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USAIN BOLT "breezed back into London and promptly tried to put the world to rights," according to Rick Broadbent of the LONDON TIMES. With athletics "suffering from a spate of doping scandals, the fastest man in history said that people could believe in him." As Bolt "prepared to top the bill" at London's Anniversary Games in Olympic Stadium Friday, the Jamaican "stated categorically that he was clean." In "a remarkable statement" at a London press conference, he said, "I was planning to explain this to people. How long have people been following Usain Bolt? If you’ve been following me since 2002 you would know I’ve been doing phenomenal things since I was 15." Bolt "did not duck the drug questions and faced them all with weary good humour and an air of slacker cool." He said that "he had sent a message" to Jamaican sprinter ASAFA POWELL, who has failed a test, but "would not be drawn on whether he thought the standard two-year ban should be doubled." Bolt: "I don’t make the rules. I can’t determine how harsh the rules should be" (LONDON TIMES, 7/25).
VITAMIN B: In London, Simon Hart reported Bolt said that "the only thing he has ever taken is legal vitamins." Bolt admitted that "he was surprised by the recent drug revelations but could not comment on specifics until the details were known." He emphasized, though, that athletes "needed to take extreme care about what they consumed." Bolt: "I have vitamins that I take. Every athlete takes vitamins. But I don't really take supplements. You have to be careful as an athlete, but I'm not worried because I have a great team around me. As a person I make sure I'm careful as well" (TELEGRAPH, 7/25). REUTERS' Mitch Phillips reported Bolt "is long used to his role as his sport's beacon of hope and with every failed test his position becomes more important to athletics' credibility." Next month he will race the world championships in Moscow where his main rival is likely to be American JUSTIN GATLIN, a twice-convicted doper "now back in the big time" (REUTERS, 7/25). The London INDEPENDENT reported Bolt said he was "not surprised" that Powell and U.S. sprinter TYSON GAY had failed drug tests. Bolt: "For me, I don't say it's much of a surprise, but there is a lot of details that are still to be discussed. There's a lot of things that haven't been said, so I'm just waiting to see what happens. In life things happen and people make mistakes" (INDEPENDENT, 7/25).
A "typically teasing comment" from F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE set alight speculation as to "who might succeed him at the helm of Formula One," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The answer "may be no farther than the four walls of Ecclestone’s modest headquarters in London’s fashionable Kensington district" in the shape of the woman who "has been at his side throughout most of the running battles that have littered" Ecclestone's career. Ecclestone's Chief Legal Officer SACHA WOODWARD-HILL is "rarely seen and relatively unknown," but she is Ecclestone’s "right-hand woman," and "one of very few people in the F1 organisation who has his complete trust." She "will be Ecclestone’s stalwart adviser when he fights an indictment for bribery in a German court next month." He "denies any wrongdoing." When asked by Germany's Sport Bild newspaper who might succeed him, Ecclestone said: "Why not a woman? I believe that women generally don’t have such big egos and they don’t need to go and play golf to close deals. They simply work harder to get the same recognition as men and, because their ego is less important, they are also less emotional in making decisions.” Although not directly naming Woodward-Hill, "she has a powerful case for promotion." She is probably the only person next to Ecclestone who "understands the way through the sport’s financial labyrinth." She is "also listed as a director for an array of F1-related companies'' (LONDON TIMES, 7/25).
South African Football Association VP and "respected anti-apartheid activist" DR. DANNY JORDAAN "has been appointed to serve as advisor" to Confederation of African Football President ISSA HAYATOU (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/25). ... Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) organizers "have fired former world road champion" and Technical Dir ABRAHAM OLANO after his name "appeared in a report by the French senate of cyclists who doped during the 1998 Tour de France." Vuelta a España spokesperson Ivan Gomez confirmed "that Olano had been let go" (AP, 7/25).
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WBO Cruiserweight champion MARCO HUCK has fallen victim to an online hacker, who used the 28-year-old's Facebook page to make the false annoucement of Huck parting ways with coach ULLI WEGNER. Huck took down the false post and wrote in a consecutive post that he has informed the police, who are currently investigating. The false post was widely reported by German media outlets (HJ Mai, SBD Global). ... The match-fixing trial of Serie A side Lazio captain STEFAN MAURI and seven other players, as well as three Italian clubs, started Wednesday. The charges against Mauri, MARIO CASSANO, CARLO GERVASONI, OMAR MILANETTO, ALESSANDRO ZAMPERINI, MASSIMILIANO BENASSI, ANTONIO ROSATI and STEFANO FERRARIO "include rigging games and failing to report match-fixing for two Serie A games" -- Lazio vs. Genoa and Lecce vs. Lazio in May '11 (AP, 7/24). ... Australian cyclist STUART O'GRADY "could be stripped of his Olympic medals" after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs at the 1998 Tour de France. The admission came after a French Senate inquiry named him among riders with "suspicious" test results in a damning report into the '98 race (REUTERS, 7/25). ... UAE Pro-League side Al Shabab coach MARCOS PAQUETA "has assured" the club that "he will remain as manager despite reports linking him with a return to Qatar." The Qataris "had reportedly offered an attractive financial package for Paqueta to again become their manager" (THE NATIONAL, 7/25). ... National Rugby League side Wests Tigers COO GRANT MAYER "is poised to be appointed" CEO after he was "endorsed at a board meeting of the joint-venture club on Thursday night." Mayer "will meet with club powerbrokers on Friday morning to negotiate a contract and it is hoped a deal will be struck" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/25). ... The Cuban Volleyball Federation appointed former player RODOLFO SANCHEZ "as the new coach of the national men's volleyball team." Sanchez "was a member of the Cuban selection" in the '90s, and recently led the Cuban squad to seventh place at the World Cup U19 in Mexico, and that same category to a world bronze in '11 (XINHUA, 7/25). ... Uruguayan footballer DARÍO RODRÍGUEZ has been suspended for two months after testing positive on a drug test. He will miss the start of South America's Copa Libertadores tournament, when his Uruguayan side Peñarol meets Chilean club Cobreola (LA AFICION, 7/24). ... Former Providence player HERBERT HILL, a 28-year-old center, was taken by Korean club Wonju Dongbu Promy with the No. 1 draft pick in the '13-14 Korean Basketball League. The KBL drafted 15 foreign players on Thursday after a preseason tryout in Las Vegas. A total of 110 players participated in the two-day tryout (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 7/26). ... EWIE CRONJE, father of deceased former South African cricket captain HANSIE CRONJE, has threatened legal action against the Indian police "for filing a chargesheet which implicates his son in the 2000 match-fixing scandal" (PTI, 7/25).
Reuters' ALAN BALDWIN: "A minimum pit stop time is on the agenda for team managers' meeting today. Can imagine that will be a lively debate."
South China Morning Post's JAMES PORTEOUS: "#Barca have agreed to lease a 3000 sq ft office space in HK Central. That ain't cheap. Trying to expand in Asia"
Bloomberg's TARIQ PANJA: "A thought on yesterday's Libertadores final. Unlike for Fifa events drums were allowed at the Mineiro. Helped create an electric atmosphere"
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