From the pool into deep water

July 27, 2013

Rick Feneley

Olympic medallist Scott Miller once rubbed shoulders with Alan Jones and James Packer. Now he’s behind bars. Rick Feneley considers the case amid the continuing debate about elite athletes and their use of drugs.

Scott Miller swimming in the finals of the 200m butterfly at the NSW swimming championships.

Scott Miller swims the finals of the 200m butterfly at the NSW swimming championships. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Twenty-six hundredths of a second. The difference between gold and silver. Scott Miller, at 21, stands on the silver medal dais for Australia at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. His second place in the 100-metre butterfly is a towering achievement. But Miller is devastated.

”He feels as if he let everyone in the team down. He shouldn’t,” one of his mentors, 1964 Games butterfly gold medallist Kevin Berry, tells a reporter after the race. ”He’s a great swimmer. A guy had to break a world record to beat him.”

Miller was allegedly carrying 7.75 grams of methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice.

That guy is Denis Pankratov, the Russian ”submarine” who swam about 35 metres of the first lap underwater. Miller will describe the blur escaping from him, and he will suggest the underwater start be banned for the butterfly, in line with other strokes. Sure enough, this race will force a rule change to curtail the Pankratov technique – which certainly gave him an advantage – to 15 metres underwater.

Olympian Scott Miller arrives at Waverley Local Court after being charged with being in reciept of stolen goods and possessing a prohibited substance.

Mixed fortunes: Scott Miller arrives at Waverley Local Court after being charged with being in reciept of stolen goods and possessing a prohibited substance. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Too late for Miller’s big shot at gold. He blames himself, in any case. ”I really didn’t go out early enough. I was behind and I stuffed my turn,” he says. He finished with a personal best and Australian record of 52.53 seconds, a whisker from the submarine’s world record of 52.27. It is the first time two men have broken 53 seconds in the same race.


But Miller has carried the weight of public expectation into this race. He has broken an Olympic record to qualify fastest, ahead of Pankratov. He has won the 100m gold at the 1995 World Championships and golds in the 100m and 200m butterfly at the Pan Pacific Championships. He has been building to these Olympics since he was 15, when he became the youngest person drafted to the Australian Institute of Sport.

Berry reckons Miller is resilient. He will get over it.

New Zealand swimmer Paul Kent, right,  consoles  Scott Miller after  the 100m butterfly. Miller won a silver after  qualifying first and breaking the Olympic record in the morning heats.

Coming second: Being consoled by NZ’s Paul Kent in Atlana. Photo: Craig Golding

The kid is only 21, after all. He might have two or three Olympics in him yet. He is leaving Atlanta with a second medal, a bronze for the medley relay. And when the brash Pankratov claims he might break 50 seconds in the 100m fly, Miller’s larrikin reply gives us reason to hope. ”Well,” he says, ”I’ll just have to go 49 then.”

It is late August 2009. Scott Miller is on another podium, again disappointed with himself, again facing his public. ”I feel ashamed,” he tells Downing Centre Local Court. ”This is as low as it gets.”

Miller, now 34, is at his sentencing hearing, having pleaded guilty to supplying ecstasy. He has admitted giving a birthday present of 12 pills to his mate Mark Catchpole, son of the Wallabies legend Ken Catchpole. They were caught with a pill press but there is no evidence Miller used it to make drugs for commercial gain.

Scott Miller of Australia holds up his silver medal that he won in the men's 100 meter butterfly at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Wednesday, July 24, 1996.

Claiming silver in Atlana: Scott Miller holds up his medal after coming second in the men’s 100 meter butterfly at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Photo: AP

Miller tells the court drugs have ruined his life. ”It was to numb the pain of being finished,” he says. He is talking about his swimming career. He came to that realisation when injury halted his attempt to represent Australia at the 2004 Olympics.

