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  • World Briefs -- New Sochi Mayor Won't Impact Games Prep, Mick Jagger Calls U.K. Rock Legends to Play Opening Ceremony


    New Mayor Won't Affect Olympic PreparationsS
    Vladimir Afanasenkov (L) announced his resignation as mayor of Sochi on Thursday. (Sochi 2014)
    Sochi 2014 president Dmitry Chernyshenko tells Around the Rings there will be no impact on Olympic preparations following the resignation of the city's mayor.

    Vladimir Afanasenkov said Thursday he was stepping down for health reasons and preparing to undergo an operation on his back. Dzhambulat Khatuov, mayor of the nearby town of Armavir, has been named acting mayor of the Black Sea resort.

    "Most of the programs within the project are covered by the federal government so we can confirm that this will not affect the Games preparations," Chernyshenko said.

    "Sochi 2014 is looking forward to working in close partnership with the new mayor of Sochi (once appointed) to prepare and deliver a truly inspirational Olympic and Paralympic Games."

    Afanasenkov's departure comes just two weeks after Dmitry Kozak was appointed the deputy prime minister responsible for overseeing the Olympic project.

    Khatuov, a 46-year-old economist, is Sochi's third mayor this year. Afanasenkov was elected to office in June following the resignation of his predecessor Viktor Kolodyazhny in April; Kolodyazhny took up a role as head of the Olympstroy corporation, the body charged with delivering venues and infrastructure for the Games.

    Jagger Wants Fellow Superstars on Stage in 2012

    Mick Jagger called on Elton John and David Bowie to join him in rocking the 2012 opening ceremony. (MARTIN OESER/AFP/Getty Images)
    It seems just playing at the Opening Ceremonies in 2012 with his fellow Rolling Stone band mates won't be enough for Mick Jagger.

    An unnamed source recently revealed to OK! Magazine that the rock legend wants to be joined on stage by fellow superstars Elton John and David Bowie.

    "Mick feels the Olympics coming to London is a huge honor and wants to make his own gesture with the band," the source revealed.

    Other artists reportedly involved include Sting, Van Morrison, Phil Collins, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

    The source went on to explain that the London 2012 organizers were proposing using the Super Bowl halftime show template as a guide for the ceremonies.

    Iranian NOC Elections Declared Illegal

    Iran's State Inspectorate Organization declared Thursday's election of Mohammad Aliabadi as the new head of the Iranian NOC to be illegal. Aliabadi is currently serving as head of the Physical Education Organization.
    Mohammad Aliabadi was elected as Iranian NOC president on Thursday. A few hours later, his election was ruled illegal. (Getty Images)

    The organization has invoked a conflict of interest clause that prohibits a person holding two competing positions.

    “It is improper to undertake concurrent activities in the National Olympics Committee, sports federations, athletic boards and [health] clubs whose majority shares are owned by the government or public institutions,” said Inspector-General Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi.

    There has been no announcement regarding a new election.

    Two Expensive Trips to Beijing Defended

    Two governments are defending the costs of junkets to the Beijing Olympics. In both cases, officials felt that the trips amounted to little more than vacations and that the reported goals could have been achieved through other means.

    A report in the Yorkshire Evening Post says that Yorkshire Forward, a regional development agency, traveled to the Olympics with hopes of promoting the region and enticing countries to set up training camps there for the 2012 Olympics in London. The trip cost Yorkshire taxpayers more than $45,000 to send two officials to the Games.

    The officials sent to China were Neil Jenkinson, head of culture and major events, and Martin Havenhand, executive chair of the Yorkshire Committee for the 2012 Games.

    Yorkshire Forward insists the trip was imperative to the region’s ability to capitalize on the 2012 Games.

    Jenkinson told the Evening Post "Yorkshire and Humber is committed to maximizing the opportunities offered by the 2012 Olympic Games, be that through regional business gaining contracts, the region hosting training camps or the chance to promote sporting ambition to our region's young people.

    "In order to fully understand these opportunities and what our region must do to maximize them, it was only sensible that a small delegation of representatives attended the Beijing Olympics on a fact-finding mission."

