I love quotations. They’re immortal, lasting, timeless. Recently, I spent time scouring through the internet to gather the most memorable words spoken last year. There were plenty (remember the Games named 08-08-08?). Here are, based on my compilation, the best from last year…
“He may be human, but he’s from a different planet, a different galaxy.” – swimmer Alexander Sukhorukov, describing Michael Phelps
“First of all, I want to thank Tiger for not being here. That always makes things a little bit easier.” – golfer Sergio Garcia after winning The Players Championship
“I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony. I know what to do. I just don’t know where to start.” – Pat Riley, former Miami coach, when his NBA Heat were 11-46
“I will KO Pacquiao in 5.” — De La Hoya’s prediction
“I understand the joy. He might have interpreted that in another way, but the way it was perceived was ‘Catch me if you can.’ You don’t do that. But he’ll learn. He’s still a young man.” — Jacques Rogge, IOC president, on Usain Bolt’s celebration
“Come on…when you’re running, if you see you’re going to win, you’re going to celebrate. You’re going to be Olympic champion, you’re just happy.” — Bolt
“I am totally heterosexual.” — Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo after an incident with tranvestite prostitutes in his Rio hotel room
“I was shouting: ‘Do I have it, do I have it?’ And then they came on when I was at Turn One and they told me and I was ecstatic. It’s been a dream” – Lewis Hamilton on crossing the Brazilian Grand Prix finish line as F1 champion
“I thought maybe my last name was Williamsowski or something.” – Venus Williams on her surprise at how popular she is in Poland
“We have agreed to sell Robinho for human and footballing reasons, and for a substantial amount of money.” — Ramon Calderon, president of Real Madrid, after the Brazilian striker’s transfer to Manchester City
“Gold medals are awarded in the summer, but they’re earned in the winter. That was four years of hard winters.” – Canadian rowing captain Kyle Hamilton following a gold-medal win in Beijing
“Don’t you have a full one?” – John Daly, to a spectator who asked Daly to autograph an empty beer can at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
“You know Doc’s a nickname, correct?” – Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics coach, after being asked how long Kevin Garnett would be out with a strained abdominal muscle
“I have decided to race my bicycle again” – Lance Armstrong
“If you want to commit suicide it is up to you, but you do not have the right to kill your country. It is so sad the Athens Games golden girl was caught doping” – Greek Olympic Committee chief Minos Kyriakou after Athens women’s 400 metre hurdles champion Fani Halkia failed a drug test
“I couldn’t have got any fatter, I was running out of clothes.” -?Brazilian footballer Ronaldo on how much weight he gained when he was injured
“I just hope they’ve taught the engraver how to put an asterisk on the trophy.” – Geoff Ogilvy, on the first golf major in more than 10 years to be played without Woods
“No. Not unless you consider a hammer and a nail a rivalry.” – Mike Greenberg on whether he thinks Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson is a rivalry
“I made it ma! Top of the world! TOP OF THE WORLD!” – Kevin Garnett after leading Boston Celtics over the L.A. Lakers in the NBA final
“I’ve created a monster so I know I need to always win every tournament. It’s not easy coming out every week trying to win” – Roger Federer
“I’ve lived a wild and strange life. I’ve used drugs, I’ve had physical altercations with dangerous people, people were angry. I’ve slept with guys’ wives, they wanted to kill me. I’m just happy to be here. It’s just a miracle” – Mike Tyson talks about his past at the Cannes film festival
“I broke the television, I must tell the truth” – Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo explains how he smashed his TV set when Hamilton won
“It’s very pleasant to beat Maria… Why? Well, I don’t like her outfit” – Alla Kudryavtseva explains what spurred her to victory over Sharapova in Wimbledon
“Obviously, this is the best of times and the worst of times.” — Hugh McCutcheon, U.S. volleyball coach whose team won gold two weeks after his father-in-law was killed in a bizarre attack in Beijing.
“I felt like a famous singer. The whole stage was only for me. It was so cool.” — Yelena Isinbayeva, unrivalled Russian pole vaulter, who set a world record in her win.
