Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Accessories, Health & Fitness, Sport

Flyknit Experience: We test out the new Nike Lunar 1+ in a running ‘flash mob’ along The Thames

By shinychris on March 5th, 2013

Nike Flyknit launch

If you started running a few years ago, when it was still disparagingly referred to as jogging, you know how heavy trainers used to be – like wearing lead weights on your feet. Not any more. Manufacturers are literally tripping over each other to bring the latest lightweight fabric technologies to our feet.  Last month saw the arrival of the Adidas Boost, now it’s the turn of Nike with the latest incarnation of its Flyknit technology.

Unlike some trainers which are made out of several pieces of fabric, the selling point of the latest Flyknit Lunar 1+ running shoes, is that they are made out of a single piece of fabric. This, Nike claims, helps to reduce friction and keeps the weight down because there isn’t any need for stitching or glue. Certainly the Flyknit Lunar 1+ trainers I ran in at the Nike event at London’s Somerset House were very lightweight indeed (just a shade of 200 grammes). But they were also very comfortable too. This is partly down to the ‘steam-before-you- sprint’ service where the trainers are placed in a steamer for 30 seconds before wearing them for the first time so they are moulded to your feet correctly. But it’s also due to the Lunarlon midsole that gives you extra spring in your step.

To test out the Lunar1+ running shoes, Nike had advertised for a group of runners via Facebook to take part in the ‘Flyknit Experience’. So off we went in a big gang, running along the banks of the Thames along with British middle distance runner, Hannah England (World Championship Silver Medallist, 1500m). It was all good fun, like a giant running flash mob, armed with neon coloured batons. Up we went onto the Millennnium Bridge, running up the steps to the theme tune to Rocky then across the bridge (thankfully no longer wobbly) up to Waterloo and back round to Somerset House on the north bank near Temple. Along the way several activities were planned, most of which seemed to involve shouting and screaming and waving our batons in the air – no wonder  pedestrians seemed to scatter in fear, as over 100 Nike-clad runners approached at speed.

Nike Flyknit pink and blackGiven that before the Nike run, I hadn’t actually been running for a month because of a football related foot injury I actually felt pretty good at the end of it. Whether that was because of the Nike trainers, or the thrill of running around central London on a crisp, clear night I don’t know. But one thing is for sure: the Flyknit Lunar 1+ running shoes felt very comfortable. As they are so light weight I thought running on the pavements may have taken their toll on my legs, but in fact they felt really bouncy too, giving me an extra spring in my step.

Obviously with a price tag of £140 they aren’t exactly cheap. But for serious running enthusiasts, especially those who belong to running clubs, they are a very sensible investment indeed. And while the pink and black pair I tried out wouldn’t be my first choice of colour, there are several colour ways to suit different tastes.

To find about more about the technology of the shoe see our interview with Nike product ‘Ekin’ (a product manager who knows Nike back to front, geddit) Sam Adams.

Sorry it’s a little dark (and pink) but it was late by the time we finished our run.

And here you can see my pair of Nike Lunar 1+ coming out of the steamer, before putting them on before my first run. Looks great doesn’t it, like they’ve been cryogenically frozen for thousands of years and are just seeing daylight for the first time!

You can see Hannah England, Silver medalist, World Championship 1500m talking about Nike and her training regime here.



Cars, features, Sport

Great pictures from The Golden Age of Formula One – the 60s and 70s

By Stefano on December 17th, 2012

So F1 fans chin up! The new season starts four months today in Australia. Time will fly by. So to help fill the void in your life caused by lack of racing here is a quick trip back to the golden early days of Formula One in the 60s and 70s.

In some ways it is a bitter sweet journey for many of the stars of these images met awful premature deaths. You look at Jim Clark winning the US Grand Prix in  1967 knowing that a few months later his life would be claimed by a tree at the notorious German Hockenheimring circuit. Then there’s the fresh faced Jochen Rindt, the man many predicted would dominate F1 in the 70s who lost his life while practising for the Italian Grand Prix in 1970. He was just 28 years old.

