Two 10-foot-tall statues of DAVID BECKHAM in his underpants "stood majestic, the bright August sun glinting off the contours of his finely sculpted physique" greeted shoppers paying a visit to H&M on London's Regent Street, according to Deborah Arthurs of the London DAILY MAIL. The "two statues are the first to land in the U.K." after nine had been placed at various location around the U.S. over the past five weeks. They come as part of the launch of David Beckham's latest range of underwear for H&M, first revealed in a set of black and white photographs shot by L.A.-based photographer ALASDAIR MCLELLAN. Beckham said, "I'm so excited about this new campaign for David Beckham Bodywear at H&M." A further seven Beckham statues are in existence in the U.K., but no news has been released yet as to where they might surface (DAILY MAIL, 8/23).
People and Pop Culture
The Manager of triple Olympic Medalist YOHAN BLAKE has accused U.K. Athletics promoter IAN STEWART of making an "insulting" offer for his sprinter to compete in Sunday's Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Stewart was further accused of being "interested only in providing a platform" for U.K. double Olympic champion MO FARAH. Manager CUBIE SEEGOBIN said that he was "taken aback by an email" Stewart sent to him on the last day of the Olympics that offered the Jamaican world champion $40,000 to run in Birmingham. Seegobin said it "didn't come close" to the athlete's worth. The offer was rejected, however, Blake accepted invitations to compete in Lausanne Wednesday, Zurich in a week's time and Brussels on Sept. 7. As the world's second-fastest sprinter behind six-time Gold Medalist USAIN BOLT, Blake is believed to be commanding appearance fees of $150,000 -- half of what Bolt earns per meeting (TELEGRAPH, 8/22).
Octagon hired ERIN KANE as a Dir in the Personalities & Properties group. Kane spent the past six years working in sales and marketing for Gaylord Sports Management and Lagardère Unlimited where she secured marketing partnerships for professional athletes in golf and baseball among other sports. Based in the firm’s N.Y. office, Kane will seek commercial opportunities for Octagon’s talent roster and properties (Octagon). ... Sweden women's football coach THOMAS DENNERBY has stepped down after filling the role for eight years. His last match will be the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 hosts' friendly against the Netherlands in Gothenburg on Sept. 15 (UEFA).
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Serbian Olympic Committee President and former NBA player VLADE DIVAC said that former World No. 1 tennis player NOVAK DJOKOVIC "was so angry about losing two straight matches and finishing without a medal at the Summer Olympics that he cut his racquets from the Bronze Medal match with a saw." Divac told Vesti-Online: "After the match, I came to him. You know what he was doing? He was so miserable, he was cutting up his racquets with a saw" (USA TODAY, 8/22). ... India's Foundation of Sports and Games program Olympic Gold Quest Founders GEET SETHI, PRAKASH PADUKONE, NIRAJ BAJAJ and VIREN RASQUINHA were "present at a function to felicitate the London Olympics Medalists" at the Bombay Gymkhana on Thursday (THE HINDU, 8/23). ... Former ManU goalkeeper PETER SCHMEICHEL will attend the inaugural Airtel Rising Stars African Championships and Soccer Clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. Schmeichel's successes include winning five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League during a trophy-laden eight-year spell at Old Trafford. He was appointed club ambassador last month and joined "an elite group of former players," including BOBBY CHARLTON, DWIGHT YORKE, BRYAN ROBSON, GARY NEVILLE and ANDY COLE "in promoting the club globally" (ManU).
COACHING THE BLUES: Former New Zealand Rugby Coach GRAHAM HENRY is joining the Auckland Blues' "revamped coaching roster." He will join as the technical adviser and defense specialist starting in '13 under Head Coach JOHN KIRWAN (REUTERS, 8/23). ... Kenyan President MWAI KIBAKI directed the Sports Ministry "to investigate the dismal performance of Team Kenya" at the London Games. He said that the poor results "were a concern to Kenyans and needed to be addressed" (THE STAR, 8/22). ... Newly appointed FIFA anti-corruption judge JOACHIM ECKERT "made his first decision in office," to confirm that former presidential candidate MOHAMED BIN HAMMAM "is provisionally suspended while bribery allegations are investigated" (AP, 8/23). ... SIMON COWELL's show X Factor in the U.K. "is reaching out to some of the stars" of the London Games to book them for a live show later this season. A source said the show wants to "celebrate the success of the British Olympians and the Olympics with [the hit show's] first live show." Some of the athletes expected to be approached include runner MO FARAH, sprinter USAIN BOLT, swimmer REBECCA ADLINGTON and heptathlon JESSICA ENNIS (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/22). ... Britain's "most successful Olympian" CHRIS HOY is to be awarded freedom of his home city. Edinburgh city councilors "have voted to give him the honour," which is granted to individuals who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts. The "only living recipients" are QUEEN ELIZABETH, the DUKE OF EDINBURGH, SEAN CONNERY, NELSON MANDELA and Burmese politician AUNG SAN SUU KYI (DAILY RECORD, 8/23).
The Times' Patrick Kidd: "Yohan Blake just ran 9.69sec into a headwind in Lausanne. Jeepers. OK, so the Olympics is all that matters but still. Woosh."
The Telegraph's Jacquelin Magnay: "Usain Bolt's mum told us two years ago Usain wants to do the long jump. But what about the 400m?"
Bolton Wanderers & Team USA's Stuart Holden: "Can they get any better? Xavi and Iniesta … so so so good"
The Times' Matt Dickenson: "Just watched the brilliant Best of Men on iPlayer. Unmissable context, history behind the Paralympics"
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