“In my mind, I felt good, but my legs didn’t have enough running behind them … I felt like I was just running on one leg.” — Paula Radcliffe, British marathoner and current world record holder, after finishing the race.
“I’ve never been so angry in all my life. I saw a team that didn’t show any will to win. …It’s shameful to lose this way to Argentina.” — Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, after his country’s 3-0 semifinal loss in men’s soccer.
“I’m looking forward to not doing anything, just sitting and not moving.” — Michael Phelps on what the American swimmer will do after winning eight gold medals in Beijing.
“These were truly exceptional Games.” — Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee president, at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
“The gold medal has confirmed the fact that I am an outstanding sportsman.” — Lin Dan, Chinese badminton gold medallist, affectionately nicknamed “Super Dan.”
“I’m Lightning Bolt. I’m not Flash Gordon or anybody. My name is Lightning Bolt.”
– Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt after setting a world record in the 200-metre final for one of his three records at the Beijing Games.
– “He’s from a whole other league. He could do a cartwheel and win this thing.”
– Jared Connaughton, 200-metre sprinter from New Haven, P.E.I., discussing Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt on CBC.
“I have no explanation. All I have is an apology. I’m sorry. And I hate watching people apologize after bad performances, but now I know why they do it, because there was a lot of pressure on me. That pressure amounted to expectations of people back home, and I always talk about how great performances by Canadian athletes can be inspiring and motivating. I didn’t contribute to that at all. … This is a huge exception. I don’t die and come in eighth. I was almost ninth. I pretty much came in last in the race. I’ve never come in ninth before. I’ve never come in eighth before.”
– Adam van Koeverden, the gold-medal favourite in the K-1 1,000 metres, after finishing eighth at the Beijing Games.
– “You walk by McDonald’s every day (in the Olympic Village), smell those fries, and being the dedicated athlete you are, you keep saying to yourself, ‘I will not stop. I will not stop. I will NOT stop!’ It takes a lot of will power, burger abstinence. But sometimes, and don’t ask me why, you just have to have McDonald’s, right? You know the feeling. We all know the feeling. . . . I had my usual Big Mac. I have one in every place I travel. And it’s true, they do taste exactly the same, wherever you go, wherever you are. There’s something comfortable in that . . . sameness. Gives you the feeling of being home.”
– Olympic gymnast Kyle Shewfelt of Calgary, a gold medallist in Athens in 2004, on eating fast food at the Beijing Games.
“I think I’m a bit upset as I wanted to come in the top five.” — Natalie du Toit after finishing a remarkable 16th in the open-water 10km swim out of 23 at the Olympics.
“She’s incredible. I was swimming next to her and she beat me and she has one leg.” — American Chloe Sutton, 16, who was one of the seven swimmers beaten by Natalie du Toit.
“I wrap nappies filled with my three-year-old son Max’s wee around my fists. Baby wee is good because it’s pure, doesn’t contain toxins and doesn’t smell,” Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko reveals how he stops his fists swelling up.
“We just wet the bed. A nice big one too. One of the ones you can’t put a towel over. It was terrible,” Kobe Bryant (middle) on how the LA Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics 97-91 in the NBA Finals.
“I’m glad I’m done. I really don’t feel like playing any more. It’s a bit sore. I’m going to shut it down for a little bit here and see what happens” — world number one Tiger Woods after winning the U.S. Open in June, having defied a torn knee ligament and a double stress fracture of his left tibia.
“I’ve achieved so much more than I thought I could and I’m ready to move on. The motivation was not there any more” — ten-times major winner Annika Sorenstam of Sweden announces her decision in May to quit competitive golf at the end of the year.
“I truly believe that the reason I made the awful mistake and a few thereafter was because I didn’t love myself enough to tell the truth” — disgraced U.S. sprinter Marion Jones cries during an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey after serving six months in prison for lying about doping.
“I stood at the top of the mountain and heard the cheers from the people. In jail my status is gone. I am just as human as everyone else” — former U.S. Olympic champion Tim Montgomery, once Jones’s boyfriend, who was jailed for cheque fraud and on heroin charges in two separate trials this year.
