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Sports Quotes of 2004

December 30, 2004 15:42 IST
The 2004 sporting year in quotes:

OLYMPICS

"All these people who crucify me on TV are the same people who wanted to be photographed with me after every success. But after crucifixion comes resurrection" -- Greek sprinter Costas Kenteris before withdrawing from the Games over a missed drugs test.

"I was treated badly. They stripped me off...and even looked into my backside. It was like the Gestapo method in World War Two" -- Hungary's discus gold medallist Robert Fazekas after refusing to give a complete urine sample.

"My victory has proved that athletes with yellow skin can run as fast as those with black and white skin" -- China's Liu Xiang on winning the men's 110 metres hurdles in a world record-equalling time of 12.91 seconds.

"I personally feel that I was the champion that night and what I did was absolutely incredible to come back from 12th place after the vault and I don't think that anyone should take that moment away" -- Paul Hamm, who won the men's all-round gymnastics title due to a scoring error.

"The judges are missing the Olympic spirit, they are stealing our work. So many old people are ruining gymnastics, they have to be tested" -- gymnast Jordan Jovtchev, whose appeal against the rings results was rejected.

"All I want to do now is stand in the corner and howl" -- German equestrian team chief Reinhardt Wendt after Germany lost their two gold medals in the three-day event following a protest by France, Britain and the U.S.

"I was going down the straight, the line just wouldn't come quick enough. I think my heart took me to the line" -- Kelly Holmes on winning the 800 metres, the first of her two golds.

"I started running in high school. I found out if you run fast then you can get girls" -- sprinter Kim Collins.

"It's really quite bizarre but apparently when I swim the 1,500 at this level, I can conceive babies for people. I suppose they're lucky I'm not a sprinter because that's all over in a minute" -- Australian Grant Hackett about e-mails he received from women who got pregnant during his marathon race triumphs.

"Everybody else's family is here, why couldn't I bring my family?" -- American beach volleyball player Misty May, who scattered her dead mother's ashes on court after winning gold.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

"The Greeks made football history today. It's amazing what football has managed to do in Greece. It has managed to unite all Greeks all over the world, something that politics are unable to do" -- Greece coach Otto Rehhagel after his team beat Portugal to win Euro 2004.

"When I walk around people salute me and now I must be the only person allowed to drive in the bus lanes" -- Rehhagel about his standing in Greece.

"I don't remember anyone making such an impact on a tournament since Pele in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden" -- England coach Sven Goran Eriksson on teenage England striker Wayne Rooney.

"Holy Madonna of Divine Love, I ask you to forgive me and never to leave me" -- a hand-written card attached to the number 10 shirt worn by Italy forward Francesco Totti in the game against Denmark. Totti asked for divine forgiveness for spitting at Denmark's Christian Poulsen.

SOCCER

"When I was dying, the doors of the AFA (Argentine Football Association) were open for whatever I wanted to do. Now that I'm alive, they don't even call me on the phone to say 'Merry Christmas, Happy New Year'" -- Diego Maradona responding to the possibility of coaching Argentina's national team.

"I have not seen any pizza. What is important for me in football is what happens on the pitch" -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on an alleged food fight which occurred after Manchester United ended the London side's 49-game unbeaten league run with a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.

"Willy Sagnol can smear the consequences into his hair" -- Bayern Munich commercial manager Uli Hoeness after French international Sagnol criticised the club's decision to fire coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

MOTOR RACING

"His is a car that goes like a Ferrari and is built like a tractor. It just never breaks down" -- an envious David Coulthard talking about Schumacher's Formula One car.

"I'm not an F1 team principal so I don't change my mind every few minutes" -- FIA president Max Mosley explaining why there was no going back on his decision to stand down. He later changed his mind.

GOLF

"We achieved it much easier than we thought we would. We beat one of the strongest U.S. teams in Ryder Cup history on their home soil. It's just unbelievable" -- European captain Bernhard Langer after his men beat the United States by a record 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2 at Oakland Hills, Detroit, in September.

"I don't hit the ball good but I play what I call ugly golf. I hit a lot of punch shots, a lot of big slices off the tees, or big fades, just to keep the ball in play" -- American outsider Todd Hamilton after winning the British Open at Royal Troon in a four-hole playoff with Ernie Els.

TENNIS

"I threw the kitchen sink at him but he went to the bathroom and came back with his tub" -- Andy Roddick after losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final.

"I guess she went temporarily insane." Serena Williams on umpire Mariana Alves after a controversial line-call against Jennifer Capriati at the U.S. Open.

"For a Serena year, it wasn't superb" -- Serena Williams on her failure to win a grand slam title in 2004.

CRICKET

"The ZCU (Zimbabwe Cricket Union) lawyer called me to say the players are all fired and that they must return their cars to the ZCU. So most of them will be catching buses or be on bicycles from tomorrow" -- Zimbabwe players' lawyer Chris Venturas after 15 rebels were sacked in May.

"To break the world record, not in Australia but in India would probably be my second choice. I'd like to think I'll do it in this test match. If I don't I'd probably be carrying drinks in the next one" -- Australian leg spinner Shane Warne before he became the world's highest wicket taker.

HORSE RACING

"This is the best thing that has happened to me for a long time. I never thought I would win another National. Now you can take me around the corner and shoot me" -- trainer Donald "Ginger" McCain, who guided Red Rum to three Grand National triumphs in the 1970s, after winning a fourth time with Amberleigh House in April.

Describing how Amberleigh House had been purchased in Ireland, McCain said: "I went over to see the horse and the woman who was selling him had the greatest legs I'd ever seen. I'm a great legs man and I couldn't resist. I came home and let John (Halewood) do the deal."

SWIMMING

"One of my friends sent me a text message that just said 'Oops'. It's probably the one thing that sums it up best" -- Ian Thorpe on his disqualification from the 400 metres freestyle at Australia's Olympic trials after he overbalanced on the blocks and fell into the pool before the start.

RUGBY

Wales assistant coach Scott Johnson, an Australian, jokingly apologising for his description of New Zealand: "I wasn't misquoted, I just got it slightly wrong. I actually said 'it's a poxy little island in the Pacific'. In fact, it's two islands."

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