Sport Names

Weekend Post: Super Saturday etc.

Snapped by me at Stratford. l-r, Tom Daley, Louis Smith, Jess Ennis, Phillips Idowu & Laura Trott

I was in London yesterday, once more, and was part of a screaming crowd moments away from the Olympic stadium watching the nearest TV when Mo Farah capped off a brilliant night for British athletics and for those interested, I’ve covered Mo Farah’s first name before: Mohammed. And indeed, I’ve also covered the name Jessica as inspired by another one of the gold medalists yesterday, Jessica Ennis.

For those interested in blog stats, page views for my post on the name Camille have gone through the roof since the Olympic swimming kicked off, courtesy of the French male swimmer Camille Lacourt.

That initially left me in somewhat of a predicament as it seemed like I’d covered the names of some of the big medal winners previously due to a rather annoying foresight.

Eventually I decided instead to pick out 5 surnames from members of Team GB who have so far won a medal, and hope that in the process of writing this post, our athletes would kindly not win any big ones (NB: but then Andy Murray had to go and thrash Federer about half an hour into the commencement of writing this post. Bah.):


Today, Ben Ainslie took his 4th gold in the Finn class of sailing. It has a link to my home shire too, because the name’s origins possibly lie in Annesley, Nottinghamshire. But it may also lie instead in Ansley, Warwickshire – which historically is the home shire for people from Coventry, such as lovely Elea of British Baby Names. However, back in the 1970s, Coventry became a part of the West Midlands county instead.

The name either means Anne’s field or hermitage field.


A man named Timothy Baillie and pal Etienne Stott took gold in the C-2 Canoe Slalom earlier on this week, with the other British duo of David Florence & Richard Hounslow taking the silver.

I wanted to mention this name because it makes a point about the spellings of names. Bailey is the most popular version of the name, ranking at #79 for boys in England&Wales in 2010, and the name means bailiff.


Jessica Ennis missed the Beijing Olympics due to injury, and she’s been the face of the London 2012 Olympics. A lot has been said about whether she’d be another Cathy Freeman (want to know more about her?) who was the face of Sydney 2000 and won her event, the 400m or another Liu Xiang; he was the face of Beijing 2008 and ended up pulling out after a false start aggravated an injury. There was speculation, however, that the pressure was a factor in his withdrawal. Happily, Jess fulfilled her dreams last night and took gold in the heptathlon.

We’ve talked about her first name previously, but consider her surname. Ennis, or Inis, is the name of a town in Ireland, and the name itself means island.


Mo Farah was born in Somalia, and came to the UK when he was 8. In 2011, he was voted European Athlete of the year and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get a BBC Sport Personality nomination at the end of the year following his 10,000 m win on Saturday as he was the first Briton to take the gold in the event. Want to see more Mo? He’s also due to run the 5,000 m.

As a link to another Team GB athlete, Mo Farah’s father comes from England originally, specifically from Hounslow. If you were reading carefully a few lines up you’ll know that a man named Richard Hounslow took silver in the C-2 Canoe Slalom.

Again, whilst Mohamed has been covered, Farah has not; it’s of Arabic origins and means joy. It’s also worth noting that Mo’s wife is also expecting twins in September, so congrats to them.


Well, the British Gymnastics team is having a good time as well aren’t they? Today we grabbed bronze & silver in the Men’s Individual Pommel Horse final, courtesy of Louis Smith (a bronze medallist in Beijing) and Max Whitlock. Both were also part of the almost-silver-winning Men’s team, until Japan complained.

A few weeks ago I covered the name Whitton, and if you combine him with the name of a legendary detective you get Whitlock. The surname comes from Old English and means white enclosure.

Congratulations to the wonderful athletes of Team GB and their amazing achievements.

Snapped by my father inside the Olympic Stadium last night

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Canadian Grand Prix

2010 Podium l-r Maclaren Mercedes Team Principal, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, from

We’ve got a little longer to wait for the Canadian Grand Prix, since it isn’t until next weekend: 13th June. There’s been a Canadian Grand Prix on the Formula 1 race calender since 1961, bar ’75, ’87 and ’09. That’s a lot of winners, albeit, there have been 8 drivers who have won it multiple times. Some names you may recognise, some you may not, and they range from the distinctive Ayrton, to the not so unusual Peter:

1961 – Peter Ryan

1962 – Masten Gregory

1963/1964 – Pedro Roderígez

1965 – Jim Hall

1966 – Mark Donohue

1967 – John ‘Jack’ Brabham

1968 – Denis ‘Denny’ Hulme

1969/1970 – Jacques ‘Jacky’ Ickx

1971/1972 – John ‘Jackie’ Stewart

1973 – Peter Revson

1974 – Emerson Fittipaldi

1976 – James Hunt

1977 – Jody Scheckter

1978 – Gilles Villeneuve

1979/1980 – Alan Jones

1981 – Jacques Laffite

1982/1984/1991 – Nelson Piquet

1983 – René Arnoux

1985 – Michele Alboreto

1986 – Nigel Mansell

1988/1990 – Ayrton Senna

1989 – Thierry Boutsen

1992 – Gerhard Berger

1993 – Alain Prost

1994/1997/1998/2000/2002/2003/2004 – Michael Schumacher

1995 – Jean Alesi

1996 – Damon Hill

1999 – Mika Hakkinen*

2001 – Ralf Schumacher

2005 – Kimi Raikkonnen*

2006 – Fernando Alonso

2007/2010 – Lewis Hamilton

2008 – Robert Kubica

* There should be umlauts on some of the letters in their names. I can’t do them, apologies.

2011 – Jenson Button

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