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Volume 10 No. 25

People and Pop Culture

PETER ERIKSSON, the man who led Great Britain to 29 athletics medals at the London Paralympics, "has been named as the successor to CHARLES VAN COMMENEE" as the head coach of the country’s able-bodied athletics program, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Eriksson, 59, has worked for U.K. Athletics since '09 as the head of the Paralympic program and "will be moving sideways to take up the role vacated by van Commenee after his decision to quit last month following his failure to hit his eight-medal target at the London Olympics." Britain’s "performance under his leadership at the London Paralympics exceeded all expectations, with the country rising to third place in the athletics medal table after finishing down in 18th position in Beijing in '08." U.K. Athletics' newly appointed Performance Dir NEIL BLACK said, "He is a rare talent, fantastically well positioned to now assume leadership of the Olympic team and to build on the impressive progress the sport has made between Beijing and London" (TELEGRAPH, 10/29). In London, Patrick Kidd reported that Eriksson, declaring that the job was a "fantastic privilege," said that "Britain can build on the four Gold Medals won in track and field at London 2012 with a lot of talented young athletes coming through the system," such as pole vaulter HOLLY BLEASDALE, and sprinter ADAM GEMILI. Eriksson said, "We have a golden generation in front of us who can perform even better at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships" (LONDON TIMES, 10/29). The PA wrote that "the recruitment had been shrouded in secrecy since van Commenee’s announcement, with U.K. Athletics successfully keeping a lid on speculation." Welshman TUDOR BIDDER, who operates in a similar role for the Australian Institute of Sport, "was linked with the post in recent days with Eriksson another name in the frame." Eriksson "will work closely" with U.K. Athletics CEO NIELS DE VOS and Black. KEVIN TYLER, who worked closely with van Commenee as head of coaching development, "had been the early favourite for the top job before deciding to return to Canada" (PA, 10/29).

The British Lotus F1 team revealed that driver KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN will stay with the team through '13. Lotus announced the contract extension with Räikkönen through a YouTube video (NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG, 10/29). A formal statement is expected later. Räikkönen, who won the '07 title with Ferrari, "made his F1 comeback this season after ending a switch to the World Rally Championship" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/29). ... Men's tennis world No. 1 ROGER FEDERER has pulled out of the BNP Paribas Masters event in Paris this week (L'EQUIPE, 10/28). ... LIONEL MESSI was awarded the Golden Boot in recognition of scoring the most goals in Europe's domestic leagues last season (MARCA, 10/29). ... Women's tennis world No. 2 MARIA SHARAPOVA said that "she felt embarrassed by her contribution" to a tennis-style Gangnam Style video. Great Britain's LAURA ROBSON and Canada's GENIE BOUCHARD "decided the women players should not be outdone" by world No. 2 NOVAK DJOKOVIC's Gangnam performance in Beijing, so they created a video of their own. They "persuaded Sharapova to introduce it, which she duly did with a saucy wink, something she might not have done had she actually known what she was introducing" (AFP, 10/28). ... Australia's University of Wollongong named a scholarship after legendary cricketer DONALD BRADMAN that will be awarded to an Indian student who wants to play the game while undergoing study, as well. The scholarship will be given to a student "who demonstrates strong participation in cricket," and he will have half of his tuition covered (PTI, 10/29). ... ManU Manager ALEX FERGUSON joined EPL CEO and Football Foundation Trustee RICHARD SCUDAMORE to launch a new program that will invest in the new development of new or enhanced local sports facilities across England and Wales. The Premier League Community Facility Fund, funded by the EPL and delivered by the Football Foundation, is investing £18M ($28.8M) over three years to develop new or refurbished sports facilities for local people across the U.K. (Fooball Foundation).

NFL European Dir of Pulic Affairs DAVID TOSSELL: "For those asking, both #NFLLondon teams were able to fly this morning. The NE Patriots' landing destination to be determined during flight"'s JASON SOBEL: "Rory beats Tiger at Lake Jinsha. But the real winner was the global community of golf fans starved for lame online pay-per-view broadcasts."

BBC F1 presenter LEE MCKENZIE: "Landed in Dubai. Passed through the amazing skyscrapers all brightly lit. Now on the long, straight road through the desert to Abu Dhabi"

Evening Standard's TIM NICHOLS: "Racism, diving, foul language, coin-throwing fans, video tech. Would be lovely to be talking about the actual football for once"

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