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banner Monday, 18 February, 2002, 17:39 GMT
It's good to be Brad
BBC Sport Online's Chris Charles gives his view on the Aussie speed skater who has become the hero of Salt Lake City.

It's not every day an Aussie sporting victory fills your heart with joy.

But speed skater Steven Bradbury's bizarre, against-all-odds triumph in Salt Lake City had British written all over it.

Just imagine if he'd come second - the honorary knighthood would already be in the post.

For those who have just returned from a weekend break to Mars, Bradbury was the no-hoper who kept his legs while all in front of him lost theirs.

Apolo Anton Ohno
Oh no - he didn't?

The Australian simply had to weave his way around a pile of bodies to casually collect his country's first ever Winter Olympic gold.

One of the stricken competitors left eating ice as Bradbury sauntered past was hot favourite Apolo Anton Ohno of the USA.

The headline writers must have thought they'd died and gone to heaven.


Even more odd was the subsequent discovery that Ohno's skating boots had been lovingly made for him by....Bradbury.

Can you imagine Mika Hakkinen offering to mould Michael Schumacher's tyres - or Tim Henman stringing Lleyton Hewitt's rackets (well, give it another couple of years).

The Australians have responded by putting their man Bradbury on a stamp.

Of course that would never happen in good old GB, where you need to be the Queen or at the very least dead to have the back of your head licked by the population.

Instead, British sport has to be content with being licked by the rest of the world.

Steven Bradbury
Oh yes I did!

As for Bradbury, he looks as if he'd be more at home on the surf than the ice - which is probably not far from the truth.

After all, he hails from Brisbane, Australia's hottest state, where there can't be too many ice rinks to the 0.453 kilos (apologies to the Metric Martyrs).

But as a result of his unbelievable good fortune, Bradbury's name will be forever etched into the legend of those who've snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

That includes Manchester United for the last-gasp Champions' League defeat of Bayern Munich and 100-1 Grand National winner Foinavon - another profiteer from others' misfortunes.

If he's got any sense, Bradbury will now take the opportunity to hang up his boots (if Ohno doesn't get to them first) and sit back as the sponsorship deals roll in.

And one more thing, Stevo - buy yourself a lottery ticket!

See also:

18 Feb 02 |  Skating
Australia salutes Bradbury
18 Jun 01 |  Funny Old Game
You must be choking!
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