I am also reminded of the really stupid deaths like that of British driver Thomas Pryce who was killed after a collision with a marshal who stepped on to the track at the 1977 South African Grand Prix.

Heaven knows what kind of impact these deaths must have had on the other drivers. And spurred on by a public, who were now getting sick of seeing images of grieving girlfriends with tear-filled eyes tucked behind their shades and the staff of constructors teams with ever more furrowed brows, Jackie Stewart and other drivers embarked on a long journey to make the sport a safe one.

In spite of the tragedies though,there is something incredibly glamorous about F1 in the 60s and 70s. Maybe it is clothes, the hair (or the sideburns as a certain person got bang on here), the curved shape of the cars or the stunning backdrops of circuits like Monaco (when they weren’t only a quick and cheap Easyjet flight away), but it just seemed way more sophisticated, elegant and classy back then.

Much of that elan was captured in the 1966 John Frankenheimer-directed film Grand Prix in which an American driver played by James Garner battles it out with French counterpart Yves Montand . The film wast a staple on TV in the 70s and 80s but doesn’t get screened as much now. It is worth watching for a gripping story line, some gorgeous photography and the cameo appearance of French singer and style icon Francoise Hardy.

So enjoy these images and let’s celebrate the all too brief lives of some of F1′s true giants.

Pics from PA

Jim Clark 1968 in his Lotus

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Picture 1 of 17

Clark won the F1 driver's championship twice in the 1960s. Tragically he died in 1968 when his car hit a tree at Germany's notorious Hockenheimring, circuit.



music, News, Sport, Sports

Is Everton’s Leighton Baines the footballer with the best music taste? His top albums of 2012 revealed – Tame Impala, Richard Hawley and more!

By Gerald Lynch on November 30th, 2012

Everton and England footballer Leighton Baines may have just revealed himself as the player with the best taste in music, after revealing his top albums of 2012 on the club’s website.

The defender picked Dr John’s “Locked Down” as his album of the year, saying he was impressed by The Black Key’s Dan Auerbach who had produced the album.

Baines also picked Richard Hawley’s “Standing on Sky’s Edge” as another of his favourite records of the year, rounding off his top album list with choice cuts from Jack White, Paul Weller, Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan, The XX, Neil Young, Mark Lanegan, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power and Eugene McGuinness.

Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerisim’ is one of Everton defender Leighton Baines’s albums of 2012

Baines had particularly strong praise for “Lonerism” by rising stars Tame Impala saying that the album “builds on the psychedelic sound that Innerspeaker possessed and while still full of distortion, fuzz and effects, it is also more melodic and the songwriting is improved from Kevin Parker, whose multi-tracked vocals are very Lennon-esque.”As for debut albums, Baines went for Toy, Melody’s Echo Chamber and By The Sea, while picked out Haim, Savages and The Wicked Whispers as ones to watch in 2013.

It’s a refreshingly current and tasteful pick from Baines, whose indie taste sets him apart from the dance and hip-hop fans that make up the majority of professional footballers. Having said that, we remember a time when all footballers were obsessed with Phil Collins, so basically anything is an improvement over that.

Baines joins the slim ranks of footballers with equally good taste in music, who include retired ex-West Ham defender and Scotland star Christian Daily (who had his own band and counted Weezer as one of his favourite groups) and Graeme Le Saux, who revealed Joe Jackson’s “It’s Different For Girls” as the first record he ever bought. Pat Nevin was a big The The fan too; seems the Scots are the footballing nation with the best musical taste then!

What do you reckon of Baines choices? Does he really have the best musical taste in football? While we’re on the subject, check out Brandish’s top debut albums of the year, and our favourite singer/songwriter records of 2012 too.



Celeb style, Sport

Pep Guardiola – the most stylish man in football. Here’s the evidence

By Stefano on November 21st, 2012

After winning a host of trophies with his beloved Barca Josep Pep Guardiola is currently in the middle of a sabbatical from the game, quaffing the Espressos, wandering the streets of Manhattan and pondering his next move.

