vineri, 30 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Nadia Comăneci, named as one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy

Nadia Elena Comăneci born November 12, 1961) is a Romanian gymnast, winner of three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and one of a few gymnasts ever to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event. She is also the winner of two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world. In 2000 Comăneci was named as one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.

Comăneci was born in Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (now Onești), Romania, as the daughter of Gheorghe and Ștefania-Alexandrina. Her pregnant mother was watching a Russian film in which the heroine's name was Nadya, the diminutive version of the Russian name Nadezhda (which means "Hope"). She decided that her daughter would be named Nadia, too. Comăneci also has a younger brother named Adrian.
At the age of 14, Comăneci became one of the stars of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. During the team portion of the competition on July 18, her routine on the uneven bars was scored at a 10.0. It was the first time in modern Olympic gymnastics history that the score had ever been awarded. The scoreboards were not even equipped to display scores of 10.0—so Nadia's perfect marks were reported on the boards as 1.00 instead. Over the course of the Olympics, Comăneci would earn six additional 10s, en route to capturing the all-around, beam, and bars titles and a bronze medal on the floor exercise. The Romanian team also placed second in the team competition.
Comăneci was the first Romanian gymnast to win the all-around title at the Olympics. She also holds the record as the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion ever; with the revised age-eligibility requirements in the sport (gymnasts must now turn 16 in the calendar year to compete in the Olympics; in 1976 gymnasts had to be 14 by the first day of the competition), it is currently not possible to legally break this record.
Comăneci's achievements at the Olympics generated a significant amount of media attention. An instrumental piece from the musical score of the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children, "Cotton's Dream" (which was also used as the title theme music from the American soap opera The Young and the Restless) became associated with her after cinematographer/feature reporter Robert Riger used it against slow-motion montages of Nadia on the television program ABC's Wide World Of Sports. The song became a top ten single in the fall of 1976, and the composers, Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr., renamed it to "Nadia's Theme" after her. However, Comăneci never actually performed to "Nadia's Theme." Her floor exercise music was a medley of the songs "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and "Jump in the Line" arranged for piano. Nadia Comăneci's achievements are also pictured in the entrance area of the Madison Square Garden in New York City presenting her perfect 10.00 beam-exercise.
She was the 1976 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the overseas athletes category and the Associated Press's 1976 "Female Athlete of the Year". She also retained her title as the UPI Female Athlete of the Year. Back home in Romania, Comăneci's success led her to be named a "Hero of Socialist Labor"; she was the youngest Romanian to receive such recognition during the administration of Nicolae Ceauşescu.

joi, 29 septembrie 2011

Success 2011: Younes El Aynaoui, professional tennis player from Morocco. He is a five-time singles winner on the ATP Tour

Younes El Aynaoui (born 12 September 1971 in Rabat) is a professional tennis player from Morocco.
He is a five-time singles winner on the ATP Tour and reached his career-high singles ranking of World No. 14 in 2003, at the age of 31. His long career has been plagued by injuries and he did not play competitive tennis between September 2008 and January 2010. However in December 2009 he scheduled to play at the ATP Champions Tour tournament in London, where he made his debut at the senior tour.
El Aynaoui is an extremely popular figure in Morocco. He received a gold medal – the nation's highest sporting honor – from King Mohammed VI. In a 2003 poll by leading Moroccan newspaper L'Economiste, readers named El Aynaoui their favorite role model for society, ahead of the prime minister and athletics star Hicham El Guerrouj. The center court of the Royal Tennis Club in Marrakech is named after El Aynaoui.

At the Bollettieri Academy

In 1990, at the age of 18, El Aynaoui traveled to Bradenton, Florida, to spend a week at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, after which he decided to turn professional. He continued to hone his skills at the academy for the next two years where, in order to afford the fees, he drove the academy bus, cleaned the gym, strung rackets, tossed practice balls to campers, and helped to babysit younger players.He also saved money in a high interest account.

First ATP singles final

In 1993, he reached his first top-level Grand Prix singles final in Casablanca, where he lost to the Argentinian player Guillermo Pérez-Roldán.

1996 to 1998

After finishing runner-up in three tour events in 1996, El Aynaoui suffered a broken right ankle. He had surgery on his ankle in November that year, but the injury continued to cause him problems. He missed seven months of the season in 1997 and had a second surgery in February 1998. He returned to the tour that summer ranked World Number 444, and enjoyed a run of strong results. He won five Challenger series tournaments and finished runner-up at one top-level event in Santiago. By the end of the year he had improved his ranking to World Number 49, and was named the ATP's Comeback Player of the Year for 1998.

1999 to 2003

In 1999, El Aynaoui won his first top-level singles title in Amsterdam and the following year he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open where he lost to Yevgeny Kafelnikov. El Aynaoui won his second top-level title in 2001 at Bucharest. He was runner-up in Amsterdam that year, losing in the final to Àlex Corretja in a five-set, 53-game match (6–3, 5–7, 7–6, 3–6, 6–4) which was the year's longest tour final. He was also runner-up in Lyon, defeated by Ivan Ljubičić in final.

