In London, Paul Kelso reported MUHAMMAD ALI and Nobel Peace Prize laureate AUNG SAN SUU KYI "are among the candidates that have been considered by London 2012 to play a part in the opening ceremony of the Games and the final stages of the Olympic flame’s journey into the stadium." Ali lit the cauldron at the '96 Atlanta Games, and while it is "unlikely that either he or Suu Kyi will have the honour of lighting the cauldron, that international figures of their stature have been considered demonstrates" that London Games Creative Dir DANNY BOYLE is "casting the net far wider than previously thought." Plans for the lighting of the cauldron "have not been finalised, but planning for who and how the cauldron will be lit is at an advanced stage" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/4).
CAUGHT ON FILM: In Portland, Allan Brettman notes sports agent MARK BLOCK, who the USADA banned from track and field in '11, "was shown in a photograph leaving the Nike skybox at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field" in a story posted on letsrun.com. Nike said in a statement Tuesday that Block "should not have had that access and, as a result, the company is examining its policies and procedures for vetting people in the future." A USADA arbitration panel last March found Block "guilty of trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs" (Portland OREGONIAN, 7/5).
ALL IN: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Alexandra Berzon noted professional poker player ANTONIO ESFANDIARI Tuesday became the "biggest winner in poker tournament history" by taking a "first-place prize of more than $18 million." After three days of play, Esfandiari finished "with all the chips in The Big One for One Drop, a charity event in the World Series of Poker." The previous record for a poker tournament first-place prize "was $12 million in the 2006 World Series of Poker main event" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/4).
KID FRIENDLY: In N.Y., Claire Atkinson notes the Whistle, a new sports media company aimed at kids, has raised $8M "from a group of all-star investors that includes" Yankees SS DEREK JETER, Broncos QB PEYTON MANNING and U.S. Gold Medal-winning soccer player MIA HAMM. The new funding will "help the company launch a host of digital tie-ins along with a programming block on NBC Sports Network, starting Sept. 21." The Whistle is also backed by Clear Channel Communications Chair of Media & Entertainment Platforms BOB PITTMAN and former MLB President & COO BOB DUPUY (N.Y. POST, 7/5).
NAMES: Eagles Owners JEFFREY and CHRISTINA LURIE yesterday announced the end of their 20-year marriage. They said that their split "would have no impact on the ownership, business or operations of the Eagles" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/5)....T'Wolves F KEVIN LOVE, who co-Founded the website 12Society, has launched the site's blog, which features content from Clippers F BLAKE GRIFFIN, host NICK CANNON and others (TIME, 7/16 issue)....The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix has received a $3M donation from Celebrity Fight Night that will be used to help expand the facility and its programs (THE DAILY).
IN MEMORY: MARY MALONE SULLIVAN, the widow of Boston Patriots co-Founder BILLY SULLIVAN, died Sunday of complications from a stroke at the age of 92 (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/4).