Don’t forget to check out our sister site SMT

In case you’ve forgotten, The Shanking Soigneur has a baby sister, Sport Media Theory or SMT for short.

On this site I’ll be taking a look at sport through the prism of media theory.

Yesterday I posted a link to a blog that I really enjoy by Jonathan Newman. I linked to an article he posted about Andy Murray and his coaching relationship with Amelie Mauresmo. Newman sets out how Murray’s feminism is an important step in recognising the expertise of women in tennis.

Have a quick look and let me know what you think.

Overnight Aussie results, Day 2 French Open

What a very busy day it was for the Aussies at Roland Garros last night.

6 of the 10 Australians playing on day 2 have made it through to the second round.

The overnight results were:

Sam Stosur def Madison Brengle   6-1, 6-3

Bernard Tomic def Luca Vanni   6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Nick Kyrgios def Denis Istomin   6-3, 6-4, 6-3

Thanasi Kokkinakis def Nikoloz Basilashvili   3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2

Alja Tomljanovic def Casey Dellacqua   6-2, 6-2

Daria Gavrilova def Joanna Larsson   6-1, 7-6 (7-3)

Amandine Hesse def Jamila Gajdosova   2-6, 6-3, 6-2

Pablo Cuevas def Sam Groth   6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3

Thomaz Bellucci def Marinko Matosevic   6-1, 6-2, 6-4

Aussies in action Day 2 French Open


Not only have the draw Gods given us an all Aussie encounter in the first round at Roland Garros, but they placed the Aussies pretty much in the same half of the draw. The result of this is that 10 of Australia’s 12 entrants in the main draw will play today.

In fact, I think we may be able to annexe Roland Garros as a part of Australis today!

So, here’s where everyone is playing.

Court 3

Sam Groth (AUS) v Pablo Cuevas

Sam Stosur (AUS) v Madison Brengle

Denis Istomin v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)


Court 7

Amandine Hesse v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)

Luca Vanni v Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Bernie in action.
Bernie in action.

Court 8

Casey Dellacqua (AUS) v Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)

Court 11

Joanna Larsson v Daria Gavrilova (AUS)

Court 14

Marinko Matosevic (AUS) v Thomas Belluci

Court 17

Nikoloz Basilashvili v Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)

Australia's rising tennis stars, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis
Australia’s rising tennis stars, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis

James Duckworth will play his opener tomorrow.

Sadly, Olivia Rogowska who was the only Aussie playing yesterday lost to Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-0, 5-7, 2-6.

C’mon Aussies!

The Australian Summer of Tennis has started

Pop the Champagne corks!

Get out the factor 50 sunscreen, the wide brimmed hat and plant yourself somewhere nice and comfy (and preferably air conditioned or heated, depending on where in the world you are) for the next month of tennis from Australia.

It’s really fitting, and in many ways, quite a community service that Australia kicks off the new tennis year.

With European and American tennis fans freezing their butts off, knee deep in snow and enjoying the claustrophobia of short winter days, the Australian Summer of Tennis provides a handy escape to a sun drenched vision of tanned bodies sweating it out on the tennis court.

There are a few guarantees in life and one of those guarantees is that once the tennis starts, the mercury rises and right on cue, as the Brisbane International kicks off with qualies today, most of Australia finds itself at the beginning of the first heat wave of the season.

It’s a nasty 39 here in Melbourne with an expected low of 27 overnight, so judging by this, this year’s Australian Open may be another scorcher.

In many ways I hope not, because last year was a little ridiculous. In saying that though, there have been some changes to the heat policy and a prediction that this January may not be as warm as the last. Hopefully that is the case and the players get some relief.

Don’t forget to check in with me over the next month as I look forward to bringing you what I can from Australia’s Summer of Tennis.

I’m lucky enough to be working at the Australian Open this year and although I may not see as many games as I would in the stands, I’ll be sure to keep you as up to date as I can.

In between, make sure you’re reading for all news related to Australian Tennis.

Marc is an accomplished journalist and there is no where else on the web that is as knowledgeable about Australian tennis.

Bring on the the Aussie summer!


