Wednesday, January 19

The other golden balls of sport


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Christmas is coming and it’s time for the awards. Of infinite discussions about tastes and colors, of arguments for and against that focus on football and its ‘Golden Ball’ that enthrons the stars by the vote of journalists from around the world. Subjective criteria that are also applied in other less popular sports and that are given away every year by a handful of ruling names. Few athletes in the world exercise such an overwhelming hegemony as Messi and his seven golden jewels. The closest one is Novak Djokovic, although he is not supported by votes but by points. In the last ten years he has finished six times as world number one

of ATP. To Pogacar in cycling, to Jokic in the NBA or the athletes who today choose their dominant ranks are selected by a popular jury.

Athletics establishes its preferences today in a virtual gala of the World Athletics, the former International Federation (IAAF) that sought in that definition a way to distance itself from the corruption of its predecessors, the Diack family. This sport establishes a more or less democratic system to choose its number one. A list of ten athletes per gender is chosen, which is then filtered until it is half (five) according to a proportionate distribution of votes: 50 percent belong to the governing council of the World Athletics, 25 percent to various athletic sectors and the remaining 25 percent, to fans through social networks.

Shot putter Ryan Crouser, peer Armand Duplantis, 400 hurdles Norwegian Karsten Warholm, and African long-distance runners Joshua Chepteguei and Eliud Kipchoge are competing for the men’s award. In the female category, the five candidates have shone in the Olympic year. The Dutch Sifan Hassan (gold in 10,000 and 5,000 plus bronze in 1,500) competes with the Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas (Olympic gold and world record -15.67 m.- in triple jump) and the Jamaican Elaine Thompson, light of the Caribbean speed with her Olympic treble. Kenyan midfielder Faith Kipyegon and American hurdler Sidney McLaughlin are also eligible.

Cycling follows a pattern similar to soccer. A vote among specialized journalists and organized by a French magazine, ‘Velo Magazine’. The award was released in 1992 by Miguel Induráin, who also won it the following year. Another Spaniard, Alberto Contador, is the cyclist who has conquered him the most times (four) after he was crossed out from Lance Armstrong’s memory (five). The award for the number one in cycling has a particularity: men and women compete on equal terms and merits. The Dutch Van Vleuten could not with the talent of the rising generation, the Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic and the Belgian Van Aert.

Journalists also vote in the NBA, 101 distributed by the main media in the United States and also internationally. The election usually values ​​the regularity and the success more than the titles. The Balkan Nikola Jokic (26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists with 40.5% in triples and 56.8% of his field shots), chosen as MVP (most valuable player), is the player with the worst draft in the league. history (46) nominated for best player.

The tennis bosses are selected by a ranking, the defense system of points according to the category of the tournaments. Djokovic has stood out in the trio that won everything until this year (with Nadal and Federer) and imposes his hierarchy: six seasons has finished world number one in the last decade. Australian Ashleigh Barty (two Grand Slam titles) is in the lead for the third year.

The motor world is governed by time tables. And there is no room for personal taste. F1 organizes an annual gala in which it awards the champion and some honorable mention. And the same MotoGP, this winter with prominence for Rossi.

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