El Aynaoui captured two tour titles in 2002 (Doha and Munich), and reached the quarter-finals of the US Open. The following year, he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian and US Opens and finished the season ranked a career-high World Number 14.

Longest Grand Slam fifth set

The most famous match of El Aynaoui's career came in the quarter finals of the Australian Open in 2003. He qualified for the match by defeating World No. 1, Lleyton Hewitt, 6–7, 7–6, 7–6, 6–4, in a very high quality match in the fourth round, thus setting up a quarter-final showdown with the up-and-coming American Andy Roddick (who would reach the World No. 1 ranking later that year). The five-set, five-hour match included the then longest fifth set in Grand Slam tennis history (since surpassed by the marathon Wimbledon 2010 match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut). Roddick won the battle 4–6, 7–6, 4–6, 6–4, 21–19. Both players saved match points before the fifth set ended.

Return to ATP Tour in 2007

After a three year hiatus due to injury, El Aynaoui made a comeback to the ATP tour in January 2007, and was awarded a wildcard at the Qatar Open, Doha. He beat former Australian Open winner Thomas Johansson with two tie-breaks in the first round, only to be defeated 6–3 6–4 in the second round by the then World Number 5 and eventual winner Ivan Ljubičić.

Another comeback attempt in 2008

In March 2008, after a seven month lay-off due to injuries, he won a Futures event in Castelldefels, Spain on clay,[1] and in April he won a challenger event in Chiasso, Switzerland. In May, he reached the semi-finals of the BMW Open in Munich. He was oldest player to reach the semi-finals of an ATP Tour level event since Jimmy Connors in 1993. He also reached the quarter-finals of the Casablanca Open in Morocco, retiring to Juan Mónaco due to an injury in his left calf.

ATP Champions Tour (2009)

El Aynaoui made his debut as a wild card at the senior tour in London, the last stop on the tour, joining Stefan Edberg, Patrick Rafter, Cédric Pioline, Pat Cash, Goran Ivanišević, Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski. He won two matches, against Rusedski and Philippoussis.

2010 comeback

In the 2010 Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, Qatar, El Aynaoui received a wildcard to participate in the tournament.
He played American Ryler DeHeart in the first round of this tournament and won 7–6 7-6, thus becoming at age 38 the oldest player to win a main tour ATP match since Jimmy Connors in 1995. However, El Aynaoui's run came to an end when he was defeated 6–3, 6–1 by Belgian Steve Darcis.

Succes 2011: Ilie Năstase, the World No. 1 tennis player between 1973 (August 23) and 1974 (June 2). He is one of the five players in history to win more than 100 ATP professional titles

Ilie Nastase born July 19, 1946, in Bucharest, Romania) is a Romanian former professional tennis player, one of the world's top players of the 1970s. Năstase was the World No. 1 tennis player between 1973 (August 23) and 1974 (June 2). He is one of the five players in history to win more than 100 ATP professional titles (57 singles and 45 in doubles). He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991. Năstase won seven Grand Slam titles: two in singles, three in men's doubles, and two in mixed doubles. He also won four Masters Grand Prix year end championship titles and six Championship Series titles (1970–73) the precursors to the current Masters 1000. In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked him as the 28th-best player of the preceding forty years. He is the second male player to win a Grand Slam without dropping a set and the first one to achieve this feat at French Open (1973).

