‘Girl next door’ Ennis smiling
Britain’s Jessica Ennis may be on her way to becoming the most marketable woman in world sport after her heptathlon gold confirmed her as the smiling face of the London Games.
A winning combination of looks, athleticism and warmth have made her the poster girl for the Games. The 26-year-old, whose father is originally from Jamaica, embodies the positive multicultural image that Britain’s leaders want to show to the world.
British Airways, one of her sponsors, have even painted a huge image of the athlete on a field close to Heathrow airport with the words “Welcome to Our Turf”.
There was always the risk her advisers were setting her up for a big fall, but Ennis thrived under pressure on Saturday night to surge to victory in the 800 metres, the last of her seven events in what is the ultimate test for a female athlete.
“She is set up for life,” sports marketing expert Patrick Nally told Reuters. “She is the epitome of the London Games.
“Winning at home has that extra kudos and she will be able to trade off it for many years.” (Reuters)
Over 5m spectators at Games
More than five million spectators have visited Olympic venues so far during London 2012, the Games organisers said yesterday.
Of those, more than one million have been to the Olympic Park, LOCOG said as the Games entered their second week.
Meanwhile, the London 2012 website has become the world’s most visited sports site, with 25 million hits on Saturday – 25 per cent of which came from within Britain.
The event’s social media following across various platforms has also topped four million, organisers said.
The first 428 medals were won by athletes from 58 countries, during which time 85 Olympic records – of which 32 were also world records – have been set.
“The most pleasing part of the first week of the Games has been feedback from athletes and team officials who have said they have rarely, if ever, witnessed sport that has been so well presented, attended or so compelling,” boasted London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.
“Our vision has always been to stage games for the athletes and we are thrilled that we have been able to deliver an electrifying and uplifting experience and environment for the best athletes of the world.”
London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said athletes had been telling them that “the stars are the crowds – their passion and the atmosphere they are creating is just incredible”.
Only one naked man...
They call New York the naked city, but on Times Square, there’s only room for one naked man.
For 13 years, that man has been Robert Burck, the Naked Cowboy.
Out there in all weather, wearing nothing but a Stetson, white cowboy boots and tiny, tight white underpants, he’s a tourist staple almost on a par with the Square’s jumbo screens and glittering New Year’s ball.
But Mr Burck is the lone ranger no more. Naked Indian has come to town.
Dressed in a faux feather headdress, tasselled suede boots, and underpants every bit as tight as those of his rival, the Naked Indian describes himself as the new naked king of Times Square.
Tunisian blogger Sofiane Shurabi, a scathing critic of deposed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was arrested yesterday for drinking alcohol in public during Ramadan with two friends, police and a lawyer said.
Lawyer Anis Ezzine told AFP that Shurabi and a journalist friend were arrested on the beach at El Mansoura in the northeast yesterday morning for “being drunk in a public place, disturbance of the peace and unacceptable behaviour”.
Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Tarouch said a young woman was arrested with them and that all three had admitted the charges. Drinking alcohol in public is severely frowned upon during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.