Calendar of events – January

Brisbane International – Brisbane – 4 Jan – 11 Jan  (ATP/WTA)

Hopman Cup – Perth – 4 Jan – 10 Jan  (ITF)

Apia International – Sydney – 11 Jan – 17 Jan  (ATP/WTA)

Hobart International – Hobart – 11 Jan – 17 Jan  (WTA)

Kooyong Classic – Melbourne 13 Jan – 16 Jan

Also in the neighbourhood is Auckland –  5 Jan – 10 Jan (ATP/WTA)


Michael Phelps and the scandal that wasn’t

When decided to publish an inaccurate and potentially dangerous piece of clickbait yesterday, suggesting that US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has had some sort of sordid affair, I saw social media respond overwhelmingly with the sort of intelligence and maturity lacking among the editors who published the article.

The article has done little other than to set back all of the achievements of the transgender community in being recognized and respected in and by the media.

If we were supposed to be scandalized, shocked and voyeuristically tickled by this blatant and pointless clickbait, then we can all be thankful of the epic fail it has been.

Most of the comments I saw on Facebook were clear in recognizing that this is not news, is no one else’s business and frankly, few people care who Michael Phelps has sex with.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.47.42 PM

There is no scandal here.

All this article is saying, is that Michael Phelps used the app Tinder to ‘hook-up’ with a woman and have sex with her.

And lets’ be honest, how different is that to the many people who use Tinder in the same way?

The article’s attempt to suggest Taylor Chandler, the woman who claims to have had the affair with Phelps, was born a male is as ridiculous as the suggestion that this affair was inappropriate or an example of sexual deviance.

And this is the real danger of this type of clickbait.

This scandalous and inaccurate article demeans Phelps, Chandler and all intersex people and their partners.

One of the saddest aspects to this is how quickly the efforts of many in the intersex and transgender community to improve how they are represented in the media can be so quickly undone.

Earlier this year, The Guardian reported on an initiative in the UK that included editors from the Daily Mail, which also published the article, to work with transgender campaigners in order to look at strategies for better representing transgender people in the media.

In one hit of the publish button, has undone so many of these advances.

The article seedily suggests that Taylor Chandler was born a boy, which she was not.

She was born intersex, which Wikipedia says may “not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female.”

She also wasn’t Phelps’s girlfriend. They met through Tinder and had what appears to be a one afternoon stand.

Are we suppose to be shocked that Phelps is on Tinder?

If so, why?

Plenty of others are.

So, what is this article really about?

Is it about the vague suggestion at the end that Chandler is nothing more than a woman scorned?

According to the closing paragraphs of the article, Phelps hasn’t been in touch with her since the affair, although in his defense he may have been a little busy in rehab for the last six weeks.

Or is she just seeking publicity and her fifteen minutes of fame?

Or has she been grossly misrepresented?

Have her actions set back progress in representing transgender people in the media?

We can only speculate on any and all of these questions, but let’s not degrade two consenting adults for having sex.

Taylor Chandler is not the first woman Michael Phelps has had sex with and she won’t be the last.

This isn’t news.

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps

Neither Michael Phelps nor Taylor Chandler have anything to be ashamed or embarrassed about in regards to their hook-up.

I’m happy to say that from what I’ve seen on social media, this is also the position of the vast majority.

Specialized Securitor bounce back from the brink of disaster

Cycling is a sport of nuances and contradictions. It is also a sport where the highs of a stage win one day can come crashing down in a pile of twisted bodies and machinery the next.

The last women’s National Road Series (NRS) event in Ballarat over the weekend highlighted this predicament for Specialized Securitor.

The team celebrated victory on stage one of the Tour of the Goldfields with Canberra rider Kimberley Wells winning the bunch sprint at the end of a 20 lap criterium.

Less than 24 hours later, the elation of stage one’s victory came literally crashing down when the entire team crashed less than 500 metres into the Team Time Trial.

Luckily, they managed to get three riders over the line but by Saturday afternoon’s third stage, they were down to just two riders for Sunday’s final stage with Wells and Sophie Mackay.

Fortunes in any sport can quickly change, but it is how those involved respond that is the true test of character and integrity.

