Visit cayCompass.com
Today's Date: 25 April 2014
Last Updated: 24 April 2014 17:17:27 EST
CayCompass Community
Find us on Facebook
Be in the Know
Today's Poll
Competition
Competition
Ron's Bio
ron-185.jpg

Ron Shillingford
Photo-Journalist
Cayman Free Press
PO Box 1365 GT
Grand Cayman KY1-1108
T: 345-525-0544
E: ron@cfp.ky 

Ron Shillingford has been a journalist since 1982 and has worked in print, TV and radio, mostly in London where he was born. His favourite sport is boxing and exclusive interviews have included Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. His assignments have taken him to America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. He is also the author of three books, one of which, a martial arts handbook, has been translated into Polish, Russian and Japanese.

Ron Shillingford Blog
Vancouver is nice enough not to ever leave
Ron Shillingford
3/2/2010 11:33:03 AM

Canada’s legendary hospitality extended to my train journey to the airport on Monday. Got chatting with Bill Charlton who claimed to be a distant relative of the footballing Charlton brothers Jack and Bobby. The fact that he referred to Bobby as “Robbie” and claimed to be a former player with the Vancouver Whitecaps made me laugh because when I started looking his details up on my BlackBerry, he claimed he had only been in the reserves. Injuries blighted his football career, conveniently and now the 50-something grandad is a commercial fisherman. Vancouver, as far as Bill is concerned, is the greatest place on earth. That’s why he has never set foot outside of British Columbia, much less for the rest of Canada. But what about the rest of the world? Surely, he’s missing something? Vegas, New York, London, Rio, Beijing… No, insists Bill, everybody comes from all parts of Canada to live in Vancouver, so it must be the best.

>> READ MORE
Give the girls a break
Ron Shillingford
3/2/2010 11:32:11 AM

So despite winning gold against the US, the Canada women’s hockey team are ‘under investigation’ merely for smoking cigars and quaffing champers in their uniforms on the ice half an hour after virtually everybody had gone home. The whistleblower was an over-attentive Associated Press reporter. That person should be investigated for being such a sneak. The players deserved to unwind after such a high pressure tournament and win against their biggest foes. The International Olympic Committee should have immediately dismissed the incident as just some players enjoying the moment and deservedly unwinding after months of intense training. They are humans after all, aren’t they?

>> READ MORE
A golden clincher
Ron Shillingford
3/1/2010 9:09:47 AM

So it all went to script with an extra twist to heighten the excitement. Canada really did Own the Podium after securing hockey gold against arch-rivals USA. In overtime, no less. What an epic finale.

Pity I couldn’t see it live. Got to the entrance and was turned away for having the wrong ticket, even though the International Olympic Committee official who gave it to me insisted it was valid despite my queries. Ah well, that was one of few personal mishaps in an otherwise brilliant Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler.

>> READ MORE
Dow was in exotic company
Ron Shillingford
2/26/2010 1:20:39 PM

The giant slalom Dow Travers competed in had several other skiers from exotic backgrounds who attracted a lot of media attention. Just like Dow did on behalf of the Cayman Islands, they too raised the profile of their countries. Top of the bunch was Mexico’s Hubertus Von Hohenlohe who at 51 was the oldest competitor at the Winter Games. It was his fifth and last Winter Olympics, he claimed, but the eccentric pop star/photographer who is actually a German prince who happened to be born in Mexico, may still return.

>> READ MORE
Going to hockey again was really n-ice
Ron Shillingford
2/26/2010 1:19:22 PM
Having been instantly hooked on watching hockey live on Sunday, another juicy session of ice action compelled me to make the trek from Whistler to Vancouver for what should have been the ‘gold medal’match between Canada and Russia. Sensational from the off, it was effectively all over as a contest very early when Canada went 4-1 up. Still a great occasion and worth being there just to see the sheer exhiliration of the Canada fans.>> READ MORE
Dow exceeded expectations
Ron Shillingford
2/24/2010 10:04:41 AM

He may have been a proverbial mile from a medal but Dow Travers must have felt like a podium member all the same. He started as 101st, with only two skiers classified as slower yet finished 69th. Considering he is a part-time athlete, having to spend more time earning a degree than on the slopes, that was a commendable achievement. All Caymanians should feel proud and hail the youngster who beat competitors from much bigger countries that actually have mountains and snow. He’s a champ in my books.