“I know how to lose and I know how to win and it is another day of my life from which I am going to learn a lot” — Felipe Massa of Ferrari after being beaten to the title by one point.
“I just blew my mind, and blew the world’s mind.”
Usain Bolt after his 19.3sec world record for the 200m at the Beijing Olympics.
“I never had breakfast. I woke up around 11, I watched television and then I had some (chicken) nuggets for lunch. I went back to my room, I slept for two hours, I went back for some more nuggets and came to the track.”
Bolt gives an insight into his record-breaking diet which was, literally, ‘fast-food’.
“It’s about the driver with the biggest balls who can get closest to the barriers.”
How to win a world championship according the man who should know, Lewis Hamilton.
“I am going to a McDonald’s — that’s always my treat after I win or lose. I’ll have cheeseburger and small fries. In the States I have a kids’ meal but here I mix it up because I love curry sauce, which we don’t have at home. It’s my special treat.”
Forget money or fame, here is what really motivates American Venus Williams.
“I was almost playing in the parking lot. I almost need a helicopter to go to my court.”
Jelena Jankovic on the delights of playing on Wimbledon’s Court 18.
“The marriage of the parties is irretrievably broken because of the Husband’s extra marital affairs and other marital misconduct.” — Court papers filed by Rodriguez against her husband, Yankee Alex Rodriguez, July 7
“Go away! Go away!” — Duno, to Danica Patrick, July 19
Mario Andretti, on the importance of soccer in Italy: “First, mother love. Second, soccer. Maybe a photo finish.”
Johnny Miller, NBC golf analyst, on the pressures of the Ryder Cup compared to regular golf tournaments: “It’s like Michael Phelps training with a great white shark in the pool.”
Kobe Bryant, on how his Los Angeles Lakers blew a 20-point, second-half lead and lost to the Boston Celtics 97-91 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals: “We just wet the bed. A nice big one too. One of the ones you can’t put a towel over.”
Charles Barkley, regarding the steroid allegations haunting Barry Bonds: “You all act like it’s a big deal to gain weight when you get old. I got it down to an exact science.”
Vijay Singh, PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup champion, on trying to stay in shape at age 45: “The older you get, the harder it is to feel younger.”
Geoff Russell, golf writer, when Tiger Woods unveiled plans for a $100 million resort course on the Baja California coast: “If you’re looking for something that is recession-proof, Woods might be it.”
Stewart Cink, after getting blown away by Woods in match play: “Maybe we ought to slice him open to see what’s inside. Maybe it’s nuts and bolts.”
Felix Trinidad, 35-year-old boxer, after hitting the canvas twice in a unanimous-decision loss to Roy Jones Jr.: “If I could have avoided the knockdowns, I think I could have won the fight.”
Bill Maher of HBO, on Roger Clemens: “You can’t deny you did steroids if your head is wider than it is tall.”
Greg Norman, captain of the 2009 International Presidents Cup team, when asked how his charges will match up against the U.S. team, led by Fred Couples: “We can outdrink their team. I’ll put Ernie Els up against anybody.”
Tim Woods, former high school student from Indianapolis, after setting the world record for sit-ups by doing 15,525 in 10 hours, and being asked what his next goal would be: “Going to the bathroom.”
“Never happened. Never happened. And if I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, what, where did I get them? Where is the person out there that gave them to me? Please, please come forward.” — Roger Clemens, defending himself on 60 Minutes, Jan. 6
“I told her to sit down with some language I shouldn’t have used. Thank God today wasn’t Mother’s Day, it was yesterday.” — LeBron James, after his mom took offense to a hard foul on her son, May 13
“Almost a perfect season, no?” ??Modest Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal after winning the French Open and Wimbledon.
“With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.” ??US swimmer Michael Phelps after winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
“I’ve been doing it for 45 years, I’ve been extremely careful, I’ve never got caught.” ??FIA president Max Mosley speaks out about his sex scandal.
“Sometimes you have to swallow the unswallowable.”??Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the defeat by Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final.