In South Africa, politics and sport are often a little too interwoven for our liking.
Not too dredge up old wounds, but who can forget the political intervention before South Africa’s semi-final at the 2015 World Cup, when the in-form Kyle Abbott was dropped and an unfit Vernon Philander took his place.
We didn’t have any such issue this World Cup, having come nowhere near a semi-final, but sometimes politics and sport come together in a more humorous mix.
Take for example the recent attempts of New South Wales minister for sport, John Sidoti, during a kickabout with a group of young Australian would-be footballers.
At an event to support Australia’s 2023 Women’s World Cup bid, Sidoti ended up looking like a bit of a fool:
Parents said @John_Sidoti was fantastic with the girls….. and he certainly showed some skills….. but this is too good not to share @TheMatildas@GladysB@7NewsSydney@Socceroos pic.twitter.com/B55gqHP7Ny
— ᖇOᗷEᖇT OᐯᗩᗪIᗩ (@RobertOvadia) July 30, 2019
We even have a second angle on this one:
BLOOPER!!! My footwork used to be sharper! I’ll leave the football to the Matildas while I concentrate on helping NSW and Australia win the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup @FFA @AusBid2023 @FIFAWWC #bloopers #wwc2019 pic.twitter.com/UdcIQSpg16
— John Sidoti MP (@John_Sidoti) July 30, 2019
Not his finest work.
Sidoti was able to laugh at himself, blaming his pointy shoes for the faux pas, but his efforts have now been added to the long line of politicians failing publicly in the sporting realm.
The Guardian has a great collection of gaffes for us to enjoy:
The iconic Australian political sporting fail happened on a dirt pitch in Pakistan. On a visit to the earthquake-damaged area of Dhanni in 2005, John Howard set up stumps.
The three wobbly deliveries echoed down the generations, even as they failed to make it to the crease.
Ozzies are ruthless, Howard had long talked up his love for cricket, and this bowling was frankly unacceptable:
A Sunday league cricketer would be ashamed of that collection of long hops and double bouncers.
Keeping it Ozzie, here’s Malcolm Turnbull:
In 2017, Malcolm Turnbull took some time off from the Liberal party conference in Perth to shoot some hoops. It did not go well.
Nope, it didn’t:
— Gemma Varone (@gemvarone) September 2, 2017
A reminder of what you’re aiming for from the 35-second mark:
Now all the US can boast is a president that cheats, repeatedly, at golf, and also shamed himself during a WWE appearance.
Go on, skip ahead to the two-minute mark:
OK, back to things that aren’t make-believe:
Kevin Rudd has always been popular with the kids. A lot of that is due to his constant willingness to enter the fiery lunchtime arena of handball.
Rudd’s technique is unconventional but still beautiful, a kind of whole-body followthrough, where his entire being ripples with the effort.
He really puts his back into it:
Stay away from chin-ups, Kevin:
Any discussion around political sports fails is incomplete without a section devoted entirely to Boris Johnson, and his long and storied history of making a fool of himself.
There was that time he steamrolled a young kid during a game of touch rugby in Japan. Bonus footage in the video below includes him tripping up a young child in a separate incident, talking about how the Brits invented table tennis, and that time he was stuck on a zip wire:
Diving headbutt to the nutsack? Tick:
The unlucky chap above is Maurizio Gaudino, a former German international footballer.
Whilst there is no video to back it up, we can hazard a guess that Ozzie politician Bob Katter steamrolled a few kids during this game of beach rugby:
Then there was one-time Ozzie prime minister (and always arsehole) Tony Abbott stealing somebody’s wave:
Good thing he didn’t try this at Kommetjie with the local surfers watching.
Ivy was 17 at the time:
The triathlete politician appeared in the surf, “just sitting there on his board, waiting for a wave”, according to Ivy Thomas.
“Because I was on the inside of him and it’s a right-hand break, I technically had right of way … That was supposed to be my wave – but I don’t really mind,” she said.
We do – he’s a dickhead.
So ends this roundup of politicians failing miserably at sports.
Happy Friday, friends.
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