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Volume 10 No. 25

People and Pop Culture

Several people "with direct knowledge of the situation" have revealed that LANCE ARMSTRONG "has told associates and anti-doping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career," according to Juliet Macur of the N.Y. TIMES. Sources claimed that he would do this "because he wants to persuade anti-doping officials to restore his eligibility, so he can resume his athletic career." When asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, Armstrong's lawyer TIM HERMAN said, "Lance has to speak for himself on that." Armstrong "has been under pressure from various fronts to confess." One source said that wealthy supporters of Livestrong, the charity he founded after surviving testicular cancer, have been "trying to persuade him to come forward, so he could clear his conscience and save the organization from further damage." Herman said that the option to confess to anti-doping officials "was not currently on the table." However, the sources familiar with the situation said that Armstrong, 41, "was in fact moving toward confessing and had even been in discussions with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency." A source added that Armstrong was also "seeking to meet" World Anti-Doping Agency Dir General DAVID HOWMAN (N.Y. TIMES, 1/4). BLOOMBERG's Bob Bensch noted Howman said WADA has "read with interest" the N.Y. Times article, but said that Armstrong "hasn't approached the organization." Howman: "To date, WADA had had no official approach from Mr. Armstrong or his legal representatives, but -- as with anyone involved in anti-doping violations -- it would welcome any discussion that helps in the fight against doping in sport" (BLOOMBERG, 1/5).

England Rugby 2015 has appointed LOCOG Head of Public Relations and Media JOANNA MANNING-COOPER to the new role of communications & marketing director. The position will be part of the ER 2015 leadership team and will be responsible for ticketing and volunteering campaigns, promoting the tournament, managing the ER 2015 brand, implementation of the Rugby World Cup brand, media relations, running the press office and coordinating press operations (ER 2015). ... League Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers "have agreed terms" with League One club Doncaster Manager DEAN SAUNDERS to become their new manager. The move follows the club's sacking of Manager STALE SOLBAKKEN after just six months on the job. He was dismissed just hours after Saturday's "shock FA Cup defeat by Luton" (BBC,1/6). ... WWE appointed MAYURI PITALE as consumer and promotions licensing manager and CARL SEQUEIRA as marketing manager in its India office. Both employees are based in Mumbai and will report to WWE India GM RUKN KIZILBASH (WWE). ... Marketing guru THOMAS DIECKHOFF has been appointed the World Triathlon Corp. president for Europe, Middle East and South Africa. Dieckhoff previously held management positions at Japan's Kao Corp. and Procter & Gamble. Dieckhoff will manage all of WTC's activities with WTC Managing Dir KAI WALTER at the new WTC headquarters in Hanau, Germany (WTC).

CHANGE-UPS IN CHINA: Chinese Basketball Association Shanghai Sharks American head coach DAN PANAGGIO "has been relieved of his position." He will be replaced by assistant coach WANG QUN, "who is the only Chinese member" of Shanghai's otherwise American coaching staff (NIUBBALL, 1/6). Further changes were made in the league with Guangdong Southern Tigers head coach LI CHUNJIANG announcing that he "is taking an indefinite leave away from basketball." Longtime Southern Tigers forward DU FENG, who has been on the bench as an assistant for both club and country the last two years, "will be promoted to interim head coach." Former China national team head coach JONAS KAZLAUSKAS "will return to China to join the team as an assistant coach." Citing "undisclosed health reasons, Li will not rejoin the club at any point this season" (NIUBBALL, 1/6).

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Former F1 driver and two-time Paralympic handbike Gold Medalist ALEX ZANARDI revealed that he "wants to compete in cross-country skiing at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games." Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a CART accident in '01, said, "At cross-country skiing, I use 70% of the muscles that I also use for handbiking" (SPIEGEL, 1/5). ... South African mountain biker BURRY STANDER died after he was "struck by a minibus taxi" while cycling on a coastal road in his home country. Police said Stander was killed Thursday while cycling alone. He died at the scene (REUTERS, 1/4). ... Japan's former figure skating world champion DAISUKE TAKAHASHI "plans to hang up his skates" after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Takahashi said, "I think my career will finish with Sochi. I want to enjoy the little time I have left and leave without any regrets" (REUTERS, 1/6). ... One month after being named World Swimmers of the Year by Swimming World Magazine, Americans MISSY FRANKLIN and MICHAEL PHELPS "were given the same honor" by world governing body FINA in its list of top aquatic athletes. Additionally, FINA named Tunisia's OUS MELLOULI and Hungary's EVA RISZTOV open water swimmers of the year; Russia's ILYA ZAKHAROV and China's WU MINXIA divers of the year; Russia's NATALIA ISHCHENKO synchronized swimmer of the year; and Croatia's JOSIP PAVIC and the U.S.'s MAGGIE STEFFENS water polo players of the year (SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE, 1/4).

FOOTBALL TRANSFERS: German national team player LEWIS HOLTBY "will transfer after the end of the season from Bundesliga club Schalke 04 to EPL club Tottenham Hotspur." Holtby, who still has to pass a medical, revealed on Dec. 28 that he "will not extend his expiring contract with the Royal Blues" (SPORT1, 1/4). ... Croatian national team player IVAN PERISIC "has transferred from Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund to league opponent VfL Wolfsburg." The 23-year-old midfielder "signed a contract until the end of June '17" with Wolfburg. The transfer fee for Perisic "was an estimated €7M ($9.23M)" (NDR, 1/6).

Limelight Sports Dir of Strategy CHARLIE GREENWOOD: "Feeling a bit underwhelmed by the names being linked with the #wolves job. But then, who would want to come? #wwfc"

London Independent's SAM WALLACE: "Either Wenger has a new pair of shoes with an unusual design or he's got a piece of tissue paper stuck to his right sole. Happens to us all"

London Guardian's OWEN GIBSON: "The BOA has won the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award in the Global Corporate Creative Sports Category. No, me neither."

Synergy Sponsorship CEO TIM CROW: "Why does ITV insist on holding the FA Cup draw at an empty lifeless Wembley? FFS take it to a club and a live audience of fans."

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