”Just since 2004, my career was over and I didn’t know what to do with my life,” he says. He spent most of the previous 14 years – ”five hours a day” – focused on the black line at the bottom of the pool. He finished his career with no ”clear pathway” to what would come next. He became a binge drinker. He used cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy.

Much of the backstory since Atlanta is missing but the headlines have kept the public informed: Miller’s new life as the social butterfly; his crowning as Cleo Bachelor of the Year in 1997; his time living at the Newtown home of mentor Alan Jones, the broadcaster, while he tried to focus on training; his whirlwind romance, at 23, with the 30-something TV and magazine fashion commentator Charlotte Dawson – after an introduction by James Packer at a Cleo event; his expulsion from the Australian Institute of Sport after a nightclub fight in Canberra; his suspension from swimming’s international body after testing positive to marijuana; his loss of fitness and gain of more than 13 kilograms; his promising comebacks; his brief cyclone of a marriage to Dawson.

She will write in her 2012 book, Air Kiss and Tell: Memoirs of a Blow-up Doll, that she agreed to abort their baby because her due date would clash with the 2000 Olympics. ”Who needed a developing foetus when a gold medal was on offer, eh?”

Amid his 2000 campaign, Miller boasts he owns a Gai Waterhouse-trained filly, For A Lark, in partnership with Jones and Packer. His coach, Brian Sutton, boasts that Miller can beat world record holder Michael Klim and Commonwealth champion Geoff Huegill to win the 100m butterfly title at the selection trials. It is not to be. Miller finishes sixth. He falls down the stairs at home and breaks his foot, Dawson writes. He does not make the Olympic team.

Dawson will successfully sue Woman’s Day for its cover story, ”Charlotte left me bleeding and in tears.” On the comeback trail again in 2002, Miller will tell The Sun-Herald: ”I had a really bad outlook. I f—ed up my marriage, my sponsors were leaving and I was getting injured at the wrong times.” And so he will again in 2004.

Miller tells the sentencing hearing in 2009: ”I realise now that my commercial value is finished. My value in the community has been massively tarnished.”

Judge Greg Woods accepts that injuries since the Atlanta Games have slowly strangled Miller’s career and caused the onset of chronic depression. He sentences him to 100 hours’ community work and a two-year good behaviour bond. The court hears Miller is now drug-free.

About 11pm last Saturday, police searched Scott Miller in Kellett Street, Kings Cross. The Edgecliff resident, now 38, was allegedly carrying 7.75 grams of methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice. He was charged with supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug. Miller, still in custody, is expected to seek bail on Tuesday.

Ten days before his latest arrest, Miller had faced Waverley Local Court where he pleaded not guilty to stolen property and drug charges. Police had arrested him on June 18 in Mascot where he was allegedly carrying three small, resealable bags containing a total of 1.04 grams of ice. Police allege he was carrying $1900 in cash and they found another $14,700 in a vehicle at the Mascot address. He is accused of either stealing the money or obtaining it by illegal means.

Miller’s troubles refocus attention on the debate over elite athletes and their use and abuse of drugs – and the intense public scrutiny that follows them. It was the gold medal-winning Olympic cyclist Stuart O’Grady who this week admitted taking the performance-enhancing EPO before the 1998 Tour de France. He lamented that this one horrible mistake would tarnish his entire career.

Miller’s story is very different. As an athlete he had been caught only with the performance-depleting marijuana in his blood. On his own account, his drugs of choice added ruination to a life already shattered with his swimming dream.

Don Talbot was the head coach of the Australian Olympic swimming team in 1996. He thought Miller was extraordinary.

”I liked the guy,” Talbot said this week. ”He was a hell of a swimmer.” But all elite athletes face pressures, Talbot says. Many have had to deal with disappointment. ”It’s a question of how they handle it. But you can’t wet-nurse these people their whole lives. It might sound a bit harsh but I believe the athlete has got a big role to play here. They’ve got to take responsibility for their own careers.”

