Outside Edge

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The Independent Online

So Mitchell Johnson's got problems with his mum. Vikki Harber is upset because she thinks the Aussie paceman's girlfriend, model and karate champion Jessica Bratich, is keeping him away from her and affecting his form. But how about NASCAR racing driver Jeremy Mayfield's stepmother Lisa? She is suing Jeremy after he told ESPN.com: "She's basically a whore. She shot and killed my dad." His father Terry committed suicide, according to the coroner, and the outburst came after NASCAR filed court papers stating Jeremy had failed a second drugs test for methamphetamine, including an affadavit by Lisa that she saw him take the stimulant at least 30 times. Love is not the drug.


After last week's dental surgery, it's Chris Eubank again. The former boxer is selling his title, Lordship of the Manor of Brighton, for this sum to pay his bills. It entitles you to 4,000 eels a year. But not to sell seashells on the sea shore.

Choppy waters of the week

More absurdity in the virtual world of health and safety. The council pool in Dagenham has banned its swimmers from doing lengths so lifeguards can ensure their safety. The council explains that the decision allows people to train more easily for 50 and 100-metre events since the pool is 25m wide and 33.3m long. It seems that dividing a round number by two or four is far simpler than dividing it by three. There are more reasonable concerns about the Palio horse race around the main square of Siena in Italy on 16 August, not least the use of the 'nerbo', a crop made of a dried, stretched ox's penis which jockeys use on each other as much as on their horses. But only during the race.

Good week for

Jack Johnson, first black heavyweight champion given posthumous pardon by Congress after serving 10 months in prison for having a relationship with a white woman... Gemma Spofforth, broke 100m backstroke world record in Rome, the first British woman to do so for 51 years... and Javelin, 140mph Olympic 2012 train reached Stratford from St Pancras 15 seconds ahead of schedule.

Bad week for

Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls' British forward misses European Championships after failing to recover from a stress fracture... Michael Phelps, lost for the first time in five years in the 200m freestyle in Rome... and Peter Easterby, former racehorse trainer convicted of allowing hare-coursing on his land, though he was given an absolute discharge due to confusion about the Hunting Act.

Steamy encounters of the week

At least temperatures will be running high at the World Sauna Championships in Heinola, Finland this weekend. Last year's winner Bjarne Hermansson sat in 110C of heat for 18 minutes and 15 seconds. It's not the most exciting of spectator sports – competitors tend to look very tired and listless – but referees enforce strict rules: "Competitors must sit in the sauna with buttocks and thighs on the seat. Forearms must stay on knees. Touching skin with hand is forbidden. Posture must be erect." Outside Edge assumes they mean the shoulders and back. For a more chilled-out pursuit, try the World Hen-Racing Championships at the Barley Mow in Bonsall, Derbyshire. Go and egg them on.