Martin Smith: A real life hero we can all be proud of
Simone Biles, Eliud Kipchoge, Pippa Wood.
Two world champions, one real-life Sheffield hero.
Pippa’s name may not appear alongside any sporting records (though it might one day) the way that the truly exceptional American gymnast and era-defining sub two-hour marathon runner’s do.
But Pippa from Norton Lees has achieved more in her nine years than most people ever will.
Pippa weighed 1lb 4oz at birth and underwent 17 blood transfusions, 50 X-rays and scans and laser eye surgery before she was six months old.
Doctors told her parents Robin and Jennie that chronic lung disease meant she would never be able to take part in sport.
Little did they know.
Pippa has just clocked up a century of junior park-runs - covering 200km in events over the last couple of years including junior 2km runs and 5km adult park-runs.
Running runs in the family, so to speak.
Dad is a marathon and ultra-marathon runner, Pippa’s six-year-old brother Sam also passed the 100 mark for junior runs.
Sport proves again and again that it’s not just about winning medals and thrilling crowds, fantastic though those things are.
Sport at its most essential and important level is about pushing ourselves to do things we don’t always believe we can do.
Especially when people say we won’t be able to do them.
Pippa may only be nine years old but she has overcome more physical and emotional issues in her short life than many of us face in a lifetime.
She didn’t beat the world but she did beat science and her own body.
Now that’s a real champion.
Typhoon in Japan?
No surprise there, it’s typhoon season.
That’s the risk in playing the Rugby World Cup in Japan in October.
The way the competition deals with games missed due to bad weather is about as straight as it can be though there are those on the wrong end of the draws-all-round system who might consider it a bit of a wash-out.
But it’s an honest attempt to deal with the consequences of the conditions.
It could have been worse.
The World Cup might have gone to somewhere like mega-bucks Qatar where temperatures hover around 100 degrees in October.
But that’s absurd.
We couldn’t possibly hold any world cup in a place with conditions like that.
At any time of the year.