Dolly the sheep a prelude to an army of super sportsmen

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 1997, 12:00am

Oh, how some spectators fantasise. 'If only we could have another 10 like Dalglish/Keegan/Best/Charlton/Law/Pele/Maradona/Ronaldo/Shearer we'd be world beaters,' is such a common call that it has become a terracing cliche.

Oh, how others mock. 'Don't be stupid, Dalglish/Keegan/Best/Charlton/Law/Pele/Maradona/Ronaldo/Shearer is a one-off, there will never be another like him,' is the regular rejoinder from the terracing realist.

Well, fantasy has challenged for a high ball with reality and come out well on top. As Dolly the Scottish sheep has shown, there could well be another Dalglish or Pele or Maradona with all the inherent skills that they possess.

While thinkers and theologians have started a moral debate into human cloning, sports fans have began talking about the amazing possibilities - an attack replete with Dalglishes and Bests and a defence full of Beckenbauers will no longer be a thing of fancy in the next millennium but a medical actuality.

Just think, the 'who was the best of them all' debate could be settled once and for all with a Pele Clone XI playing against a Maradona Xerox XI (with Banks and Shilton as guest goalkeepers, of course). Now would that attract a billion or so television viewers around the world or what? Of course, it's not just football that could have dream teams that nobody has dreamt about yet.

The New Zealand rugby authorities could clone Sean Fitzpatrick, Colin Meads, Murray Mexted, Grant Fox, Grant Batty and Jonah Lomu and sit back and count the barrowload of points they would score against all comers.

And what about seven-a-side rugby? The final of the 2005 World Cup Sevens, between New Zealand and Fiji, could have team lists as follows: Fiji - Serevi, Serevi, Serevi, Serevi, Rasari, Rasari and Rasari; New Zealand - Cullen, Cullen, Cullen, Cullen, Lomu, Lomu and Lomu.

There would not be anyone sneaking off for a Big Mac and a Foster's during that encounter.

As for golf, with the number of egomaniacs and perfectionists at the top of the current game it would not be surprising if several of them spent a few of their millions to create a living monument of themselves.

And if there were a golf bag full of Tiger Woods, architects would be on permanent overtime re-designing and re-structuring courses to prevent scores in the 50s becoming as common as a Nick Faldo tantrum.

Which brings us to personality. Does the cloning process provide a body and soul package, or does a person's DNA only allow for innate talent to be duplicated? The sports world would love to have John McEnroe back in the tennis big time but do we really need all those 'YOU MUST BE JOKING' gestures? And what a joy it would be to have a Faldo who was pleasant to the press.

The Wall Street Journal went as far as asking a spokesman for basketball's bete noire, Dennis Rodman, what he thought of the idea of a Rodman dream team.

'The commissioner of basketball probably would not allow it,' was the reply.