At the beginning of his career in 1966 Năstase travelled around the world competing with his good friend Ion Ţiriac. Together, they represented Romania in the Davis Cup competition, being three times runners up: in 1969, 1971 and 1972.
In singles, Năstase won his first tournament at Cannes on April 16, 1967. His first victories at top players happened in 1969 in Stockholm, where he defeated Tony Roche and Stan Smith.
Năstase became one of the best players in 1970, with many experts ranking him as the sixth best player in the world at that time after the Australians Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, and Roche and the American Ashe. Năstase's high ranking resulted from his success at the Italian Open in Rome and at the U.S. Indoor Open in Salisbury, Maryland. With Tiriac, Năstase won the men's doubles title at the French Open.
In 1971, Năstase was the runner-up at the French Open. where he lost the final in four sets to Jan Kodeš. In December, Năstase won his first Masters Grand Prix title.
In 1972, he became the second ranked player in the world, owing to his winning of the US Open in a five-set final over Arthur Ashe. This tournament was the only event of the year in which all the best players participated. Two months before at Wimbledon, Năstase narrowly lost to Stan Smith in an epic five sets final, one of the most exciting championship matches there. Although Smith took the title, public sympathy lay with the volatile Romanian. In the Davis Cup, Năstase was undefeated in singles until losing to Stan Smith in the final played on clay in his native Bucharest. In December at the year end tour finals, Năstase took revenge against Smith winning his second consecutive Masters Grand Prix title.
In 1973 he was in sensational form. By winning 17 tournaments, including the French Open, a doubles title at Wimbledon, a third Masters title, Năstase was the undisputed World No.1 that year. In the Davis Cup, he won 7 of 8 singles rubbers, including a victory over Tom Okker, the "Flying Dutchman." In matches against the other top players, Năstase was 1–0 against Newcombe and 1–1 against Smith. The Romanian won the French Open without dropping a set (a feat repeated by Björn Borg in 1978 and 1980 and by Rafael Nadal in 2008 and 2010), and he won the French Open (clay), Rome (clay) and Queen's Club (grass) in succession, a feat never repeated in the open era, though Borg won Rome, the French Open, and Wimbledon in succession in 1978, and Nadal won the French Open, Queen's Club, and Wimbledon in succession in 2008.
In 1974 he was the only player to qualify for both the WCT Finals and the Masters Grand Prix finals (also Newcombe played both events, although he played the Masters at Kooyong Stadium as an invitee instead of a qualifier). As usual, Năstase played well in the Masters, in particular against Newcombe in the semifinals. (Năstase finished his career with a 4–1 record versus Newcombe, losing only their first match in 1969.) The Romanian, however, lost the final to Guillermo Vilas in five sets.
For the fifth consecutive year, Năstase reached the Masters Grand Prix Final in 1975, where he defeated Björn Borg: 6–2, 6–2, 6–1.
During the first half of 1976, Năstase won four tournaments (Atlanta WCT, Avis Challenge Cup WCT, US Open Indoor, and La Costa), and head-to-head, he led Connors 2–1, Vilas 1–0, Ashe 1–0, and Borg 2–0. Năstase did not enter the Australian Open, which was again avoided by most of the top players. Năstase was prevented from entering the French Open because he participated in World Team Tennis. In the second half of the year, Nastase lost to Borg in the men's singles final of Wimbledon and in the semifinals of the US Open. Năstase won three other tournaments during the second half of the year, the Pepsi Grand Slam, South Orange, and the 4-man tournament of Caracas, Venezuela, in October (not to be confused with the Caracas WCT tournament in March), making seven tournament championships for the year. Năstase was the World No. 3, behind Connors and Borg.
In 1977 Năstase finished ninth in the ATP rankings. He was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and the French Open and participated in the WCT Finals. Năstase was still one of the 20 best players in 1978. At Wimbledon, he again reached the quarterfinals, losing to Okker after defeating Roscoe Tanner. During the remainder of his career, Năstase steadily declined and only occasionally defeated a good player, such as Johan Kriek in the third round of the 1982 US Open. Năstase retired from the tour in October 1985 at the age of 39 after playing in the tournament in Toulouse, although he did play the challenger tournament at Dijon in June 1988.

miercuri, 28 septembrie 2011

Internaționali români de fotbal: Bogdan Stelea

Bogdan Gheorghe Stelea ( born 5 December 1967 in Bucharest) is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a goalkeeper.
Having played professionally into his 40's, he played for all three major first division clubs in his country's capital, and also spent a vast part of his career in Spain, mainly with Salamanca.
Stelea started playing football at hometown's FC Dinamo Bucureşti, being the club's undisputed starter by 1988. In the 1991–92 season, he still appeared in 11 Liga I games as the capital side won the national championship, but signed late in 1991 with RCD Mallorca, for $650.000. After two seasons in Spain, with relegation in his first, as last, he joined Belgium's Standard Liège but, unsettled, quickly returned home, with FC Rapid Bucureşti.
After one season in Turkey with Samsunspor, Stelea returned again to his country and joined FC Steaua Bucureşti, the defending champions; in his two-year spell, the side renewed its domestic supremacy and participated in the UEFA Champions League, with the player contributing significantly.
In 1997, Stelea was transferred to UD Salamanca, where he lived his most steady period, remaining with the team seven years, only puncutated by a small loan spell with Rapid. He amassed over 200 overall appearances for the club, mainly in the second division, but spent his first two seasons in La Liga, playing 63 matches.
After a second spell with Dinamo, Stelea started 2005–06 with Greek side Akratitos FC. Unsettled again, he returned to Romania, with FC Oţelul Galaţi, but didn't play any matches there because of a bad injury. The following season, he moved to FC Unirea Urziceni at the recommendation of new coach and former national teammate Dan Petrescu. He gradually and eventually became first-choice and, in 2007–08, at the age of 40, was still one of the best goalkeepers in the country.
Stelea finally ended his long career at the end of the 2008–09 season, helping modest FC Braşov to a comfortable 9th place. He was almost 42 years of age.
Stelea made his debut for the national team in 1988 against Israel, and represented his country at the 1990, 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1996 and Euro 2000, totalling 12 matches in final stages.
He was capped 91 times, the last against Slovakia in 2005. Four years later, he rejoined the national side, as assistant coach.

marți, 27 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Yannick Noah, the last french tennis player that won Roland Garros