Sport psychologist Jeff Bond recalls the controversial men’s 100m freestyle at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The coach for the American champion Rowdy Gaines had been aware of the starter’s inclination to pull the trigger as soon as the swimmers mounted the blocks. ”The Aussie bloke, Mark Stockwell, was left on the blocks,” Bond says. Gaines got about a metre’s advantage over the field. ”Mark almost mowed him down. It was a photo-finish but Gaines got the gold and Mark got the silver.” Stockwell lodged a protest to no avail.

”But he was such a stable and robust personality that, as much as he hated it, he was able to get on with the rest of his life and not succumb to other distractions of the kind that have obviously plagued Scott Miller.”

Bond adds that elite sport selects and often encourages risk-takers. ”For some high-risk personalities, you add the weight of expectation, you add them falling short of where they’d like to be, then you’ve got a recipe for trouble,” he says. ”It’s almost inevitable.”

In an interview before the 2000 Games, Miller mentioned his dream of turning to racehorse training after swimming. ”I have been training my own body all my life. From what I have learnt the horse is similar to the human body in how it adapts to workload.”

He added: ”My whole life I have always done what I wanted to and got away with it. I don’t know if that is good or bad. I guess only time will tell.”

Time, indeed, has told.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Kevin Rudd hits reset button, gets busy

July 27, 2013

Tom McIlroy

Reporter at The Canberra Times

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd arrives at a West Perth office to meet with the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd arrives at a West Perth office to meet with the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett on Friday

If you’ve had a sense of deja vu about Kevin Rudd’s second prime ministership, you’re not imagining it.

A day-by-day comparison of the first month of Rudd 1.0 and the first month of Rudd 2.0 reveals how faithfully the restored Labor leader has been copying from the political playbook of his favourite former PM.

In the 30 days since since he toppled Julia Gillard on June 26, Mr Rudd has been on a frenetic run of whistlestop public appearances, news conferences, policy announcements and soft diplomacy photo opportunities.

It has been a whirlwind matched only by his schedule after winning the November 2007 election, when a relentless agenda of travel and media appearances led to the nicknames ”Kevin 747” and ”Kevin 24/7” and, ultimately, allegations by party colleagues of ”dysfunctional decision making” and ”chaos”.


One key difference second time around has been the reborn Prime Minister’s passionate embrace of social media, right down to sharing pictures of a shaving cut.

Since his return to the top job, daily appearances on the hustings have remained a priority before calling the election, while in 2007, he played the statesman with trips to Indonesia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan before celebrating Christmas at The Lodge.

In the past week, Mr Rudd has visited Queensland, the ACT, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, updating his movement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which he joined in 2008.

Former communications director to Julia Gillard and senior director at FTI Consulting Russell Mahoney said Mr Rudd’s pace proved a campaign was under way. ”We can pretend that the campaign hasn’t started but everybody knows that it has, regardless of when he actually calls an election date,” Mr Mahoney said. ”Even his worst detractors would say that his best asset is his campaigning skill.”

But politicians risked leaving the public in a ”blur” if they appeared to be doing too much, too quickly.

”In my view, there’s a risk if Labor were to win and Rudd was to continue at this sort of public pace after an election: I think people would start to wonder why he is spending so much time in front of television cameras,” he said. ”[Mr Rudd] seems to be able to connect with people on social media in that sort of folksy, dadsy kind of way. That is going to grate with some people, of course, but anything a politician does is going to grate with some people.”

In the past month Mr Rudd has generated more than 50 front page headlines in Fairfax Media’s Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra newspapers and his prolific ”selfies” and updates on social media have been shared by tens of thousands.

Within days of defeating John Howard in November 2007, Mr Rudd had received calls from world leaders including then US President George W. Bush and British prime minister Gordon Brown, while this year, he used Instagram to publicise his talks with Barack Obama and East Timor President Jose Maria de Vasconcelos.

In 2007, Mr Rudd hosted then New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark on the veranda at his home in Brisbane – the same informal setting for private talks with Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill over his controversial PNG ”solution” to thwart people-smugglers.

