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Dark horse? 黑马

中国日报网 2021-08-31 10:54


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence, with “dark horse” in particular: And then there are the dark-horse candidates – long shots that could make a run if they got all the breaks.

My comments:

Here, they are talking about people that may win a race for public office or any competition. After mentioning the favorites, those who are favored to win, they then address those lesser candidates, who are less known, less accomplished and, therefore, unlikely to win.

Unlikely to win, yes, but they still have a chance – if they got all the breaks, i.e. if all things go their way.

It’s improbable to happen but not entirely impossible.

That’s what “dark-horse” implies here.

Dark horse?

The dark horse originally refers to an unknown horse joining a horse race. This dark horse is not talked about. Little is known about it because it’s not participated in many races and hasn’t won any. Yet, at the end of a race, this unknown entity emerges from the shadows to claim victory.

Dark implies that this horse dwells in a dark place, a place without much light. The dark horse is like a fringe performer who sits in the dark corner of the stage in theater and remains mostly invisible. When it’s his or her turn to show up, however, they emerge from the dark and move to the limelight at the center of the stage.

According to Phrases.org.uk, former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) was the first to use the phrase (in The Young Duke, 1831): “A dark horse, which had never been thought of ... rushed past the grand stand in sweeping triumph.”

With that tidbit, let’s move on to media examples of dark horse in the metaphorical sense, referring to the unheralded and unlikely hero, who might, just might, achieve a major breakthrough and upset the status quo:

1. We Heart It is the dark horse of social networking.

Its membership is rapidly growing, with user numbers approaching that of industry darling Snapchat’s reported 30 million. But We Heart It has yet to reverberate much beyond its core audience, the young women and teen girls who fill its Pinterest-like boards with images of kittens, nail art and inspirational quotations.

But We Heart It is sneaking up on its competitors, and here's why: not only has it tapped into a demographic coveted by advertisers, but brands have already labeled its nascent native advertising program an incredible success.

“It far exceeded our expectations,” said Emily Miller, director of brand marketing for clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch, one of We Heart It’s first advertisers.

- Why We Heart It is the Web’s most underrated social network, HoustonChronicle.com, August 6, 2014.

2. The 2021 U.S. Open is heading back to Torrey Pines and, while we look at the betting odds, these five sleepers and dark horses could win this week.

While the U.S. Open has only been played at Torrey Pines once before back in 2008, it’s already in the lore of the golfing world for the result it produced — namely, an iconic Tiger Woods victory. Now, the major championship circuit circles back to the venue in 2021 in hopes that the same type of drama can deliver once again.

The favorites are obviously dominating the conversation when it comes to the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Jon Rahm returns from his COVID-19 absence that robbed him of a victory at the Memorial and will tee it up at a place where he’s had a ton of success during the PGA Tour season. Moreover, we’ll be looking for the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and so on to pop up with a major on the line.

However, the first two major championships of 2021 have been won by relative dark horses and sleepers with Hideki Matsuyama and Phil Mickelson emerging victorious. So what would make the 2021 U.S. Open any different? With that thought process, we’re breaking down five sleepers (worse than +5000 odds) who could win at Torrey Pines.

Note: All odds are courtesy of WynnBET and all stats are via PGATour.com unless otherwise noted.

U.S. Open 2021 sleeper No. 5: Garrick Higgo (+6000)

Fresh off winning at the Palmetto Championship in just his second PGA Tour start of his young career, 22-year-old South African Garrick Higgo might be the hottest golfer in the world right now. The win at Congaree marks the sixth time he’s won (across four different tours) over essentially the past two years. He’s simply been phenomenal as of late.

Now, it should be said that the trend is often to fade the winner of the previous week, whether the next tournament is the U.S. Open or an opposite field event. But with the way that Higgo has been playing and winning early in his young career, the blissful ignorance of youth might be playing in his favor as he heads to Torrey Pines with the best in the world.

For such a young player, Higgo’s ability to succeed in every facet of the game is of paramount importance. At Congaree, he was inside the top 15 in Strokes Gained for Off the Tee, Approach and Putting. The one worry is that his Around the Green game has been a tad shaky, which could hurt him at the penal rough of Torrey Pines. With that said, his form and overall game just look too good to pass up as a possible sleeper.

- U.S. Open 2021: 5 dark horse sleepers who can win at Torrey Pines, FanSided.com, June 16, 2021.

3. Stefanos Ntouskos from Greece won the men's single sculls in blistering Olympic best time of 6:40.45.

Whilst the Scandinavian rowers Kjetil Borch (NOR) and Sverri Nielsen from Denmark had the reins from the first quarter of the race, the Greek rower blasted his way at the third quarter of the race and charged through with unrelenting momentum at the last 250 metres until he crossed the finish line to win gold.

Meanwhile Borch finished just 1.21 seconds behind Ntouskos to claim silver whilst Croatia's Martin Damir picked up bronze.

This is the first gold in rowing for Greece and the first Olympic gold for Ntouskos who finished sixth place at the men's fours at Rio 2016.

Celebrating his victory, the Greek rower clenched his fists to the sky donning a big smile.

“I feel perfect. I feel very, very good. I’m excited. I don’t have words. I’m happy,” Ntouskos said.

“I am very proud of myself. It means a lot. To win the Olympic gold medal is very difficult.”

Ntouskos had been the dark horse of men’s single sculls and showed he was a threat since he won in the semifinal A/B yesterday against Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen and ROC’s Alexander Vyazovkin.

And today he continued that winning streak unto the finals.

Whilst the Greek rower made a slow start today was trailing behind the Scandinavians and Damir (CRO) in the first quarter, he knew that he had to turn the tables to win.
“I was in the third place at 750 metres. There was one variation, to go up with strokes. I changed my rhythm and power, and then I was in front.”

“It was a very difficult race. I tried to keep contact with them. I knew the opponents were very tough.

“I wanted to take a medal so much that I kept going, kept going.”

In the end, Ntouskos relied on his willpower to go for gold.

- Stefanos Ntouskos wins gold for Greece in men's single sculls, Olympics.com, July 30, 2021.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)


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