Multiple Olympic Gold Medalist CARL LEWIS has backed Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, "hailing the Japanese city's strong pedigree for organizing big sporting events," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. The nine-time Olympic champion visited Japan's National Stadium on Monday, a venue where he set two world records in the '91 world athletics championships and "narrowly lost arguably the greatest long jump final" to compatriot MIKE POWELL. Lewis said, "I have obviously tremendous memories of that and that was without question my best track meet ever." Lewis offered to reassure those connected with the Japanese bid that "they had a strong offer" and did not need to make drastic changes to their proposals. Lewis said, "I don't think you have to recreate the wheel here; everyone knows they can do a tremendous job" (REUTERS, 3/25).
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F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE said that LEWIS HAMILTON wanted to move to Red Bull and "had advanced discussions with the champions before he agreed a deal to race for Mercedes this season," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. The '08 world champion asked Ecclestone to "broker a move" to SEBASTIAN VETTEL's team but talks ended when Red Bull's billionaire owner DIETRICH MATESCHITZ insisted on Australian MARK WEBBER having first refusal. Ecclestone said, "Dietrich is a very honest, straightforward guy and told Mark the door was open for him to stay. That was good of him. Had Mark gone, Dietrich would have signed Lewis" (REUTERS, 3/23). AUTOSPORT's Jonathan Noble reported Hamilton dismissed claims he asked Ecclestone to get him a Red Bull deal, insisting that joining Mercedes was the "best decision of his life." Hamilton said he was aware of Ecclestone's comments, but he was confused as "they did not tally with his version of events." Hamilton said, "I think he said something about me talking to Red Bull? I said to my management team to speak to all the teams and give me what the best options were. There was no particular one that I was pushing for more" (AUTOSPORT, 3/25).
Ligue 2 club AS Monaco has appointed KONSTANTIN ZYRYANOV as the club's CEO. VADIM VASILYEV was appointed as the new sporting director (AS Monaco). ... DFL Digital Sports, which is responsible for all domestic and int'l sales of commercial rights of the Bundesliga, appointed HARALD SCHULT as its content director. The 49-year-old "previously worked for media corporation Constantin Medien." Prior to that "he worked for Deutsche Telekom Bundesliga channel Liga total and was assistant managing editor of Sport1" (DWDL, 3/25). ... Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen confirmed DEREK MCINNES as its manager. The former St. Johnstone and Bristol City manager will be joined by long-time assistant TONY DOCHERTY. McInnes and Docherty have signed deals until the end of the '14-15 season (SCOTSMAN, 3/25). ... Former Southampton Manager NIGEL ADKINS "was on the verge of accepting the vacant managerial post" at EPL side Reading Monday night. He would be handed a £1.5M ($2.3M) bonus "should he prevent the club being relegate" (LONDON TIMES, 3/26).
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A spokesperson for Chelsea Owner ROMAN ABRAMOVICH "denied a news report" on Monday that the Russian billionaire "had been arrested" in the U.S. Spokesperson JOHN MANN said, "It's not true. He is in the U.S. but he has not been arrested or detained" (REUTERS, 3/25). ... Olympic sprinter MICHAEL JOHNSON has warned fellow sprinter MO FARAH "he risks ruining his reputation" by running only half the London Marathon for "a monster pay-off" believed to be £750,000 ($1.1M). Johnson believes "the cash-driven decision to run the race could alienate him from his fans" (DAILY MAIL, 3/25). ... Former New Zealand national rugby team player JERRY COLLINS said that he was "running from a gang of Brazilian workers who hated foreign rugby players shortly before his arrest in Japan." Collins, 32, was "arrested for carrying two knives in an upmarket department store in the city of Hamamatsu on March 17, and has been held in jail since" (STUFF, 3/26). ... Badminton Association of Malaysia President MOHD NADZMI MOHD SALLEH has "withdrawed from the Badminton World Federation" presidential election in May (XINHUA, 3/25).
OFF THE PITCH: FC Barcelona coach TITO VILANOVA has returned home after two months in N.Y. where he underwent cancer treatment (SPORT, 3/25). ... Bundesliga VfL Wolfsburg player MAKOTO HASEBE will donate €1.8M ($2.32M) to children affected by the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster in '11. The 29-year-old Japanese said, "The people in Fukushima need a perspective for the future. And children are our future" (BILD, 3/24). ... Arsenal striker LUKAS PODOLSKI "plans to buy a private suite at the RheinEngergie Stadium," which is the home of his former club FC Cologne. Stadium Managing Dir Hans Rütten said, "Yes, we are currently talking to Lukas Podolski. He wants to buy a private suite." The suites at the stadium cost between €100,000-€150,000 ($129,000-$193.000) per season (EXPRESS, 3/23). ... ManU's RIO FERDINAND visited Aspire Academy following his commentary stint with Al-Jazeera Sports Channel. Ferdinand was "welcomed at the academy" by Dir General IVAN BRAVO (THE PENINSULA, 3/25).
THE AWARD GOES TO...: England golfer ZANE SCOTLAND has been appointed as global brand ambassador for the "golf in DUBAi" (GULF NEWS, 3/25). ... Thailand weightlifting President BUSSABA YODBANGTOEY has been awarded one of the IOC Women and Sport Trophy Award for '13, "the highest recognition for any woman in sport." Bussaba is "the first female Thai recipient of the award" and was recognized for "great contributions" to the sport (BANGKOK POST, 3/25). ... Qatar Women's Sport Committee President AHLAM SALEM MUBARAK AL MANA "has been selected" as another recipient of the '13 IOC Women and Sport Trophy Awards (THE PENINSULA, 3/25).
BBC's DAVID COULTHARD: "Understand there is wide ranging opinion but its a team sport with 2 individuals represented in the event. Like life it's not perfect"
Footballer MARIO BALOTELLI: "Breaking News: Roman Abramovich has been arrested in the US. Apparently spending £50million on Fernando Torres really is a crime."
Canal+'s Sporting Dir CYRIL LINETTE: "800 000 abonnes devant le Grand Prix, 550 000 téléspectateurs devant #FormulaOne, la #F1 sur @canalplus c'est vraiment bien parti !" ... ("800,000 subscribers to watch the Grand Prix, 550,000 viewers for #FormulaOne, #F1 on @canalplus has really started well !")
SI's GRANT WAHL: "Confusion over abandoned qualifier restarts a moot point on USA-Costa Rica (which went 90), but remarkable that the confusion exists"
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