Paul Radley: Johan Cruyff, who died last week, was not the only sportsman whose name will live on via a specific tactic in their chosen sport. But not all the others have quite touched the greatness he managed.
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The Cruyff Turn
Most people who play football, from novice standard upward, can do this manouevre. Its greatness lies in its simplicity.
“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is,” its progenitor once said, in one of his myriad profound musings on the game.
Jan Olsson, the Swedish defender at the 1974 World Cup, is still able to dine out on the fact he was the first to be flummoxed by this Cruyff trick on international television.
But Dutch supporters had been wowed by it so often before then, it had already become as regulation as it is today.
Cruyff was variously described as a genius, the Father of Modern Football, and Pythagoras in Football Boots. Antonin Panenka? Not so much.
Still, while all-time great Cruyff gave his name to a workaday trick, Panenka’s legacy is one of the most audacious tactics in the sport: the softly chipped penalty.
At first, the Bohemians Prague playmaker hatched the skill while competing with his club goalkeeper at training. The stakes at that point were chocolate.
It ended up winning Czechoslovakia the 1976 European Championship, via a penalty shoot out with West Germany.
This natty neologism morphs a description of scooping the ball directly over the wicketkeeper in cricket with the surname of its first proponent: Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Nasser Hussain, the England captain turned commentator, originally called it The Dilshan. That was one of many initial attempts to attribute a name to the new shot for the Twenty20 generation.
None of them have ever sat that well with Dilshan’s teammates, though.
“In our dressing room it will always be The Starfish,” Mahela Jayawardene said. “You have to have no brains to be playing a shot like that.”
The Fosbury Flop
Dick Fosbury lending his name to a flop. Hardly seems a fair moniker for the complicated coordination of reverse leaping which allowed athletes to go higher than ever before.
It is a pity for the world that the American, who emerged from nowhere to win high jump gold at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, beat the Canadian Debbie Brill to naming rights.
The had both - separately, and without knowledge of the other - been working a new technique. Had Brill got there first, Javier Sotomayor et al would now be masters of The Brill Bend instead. Seems far more glamorous.
And one that isn’t, but sounds like it should be ...
Not a bloke called Garry Owen, but a place in Ireland. The high, punted, up-and-under kick in rugby was named after the team that first used it, to great success in the 1920s.