With Roberto Di Matteo the latest manager to to be given the Siberian shoulder Pep is odds on favourite to take over the reins, if not now then at the end of the season. It isn’t just Chelsea who like the cut of the ex Barca man. Arsenal are also rumoured to have been courting Pep for a while with a view to working at The Emirates – though unless there is some deal that we know little off, with Arsene Wenger booted upstairs, it is unlikely that this is going to happen this year.

There is even the possibility that Spurs may soon be looking for a replacement for AVB while Alex Ferguson can’t go on forever.

Guardiola is known for two things. Firstly the brilliant Tiki Taka football which has confounded team after team both in Spain and in Europe.

Secondly for being the most stylish man in the game. Sure you can make a case for the Italians Di Matteo and Mancini and Newcastle’s Chris Hughton is clearly top of the English league in the fashion stakes – which isn’t actually saying a great deal.

But Pep certainly knows how to dress. Hi is immaculate in his grey suits always with a crisp white shirt and a narrow tie. He also favours the longer jacket look which kind of put his at odds with what was on the catwalk a few years ago and dominates the high street now – and quite frankly looked a bit of a mess on Daniel Craig in Skywalk. But this gives him a degree of individuality and it really suits him.

He also does casual too with Stone Island black jumpers and checked shirts teamed up with prefect skinny-ish jeans and Nike trainers.

He also gives great hope to balding men everywhere in that he keeps his hair very short and teams it with just the right amount of stubble.

Anyway hopefully Pep will be spotted shopping in and around Bond Street very soon.

Btw  he doesn’t always get it right.

Pep and Di Matt - twins? Di Matt clearly aped the Barca man style, and worked out how to counter Tiki Taka too

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Picture 1 of 7



Sport

Brandish fitness: The Jawbone Up gets a makeover

By Stefano on November 16th, 2012

Right now there may be loads of different fitness apps and gadgets on the market, but one of the first pioneers in the whole health tracking tech space was Jawbone’s Up bracelet, a wearable gadget that hugged your wrist all day long with a lot of promising features designed to help you track your activity levels and a lot LOT more. Sounds great, right? Well it was until it failed in rather epic proportions, in terms of hardware, software AND usability.

But you know what? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that (although many little Ups did actually die/snap, so maybe that saying doesn’t quite ring true…) and the team still had some pretty innovative ideas, so the brand hasn’t admitted defeat, it’s just re-launched a new version of the Up and this time it hopes to address all of the issues from last time and really make waves amongst all of the Fitbit Ones and Nike+ Fuelbands that we have attached to our bodies somewhere or other.

The new band, which has been released in the US this week for $129, has had a slew of improvements including a new design and outer mould, more water resistance and a better accompanying iOS application. Engadget reports that, in order to address all of the gadget’s previous problems, it’s also been put through a new rigorous form of testing, ensuring it’ll really stand up to claims this time and not bend, snap or become ruined by a bit of a water (yep, that happened last time unfortunately).

However, it’s not just the external hardware that’s had a makeover, the dedicated iOS app (no Android version yet unfortunately, but it’s apparently on the way, apparently) has had a new lick of paint too, which sees a better looking and more user-friendly interface and added social sharing features, as well as a food calorie index and a few more extras, like barcode scanning so you don’t have to muck around adding meals manually.

There are still one or two things we think may cause problems, for instance, in order to sync data you have to hook the bracelet up by the 3.5mm jack, which makes it usable by a wide range of people but with Fitbit’s gadgets now syncing wirelessly via Bluetooth it’ll certainly seem a bit outdated over the next year if it doesn’t step up to the game. After all these kinds of gadgets are all about being as easy to wear and use as possible and wireless syncing just takes all of the hassle away from the whole process.

However, Jawbone’s latest foray into the health and fitness tracking market is certainly interesting and no one can deny the product will have been put through some of the most rigorous testing, like, EVER. The challenge now is whether other brands have already overtaken Jawbone in this space and whether the bad press from the last version of the gadget will mean it’s already doomed before people even get to try it. But we’re willing to forgive and forget and have high hopes for Jawbone’s latest product, even if the rest of the world is just waiting for it to fail again.

For more information or to find out where you can buy an Up bracelet in your country, visit the Jawbone website.