Yannick Noah (born 18 May 1960 in Sedan, Ardennes) is a former professional tennis player from France. He is best remembered for being the last French man to win the French Open in 1983, and as a highly-successful captain of France's Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams. Since his retirement from the game, Noah has remained in the public eye as a very popular music performer and as the co-founder, with his mother, of a charity organization for underprivileged children.
Noah turned professional in 1977, and won his first top-level singles title in 1978 in Manila.
Noah became France's most prominent tennis hero in 1983, becoming the first Frenchman in 37 years to win the French Open. He dropped only one set during the two-week long tournament, and defeated the defending-champion Mats Wilander in straight sets in the final 6–2, 7–5, 7–6. Noah also became only the second black male to win a Grand Slam singles event (after Arthur Ashe). He remains the last native to have won the French Open men's singles title.
During his career, which spanned almost two decades, Noah captured a total of 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles. His highest singles ranking was third in the world, in 1986.
Noah won the French Open men's doubles title in 1984 (with compatriot and best friend Henri Leconte). He was also the men's doubles runner-up at the 1985 U.S. Open (with Leconte), and the 1987 French Open (with compatriot Guy Forget). In August 1986, Noah attained the World No. 1 doubles ranking, which he would hold for a total of 19 weeks.
Noah played on France's Davis Cup team for eleven years, with an overall win–loss record of 39–22 (26–15 in singles, and in 13–7 doubles). In 1982, he was part of the French team which reached the Davis Cup final, where they were defeated 4–1 by the United States.
Nine years later, in 1991, Noah captained the French team which won the Davis Cup for the first time in 59 years, defeating a heavily-favoured US team 3–1 in the final. This feat was repeated in 1996, when France defeated Sweden 3–2 in the final held in Malmö.
In 1997, Noah captained France's Fed Cup team to its first-ever victory in that competition.
He notably admitted using marijuana prior to matches in 1981, saying that amphetamines were the real problem in tennis as they were performance enhancing drugs.
Noah was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005. He remains France's highest ranked player since the introduction of rankings in 1973.

Since retiring from playing tennis, Noah has developed a career as a popular singer, performing throughout Europe. He began his music career in 1991 with the album Black or What, featuring the popular track Saga Africa which he made the stadium sing with his players after the famous Davis Cup final win.
In collaboration with Jean-Jacques Goldman, Noah released a second album in 2000 entitled simply Yannick Noah, and in October 2006, scored major French radio airplay hit with the singles Donne-moi une vie and Aux arbres citoyens from a new album entitled Charango.
In 2005, Noah performed at Bob Geldof's Live 8 concert – a fundraiser aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa.
On 21 July 2009, Noah made his U.S. live debut, headlining a concert in front of a packed house at the popular free outdoor performing arts festival in New York City, Central Park SummerStage. The performance was part of France's global music celebration Fête de la Musique.
Noah is very active in charity work. He supports 'Enfants de la Terre', a charity run by his mother, Marie-Claire, and founded 'Fête le Mur' in 1996, a tennis charity for underprivileged children, and was mentioned in association with this charity in the June 2008 French GCSE listening paper in England.
He is also the owner of a restaurant in Saint Barthelemy in the French West Indies called Do Brazil.

luni, 26 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Prince Remigius Kanagarajah from Jaffna kingdom

His Royal Highness Prince Remigius Jerry Kanagarajah was born to an Aristocratic family in Sri Lanka on 1 October 1964, the youngest son of the late Ilavarasi Maheswary Marina Antoinette Kanagarajah and the late Ilavarasan Thambirajah Mervin Anthony Kanagarajah. His Ancestors hailed from India, Jaffna (Sri Lanka) and Malaysia. He also lived in many countries other than Sri Lanka. Even as the youngest of five children, he was brought up with strict rules and regulations of his Royal descent. He is a Descendant of the Royal Family of Jaffna. The origin of his family's Royal abode is "Cankili Thoppu" in Nallur, the Palace of the Kings of Jaffna.
The Royal Family of Jaffna had ruled the Kingdom of Jaffna for many years. It was a well established Kingdom during its reign in Jaffna and it existed for 403 years. Unfortunately, the Portuguese settlers invaded the Kingdom and on 11 February 1621, the Kingdom of Jaffna fell into the hands of the Portuguese. Those of Royal decent were taken to Colombo and then to Goa and were given the choice of either life through conversion to Catholicism or been put to death. Some who had accepted the Church for guidance were either allowed to return to Jaffna or were interned in monasteries. On 4 February 1948, Sri Lanka gained Independence from British colonial rule. On 22 May 1972, a new constitution was adopted and Ceylon was renamed Sri Lanka. All ties to Britain were severed and Sri Lanka was declared a Republic.
H.R.H. Prince Remigius Kanagarajah is also a member of The International Monarchist League in London as well as the Southeast Asia Imperial and Royal League, which promotes friendship between Royal Families of Southeast Asia. Dedicated to the improvement of social and charitable work within their nations, they also meet at "diplomatic level" in order to improve political relations and issues within their nations. These ideals uphold that royal families can and should influence political, social and economic changes in order to unify their peoples and bring about peaceful solutions to all problems within their countries.
H.R.H. Prince Remigius Kanagarajah and Miss Aishwary Rajnandhini Lusijah Rajaratnam were married in a civil ceremony at the Register Office in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, London in 2002, followed by a Church Blessing on 2 October 2004, at the Balfour Castle, Shapinsay in Orkney, Scotland. By mutual consent the couple decided to separate officially in 2006.
Prince Remigius Kanagarajah was baptized a Catholic, but he takes part in many Hindu religious ceremonies. In this, he follows the traditions and customs of his ancestors. Even though he prefers to do things in his own way, he is aware that his position demands certain observances which are not in keeping with accepted practice in republican life.

