joi, 30 august 2012

Success 2012: Pancho Segura, a former leading tennis player of the 1940s and 1950s, both as an amateur and as a professional. In 1950 and 1952, as a professional, he was the World Co-No. 1 player

Pancho "Segoo" Segura, born Francisco Olegario Segura on June 20, 1921, is a former leading tennis player of the 1940s and 1950s, both as an amateur and as a professional. In 1950 and 1952, as a professional, he was the World Co-No. 1 player. He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but moved to the United States in the late 1930s and is a citizen of both countries. He is the only player to have won the US Pro title on three different surfaces (which he did consecutively from 1950-1952).

Long before Open Tennis, Segura turned professional in 1947 and was an immediate crowd-pleaser with his winning smile, infectiously humorous manner, and unorthodox but deadly game. According to Bobby Riggs, Jack Harris (the promoter of the forthcoming Riggs-Kramer tour for 1948) attempted to sign Ted Schroeder to play the preliminary matches of the tour. Ultimately he failed and instead signed Segura to play the latest Australian amateur champion, Dinny Pails. Instead of a percentage of the gross receipts, as Riggs and Kramer were contracted for, Segura and Pails were each paid $300 a week.
Although he was overshadowed as a player by Kramer and Pancho Gonzales in his professional career, Segura won many matches against the greatest players in the world and was particularly brilliant in the annual United States Pro Championship. He won the title three years in a row from 1950 through 1952, beating Gonzales twice. He also lost in the finals four times, losing to Gonzales three times and once to Butch Buchholz in 1962 when he was 41 years old.
In the 1950–1951 professional tour in which Segura played the headline match against Kramer he was beaten 58 matches to 27, a noticeably better performance, however, than Gonzales's record of 27 victories and 96 defeats against Kramer the year before. In the following tour, that of 1952-1953, Segura was reduced to playing the preliminary match, where he beat the Australian Ken McGregor 71 matches to 25.
For the calendar year of 1952, when Kramer, Budge, and Gonzales all played sporadically, Segura was ranked as the world no. 1 player by the Professional Lawn Tennis Association, with Gonzales at no. 2.
Segura, Kramer writes, "was the one pro who brought people back. The fans would come out to see the new challenger face the old champion, but they would leave talking about the bandy-legged little suonuvabitch who gave them such pleasure playing the first match and the doubles. The next time the tour came to town the fans would come back to see Segoo." For this, according to Kramer, Segura made more than $50,000 in each of six or seven years during the 1950s, a time in which "there were very few baseball, football or basketball players making $50,000."

Segura, says Kramer, probably played "more matches against top players than anyone in history. Besides my couple hundred, he must have played Gonzales a hundred and fifty, and Budge, Sedgman, Riggs, Hoad and Rosewall all around fifty apiece. I beat him about 80 percent of the time, and Gonzales also held an edge over him. He was close with Budge. Pails beat him 41-31 on the Kramer-Riggs tour, but that was when Segoo was still learning how to play fast surfaces. With everybody else, he had the edge over: Sedgman, Rosewall, Hoad, Trabert, McGregor."
At a professional event in 1951 the forehand drives of a number of players were electronically measured. Pancho Gonzales hit the fastest, 112.88 mph, followed by Jack Kramer at 107.8 and Welby Van Horn at 104. Since it was generally assumed at the time that Segura had the hardest forehand among his contemporaries, it is possible that he was not present at that event.
In 1962, on the recommendation of good friend, Mike Franks, Segura became the teaching professional at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club. replacing Carl Earn. Most of Pancho's students were movie stars such as Dinah Shore, Doris Day, Julie Andrews, Richard Conte, Shelley Winters, Charlton Heston, Barbra Streisand, Dina Merrill, Kirk Douglas, Robert Evans, Lauren Bacall, Gene Hackman, Carl Reiner, Barbara Marx, George C. Scott, Janet Leigh, and Ava Gardner. Jeanne Martin (Dean's wife) was a favorite student of his. Pancho also found time to coach and teach Jimmy Connors and Stan Smith, two great tennis champions, as well as his son, Spencer, who played at UCLA. In 1971, he left Beverly Hills to become the teaching professional at the La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California, where he is now retired. He is widely credited with coaching, mentoring, and structuring the playing game of Jimmy Connors, starting at age 16, in 1968, when his mother, Gloria, brought him to Pancho in California. Dr. Abraham Verghese describes taking a tennis lesson from Segura during this period in The Tennis Partner.
Before the famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973, Segura openly supported Riggs. When King won the match, Segura declared disgustedly that Riggs was only the third-best senior player, behind himself and Gardnar Mulloy. He challenged King to another match. King refused.
Segura retired from playing tennis after the 1970 US Open at Forest Hills. However, he played his last doubles match as late as the 1975 US Open, at the age of 54.
Segura was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1984.