For even more fitness and health gadgets go here



Accessories, Sport

Brandish Christmas List #2 Savile Rogue Cashmere Football Scarves

By Stefano on November 12th, 2012

I have always found it surprising that football clubs haven’t cottoned on to the fact that not all of their fans want to be seen wearing cheap and rather nasty clothes and accessories. There’s clearly a whole group of fans who want to show their colours but wouldn’t be seen dead sporting the usual branded clobber that their team churns out.

The brilliantly named Savile Rogue think so too. For over five years now they have been offering classic football scarves in very fetching, and rather luxurious cashmere. As it states on their website there are fewer worst things in life than scratchy nylon scarves! For obvious reasons the scarves aren’t sporting the club’s crests, but given the state of some clubs – this one springs to mind - this is no bad thing.

Serious fashion heads should note that the cashmere comes from goats in Mongolia and is then shipped to a mill in Scotland.

The company has scarves for most of the Premiership clubs in both home and away colours with prices starting at £43.95

Just about to arrive are leather gloves in lamb leather, insulated fleece-lining and 100% cashmere wool cuffs. And you read that right, you can operate your iPhone to check up on your rivals scores without having to take them off. They will retail for around £64.95.



Sport

Unleash your inner Bradley Wiggins with custom Mango Bikes

By Gerald Lynch on November 2nd, 2012

The worlds of bespoke style and bicycles collide at Mango Bikes, who let you pick the colour and style of virtually every component of their custom rides.

From frame colours to handlebar styles, there’s a near-infinite amount of bikes that can be put together through all manner of part combinations. Check below for our attempt at a Tron-inspired Light Cycle!

Single-speed bikes, a Mango Bike weighs just between 10 and 12Kg by dumping the extra weight needed for gears. According to the shop’s FAQ page:

“When you ride a Mango Bike, you’ll soon see that there is no need for any gears when traveling around town (or country for that matter – we do 50 mile road rides with hills and headwinds, no problem!). The bikes are light, streamlined and hold their speed. Single speed is the way to go.”

Bikes arrive 90% assembled and are shipped with City Link and tracking codes. Front wheels, pedals and bars need to be put together manually, but Mango Bikes provide all the relevant tools and documentation in the box to make this an easy process.

Pricing starts at £269.

Click here to give their bike builder a go, and visit www.mangobikes.co.uk for more info.



Advertorial, Shoes, Sport

Gold Medal Style Winners: a look back at the standout style moments of the London 2012 Olympics

By shinychris on September 24th, 2012

Sponsored post

London’s always been an edgy trendsetter, and this summer it showed that sport can be just as sexy as the catwalk, thanks to some standout style stars on the track. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Karen Elson may have strutted their stuff in Alexander McQueen to close the games, but when it comes to memorable fashion moments, this year’s gold medals go to these guys.

Mo Farah

Britain’s golden boy of the track and field, Mo became a double Olympic champion at the 2012 Olympic Games, taking gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in breathtaking style. And as well as his eye catching smile as he crossed the finish line, Mo grabbed our attention with his custom-designed Nike Zoom Victory Elite neon-yellow spikes. He wasn’t the only one to step into the in-your-face trainers; in fact, more than 400 athletes wore bright yellow sneakers from the specially created Nike Volt range over the course of the games. The reason? Their high tech Flywire technology forms an ultra-lightweight upper, woven using featherweight single thread, to create a sock-like fit. Not to mention the gleaming, golden spike plate that helped 25 of the Nike wearers win gold for real.

Usain Bolt

The fastest man on the planet looked slick in his custom-designed Puma tracksuit pre-race. Draped in black from head to toe, hood up, and with plenty of attitude, Usain looked like a winner from the start. The Jamaican kit was designed especially for the games by Cedella Marley, daughter of reggae legend Bob. Featuring slogans like ‘Positive Vibrations’, and pictures of her father on some of the track jackets, she said that she’d been inspired by her dad’s style, and wanted to merge the worlds of Jamaican music and sport with her kit design. It certainly inspired the Lightning Bolt, who went on to create a new Olympic 100m record, and take home the gold in both the 100m and 200m finals.

