Tag Archives: personality

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M&C Saatchi complete ground-breaking deal with Merlin talent agency

Magic touch: M&C Saatchi seal Merlin tie-up in bid to rule world of sport and entertainment

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

09:58 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 24 January 2013

The biggest players in sport will join up with some of the leading lights in showbusiness in a company aimed at ruling the world of entertainment.

M&C Saatchi UK Group, one of the world’s fastest growing global communications companies, has acquired leading talent management agency Merlin Elite.

It combines leading sportsmen, such as Amir Khan, with Merlin’s stable of clients, including Andrew Flintoff, Jamie and Louise Redknapp, pop star Jay Kay, TV personality and fashion model Jodie Kidd and radio presenter Jamie Theakston.

Deal: Amir Khan (right) is represented by M&C Saatchi

Deal: Amir Khan (right) is represented by M&C Saatchi

It is the first time a global advertising agency has bought a talent business and the ground-breaking enterprise sees M&C Saatchi acquire a majority 60 per cent of the talent business, with the new company, M&C Saatchi Merlin, becoming the first new organisation to be part of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment Group.

To be based at M&C Saatchi’s headquarters in London, M&C Saatchi Merlin will act as a stand-alone business and will look to further grow its portfolio in sport, TV and entertainment, with a number of new names expected to join the line-up.

Represented: Andrew Flintoff

Represented: Andrew Flintoff

Since founding Merlin a decade ago,
chairman Richard Thompson has built an impressive roster of clients
within sport and entertainment and he commented: 'I am extremely excited to be joining the M&C Saatchi family. With the quality of people I have met, to the level of creativity and professionalism, I have no doubt this merger of talents will help create a new breed of Management Company – the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

'Talent management, both for sportspeople and entertainers, has fundamentally remained the same for the past thirty years. M&C Saatchi Merlin will have a creative approach to managing, nurturing and developing a career that will be unique. This acquisition demonstrates why M&C Saatchi have long been regarded as pioneers.'

Steve Martin added: 'This is not about selling Merlin’s talent portfolio back to our existing clients. We are joining forces with Merlin Elite to allow us to develop new revenue streams, build valuable intellectual property and harness some of the best talent in the country. It is a pioneering business model and the combination of creativity with strategic personal management will really freshen up a part of the industry that has been doing the same thing for a long time.'

The board of M&C Saatchi Merlin will consist of Richard Thompson, who will be chairman, Sian Connolly, Merlin Elite MD, Steve Martin, Lisa Thomas and Jamie Hewitt, M&C Saatchi Group FD.

Lisa Thomas, CEO M&C Saatchi (UK) Group, added: 'The combination of these two incredibly successful businesses will form a formidable powerhouse in our growth areas of Sports and Entertainment. M&C Saatchi Group has always done things differently and we are delighted to lead the way with this brutally simple, strategic acquisition.'

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Andy Murray won"t complain about OBE

OBE The fantasy league is my goal, says Murray on back of stunning year

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UPDATED:

00:17 GMT, 30 December 2012

Andy Murray would have every right to feel aggrieved for receiving ‘only’ an OBE in the New Year’s honours, but you will not find Britain’s best tennis player complaining about it — his focus is firmly on 2013, when he says his main aim, aside from winning matches, will be to retain his Fantasy Football title.

Murray’s historic 2012 included Olympic singles gold and the US Open title (the first Slam title by a British man for 76 years) in tennis’s greatest era for quality bar none, as well as being voted into third place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Yet Murray’s OBE was two tiers down from the award handed to Bradley Wiggins (knighthood), a tier below the CBEs handed to Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Victoria Pendleton and Kath Grainger, and on the same level as up-and-coming cyclist Laura Trott and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin.

Main man: Andy Murray was honoured with an OBE after his winning season

Main man: Andy Murray was honoured with an OBE after his winning season

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Murray, 25, will be unruffled because his sport comes ahead of any resulting baubles, although he has already been installed as the favourite to win the SPOTY award in 2013. England cricketer Alastair Cook is second favourite in what will be Ashes year, ahead of Ennis, Farah and Chris Froome, a possible winner of the 2013 Tour de France with Team Sky.

Murray outlined his 2013 targets, including retaining the fantasy league title he contests among friends, in a debut Twitter forum hosted by football’s world governing body, FIFA.

In the same session, Sir Geoff Hurst invited Murray to watch England play football in 2013 — and Murray accepted. Murray also disclosed that ‘purely on satisfaction’ his Olympic gold meant more to him than his US Open title.

He also said that if he had not been a tennis player, his dream would have been to play football for Arsenal, rather than Hibernian, the Edinburgh team he supports.

Jess a Twitter millionairess

Jessica Ennis’s army of Twitter followers reached the one million mark on Christmas Eve, prompting the heptathlon star to tweet: ‘That’s mad! Thanks guys. I’d better start tweeting some interesting stuff.’

