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Volume 6 No. 215

People and Pop Culture

Int'l Ski Federation (FIS) President GIAN FRANCO KASPER said that "no official request has arrived yet" at FIS headquarters in Switzerland from U.S. skier LINDSEY VONN, who recently said she "wants to start in the men's downhill race at Lake Louise," Canada. Kasper said, "The only thing there is, is a phone call from Lindsey Vonn to one of our race directors asking, 'What do you think, could I start in the men’s downhill race in Lake Louise?' That’s all there is. We have told her that the U.S. ski federation would have to submit an official request." Kaspar said that even if the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association submits an official request, it is not likely that Vonn will get the OK. Kasper said, "She doesn't have any points that would qualify her to start. She has women’s world cup points but no men’s world cup points. In addition, it is clear that she would not be allowed to start twice in Lake Louise -- one weekend in the men’s downhill and the following weekend in the women’s downhill race. This would give her an unfair advantage and is simply unacceptable, which means she would have to forgo the women’s race."

Kasper said he heard Vonn saying in a TV interview "that she is definitely not going to forgo the women's race." Should FIS allow Vonn to start in the men's downhill race, it could lead to unprecedented scenarios. Kasper: "Furthermore, we cannot have a ruling just for one athlete. If we allow Lindsey Vonn to start in a men’s race then we would have to allow it to everybody else as well. It would be really awkward if male athletes decide they want to start in women’s races, especially in cross-country skiing. It clearly would be unfair toward the women. As I said, if FIS makes a ruling it has to apply for every athlete and not just for one individual." Despite all this, the 68-year-old president would be willing to discuss an official request by the USSA at FIS' next board meeting at the end of October. In Kasper's personal view, Vonn has already achieved what she wanted. Kasper: "The whole thing is simply a very good publicity stunt."

Two U.K. Olympic athletes have had their Bronze Medals stolen just hours after QUEEN ELIZABETH hosted a Buckingham Palace reception "to honour London 2012 competitors," according to Rhoda Buchanan of the LONDON TIMES. Women's field hockey's HANNAH MACLEOD and rowing's ALEX PARTRIDGE were out at a bar, "understood to be Mahiki," in central London, during the early hours Wednesday when they said that their medals were stolen. They also reported an Olympic blazer and a mobile phone as missing. Both athletes later published on Twitter a photograph of a man captured on the club's CCTV "whom they believe may be able to help police with their inquires." The picture has been retweeted more than 15,000 times. Macleod wrote on her Twitter account: "Had my Olympic medal stolen. Do you recognise this man? Please RT to help get my bronze medal back" (LONDON TIMES, 10/25).  In London, David Mercer reported Scotland Yard confirmed that "it was investigating reports of a stolen Olympic medal and blazer from an event in Mayfair." However, a Metropolitan police spokesperson said that the force "had not yet been contacted about a second stolen medal." Another spokesperson said, "An Olympic medal and blazer were reported stolen from a venue in Mayfair in central London." Officers are "continuing to investigate the incident," but no arrests have yet been made (London INDEPENDENT, 10/25).

Banker JACQUIE HEY broke "more than a century of male exclusivity" when she was unanimously voted onto the board of Cricket Australia on Thursday. Hey will be the first woman to serve on the board of the organization. Hey was one of three independent directors appointed to the board "on the recommendation of the Crawford-Carter review" into how CA governs the game, which was set up after the Ashes defeat of '10-11 (REUTERS, 10/25). ... National Rugby League Vodafone Warriors has appointed DEAN BELL as GM of football operations. Team CEO WAYNE SCURRAH said that the newly-created position "was one of the key outcomes" of the internal and external reviews the club had conducted since July (Warriors). ... AEG "appointed MICHAEL HAPKA as new GM of the O2 World Berlin." Hapka "replaces interim GM UWE FROMMHOLD, who is also the VP of AEG Facilities Deutschland and GM of the O2 World Hamburg." Hapka "will start his new position on Jan. 7" (, 10/25). ... RALPH ORD, who developed the definitive technical guide to delivering Commonwealth venues, has been named COO by Glasgow 2014. Ord has a 20-year career of delivering global sporting events, including senior roles with the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Ord takes on his new role from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, where he was responsible for the broadcast facilities, infrastructure and operations for the Olympic Host Broadcaster (Glasgow 2014).