duminică, 25 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Ben Kingsley, Oscar winner for Best Actor after starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film "Gandhi"

Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji (Gujarati:કૃષ્ણા પંડિત ભાનજી); 31 December 1943) is a British actor. He has won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards in his career. He is known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film Gandhi in 1982, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also known for his performances in the films Schindler's List (1993), Sexy Beast (2000) and House of Sand and Fog (2003).
Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in Snainton, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, the son of Anna Lyna Mary (née Goodman), an actress and model, and Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, a medical doctor.
Kingsley's father, born in Kenya, is of Gujarati Indian descent; Kingsley's paternal grandfather was a spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar, where Kingsley's father lived until moving to England at the age of 14. Ben Kingsley's mother, born out of wedlock, was "loath to speak of her background"; she was the daughter of an English mother who worked in the garment district of East London, and a father who was believed by the family to have been a Russian or German Jew.
Kingsley grew up in Pendlebury, near Salford. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, where one of his classmates was the actor Robert Powell. He later studied at the University of Salford and at Pendleton College, which later became home to the Ben Kingsley Theatre.

Kingsley began his acting career on stage, but made a transition to film roles early on. Despite this focus on film, he continued to act on the stage, playing Mosca in Peter Hall's 1977 production of Ben Jonson's Volpone for the Royal National Theatre, and in Peter Brook's acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. At about this time, he changed his name from Krishna Bhanji to Ben Kingsley, fearing that a foreign name would hamper his career; he took his stage surname from his paternal grandfather's nickname, "King Clove".
Kingsley's first film role was a supporting turn in Fear Is the Key, released in 1972. Kingsley continued starring in bit roles in both film and television, including a role as Ron Jenkins on the soap opera Coronation Street from 1966 to 1967 and regular appearances as a defence counsel in the long-running British legal programme Crown Court. In 1975 he starred as Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the BBCs historical drama The Love School. He found fame only years later, starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi in 1982, his best-known role to date.The audience agreed with the critics, and Gandhi was a box-office success. Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal.
Kingsley has since appeared in a variety of roles. His credits included the films Turtle Diary, Maurice, Pascali's Island, Without a Clue (as Dr. Watson alongside Michael Caine's Sherlock Holmes), Suspect Zero, Bugsy (nominated for Best Supporting Actor), Sneakers, Dave, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Schindler's List, Silas Marner, Death and the Maiden, Sexy Beast, for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and House of Sand and Fog, which led to an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He won a Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2001.
In 1997, he provided voice talent for the video game Ceremony of Innocence. In July 2006, he received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the made-for-TV film Mrs. Harris, in which he played famed cardiologist Herman Tarnower, who was murdered by his jilted lover, Jean Harris. Later that year, Kingsley appeared in an episode of The Sopranos entitled "Luxury Lounge", playing himself. In the show, Christopher Moltisanti and Carmine Lupertazzi offer him a role in the fictional slasher film Cleaver, which he turns down. Lupertazzi offers him the role on the basis of Kingsley's real-life performance in Sexy Beast. In 2007, Kingsley appeared as a Polish American mobster in the Mafia comedy You Kill Me, and a hitman in War, Inc. In 2010, Kingsley has worked voicing a character named Sabine in Lionhead Studios game Fable III, and starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese. He is scheduled to appear in Scorsese's next film Hugo Cabret and has just signed up to appear in the new feature by Neil Jordan and John Boorman entitled Broken Dream.
Kingsley's SBK-Pictures has been planning to bring the story of the Native American Conley Sisters to the big screen in Whispers Like Thunder, with Kingsley playing the role of Charles Curtis, the first part-Native American to become vice-president of the United States.

sâmbătă, 24 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Alfredo Di Stéfano, "Saeta rubia". Footballer selected as the Golden Player of Spain by the Royal Spanish Football Federation

Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé (born 4 July 1926 in Barracas, Buenos Aires), born into a family of Italian immigrants from Capri,is a former Argentinian footballer and coach, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He is most associated with Real Madrid and was instrumental in their domination of the European Champions' Cup during the 1950s, a period in which the club won the trophy in five consecutive seasons from 1956. Di Stéfano played international football mostly for Spain, but he also played for Argentina and Colombia.Di Stéfano, nicknamed "Saeta rubia" ("blond arrow"), was a powerful forward with great stamina, tactical versatility, and vision, who could also play almost anywhere on the pitch. He is currently the 4th highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division, and Real Madrid's 2nd highest league goalscorer of all time, with 216 goals in 282 league matches between 1953 and 1964.
 In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Spain by the Royal Spanish Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years. He was named by Pelé as one of the "top 125 greatest living footballers" in March 2004 (in September 2009 he said Di Stéfano was the best player "ever"). Di Stéfano was voted fourth, behind Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff, in a vote organized by the French weekly magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century.