Golden moment: Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon at the London Games

Golden moment: Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon at the London Games

Ennis becomes only the third British Olympian to pass 1m followers after diver Tom Daley, who has 2.1m people following his tweets, and Andy Murray, with 1.33m. Mo Farah (710,000) is next closest to the tally, Sir Chris Hoy is on 430,000, Becky Adlington has 311,000, Victoria Pendleton attracts 237,000 and gymnast — and ‘Strictly’ winner — Louis Smith is on 195,000.

These numbers are dwarfed by Britain’s best-followed footballers Wayne Rooney (5.5m) and Rio Ferdinand (3.7m).

Mum Julie flies to Crowe’s nest

Four Yorkshire brothers, who have all been signed to play for the Sydney-based rugby league club owned by film star Russell Crowe, will celebrate the New Year as a family after their mother, Julie, flew to Australia to begin a new life Down Under with them last week.

England and Great Britain international Sam Burgess, 24, as well as older brother Luke, 25, and twin siblings George and Tom, 20, have been signed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, owned by Crowe, 48, since 2006.

Helping hand: Russell Crowe

Helping hand: Russell Crowe

Widowed Julie has been a friend of Crowe’s since the club signed Sam in 2009, with the other brothers following. ‘He’s always very hospitable and looks after the boys. He loves being part of our family, he likes to look after us,’ said Ms Burgess earlier this year.

Once in Sydney, she tweeted: ‘Hello Australia! I’ve arrived and couldn’t be happier!’

Sam Burgess has played down suggestions of a romance between Crowe, who recently split from his wife, and his mother, insisting they are ‘just mates’.

BT warned

Sunset+Vine, the award-winning company who have bagged the contract to produce the live sports programming for BT’s new sports channel, including Premier League games from summer 2013, will face financial penalties in the event of any broadcasting cock-ups, say sources.

BT are desperate for their new content to be perfect and a schedule of fines is aimed at making sure there are no bloopers like the one made by ITV during the 2010 World Cup, when viewers missed Steven Gerrard’s goal for England against the United States because of an advert break. BT declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Jake Humphrey’s appointment to front BT’s Premier League coverage has led to joy for petrolhead pin-up Suzi Perry. The 42-year-old presenter will replace Humphrey as the face of BBC1’s Formula One coverage. Gary Lineker is among those who tweeted his congratulations, saying: ‘Great choice, she’ll be brilliant.’

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Bradley Wiggins: Highlight was playing with Paul Weller

Winning the Tour de France and another Olympic gold medal was great, but highlight was jamming with Weller, admits Wiggins

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 29 December 2012

A spectacular 2012 was brought to a fitting conclusion for Bradley Wiggins when he received a knighthood in the New Year Honours – but nothing compared to being on stage with his hero Paul Weller.

Highlights of the 32-year-old's year have included being the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and winning his fourth Olympic gold medal, while earlier this month he was the runaway winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Scroll down to watch Wiggins and Weller

In the spotlight: Wiggins has had a year to remember after adding Olympic gold to his Tour de France win

In the spotlight: Wiggins has had a year to remember after adding Olympic gold to his Tour de France win

Wiggins is almost as famous for his
love of mod culture as he is for his exploits on two wheels, with
spectators at the Olympic time trial donning fake sideburns in his
honour.

Last week he joined Weller to perform The Jam classic 'That's Entertainment' during a charity concert at Hammersmith Apollo.

And asked for his highlight of 2012, Wiggins said: 'For me it's probably the obvious one, apart from Sports Personality, playing at Hammersmith Apollo with Paul Weller last Wednesday was incredible.

'That topped it for me, and that's not a joke. It was amazing. Playing a Jam song as well, I mean how many people get to do that'

The irreverent personality that has captured the public's imagination perhaps sits oddly with a knighthood, awarded for services to cycling, but Wiggins believes it sends a good message in the age of celebrity culture.

Pleased to meet you: Wiggins with music icons Paul Weller (above) and Liam Gallagher (below)

Pleased to meet you: Wiggins with music icons Paul Weller (above) and Liam Gallagher (below)

Bradley Wiggins

Sir Dave salutes team

Dave Brailsford has paid tribute to the collective effort of those he oversees at British Cycling and Team Sky after he was knighted in the New Year Honours list.

The 48-year-old has received the honour at the end of a year in which he led Great Britain to eight cycling gold medals for a second successive Olympics and Team Sky to an historic one-two in the Tour de France.

On his knighthood for services to cycling and the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, Brailsford, who is British Cycling performance director and principal of Team Sky, said: 'It is a bit surreal really.

'It is quite humbling and it really is something to try to get my head around.

'I'm very lucky and aware that the sport of cycling has grown and that we have had great success because it is a team effort over a long, long period of time.'

He said: 'It's quite something really. I never imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour but there's a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in.

'There was never any doubt whether I'd accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will.

