Regis runs into a snowstorm

Inside Lines
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The Independent Online

John Regis, the former sprint star, is set to make his Olympic comeback. On ice. As we reported here last week the 34-year-old Regis has been auditioning for a roll-on part in the British bobsleigh team for the Winter Games of 2002. And last week he made it, being selected with his fellow Belgrave Harrier Marcus Adam for the Salt Lake City squad. But he appears to have run into something of a snowstorm. For Regis has been picked to act as brakeman to the previously banned Mark Tout in the two-man team and he, Adam, another Belgrave Harrier, and the ex-200 metres runner Phil Goodluck, for the rival Sean Olsson's four-man crew. And Olsson is said to be furious. Not about Regis, but the fact that Tout, whom he replaced as number one driver when the former received a four-year suspension from the sport after admitting to using steroids, has been picked. Now Tout, at 39, is back in the driving seat in the number two bob, which Olsson terms "a disgrace". The Olympic bronze medallist claims that Tout is not only

John Regis, the former sprint star, is set to make his Olympic comeback. On ice. As we reported here last week the 34-year-old Regis has been auditioning for a roll-on part in the British bobsleigh team for the Winter Games of 2002. And last week he made it, being selected with his fellow Belgrave Harrier Marcus Adam for the Salt Lake City squad. But he appears to have run into something of a snowstorm. For Regis has been picked to act as brakeman to the previously banned Mark Tout in the two-man team and he, Adam, another Belgrave Harrier, and the ex-200 metres runner Phil Goodluck, for the rival Sean Olsson's four-man crew. And Olsson is said to be furious. Not about Regis, but the fact that Tout, whom he replaced as number one driver when the former received a four-year suspension from the sport after admitting to using steroids, has been picked. Now Tout, at 39, is back in the driving seat in the number two bob, which Olsson terms "a disgrace". The Olympic bronze medallist claims that Tout is not only a drugs cheat but "a disruptive influence on the team". There never has been much love lost between them and Tout, who is to appeal the lifelong Olympic ban imposed by the British Olympic Association, shrugs it off. "I have no idea what he means," he says. "I'm just happy to be re-established in the team." Another former top athlete, Lenny Paul, now the British coach, was instrumental in bringing Tout in from the cold. "He's there because he's the best driver," he said. "What happened in the past is history. This is about tomorrow."

Why K2 is not OK

Five down, or rather up and down, and two to go. Our intrepid adventurer friend, Andrew Salter, who is in the process of breaking all sorts of records by climbing seven of the world's toughest mountains, all on different geographical continents this year, is about to embark on peak number six. Having, since March, conquered Mount McKinley in Alaska, Kenya's Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus in Russia, and the Carstenz Pyramid in Indonesia, not forgetting a molehill called Everest, he flies to Antarctica tomorrow to begin the ascent of Mount Vinson. Then follows perhaps the biggest challenge of all for the 40-year-old former ski instructor from Hertfordshire as he returns to his "bête noire", the 23,000-feet Aconcagua on the borders of Chile and Argentina. This was where he started his odyssey in January but after getting more than half way up his lungs filled with blood and liquid and he had to abort. So he plans to end where he should have begun, and hopes to be back home in time for Christmas, mission completed. No doubt next year he will be looking for more mountains to climb, though he confided that Everest's twin tower, the 28,250-feet K2, will not be among them. He has always resisted the challenge. "Funnily enough, I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to K2. The statistics are against you. For every three climbers who go up, one doesn't come down. It's a bit like running to and fro across the M25 in a blindfold."

Too bookish for football?

One of the above-mentioned Andrew Salter's remaining aspirations is to write a book. One fellow adventurer who already has is Michael Collins, a US-based Irishman whose latest novel, Keepers of the Truth, is shortlisted for this year's Booker Prize, to be announced on Tuesday. Although the book, about murder and obsession, is said to have no connection with sport (could have fooled us), the 36-year-old author certainly has. Collins is an extreme sports enthusiast who has completed marathons in Antarctica and around Everest, skied across Greenland and raced for five days up the Himalayas. He wonders if for him sport is "a reaction to the intellectualisation of our information age. The long, attenuated struggle through endurance is something I fell upon when I was young, solely for the rush of endorphins. But now I see physical endurance as an equally mental activity where you look initially at the magnitude of what faces you, and then you begin to apportion parts of that journey into manageable parts." Sounds exactly like the sort of message England's new egghead manager will be keen to impart to football's young masters of philosophy once he has dragged them away from the poker schools and betting shops.

Jaw jaw, not war war

According to insiders, a state of civil war exists between two of sport's principal governing bodies, Sport England and UK Sport, whose respective heavyweight figureheads are the former England footballer Trevor Brooking and rugby league's overlord, Sir Rodney Walker. There has been a terse exchange of letters between the two on the vexed subject of who has overall responsibility for the distribution of lottery funding, and Sport England's deputy chairman, Des Wilson, who also sits on UK Sport, is said to have angrily stormed out of a recent strategy meeting. The sports minister, Kate Hoey, is known to favour more involvement and responsibility for UK Sport. "Certain ideas have been put forward by the minister as worthy of investigation," says a UK Sport spokesman. "And that is exactly what has been happening in subsequent amicable discussions. All agree that whatever happens has to be in the best interests of the athletes."

Appealing bids for Helen

Jarvis Astaire, the former deputy chairman of Wembley,donated a boxful of stadium memorabilia that hadn't been sold off (including a superb speedway trophy once awarded to the legendary Split Waterman), Tony Adams gave his signed Arsenal captain's armband, Finlay Calder his British Lions blazer and Sir Roger Bannister a montage of his barrier-breaking four-minute mile run. Even Lester Piggott chipped in with one of his favourite racing prints for the launch of the Living with Legends memorabilia auction in aid of the Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre Appeal which at present stands at £800,000. Bidding begins on Tuesday on www.helen-rollason.com or www.livingwithlegends.com

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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