Sanya Richards-Ross

American 400m gold medallist Sanya Richards-Ross caused a stir on the track with her imposing, feminine look. While most female athletes choose to tie their hair back, she braided just the front, leaving her tousled curls to hang loose down her back. Brushing back her hair, she revealed a pair of blingin’ Chanel earrings too. Teamed with her Nike athletic sleeves – designed to emphasise her muscular arms and shoulders, as Sanya stepped out onto the track she ensured that all eyes were on her – and an instant threat to her competitors before she’d got off the starting block.

Yohan Blake

Another trendsetter from the Jamaican team, Yohan turned heads and caused a little controversy with his OTT accessorising at the games. Violating the strict Olympic clothing regulations, which state that athletes are only allowed to wear apparel that is sponsored by their country, he flouted the rulebook and wore an eyepopping yellow watch during the 100m final. Custom-made for Yohan by designer Richard Mille, this bit of bling was impossible to miss, and cost an eyewatering $500,000 too.



Advertorial, Sport, Sports

Who are the main challengers for the Champions League?

By shinychris on September 4th, 2012

Sponsored post

With the qualifying rounds already well under way, the buzz for the return of the Champions League is starting to build and it won’t be long until the group stage draw is upon us. Last season’s victors
Chelsea will be keen to get going, as will clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United who failed to make much of an impact last time out.

Big money has been spent this summer and plenty of United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal transfer news is still on-going in an attempt to make them the strongest of the English challengers for the European trophy. Chelsea and Arsenal have made some big signings in the close season and exciting talent such as Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski will give them the confidence that they can make their mark on the competition when the draw is made. United and City started the season as favourites for the Premier League title and they will also be right up there in the betting when it comes to the Champions League. Having both been knocked out at the group stage last season, the competition will certainly be high on their priorities and you could do a lot worse than to predict that either one of these two Manchester clubs will make the final at Wembley, next May.

All four English clubs are expected to do well and it is the first time for years that all four will genuinely believe they can win the trophy. The main threat to the English teams will once again come from Spain, as Barcelona and Real Madrid will look to improve on their semi-final defeats last season. Barcelona have a new manager but very little will change for the Catalan club as Lionel Messi and co. will be the early favourites to take the cup. Real Madrid are already under pressure in the league and they may see the Champions League as a welcome distraction when the group stages start, but Mourinho will be desperate to win the trophy with a third different club.

Aside from the usual suspects you can’t ignore last season’s finalists Bayern Munich, who probably feel they deserved to win the trophy before losing on penalties on their own patch. The Germans will definitely be a threat, but surprised a few last season by making it to the final and would be some way down my pecking order when selecting a pre-tournament winner.

Big spending PSG would like to think they have a chance, but like Manchester City last season, it may not be the right time or place and their main success will be in years to come. It is certainly the closest Champions League to call for a while and any side who makes it through the group stage will fancy their chances.

 

 

 



features, Sport, Sports, Sportswear

LONDON 2012: The 5 worst kits of the Olympic Games

By Gerald Lynch on August 2nd, 2012

Team GB really lucked out when they managed to bag Stella McCartney’s superb skills for the design of their Adidas Olympic kit. But for some nations, the Olympic catwalk has not been so  kind. Forget the empty seats at many events – for Brandish it’s been far more distressing spotting the sportswear sins some nations have forced upon their top athletes with their official kits. Here we highlight our pick of the worst five, including Team Russia, Team China and Team Germany. Scroll down to check out our picks!

Team Russia

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Picture 1 of 5

The red and white squiggles of Team Russia's kit are supposed to be inspired by Moscow's street art. But these kit catastrophes couldn't be any further from the cutting-edge wit of street art if they tried. Perhaps they're a cast off from axed KGB camouflage gear from the seventies. You'd have blended in with Cold War-era wallpaper with ease in one of these tops.