'I don't like profiting from status so it's more for my family. It's nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I'm a knight, and for my kids in the future.

'To be deemed good enough to have a knighthood by the establishment is quite nice really, because I've continued to be myself through most of the fame.

'Not all of it's been good, a couple of swear words and things, so it's nice to be able to receive this after everything, it shows you don't have to have a stiff upper lip and say all the right things all the time.

'It's a nice advertisement for our culture I think because so much of it is based on being something you're not with celebrity, so it's reassuring in a way.'

Wiggins had been widely tipped to receive the honour after his superb achievements this year, but he admitted he thought he may have missed out as time ticked by before he finally received notification two weeks ago.

'I was in Spain on a training camp so it came quite late,' he said. 'I actually thought, early December, you normally hear by now, so I thought maybe it wasn't going to happen this time so when it finally did come I thought, “Blimey”.'

French fancy: Wiggins leads team-mate Mark Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour de France

French fancy: Wiggins leads team-mate Mark Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour de France

Here Wiggo! The Brit was then cheered home to win the Olympic Time Trial

Here Wiggo! The Brit was then cheered home to win the Olympic Time Trial

Wiggins admitted he initially struggled for motivation as he thought about trying to follow 2012, but he has thrown himself back into training and is planning to ride both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2013.

There is still uncertainty about whether he will bid to defend his Tour crown or support team-mate Chris Froome, who finished second this year.

Wiggins said: “It's about setting new goals and going out and doing something else. It might not top it, it might not ever top it, but you have to go back to work at some point.

'Initially motivation was an issue but you actually crave going back to that routine and that structure. I really enjoyed being in camp again with the team and going back to what got you there in the first place. There are things I still want to do within the sport.

Another one for the collection: Wiggins was also named Sports Personality of the Year

Another one for the collection: Wiggins was also named Sports Personality of the Year

'I'm doing the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France as a new challenge, and that's very much what we're training for at the moment.

'The priority is the Tour of Italy and then we go to the Tour and it could be in a support role to Chris Froome, it could be both of us, it could be me again, it really depends on how the season pans out, on results and form and even whether both of us make it to the Tour.'

Looking further into the future, Wiggins has his sights set on an Olympic swansong in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where he hopes to return to the track.

'I'd love to go to Rio,' he added. 'That would be an incredible way to finish it all with a fifth gold medal, and I would like it to be back on the track in the team pursuit where it all started in Sydney for me.'

BRADLEY WIGGINS FACTFILE

1980: Born April 28 in Ghent, Belgium before growing up in London. Son of Australian former racing cyclist Gary Wiggins.

1992: Begins track cycling at Herne Hill Velodrome, London.

1997: Wins individual pursuit gold at Junior World Track Championships in Cuba.

2000: March – Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.
October – Bronze in team pursuit at Olympic Games in Sydney.

2001: September – Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

2002: July – Silver for England in team pursuit and individual pursuit
at Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Gold in individual pursuit at Track
Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

2003: August – Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
September – Wins opening stage of Tour de l'Avenir.

2004: August – Olympic gold in individual pursuit at Athens Olympics.
Also wins silver in team pursuit alongside Steve Cummings, Paul Manning
and Rob Hayles and bronze in Madison alongside Rob Hayles to become
first Briton since 1964 to win three medals at one Games.

Bradley Wiggins

2005: September – Wins stage eight of Tour de l'Avenir.

2006: July – Makes Tour de France debut, riding for French team Cofidis.

2007: March – Wins gold in the individual pursuit and team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Palma, Majorca.
June – Prologue victory in Dauphine Libere.
July – Finishes fourth in Tour de France prologue in London behind Swiss
winner Fabian Cancellara but his team, Cofidis, later withdraw after
team-mate Cristian Moreni fails a drugs test.

2008: January – Wiggins' estranged father, Gary Wiggins, is discovered unconscious in New South Wales and later dies.
March – Wins individual pursuit, team pursuit and Madison gold at Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.
August 16 – Successfully defends Olympic individual pursuit title with gold at the Laoshan Velodrome.
August 18 – Olympic team pursuit gold alongside Ed Clancy, Geraint
Thomas and Paul Manning in a world record of three minutes 53.314
seconds.
August 19 – Favourite for Olympic Madison alongside Mark Cavendish but
ninth-placed finish results in Manxman suffering the ignominy of being
the only member of GB's track team to leave the Laoshan Velodrome
without a medal and has a public falling-out with Wiggins.

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish

October – Releases autobiography titled 'In Pursuit of Glory' detailing his struggle with alcohol after Athens Games.

2009: July – Secures fourth place in Tour de France, matching highest-ever placing by a British rider.
September – Wins British Time-Trial Championship.
October – Wins stage five time-trial and overall title at Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia.
December 10 – Signs four-year deal with Team Sky, the BSkyB-backed road
team which is being led by British Cycling performance director Dave
Brailsford.