>> READ MORE
Drug culture on the wane
Ron Shillingford
2/23/2010 2:31:17 PM

We’re barely past the half way mark yet the drug testing agencies at the Vancouver Winter Olympics are already congratulating themselves on not producing a major drug cheat. (A Russian athlete has been reprimanded for using a light stimulant but he just had his wrists slapped.)

My feeling is that they should wait unti well after the Games to start beating their chests because that’s when a drugs scandal usually unfolds. The impact of having an embarrassing major positive test during the Games always knocks the shine off so organisers try to keep it under wraps.

>> READ MORE
Hockey is totally awesome
Ron Shillingford
2/22/2010 2:15:57 PM

I never thought I would start talking like my kids, but it’s happening. Their trans-Atlantic style of using words like “awesome”, “totally”, “sick”and the classic “whatever” derive from youth culture TV.

Anyone visiting Vancouver looking for an exceptional Indian restaurant should try Maurya. I had a superb lunch there with Anna, a former Caymanian Compass colleague who recently relocated there. Then it was back to covering the Winter Olympics.

>> READ MORE
Jumpers are so brave
Ron Shillingford
2/21/2010 4:22:11 PM

As a kid I used to marvel at the ski jumpers on TV. It looked like the most dangerous thing and nearest to flying that man could achieve. The courage, skill and technique needed was unfathomable. So it was nice to get to the Olympic Park and see it first-hand. No disappointment either. Switzerland’s Simon Ammann won with two incredible jumps. Unbelievable excitement. Great photos and atmosphere. 

As it was up in the moutains I assumed it would be freezing. Quite the opposite. Twelve degrees C was almost sauna like. Ended up carrying more than I wore. Many were in t-shirts and three teenage Canadian girls were even happy to pose in bikinis for pics.

>> READ MORE
Tiger’s sniffs were crocodile tears
Ron Shillingford
2/21/2010 4:21:27 PM

Tiger Woods making his dramatic re-entry into the real world was the first thing that distracted me from being totally focused on the Winter Olympics this week. Not even the malarkey going on at Stamford Bridge with top Chelsea players trying to emulate Tiger’s extra-curricular activities were of much interest. When it comes to footballers, it’s same old, same old.

Went with Dow Travers, his American coach, Gene Bridgewater and Chef de Mission David Carmichael to the Signal Hill primary school to visit a class of seven-year-olds and tell them all about Cayman. Their knowledge  of Caymanand genuine interest was impressive. Dow and Carmichael loved the interaction with the little ‘uns and there was definitely no sign of Carmichael living up to his nickname of ‘Grumpy’.

>> READ MORE
It's a small world
Ron Shillingford
2/19/2010 9:13:24 AM

I bumped into an old journalist friend Ian Chadband today. At least five years since we last met. This was at the skeleton competition at the Whistler Sliding Centre, a million miles from urban London. Chadders is an exceptionally talented writer but it was no surprise to hear him talk of being made redundant and thankful of getting a gig at the Daily Telegraph. He thought he had a job for life at the Evening Standard. Sign of the times.

Every Olympic sport seems to have its inherent dangers – except curling...>> READ MORE
Getting into the spirit
Ron Shillingford
2/18/2010 9:52:25 AM

I’m really getting into the Winter Olympics spirit. Spent the whole day chugging from one event to another and found it all interesting. Got to the women’s downhill in time to see Lindsey Vonn win in dramatic fashion. She crashed in training last week and badly injured a shin meaning it was touch and go whether she would start much less take gold. Well the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model didn’t disappoint. Pity she didn’t do it in a bikini.

