Today: Last Update:

  • World Briefs: New Priestess For Flame Lighting, China To Be Top Tourist Destination


    Actress Theodora Siarkou was the High Priestess for the 2006 Winter Games Flame Lighting Ceremony. (Getty Images)
    New Priestess for Flame Lighting

    The Hellenic Olympic Committee on Feb. 27 selected a new High Priestess for the Flame Lighting Ceremony in a unanimous vote. The March 24th ceremony will begin what's to be the longest Torch Relay, covering more than 85,000 miles in 130 days.

    Maria Nafpliotou, an actress and dancer, is the tenth High Priestess since the ceremony began in 1936.

    The Committee also elected Artemis Ignatiou choreographer of the ceremony. Ignatiou is a former priestess, and served as an assistant to Maria Horss, who was choreographer for 50 years.

    ATR will be in Olympia to cover the flame lighting.

    WTO Predicts China as Top Tourist Destination

    China likely will be a top destination for tourists by 2020, due in part to the boost from the Games and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, according to comments from a World Tourism Organization official quoted in Chinese media. International travel is up six percent from last year. In 2007, one billion people traveled overseas, and the WTO predicts 1.6 billion will be vacationing in other countries by 2020.

    Advertising Company Expects Growth from Games

    WPP, the second largest advertising and marketing firm in the world, says it will post growth this year due to the Beijing Games and the U.S. presidential election. Preliminary January information showed revenues up by about five percent.
    Andrey Kashechkin of Kazakhstan looks over his shoulder in his winning run during stage six of the 2007 Paris-Nice race. (Getty Images)

    WPP posted revenues of more than $12 billion in 2007. It expects to outstrip that number by at least five percent this year. However, the company warns that growth could come back down in 2009 without major events to boost revenues.

    World Briefs...

    The IOC has nominated two more candidates for president of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, increasing the field to four. Italian lawyer Mino Auletta, the current interim president, and former FINA official, Gunnar Werner of Sweden, are the two new candidates. Richard Pound, former WADA head, and Robert Briner, a Swiss lawyer, are the other two being considered. The 20-member governing council will hold an election on April 3. Applications for the position were due by Feb. 10, but the CAS tendered these two candidates late, according to SportCal, a UK-based publication.

    The Paralympics are becoming more accessible to fans as the International Paralympic Committee releases its first edition of ParaEmotion, a monthly television program. It will air on ParalympicSport.TV, a website that broadcasts Paralympic sport 24/7. The show will feature Paralympic personalities and inspiring stories. ParalympicSport.TV is sponsored by Samsung.

    Three athletes were named to the African Hall of Fame on Feb. 25. Middle distance runner Maria Mutola of Mozambique, soccer star Roger Milla of Cameroon and IAAF head Lamine Diack of Senegal were recognized for outstanding achievement.

    The JAPPO award winners for outstanding promotion of sport on the continent were also named. Those recognized included, professional basketball player Dikembe Mutombo of Congo, cricketer Dandeh Njie of Gambia, South African NOC Chief Sam Ramsamy. Tunisia also received an award for investment in sport infrastructure. An award ceremony will be held at a venue and date yet to be chosen. JAPPO is a sport event
    Aljaz Pegan competes on the horizontal bar at the 2006 Artisitic World Championships in Denmark. He placed second. (Getty Images)
    management company that organizes the annual Africa International Sport Convention and the African Hall of Fame.

    Australia officially announced its bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the Football Federation of Australia will finalize details in the next week. Other countries competing include the United States, Russia, and England. Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal submitted joint bids.

    Eighteen qualification spots for Beijing are up for grabs at this weekend's Pan American Wrestling Championship. U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado is housing the event. Six Olympic medalists will try to return to the Games.

    The Australian Olympic Committee is hosting a competition for children to record an inspiring podcast for Olympic athletes. The podcasts can include comedy, singing, dancing and poetry. The winners will be played at the team reception in Beijing on August just prior to the beginning of the Games. Productions must be submitted by May 30.

    The President of the Slovenian NOC and the Slovenian gymnastics federation are appealing to the IOC of behalf of Aljaz Pegan. The 33-year-old gymnast who specializes in the horizontal bars has never competed in the Olympics despite success over his 18-year career. To garner support for their petition for a wild card nomination, the SNOC has a website dedicated to Pegan making the Beijing Games.

    Paul Robbins, a noted ski journalist, died of a heart attack at the age of 68. As the primary writer for the U.S. Ski Team, Robbins covered eight Winter Olympics, beginning with the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.

    "Paul was an integral part of our sports for three decades, telling the world the story of our great athletes. His vast knowledge and quick wit helped him make friends for our sport worldwide and to elevate awareness of ski racing," said Bill Marolt, president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

    Written by  Eric Connelly

    For general comments or questions,  click here

    The Golden 25 special edition magazine is now available in PDF. Click here to see who will be most influential in the Olympic Movement in 2008.

    Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.