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Volume 6 No. 215

People and Pop Culture

F1's top medic "rushed to the bedside" of MICHAEL SCHUMACHER on Sunday "as the sport’s most successful driver was reported to be fighting for his life after a skiing accident," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Key figures in the sport, including F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE and English motorsport engineer ROSS BRAWN, the man who guided Schumacher to his seven world titles, "were waiting anxiously for news from the hospital in Grenoble where the German was lying in a coma." Schumacher, 44, "was said to be in a critical condition after hitting his head on a rock while on a ski trip" on Monday at the French resort of Meribel. Professor GÉRARD SAILLANT, who operated on Schumacher when he broke a leg at the 1999 British Grand Prix, "was called to Grenoble immediately." However, this will be a test of Saillant's emotions as well as his abilities: Saillant is the founder of the Institute of Brain and Spinal Cord (ICM) and "is now faced with aiding the recuperation of one of the most important characters in the history of Formula One." Schumacher's image as the most divisive driver of his generation "was cast aside last night as his fellow drivers expressed their concern for the most dominant figure of their age." Ecclestone "asked for updates to be sent from the hospital." BBC analyst EDDIE JORDAN, the man who gave Schumacher his debut in F1, said that "he hoped the former driver’s courage and mental strength would be an advantage." Jordan: "He's a bit of a daredevil, let's be clear" (LONDON TIMES, 12/30).

WORLDWIDE REACTION: The PA reported F1 drivers from around the world have wished Schumacher a full recovery. FELIPE MASSA, the Brazilian driver whose injury brought Schumacher back to F1 in '09, posted a picture of the pair embracing on Instagram, with the Portuguese message, "I'm praying for God to protect you, brother!" In English he wrote, "I hope you have a quick recovery! God bless you, Michael!" ROMAIN GROSJEAN, who finished second to Schumacher in the 2012 Nations' Cup, tweeted, "All our thoughts to Schumi and his family." HEIKKI KOVALAINEN, who tussled with him on the track in '04 and '07, wished him a "full recovery soon." Both gave him the hashtag "#legend." Stars from other sports "also added their well wishes." The retired cricketer MICHAEL VAUGHAN said, "Forget the cricket. Everyone's thoughts should be with Michael Schumacher." Golfer IAN POULTER wrote, "Really hoping Michael Schumacher comes thru his terrible skiing accident. Wishing him well" (PA, 12/29).

Former Spanish footballer and coach JOSÉ MARÍA MAGUREGUI died on Monday at the age of 79. Maguregui played for La Liga side Athletic Bilbao and coached various La Liga clubs including Espanyol, Atlético Madrid and Celta Vigo (EFE, 12/30). ... A-League club Melbourne Heart's board fired coach JOHN ALOISI after 18 months "in charge." Aloisi oversaw the "lowest points tally of any club" (AAP, 12/29). ... The Russian Wrestling Federation announced that Russian wrestler BESIK KUDUKHOV died "in a car accident" at the age of 27. Kudukhov, who won Silver in the freestyle event at the 2012 Olympics, "died after his car collided with a lorry travelling between the cities of Vladikavkaz and Krasnodar" (AOL, 12/29). ... J.League side FC Tokyo named MASSIMO FICCADENTI as its new manager on Monday. Contract details "were not released." Ficcadenti replaces RANKO POPOVIC, "whose one-year deal with Cerezo Osaka was announced Monday" (KYODO, 12/30).

BBC's DAVID BOND: "Bach's statement makes direct link between attacks in Volgograd and Sochi. Not aware that connection had been made before"

Former U.S. President BILL CLINTON: "Thinking today of Michael Schumacher and grateful for all he's done w/@clintonfdn and for others. My prayers are with him and his family."

Retired race driver MARIO ANDRETTI: "Sadly & hopefully I follow news on Michael Schumacher. Lets pray for him & also for the strength & expertise of doctors guiding his recovery"

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