Olympic bomb to net guard $1m

Richard Jewell, the security guard wrongly implicated in the Atlanta Olympics bombing, has been doing the rounds of the United States television talk-show circuit complaining that his life has been ruined.

The lament is beginning to sound a little hollow. The news from Hollywood is that Mr Jewell is about to sign a six-figure contract for exclusive rights to a feature film dramatising his ordeal. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported he had reached a $500,000 (pounds 300,000) settlement with NBC after the television network had named him on air as the prime suspect in the explosion on 27 July, which killed one person and injured 111.

The Hollywood newspaper Daily Variety reported yesterday that three studios have been bidding for the Jewell story and that he was edging towards signing with Fox 2000, which offered the most money up-front.

With a book deal almost certain to follow, Mr Jewell, 34, appears well on the way to becoming a millionaire - a status he could not remotely have aspired to before the Centennial Park bomb. As a private security guard who lived with his mother in a small apartment, nothing had suggested until then that he would have a shot at the American dream. In fact, it was in large part because he conformed to the US stereotype of "the loser" that the FBI hit upon him as a possible suspect in the first place.

Last October, the justice department issued a statement clearing him of suspicion and since then Mr Jewell has been making hay, savouring the two blessings to which Americans most aspire, celebrity and money. One of the lawyers who is in on the action was quoted last week as saying about a movie deal: "Any interest Richard Jewell has in this is demonstrated by a desire to have the story told correctly. It's not an interest for money. I state that unequivocally."