miercuri, 29 august 2012

Success 2012: Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest players in the history of men's professional golf. Nicknamed "The King," he was the first superstar of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s

 Arnold Daniel Palmer (born September 10, 1929) is an American professional golfer, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of men's professional golf. He has won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, dating back to 1955. Nicknamed "The King," he is one of golf's most popular stars and its most important trailblazer, because he was the first superstar of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s. He is part of "The Big Three" in golf, along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who are widely credited with popularizing and commercialising the sport around the world.
Palmer won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and in 1974 was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Palmer was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He learned golf from his father, Milford (Deacon) Palmer, who was head professional and greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club, allowing young Arnold to accompany his father as he maintained the course.[1] He attended Wake Forest University, on a golf scholarship. He left upon the death of close friend Bud Worsham and enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, where he served for three years and had some time to continue to hone his golf skills. Palmer returned to college and competitive golf. His win in the 1954 U.S. Amateur made him decide to try the pro tour for a while, and he and new bride Winifred Walzer (whom he had met at a Pennsylvania tournament) traveled the circuit for 1955.

Rise to superstardom

Palmer won the 1955 Canadian Open in his rookie season, and raised his game status for the next several seasons. Palmer's charisma was a major factor in establishing golf as a compelling television event in the 1950s and 1960s, setting the stage for the popularity it enjoys today. His first major championship win at the 1958 Masters Tournament cemented his position as one of the leading stars in golf, and by 1960 he had signed up as pioneering sports agent Mark McCormack's first client. In later interviews, McCormack listed five attributes that made Palmer especially marketable: his good looks; his relatively modest background (his father was a greenskeeper before rising to be club professional and Latrobe was a humble club); the way he played golf, taking risks and wearing his emotions on his sleeve; his involvement in a string of exciting finishes in early televised tournaments; and his affability.
Palmer is also credited by many for securing the status of The Open Championship (British Open) among U.S. players. After Ben Hogan won that championship in 1953, few American professionals had travelled to play in The Open, due to its travel requirements, relatively small prize purses, and the style of its links courses (radically different from most American courses). Palmer was convinced by his business partner Mark McCormack that success in the Open -– to emulate the feats of Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Sam Snead and Hogan before him –- would truly make him a global sporting star, not simply a leading American golfer. In particular, Palmer travelled to Scotland in 1960, having already won both the Masters and U.S. Open, to try to emulate Hogan's feat of 1953, of winning all three in a single year. He failed, losing out to Kel Nagle by a single shot, but his subsequent Open wins in the early 1960s convinced many American pros that a trip to Britain would be worth the effort, and certainly secured Palmer's popularity among British and European fans, not just American ones.
Palmer won seven major championships:
Palmer's most prolific years were 1960–1963, when he won 29 PGA Tour events, including five major tournament victories, in four seasons. In 1960, he won the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award. He built up a wide fan base, often referred to as "Arnie's Army", and in 1967 he became the first man to reach one million dollars in career earnings on the PGA Tour. By the late 1960s Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player had both acquired clear ascendancy in their rivalry, but Palmer won a PGA Tour event every year from 1955 to 1971 inclusive, and in 1971 he enjoyed a revival, winning four events.
Palmer won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average four times: 1961, 1962, 1964, and 1967. He played on six Ryder Cup teams: 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1971, and 1973. He was the last playing captain in 1963, and captained the team again in 1975.
Palmer was eligible for the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) from its first season in 1980, and he was one of the marquee names who helped it to become successful. He won ten events on the tour, including five senior majors.
Palmer won the first World Match Play Championship in England, an event which was originally organized by McCormack to showcase his stable of players. Their partnership was one of the most significant in the history of sports marketing. Long after he ceased to win tournaments, Palmer remained one of the highest earners in golf due to his appeal to sponsors and the public.

In 2004, he competed in The Masters for the last time, marking his 50th consecutive appearance in that event. After missing the cut at the 2005 U.S. Senior Open by 21 shots, he announced that he would not enter any more senior majors. Since 2007, Palmer has served as the honorary starter for the Masters. He retired from tournament golf on October 13, 2006, when he withdrew from the Champions Tours' Administaff Small Business Classic after four holes due to dissatisfaction with his own play. He played the remaining holes but did not keep score. Palmer's legacy was reaffirmed by an electrifying moment during the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational. Standing over 200 yards from the water-guarded 18th green, Palmer, who is known for his aggressive play, lashed his second shot onto the green with a driver. The shot thrilled his loyal gallery and energized the excitable Palmer. He turned to his grandson and caddie, Sam Saunders, and gave him a prolonged shimmy and playful jeering in celebration of the moment.

