Keeping Score: August 2009

Sport is all about writing history and putting records in the books. And statistically, this has proven to be a very interesting summer. Last month, tennis player Roger Federer notched up a string of new records (most grand slam wins, most consecutive finals at Wimbledon, most consecutive semi-finals in grand slams) and several sportsmen and women have followed his lead.

Rome was where the FINA world championships in swimming took place, and this year, two Polish records were broken. Alicja Tchórz (Gorzów Wlkp.) swam to a new record in the 100-metre backstroke for women (1m01s75), improving on the old record by more than an entire second. She finished 25th in the overall standings. In addition, Klaudia Naziębło (Wrocław) managed to dive three hundredths of a second under the old record.

The 100 metre backstroke for men also saw a new Polish record. Radosław Kawęcki (Zielona Góra) completed the distance in 54s66, which is 0.34 faster than the previous best time for Poland. There were also world records to be mentioned: 15-year-old Sarah Sjoström from Sweden (56s44 on the 100m women’s butterfly), Paul Biedermann from Germany (3m40s07 in the 400m men’s freestyle), Frederika Pellegrini from Italy (3m59s15 in the 400m women’s freestyle), Ariana Kukors (2m07s03 in the women’s 200m mixed), Britta Steffen from Germany (52s22 in the women’s 100m freestyle) and the Dutch ladies Inge Dekker, Marleen Veldhuis, Femke Heemskerk and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (3m31s72 in the 4×100 m on the ladies’ relay).

The Tour de France 2009, won by Alberto Contador, was the ninth fastest ever and it was the fourth consecutive Spanish victory in the Tour. The Formula One Grand Prix in Hungary was the first ever to be won by a car (partly) powered by kinetic energy (Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes with Kinetic Energy Recovery System), instead of the good old petrol-fuelled engine. That same Grand Prix saw the debut of Jaime Alguersuari, with 19 years and 125 days the youngest Formula One driver ever. And to make the story somewhat brighter for the rather disappointing Robert Kubica: he celebrated his 50th Grand Prix start, three years after he made his debut on the very same circuit.

Real Madrid paid a record high fee for their new star player Cristiano Ronaldo, with a record-breaking 93 million euro (that’s 425 million złoty, folks!). And in total the Spanish club already spent a quarter billion euro – that’s another record. The two million euro paid by Russian champions Rubin Kazan for Rafał Murawski from Lech Poznań was a record for the Polish side. And Robert Lewandowski, a striker from the same Poznań team, is about to sign a contract which would link him to AC Parma… after the World Cup in July 2010; that would become the longest period between signing at a club and actually joining the club, ever. But that’s just “for the record”.

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