Watching the Specialized Securitor team prepare for Sunday’s final stage you may have been mistaken for thinking this was a team with the full compliment of five riders, not two.

“The crash showed how close of a team we are and how strong of a friendship we have. We moved on from it pretty quickly and learnt from it and no one was upset with anyone. I think it’s a credit to all of the girls that we are happy and can move forward quickly,” said Claire Trembath, who managed to finish the TTT but withdrew on stage 3 later Saturday afternoon.

The aftermath of Saturday morning’s crash also caused the team’s race plans to be altered as well.

With just two riders for the final stage, Sunday’s plan was to try to get into a breakaway and although Wells tried unsuccessfully, Mackay was able to seize an opportunity to find herself in the significant breakaway of the day.

The seven rider breakaway did get out to a 1 minute 23 second lead at one point, before Holden Women’s Cycling, Ruth Corset managed to over power them to take the stage victory.

The positive attitude of the Specialized Securitor riders was reflected in DS Bec Domange’s assessment of the Tour.

“We won a stage of the Tour and today we were in the main break of the day, so all in all I think we can take some really positive things out of the tour. We only finished with two riders and there’s only so much you can do with two riders when you’re racing teams with five.

“I think the girls will be really happy with how they went. They showed courage and determination with their riding. There are lots of positives to come out of it minus the TTT but other than that the girls have done well.”

Wells was equally positive about the team’s performance over the weekend. In reflecting on how Tour racing can consist of the highs and the lows, she points out,

“I think the Tour’s been really good for Specialized Securitor. I’m really happy with everyone in the team, the riders, the staff.

“When things aren’t panning out is probably when you learn the most about yourself and we even managed a few laughs.”

If there is one thing cyclists know, it is that luck can change in the blink of an eye and for Specialized Securitor, that is exactly what happened over the weekend.

The disaster of crashing forced the team to come up with a new race plan and although the weekend may not have finished quite how they would of liked, the team left Ballarat with high spirits and a strong sense of camaraderie.



This article originally appeared on The Roar

Phelps may be the world’s fastest swimmer but no man is an island

“No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe” John Donne


Yesterday it was reported that Michael Phelps was caught allegedly speeding through Baltimore’s Fort McHenley Tunnel. He was allegedly clocked doing 85 mph in a 40 zone and driving whilst twice the legal blood alcohol limit. Phelps’s 2014 Range Rover was also allegedly seen driving dangerously crossing double lines.

These are all very serious allegations, which were quickly chased up with an online apology, via Phelps’s Twitter account.

Yesterday’s incident is not the first involving Michael Phelps driving under the influence, nor is it the first scandal he’s been associated with.

In 2004 he was caught drink driving as a 19 year old. Phelps pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was placed on probation as well as given community service.

In 2009 a British tabloid posted a photo of him smoking a bong.

It’s easy to forgive young people for doing stupid things. After all, the stupidity of youth touches just about everyone.

However, at 29 Michael Phelps cannot plead the folly of youth.

What Michael Phelps has done over the last two days, is remind us of the dangers of trying to live a life outside of society.

English Renaissance poet John Donne penned the immortal line, ‘no man is an island’ in 1624.

It resonates today as much as it did 490 years ago.

By allegedly driving under the influence, Phelps has shown a grave error in judgment. This error is not just driving when he shouldn’t have, but he’s made the error of thinking he is an island.

Baltimore is his community. It is this community that he has let down by not following the rules society has developed for the benefit of all.

A driver’s license is a not a right, it is a privilege. It comes with the basic premise that those who hold the privilege of driving will abide by the laws that are designed to protect communities.

The people of Baltimore have not been let down by a swimming role model.

They have been let down by one of their citizens.

Society builds athletes up as role models. We forget they are human and we imbue them with the mythological qualities of Ancient Greek Gods.

In our own desire we seek perfection in others we deify athletes and then voyeuristically enjoy watching them fall.

But Michael Phelps is not a Grecian God. He is a man and a mortal man at that.

His achievements in the pool will not be diminished. He will always have 22 Olympic medals, of which 18 are gold. He is still the greatest Olympian of all time.

He is also very human.

The lesson here lays in the fallacy that even the greatest Olympian of all time can live outside of his society. That he can live by his own rules.

