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  • World Briefs -- Russian Billionaires Want Improved Olympic Performance, Mayor Gambles to Bid for Olympics


    10/04/08

    Roman Abramovich is one of the oligarchs funding Russia’s hope to improve in the medal standings. (Getty Images)
    Russian Billionaires Pledge Roubles for Medals

    Russia’s 10 wealthiest businessmen pledged to join forces to fund Russia’s Olympic team, in the hopes of improving their country’s standing in the medal tally.

    The idea came from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, who called the group together after Russia finished third in the Beijing Olympics medal standings, a disappointing finish in Mister President’s eyes.

    "This is not the limit to what we can do," Medvedev said after the Games. "We should start preparing for the next Olympic Games. We have to raise new champions."

    The group of billionaires is dubbed the Russian Olympians Foundation and includes in its membership, Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
    According to the executive director of the foundation, the oligarchs pledged almost $40 million a year to pay for elite coaches and training of athletes.

    "We have enough money now," Alexander Katushev, executive director of the foundation, said.

    "We have over one billion roubles per year. I think that is enough for the moment. You also have to bear in mind the state funding, which is bigger than this fund."

    Katushev added “part of the fund is for the medalists of Beijing, as a sign of our gratitude. But it is also for future medals; it provides an incentive to win and the support required to train well, day by day."

    Los Angeles Mayor Proposes Olympic Trade

    Could a baseball series determine the fate of the Chicago Olympic bid? That’s what Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is betting on.

    Villaraigosa accepted a bet with his Chicago counterpart Richard Daley over the outcome of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cub series that is underway. Daley wagered a gift basket of Chicago delicacies if his hometown Cubs lost. Villaraigosa upped the ante saying “if the Dodgers win, Los Angeles gets Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid.” No word yet if Daley accepted the wager.

    Chicago
    Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wagered a bid to host the Olympics on the outcome of the Los Angeles and Chicago baseball series. (Getty Images)
    was given the go-ahead from the USOC to bid for the Games, over L.A. in 2007.

    At the time of writing, the Dodgers lead the Cubs 2 games to none, in the best-of-five series.

    500 Invites for British Olympic Parade

    500 athletes from the British Olympic and Paralympic squads have been invited to a parade in their honor.

    Every Olympian who competed under the Union Jack in Beijing has been invited to the London parade scheduled for October 16.

    Olympics Drives Sports Web Traffic in U.S. Offices

    The Olympics helped account for a 25 percent increase in U.S. web traffic at the workplace for the month of August.

    A report from Nielsen released on Thursday said sports traffic at offices grew to 42.3 million in August, up from 33.4 million last year.

    "With broad interest in the Olympics, and the ramp up of the college and professional football seasons, August was a busy month for online sports fans," Jon Gibs, vice president of media analytics at Nielsen Online, said in a statement.

    NBC’s Olympics website alone reached 14 million pairs of eyes, with visitors staying for an average of 57 minutes and seven seconds.

    Roger Vanderfield, 80, Former IRB Chair

    Roger Vanderfield, the former Chairman of the International Rugby Board died Sep. 25 at his home in Sydney, Australia. Vanderfield served two terms as chairman, first in 1985 then in 1992. He was instrumental in creating the Rugby World Cup, forming the study group to create the tournament in 1985. His rugby career began as a referee in 1952. He was a doctor by profession.

    “Dr Vanderfield will be remembered not just as a great stalwart and champion of Rugby both as a referee and an administrator, but also as a dedicated IRB Chairman, said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset. “The thoughts of everyone at the International Rugby Board are with Dr Vanderfield’s family at this difficult time.”

    Vanderfield is survived by his wife Margaret and three children.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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