    In South Africa, the Independent Democrats’ concerns about the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) spending were also proven correct. The South African government spent nearly $275,000 to send SABC to Beijing.

    Lance Greyling, ID spokesperson for communications said they received a letter from Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri that outlined the budget for the trip.

    “Our allegations have been confirmed, but South Africans have a right to know more,” said Greyling.

    “The Minister has also given us a long list of purposes the members of the delegation were required to fulfill and the ID would like to see a full report back on exactly how the three non-executive board members and staff members fared.

    “Once we have these answers the Independent Democrats will be in a position to comment on whether the public broadcaster, which is budgeting for a substantial loss this year, should have squandered almost R3 million [$305,000] on what appears to us to have been nothing more than a holiday.”

    Greyling added that the IDs would expand their questioning into all international sporting events the SABC attended over the last year, to ensure “every cent” is accounted for, and was spent properly.


    A Vancouver 2010 cop is facing drunk driving charges for a fatal crash involving a motorcyclist on Oct. 26. Benjamin Monty Robinson, an officer with the RCMP's Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, was arrested by Delta Police and released on a promise to appear Jan. 15 in Surrey Provincial Court. Robinson was off-duty and driving his children when the crash occurred near his mother's house in Tsawwassen. The victim was Orion Hutchinson, 21.

    Robinson is one of four officers who are under investigation for the Taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007. The tragedy ignited a national controversy in Canada over the use of the American-made stun guns after eyewitness video of the incident hit YouTube.

    Charles Dubin, a Canadian judge who oversaw a 1989 public inquiry into how athletes used steroids died Monday. He was 87. The former chief justice of the Province of Ontario presided over a Royal Commission after Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson's 100-meter Olympic gold medal and world record were canceled by a positive steroids test at Seoul 1988. Johnson and other Canadian athletes admitted using performance-enhancing substances. The inquiry exposed widespread steroid use and techniques among track and field stars.

    Dubin delivered his report in 1990 and because of it the Canadian Anti-Doping Organization, now the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, was established in April 1991. Ten years later, the World Anti-Doping Agency opened in Montreal.

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made some changes to his Cabinet following his re-election. James Moore, former secretary of state for the 2010 Games, has been promoted to minister of Canadian heritage and official languages. The Olympics is no longer in his job title, but Canadian Heritage is the ministry that includes the federal 2010 Winter Games Secretariat.

    Gary Lunn assumes control of Sport Canada from Helen Guergis who was moved to minister of state for status of women. Guergis had been criticized during the election for not fulfilling a promise to lobby the International Olympic Committee on behalf of women's ski jumpers hoping to compete at Vancouver 2010.

    Grant Hackett announced at the Australian Swimmer of the Year Awards that he will be hanging up his goggles. While the swimmer had been coy about confirming the speculation about his retirement, Hackett's parents told Australian media that he had actually decided a year ago. "He decided this would be his last Olympics and that he would do his best at the Olympics," Nev Hackett, Grant's father, said. "After his failure at the (2007 Melbourne) world championships, he said I'm going to train very hard, I want to go to the Olympics in Beijing no matter what and he got back up to the top."

    A Texas ticket broker is suing RazorGator over Beijing Olympics tickets. Andrew Hentrich, owner of Austin Ticket Company, is suing the secondary ticket company for failing to pay for hundreds of hard-to-get Olympics tickets that RazorGator filled for the company. This lawsuit is the latest in a number of Olympics-related lawsuits that have originated in Texas. A Houston attorney is leading a class action lawsuit against two ticket companies for failing to deliver numerous ticket orders.

    The president and director general of WADA will host a symposium for journalists on Feb. 24, in Lausanne. This symposium will be an opportunity for the media to hear from WADA’s President John Fahey and Director General David Howman, among other speakers, who will provide updates about the Agency’s work and mission, as well as the advances and the challenges of the fight against doping in sport. Details on the program and registration information will be available soon.

    Written by Ed Hula III and Trista McGlamery .

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