The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Want an iPhone? Think again

Just when you start thinking Japan has got over its racist attitude toward foreigners it kicks you in the face again.

SoftBank, the mobile phone company I've been with for almost three years, will not sell me an iPhone on the standard plan. Foreigners who have less than 15 months on their visa - even those who get a new visa each year like me - most pay the full price of the phone upfront.

Of course, SoftBank's reasoning is all foreigners want to come to Japan, get a three-year work visa, get an iPhone, then rush off to another country without fulfilling the contract. Idiots.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I am against drugs, but you still want the truth. They are not doing it to be a bad person; it’s because they see others doing bad things, and there is the temptation. Then you are in the middle. You have the relationship with the press, and they are attacking you and the athletes and you have to protect the athletes, because they are still young people. OK, they make a mistake, but it’s no reason to kill them."

This quote is from an interview by Paul Gains in the Jan/Feb 2005 issue of Running Times magazine.

Now for the sad part - these words were spoken by Jos Hermens.

Who is Hermens? Well, I've mentioned him once before on my blog. He is a sports manager, but more than a manager. He takes a very hands-on role in the lives of his top athletes. He sometimes chooses their doctors, he helps them with their preparation, and he defends them if they get caught doping. "They're young...they made a mistake" - would you send your son or daughter to be trained by a man with this mindset? What kind of "mistake" is doping? Why do some of his young athletes feel it is OK to dope?

And what did this mindset achieve? A lot of results to be sure, but this is the man that managed world 100m champion Katrin Krabbe, banned for using clenbuterol; Grit Breur for using clenbuterol; Hezekiel Sepeng banned for using anabolic steroids; and Alem Techale, who collapsed and died while running - aged 18.

Of this death Wikipedia says: On January 4, 2005, Kenenisa Bekele's fiancee, 18-year-old Alem Techale, died of an apparent heart attack while on a training run with him. Although it was initially stated that no autopsy was performed, Techale and Bekele's manager, Jos Hermens, later said that an autopsy had revealed nothing conclusive about the young woman's death.

Jos Hermens also manages Kenenisa Bekele, who won the 10,000m at the Beijing Olympics.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bronze medal for Kiyofumi Nagai

Though no one in Japan was able to watch it, Japan's Kiyofumi Nagai took bronze in the keirin today. I hope it means NHK television will show some cycling in the future - while Japan was winning bronze, NHK was showing replays of yesterday's action.

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Nicole Cooke on her Olympic gold medal winning ride

A bike that could get all of us riding

What a great design - light, fast and perfect for people are aren't so sure they can ride up that killer hill or the 10km to work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Peter Coe and Nicole Cooke

Sebastian Coe's father, Peter, died today aged 88. Peter Coe has had a big impact on my running because he wrote what I consider to be the most readable and easy to follow book on running, simply called "Running for Fitness."

He trained his son to two gold and two silver medals at the Olympics and also lectured around the world on running and coaching.

But this sad news came at the same time I found out Nicole Cooke won the women's Olympic road race. She is the most deserving winner I know of. Like Paula Radcliffe she was a champion but she didn't have a title. Now she has the medal she richly deserves.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008


Really looking forward to the Olympics. Looks like the track cycling events are going to be an Australia vs Britain showdown. The Aussies are all fit and they'll definitely pick up some medals, but will it be gold?