Russian women's volleyball Coach SERGEI OVCHINNIKOV, who coached the team at the London Games, was found dead on Wednesday, "prompting speculation that he committed suicide," according to Gennady Fyodorov of REUTERS. Ovchinnikov's club team Dynamo Moscow posted on its website, "Sergei Ovchinnikov suddenly passed away at the team's (pre-season) training camp in Croatia." Croatian state news agency Hina quoted a police spokesperson as saying that a foreign citizen "had been found dead in a hotel in the city of Porec without giving his identity." Croatian media reported that the 43-year-old coach "committed suicide in his hotel room by hanging himself." At the Olympics, the Russians "were considered leading medal contenders" but lost in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Brazil. Ovchinnikov was "heavily criticized" for the team's Olympic failure (REUTERS, 8/29).
People and Pop Culture
Nike appointed DANIEL EPPLER as new GM for the AGS Region (Austria, Germany and Switzerland). Starting in September, the 43-year-old Swiss native will succeed MARK PINGER, who "will take over the position of GM for Western Europe" for basketball, men’s athletic training and tennis (HORIZONT.net, 8/29). ... Brasileiro B club Sao Caetano has appointed EMERSON LEAO coach for the rest of the season (IG.com.br, 8/30). ... UEFA has "appointed from within" and chosen DAVID FARRELLY as its new head of communications. Farrelly, who has been with UEFA for 15 years will report directly to General Secretary GIANNI INFANTINO in his new role (INSIDEWORLDFOOTBALL.biz, 8/30). ... TREFOR HUGHES has been elected the new president of the Football Association of Wales. He succeeds PHIL PRITCHARD, who had been in the post since '09. The 64-year-old Hughes was voted onto the FAW council in '89 (UEFA).
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Barcelona's ANDRES INIESTA held off "a strong challenge" from LIONEL MESSI and CRISTIANO RONALDO to be named UEFA's Best Player in Europe last season. The 28-year-old won the live poll, conducted by journalists from each of UEFA's 53 member countries during the Champions League draw ceremony (REUTERS, 8/30).
OFF THE TEAM: Austrian Olympic swimmer DINKO JUKIC has been suspended for a year after making violent threats to team officials during the European Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. (KURIER, 8/29). ... Danish Cycling Union official SÖREN SVENNINGSEN "was fired after he failed a doping test at a senior cycling race" on June 30. The 47-year-old Svenningsen "had three forbidden substances in his system:" testosterone, corticosteroid and steroids (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 8/30). ... A performance by world-famous French tenor ROBERTO ALAGNA will open the Second Kazan Fall Int'l Opera Festival, which will launch a series of autumn music festivals that will form part of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad (Sochi 2014). ... A hacker, who calls himself Padorowsky, has "breached the Twitter accounts of several football players," including Barça players DANI ALVES and JAVIER MASCHERANO. The hacker also appeared to access the accounts of ManU goalkeeper DAVID DE GEA and Manchester City striker SERGIO AGUERO (AP, 8/30). ... English footballer WAYNE ROONEY responded to rumors he may be leaving ManU by calling them "absolute rubbish" in a tweet. The tweet also suggested that the striker "sees his long-term future being at Old Trafford." Rooney posted: "Read the nonsense in the papers and heard what people have to say.absolute rubbish" (London GUARDIAN, 8/29).
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl: "Cristiano Ronaldo gives the McKayla Maroney Face as Andrés Iniesta wins UEFA player of season"
The Independent's Sam Wallace: "It's cold as ice up there on the stage between Messi & Iniesta on one side & Ronaldo on the other. I do love a grudge"
Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes: "Bloody hell anyone watching the Paralympic swimming? Those guys are flying and with only one arm! Amazing. @ParalympicsGB"
The Times' Matt Dickinson: "Off to Goalball to see how easy it is being a goalkeeper when you are blindfold"
The Guardian's Owen Gibson: "As with Boyle's brilliant opening ceremony, I wonder what on earth they make of this in Beijing?"
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