Golf businesses

Palmer has had a diverse golf-related business career, including owning the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, which is the venue for the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational (renamed from the Bay Hill Invitational in 2007), helping to found The Golf Channel, and negotiating the deal to build the first golf course in the People's Republic of China. This led to the formation of Palmer Course Design in 1972, which was renamed Arnold Palmer Design Company when the company moved to Orlando Florida in 2006. Palmer's design partner was Ed Seay. The Palmer-Seay team has designed over 200 courses around the world. Since 1971 he has owned Latrobe Country Club, where his father used to be the club professional. The licensing, endorsements, spokesman associations and commercial partnerships built by Palmer and McCormack are managed by Arnold Palmer Enterprises.
One of Arnold Palmer's most recent products is a branded use of the beverage which combines sweet iced tea with lemonade.

luni, 27 august 2012

Success 2012: Julián López Escobar, commonly known as El Juli, one of the best spanish bullfighters. Julian filed a lawsuit against Colombian singer Shakira, because she used footage of some of his bullfights without his permission in her music video

Julián López Escobar (born October 3, 1982), commonly known as El Juli, is a Spanish bullfighter.

After he caped his first bull at the young age of nine, Julián's wealthy family enrolled him in the Madrid Academy of Tauromachy. After years of studying, he moved to Mexico to perform in bullfights, as Spain required novilleros (junior matador) to be of at least 16 years of age.
On March 16, 1997, at the age of 14, Julián made his bullfighting debut in Texcoco, Mexico. He finished with a standing ovation and received two ears. In bullfighting, the detached ears of the dead bull(s) are trophies, which are awarded for an above-average bullfight.

Approximately one year later, on September 18, 1998, Julián received his alternativa in Nîmes, France. This marked the passage from being a novillero to a full-fledged matador de toros (senior bullfighter). At age 15, he became the youngest professional bullfighter in the history of the sport. Julián led a toast to his father, a former novillero who was forced into retirement after losing his right eye in a bullfight.

By the age of 17, Julián had become the highest-paid bullfighter in history. Not only did his good looks and affluent background add to his popularity, but his skills in the ring were unmatched. Julián once placed his own banderillas (spiked banners), which is typically the job of the banderillero.

This requires the same amount of training as becoming a matador, and can be accomplished only by highly talented matadors. Additionally, in three out of his 134 performances in 1999, he was the lone matador. This meant killing all six bulls during the fight, rather than the usual two, by himself. This feat requires great skill and stamina, which further enhanced his reputation.

During the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain in 2010, he was injured and had to be hospitalized after a bull gored him in the scrotum.

He married Rosario Domecq, daughter of Pedro Domecq de la Riva and Rosario Marquez, on October 20, 2007, in the chapel of the Convent of Santa Catalina in Santo Domingo de Jerez de la Frontera. In September 2011, they became the parents of twins, a girl named Rosario and a boy named Fernando.

Juilan filed a lawsuit against Colombian singer Shakira, because she used footage of some of his bullfights without his permission in her music video.

duminică, 26 august 2012

Bob and Mike Bryan, professional tennis double players. They are the 2012 Gold Medalists in the London Summer Olympics. World No. 1 doubles players for over 297 weeks, longer than anyone else in doubles history

Twin brothers Robert Charles Bryan (Bob) and Michael Carl Bryan (Mike) are American professional tennis double players. They are the 2012 Gold Medalists in the London Summer Olympics for Men's Doubles. They have been the World No. 1 doubles players for over 297 weeks (as of July 4, 2012), which is longer than anyone else in doubles history. Also, they have finished the ATP year-end number 1 doubles team a record 7 times. Between 2005 and 2006, they set an Open Era record by competing in seven consecutive men's doubles Grand Slam finals, three of which they won. On August 11, 2011, they recorded their Open Era record 700th match win by defeating Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the 2011 Rogers Cup.
Born on April 29, 1978, with Mike being older by two minutes, and Bob taller by 3 cm, The Bryans, as they are known, have won a record 78 tour titles surpassing The Woodies, and have been finalists on 44 other occasions. They have a career Grand Slam that includes victories at the French Open (2003), US Open (2005, 2008 and 2010), Australian Open (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011), and Wimbledon (2006, 2011). They won the Tennis Masters Cup doubles tournament three times (2003, 2004 and 2009). They won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They also won the 2007 Davis Cup along with Andy Roddick and James Blake. The Bryan Brothers were named ATP Team of the Decade for 2000–2009.
The twins are part of the United States Davis Cup team, with a 18–2 record in doubles matches. Their two losses were to Croatia's Ivan Ljubičić and Mario Ančić and, in 2008, to France's Arnaud Clément and Michaël Llodra. Both brothers have played Davis Cup singles matches (Bob is 4–2 and Mike is 0–1).
The brothers, who both use single-handed backhands, are noted for their attacking style of play and great hustle. They are also well known for celebrating winning points by chest bumping each other. Mike and Bob are featured on the cover of the January/February 2010 issue of Making Music Magazine where there is an article about their experiences and passion for recreational music.
Though famous for their tennis and their music, they are also dedicated to helping children in need through their foundation, The Bryan Bros. Foundation.


