No Spaniards finished high up in the First Stage of the 2012 Tour de France – which is perhaps something of a surprise considering a Spanish rider has won four of the previous six races (that would be five of the last six, but Alberto Contrador had his 2010 title stripped when he tested positive for the performance enchain elenbuterol, which he claimed he got from eating contaminated beef)
My guess, though, most Spaniards probably were not focusing on the Tour de France this weekend. Saturday at Wimbledon, David Ferrer, ranked fifth in the world going into the match, whipped Andy Roddick so soundly that some tennis writers were speculating that Roddick would probably call it a career after this year’s U.S. Open.
And the big news, of course, is that Spain took the Euro 2012 with an unmerciful 4-0 thrashing of Italy. There wasn’t a great deal of surprise in that: the Spanish have won every knockout game in international competition since losing to France in the second round of the 2006 World Cup.
The Spanish national men’s basketball team is ranked second only to
the U.S. in the world. Americans who didn’t know found out how good the
Spanish are at round ball when their national team scored almost at Will
on LeBron and Kobe in Beijing in 2008. Since then, five Spanish players
have been drafted into the NBA.
And Fernando Alonso was in the crowd with his children yesterday,
cheering on his countrymen against the Italians. Alonso had just won the
European Grand Prix, becoming the first Formula One driver to win two
races this year.
What’s in the sangria over there? If a trophy was awarded for the
most athletic nation in the world, would Spain rank at the very top? If I
was in the lead right now in the Tour De France, I’d be looking over my
shoulder for someone yelling “Hola!”