2010: February 7 – Makes Team Sky debut at Tour of Qatar, helping squad to victory in the race's opening team time-trial.
March – Finishes third overall in the Tour of Murcia.
May – Wins Giro d'Italia prologue to become second Briton to wear race
leader's pink jersey, the maglia rosa. The victory gives Team Sky a
Grand Tour stage win at the first attempt.
July – Finishes 24th on Team Sky's Tour de France debut, upgraded to
23rd after Alberto Contador is stripped of the title for a doping
offence.

2011: March – Finishes third overall in Paris-Nice stage race.
May – Wins fourth stage of Bayern-Rundfahrt as team-mate Geraint Thomas wins overall.
June – Wins traditional Tour de France warm-up Criterium du Dauphine. Wins British Championships road race.
July 8 – Abandons Tour de France after fracturing collarbone in crash on
seventh stage. Wiggins was sixth overall, 10 seconds behind race leader
Thor Hushovd, entering the stage.

Bradley Wiggins is carried into an ambulance

September – Finishes third overall at the Vuelta a Espana, with Team Sky
colleague Chris Froome second. Finishes second in World Championships
time-trial before helping Cavendish win the road race.

2012: February: Wins stage five of Volta ao Algarve.
March – Wins Paris-Nice overall, completing victory with win on stage eight.
April – Triumphs in Tour de Romandie, winning stages one and five.
June – Successfully defends his Criterium du Dauphine title and wins
stage four time-trial for an unprecedented series of results.
July 7 – Takes the Tour de France yellow jersey after stage seven.
July 9 – Enhances hold on maillot jaune ahead of the first rest day with
a first Tour stage win, on the stage nine time-trial to Besancon.
July 21 – Wins the time-trial on the Tour's penultimate day to all but secure victory.
July 22 – Confirmed as Britain's first-ever winner of the Tour de France.
August 1 – Claims gold medal for Team GB at London 2012 in Olympic road time-trial.
November 7 – Taken to hospital after a collision with a car near his
home in Lancashire. Wiggins suffered bruising, a fractured rib, a
bruised lung and a dislocated finger.
December 16 – Wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, finishing
ahead of second-placed Jessica Ennis and third-placed Andy Murray.
December 28 – Awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

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Wesley Sneijder leaving Inter in January – says wife

Red alert! Sneijder's wife says Man United target is leaving Inter in January

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UPDATED:

20:01 GMT, 21 December 2012

The wife of Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has told a Dutch newspaper that her husband will leave the San Siro in January.

The Holland international faces an uncertain future at Inter after rejecting a request to take a significant pay cut, with Nerazzurri head coach Andrea Stramaccioni insisting the 28-year-old's three-month absence from his team is solely a tactical decision.

But Sneijder – a long-term Manchester United target – was dismissed from training for Christmas early this week despite Inter having two more games to play before the winter break.

Dutch of class: Sneijder won the 2010 Champions League with Inter

Dutch of class: Sneijder won the 2010 Champions League with Inter

Actress and television personality Yolanthe Sneijder-Cabau told De Telegraaf on Friday: 'We are about to emigrate.

'It should happen in early January and we are looking for a nice place for our family.'

Sneijder,
who won the treble with Inter under Jose Mourinho in 2010, has also
attracted the interest of ambitious French side Paris St Germain and
United's main rivals Manchester City.

Out of favour: The ex-Real Madrid and Ajax man refused to take a pay cut

Out of favour: The ex-Real Madrid and Ajax man refused to take a pay cut

Sneijder-Cabau later backtracked on her comments, taking to Twitter to claim she had been misquoted.

Through her official account, she tweeted: 'So many questions about our situation..

'Sweet people, as far as I know we are not leaving Milano! Some 'media' will always make up stories.'

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Martine Wright and Olympic Games legacy extinguished by funding cuts to sitting volleyball, says Lisa Wainwright

Funding cut to sitting volleyball has wiped out legacy of 7/7 survivor Wright and the Games, claims sport's chief Wainwright

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 18 December 2012

UK Sport's decision not to fund sitting volleyball for the next Paralympic cycle has 'extinguished' any legacy left by London 2012 and the likes of 7/7 bombings survivor Martine Wright, according to Volleyball England's Lisa Wainwright.

The UK's high performance sports agency today announced how a record pot of 347million would be distributed in the run-up to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It has been decided sitting volleyball will not be getting a chunk of the pie, just two days after Wright was honoured at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Waste of time: Lisa Wainwright indicated that the legacy forged by the Games and Martine Wright (pictured) was being wasted

Waste of time: Lisa Wainwright indicated that the legacy forged by the Games and Martine Wright (pictured) was being wasted

Wright, a sitting volleyball player who lost both legs in the 2005 attacks on London, gave a moving speech at the ExCeL on Sunday as winner of the Helen Rollason Award for 'outstanding achievement in the face of adversity', but Wainwright believes any legacy left from London 2012 has now disappeared.