The ski slopes at Blackcomb are world renowned. That’s where Cayman’s Dow Travers trains when the snow is thick enough. Travelling up Blackcomb on two ski lifts was an adventure in itself. You feel so exposed and it’s definitely not for anyone who fears heights. It was well worth the trip; stunning vistas and interesting conversations along the way. One was with Shane Hunter, a snowboard instructor, who was fascinated that Shaun White...

>> READ MORE
Girls so brave
Ron Shillingford
2/17/2010 1:40:45 PM

Olympic tournaments always evoke a mixture of emotions, whether it’s sadness for the luger who died in training or elation for a local athlete who triumphs over adversity. The most heart warming story for me so far was seeing Maelle Ricker win the women’s snowboarding. She could barely express herself as the relief and joy kicked in. Yet four years ago at the Turin Winter Olympics Ricker couldn’t have finished on a lower note. A terrible crash needed a helicopter to literally scrape her up and take her away for months of rehabilitation. Had Ricker never competed again, no one would condemn her, yet she not only found the spirit to overcome horrendous injuries, became an Olympic champion at the next attempt. Wonderful story. Books and a film are inevitable and fully deserved

>> READ MORE
I feel like a celebrity
Ron Shillingford
2/16/2010 1:37:05 PM

I’m finally getting the hang of the transport system and familiarising myself with Whistler town centre. The local map must have been drawn by an artist who never uses a supermarket, bank, electronics shop, drugs store, phone shop… because none of these essential places are marked, only the hotels and main venues. Most of the time it’s pointless asking the ‘guides’ because even if they are Canadians, only a few are locals, so they don’t have a clue either.

The fact that I feel like a celebrity in my Cayman Islands gear outweighs the negatives. One woman with her husband was really pleased to see me because hubby had scuba dived there a few times. She really made my day by asking which event I was competing in! Being old enough to be Dow’s dad is irrelevant.  Now I’m going to whoosh down the slopes and compete beside him by the next Games.

>> READ MORE
Warm temperatures are snow joke
Ron Shillingford
2/16/2010 9:54:50 AM

Snow at last! Well it does help when you’re staging a Winter Olympics. Cayman’s  Dow Travers finally got on the practice slopes, a week after arriving in Whistler amidst a wave of publicity. Being a media babe is weighing heavily on his young shoulders and not having a chance to train because of slushy snow compounds the frustration. 

Dow is upbeat about his chances though but hopes expectations from Cayman supporters are not too high. These Olympics are really just a learner. Medal ambitions should be curtailed until 2014.

>> READ MORE
The romance of the Olympics
Ron Shillingford
2/14/2010 8:10:26 AM

It’s Valentine’s Day, my birthday, but I feel weird because there’s no one to share it with. Wifey is in UK and the Cayman Olympic committee aren’t aware that I’m almost a pensioner. Being in snow and ice only a few days after enjoying Cayman’s tropical glow takes a bit of getting used to as well, but at least Whistler, where most Winter Olympics events are being held, is experiencing record high temperatures. The snow is slushy and melting, training and events have to be postponed. Not good for the world’s premiere winter sports tournament but I don’t mind. The perishing temperatures were my biggest fear beforehand. Ironic too that the United States is getting more snow than it can comfortably handle yet the nearby Winter Olympics is suffering from lack of it!

Dow Travers, the Cayman giant slalom competitor, is a big media topic because he comes from a tiny Caribbean island. I’m getting quite a lot of attention too. A black man with an English accent wearing Cayman Islands Olympic gear, is quite a curiosity. The pin collectors make a bee line. Ian, the supermarket cashier, is wearing a top emblazoned with dozens of pins and he desperately wants a Cayman one. He’ll have to come up with a selection of pins for my one, otherwise it’s no deal.

>> READ MORE
 
Copyright © 2014 Pinnacle Media. All Rights Reserved.