Former players such as Pelé, Eusébio, Luis Suárez, Sandro Mazzola and John Charles described Di Stefano as "the most complete footballer in the history of the game". Alfredo Di Stéfano born into a family of Italian immigrants from Nicolosi, near Catania ("from Capri" it's fake without verification). Began his career at Argentina's River Plate aged 17, in 1943. For the 1946 season he was loaned to Club Atlético Huracán, but he returned to River in 1947. Due to a footballer's strike in Argentina in 1949, Di Stéfano went to play for Millonarios of Bogotá in the Colombian league. He won six league titles during the first 12 years of his career in Argentina and Colombia.
Di Stéfano is best known for his time at Real Madrid where he was an integral part of one of the most successful teams of all time. He scored a club record 216 league goals in 262 games for Real, striking up a fearsome partnership with Ferenc Puskás. Di Stéfano's 49 goals in 58 matches was for decades the all-time highest tally in the European Cup, until it was surpassed by Real Madrid's Raúl in 2005, and Milan's Andriy Shevchenko and Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2006. Perhaps the highlight of his time with the club was their 7–3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup Final at Hampden Park, a game many consider to be the finest exhibition of club football ever witnessed in Europe. He was voted European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959.
He moved to Espanyol in 1964 and played there until hanging up his boots at the age of 40.
One year after his retirement as footballer, a testimonial match was held on 7 June 1967 and played for a trophy which named after himself. The Alfredo Di Stéfano Trophy or Alfredo Di Stéfano Cup was won by Celtic of Scotland. The trophy was contested in a match between Real Madrid and Celtic at Real's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. The match took place 2 weeks after Celtic's victory in the European Cup 1967. Celtic won the match 0–1, with Bobby Lennox scoring the victory and Jimmy Johnstone stealing the show.
At one stage the whole stadium began to shout "Olé!" when Johnstone dribbled and dodged of their own team's players, at the full time the whole stadium applauded him.
The match was also seen as the battle to determine the true champions of Europe caused Real Madrid had won European Cup in the previous year as the most successful club with six times in total.
Di Stéfano played with three different national teams during his career: he played six times with the Argentine national team, twice with Colombia (not recognized by FIFA) and 31 times with the Spanish national team. However, he never played in the World Cup Finals.

vineri, 23 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Andrei Pavel, winner of the Masters Series title in Montreal in 2001

Andrei Pavel (born January 27, 1974 in Constanţa) is a tennis coach and former professional tennis player from Romania. He is currently coaching former world No. 1 and the current world No. 15 of the WTA, Jelena Janković.
Andrei began playing tennis at age eight, and moved to Germany at age sixteen.
Pavel has turned professional in 1995. He has won three singles titles, including the ATP Masters Series tournament in Montreal/Toronto in 2001. He has also won seven doubles titles, the latest title being the Open Seat Barcelona, in 2007.
Pavel played what John McEnroe considers to be the best first round match at a Grand Slam he has ever seen at the U.S Open in August 2006, where he lost to Andre Agassi in four sets; 6–7(4), 7–6(8), 7–6(6), 6–2; taking three and half hours. Had Pavel won, it would have been Agassi's last match in a professional tournament.
His best single result over the course of his career took place in 2001, when he captured the Masters Series title in Montreal. For his efforts during that week alone, Pavel earned US$400,000. When playing Andy Murray in the Australian Open in 2009, Pavel was forced to retire from the game in the second set due to a recurring back injury. He had lost the previous set. Andrei entered the 2009 French Open, where he was defeated by Tommy Haas 6–1, 6–4, 6–4.

He played his last singles match in his homeland tournament in Bucharest in 2009, where he lost in the first round to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.  In the same tournament he teamed up with his old friend Gabriel Trifu, losing in the quarter finals to Spaniards Ramírez Hidalgo / Ventura.
 He also played two more exhibition matches, one facing Goran Ivanišević, while in the other he paired up with Ilie Năstase against the Mansour Bahrami / Yannick Noah pair. The week before, he had been the captain of Romania's Davis Cup team, where they lost to Sweden 3–2 in the qualifying rounds.
His highest rank of the career was 13th in October 2004.
At the start of 2011, former world number one Jelena Janković announced her decision of working with Andrei Pavel on a trial basis. The Serbian player has not performed up to the mark in 2010 and thus dropped to as low as number eight in the WTA rankings.

joi, 22 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: Mansour Bahrami, "The Court Jester"

Mansour Bahrami (born April 26, 1956) is a professional tennis player. He has held dual French and Iranian nationality since 1989.

From an early age he worked as a ball boy within a sports complex in Tehran, Iran. He observed many of the best Iranian tennis players in action but he was never allowed to play. Eventually he snuck onto one of the courts but his first racquet was destroyed by an outraged armed guard who also beat him badly for his misdemeanour. He resorted to learning the game through the use of his hands or frying pans or broom handles. Bahrami has often commented that his outrageous shotmaking ability resulted from mastering tennis using such unusual implements.