'Today's funding announcement is so disappointing for all the athletes, staff and the sitting volleyball programme who have made such significant progress given their previous funding of less than 5k each for all training, competition and support,' she said.

'The investment requested from UK Sport was less than 500k per year per squad over the next four years.

'Everyone will have seen the impact sitting volleyball can have on people with the winner of the BBC's Helen Rollason Award, Martine Wright a survivor of the 7/7 London bombings.

Furious: Lisa Wainwright says the sport will need to refocus now

Furious: Lisa Wainwright says the sport will need to refocus now

'When we speak of legacy remember this day, the flame has well and truly been extinguished.

'The sport will now refocus over the new year and start the process of looking for additional funding from sponsors and donors.

'As ever, we remain focused on increasing the awareness of the sport at all levels. We thank all the players, coaches and support staff that have supported the programmes and look forward to working with them in the future.'

Only yesterday things had looked much rosier for the sport after Sport England announced its volleyball funding.

Following that announcement, Wright took to Twitter to say: 'Great news 5 million for grassroots volleyball which is fab, sitting volleyball back on the map where it counts! Decision Tom 4 elite level.'

PARALYMPIC FUNDING: 2013-2017

Winners

Adaptive rowing 3.5million (up from 2.3million) – one medal in London (hit target)

Boccia 3m (up from 2.3m) – one medal (hit target)

Disability athletics 10.7m (up from 6.7m) – 29 medals (hit target)

Disability sailing 2.8m (up from 1.7m) – two medals (hit target)

Disability shooting 3.3m (up from 2.1m) – three medals (surpassed target)

Disability table tennis 2.7m (up from 1.7m) – four medals (hit target)

Five-a-side football 1.3m – n/a

Goalball 1m women only (up from 0.5m) – no medals (hit performance target)

Judo (visually impaired)* 2m (up from 1.3m) – two medals (hit target)

Para-canoe* 2.3m – n/a

Para-cycling 6.7m (up from 4.2m) – 22 medals (hit target)

Para-equestrian dressage 3.8m (3.6m) – 11 medals (surpassed target)

Para-triathlon* 2.2m – N/A

Wheelchair basketball 5.4m (up from 4.5m) – no medals (missed target)

Wheelchair rugby 3m (up from 2.4m) – no medals (hit performance target)

Wheelchair tennis 1.9m (up from 0.8m) – two medals (hit target)

Losers

Disability archery 2m (down from 2.1m) – two medals (missed target)

Disability swimming 10.4m (down from 11.8m) – 39 medals (missed target)

Powerlifting 0.8m (down from 1.1m) – one medal (hit target)

Sitting volleyball – zero funding (down from 0.8m) – no medals (missed performance target)

Wheelchair fencing – zero funding (down from 0.6m) – no medals (missed performance target)

*denotes one-year award, with indicative four-year figure

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Bradley Wiggins in McDonald"s after winning Sports Personality of the Year

Ace racer to rockstar! Wiggins swaps gold medals for golden arches as SPOTY winner ends night of partying in McDonald's

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UPDATED:

09:11 GMT, 18 December 2012

Asked how he would celebrate being voted the nation’s Sports Personality of the Year, Bradley Wiggins winked.

‘I will go home and have a cup of tea,’ he said before breaking into a smile. ‘It’s a free bar so it would be rude not to give it a hiding.’ That sounds more like it.

Seven hours later a bleary-eyed Wiggins was photographed in a McDonald’s; his blue velvet double-breasted suit from a Soho tailor looking more than a tad dishevelled.

I'll have a Wig Mac! Bradley Wiggins was getting a late-night snack in McDonald's at 5am after winning SPOTY

I'll have a Wig Mac! Bradley Wiggins was getting a late-night snack in McDonald's at 5am after winning SPOTY

The party never stops: Bradley clearly didn't want his night to end as he left Mahiki and headed to the fast-food restaurant

The party never stops: Bradley clearly didn't want his night to end as he left Mahiki and headed to the fast-food restaurant

Wiggins reportedly ordered the establishment's signature Big Mac after a long night of celebration.

He had already treated the guests at
the BBC’s after-show party to a rendition of The Jam’s That’s
Entertainment and Wonderwall by Oasis and then carried on celebrating
with his wife, Cath, at a central London nightclub. Not bad for Great
Britain’s first winner of the Tour de France, surely one of the fittest
athletes on the planet.

But then Wiggins, as Lord Coe put it on Sunday night, has ‘that rock star quality’.

He
manages to be the last man standing after five hours of cycling on
brutal terrain or a long drinking session in the pub; looking equally at
home in his racing Lycra or with a bottle of wine in one hand and a
cigarette in the other.

