Irish Examiner view: Sport can be so very inspiring

Irish Examiner view: Sport can be so very inspiring

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure who comfortably won another European sculling title at Poznan in Poland. Pic: INPHO/Detlev Seyb

If Bill Shankly was right and football is indeed far more important than life or death then it may be difficult to describe the value and impact of the collective of all sports. 

Three events this past weekend underlined how very uplifting sport can be and how the exceptionalism it draws out of individuals can inspire us all.

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure comfortably won another European sculling title at Poznan in Poland. 

The double world champion who, at 38, was defending the title, dominated her peers. How she must regret the cancellation of this summer's Olympics.

In Paris, Rafael Nadal won the French Open to match one of the most important records in tennis. The Spaniard won his 20th title to join Roger Federer on the Grand Slam titles leaderboard, ending Federer's 11-year dominance. 

Margaret Court, with 24 majors, holds the women's record but Serena Williams, with 23, is snapping at her heels.

At Germany's Nürburgring Britain's Lewis Hamilton made F1 history by matching Michael Schumacher's victory record by winning the Eifel Grand Prix. This was the 91st win of his remarkable career, 14 years and 10 days after Schumacher’s final grand prix triumph in China. 

A committed vegetarian and environmentalist Hamilton defies so many of professional, high-octane sports cliches.

Even if these stellar achievements seem remote from the nine-to-five world most of us live in they cannot but lift us all as they show that boundaries are just a state of mind and that obstacles are nothing more than challenges to be overcome.

Yes, we can writ large.

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