The Bryans started 2012 by participating at the 2012 Apia International Sydney where they reached the final. They went on to win the final by defeating wild cards Matthew Ebden and Jarkko Nieminen to claim their second title in Sydney and their 76th overall without dropping a set. The brothers then aimed to win their sixth Australian Open and reached their eighth final at the event after three consecutive three-setters which included saving a match point and overcoming a 2–5 deficit in the final set tie-break in an epic semi-final against Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecău. However, the Bryans played Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the final and were upset in straight sets.
They were forced to withdraw from Indian Wells at the quarter-final stage with illness and were beaten in Miami at the semi-final stage by Paes and Stepanek for the second time in 2012. They skipped Houston despite being the defending champions and instead secured a doubles rubber point in the USA-France Davis Cup tie at Monte-Carlo by defeating Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra. They then went on to win their 20th Masters 1000 title and 77th title overall at Monte Carlo without dropping a set. They had thrashed Paes and Stepanek in the quarter-finals and comfortably beaten Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor in the final. However, their momentum was halted at the 2012 Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell where they once again withdrew during the tournament with illness. They took to the new blue clay of the Madrid Masters as the defending champions but lost early. Their next tournament was the Rome Masters, where they lost in the quarter-finals. Keen to regain some momentum, the Bryans played the 2012 Open de Nice Côte d’Azur – Doubles tournament which they won for the first time by beating Oliver Marach and Filip Polasek in the final. It was their 78th title and third of the year. They then enjoyed a good run at the 2012 French Open before losing in the final to Mirnyi and Nestor.
They immediately found form on the grass, reaching the final at the Queen's Club. However, they failed to defend their title and were beaten again by Mirnyi and Nestor. They reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon but, after a close match, were defeated in a tiebreak by eventual first-time wildcard titlists Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen. 

2012 Olympics

They returned to Wimbledon for the Summer Olympics Tennis Tournament. They beat Bellucci/Sa of Brazil 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 in the first round, Davydenko/Youzhny of Russia 7-6, 7-6 in the second round, Erlich/Ram of Israel 7-6, 7-6 in the quarter-finals and Benneteau/Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals. They then entered the Gold Medal Match assured of at least a silver medal, but they topped Llodra/Tsonga of France 6-4, 7-6 to win the Olympic Gold Medal on August 4, 2012. It was a double gold day for the United States since Serena Williams took the Olympic Gold Medal in Women's Singles.
This completed the career Golden Slam in Mens Doubles for the Bryan Brothers having won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympic Gold Meal.
This also tied them with Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver at having 79 doubles titles. 

Personal life

In their early days as junior players, they were forbidden to play each other in tournament play by their parents. If they were to play each other in a tournament, they would alternate defaulting to each other.
The brothers graduated from Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard in 1996 and attended Stanford University (1996–98). In 1998, Bob became the first player since Alex O'Brien in 1992 to win college's 'Triple Crown' of NCAA singles, doubles (with Mike) and team titles. Both Bob and Mike are members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

The Bryans have a penchant for music, forming a band of their own, with Mike playing on the drums (and occasionally guitar), Bob on the keyboard, and father Wayne on the guitar. Fellow tennis players and friends Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Jan-Michael Gambill often join in. The band has played at several special events, including the ATP Tour Smash Tennis event at New York's Central Park before the 1995 US Open. The Bryan brothers were featured on the Jan/Feb 2010 cover of Making Music Magazine.
In December 2010, Bob married Florida attorney and longtime family friend Michelle Alvarez. They now reside in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.

vineri, 24 august 2012

Success 2012: Ozzy Osbourne, "Godfather of Heavy Metal". Ex-lead singer of the pioneering English band Black Sabbath. Osbourne has achieved multi-platinum status as a solo artist and with Black Sabbath and has sold over 100 million albums worldwide