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

‘He just cuts it,’ said Coe. ‘Bradley is where it is at the moment. I think it is an unbelievable year that he has had but he is just edgy, isn’t he Sporting characters have got to capture the public imagination and he does that.’

Wiggins might have a penchant for Paul Weller but he was certainly not buying into the suggestion he has reached rock-star status by wearing the yellow jersey and winning seven Olympic medals, four of them gold.

Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London

Pub talk: Bradley Wiggins kisses the iconic trophy last night (left) and (right) thanks his nan in his speech

Over to you, Sue: Sue Barker (left) chats to Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London last night

Over to you, Sue: Sue Barker (left) chats to Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London last night

the Farmers Arms in Heskin

The Farmers Arms in Heskin will be the first pub that the Tour de France winner takes his award to

‘I won the Tour de France,’ said
Wiggins. ‘Without this award I would still be me. I am just very
grateful to everyone who has helped me. There’s only the knighthood to
come, isn’t there, really’

Few knights of the realm, though, would give their Sports Personality of the Year award to their nan for safekeeping.

Even fewer would then take it on a
tour of the pubs near their home in Lancashire: the Farmers Arms in
Heskin and the Original Farmers Arms in Eccleston. Their hosts told
Sportsmail yesterday they would be delighted to look after the famous
trophy.

‘It would be
absolutely great,’ said Ann Rothwell, landlady of the Farmers Arms. ‘He
lives in between the two pubs and he does pop in here now and again, but
he’s an athlete, isn’t he He doesn’t frequent the pub that often.’

When he does, you imagine Wiggins might indulge in more than one glass of his favourite tipple: vodka and tonic.

Dave Brailsford, performance director
of British Cycling, recognised Wiggins’s talent as soon as he saw his
body shape and the ‘fluid’ way he pedals, but there was something else
that showed ‘this young lad was special’.

Support: Barry Newton, landlord of the Original Farmers Arms, said that Wiggo had a lot of support in the pub

Support: Barry Newton, landlord of the Original Farmers Arms, said that Wiggo had a lot of support in the pub

‘Once he decides he wants to do something — like all the greats — he really does make it,’ said Brailsford.

‘There’s something reminiscent of
David Beckham practising free-kicks, of Jonny Wilkinson (practising his
kicking) in Brad. It’s that type of obsession he has.’

The desire to achieve remains, too.
Wiggins has repeatedly stated he wants to win another Tour de France,
forcing Team Sky into a difficult decision as to whether the defending
champion, Chris Froome or both lead the team next year.

But the ‘obsession’ remains for
Wiggins, who needed a search party to track him down during a training
camp in Majorca last week, such was his eagerness to do ‘just that
little bit more’.

Suits you: Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins shows off the trophy

Suits you: Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins shows off the trophy

‘Bradley’s capacity to work hard is
unbelievable,’ said Brailsford. ‘It’s off the scale. But he’s learnt how
to manage himself and his sport and he’s become an extremely coachable
rider.

'He was up at 7.30 in the gym in
Majorca. He did five hours (on the bike) then went out on his own and
did another couple of hours.

‘Two days ago we actually sent
somebody out to look for him because it was starting to get dark and we
thought, “Where’s Brad” He had gone just that bit more.’

Perhaps we should all raise a glass to that.

Image article-2249733-168DA3A2000005DC-454_634x423.jpg

Fabrice Muamba appears on Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

Muamba shows no signs of slowing down after heart attack as former Bolton star appears on Strictly Christmas special

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UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 18 December 2012

A grinning Fabrice Muamba showed he still has some slick footwork as the former Bolton star, who was forced to retire from the game after a cardiac arrest stopped his heart for 78 minutes in March, appeared on Strictly Come Dancing.

The first pictures of the show’s pre-recorded Christmas special show the 24-year-old footballer swaying his hips and spinning his partner Aliona Vilani with carefree abandon.

Muamba retired from football in the summer after collapsing during an FA Cup match for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur.

Shaking it up: Aliona Vilani gets down with footballer Fabrice Muamba

Shaking it up: Aliona Vilani gets down with footballer Fabrice Muamba

Despite suffering a cardiac arrest nine months ago forcing him into retirement, the 24 year old shows no sign of slowing down

Despite suffering a cardiac arrest nine months ago forcing him into retirement, the 24 year old shows no sign of slowing down

In shocking scenes at White Hart Lane, Muamba was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital.

His heart had stopped for well over an hour, but remarkably the former midfielder recovered and has since had a pacemaker fitted.

The former Arsenal player made an emotional return at the Reebok Stadium in May, when, 46 days after his collapse, he tearfully walked onto the pitch before Tottenham's clash with Bolton as fans of both clubs chanting his name.

Muamba also appeared on stage this weekend before Bradley Wiggins picked up the Sports Personality of the Year award at the ExCeL Arena in London.

He was met by Gary Lineker as well as close friends and family and medical staff who helped to save his life earlier this year.

