I’m going to travel the world for 12 months watching my favourite sporting events in fascinating locations among some of the world’s most passionate fans. I’ll visit stunning locations which are synonymous with sporting contests that provoke unrivalled atmosphere and lifelong memories.
The spiritual home of surfing. January is winter in Hawaii and winter means big swells – very big. Waves up to 30-feet attract the world’s best and most fearless surfers. That doesn’t include me – I’ll just watch.
Swap the boardies for a beanie and watch the World Cup Alpine skiing events in a stunning ski resort which has hosted Austrian national heroes such as Hermann Maier and Marcel Hirscher, surrounded by locals who follow Skiing more passionately than any other sport.
I might also see Miss Alpidextrous, Ester Ledecka, unless she’s snowboarding that week.
The Kenyan national Cross-Country championships could be the toughest foot race on earth. Kenya is so dominant in this gruelling discipline that even athletes who finish outside the top ten in Kenya would beat most national champions from any other country.
For even more competitive foot racing, I’d take a Matatu or two up to Iten, in the Rift Valley. In the Home of Champions, I’d join kids and livestock on the edge of the dirt track at Kamariny and watch the brutal training sessions of the Kenyan elite, even those acquired by Qatar, Bahrain…
Time for gloves and beanies again. Next stop is Holmenkollen, Oslo, to join devoted Norwegian skiing fans at the Norwegian leg of the Cross-Country Skiing World Cup. Cross-Country Skiing is a mode of transport, pastime, sport and passion in Norway and I’d love to join them cheering on the likes of Heidi Weng, Marit Bjorgen and Martin Johnsrud Sundby.
I might have to learn how to ski Cross-Country first.
Time to sweat.
The Tiwi Islands Grand Final and Art Sale. Yes, an Art Sale.
Art to celebrate the world’s oldest surviving culture. The Grand Final to celebrate the local obsession, Australian Rules Football.
The tiny islands to the north of Darwin have produced many Australian Football League (AFL) players such as Michael Long, Austin Wonaeamirri, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and members of the famous Rioli family.
The footballing talent on display is very impressive and the indigenous culture is like The Great Barrier Reef, an Australian wonder that the country seems determined to destroy.
See it before it’s too late.
Heat, humidity, sporting talent, frenzied fans and riotous atmosphere continue at ‘The Champs’. The best junior athletes in Jamaica, and possibly the world, fight for glory and future national selection at the ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships.
The old, crumbling, humble, concrete stadium in Kingston heaves and shakes to the beats of dancing, shouting, screaming, yelling, friends, teammates, families and former classmates of the super-talented young athletes.
After all of this excitement, I might find a beach and a hammock.
Where will I go next?
Find out in the next post.
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