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne (born 3 December 1948) is an English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter, whose musical career has spanned over 40 years. Osbourne rose to prominence as lead singer of the pioneering English band Black Sabbath, whose dark and hard sound helped spawn the heavy metal genre. Due to Sabbath's dark style, Osbourne became known as the "Prince of Darkness". Osbourne is also known as the "Godfather of Heavy Metal".
In the early 2000s, Osbourne's career expanded when he became a star in his own reality show The Osbournes, alongside wife/manager Sharon and two of their three children, Kelly and Jack. A documentary about his life and career, God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, premiered in April 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released on DVD in November 2011. Osbourne has achieved multi-platinum status as a solo artist and with Black Sabbath and has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.
In late 1967, Geezer Butler formed his first band "Rare Breed" with Osbourne. The band played two shows then broke up. Separated for a time, Osbourne and Butler reunited in Polka Tulk Blues along with guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward. They renamed themselves Earth, but after being booked in error instead of a small-time English circuit band with the same name, they decided to change their name again. They finally chose the name Black Sabbath in early 1969 based on a film directed by Mario Bava, starring Boris Karloff. The band had noticed how people enjoyed being frightened, and, inspired, Iommi and his partners decided to play a heavy blues style of music laced with gloomy sounds and lyrics. While recording their first album in a castle, Geezer read an occult book and had a dream of a dark figure at the end of his bed. Butler told Osbourne about the dream and together they wrote the lyrics to "Black Sabbath", one of their first songs in a darker vein.
Despite only a modest investment from their U.S. record label Warner Bros. Records, Black Sabbath met with swift and enduring success. Built around Tony Iommi's guitar riffs, Geezer Butler's lyrics, Bill Ward's dark tempo drumbeats, and topped by Osbourne's eerie vocals, early records such as their debut album Black Sabbath and Paranoid sold huge numbers, as well as getting considerable airplay. Osbourne recalls a band lament, "in those days, the band wasn't very popular with the women".
Just five months after the release of Paranoid the band released Master of Reality. The album reached the top ten in both the United States and UK, and was certified gold in less than two months. In the 1980s it received platinum certification and went Double Platinum in the early 21st century. Reviews of the album were unfavorable. Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone dismissed Master of Reality as "naïve, simplistic, repetitive, absolute doggerel", although the very same magazine would later place the album at number 298 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, compiled in 2003. Black Sabbath's Volume 4 was released in September 1972. Critics were again dismissive of the album, yet it achieved gold status in less than a month. It was the band's fourth consecutive release to sell one million copies in the United States.
In November 1973, Black Sabbath released the critically acclaimed Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. For the first time, the band received favourable reviews in the mainstream press. Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone called the album "an extraordinarily gripping affair", and "nothing less than a complete success". Allmusic's Eduardo Rivadavia call the album a "masterpiece, essential to any heavy metal collection", while also claiming the band displayed "a newfound sense of finesse and maturity".The album marked the band's fifth consecutive platinum selling album in the US. Sabotage was released in July 1975. Again there were favourable reviews. Rolling Stone stated, "Sabotage is not only Black Sabbath's best record since Paranoid, it might be their best ever."Allmusic was not so favourable. They noted that "the magical chemistry that made such albums as Paranoid and Volume 4 so special was beginning to disintegrate".Technical Ecstasy, released on 25 September 1976, was also met with mixed reviews. AllMusic gave the album two stars, and noted that the band was "unravelling at an alarming rate".

In 1980, under the management of Osbourne's then girlfriend (later wife), Sharon Arden, the Ozzy Osbourne Band formed again as The Blizzard of Ozz. The first line-up of the band featured drummer Lee Kerslake (of Uriah Heep), bassist/lyricist Bob Daisley (of Rainbow and later Uriah Heep), keyboardist Don Airey, and guitarist Randy Rhoads (of Quiet Riot). The record company would eventually title the record Blizzard of Ozz credited simply under Osbourne's name. Co-written with Daisley and Rhoads, the album brought Osbourne considerable success on his first solo effort. The album sold very well with hard rock/heavy metal fans. Though it is generally accepted that Osbourne and Rhoads started the band, bassist Daisley later claimed that he and Osbourne formed the band before Rhoads joined. Blizzard of Ozz is one of the very few albums amongst the 100 best selling albums of the 1980s to have achieved multi-platinum status without the benefit of a Top 40 single. As of August 1997, it achieved Quadruple Platinum status according to RIAA. The album is known for the globally recognised singles "Crazy Train" and "Mr Crowley", and fan favourites "Goodbye to Romance" and "Revelation (Mother Earth)". Although Kerslake and Daisley are credited as the studio musicians for The Blizzard of Ozz, the touring band in support of the album consisted of Osbourne, Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo (Bass) and Tommy Aldridge (Drums).