The time came when the Iranian team was short of players and Bahrami was finally permitted to play the game on a tennis court. His talent was obvious and he reached the Davis Cup team (and helped the team to victory at the age of just sixteen) but in the late 1970s the Islamic Revolution within Iran led to tennis being viewed as a capitalist and elitist sport. He spent the next three years playing backgammon as all tennis courts were closed down. In desperation he fled to France with his life savings, soon gambling these away in a casino. A number of friends supported him financially as he began to play a few tournaments within France.
While his best days were behind him and he never maximized his potential in singles, he became a successful doubles player who even reached the French Open doubles final in 1989 in partnership with Eric Winogradsky. His weakness and indeed his strength was an inescapable thirst for providing a crowd with a show. He often lost in the early rounds of singles tournaments due to his tendency to play trick shots from the off or when he was bored with winning too easily. He was able to play more seriously in doubles where he felt that he could not be seen to be letting his partner down.
Bahrami did not become a household name during his days on the main ATP Tour but enough of his fellow players had seen his talent at first hand to be impressed. He was perhaps the only player in history to be paid a guarantee just to enter the qualifying tournament for ATP tournaments. However, when the Champions Tour was set up for players aged over 35 in 1993, he had found his niche. Over time, the matches that he played with the likes of Jimmy Connors, Björn Borg and John McEnroe ensured that he achieved star status in his own right. Bahrami also formed a memorable doubles partnership with former French Open finalist and Davis Cup winner Henri Leconte as well as former French Open champion Yannick Noah. His best achievement in the senior tour so far was winning the ATP Champions Tour event in Doha, Qatar.
Bahrami had always been an entertainer but his attitude fit perfectly with the aims of the Outback Champions Tour where giving the public a show was essential. He continues to travel for 40 weeks of the year playing exhibition tournaments in which his range of unusual and breathtaking shots are played. His specialty shots include the power shot through the legs, the lob through the legs and the drop shot which bounces back over the net due to excessive backspin. His sense of humour shines through all of his matches and the crowd is never sure of his next move, be it serving while holding six balls (although he is known to hold 21), an under arm serve, catching the ball in his pocket, deliberately missing a smash or playing an imaginary, slow-motion point.
Fame came to Bahrami over time to the extent that he has now played within all of the major tennis venues throughout the world, something he could not do early in his career while on the regular tour, including the show courts at Wimbledon and the French Open. He is married to Frederique and they have two children. His autobiography, "Le Court Des Miracles" was published in 2006, accompanying a DVD entitled (The Man Behind The Moustache) chronicling his life and the highlights of his career. His autobiography has been translated into English as "The Court Jester" and was released in late 2009.

miercuri, 21 septembrie 2011

Succes 2011: John McEnroe, former top-ranked singles tennis player in the world

John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (born February 16, 1959) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States. During his career, he won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open), nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. McEnroe also won a record eight season ending championships, comprising five WCT Finals titles and three Masters Grand Prix titles from twelve final appearances at these two events, a record he shares with Ivan Lendl. In addition he won 19 Championship Series top tier events of the Grand Prix Tour that were the precursors to the current Masters 1000.
He is best remembered for his shot-making artistry and superb volleying; for his famous rivalries with Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl; for his confrontational on-court behavior which frequently landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities; and for the catchphrase "You cannot be serious!" directed toward an umpire during a match at Wimbledon in 1981. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999, and is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
McEnroe is the older brother of Patrick McEnroe, who is also a former professional tennis player and the former Captain of the United States Davis Cup team, a position in which John served previously. They also both are now often commentators for Grand Slam tennis television coverage in the United States, and John McEnroe is also a commentator on Wimbledon for the BBC.

As an 18 year old amateur in 1977, McEnroe won the mixed doubles at the French Open with Mary Carillo, and then made it through the qualifying tournament and into the main draw at Wimbledon, where he lost in the semifinals to Jimmy Connors in four sets. It was the best performance by a qualifier at a Grand Slam tournamentand a record performance by an amateur in the open era.
After Wimbledon in 1977, McEnroe entered Stanford University, and went on to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association singles and team titles in 1978. Later in 1978, he joined the ATP tour and signed his first professional endorsement deal, with Sergio Tacchini. He won five titles that year including his first Masters Grand Prix , beating Arthur Ashe in straight sets.
In 1979, McEnroe won his first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open. He defeated his good friend Vitas Gerulaitis in straight sets in the final to become the youngest male winner of the singles title at the US Open since Pancho Gonzales, who was also 20 in 1948.He also won the prestigious season ending WCT Finals beating Björn Borg in 4 sets. McEnroe won 10 singles and 17 doubles titles that year (for a total of 27 titles, which marked an open era record).

