Struggling to cope in a world without any sporting action? Fear not. In our latest series, we put together a list of videos you can watch right now to fill that adrenaline pumping again. This week's picks features Michael Phelps and some ugly match-fixing in the 'Beautiful Game'.
The ugly side of football
The ugly side of football in these times of appreciating the thrill and pleasure from live sport, is a timely reminder of what lies beneath. Not everywhere, but certainly in places unexpected. In the time we pine for football, chase up video clips from an older age, two documentaries lurking at the corner of my mind must be shared. In the order I came across them - the first was The Bet: In the Grip of the Gambling Mafia released in May 2014 made by Benjamin Best, Herve Martin Delpierre and Uwe Schwering and produced in Germany. Anti-corruption investigators across cities and countries explain the reach and impact of illegal betting in the game. "The virus of fraud is to be found everywhere in the football organism," says a voiceover. Not even junior matches and lower division leagues in Germany are out of the reach of betting syndicates in South East Asia, with HQ in Singapore.
In the second, People and Power: Killing the Ball (released by the Al Jazeeera in Feb 2015) it's the bad guys doing the talking. This time it's about match-fixing and we meet the bent FIFA-accredited referee, the world's most famous match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal and his runner Manimaran Kalimuthu. Perumal claims he had fixed the result of five of 32 qualifying teams in the 2010FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Even one is too many. Watch with stiff drinks on hand. Under-18s/ 21s/ 25s, that's black coffee for you. - Sharda Ugra
The alligator arm-stroke
The Olympics 100m butterfly final, 2008. Michael Phelps was seventh at the turn. SEVENTH. In a pool of eight swimmers. He crashed through Lane 5, chasing Serbian rival Milorad Cavic, who'd topped his heats and was leading the race from the start. When Phelps was barely five meters away from the wall, he realized he had a split-second decision to make. He could either take a full stroke, kicking like a maniac and glide into the wall or an ugly extra half-stroke and sacrifice the perfect finish. Most swimmers instinctively choose the full glide. It's what Cavic did.
Phelps went with the non-textbook half stroke. He slammed his fingers into the wall, spun around and panting hard, watched the scoreboard unscramble. The extra half stroke, he was certain, may have cost him the gold. It didn't. - Susan Ninan
Waldner's Greatest Hits
Jan-Ove Waldner began his table tennis career in the early 1980s, when unflappable Swedes were the norm in racquet sports. Bjorn Borg was one of the first I remember, joined soon by Mats Wilander. Waldner's own career peaked around the same time as that of Stefan Edberg. Waldner outlasted all of them, playing his last Swedish league game in 2016.
Along the way, he came to be regarded as the 'Mozart' of the sport, becoming the only non-Chinese man to have won gold in singles at the Olympics, World Cup and the World Championship. This reel gives you a glimpse of his quality, and the variable clarity of the visuals conveys the span of his professional career. There will truly few like him in the sport. - Debayan Sen
Lionel Messi is a dog
Wait. Un-froth, unclench, let out a deep breath. This isn't meant as an insult. In fact, it is almost slavish praise. This a 2012 article from Hernan Casciari turned-into-video, where Casciari talks about how Messi's single-minded fixation on the ball reminds him of how his old dog was when playing with a sponge back home. In Casciari's words, "it seems like [Messi is] in a trance, hypnotised; he only wants the ball inside the goal. He doesn't care about the sport nor the result nor the laws." It is a theory that you need not even agree with to appreciate, and the video complements the words superbly. Football stripped to its bare bones, one man and his obsession with the ball, Messi at his best. - Anirudh Menon
Federer vs Kyrgios, 2017 Miami Open semi-final
This was definitely one of the best matches of 2017. Coming into the encounter, Federer had lost his only previous clash against the Australian in 2015. The two were to meet in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells just over two weeks earlier, but Kyrgios had conceded a walkover due to injury. This time, not only was Kyrgios fit, he also brought his A-game, which he seems to particularly enjoy doing against the Big Four.
Kyrgios' full repertoire in on show - big serves, emphatic forehands and backhands, drop shots and, of course, tweeners. Federer -- in the midst of arguably the most purple patch of a purple year - too showed off his full bag of tricks, led by his more aggressive backhand. At one point, he easily chased down a Kyrgios drop shot, responding with a drop shot winner of his own, prompting the commentator to say, "Which one's the 35-year-old again?" Federer won in three tight tiebreakers before beating Nadal in the final to complete the 'Sunshine Double' - winning Indian Wells and Miami in the same season - for the third time in his career. - Manoj Bhagavatula