We have been reminded that no man (or woman) is an island. We are all responsible for our actions and we are accountable to the society we live in. This is unavoidable.

It has taken an American swimming superstar to remind us of this.


This article originally appeared on The Roar.

Chapeau, Cadel

The news on Friday that Cadel Evans was officially retiring from cycling after the Australian cycling season was not completely unexpected.

Even so, cycling fans, Australian or not, avid fans or casual fans of the Tour de France, joined together in a chorus of love and respect for the man who has done much to transform Australia’s connection to a sport usually played out on the other side of the world.

Cadel Evans has that rare ability and that rare honour of being one of the few people in the public eye who can make you truly proud to be Australian.

In sporting terms, he shares this honour with the likes of Rod Laver, Sir Donald Bradman and Cathy Freeman. These are athletes who inspired their generations as well as the generations that follow.

For some, Evans has appeared aloof and difficult to read. Not a natural media performer, he is a man who never hides his emotions. He wears his heart on his sleeve and this is surely one of his greatest assets. In many ways this is his most endearing quality. It’s also a quality that generates immense respect for him.

There are no smoke and mirrors, just the honesty of a man who has represented himself and his country to the highest degree in a sport that has too often let itself down.

Casting our minds way back to late in the twentieth century, Cadel Evans rose to prominence in the sport of mountain biking.

He was a four time National Champion, two time World Champion and Olympian before making the transition to the road.

It’s this transition that made him a household name in Australia.

His Grand Tour career got off to a healthy start with a 14th place in his first attempt at the Giro d’Italia in 2002 but it will be for the Tour de France that he will be most remembered by Australians.

Evans finished 8th in his first attempt at the world’s most famous road race in 2005.

His fourth place in 2006 and his back to back runner up placings in 2007 and 2008 cemented him as Australia’s number one road cyclists.

It was also these results that ensured his Australian fans were on hand to will him over the line in 2011 after two disastrous campaigns in 2009 and 2010.

There is no doubt that his 2011 victory at the Tour de France was the pinnacle of not just his career, but of Australian cycling.

Evans’s win in 2011 was the culmination of years of grinding away to win the world’s most famous bike race.

Australian cycling fans and fans of the Tour de France didn’t just jump on the Cadel bandwagon in 2011. We had spent the previous seven years sitting up until the wee small hours, cheering him on.

Many Australians who tuned into the Tour de France coverage may have known little about the intricacies and tactics of three week stage races, but one thing they did know, was that they were tuning in, sacrificing sleep to watch one of our greatest athletes conquer a sport dominated by Europeans.

Evans is a member of an elite group of cyclists who have worn the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours as well as one of the few to have stood on the podium in all three of these events.

His palmares is too long to go into detail here, but his results are nothing short of spectacular.

Evans has been nothing short of a trailblazer in Australian cycling.

To be a World Champion in two disciplines of cycling, the first Australian to win the Tour de France and the first Australian to be world road race champion are just a small part of what will be a wide reaching legacy.

He has introduced thousands of people to a sport that has never held the sway of cricket or the various football codes in Australia.

The sport of cycling is growing in Australia and whilst there are many hard working Australians contributing to this, it is Evans who is the most well known.

He has brought a whole new audience to Australia’s National Road Championship, the Tour Down Under and even to national broadcaster SBS.

Surely, Evans’s success in Europe has contributed to the increased coverage of road cycling on SBS as well as to their flagship regular coverage the Tour de France.

Evans has also brought immeasurable joy to sports fans in this country. He has taught us that perseverance and self belief, that fighting on when all seems against you are the most valuable qualities one can possess.

His honesty has been refreshing and inspiring and like the greats before him, such as Laver, Bradman and Freeman he will be an inspiration to as yet unborn sporting stars.

At this year’s Australian Open tennis, the great Rafael Nadal stood in awe of Rod Laver and asked politely, “May I have a picture with you, Mr. Laver”.

There is no doubt that many years into the future, a young champion will ask something similar of Mr. Evans.

That is how far reaching his legacy will be.

Thank you for the memories and chapeau, Cadel Evans.


This article was originally published on The Roar