luni, 20 august 2012

Success 2012: Reg Presley & The Troggs. The Troggs's best known hit was "Wild Thing". Reg Presley's most famous composition is "Love Is All Around"

Reg Presley (born Reginald Maurice Ball, 12 June 1941) is an English singer-songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer with prominent 1960s rock and roll band The Troggs, whos best known hit was "Wild Thing", though their only UK number one single was the follow-up "With a Girl Like You". He was born at 17 Belle Vue Road, Andover, Hampshire.

His most famous composition is "Love Is All Around". Wet Wet Wet's 1994 cover stayed at No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart for fifteen weeks. Presley used his royalties from that cover to fund his research into crop circles and outlined his findings in a book, Wild Things They Don't Tell Us, published in October 2002.
On 14 December 2011, Presley was hospitalized in Winchester, England, with what was suspected to be a stroke. He was also suffering from pneumonia and fluid around the heart. Presley had suffered a major stroke about a year before. His wife said he first began to feel bad while performing in Germany on 3 December 2011, and had got progressively worse. "Doctors think he has had another stroke. He's not very well and I have no idea how long he'll be in hospital", she said.

On 24 January 2012, Presley announced he has been diagnosed with lung cancer and therefore decided to retire from the music industry.

The Troggs are an English rock band from the 1960s that had a number of hits in UK and the US. Their most famous songs include the Hot 100 chart topper "Wild Thing", "With a Girl Like You", and "Love Is All Around". "Wild Thing" is ranked #257 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was an influence on garage rock and punk rock.
Fronted by Reg Presley, The Troggs were from the town of Andover in southern England and were originally called The Troglodytes.

The Troggs formed in 1964 and were signed by the manager of The Kinks, Larry Page in 1965. They recorded on Page's Page One Records, and Page also leased them to CBS for debut single "Lost Girl". Their most famous hit was the single "Wild Thing" (written by Chip Taylor) (the song on the b-side of the single depended on the country where it was sold), which with the help of television exposure on Thank Your Lucky Stars reached number 2 in the UK and number 1 in the United States in July 1966. Its combination of a simple heavy guitar riff and flirtatious lyrics helped it to quickly become a garage rock standard. It was recorded in one complete take (take two) at Olympic Studios in London, with Keith Grant engineering. Because of a dispute over US distribution rights, "Wild Thing" was released (along with the first album of the same name) on two labels: Fontana and Atco. The band's success in the US was also limited by not touring there until 1968.

They also had a number of other hits, including "With a Girl Like You" (a UK number 1 in July 1966, US number 29), "I Can't Control Myself" (a UK number 2 in September 1966—this was also their second and final dual-label release in the US, with Fontana retaining the rights to all subsequent releases), "Anyway That You Want Me" (UK number 10 in December 1966), all at Olympic Studios, "Night of the Long Grass" (UK number 17 in May 1967), and "Love Is All Around" (UK number 5 in November 1967 and US number 7 in May 1968). With chart success eluding the band, they split up in March 1969. Ronnie Bond was the first to release a solo record, with the "Anything For You" single in March 1969, followed in April by Reg Presley with "Lucinda Lee". Chris Britton released a solo album, As I Am, the same year. The band reformed later that year, with former Plastic Penny bassist Tony Murray replacing Staples, and in 1974, after a spell on Pye Records, in an attempt to re-create their 1960s successes, the Troggs re-united with Larry Page, now running Penny Farthing Records. The resulting cover version of the Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations" did not capture the public's imagination. A reggae version of "Wild Thing" also failed to chart. The band found a sympathetic ear at French label New Rose in the 1980s, the label releasing 1982's Black Bottom LP and 1990's AU.
In 1991, the Troggs recorded Athens Andover, an eleven-song collaboration between themselves and three members of R.E.M. It was recorded in the American band's hometown of Athens, Georgia, and was released in March 1992.
The band attempted to capitalize on this new exposure with a couple of bizarre collaborations on new versions of "Wild Thing". In 1992 they teamed up with actor Oliver Reed and snooker player Alex Higgins, with another version the following year featuring Wolf from the TV show Gladiators, which actually reached number 69 in the UK Singles Chart. In 1994 Wet Wet Wet's cover of "Love Is All Around" was #1 in the UK for 15 weeks, netting Presley a handsome royalty.
The band's original drummer, Ronnie Bond, died on 13 November 1992. Dave Wright, another founding member, died on 10 October 2008.
The band played Tunbridge Wells on 11 November 2011.
In January 2012, after over 40 years of touring, Reg Presley retired due to lung cancer, apparently ending The Troggs. However the remaining members, Chris Britton (guitar), Pete Lucas (bass) & Dave Maggs (drums) plan to continue to keep The Troggs flag flying and are going back on the road. They are joined by special guest Chris Allen on lead vocals. He has an excellent musical pedigree, having been in The Denny Laine Band, The Commitments and part time with The Animals. He also plays a mean guitar and bass (from the Trogg's Official website).