Sport, Sports, Sportswear

LONDON 2012: Talking Adidas cycling sportswear with Victoria Pendleton of Team GB

By Gerald Lynch on August 2nd, 2012

Team GB have already picked up one London 2012 cycling gold medal thanks to Bradley Wiggins’ dominating performance in the time trials yesterday. This week sees the doors to the velodrome open, where Team GB’s Victoria Pendleton is well placed to grab another top podium place. We caught up with her last week to discuss the new sportswear innovations from Adidas that are driving here and the rest of the Great Britain cycling team forward.

When it comes to Great Britain’s gold medal chances at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Victoria Pendleton is a name that springs straight to mind. At the peak of her career, she’s cycling’s golden girl. Winning gold at the Beijing Olympics and coming off the back of great successes at the World Championships, her rivalry with fellow cycling sprinter Anna Meares of Australia promises to deliver some of the most nail-biting action of the games.

Looking for every advantage they can get out on the velodrome, Pendleton and the rest of the Team GB cycling team (including Chris Hoy, Laura Trott and Geraint Thomas) will be using a unique training aid – Adidas “Adipower” trousers.

Dubbed the “Hotpants”, the custom-fitted trousers are battery powered and are designed to be worn after an athlete’s warm-up. Heated filaments in the trousers direct heat to the core muscle groups in the legs, maintaining an ideal 38C temperature, meaning that Team GB’s legs should be limber before each event even if they’ve had a lengthy wait between their warm up session and the competitive races. There are even quick-release zips, letting the athletes get the Adipower kit on and off in seconds.
victoria-pendleton.jpg“We’ve had them for a couple of months now,” Pendleton explained to Tech Digest.

“They’re really easy to use and heat up almost instantaneously; you can really feel the temperature going up on your quads and hamstrings. For me as a sprinter, I have lots and lots of short events that are spread out over a day so it’s essential my muscles maintain their temperature after warm up.

“In cycling we talk about ‘marginal gains’ all the time; we’re training to the best of our abilities and have so many experts working with us. You want to make sure every detail is taken care of, and that we have every advantage possible. These trousers are another example of how Team GB is achieving that.”

Designed over the course of four years with input from Team GB and other top cyclists from across the globe, Adidas’s innovation spokesperson Udo Mueller stated that the Adipower trousers were exploring an area where few other sportswear manufacturers were venturing:

“There is a clear lack of garments being made where we do nothing illegal to push athletes to do their best. There’s a marginal gain to be made by using these ‘hotpants’ and we have to capitalise upon it. We did the same within the new swimming regulations and created a swimsuit lighter and faster than ever before. These new innovations should encourage and inspire other countries in the long haul to take advantage of that.”
chris-hoy-hot-pants.jpgAnd what of Pendleton’s chances against Meares? Will the “hotpants” give her the edge she needs to grab the gold?

“Anna and I are both competitive, determined, tenacious individuals. People who know us say we’re quite similar in character, and I’d expect that from someone of the same sport as me.

“I have huge respect for Anna Meares and I know she has a lot for me too. We’re just both hugely competitive individuals, and our form has converged at the same time.

“When it’s all over we’ll probably have a sit down and have a good laugh over all the hoohah we’ve read in press about each other over the last ten years!”

But the time for friendship comes later. For the rest of these games at least, we hope Pendleton remains fired up by the rivalry that could lead to one of Great Britain’s key gold medal wins.



Sport, Video

VIDEO INTERVIEW: We chat with the legendary Daley Thompson about the London 2012 Olympics and SEGA’s official videogame

By Gerald Lynch on May 11th, 2012


You may or may not have realised, but Britain is gearing up for one of its most sport-filled summers of all time. Playing host to the London 2012 Olympic Games, the world’s finest athletes will be competing with the best that Britain has to offer in iconic venues across the capital.

And who better to shed light on Team GB’s prospects at the games than one of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians, Daley Thompson. Two-time gold medal winner and four times a world record breaker, Thompson is considered the greatest decathlete of all time.

Brandish and Tech Digest contributor Gerald Lynch stole a few minutes with the star, asking about Thompson’s hopes for this summer’s sporting extravaganza, and his thoughts on SEGA’s upcoming London 2012 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games title which he is currently promoting.




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