Admit it. You never thought David Beckham would be here as long as he was.
When I spoke with him in 2008, a year into the “experiment,” he was saying all the right things. Then over the years, he stuck with the Galaxy but had trouble convincing fans of his commitment to the team.
But in 2011, the last year of his original contract, he once again won over the fans (and maybe teammates). Winning MLS Cup didn’t hurt. And then he signed a two-year extension.
I can imagine fans clamoring for Grant Wahl to write Part 2 of The Beckham Experiment. But at this point, is there any doubt that the experiment worked? MLS is in infinitely better shape today than it was in 2007, and while plenty of other factors are at play (Seattle, other expansion, other business deals), Beckham’s presence surely has helped.
Elsewhere in myriad sports …
MLS: Beckham’s Galaxy held off the Sounders on what Taylor Twellman insists was a legit handball call. And the Dynamo sprayed beer all over their locker room at RFK Stadium.
The waiver draft gave Real Salt Lake another Duke alum.
Premier League: Tactics man Jonathan Wilson wonders if West Brom’s decision to split their management jobs between two people instead of one All-Encompassing Man of Total Power is paving the way for a prolonged stay in the top flight.
Field hockey: Should North Carolina’s seniors be disappointed with only one title out of their four appearances in the final? Or was Princeton due?
Chess: Just call the Kosintsevas the Williams sisters of chess. Nadezhda beat Tatiana in the women’s world championship. She’s the only Russian in the quarterfinals. China has three.
Wrestling: Good showing for Greco-Roman Americans.
Figure skating: Fairfax County’s own Ashley Wagner is two-for-two on the Grand Prix circuit after her Trophee Bompard win in France, ensuring a U.S. presence at the Finals. Christina Gao has a spot in the top six in the standings, with fellow Americans Agnes Zawadzki and Mirai Nagasu among those who can knock her out this weekend. It’s a safe bet Meryl Davis and Charlie White will get there in ice dance. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin might make it in pairs.
Jeremy Abbott, second in France, is clinging to a spot in the top six of the men’s standings (note all the guys with 15, 13 and 11 points who are competing in Japan).
Speedskating: U.S. top-five finishes in the World Cup opener in Heerenveen, Netherlands:
– Heather Richardson, 1st, 1,000
– Heather Richardson, 2nd, 500 and 2nd, 500. Yes, they raced that distance twice.
That is all. Didn’t see Shani Davis in the results.
Bobsled/skeleton: Huge U.S. weekend. Steven Holcomb was first in two-man and second in four-man. And Katie Uhlaender won the women’s skeleton.
Cody Butner and Chuck Berkeley took second behind Holcomb and Steve Langton in the two-man.
The U.S. women’s bobsledders were fourth, fifth and eighth. Olympic track and fieldsters Lolo Jones and Tianna Madison had the week off.
More Olympic sports: Good results for the U.S. field hockey men and a few other athletes; see the roundup.
MMA: GSP beat up Condit, Tom Lawlor got robbed, and strikes to the back of the head are still illegal.
In Bellator, Marcin Held held a toe hold … OK, that’s awful. Anyway, Held got Rich Clementi to tap to a toe hold and Dave Jansen won a split decision over Ricardo Tirloni in the lightweight semifinals. Also, Marlon Sandro beat TUF alum Dustin Neace. Remember the fight where Akira tapped but said he didn’t? That was Neace.
Champions League tomorrow!