MANAGERS: Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg has "fired head coach & GM FELIX MAGATH after a disappointing start to the season." The club "appointed LORENZ-GÜNTHER KÖSTNER as interim head coach." Former Bayern Munich Sport Dir CHRISTIAN NERLINGER "is talked about to become the team's new GM" (SID, 10/25).

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Attendees of ASPIRE4SPORT, which will be held Nov. 12-15 in Doha, Qatar, will include: former Liverpool Manager GÉRARD HOULLIER, former Real Madrid Sports Dir PEDJA MIJATOVI and 2012 Olympics super heavyweight Gold Medalist ANTHONY JOSHUA. The guests will feature in daily "Star Chats" (GULF TIMES, 10/25). ... Poland PM DONALD TUSK on Wednesday "rejected the resignation" of Sports Minister JOANNA MUCHA, who quit amidst a row after the Polish football team's World Cup qualifier against England was washed out when a stadium room was left open. Tusk said, "I have not accepted her resignation." He said, however, that the ministry's operations "needed a shake-up and warned he could go back on his decision if reforms were not made by the end of the year" (AFP, 10/24). ... The WTA has revealed that world No.1 VICTORIA AZARENKA has been named the winner of the Diamond ACES Award for the '12 season. The award is presented to the player who best promotes the sport of women’s tennis (WTA). ... Two-time MotoGP world champion CASEY STONER has been honored with a "permanent slice of his beloved Phillip Island" race track. In recognition of Stoner's influence on the sport, the "high-speed turn three" will be known as Stoner Corner at the Victorian race track (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/25).

FOOTBALL ODDITIES: Barcelona player LIONEL MESSI "has challenged football fans to come up with the design for his latest pair of boots." Messi is "rumoured to be launching his own brand of boots next year." He will "wear the custom-made pair in December but wants them to dazzle -- just like he does on the pitch" (London DAILY MAIL, 10/25). ... An Australian broadcaster has launched a live "Heskey Cam," so fans of A-League club Newcastle Jets striker EMILE HESKEY "can study his every move" during Friday's clash with the Melbourne Victory. Previously this season, his No. 9 shirt "sold out within minutes due to unprecedented demand," and his arrival sold the club 2,000 more season tickets. Now "Emile Heskey fever Down Under just got a little more bizarre" (London DAILY MAIL, 10/25). ... Reading player JASON ROBERTS has "again refused to wear a T-shirt" in support of anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out this weekend. However, he did give his "tentative support" to the Professional Footballers' Association's six-point plan designed to eradicate the problem within the game. Roberts said, "This is not an attack on Kick It Out. I am passionate about the PFA and Kick It Out, but they have to do better, we have to do better" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/25).

CYCLING MUTINY: Three-time Tour de France winner GREG LEMOND has called for the resignation of Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) President PAT MCQUAID. In an open letter published on his Facebook page, LeMond wrote, "I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling's history -- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport" (PA, 10/25). LE PARISIEN reported that LeMond also wrote, "I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to resign." He added that McQuaid and former UCI President HEIN VERBRUGGEN are "the corrupt part of our sport" (LE PARISIEN, 10/25).

Guardian's MIKE SELVEY: "So I failed in my bid to buy Deccan Chargers. Oh well, I'll get a Kit Kat Chunky instead."

BBC F1 presenter LEE MCKENZIE: "Lewis Hamilton sporting a lot of new artwork on his arms and a new helmet design for India too"

AP's ROB HARRIS: "Arsenal fans raises unhappiness to Gazidis that it costs £13.90 for fish & chips at Emirates. #AGM"

London Evening Standard's JAMES OLLEY: "Kroenke says he has spoken to fan groups. He’s asked to name them. He can’t. #afc"

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