Russia "continues to provide safe haven for the alleged Russian mafia boss accused of bribing judges at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, in one of the worst Olympic scandals ever," according to Galli, Reevel & Ross of ABC. ALIMZHAN TOKHTAKHOUNOV "lives a life of luxury in Moscow" despite an Interpol arrest warrant, known as a red notice. FBI Agent MIKE GAETA, who heads the Eurasian Organized Crime Section in N.Y., said, "It's never been enforced." Tokhtakhounov, 65, described by the FBI as a current "major player" in the Russian mafia, was indicted by a federal grand jury in N.Y. in '02 for "attempting to fix the pairs figure skating competition using bribes and threats." The FBI said that Tokhtakhounov, known by the nickname "Little Taiwanese," has "continued his life of crime while living in Moscow," as a leader of the organized crime group called the "thieves-in-law." Tokhtakhounov said that "he has no current plans to attend" the Sochi Olympics. Tokhtakhounov: "It's too cold" (ABC, 1/28).
People and Pop Culture
Tourism Australia appointed Fox Sports COO JOHN O'SULLIVAN as managing director. O'Sullivan has previously held exec positions with Events Queensland and Football Federation Australia, as well as the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 1994 World Masters Games (ETN, 1/28). ... Former Kent cricket all-rounder and Chair of Cricket GRAHAM JOHNSON has been announced as club president. Johnson will assume the position at the club's AGM on April 2. He was nominated by outgoing President BOB BEVAN. Johnson made his First Class debut in '65 and was "a mainstay" of Kent's successful '70s side (KENT ONLINE, 1/28). ... IMG has appointed NICK MOODY as the head of its Premier League Productions operation. Moody "was most recently overseeing IMG’s production of Premier League coverage for ESPN," having previously worked for ITV Sport and Sky Sports (SPORTS PRO, 1/28). ... Serie A club Sassuolo has sacked coach EUSEBIO DI FRANCESCO, "ending weeks of speculation that he was about to be let go." ALBERTO MALESANI, CIRO FERRARA and PIPPO INZAGHI "have all been linked with the post" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 1/28).
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RORY MCILROY opened Sun and Sand Sport’s new Nike Golf store at Dubai Mall on Tuesday. Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, McIlroy "showed off his short-game skills by putting across the shop’s threshold" (GULF NEWS, 1/28). ... Female footballer JI SO-YUN "has signed a two-year contract with the Chelsea Ladies, becoming the first Korean to play in the Women’s Super League in England." Ji, who made her debut at the age of 15, has made 55 int'l appearances and scored 26 goals. She joins the club from the Japanese league and cup holders INAC Kobe Leonessa (KOREA TIMES, 1/28). ... The Badminton World Federation said on Tuesday that South Korea's Olympic badminton Gold Medalist LEE YONG-DAE "has been hit with a one-year ban for missing doping tests." Another Korean player, KIM KI-JUNG, "was also banned for one year." The federation said that the ban was effective until Jan. 23, "meaning the players would miss the Asian Games in Incheon" (REUTERS, 1/28). ... Chinese tennis player LI NA added to her winnings by another 800,000 yuan ($132,270) "awarded by her home province during a welcome ceremony on Monday" (CHINA DAILY, 1/28).
Reuters' ALAN BALDWIN: "That Caterham nose. Wow. Can only surmise there must be an ugly tree somewhere in Leafield without a branch or twig left on it right now."
BBC's JONATHAN AGNEW: "Lots more ICC detail needed: "For the first time, Test cricket participation will be based entirely on meritocracy." What does that mean?"
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