Inside Lines: Queen Vic leading the parade for 2012's bread and circuses


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Snubbed they may have been in the BBC's sexist shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year, but Britain's sportswomen are now beating the men in the race to the 2012 cashpoint.

With a gold medal in London potentially worth around £2 million in endorsements and advertising, it is girl-power that is pulling in the big-money sponsors, with the cyclist Victoria Pendleton fast-tracking the way to the bank. The world sprint cycling champion and gold medallist in Beijing can regularly be seen in various stages of near-undress in magazines or supplements.

Queen Vic, as she is known in the bike business, heads a long list of Britain's leading female Olympians to have posed for lingerie calendars and beauty and lifestyle products. The latest lucrative eye-catching photo-shoot for Pendleton is as the face of a new digital marketing campaign from Hovis promoting healthy eating in Olympic year. She also spearheads a promotion by Olympic sponsors P&G with the equally commercially appealing heptathlete Jessica Ennis and the open water swimming champion Keri-Anne Payne, all sporting the new buzz-phrase "brand ambassadors".

Nice work if you can get it – and the glamour girls of sport obviously can – leaving the men to pick up the crumbs. Time to get your kit off, lads?

Khan needs hat trick

The song and dance may be over, but the malady lingers on. The World Boxing Association (WBA) have ordered a rematch between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson for their light-welterweight title following what they say were "multiple irregularities" in the Washington bout. Yet there could well be yet another twist in this odd odyssey.

When the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the other sanctioning body, conduct their own investigation on Wednesday, the outcome may not be what Khan hopes. His team's protests and insinuations about the role of the "man in the hat" – one Mustafa Ameen, now revealed as a serial ringside interloper (known in the fight game as a 'jibber') – and controversial points deduction by the home-town referee have not only angered the Lamont camp but possibly alienated the IBF (whose title Peterson held) to the extent where they won't endorse the rematch.

Lamont, who has already rejected an £800,000 offer from Khan's Golden Boy promoters for a return fight, could give up the WBA title and defend his IBF version against another opponent, most likely the WBC champion Timothy Bradley for a bigger purse, leaving Khan in limbo.

Budd is still blooming

She was the original Plastic Brit, the shy South African teenager whose contrived nationality switch began with jeers and ended in tears when she tripped up US favourite Mary Decker in the 3,000 metres final at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Almost three decades later Budd, is still running, training for South Africa's biggest and longest road race, the 90km Comrades marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in June. Her aim is to break eight hours.

These days, Budd, now 45, lives in the United States after a deeply troubled domestic life which has seen an acrimonious marriage break-up and the murder of her bisexual father. But how wryly she must recall her own protest-marred pace-setting sojourn here which paved the way for a current invasion of athletic carpetbaggers now apparently accepted without demur.

Moynihan makes tracks

The British Olympic Association's chairman Colin Moynihan has called for retractable seating to be installed at the Olympic Stadium after West Ham insisted they will not move there if the track remains uncovered. "It is an issue that must be looked at," he insists.

Moynihan also says he won't be using the customary chauffeur-driven limo for VIPs to attend the Games but will travel by tube. Boris Johnson's plea for other bigwigs like Jacques Rogge and Sepp Blatter to do the same unsurprisingly remains unheeded.