Aussie Grit’s Ultimate Sportsman
Exceptional talent, outstanding work ethic and of course that all-important Aussie Grit are just some of the reasons why Mark Webber has had such an illustrious racing career. Along the way he has been lucky enough to watch, meet and in some cases become good friends with other sportsmen who also have incredible attributes.
In the fourth and final part of the ‘Getting to know Aussie Grit’ series, Mark creates his ultimate sportsman by piecing together characteristics from fellow athletes he admires.
Head – Steve Waugh
MW: “My ultimate sportsman would have to include the mental strength of this fellow Aussie and a good friend of mine who is mentally as tough as they come. He is someone you would want in the trenches with you. He just used to come in and haul the team off the ropes. Time and time again his runs got us out of terrible positions. Moreover his success was a real inspiration. No fool gets named Australian of the Year and scores more than 10,000 Test runs.
“He was also pretty handy at sledging. It would be great to do more of it in our sport. Obviously though, you have to back up your talk and that is something that he could do. The same could not be said about my cricket skills. I remember playing it at school and I think the most polite way to describe my playing style was all-rounder. The less said about my batting and bowling, the better!”
Torso – Alex Zanardi
MW: “Core strength is obviously vital for all sportsmen. This guy sticks out in my head because he is quite frankly as strong as an ox. The supreme nature in which he won his Paralympic gold medals was simply staggering. He was obviously exceptionally fit in his F1 days but what he’s had to come back from and what he has achieved, you would have to go a long way to find someone with a stronger torso.
“I can only imagine how gruelling it is to compete in those Paralympics road races, time trials and marathons. The endurance and inner strength you must have is phenomenal, because there would be so much stress on your core to produce power and momentum. He has been on such a journey and for that he is someone I have an awful lot of time for and admire greatly.”
Arms – Alex Zanardi
MW: “If we are talking about strength in the arms it would have to be Alex again. I can’t stress just how much training and dedication he must put into gaining that kind of upper body strength. Day after day he must have to push himself to the absolute limit.
“I remember watching his Paralympic races in awe of what he was doing. For me it really is one of the great success stories in sport. He deserves everything he has got, because the character he has shown is nothing short of remarkable.”
Legs – Usain Bolt
MW: “I would have to bolt on Usain Bolt’s legs to my ultimate sportsman. I was lucky enough to watch him race at the Olympics last year in London in the relay and it was incredible. It topped off an incredible Super Saturday, which I will remember for a long time. When he gets in full stride with those long legs, it is simply one of the most iconic sights in sport.
“I actually got the chance to spend some time with him last year in Japan when I picked him up from the airport and took him for a spin in a Nissan GT-R. He was a really nice guy and was really interested in motorsport. He was grilling me on what I would change to the car I was driving to make it go quicker. From then on I have been taking a keen interest in his results. Needless to say he’s not doing too badly for himself.”
Feet – Lionel Messi
MW: “With regards to footwork it would have to be a footballer. I’m a pretty big Manchester United fan and in spite of all my travel commitments I try to keep up to date with the world of football. I’ve been lucky enough to go to some big games at Old Trafford including Champions League ties against Barcelona in 2008 and more recently Sir Alex Ferguson’s last European game against Real Madrid.
“One player stands out and that is the little maestro himself: Lionel Messi. His speed of thought, exceptional balance and incredible trickery with the ball at his feet is frightening. He breezes past people like they aren’t there. He also has one hell of a shot which is why he such an outstanding scoring record. I wouldn’t be too upset if he pulled on a United shirt any time soon.”
By Jonathan Campkin
No reproduction permitted without prior written consent
Mark joneson October 17, 2013 Reply
Great one mark I think mine would be MW head MW arms MW torso MW legs MW Feet ha true legend !
Jill and Brianon October 19, 2013 Reply
Another great insight Mark, please do some more next year. Only one more thing to say – Thank you Mr & Mrs Webber for creating THE ULTIMATE SPORTSMAN – OUR AUSSIE GRIT!
travon October 20, 2013 Reply
Great call re these sportsmen Mark. S Waugh, my fav cricketer….as hard as nails, just a star! Zanardi, brave, gutsy and classy!….what a way to carry yourself under extreme circumstances. Messi, well my 10 yr old son’s a soccer fan and player…he loves it, and he assures me Messi is legendary!
wassaon October 26, 2013 Reply
Good Luck this week end mark, unfortunately we all know the huns got the result as the team’s under orders. You have Great Aussie grit putting up your lot with the team! Hopefully we will see you a very close second but not too close to upset the golden boy again!
Hazel Robertson October 27, 2013 Reply
Best of luck for tomorrow Mark. You make F1 exciting for me. Your talent and sportsmanship are without question and should be an example to all compeditors at the top of their sport!