Fabrice shows that his footballing footwork has other uses

Fabrice shows that his footballing footwork has other uses

He told the audience: 'I don't know where to start. All these people, they mean the world to me… Sometimes, when I think about it, life is great.

'They did an unbelievable job to keep me where I am and I am very grateful for that.'

Other contestants on the one-off BBC1 show – to be broadcast on Christmas Day – were just as enthusiastic as Muamba.

Actress Sheila Hancock, Natasha Kaplinsky, retired Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson will also appear on the show, with veteran rocker Rod Stewart serenading them as they go.

Shock: Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane, as manager Owen Coyle joined players on the field of play

Shock: Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane, as manager Owen Coyle joined players on the field of play

Shock: Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane, as manager Owen Coyle joined players on the field of play

Overwhelming: Muamba made a tearful return to the Reebok Stadium

Overwhelming: Muamba made a tearful return to the Reebok Stadium

Image article-0-168CA46C000005DC-77_306x423.jpg

Bradley Wiggins wins Sports Personality of the Year and celebrates like a rockstar

Ace racer to rockstar! Wiggins swaps Tour de France for tour de force on party scene

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UPDATED:

23:19 GMT, 17 December 2012

Asked how he would celebrate being voted the nation’s Sports Personality of the Year, Bradley Wiggins winked.

‘I will go home and have a cup of tea,’ he said before breaking into a smile. ‘It’s a free bar so it would be rude not to give it a hiding.’ That sounds more like it.

Seven hours later a bleary-eyed Wiggins was photographed in a McDonald’s; his blue velvet double-breasted suit from a Soho tailor looking more than a tad dishevelled.

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

King of swing: Bradley Wiggins celebrated in his own special style after winning SPOTY

He had already treated the guests at the BBC’s after-show party to a rendition of The Jam’s That’s Entertainment and Wonderwall by Oasis and then carried on celebrating with his wife, Cath, at a central London nightclub. Not bad for Great Britain’s first winner of the Tour de France, surely one of the fittest athletes on the planet.

But then Wiggins, as Lord Coe put it on Sunday night, has ‘that rock star quality’.

He manages to be the last man standing after five hours of cycling on brutal terrain or a long drinking session in the pub; looking equally at home in his racing Lycra or with a bottle of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

‘He just cuts it,’ said Coe. ‘Bradley is where it is at the moment. I think it is an unbelievable year that he has had but he is just edgy, isn’t he Sporting characters have got to capture the public imagination and he does that.’

Wiggins might have a penchant for Paul Weller but he was certainly not buying into the suggestion he has reached rock-star status by wearing the yellow jersey and winning seven Olympic medals, four of them gold.

Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London

Pub talk: Bradley Wiggins kisses the iconic trophy last night (left) and (right) thanks his nan in his speech

Over to you, Sue: Sue Barker (left) chats to Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London last night

Over to you, Sue: Sue Barker (left) chats to Bradley Wiggins during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL London last night

the Farmers Arms in Heskin

The Farmers Arms in Heskin will be the first pub that the Tour de France winner takes his award to

‘I won the Tour de France,’ said
Wiggins. ‘Without this award I would still be me. I am just very
grateful to everyone who has helped me. There’s only the knighthood to
come, isn’t there, really’

Few knights of the realm, though, would give their Sports Personality of the Year award to their nan for safekeeping.

Even fewer would then take it on a
tour of the pubs near their home in Lancashire: the Farmers Arms in
Heskin and the Original Farmers Arms in Eccleston. Their hosts told
Sportsmail yesterday they would be delighted to look after the famous
trophy.

‘It would be
absolutely great,’ said Ann Rothwell, landlady of the Farmers Arms. ‘He
lives in between the two pubs and he does pop in here now and again, but
he’s an athlete, isn’t he He doesn’t frequent the pub that often.’

When he does, you imagine Wiggins might indulge in more than one glass of his favourite tipple: vodka and tonic.

Dave Brailsford, performance director
of British Cycling, recognised Wiggins’s talent as soon as he saw his
body shape and the ‘fluid’ way he pedals, but there was something else
that showed ‘this young lad was special’.

Support: Barry Newton, landlord of the Original Farmers Arms, said that Wiggo had a lot of support in the pub

Support: Barry Newton, landlord of the Original Farmers Arms, said that Wiggo had a lot of support in the pub

‘Once he decides he wants to do something — like all the greats — he really does make it,’ said Brailsford.

‘There’s something reminiscent of
David Beckham practising free-kicks, of Jonny Wilkinson (practising his
kicking) in Brad. It’s that type of obsession he has.’

The desire to achieve remains, too.
Wiggins has repeatedly stated he wants to win another Tour de France,
forcing Team Sky into a difficult decision as to whether the defending
champion, Chris Froome or both lead the team next year.

But the ‘obsession’ remains for
Wiggins, who needed a search party to track him down during a training
camp in Majorca last week, such was his eagerness to do ‘just that
little bit more’.