duminică, 19 august 2012

Success 2012: Li Na, the top-ranked Chinese professional tennis player. Winner of 2012 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati

Li Na (Chinese: 李娜; pinyin: Lǐ Nà; born February 26, 1982) is the top-ranked Chinese professional tennis player. Li has won 6 WTA and 19 ITF singles titles. Li won the 2011 French Open singles title, becoming the first player from China to win a Grand Slam in singles; she had already reached the final of the 2011 Australian Open, the first player from an Asian country to appear in a Grand Slam singles final.She is currently ranked World No. 9 and is the top ranked Chinese player.
Li Na was born on February 26, 1982, in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Her father Li Shengpeng (李盛鹏) was a professional badminton player and later worked as a sales rep for a Wuhan based company. He died from a rare cardiovascular disease when Li Na was 14.
At age six, Li Na started playing badminton, following her father's footsteps. Just before she turned eight, Li made the transition from badminton to tennis when she and her parents were convinced by coach Xia Xiyao of the Wuhan youth tennis club that this would be the right career move for her. Li joined China's National Tennis Team in 1997 and turned pro in 1999.
At the end of 2002, Li left the national tennis team to study part-time at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, where she completed her bachelor's degree in journalism in 2009. The Chinese media cited various reasons for this. Some reported that the relationship between her and her teammate, future husband Jiang Shan (姜山), was opposed by the national team's management, some reported that her coach Yu Liqiao (余丽桥) was too strict and demanding, while other reports claimed that her request for a personal coach did not go through.
However, Li returned to the national team in 2004. Jiang Shan married Li and became her personal coach in 2006. Li quit the national team as well as the state-run sports system in 2008 under an experimental reform policy for tennis players. This change was called "Fly Alone" (单飞) by Chinese media. As a result Li had the freedom to pick her own coaching staff and she could keep more of her winnings. Only 8 to 12 percent of her winnings go to the government as opposed to 65 percent previously.

sâmbătă, 18 august 2012

My Giant (1998)

My Giant is a 1998 comedy drama film starring Billy Crystal, and NBA player Gheorghe Muresan in his only film appearance. Crystal also co-wrote the story.
A huckster named Sammy (played by Crystal) travels to Romania on business. After a disappointment, he crashes his car and is rescued while unconscious by an enormous Romanian man named Max (Muresan), close to 8 feet tall.
Once he wakes up and interacts with Max, he sees potential stardom in him. Sammy attempts to broker his introduction into the movies. In doing so he exploits Max's desire to visit a long-lost paramour, Lilliana, in Gallup, New Mexico. First, Max obtains the role of a villain in a movie, but he is so drunk that he vomits on the protagonist. However, the scene is included in the movie.
One day, Sammy talks to Steven Seagal about including Max as a villain in one of his movies, convincing him that he needs a different kind of villain. At first Seagal rejects him because there was another actor who would take that role, but he changes his opinion after listening an extract of a Shakesperian play done by Max.

Suddenly, after some medical exams, Max is diagnosed with heart disease, which is incurable by a transplant because Max's heart is so big. Sammy decides to find Lilliana, and tries to convince her to meet Max again, but she rejects the invitation. Sammy then convinces his wife to take the role of Lilliana and after some words, Max asks her for a kiss.
Sammy eventually decides to return Max home to Romania. Max refuses to go back, but finally he enters the house and meet his parents again, who abandoned him when he was born. Sammy ends up watching Max's first filmed scene in a cinema with his family.The story was inspired by professional wrestler André the Giant, whom Crystal had met during the filming of The Princess Bride. Steven Seagal appeared as himself.

