Sport Of Champions

Although American shows dubbed into Spanish are quite amusing (as “El Bones” will bear witness to. Boreanaz, Madrid-style, was pretty awesome. The less said about the Deschanel voice, the better), the need for some English language entertainment on the hotel room telly was eventually required for those off hours when lying by the pool or drinking were no-nos.

Step forward the mighty Eurosport – the only English language channel available.

I don’t know about you, but I kinda remember Eurosport as being a proper player back in the day. I mean, sure, it didn’t have Premier League footie or anything, but it used to have the Formula One and a few other relative biggies. Watching it over the past few days, however, has been a treasure trove of “why Grandstand was cancelled” fun.

I’ve seen World Kickboxing (Mai-Thai rules, apparently. Isn’t that a cocktail?), where the opponents Ministry of Silly Walk up to each other in an attempt to make each other laugh first (or feint their attacking intentions, it’s hard to tell), before unleashing the fury. Brilliantly, if the fight’s a draw, they have to endure another round. You can see the fighters’ jaws hit the floor with tiredness and despair when that happens – they’re there, fight over, referee ready to raise the arm of the winner, and then they have to go back in for another 3 minutes of pain. Boxing should nick this. It’s genius.

I’ve witnessed Team Showjumping from Paris, where the British team of double-barrelled names forgot to teach their horsies how to leap. They finished last. Reports that shares in glue are set to rise sharply are probably just coincidence.

A particular highlight of the schedule was the European Weightlifting Championships, where a bevvy of scary-looking, wouldn’t-want-to-meet-them-in-a-dark-alley East European women tried to girlie themselves up by putting their hair in pigtails, only to come across as Harley Quinn wannabes.

Then there was the China Masters in Snooker, some tennis tournament from Miami, International Curling, and most randomly of all, Handball. The Handball was particularly notable for the fact that all the Eurosport announcers’ sound cut out for the entire time I was watching it. The anchors were “speaking” in the studio, blissfully unaware of this, and the commentators couldn’t be heard either. So I watched part of a game of Handball, not having the faintest idea of the rules, with no one there to guide me through it. But I can tell you one thing: those guys can throw that ball HARD. Oh, and you wouldn’t want to be the goalkeeper.

So beat that, Sky Sports subscribers. I’m not jealous. You get Man Utd vs Chelsea, I get Curling. So who’s the real winner here, eh?

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