Barely three weeks into his prime ministership in 2007, Mr Rudd used a United Nations summit in Bali to label climate change the ”defining challenge of our generation”. Barely three weeks back in the job this year, he declared Ms Gillard’s politically toxic carbon tax ”terminated” and outlined a switch to a floating price emissions trading scheme.

In 2007, Mr Rudd pledged an apology to the stolen generations. In 2013, he described himself as the first Australian prime minister to be a ”fully signed-up supporter of marriage equality”.

Mr Rudd’s website lists more than 44 interview transcripts, statements and news releases since he returned as Prime Minister. He is scheduled to appear on Channel Ten’s The Bolt Report on Sunday.

Canberra Times

Brisbane resturant adds scorpion to menu

July 26, 2013 – 5:29PM

Natascha Mirosch

Public Bar and Restaurant chef Damon Amos samples one of his roasted scorpions.

Public Bar and Restaurant chef Damon Amos samples one of his roasted scorpions.  Photo: Gillian van Niekerk



It’s surf and turf, but you’re unlikely to see this dish at your local pub.

From Monday, Public Bar and Restaurant in Brisbane’s CBD will be catering to the dietary desires of entomophagists (insect eaters) with a dish of wood-roasted scorpions with “lobster snow”, seaweed, pickled ginger foam and scampi.

Public’s chef Damon Amos last week said that mealy worms were going on the menu; now he’s added roasted scorpions.

Public Bar and Restaurant will soon start serving wood-roasted scorpions with lobster snow, seaweed, pickled ginger foam and scampi.

Public Bar and Restaurant will soon start serving wood-roasted scorpions with lobster snow, seaweed, pickled ginger foam and scampi.Photo: Gillian van Niekerk

“We really need to push the idea of alternative sources of protein,” he says. “It might freak people out but this is not a new thing – people have been eating insects longer than they have farmed.”


The scorpions have a “unique but not overpowering” flavour, according to Amos. Mealy worms are a little like rice bubbles. But of all the insects Amos has recently tasted, cockroaches are his preference. However, they will never be on the menu because people associate them with “dirty rubbish”.

The insects are supplied by entomologist Skye Blackburn in Sydney’s western suburbs.

In the near future, Public will be introducing crickets, a tarantula “sushi roll” and local bees with smoked chicken, salted honeycomb and edible flowers, as well as a range of insect based cocktails.


Brisbane Times

Camelôs vendem “camarote do papa” por R$ 20


Vendedores de capas e guarda-chuva fizeram a festa na tarde desta quinta-feira (25), durante a passagem do papa Francisco pela Avenida Atlântica. Com preços que variavam de R$ 5 a R$ 20, dependendo da disposição do peregrino para pechinchar, dezenas de camelôs agradeceram ao mau tempo, que se manteve por toda a jornada.

Quando o papa apareceu em carro aberto no Posto 6, um segundo grupo de camelôs entrou em ação. Eram os vendedores de banquinhos de plástico, oferecendo ao comprador uma visão um pouco melhor no meio da multidão. Criativos, eles apregoavam o produto assim: “Olha o camarote!”, gritou um. “É o camarote do papa!!!”, gritou outro. O preço? Incríveis R$ 20.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery

Osieck looks to uncover talent


Osieck watched his side battle back from two goals down in a hot and humid Hwaseong Sports Complex on Thursday evening, only to concede an immediate third courtesy of a fine finish from the impressive Yuya Osako.

While not pleased with his side’s first-half display, Osieck also believes that there are positives to take from the encounter ahead of coming tests.

“We are not happy with the score of the game this evening and I was not happy with our first-half performance,” he conceded post-match.

“It took us way too long to play the ball forward and get into dangerous areas. However, in the second half, after the substitutions, we played the ball forward and created a lot of problems for the Japanese defence.

“It was good to score two goals in quick succession and I had the impression that Japan were really on the back foot. At that moment, we lost balance in defence and lost the header in midfield, but still the team responded and tried hard to score an equaliser.

