Thanks for all your comments and suggestions on our last blog.
Louisa Thomas has written a brilliant profile about the most eccentric figure at the Sochi Winter Olympics – Vladimir Putin aside. You might recognise Hubertus von Hohenlohe from his tremendous mariachi ski suit, an even more eye-catching sartorial choice than the trousers of Norway's curling team. Von Hohenlohe is a 55-year-old prince and Sochi 2014 was his sixth Olympic Games. In his spare time, the Polaroid Prince (a nickname which pays homage to his love of Andy Warhol) sings in a pop band and specialises in nude photography. We could go on. But for a full and fascinating insight into his spectacular life, Thomas's piece for Grantland is well worth a read.
Writing in the New Statesman, former England cricketer Ed Smith gives an engrossing insight into the psychology of Kevin Pietersen. Smith recalls how Pietersen listened to loud house music when travelling with the team; he dissects his relationship with Piers Morgan ("almost Pietersen's public relations expert"); and explains why he thinks Pietersen "never loved cricket in the way that Roger Federer loves tennis". This exquisite exploration of one of sport's most interesting figures gets right to the heart of Pietersen's character and goes some way to explaining how his glittering England career ended in such public acrimony.
Brian O'Driscoll is playing his final Six Nations tournament and, to celebrate the luminous career of Ireland's most-capped player, Paul O'Hara of Balls.ie has compiled a collection of his best passes. Who wouldn't want to watch a sublime BOD kettlebell through-the-legs pass over and over again?
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Roads and Kingdoms keep publishing elegant and handsomely presented articles. Here they have done it again with an extensive profile of Justin Fashanu, the first professional footballer to come out as gay in England. Fashanu's story is a tragic tale, ending in his suicide aged just 37. Davy Lane has given a sound and thoughtful reflection on his life and helped push forward the debate about homophobia in sport.
5) An interview with chess grandmaster Judit Polgar
Judit Polgar became the youngest ever chess grandmaster aged only 15. In this Q&A with Merike Taal she discusses her daily routine (chess players go to the gym first thing in the morning), her tips for chess success and how she copes with losing – which must be quite easy, given that is she is rarely defeated.
Italy has not always proved a welcoming home for black footballers. Long before Mario Balotelli struggled with racial chants in Milan, José Germano de Sales experienced the wrath of Italian crowds. Newspapers debated whether Germano should play in Serie A and he was mysteriously moved on from Milan to Genoa. Paul Greech tells the story of his football career – and his great, forbidden romantic love – in this piece for Pickles magazine.
Apparently footgolf is now a thing. In a Ronseal approach to sport, footgolf pretty much does what it says on the tin. Players kick footballs around a golf course into holes that are football-sized instead of golf ball-sized. There are 22 footgolf courses in the UK. And there is even an appetite for it in America, where there is an actual American Footgolf League and 60 courses. No, really.
8) Ali and me: struck dumb by the presence of genius
Boxing fan and writer Paul Howard met his hero Muhammad Ali back in 1992, and here he documents his exchange with the Champ for the Irish Times. Howard had always idolised Ali: "I have a clear memory of sitting at the kitchen table one day in 1984 and reading in the Daily Mirror that Ali was suffering from a degenerative condition called Parkinson's which had robbed him of his greatest gift: his ability to articulate. To me, it was a twist worthy of Aesop – the man who talked so much, he used up all his words – and my 13-year-old heart broke." When the pair met Howard realised that the great communicator had lost his voice, but still retained his ability to speak to people.
Cunning by name, cunning by nature. Sort of. Hamilton Accies kitman Daniel Cunning helped the Under-20s team complete the header challenge in their dressing room. Quick, somebody get him in the first team.
Snowboarder Jeremy Jones has spent the last six years collaborating on a series of three short films with Teton Gravity Research. The films document his efforts to ride some of the world's most remote mountains. In this film in New York Times Jones teams up with veteran riders Tom Burt, Johan Oloffson, Travis Rice and Jonaven Moore to take on the Fairweather Range of Alaska. The team get caught in a 12-day storm and, literally, have to ride it out. Exhilarating stuff.