In an episode of the TV series Friends, Chandler, who is hiding Monica in his suite, uses watching My Giant as an excuse to try to stop Joey from using the hotel room to sleep with a bridesmaid, only to discover that Joey loves the movie and wants to come into the room to watch it. Later in the episode. Joey talks to Chandler about his acting skills compared to the giant's.
In the episode "You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives" of Family Guy, Lois Griffin visits a priest to help her overcome her fear of gay marriage. After watching a film about homosexuals, the priest suggest they watch My Giant. Lois says "Oh, God no".

vineri, 17 august 2012

Success 2012: Gheorghe Mureșan, the tallest player in NBA history. THE BIG GHITZA is 7 ft 7 (2.31 m) tall

Gheorghe Dumitru Mureșan, ( born February 14, 1971), also known as Ghiţă or George, is a retired Romanian professional basketball player. At 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m), he is the tallest players in NBA history.

Mureșan was born in the countryside of Romania, in Tritenii de Jos, Cluj County, and played competitive basketball at Cluj University.

 He played professionally in the French league with Pau-Orthez during the 1992–93 season and was an instant hit with fans. The NBA took interest in him and he was selected by the Washington Bullets in the 1993 NBA Draft. He played in the NBA from 1993 to 2000 showing signs of a promising career that was derailed by injuries.

After returning to France and playing for the start of the 1995–96 season with Pau-Orthez, he was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for the 1995–96 season after averaging 14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.26 blocks per game while making a league-leading 58.4 percent of his field goals.

 He led in field goal percentage again the following season, with a 60.4% average. Overall, he holds career averages of 9.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.48 blocks per game and a .573 field goal percentage.

He joined the New Jersey Nets for the final 31 games of his career. After ending his NBA career, Mureșan had another stint in the French league before returning to the United States with his family. He normally wore number 77, in reference to his height.

On March 11, 2007, Mureșan played a game for the Maryland Nighthawks as part of the tallest lineup in the history of basketball. This is the only basketball game Mureșan has ever played where he was not the tallest person on the court, as Sun Mingming is 7' 9" (2.36 m).

In 2004, Gheorghe Muresan founded Giant Basketball Academy (GBA), a program dedicated to teaching the proper fundamentals of basketball to boys and girls of all ages. Muresan is also part of the Washington Wizards marketing and public relations team.

Outside basketball, Mureșan has dabbled in acting, playing the title character in 1998 feature film My Giant starring comedian Billy Crystal. Mureșan plays a ventriloquist in rap artist Eminem's breakout video "My Name Is". He has appeared in commercials for Snickers candy bars, and sports television network ESPN. Most recently, Mureșan authored two young adult fitness and health books: The Boy's Fitness Guide and The Girl's Fitness Guide.
Together with his family, Mureșan has been a resident of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Gheorghe Dumitru Mureșan (n. 14 februarie 1971 în Tritenii de Jos, Cluj) este un fost jucător NBA născut în România. La înălțimea de 2,31 m, deține împreună cu Manute Bol titlul de cel mai înalt jucător din istoria NBA.

Gheorghe Mureșan este cel mai cunoscut sportiv român intrat in vizorul lumii sportive datorită selecției observative. Având o înaltime peste medie la vârsta junioratului a fost imediat reperat de către specialiștii de la Clubul Sportiv al Universității Cluj. De aici, datorită aptitudinilor sale, jucătorul a evoluat și curând a atras atenția selecționerului echipei naționale și mai apoi echipelor din străinatate: Pau-Orthez, Washington Bullets și New Jersey Nets.

A încercat și actoria, fiind un personaj principal în filmul Gigantul Meu din 1998, în care a jucat împreună cu Billy Crystal.
Recordul său pentru naționala României este de 42 de puncte, reușite într-un meci cu Suedia, în noiembrie 1992. În 1993 a pătruns în liga profesionistă nord-americană (NBA), evoluând cinci sezoane pentru Washington Bullets (1993-1998) și două pentru New Jersey Nets (1998-2000). În sezonul 1995-1996 a primit premiul NBA Most Improved Player Award.


- Graduated from Cluj University in Romania.

- First child, George, born on April 23, 1998.

- Did not get his height from his parents. His father is 5'9" and his mother 5'7". A pituitary gland condition caused his unusual growth.

- Selected by the Washington Bullets in the second round (30th pick overall) of the 1993 NBA Draft.
Signed by the New Jersey Nets on May 3, 1999.

- Gheorghe has a Great Dane named "Lucky".

- Weighs 303 lbs (137.4 kg).

- Nickname is "Ghitza" which is pronounced GEET-za and translates to "Little Gheorghe" in English.

- Has played basketball since the age of 14 when he went to the dentist (who was also a basketball referee) and was recruited to play.

- At 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m), the tallest man ever to play in the NBA, standing a few millimeters taller than Sudanese player Manute Bol.