News

Sports world mourns Mandela

Sports world mourns Mandela

MOURNING MANDELA: Nelson Mandela died on Thursday at the age of 95. Photo: Associated Press

(Reuters) – Tributes poured in from across the sporting world for Nelson Mandela, who died aged 95 on Thursday, including from the International Olympic Committee, soccer governing body FIFA and a moving valediction from former boxer Muhammad Ali.

The heavyweight great said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of the former South Africa president, who had inspired everyone to break barriers and reach for the impossible.

“He made us realize, we are our brother’s keeper and that our brothers come in all colors,” Ali said in a statement.

“He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale. His was a spirit born free, destined to soar above the rainbows. Today his spirit is soaring through the heavens. He is now forever free.”

South African rugby also paid its respects to the “miracle” performed by Mandela in uniting his country, partly through his embrace of the Springbok rugby team at the 1995 World Cup.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner won over many whites when he donned the jersey of South Africa’s national rugby team – once a symbol of white supremacy – at the rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park stadium.

“All of our lives are poorer today at the extinguishing of the great beacon of light and hope that led the way for our country through the transition to democracy,” Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union, said in a statement.

“‘Madiba’ was a great man of vision, determination and integrity who performed a miracle that amazed the world as much as it amazed his fellow countrymen.

“Through his extraordinarily vision, he was able to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup as an instrument to help promote nation building just one year after South Africa’s historic first democratic election.

“Mr Mandela was also instrumental in retaining the Springbok as the emblem for our national team at a time when a chorus of voices advocated a change of the symbol, for various reasons. It was an act of reconciliation and generosity of spirit which no one could have expected.”

As news of Mandela’s death spread around the world, the first of what are likely to be many gestures of respect took place at sporting events on Friday.

A minute’s silence was observed before the start of the second day of the second Ashes test between Australia and England at Adelaide Oval and at the first test between New Zealand and West Indies in Dunedin.

‘TRUE STATESMAN’

Cricket South Africa offered its initial reaction via Twitter.

“RIP Tata Mandela. It is because of you that a represented Proteas team can express their talent across the globe,” it read.

IOC President Thomas Bach hailed Mandela’s role in using sport for the greater cause and called him a “true statesman”.

“A remarkable man who understood that sport could build bridges, break down walls, and reveal our common humanity,” Bach said in a message posted on the IOC’s official Twitter handle.

World soccer body FIFA ordered flags to be flown at half mast and a minute’s silence to be held before the next round of international matches.

Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came at soccer’s 2010 World Cup finals, the first to be hosted on African soil, when he attended the final in Soweto to a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 strong crowd.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in Brazil for Friday’s draw for the 2014 World Cup, paid tribute in a statement.

“It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,” said the Swiss.

“When he was honored and cheered by the crowd at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on 11 July 2010, it was as a man of the people, a man of their hearts, and it was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced.”

Former England soccer captain David Beckham, who met Mandela when the team played a friendly in South Africa in 2003, said: “We have lost a true gentleman and a courageous human being.”

World number one golfer Tiger Woods also paid tribute to Mandela and recalled meeting the former South African president in 1998.

“He invited us to his home, and it was one of the most inspiring times I’ve ever had in my life,” the American said.

GOLF, SOCCER GO ON IN SOUTH AFRICA, CRICKET WAITS

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Soccer and golf will go ahead in South Africa this weekend following the death of former president Nelson Mandela, but cricket is waiting for clarity from government on whether a one-day international against India will take place in Durban on Sunday.

Although the domestic first-class competition continued on Friday, a Cricket South Africa spokesman said it was waiting to hear from authorities whether the second one-day international against India can go ahead.

The League Cup soccer final between Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars will take place on Saturday evening after an emergency meeting of stakeholders on Friday.

The local Premier Soccer League also confirmed that all matches in the top two tiers would be played as scheduled, though none will be staged on the day of Mandela’s funeral, a date that has yet to be announced.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge continued on Friday morning as large crowds turned out at the Sun City course with spectators in sombre mood along the fairways and greens.

Recent Headlines

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: How to cool a drink in two minutes

Fresh
Cold Drinks

Never drink a lukewarm beverage again! Check out this helpful summer trick.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: July 29

benjerrys

A look back at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Music

Glen Matlock denies new Sex Pistols reunion

John Lydon, right, and Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols perform at the Roxy in West Hollywood, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007.

Sex Pistols star Glen Matlock dashes fans' hopes of another reunion by insisting he hasn't had any contact with John Lydon in five years.

in Music

Aretha Franklin storms out of fast food joint

FILE - In this May 11, 2013 file photo, Aretha Franklin performs during McDonald's Gospelfest 2013 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.Franklin won’t say what has caused her latest health problems, but says she’s had a “miraculous” recovery and is looking forward to performing soon.In a phone interview on Tuesday, Aug. 20, Franklin said that she recently had a cat scan and that it showed she was 85 percent improved. The 71-year-old has canceled several concerts and public appearances and blamed it on unspecified treatment.

Aretha Franklin stormed out a Johnny Rockets in Ontario, Canada last week after a nasty encounter with a rude employee.

in Music

The Beatles wanted to film ‘Lord of the Rings’

FILE- This is a 1967 handout image from Parlophone of The British group, The Beatles,. From left, are: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney; and George Harrison. The woman who as a child was the basis for the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is gravely ill. It was thought by many at the time that the psychedelic song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was a paean to LSD because of the initials in the title, but it was actually based on a drawing that John Lennon's young son Julian brought home from school. He told his father the drawing was of Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Lucy Vodden, now living in Surrey just outside of London _ drifted apart after schoolyard days, but they have gotten back in touch as Lennon has tried to help Vodden cope with Lupus, a life-threatening disease.

Peter Jackson reveals John Lennon could have played Gollum in a Stanley Kubrick directed LOTR adaptation.