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The Age

Sporting Life

Author: Martin Boulton
Date: 28/01/2008
Words: 1337
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Sport
Page: 16
Super Bowl ambush has NFL in a flap

SPARE tickets to Super Bowl XLII are rarer than hen's teeth as the New England Patriots and New York Giants count down to next Sunday's game at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Meanwhile, fast-food chain KFC has ruffled the National Football League's feathers by offering to donate almost $300,000 to charity in the name of any player who celebrates a touchdown with a chicken dance. The NFL has reacted swiftly, warning any player suspected of acting like a chicken in Arizona that they could face fines or suspensions. "KFC is not affiliated with the NFL in any fashion, so this is a textbook case of ambush marketing 101," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Boston Herald. "If a player acted in a way that was a reflection of a corporate message, then we'd have to take a look at it." KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said the agents of several players had contacted the company about the promotion, even though NFL officials have warned players they could be putting their necks on the line.

Yanks have their eyes on the pies

WHEN Andy Roddick dropped out of the Australian Open and sisters Venus and Serena Williams fell by the wayside, a US film crew briefly turned its attention to gastronomical matters. Having discovered the delights of the humble Aussie pies on offer in the media workroom, the crew from ESPN began sniffing out their story. Terry Cremean, managing director of Boscastle Pies, had a visit from the newshounds at his Brunswick factory and was happy to show them around. "They'd been eating our pies at the tournament and wanted to shoot a little film about them," he said. "It was part of a special they wanted to air on the whole flavour of the Australian Open." He said the film crew got "a real kick out of their visit", while the overseas exposure for his locally produced pies, well, that's just the sauce on top.

From the 'Only in Australia' department...

BEACHGOERS at Bondi Beach in Sydney took part in the Australia Day Thong Challenge on Saturday in a bid to paddle into the Guinness Book of Records with the longest continuous line of airbeds in the shape of a thong. Similar floating formations also were sighted at St Kilda, Noosa Main Beach in Queensland, Glenelg in South Australia and Port Beach in North Fremantle. Money raised was donated to participating surf lifesaving clubs and the Starlight Foundation.

And now, only in Canada

IT MIGHT not be official, but the folks in Winnipeg soon could have the record for the world's longest skating rink. Teams of university students spent three weeks working around the clock to shovel a six-kilometre trail along the Red and Assiniboine rivers, an area known as the Forks, through the centre of the city. Paul Jordan, manager of the Forks market in Winnipeg, said the city's River Trail rink is already nine kilometres long, far longer than Ottawa's 7.8-kilometre canal skateway. The Ottawa skateway, which is the equivalent of 90 Olympic-size hockey rinks, was officially recognised by Guinness World Records in August 2005, according to the Canwest News Service. Organisers of the Winnipeg bid are employing a lawyer, engineer, architect and a city police officer to measure the River Trail rink. Once the city has the record, it will "market the heck out of it," Jordan said.

Ice, ice, crazy

IN OTHER record-breaking bids, Wim Hof of the Netherlands stood up to his neck in ice for an hour and 12 minutes at the weekend outside the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, crushing his previous record for immersion in an outdoor ice bath. Known as the Iceman, Hof can regulate his core heat to control the temperature of his skin using the tantric practice of Tummo meditation. The Dutchman is able to withstand cold that could kill or seriously injure other people. Last year, he ran a half-marathon above the polar circle in Finland wearing only a pair of shorts and no shoes. A previous world record attempt took the Iceman to the North Pole, where he held his breath for more than six minutes below the ice. Wim is believed to be the only non-Tibetan monk to have mastered Tummo.

Club seeking Dees of old

MELBOURNE Football Club wants to hear from the relatives of 14 former players expected to be named in the club's all-time top 150 players. A Melbourne spokesman said the 14 "missing in action" players were a vital part of the club's history and it hoped to involve any descendants in this year's 150th anniversary celebrations. The former players are: Bill Allan (1910-1923), a ruckman from Ringwood; Harry Brereton (1909-1912 and 1915), who was the VFL's leading goal-scorer of 1912; Vin Coutie (1902-1911) from Leopold, who captained the club for three seasons; Harry Coy (1921-1928), recruited from Port Melbourne and part of the 1926 premiership side; Hugh Dunbar (1922-1928), from the Macedon Ranges and also part of 1926 premiership side; Rowley Fischer (1933-1941), a ruckman from Murtoa in the Wimmera, who played in the 1939 premiership side; George Haines (1919-1925), a rover from Geelong who changed his name from Heinz and captained the club in 1919 and '20; Les Jones (1933-1941), a centreman from East Fremantle who played in the 1939 premiership; Charlie Lilley (1913-1915 and 1919-1925), a defender and centreman from Elsternwick; George Margitich (1930-1934), recruited from South Adelaide who led the club goalkicking three times; Fred McGinis (1897-1901) (left), who was Champion of the Colony in 1897 and played in the 1900 premiership side; Gordon Ogden (1928-1937), a defender who represented Victoria five times; Jack Purse (1900-1906), who was centre half-back in the 1900 premiership side; and Frank Roberts (1936-1941), from Sandhurst via St Kilda, who was best on ground in the 1939 premiership side and also played in the 1940 premiership side.

Still a hero at home

CYPRIOT tennis star Marcos Baghdatis found himself in hot water when he was captured chanting anti-Turkish slogans on the internet, but it seems the furore fell on deaf ears in his own country. The 2006 Australian Open finalist has been appointed a Cypriot ambassador for 2008, which has been designated European Year of Intercultural Dialogue by the European Union. Cypriot Education and Culture Minister Akis Kleanthous said Cyprus was committed to achieving the EU's goals in 2008. In one video shot last year, which surfaced on YouTube, Baghdatis is seen holding a lit flare above his head and joining a chant condemning Turkish occupation of parts of his homeland. The 22-year-old later said he was supporting the interests of his country and "protesting against a situation" he said had not been recognised by the United Nations. The world No. 16 has also been approached about promoting Cyprus as a tourist destination. According to the Financial Mirror, the Cyprus Tourist Organisation has asked Baghdatis to appear in advertisements focusing on the country's holiday attractions.

Rabbitohs lose but owner left crowing

HIS beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs lost their Australia Day challenge against English Super League champion Leeds in Jacksonville, Florida, but actor Russell Crowe didn't walk away empty-handed. Crowe, who co-owns the Rabbitohs, was presented with one of two motorcycles in the team's colours by local customisers, Orange County Choppers, before the start of the game at Hodges Stadium. A crowd of about 12,000, including golfing great Greg Norman, seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley and former NBA star Dennis Rodman, watched the depleted Rabbitohs rally from a 26-0 half-time deficit. The Rhinos had won their three previous pre-season games and held the upper hand over the Rabbitohs, who were having their first hitout of the year in match conditions. A near full-strength Leeds squad stacked with Great Britain, New Zealand and England representatives held out the Rabbitohs, 26-24. "I'm very pleased with that," Crowe said, referring to his side's second-half fightback, not his new wheels.

Who said that?

We've won the women's and missed out on the men's by a smidge.

CAMERON CURTIS, national coach, after Australia fell short of a unique double at the world bowls championships yesterday in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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