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Volume 10 No. 25

People and Pop Culture

When British filmmaker CAROLINE ROWLAND randomly picked a group of Olympic debutants to star in the official London 2012 film, First, she "could not have hoped for a more stellar cast," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Among the 12 young competitors chosen from 4,600 contenders were Team GB Gold Medal cyclist LAURA TROTT, Kenya Gold Medal distance runner DAVID RUDISHA, Irish Gold Medal boxer KATIE TAYLOR and South African Gold Medal swimmer CHAD LE CLOS. Rowland directed and produced the feature-length documentary film, which is released next week. Rowland: “I would like to say I had a crystal ball, but it was blind luck.” The film, which cost £750,000 ($1.2M) to make, chronicles "the ups and downs" of the 12 athletes from their homes to their first Olympics and global recognition. Shooting started only six weeks before the Games after "protracted discussions" between independent production company New Moon and the IOC. The IOC "eventually awarded a seven-year commercial distribution licence," after which the film will become the "intellectual property of the Olympic movement." Rowland found the IOC "much less controlling than she was prepared for" (LONDON TIMES, 11/14).

Chelsea's first-team squad has signed and put its "poppy embroidered shirts worn for Remembrance Sunday on eBay," according to Matt Fortune of the London DAILY MAIL. Everyone, from goal scorer JOHN TERRY to OSCAR, who was featured in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge has "made their special shirt available to the 'Chelsea Foundation' account." The account said it "is a registered charity, which uses the power of football to provide sport, health, education and environmental initiatives throughout our communities." All 20 Premier League clubs "supported the British Legion's Poppy Appeal." All clubs will put the shirts up for auction "with the proceeds being donated to the Poppy Appeal." Chelsea has listed all 21 shirts, with one of its most-popular players JUAN MATA's jersey "reaching almost £2,000 ($3,200) by midday on Wednesday." The British Legion expected to top the 46 million poppies distributed in '11, and hopes to raise £42M ($66.5M), "£2M ($3.2M) more than the record set last year." The money raised "is spent on direct, practical care and support for military families" (DAILY MAIL, 11/14).

Former Russia and CSKA Moscow Manager VALERY GAZZAYEV "has sacked his son," VLADIMIR GAZZAYEV, and replaced him as coach of Russian Premier League side Alania Vladikavkaz. Gazzayev "was forced to fire his son, who at 32 was the youngest coach in Russia's top flight, following a 10-game winless streak." The club revealed on its website that "Valery will remain Alania's president by combining the two jobs" (REUTERS, 11/14). Former Werder Bremen GM KLAUS ALLOFS confirmed Wednesday that "he has signed a four-year contract to become director of sport at Bundesliga rival VfL Wolfsburg." Wolfsburg "previous Manager FELIX MAGATH was sacked at the end of last month" (AFP, 11/14). ... Brasileiro club Vasco has hired former coach RICARDO GOMES as technical director. Gomes said, "I am emotional about returning to Vasco. Roberto (Vasco President ROBERTO DINAMITE) called me after MARCELO OLIVEIRA left, and I accepted the position" (GLOBO, 11/14).

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Pro cycling Team Sky "has appointed Australian triathlon expert SHAUN STEPHENS as its new performance coach (BBC, 11/14). Stephens "leaves his current roles as head coach and program manager at the Australian Institute of Sport and Triathlon Australia to work alongside Team Sky Pro cycling's Head of Performance TIM KERRISON in a full-time capacity (ROAD CYCLING, 11/14).

TROUBLE AHEAD: Jockey FRANKIE DETTORI "failed a drug test in France in September." Dettori, one of the most recognizable faces in the sport, will be "facing the medical committee of France Galop next week with the possibility of a lengthy ban hanging over him" (Irish INDEPENDENT, 11/14). ... Luxembourg tennis player CLAUDINE SCHAUL was sentenced to 18 months on probation for cocaine trafficking by a Luxembourg court. In addition, the 29-year-old also received a 12-month driver's license suspension (BLICK, 11/14).

KICK IN THE GRASS: U.K.-based social enterprise Alive & Kicking revealed that it has signed up Man City and England national team footballer MICAH RICHARDS as its first brand ambassador. Alive & Kicking has set up football stitching factories in Kenya, Zambia and Ghana. The factories have created more than 120 jobs in areas of high unemployment and have stitched more than 400,000 balls, a quarter of which have been donated to children who otherwise would be playing with homemade alternatives (Alive & Kicking). ... EPL club West Ham United has immortalized Owners DAVID GOLD and DAVID SULLIVAN as "brilliant bobble-head figurines, available to buy from the club shop for £11.99 ($19) apiece." The set is completed by player MARK NOBLE, "who appears in a vintage West Ham home kit" (London DAILY MAIL, 11/14).

LEAVE IT ON THE ICE: German second-tier hockey club Heilbronner Falken has signed NHL Philadelphia Flyers player BRUNO GERVAIS during the league's lockout. Gervais is the team's second NHL player after goaltender JONATHAN BERNIER (DPA, 11/13). ... NHL Buffalo Sabres player CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF, who is playing for the German Hockey League (DEL) club Krefeld Pinguine during the NHL lockout, said that he "plays for free." Ehrhoff said he "doesn't earn a cent." He added, "The club has enough to do to pay my insurance." Sources said that Ehrhoff's insurance is around €20,000 ($25,450) per month (SPOX, 11/14). ... While the NHL and the NHL Players' Association "are still in a lockout, four former NHL players had their big moment on Monday night." JOE SAKIC, ADAM OATES, PAVEL BURE and MATS SUNDIN were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as its "Class of 2012" (KICKER, 11/13).

London Daily Mirror's OLIVER HOLT: "Visited Af Chapman youth hostel in Stockholm today. Housed in a ship in the harbour. My dad stayed there on way to Helsinki Olympics in 1952"

BBC presenter GARY LINEKER: "Will be great to see Steven Gerrard pick up his 100th England cap tonight. A brilliant, determined, dynamic and inspirational footballer."

Synergy Sponsorship CEO TIM CROW: "Rio 2016 will stage its Opening Ceremony before London Olympic Stadium re-opens!"

London Telegraph's JACQUELIN MAGNAY: "I did a story tonight how sport participation increased, oh, 1.8 percent in SIX years in England. Hope the olympics multiplied that!!"

Danish tennis player CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: "Congrats to my superstar boyfriend @McIlroyRory for grabbing both moneytitles this year! Unbelievable achievement, what a year!"

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