“Down the road, when I consider the purpose of our participation at the competition, I will take a lot of positives from the game.”

Osieck also had positive words for some of the less experienced members of his squad, with several younger players making a big impact in the second half.

Forwards Mitchell Duke and Tomi Juric both managed to get themselves on the scoresheet in just their second games for Australia, while substitute Mitch Nichols also provided an assist for his side.

“The substitutions changed our game, they made an immediate impact,” Osieck continued.

“Mitch helped create a lot of opportunities in the attacking third; Mitchell Duke had an outstanding game, while Tomi Juric showed that he has an excellent striking technique.”

Having watched the younger players seize their opportunities, Osieck plans to rotate the squad further in Sunday’s encounter with China.

“The idea is that I will give all players a chance,” he said.
“It’s clear that I will change the team for Sunday.”

Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni, meanwhile, was far more content with his side’s showing, blaming fatigue for the Samurai Blue allowing Australia to come back into the game in the late stages.

The Italian changed his entire 11 following their opening victory over China, with his players having come into the tournament off the back of a gruelling run of games in the J.League.

However, in doing so, he saw some fringe players make strong cases for inclusion in Sunday’s decisive fixture with South Korea.

“The main purpose for the match was to give many players a chance and to experiment,” he said.

“That is why we varied the line-up and, because of tiredness, we had to change some players during the game.

“The Japanese side overwhelmed Australia, with a great degree of flexibility throughout the side. It’s good that we scored three times, but we conceded twice late in the game as it became harder to control the game as the side tired.”

Japan now lead the standings in the competition, having claimed four points from their two games thus far.

South Korea and China find themselves tied on two points apiece, while Australia are the only side now unable to win the tournament on one point.


Football Federation Australia

Japan 3 x 2 Australia

JPN 3 x 2 AUS

Japan are in a strong position to win their maiden East Asian Cup after beating Australia 3-2 to register the first victory of any team at the 2013 tournament.

Goals in the first and second half from Manabu Saito and Yuya Osako respectively saw Japan leading comfortably with the clock ticking down at Hwaseong Sports Complex.

Australia, relatively toothless up to that point, suddenly drew level, bagging two goals in the space of three minutes from Mitchell Duke and Tomi Juric.

However, Osako promptly restored Japan’s lead less than 60 seconds after the Socceroos had equalised, sealing the victory and leaving Holger Osieck’s men bottom of the standings with one point from two matches played.

Japan, aiming to win their first East Asian Cup crown, are now top on four points, while China and hosts South Korea, both on two points, sit second and third as a consequence of the home team’s inferior goal difference.

Osieck stuck with the same starting XI who battled to a fortunate 0-0 draw against South Korea in their opening game, and they started brightly, pressing their opponents high up the field.

But Alberto Zaccheroni’s men soon asserted their technical superiority, and opened the scoring in the 26th minute through Manabu Saito, who ran across the top of the Australian 18-yard box, evaded a challenge and dispatched a shot to the far corner of the net from an acute angle.

They should have doubled their lead with seven minutes to go in the first half, when Yohei Toyoda headed straight at Eugene Galekovic from a free header six yards out.

Australia meanwhile were restricted to half chances, Matt McKay going closest with a half-volley from outside the area just before the break.

A slow starting second half came to life in the 55th minute, thanks to a wonderful piece of skill from Yuya Osako.

The Kashima Antlers forward heel-flicked the ball from a short pass out in front of himself before running onto it and shooting calmly beyond Galekovic.

Australia pulled one back against the run of play with 14 minutes to go, when Nichols looped a ball over the Japan defence, allowing Duke to run and finish low beyond Shuichi Gonda, claiming his first international goal in his second appearance.

Next it was the turn of another newcomer, Juric, to get in on the act, smashing home what was also his first international strike in his second appearance from outside the area to level the scores at 2-2 on 78 minutes.

