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Archive for April, 2011

Sports fans and their heroes in the wired age

April 27th, 2011

A quick plug for an essay of mine that appeared in Maisonneuve a few months ago (the full text has just been made freely available online), about the changing relationship between sports fans and athletes in the wired age. It’s a long piece that mixes some personal history with sociology and (inevitably, as a runner!) some discussion of the Letsrun message boards:

A CBC video clip of the 1996 Canadian Olympic Track and Field Trials recently surfaced online. You can watch, in grainy low definition, the twelve finalists in the men’s 1,500 metres step to the line under starter’s orders. A momentary pause, as the runners crouch in anticipation—then the gun fires. Eleven runners explode down the track. The twelfth, inexplicably, stays frozen on the starting line for a brief instant, then snaps out of it and takes off after his competitors. He never quite catches up, and finishes last.

A surprising number of people have stumbled on this clip and emailed it to me, along with some variation of the question, “What the hell happened there?”… [READ ON]