Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Cup Victory Out-Ranks Cadel's Tour Triumph

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Cup Victory Out-Ranks Cadel's Tour Triumph

Article excerpt


LAST week I wrote that Cadel Evans' performance in winning the Tour de France was the only the second time in my lifetime that the bulk of people around the nation stopped to watch a sporting event.

Apart from the first Tuesday in November of course. (Because of my old mate The Beard, I have to explain that is when the Melbourne Cup is run).

I noticed a poll in the Sydney Morning Herald in which readers were asked to nominate the most important sports successes in our history.

The great majority of those polled believed Evans' victory was the greatest sporting achievement by an Australian ever.

Wrong! There have been many sporting moments down the years which have captured the imaginations of not only the Australian sporting public but non-sports-minded alike.

Lionel Rose winning the world bantamweight crown, every Davis Cup final in which Australia appeared (when it was a fair dinkum competition), Herb Elliott winning the 1500m final at the Rome Olympics to name but a small handful of events which have captured the imaginations of all Australians. But head and shoulders above all else is the fervour in which Australians the world over witnessed the entire America's Cup Challenge in 1983, when the Aussie challenger, Australia II, beat the US's Liberty to win the then still-coveted trophy.

Might I digress here for one moment.

The Yanks had held the America's Cup for 132 years and once that marvellous record was broken, the race lost all its aura.

Nowadays, no-one gives a rat's rectum about the race.

Anyway, back to 1983.

Well before the racing series in Newport, Rhode Island, the challenge was making huge headlines, not only in Australia, but around the world, because of Ben Lexen's revolutionary new (and still secret) winged keel which would see Australia II and skipper John Bertrand wrest the cup from the Americans' hands.

Each of the races in the seven-race final was televised live to Australia and an old colleague and football mate John Raedler provided the commentary.

Dennis Conner piloted Liberty to victory in the first two races, then Bertrand got one back for the good guys before Conner scored his third win to take Liberty's lead to 3-1 a just one more win would see them retain the cup. …

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