Just when it appeared Australia had pulled off a remarkable escape act, Osako promptly found himself with plenty of space outside the opposition penalty area, dispatching a well-placed shot beyond a helpless Galekovic to seal the result in Japan’s favour.

Osieck must now pick up his players and prepare them for their final match of the tournament against China at Jamsil Olympic Stadium on Sunday, with South Korea taking on Japan at the same venue later the same day.


Football Federation Australia

“Carrossel” chega ao fim com pico de 17 pontos e repercussão na internet

Apesar disso, audiência não superou as expectativas

O remake de “Carrossel”, adaptado por Íris Abravanel, chegou ao fim na noite desta sexta (26) no SBT e repercutiu bastante na internet. Vários nomes de personagens ficaram nos Trending Topicos do Twitter como os assuntos mais comentados do momento.

O último capítulo mostrou o final entre Helena (Rosanne Mulholland) e Renê (Gustavo Wabner), onde ele conseguiu ser perdoado com a ajuda das crianças. Logo após, os dois se casaram e viveram felizes para sempre.

A novela também deu gancho para o seriado “Patrulha Salvadora”, que deve estrear em setembro, além de mostrar o final narrado de cada um dos personagens, mas tudo era um sonho de Adriano (Kostantino Atanassopoulos).

Kokimoto (Matheus Ueta) virou um samurai, Paulo (Lucas Santos) se tornou deputado e Marcelina (Ana Vitória Zimmermann) sua assessora. Já Jaime Palilo (Nicholas Torres) virou goleiro do Corinthians, como sempre sonhou.

Mário (Gustavo Delanuz) virou veterinário e Valéria (Maísa Silva) se tornou apresentadora, fazendo uma homenagem para Hebe Camargo. Falando em Valéria, ela se casou com Davi (Gulherme Seta) e teve trigêmeas. Já Maria Joaquina (Larissa Manoela) virou uma estilista renomada, cansando com Cirilo (Jean Paulo Campos), um famoso cirurgião.

A trama chegou ao fim com o elenco de “Carrossel” cantando a música de abertura, “Carro-Céu”, no circo Tihany, em São Paulo.

Após a última cena, o SBT exibiu uma chamada onde anuncia que o último capítulo será reapresentado na próxima segunda (29), logo após “Chiquititas”.


Segundo dados prévios do Ibope na Grande SP, o último capítulo de “Carrossel” registrou 14 pontos de média com 17 de pico, número já alcançado em vários momentos nesse um ano e dois meses de novela.

No mesmo horário, a Globo ficou com 27 e a Record marcou 7.

Na média geral, “Carrossel” atingiu 12,3 pontos, elevando o Ibope na faixa em seis pontos, já que a antecessora, “Corações Feridos”, ficou com 6.


Logotipo Na Telinha

Domingo Legal 28/07/2013

Domingo Legal

Próximo domingo (28) no SBT, Celso Portioli apresenta mais um programa “Domingo Legal” Ao Vivo. Confira agora as atrações da próxima edição do programa.

Uma matéria especial sobre as gravações do último capítulo de “Carrossel”. Você verá toda a emoção do elenco que protagonizou a novelinha infantil durante mais de um ano.

No palco, Celso Portioli receberá MC Gui, MC Pocahontas, MC Léo da Baixada, MC Beyoncé e Bonde do Tigrão. E ainda o quadro Construindo Um Sonho e a participação de Flor no “Afunda ou Não Afunda”


TV Foco – Audiência da TV

Números do TV TOTAL nos últimos 36 dias

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SBT não vai fazer festa de aniversário


O SBT deve passar batido, dia 19 de agosto, no seu 32º aniversário. Festa agora, de acordo com o estabelecido, de 5 em 5 anos, só quando chegar aos 35.

Algumas surpresas, no entanto, serão apresentadas na grade de programação. Entre elas, possivelmente, um novo horário de reprise de novela às 6 da tarde.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery