Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Top 10 sporting excuses

Mon Jul 04 05:17PM
Britain's top heavyweight boxer blamed an injury to the little toe on his right foot for his defeat at the weekend - and in doing so inspired us to round up the most far-fetched excuses in sport.
David Haye's broken toe
The English boxer's miserable performance in the ring against Wladimir Klitschko left the world of boxing disappointed - but Haye's excuse that his broken little toe had stopped him landing punches turned that disappointment into anger and ridicule.
" I broke my toe about three weeks ago. I didn't let anyone know that," Haye said after the fight. "I've been giving it local anaesthetics in the gym... that's why I stopped sparring. My Hayemaker wasn't there, I couldn't push off my right foot to land that shot. It was really frustrating."
Manchester United's grey shirts
Alex Ferguson knew there was only one reason why his side went 3-0 down inside 45 minutes against Southampton back in April 1996 - and it wasn't lacklustre defending.Instead, the United boss blamed his side's grey shirts.
"The manager just stormed in and said: 'Get that kit off, you're getting changed'," Lee Sharpe explained after the match."Those were the first words he said at half-time. I don't think he liked the shirt anyway - our results had been poor whenever we wore it, and we certainly never played in it again."
United went on to lose the match 3-1, and never wore the grey shirts again.
Richard Gasquet's French kissing
In March 2009 the Frenchman tested positive for cocaine at the Miami Masters. Gasquet pleaded his innocence, maintaining that the drug must have got into his system via a waitress, whom he had spent the previous night kissing. The explanation was initially greeted with derision, but Gasquet took the case to an independent tribunal, which heard he "kissed her at least seven times, each kiss lasting about five to 10 seconds". The 23-year-old also argued successfully that - unknown to him - his companion was a regular drug user, and subsequent forensic evidence sealed the deal. The two-year ban was reduced to two months, and Gasquet is now back in competition.
Crystal Palace's sexy cheerleaders
The Championship side pulled the plug on their cheerleaders, the Crystals, in the Spring of 2011 after their saucy routines were deemed to be too distracting to the players, with some fans likening them to "poledancers on grass".
Palace's form did improve, albeit only slightly, after the draconian measure, and the club eased to safety in a relatively comfortable 20th position - a lot better than the previous season when they needed a result on the final day of the season against Sheffield Wednesday.
Ukraine's frog chorus
The former Soviet republic blamed their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Spain at the 2006 World Cup not on an inability to defend, but on an army of frogs who apparently croaked all night just outside the windows of the players' rooms at their hotel. The noise apparently got so bad that the players even went outside to try and deal with their tormentors.
"Because of the frogs' croaking we hardly got a wink of sleep," said Valdislav Vashchuk. "We all agreed we would take some sticks and go and hunt them"
Ronnie O'Sullivan's streaker
The talented-but-tortured snooker star was going along nicely at 8-4 in the final of the 1997 Masters against Steve Davis when a streaker interrupted the match. The Rocket didn't win another frame, and Davis won a 10-8 victory that O'Sullivan blamed squarely on the knock to his concentration.
Graeme Swann's late night kitten rescue mission
In the summer of 2010 the England cricketer was picked up by the police at 3am, and failed a breathalyser test. Amazingly, Swann claimed that he was driving over the limit as he was on a late-night mission of mercy to buy screwdrivers from a 24hr supermarket so that he could rescue his pet kitten, Max, who was trapped under the floorboards.
Swann was cleared in February this year on a technicality over police procedure.
Lighton Ndefwayi's jockstrap and Musumba Bwala's farts
The Zambian tennis player was horrified when he lost to arch-rival Musumba Bwayla in a local tournament - and absolutely let rip with an astonishing array of excuses in his post-match interview.
"Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia."
Dennis Mitchell's beer and sex bonanza
US sprinter Mitchell tested positive in 1998 for an excessive level of testosterone. He blamed the sky-high reading on his activities the previous night, when he said he drunk five bottles of beer and had sex with his wife four times.
His defence memorably claimed that, "it was her birthday, the lady deserved a treat."
Amazingly, the American authorities bought Mitchell's explanation, but the IAAF were less indulgent. He was banned for two years. Mitchell later testified against his former coach Trevor Graham in the infamous BALCO case. In an unrelated aside, Mitchell shares his name with the US version of comic book tearaway Dennis the Menace.
Adri van der Poel's pigeon pie
Cycling has had more than its share of doping controversies, but excuses do not come more outlandish than Dutchman Van der Poel's in 1983 after he who tested positive for strychnine, which acts as a stimulant when used in small doses. He blamed it on a pigeon pie served for Sunday lunch.
Little did he know, Van der Poel explained, that the birds were his father-in-law's racing pigeons which had been doped with strychnine. Van der Poel came back, won several one-day classics and two Tour de France stages, and eventually retired in 2000.

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