing his earlier heroics by throwing for a vital first down to hold out last season's champions.
Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle)
Can he get any better? It’s no coincidence the Dockers are pushing later into September with their captain in career-best form, and he again stood up when it counted with a six-goal haul in Freo's impressive elimination final win over the 2011 premiers. Pav's first quarter, in particular, was sublime as he cut the Geelong defence to shreds with three goals in 20 minutes to help his team grab what turned out to be the match-winning jump on the Cats.
Billy Slater (Melbourne)
Most onlookers would think South Sydney need a lesson on how to play finals football after watching the Storm demolish the Rabbitohs in Saturday night's qualifying final at AAMI Park. They should look no further than Slater for that lesson. The Queensland fullback was at his blistering best throughout, setting the tone for the performance with a 65-metre dash only moments into the match. He scooted past four Rabbitohs before throwing a brilliant pass to send Melbourne on an attacking raid. Slater scored a four-pointer midway through the first half, and was instrumental in another two in a brilliant all-round showing. With their key man in this sort of form at the right end of the season, the Storm will be hard to stop for the title.
The champ claimed her fourth US Open title in thrilling fashion, rallying twice from service breaks to defeat Victoria Azarenka 7-5 in the third set at Flushing Meadows. Serena's latest win at her home grand slam comes a remarkable 13 years after her first back in 1999 when she upstaged Martina Hingis, now long retired. Williams, 30, now has 15 grand slam titles and trails only Steffi Graf (22), Martina Navratilova (19), Helen Wills Moody and Chris Evert (both 18). She shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Berdych was a junior player after hearing his excuse for losing to Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the US Open. The Czech felt the wind was responsible for the 5-7 6-2 6-1 7-6 (9-7) defeat, and pointed to his alarmingly high unforced error count as a means of explaining the sort of impact the conditions had on his game. "Probably I made like 62 in all the matches before I get to the semi-finals, so I don't see any reason that my game would just crash in that part," he said. "So it was something that really affected my game, but that's how it is. The wind blow it away from me." What he failed to acknowledge was that his opponent had to deal with the same conditions. He went on to say that "nobody cares" about the players.
Nick Maxwell (Collingwood)
As his side headed towards defeat after half time in the qualifying final against Hawthorn, the Pies captain's frustration appeared to get the better of him when he was involved in an off-the-ball clash with Paul Puopolo that left the Hawk forward bloodied. Footage suggests Maxwell is an outside chance at best of appearing in his side's do-or-die semi-final against West Coast next weekend. While the defender has been a steadying influence in an up-and-down year for last year’s grand finalist, this was not his steadiest moment.
Oscar Pistorius (South Africa)
The man who for many was the international face of the Paralympics conducted himself in a most un-Paralympic fashion after losing the T43/44 200m final to Brazil's Alan Oliveira. Rather than concede he was beaten on the day, Pistorius claimed his rival had lengthened his carbon blades for the race, effectively giving him a stride advantage that Pistorius did not have. The South African's comments sparked widespread derision - not because they were untrue, for there is plenty of debate on the issue - but because they showed a staggering absence of grace in defeat. Pistorius is justifiably famous, and earns considerable income from sponsorship and endorsements. Denigrating the achievements of an opponent who will rarely enjoy the fame and adulation to which Pistorius has become accustomed endeared him to no one.
Australia's T20 cricket team
The national selectors' policy of picking three separate squads for the three different forms of the game is off to a flyer after the Aussies crashed to a seven-wicket loss against Pakistan in their series opener in Dubai. Australia managed just 89 - their second-lowest T20 total in an (admittedly short) history - and the Pakistanis cruised to victory with 31 balls to spare. The defeat leaves Australia ranked 10th in the world heading into the T20 World Cup later this month, behind all the Test playing nations and, most embarrassingly, Ireland.
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