In the Wimbledon Championships, McEnroe reached the 1980 Wimbledon Men's Singles final – his first final at the Championships – where he faced Björn Borg, who was gunning for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title. At the start of the final, McEnroe was booed by the crowd as he entered Centre Court following heated exchanges with officials during his semifinal victory over Jimmy Connors. In a fourth-set tiebreaker that lasted 20 minutes, McEnroe saved five match points and eventually won 18–16. McEnroe, however, could not break Borg's serve in the fifth set, which the Swede won 8–6. This match was called the best Wimbledon final by ESPN's countdown show "Who's Number One?"
McEnroe exacted revenge two months later, beating Borg in the five-set final of the 1980 US Open.
McEnroe remained controversial when he returned to Wimbledon in 1981. Following his first-round match against Tom Gullikson, McEnroe was fined U.S. $1,500 and came close to being thrown out of the championships after he called umpire Ted James "the pits of the world" and then swore at tournament referee Fred Hoyles. He also made famous the phrase "you cannot be serious", which years later would become the title of McEnroe's autobiography, by shouting it after several umpires' calls during his matches This behavior was in sharp contrast to that of Borg, who was painted by the tabloid press as an unflappable "ice man."Nevertheless, in matches played between the two, McEnroe never lost his temper.
But despite the controversy and merciless criticism from the British press (Ian Barnes of the Daily Express nicknamed him "SuperBrat"), McEnroe again made the Wimbledon men's singles final against Borg. This time, McEnroe prevailed in four sets to end the Swede's run of 41 consecutive match victories at the All England Club. TV commentator Bud Collins quipped after the Independence Day battle, paraphrasing "Yankee Doodle", "Stick a feather in his cap and call it 'McEnroe-ni'!".
The controversy, however, did not end there. In response to McEnroe's on-court outbursts during the championships, the All England Club did not accord McEnroe honorary club membership, an honor normally given to singles champions after their first victory. McEnroe responded by not attending the traditional champions dinner that evening. He told the press: "I wanted to spend the evening with my family and friends and the people who had supported me, not a bunch of stiffs who are 70–80 years old, telling you that you're acting like a jerk." The honor was eventually accorded to McEnroe after he won the championship again.
Borg and McEnroe had their final confrontation in the final of the 1981 US Open. McEnroe won in four sets, becoming the first male player since the 1920s to win three consecutive US Open singles titles. Borg never played another Grand Slam event. McEnroe also won his second WCT Final, beating Johan Kriek in straight sets.
McEnroe lost to Jimmy Connors in the 1982 Wimbledon final. McEnroe lost only one set (to Johan Kriek) going into the final; however, Connors won the fourth set tiebreak and the fifth set to win the championship.
In 1983, McEnroe reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, dropping only one set throughout the whole championship (to Florin Segărceanu), and swept aside the unheralded New Zealander Chris Lewis in straight-sets. He also played at the Australian Open for the first time, making it to the semifinals before being defeated in four sets by Mats Wilander. He made the WCT Final for the third time and beat Ivan Lendl in an epic five setter. He took the Masters Grand Prix title for the second time, again beating Lendl in straight sets.
At the 1984 French Open, McEnroe lost a close final match to Ivan Lendl. McEnroe was on the verge of beating Lendl after winning the first two sets, but Lendl's decision to use more topspin lobs and cross-court backhand passing shots, as well as fatigue and temperamental outbursts, got the better of McEnroe, allowing Lendl to win a dramatic five-setter. The loss ended a 42-match winning streak since the start of the season, and was the closest McEnroe ever came to winning the French Open. In his autobiography, McEnroe described this loss as his bitterest defeat and conveyed the impression that this was a shadow on his career that could never be chased off.
In the 1984 Wimbledon final, McEnroe played a virtually flawless match to defeat Connors in just 80 minutes, 6–1, 6–1, 6–2. That was McEnroe's third and final Wimbledon singles title. Again McEnroe had won Wimbledon while dropping just one set throughout the entire tournament, this time to Paul McNamee.
McEnroe won his fourth US Open title in 1984 by defeating Lendl in straight sets in the final after defeating Connors in a five-set semifinal.
He won his fourth WCT Final, defeating Jimmy Connors in five sets, and took his third Masters Grand Prix, beating Ivan Lendl in straight sets.
1984 was McEnroe's best year on the tennis tour, as he compiled an 82–3 recordand won a career-high 13 singles tournaments, including Wimbledon and the US Open. He also was on the U.S.' winning World Team Cup and runner-up Davis Cup teams. The only male who has come close to matching McEnroe's 1984 win-loss record since then was Roger Federer in 2005. Federer was 81–3 before losing his last match of the year to David Nalbandian in five sets.
McEnroe's 1984 season did not end without controversy. While playing and winning the tournament in Stockholm, McEnroe had an on-court outburst that became notorious in sports highlight reels. After questioning a call made by the chair umpire, McEnroe demanded, "Answer the question, jerk!" McEnroe then slammed his racquet into a juice cart beside the court. He was suspended for 21 days for exceeding a $7,500 limit on fines that had been created because of his behavior.
In 1985, McEnroe reached his last Grand Slam singles final at the US Open. This time, he was beaten in straight sets by Lendl.

According to the Association of Tennis Professionals, McEnroe became the top-ranked singles player in the world on March 3, 1980. He was the top ranked player on 14 separate occasions between 1980 and 1985 and finished the year ranked World No. 1 four straight years from 1981 through 1984. He spent a total of 170 weeks at the top of the rankings.