Olympic superstar Usain Bolt ran rings around his opponents at London 2012 but can he tackle the hills of Donegal?
He won’t be long finding out if his friend and agent, Irishman Ricky Simms, has anything to do with it.
The Donegal-born sports agent plans to bring Bolt and his fellow Olympic champion Mo Farah to his home town of Milford soon.
Simms is the Jerry Maguire-style figure behind the charismatic Jamaican, who wowed the world at the Olympics, winning three gold medals. Simms is a director of PACE Sports Management, an athlete management firm based in England.
“Usain is always going on about visiting,” Simms told John Murray on RTÉ radio yesterday. “It will happen sometime. It will not be this year, but maybe next.”
The triple Olympic gold medallist has confirmed that he wants to visit, telling the Belfast Telegraph he plans to visit Donegal as soon as his schedule permits.
Ireland athletics team manager Patsy McGonagle said his visit would “encourage a generation of Irish athletes”. McGonagle is also chairman of the Finn Valley Athletics Club where Simms, 37, is a member.
The club has just put down a new running track and Simms hopes that either Bolt or Farah — or both — will do the official opening. “It would be fitting for Usain or Mo to come over and do the official opening,” he said.
Finn Valley AC recently unveiled its new all-weather blue track, the first of its kind in Ireland, and Mr McGonagle wants Bolt to officially open it.
“Everything is now in place for that to happen. We’ve arranged a private jet and we can hopefully bring Usain and Ricky to Donegal from London when things settle down.
“He’s facing a huge demand on his time at the moment, but I’ve spoken to Usain and Ricky and they want to make it happen.
“I think a visit to Donegal with the fastest man in the world as a guest of Finn Valley Athletics Club will be an inspiration for another generation of Irish athletes.”
Mo Farah has been to Donegal several times, spending Christmas two years ago in Milford. He also took part in the club’s annual St Stephen’s Day charity race.
Why naked Harry was kept out of the British papers
By Tony Jones
Prince Harry’s naked pictures were yesterday absent from Britain’s newspapers because editors are respecting past rulings on privacy and their own press watchdog, a leading lawyer has said.
However, last night The Sun — which published a recreation yesterday of the controversial images — announced it was going to publish the images today.
The public have been able to read about the prince’s antics in a Las Vegas hotel suite during a “strip pool” party that left him holding his genitals while standing in front of a naked woman.
But to see the pictures they have had to access the US-based celebrity gossip website TMZ that broke the story, or scores of other internet pages.
British newspapers complied with a request from St James’s Palace, made via the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), to respect Harry’s privacy and not use the images as they were taken in a private hotel room.
Last night, in a statement on thesun.co.uk, The Sun managing editor David Dinsmore said: “We’ve thought long and hard about this. The Sun is a responsible paper and it works closely with the royal family. We take heed of their wishes.
“We’re also big fans of Prince Harry, he does a huge amount of work for this country and for the military and for the image of both of those institutions.
“We are not against him letting his hair down once in a while. For us this is about the freedom of the press.”
He said it was ludicrous that people could view the images online but not in a newspaper.
Earlier, media commentators said the British newspapers have been “neutered” by the Leveson inquiry into media ethics.
But media lawyer Mark Stephens said editors realised they had to comply with the wishes of St James’s Palace.
“It’s because they were asked not to by the PCC, and they accepted it was probably the better way to go. We have seen many examples, going right back to [Wallis] Simpson when she was being courted by the former king [Edward VIII], when the British press declined to publish a story that was widely available.
“What we have is a story running on social media which the reasonable media here haven’t taken up.”
Although the incident is embarrassing for Harry, who is due to embark on the next phase of his military career, there are unlikely to be any serious consequences for him beyond accusations of a lack of judgement. If any action is taken against the 27-year-old, an army officer and helicopter pilot, it would be down to his commanding officer to make the decision.
However, the episode also raises security concerns as the prince was in a potentially vulnerable position when being photographed.
Evening Herald deputy editor Ian Mallon defended the decision to publish the picture of Harry on its front page. He said: “We carried the Prince Harry pictures out of a duty to our readers. The pictures were the most talked about news story of the day, rightly or wrongly.”
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