Suits you: Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins shows off the trophy

Suits you: Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins shows off the trophy

‘Bradley’s capacity to work hard is
unbelievable,’ said Brailsford. ‘It’s off the scale. But he’s learnt how
to manage himself and his sport and he’s become an extremely coachable
rider.

'He was up at 7.30 in the gym in
Majorca. He did five hours (on the bike) then went out on his own and
did another couple of hours.

‘Two days ago we actually sent
somebody out to look for him because it was starting to get dark and we
thought, “Where’s Brad” He had gone just that bit more.’

Perhaps we should all raise a glass to that.

Image article-2249520-14F0F9DD000005DC-99_468x358.jpg

Pele should perform Mobot, says Mo Farah

Pele should be next to perform Mobot, says Farah after SPOTY disappointment

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UPDATED:

16:55 GMT, 17 December 2012

Mo Farah wants Pele to be the next famous person to do the 'Mobot'.

Farah went home empty-handed from last night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards despite becoming the first Briton in history to claim Olympic gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres this summer.

The Somalia-born long-distance runner was one of the favourites for the award, but he had to settle for fourth place behind winner Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray.

Had it been any other year Farah might have expected to win by a landslide. His determination to win two of the hardest Olympic track events and the famous 'Mobot' celebration which accompanied both his victories made him a popular, iconic figure of London 2012.

M for Mo: Farah's celebration is now world famous

M for Mo: Farah's celebration is now world famous

Usain Bolt, Lennox Lewis and Boris Johnson are just three of the many people who have attempted the pose and Farah now wants arguably the greatest footballer of all time to attempt it too.

'I'd like a football player to do it, someone like Pele,' the 29-year-old said. 'I would probably like to see someone like Pele do it. That would be good.'

Celebrities such as Robbie Williams, Suggs and Girls Aloud have been pictured mimicking Farah's signature pose, which was coined by James Corden and Clare Balding during Farah's appearance on television programme 'A League of Their Own'.

Farah, who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, but grew up in London, beamed with pride last night as he recalled winning the two gold medals on successive Saturdays during the Games.

'As an athlete you dream of becoming an Olympic champion, but to do it like that was something I would have never dreamed of,' Farah added.

'To come back twice and do it in the 5,000 was so difficult because my legs were tired and the other guys were working as a team.

'There aren't many athletes who have done that (win 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres) so it's an honour.'

Oh what a night! Farah delivered one of the highlights of the Olympics

Oh what a night! Farah delivered one of the highlights of the Olympics

Success in London 2012 has had its drawbacks, however. Farah, who wants to compete in Rio 2016 – possibly in the marathon – thinks his rivals will now be more determined than ever to beat him.

For that reason he is looking to quickly forget about his double-gold triumph and start planning for 2016.

He said: 'This year has been a great year and hopefully 2013 will be the same again for me.

'As an athlete you have to forget about what you have achieved and you have got to move on.

'There are more people out there who want to beat me now so that's the way I have got to see it and I have to get back in to serious training again.

'My coach Alberto (Salazar) has got me back into training already and hopefully we will get a block of training together and then go to Kenya, because that's what we always do so I am quite looking forward to that.'

I'll do it! Farah wants Brazil legend Pele top perform the famous celebration

I'll do it! Farah wants Brazil legend Pele top perform the famous celebration

Image article-2249513-168BB738000005DC-104_468x299.jpg

BBC clarify decision to hand Team GB and Paralympics GB Team of Year award

BBC clarify decision to hand Team GB and Paralympics GB Team of Year award

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UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 17 December 2012

The BBC have moved to clarify the thinking behind naming Britain's Olympians and Paralympians collectively as their Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday night.

Last week, explaining the nomination process, the BBC had stated: 'For the avoidance of doubt this criteria excludes Team GB/Paralympics GB but includes the likes of British Cycling, Rowing Coxless Four and the European Ryder Cup team.'

So when Team GB and Paralympics GB were named as Team of the Year there was understandably confusion at the ExCel Arena and in the living rooms of people watching at home on Sunday night.

Team effort: Victoria Pendleton and Jonnie Peacock picked up the award

Team effort: Victoria Pendleton and Jonnie Peacock picked up the award

Accumulator bets were ruined and many felt that the triumphant European Ryder Cup team were more worthy of the award, but the BBC decided that the success of Britain’s athletes at London 2012 was worth breaking their own rules for.

'The panel had the right to amend the criteria of the awards where there was unanimous agreement to do so,’ a statement read on Monday.

'The panel agreed that it was impossible to split the achievements of Team GB and Paralympics GB into individual disciplines in such a year of triumph and history making, and hence the criteria for the Team of the year was amended accordingly.’

Miracle of Medinah: The Europeans were heavily backed to win team prize

Miracle of Medinah: The Europeans were heavily backed to win team prize