Rob Minto

Sport, data, ideas

Month: July 2016

Sport Geek #48: from Russia with drugs

There are always a few worries ahead of any Olympics. Will the venues be ready? Is the athletes’ village a bit crap? Will there be a terror threat? That sort of thing. But this one is something else. Those questions are all still relevant, but the shadow cast by Russia and doping is on a different scale. Plus there’s Zika, and it’s quite literally a shitshow.

So here are three takes on it. First, a whistleblower gives an account of what it is like to be the ultimate party pooper. No prizes for guessing that it’s not much fun. Then Dan Jones in the Standard delivers what many people are thinking – that the IOC are spineless, gutless, and so forth.

However, Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky gives a typically counter-view, suggesting that any Russians at the Games will be the cleanest of all, and banning Russia anyway wouldn’t work: “anyone running a similar system with a crooked laboratory will just make doubly sure there are no leaks. Blanket bans would only make sense if several countries or federations had been caught.” Not popular, but it’s a view. Meanwhile, here’s a history of doping in sportContinue reading

Sport Geek #47: veni, vidi, vulnerability

After a hiatus, the newsletter is back. Here are a few things from the past month or so you really should read, if only you had the time. Excuses, excuses…


How good was the Open? Really good.

How bad is golf and the Olympics? Really bad.


The England manager call is one the FA literally cannot afford to get wrong.

If Euro 2016 was a bit on the long side, the 2020 edition will be even more over-stretched.

The story behind that amazing Messi picture at the Copa America.

How Africa boycotted the 1966 World Cup.

A great read on the World Cup of unrecognised states.


Tim Duncan is retiring as the last of a dying breed.

How the salary cap actually favours already talent-rich teams.

Call it the LeBron Paradox: how, exactly, did a team featuring the greatest player in basketball history, flanked by a pair of three-time All-Stars, get to be seen as an against-all-odds underdog?


In another era, Andy Murray would have been recognised as a tennis great.

Serena Williams’s problem: If you do something well enough for long enough, there comes a time when people start to think it’s easy.

Wimbledon 2016: The anatomy of championship point.

Sexism, scandals, and matchmaking: a year of tennis, in one brilliant comic.


The humiliating practice of sex-testing female athletes.


Michael Phelps is headed to the Rio Olympics with a new superpower: vulnerability.

That will be all. Off you go.

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