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Volume 24 No. 181

People and Pop Culture

Gold Medal-winning ice dancers MERYL DAVIS and CHARLIE WHITE have capitalized on fame following the Sochi Games by landing on the latest season of ABC's "DANCING WITH THE STARS." However, the pair will be competing against each other this time. Davis and White will be joined by three other sports figures when the season begins on March 17 -- former NHLer SEAN AVERY, paralympic snowboarder AMY PURDY and distance swimmer DIANA NYAD. Davis said of the trash-talking between the celebrities, "It's brewing." ABC's Lara Spencer called Avery a "real fashion plate and you said that your strategy is just trash-talk." Avery: "I was actually making coffee in the morning and I heard some guy trash-talking behind me and it ended up being DREW CAREY" ("GMA," ABC, 3/4).'s Chris Chase notes Davis and White yesterday announced they "wouldn’t be competing in this month’s figure skating world championships in Japan, citing a desire to end their four-year Olympic cycle on a high note." However, the "DWTS" announcement is "another reason for their absence" (, 3/4). Several marketing analysts cited a potential "DWTS" appearance as a way for Davis and White to stay in the public's consciousness (THE DAILY).

The adidas Supervisory Board at its meeting today extended CEO HERBERT HAINER's contract by two years from '15 through March '17. Hainer has served as CEO of the company since '01 (adidas)....MLS Red Bulls GM JEROME DE BONTIN is resigning from his position for personal reasons. He has been with the club since October '12 (Red Bulls)....Learfield Sports named Virginia Sports Properties GM KYLE DENZEL VP/West Region (Learfield)....AEG Live and Transom Capital Group yesterday announced they will merge their entertainment licensing and merchandising businesses, BandMerch and Cinder Block, into a standalone entity. The company, which serves EPL clubs Manchester United and Arsenal, will continue as BandMerch and operate from its facility located in L.A. The new entity will maintain a strategic relationship with AEG Live. Cinder Block CEO JASON GREENE will continue in this capacity at the combined entity (AEG)....The Univ. of Missouri named Michigan State Univ. Associate AD/Development TIM STEDMAN Associate AD/Advancement (, 3/3).

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Former NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN attended last night's Bulls-Nets game and said that the Nets' signing of C JASON COLLINS was a "significant, positive development for the league, and he praised Collins’s character." Stern "lauded sports as a platform to change society, noting that when he first became commissioner, people told him the league had too many black players to be popular." Stern said of Collins' first home game since coming out, "I hope someday we can say to somebody, ‘I was there,’ and they’ll ask, ‘What are you talking about?’ because this is really sports catching up with America" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/4).

MIDNIGHT JUDGE? F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE is "preparing the ground for his eventual departure from Formula One, saying he will not be able to run it full time because of his forthcoming bribery trial in Munich." He said, "I’ve been looking, over the last few years, for somebody who can join me to assist with what I have to do" (, 3/3).

Namath received a standing ovation at 
the Yankees' Spring Training
SPECIAL GUESTS: Pro Football HOFer JOE NAMATH was "decked out in a No. 12 Yankees uniform" when he threw the ceremonial first pitch at yesterday's Nationals-Yankees game "from one New York sports icon to another," Yankees SS DEREK JETER. The crowd of 8,044 "gave Namath a standing ovation upon his intro" (Bergen RECORD, 3/4)....Former Texas A&M QB JOHNNY MANZIEL on Friday night attended the Red Sox' annual casino charity event and "wore a Red Sox jersey with the No. 2" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/3).

NAMES: LINDSAY DAVENPORT is "one of five individuals slated for induction" into the Int'l Tennis HOF on July 12. The Class of '14 will also include tennis coach NICK BOLLETTIERI, USTA Chair & President JANE BROWN GRIMES and British tennis broadcaster and author JOHN BARRETT (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 3/4)....Blackhawks Chair ROCKY WIRTZ’ Wirtz Beverage Group is “taking over as the exclusive Canadian distributor of Diageo beer, wine and spirits” (TORONTO STAR, 3/4)....Former MLBer MARIANO RIVERA last night was presented with the ROBIE Humanitarian Award at the Jackie Robinson Foundation Annual Awards Dinner at N.Y.'s Waldorf Astoria (, 3/4)....Indiana Gov. MIKE PENCE yesterday honored Bronze Medal-winning U.S. skier NICK GOEPPER as a “distinguished Hoosier” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/4)....The National Sports Writers and Sports Broadcasters of America and the Over The Mountain Touchdown Club on Sunday awarded Auburn football coach GUS MALZAHN with the Bowden Award, while former Georgia AD and football coach VINCE DOOLEY received the lifetime achievement award (AP, 3/2)....Dolphins P BRANDON FIELDS, Redskins WR PIERRE GARCON and Saints TE JIMMY GRAHAM are participating in the NFL’s USO tour of the Middle East (, 3/3).

IN MEMORY: Former Long Beach State AD DAVE O’BRIEN "died Saturday at age 57 after a long battle with cancer." Services will be "held in the state of Pennsylvania, where O’Brien and his family lived in retirement" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 3/4).