Female NASCAR driver DANICA PATRICK "wrote history on Sunday when she became the first female driver to win the pole for the Daytona 500," according to Frank Schneider of BILD. So, "why has the 30-year-old never received an offer from F1?" Three-time F1 world champion and Mercedes Chair NIKI LAUDA said, "I've been telling [F1 CEO] BERNIE ECCLESTONE for more than 10 years that he is a fool for not getting a female F1 driver. If we could manage to get a woman in the top six then we would have twice as many TV viewers because then women would watch as well." However, Lauda does not believe that Patrick "has what it takes to drive in F1." Lauda said, "You have to say that they are not even close to the technical level of F1 in the U.S. This also includes the drivers. The last American who was successful in Europe was MARIO ANDRETTI. And this was back during my time." Red Bull Motorsports Dir HELMUT MARKO said, "You have to look at Danica's success on road courses. It's simply not enough." Current F1 champion SEBASTIAN VETTEL said, "First of all, hats off to Danica's performance. However, U.S. motorsports has simply a different culture" (BILD, 2/19).
People and Pop Culture
Italian businessman GIOVANNI MALAGO has been elected the new head of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). Malago edged out RAFFAELE PAGNOZZI to take the presidency by five votes winning 40-35. He is the organization's 15th president. Malago is a Rome luxury car businessman and also the head of the "prestigous Circolo Canottieri Aniene that has produced a number of Olympic champions" (SPORTS FEATURES, 2/19). ... Cricket Australia has appointed former Australian Football League football GM ADRIAN ANDERSON to review its integrity management. CA CEO JAMES SUTHERLAND said that the decision to conduct the review was "made before the recent Australian Crime Commission report, which highlighted the threat of match-fixing as well as doping concerns, and the timing of the announcement was coincidental" (AAP, 2/21). ... Brasileiro club Botafogo Marketing Dir MARCELO GUIMARAES left the team's marketing department on Tuesday. The club would not reveal whether "he stepped down or was fired" (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 2/20).
COACHES/MANAGERS: Scottish Premier League club Dundee has sacked Manager BARRY SMITH with the club "languishing" at the bottom of the table, 15 points from safety (Scotland DAILY RECORD, 2/20).
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U.S. skier LINDSEY VONN "is back in the gym working on her comeback just two weeks after her horrifying crash" at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria. Vonn's sister, LAURA KILDOW, is blogging about her recovery efforts. Kildow wrote that Vonn "is once again restless, just days after her return to the U.S. and surgery in Vail." She wrote, "It only took a day after the surgery for Lindsey to go to the gym. You can’t keep her sitting still for long. That’s Lindsey. I told her this was karma telling her to relax finally, but she rolled her eyes at me" (BILD, 2/20). ... Former Australian cricket captain RICKY PONTING "has been fined" for breaching the Cricket Australia Code of Behaviour during the Ryobi One-Day Cup match between Tasmania and Western Australia at the WACA Ground. A CA release said that Ponting was reported for breaching Rule 1.1 -- abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings (PTI, 2/20). ... OSCAR PISTORIUS "faces being stripped" of his six Paralympic Gold Medals if it is proved that he took performance-enhancing drugs following “sensational new allegations at his bail hearing.” South African police claim to have found two boxes of testosterone and a number of needles in his bedroom (London INDEPENDENT, 2/20). … Two mortars exploded next to a football stadium in the Syrian capital of Damascus, “killing one player and injuring several.” Players from the al-Wathbah team who witnessed the attack identified the dead teammate as 19-year-old YOUSSEF SULEIMAN (AP, 2/20). … China's anti-doping body said that athletics national champion SUN LU “has tested positive for a diuretic." Sun “was found using hydrochlorothiazide,” a medicine that treats fluid retention and high blood pressure and can be used to cover the traces of other performance-enhancing drugs (XINHUA, 2/20). ... Disgraced former U.S. cyclist TYLER HAMILTON told a Spanish court on Tuesday that he paid "tens of thousands of euros a year to the doctor" at the heart of the Operation Puerto scandal for blood doping and other drug supply services to boost his performance in competition. Hamilton said that he used blood doping "some 15 times and had also bought the blood booster EPO, testosterone, growth hormone and insulin" from defendant EUFEMIANO FUENTES (AP, 2/20). ... Australian swimmer NICK D'ARCY has "staunchly defended" Australia's head coach LEIGH NUGENT and said that national swim team members "should take responsibility for their own disappointing London Olympic performances." D'Arcy said, "I think we're just trying to look for excuses and trying to pass the buck" (AAP, 2/21). ... Bulgarian Wrestling Federation President VALENTIN YORDANOV sent back his Olympic Gold medal from the 1996 Atlanta Games on Wednesday, protesting against the IOC's recommendation to drop the sport from the Games (REUTERS, 2/20).
GOVERNING BODIES: The Korean Olympic Committee said that "it will ask the government to grant a Canadian-born hockey player Korean citizenship and give him an opportunity to represent his adopted home" at a future Winter Olympics in South Korea. KOC said that it will recommend player BROCK RADUNSKE to the Ministry of Justice for "South Korean citizenship" (KOREA HERALD, 2/20). ... U.S. tennis player SERENA WILLIAMS "has questioned the financial efficiency" of the Int'l Tennis Federation "following calls by leading men's players for an increase in anti-doping measures." Williams suggested that she feels she has been "tested more than most." Williams: "I get drug-tested a lot -- all the time. I don't know about anybody else on the Tour, maybe [the ITF] put all their money into drug testing me" (THE NATIONAL, 2/19).
THE BOUNCE OF THE BALL: Former NBA player TRACY MCGRADY "expressed his discontent" over the Chinese Basketball Association and said that "he would skip" the league's All-Star game due to a family issue. McGrady announced that he "won't show up" at this weekend's CBA All-Star game despite "being voted to lead the North District squad." McGrady: "My grandmother has been sick for a couple of weeks, and I have to go home to see her. Therefore, I can't show up in the All-Star game" (XINHUA, 2/20). ... Former NBA player YAO MING was honored with the "Visionary of the Year" award by Asia Society Southern California (XINHUA, 2/20).
Bild's TOBIAS HOLTKAMP: "DFL-Chef Seifert: #Bundesliga wird in 2013 eigenen #Youtube-Kanal für den globalen Markt launchen #Spobis" ... ("DFL-boss Seifert: #Bundesliga will launch it's own #Youtube channel for the global market in 2013 #Spobis")
Autosport's ED STRAW: "Looks like Alonso's rain light has come unseated - trailing by a wire."
BBC's PHIL MCNULTY: "Perception media is 'out to get Wenger' is so far from truth it's ridiculous. Right to ask questions as Arsenal go 8 seasons without success."
Maquina do Esporte's ERICH BETING: "Só falta o papa hoje na defesa do Milan, é isso? Tá parecendo aquela semi de 2010..." ... ("The only thing missing from Milan's defense today is the pope, isn't it? This looks like that semifinal from 2010")
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