Folau fallout, All-Star sparkle & US Olympic dreams
As Israel Folau looks set to make his Rugby League debut for the Catalan Dragons, we hear from Keegan Hirst, who in 2015 became the first British pro player to come out as gay.
The French side attracted widespread criticism for signing the player after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for a social media post saying hell awaited gay people.
With no sign in sight to the end of Coronavirus, we take a look at the effect it’s had on the sporting calendar, where a number of events across multiple sports have been postponed.
We meet two of six African American Women who represent the USA in the sevens version of the game… and will be doing so in Tokyo later this year.
Photo: Catalans Dragons’ Israel Folau takes part in his first training session with the club (Credit: AFP)
Remembering Nodar: Georgian luger’s lasting legacy
On the 12th February 2010, the eve of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili suffered a fatal crash whilst on a practice run – just hours before the opening ceremony was due to take place.
Terrance Kosikar was the first responder on the scene. While he had been trained to save people’s lives throughout his career, he was never prepared for the emotional trauma of dealing with a fatality. Terrance went into a downward spiral as he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome and severe depression, which led to him trying to take his own life on several occasions. But thankfully he found a way out – through the great outdoors. Terrance now runs the Camp My Way project in Canada, which takes people suffering from similar mental health issues on camping adventures in the Canadian mountains. He tells Caroline Barker what he remembers of that tragic day 10 years ago and how the Camp My Way initiative and his other campaigns are helping to continue Nodar’s legacy.
SUPER ‘DOG’ BOWL 54
Patrick Mahomes went to Disney World to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. But one player went barking mad with his celebrations…
Derrick Nnadi paid all the adoption fees at a Kansas City dog shelter - allowing families to take the dogs home for free. Derrick tells us what it feels like to be a Super Bowl winner and how his relationship with his own dogs inspired him to help give the Kansas City dogs in need a home for life.
MAKING HISTORY IN THE DAKAR
Kirsten Landman became the first African woman to complete the Dakar rally on a motorbike this year. After travelling nearly EIGHT THOUSAND kilometres over 12 days, mostly across the unforgiving sand of the Saudi Arabian desert, the South African made history last month as she finished one of the most notoriously dangerous sporting events in the world.
Kirsten's achievement is even more impressive considering that a terrible accident at a race in Botswana in 2013 left her in an induced coma for two weeks and fighting for her life. Kirsten was told she would never be able to race again and promised herself she would never return to high speed racing, but sometimes you just can't stop a speed demon.
IS FOOTBALL FAN FEVER REAL?
Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that the most passionate football fans are more likely to experience potentially dangerous levels of stress whilst watching the game they love. When we get stressed, cortisol levels in our blood rise. Too much of this hormone over time can lead to all kinds of health issues like heart attacks. Dr Martha Newson led the research – which was conducted on Brazil fans at the men’s World Cup in 2014. And they provided plenty of cortisol to analyse, with Brazil’s infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-final causing all kinds of stress. And if you really want to test your cortisol levels, listen carefully at the start to hear about football fans having tattoos on their testicles...
Photo: A shrine in memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili (Getty Images)
Sportshour at the Super Bowl: Miami Sound
Sportshour comes from Miami this week for a special show ahead of one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Super Bowl 54 will see the Kansas City Chiefs take on San Francisco 49ers for NFL's biggest prize.
And we're here to bring you all the excitement before the big match.
Photo: Hard Rock stadium, Miami (Getty Images)
Australian Open: Tennis community coming together
Some of the biggest names in the tennis world have made donation pledges to the Bushfire Appeal – we’ll be live in Melbourne with the BBC’s Tennis Correspondent Russell Fuller where we hear how the opening week of the Grand Slam has gone, especially as the build up to the tournament was dominated by the air quality. We hear from Alexander Zverev who vows to donate all his prize money if he wins the tournament and how the bad boy of tennis, Nick Krygios is starting to win fans over in his home country.
One of Australia’s top sporting stars tells the BBC why she is so passionate on climate change and why she decided to move to England to join Chelsea. The Australian international holds the all-time goalscoring records in both the American and Australian leagues, aged just 26. She’s been telling the BBC’s Jo Currie why England and the Women’s Super League is becoming popular around the world.
A few months ago, Mollie Hughes couldn't ski but she is now the youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole, it took a gruelling 58 days where she spent almost 650 hours skiing alone battling through storm-force winds and temperatures hitting -45C.
Only six other women and 17 men have successfully completed the trip without making any stops – On her return back to the UK, Mollie has been telling Shabnam how it feels to be in the history books.
Ju Wenjun defended her World Chess title beating the Russian Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkina on a dramatic tie-break. The first two games of the tie-break were drawn, but the World Champion struck in the third game to win the match and retain her title. We speak to four time champion, and current world number one, Hou Yifan from China on the growth of the game globally. There has also been talk of combining both men and women to play in one tournament – we ask Hou whether it would be a good idea or would it do more harm to the sport?
We’re also in Johannesburg for the latest from the fourth Test between South Africa and England, we’ll check in at the under 19’s World Cup where England are in action against Nigeria who qualified for the tournament for the first time and at Griffin Park where Brentford host Premier League side Leicester City in the FA Cup. Speaking of the FA Cup, find out why the trophy has its own seat on a plane.
Photo: The players pose for a group photo during the Rally for Relief Bushfire Appeal event (Getty Images)
Clearing the Air
Australian Open Tennis organisers have been criticised all week for their decision to play the event’s qualifying tournament in conditions which several players have argued were hazardous to their health. Were the players in this week’s qualifiers treated the same as bigger name players in the main draw would have been if this all happened a week later? What happens if poor air quality does impact the opening week of the year’s first Grand Slam? Our Correspondent, Russell Fuller, brings us the latest on the air quality.
We’ll also speak to sports journalist, Chris Mitchell, a familiar face and voice across the BBC and now on the ABC in Australia. While most of us were enjoying Christmas and New Year holidays, Chris spent the start of January protecting a farm belonging to his family. Watching the skies, worrying about the wind direction and doing all he could to protect his in-laws’ home and the neighbouring ones too.
Alexandra Palace in north London is famous for hosting major events – including this week’s Masters Snooker. But how many of those watching sport at the Palace know that it is also the birthplace of BBC Television? The venue’s Deputy Chief Executive, Emma Dagnes, has been giving Sportshour’s Jamie Broughton a history lesson.
But what about the sharks?
How often do you see a moment of sporting inspiration or excellence and think to yourself, 'I wonder if I could do that'? Well, Victoria Evans believes that 'Yes', you can. She's out to prove it by breaking the world record for rowing solo across the Atlantic. Just one problem though - Victoria had never rowed before taking this on. But that doesn't mean she's a stranger to extreme sporting challenges. Victoria has been speaking to Sportshour's Miriam Walker-Khan and Anita Jones.
Snowboarding with no knees
We meet a fifty-something who came late to the slopes but whose ideas are helping others enjoy what's become his passion, that's Para Snowboarding. Darren Swift ... also known as Swifty ... is a double above-the-knee amputee. The BBC's Jenny Jones, an Olympic snowboard medallist, hears how he's pioneered the technology which now allows lower-limb amputees like him to enjoy the sport. It involves a kitchen chopping board.