France: Laure Manaudou heads to London 2012 with the sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Le Parisien reports today. The 2004 Olympic and 2005 and 2007 world champion who made a successful comeback to book Olympic tickets in the 100m and 200m backstroke in Dunkirk last week, has missed two out-of-competition tests in the past year. One more within an 18-month period and she would face a two-year suspension. Manaudou explained to the paper that she was an hour out with her timing in one case and on the other had gone to dinner with other swimmers. Both misses occurred in September last year. She fears perception, saying: "Given that, it is quick to cast doubt. People confuse it with a positive test. The paper suggests that she is the only French swimmer with two counts against her. National Technical Director for France Christian Donze, noted that his swimmers know that they must be "detectable for one hour between 6am and 11pm 365 days a year. Manaudou revealed that she often provides a range of midday to 1pm or 8pm to 9pm as times when testers can call knowing here whereabouts. Her brother Florent opted for 6am to 7am knowing he would be in bed at that time and would not miss the testers' call. Sister Laure told the paper with a smile: "I did not want me to wake up at 6 am for a blood test." In the realm of those who must be on standby to provide blood and urine in an effort to catch cheats, Manaudou is far from being alone on a list of swimmers with two strikes against their name.
Clash Of The Designers: the Olympic hosts, Britain, will walk out and compete in outfits designed by fashion ace Stella McCartney, daughter of Sir Paul of Beatles fame and his late American wife Linda (nee Eastman), while the USA team will be kitted out by Ralph Lauren, who will also "design a collection of village wear apparel and accessories inspired by the 1948 Olympic Games in London". But watch out, there is competition for the podium in the designer stakes: Italy, stylish as ever, have none other than Giorgio Armani cutting his cloth to the fit of all things formal and sporting.
Greece: British-born 10 kilometre swimming world champion Spyros Gianniotis, of Greece, will be the first Torchbearer for London 2012, The Hellenic Olympic Committee has announced. The Greek leg of the London 2012 Torch Relay is staged May 10 to 17. On May 10 a ceremony will be held at the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, where the torch will be lit using the sun's rays at 7pm. After a weeklong tour across Greece to Athens and the Panathenaic Stadium, site of the first Modern Olympics in 1896, the Flame will be handed to the London 2012 delegation to fly to a military base in Cornwall. Gianniotis, 32 and born in Liverpool, became world 10km champion in Shanghai last year. His, Brenda Gianniotis, nee Sweeney, grew up in Anfield and went to Bankfield school in West Derby. A swimmer too, she settled in Corfu and married a local. In winning in Shanghai, Gianniotis qualified for London 2012 ... which leads us to ...
Britain: Open Water Warfare is a computer game invented by four computer games design students to simulate conditions for the 10km Olympic Marathon in the Serpentine in Hyde Park this summer. To cut a long story short, the game, revealed by WalesOnline last week and spotted by Rókur í Jákupsstovu of swimmers daily in the Faroes, is being touted as something that will help British swimmers win gold this summer. An odd idea on a number of levels. Take world champion Keri-Anne Payne, the only Britain qualifiers for the marathon so far: among her many assets is an inbuilt navigation system instilled in her during the first 13 years of life spent in South Africa, where she learned to swim long before she clapped eyes on a pair of goggles after arriving in Britain as a 13-year-old. As she has proved many times before, Payne is a better navigator than a game that cannot reproduce the rub of reality on the day, including the aquatic scrum, or, as David Davies once put it, when describing the start of the marathon among women, "handbags at dawn". The game, meanwhile, is supposed to provide an advantage to those who get their hands on it - and the makers claim, according to some in Britain, that only Brits will have it in time to make a difference. A good sales pitch but probably several strokes short of the reality that will pan out in the pond in the park this summer. Time and very different conditions to those in The Serpentine are of the essence for Davies, on whose body the character in the game is based: the Olympic silver medallist must race in Atlantic waters off the coast of Setubal, Portugal and finish top 10 in June if he is to make it to Hyde Park. If he finishes top 10 but is beaten by friend and former training partner Daniel Fogg, winner of the 1500m ahead of Davies at pool trials earlier this month, the virtual Davies is the only one who will race in The Serpentine. Davies was good enough to win gold in Beijing but orientational difficulties at a time of fatigue on the home stretch to the end of the race led him to make a mistake that Maarten van der Weijden (NED) exploited to the full for victory. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Britain, two other teams have developed their own Serpentine simulators of sorts … let battle begin.
Denmark: The Danish Swimming Federation is seeking a sports chief to head an elite sports unit that will come into being from January 1, 2013, with a mission to deliver success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The successful candidate will be the head of a six-member elite unit, including four staff coaches and a team coordinator. Part of the role will be to establish a thread between regional championships and the biggest of occasions, such as world championships and to strengthen the link between training and competition at all levels of the sport, according to the Danish federation. The unit will implement a blueprint entitled Svømmeplan 2016, the task to convert Danish talent to podium placers. The new boss will have, says the federation, "overall responsibility for the continued development and implementation of Danish Svømmeunions 'Age Træningskoncept'," national championships and employment. The successful candidate, the job description states, must be prepared to work with media, on video interviews and on commercial activities. If your Danish is up to it, you can read more about the swim plan 2016.
And if the post sounds interesting, contact director Pia Holmen on telephone (Denmark) 2920 6161 or by e-mail at email@example.com