Scorpion Kicks, Wild Hair and Prison Time: Look Back at World Cup Soccer's 'Madman' Goalie René Higuita
He was soccer’s most flamboyant, controversial and headline-grabbing goalkeeper of all time.
And as this summer’s World Cup begins to feature nail-biting goalie heroics and blunders of its own, commentators are resurrecting highlights of Colombian keeper René “El Loco” (“The Madman”) Higuita’s life and career.
On the field, there were nonsensical moves, such as this one he invented in a Colombia-England match in 1995, dubbed “the scorpion,” and, for perhaps obvious reasons, never tried before or since by a goalie in a major competitive match.
Off the field, he was even more controversial.
Higuita was an avowed close friend of the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. In 1993, he was thrown in jail for allegedly carrying ransom money to free the daughter of drug baron Carlos Molina. Although Higuita was mysteriously released without charge seven months later, he missed the 1994 World Cup in the United States because he had been unable to adequately train while behind bars, according to soccer publication Goal.com.
With a bushy hairdo bigger than his wife’s, he was part of a generation of Colombian players known for their flair and controversy. He was a contemporary of the yellow-maned Carlos Valderrama, as well as Andrês Escobar (no relation to Pablo), who was gunned down execution style in 1994, days after committing a World Cup-ending own goal against the United States.
Late in Higuita’s career, he played in the Ecuadorian league, but in 2004 served a suspension after testing positive for cocaine, per Goal.com.
The next year, he became a local reality TV star on La isla de los famosos, Colombia’s answer to Survivor. He was also voted Colombia’s “ugliest icon” by TV viewers.
It must have hurt. While many international soccer players have been coy about whether they’ve had plastic surgery, Higuita changed his look in the most public way possible.
“I am tired of being ugly René,” he said before going under the knife live on the Colombian show Cambio Extremo, according to The Guardian. “I want to be handsome René.” His televised procedures included nose surgery, a chin implant, skin peels and eyelid cutaway, liposuction and muscle enhancement. A month later, he revealed the new him.
“Bodily, I am perfect,” he said.
After a stint as a goalkeeping coach in Saudi Arabia, he returned to his hometown club, Atlético Nacional, to coach its goalies.
After reports in 2017 that leaders of the former guerrilla group FARC wanted him to run for Congress in Colombia, Higuita demurred that he didn’t have the “academic preparation” for the role. But he has expressed an interest in becoming more active in politics.
These days he can be seen on Twitter, cheering for Colombia, Peru and Mexico in the World Cup, and appearing as a guest commentator on German TV.
The Colombian national team, which could use an injection of Higuita’s bravado after its 2-1 loss to Japan on June 19, will play its second group-stage match against Poland. The game will be broadcast live this Sunday at 2 p.m. EST on Fox.
people.com | 6/20/18
Discovery and the PGA Tour have struck a massive $2 billion deal for tournament rights outside of the United States through 2030. That’s a lot of green — and we’re not just talking about the putting surfaces.
The pricey (and lengthy) alliance, which tees off next year, will result in about 2,000 hours of content annually and nearly 150 tournaments, including The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup. It will grant Discovery the exclusive non-U.S. television and multiplatform rights to all PGA Tour golf events by 2024 — here is a timetable for implementation:
About those multiplatform rights: Together, Discovery and the PGA Tour will develop a new PGA Tour-branded OTT video streaming service to serve 220 markets and territories.
“Today is a fantastic day for golf fans around the world as Discovery proudly partners with the PGA Tour to create something that has never been done before,” David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said. “The long-term partnership between the PGA Tour and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and athletes. Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the U.S.”
“This is an exciting next step for the PGA Tour, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner,” added Jay Monahan, commissioner, PGA Tour. “This partnership aligns very well with the opening of PGA Tour offices in London, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years and will support our long-term objectives of growing the game of golf. It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world.”
The partnership will be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan, who is president and general manager of the new Discovery and PGA Tour venture. His management team will include the PGA Tour’s Thierry Pascal as head of distribution.
Kaplan previously was an executive vice president at Eurosport Digital, where he helped grow the Eurosport D2C business to over 1 million subscribers. Prior to joining Discovery, Kaplan was a senior vice president of global media distribution for the NBA.
“I am incredibly excited to work with David Zaslav and JB Perrette to take international coverage of PGA Tour golf to the next level,” Kaplan said. “We can’t wait to get started and build a world-class global platform and long-term distribution strategy to turn the vision of this partnership into a reality. By joining forces with the outstanding PGA Tour team, led by Jay Monahan and Rick Anderson, we have a unique opportunity to build an amazing product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen.”
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www.thewrap.com | 6/4/18
If you tuned into the finale of the latest season of “The Bachelor,” then you know that Becca Kufrin was chosen as Arie Luyendyk, Jr’s fiancée… only to have him break up with her a few weeks later in favor of runner-up Lauren Burnham. If you need a refresher on that whole drama, you can catch up right here.
But Becca is returning to the ABC franchise to find love again, this time as the network’s fourteenth Bachelorette. Scroll through to learn more about Becca and the 28 gentleman hoping to win her hand.
Becca is a Minnesota native who works at a boutique public relations agency. She loves to host dinner parties and travel. When she was 19, her father passed away, and it has inspired her to live life to the fullest.
Blake is a 28-year-old sales rep from the small town of Bailey, Colorado, and while he plays football and basketball, he’s also a swing dancer.
John is a 28-year-old software engineer from San Francisco, California, who likes to wine taste, play guitar and bake banana bread whenever he’s not hustling it up in Silicon Valley.
Joe is a 31-year-old grocery store owner from Chicago, Illinois. He switched careers from being a trader in the Chicago stock exchange to his family business of grocery.
Trent is a 28-year-old realtor from Naples, Florida, though he’s originally from Carrol, Iowa. He’s also a model who has appeared in catalogues and on romance novel covers.
Rickey is a 27-year-old IT consultant from San Diego, California who comes from the world of Wall Street.
Kamil is a 30-year-old “social media participant” from Monroe, New York. He was born in Poland and moved to the States when he was five.
Garrett is a 29-year-old medical sales rep from Reno, Nevada. He grew up in a small California town and loves fly fishing, hiking and snow-shoeing.
Connor is a 25-year-old fitness coach from St. Petersburg, Florida. He used to play baseball for the Atlanta Braves.
Grant is a 27-year-old electrician from Danville, California, with a healthy dose of sarcasm.
Jake is a 29-year-old marketing consultant from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who is a hopeless romantic with an adventurous streak. He likes motocross and bungee jumping.
Darius is a 26-year-old pharmaceutical rep from Sherman Oaks, California. He loves to travel, dance and give back to others.
Jason is a 29-year-old corporate banker from Seattle, Washington, who just so happens to love Disney songs.
Leo is a 31-year-old stuntman from Studio City, California, who also works for his family construction business.
Jordan is a 26-year-old model from Crystal River, Florida, who also loves kayaking and running.
Wills is a 29-year-old graphic designer from Los Angeles, California, and a huge Harry Potter fan.
Christian is a 28-year-old banker from San Diego, California, who was born in Mexico. He formerly played semi-professional soccer.
Jean Blanc is a 31-year-old colognoisseur from Pensacola, Florida, who was originally born in Haiti before moving to Boston with his family when he was three. He currently works in finance.
Mike is a 27-year-old sports analyst from Cincinnati, Ohio, who loves his bulldog Riggins and state fairs.
Colton is a 26-year-old former pro football player from Denver, Colorado, who currently runs a charity to fight cystic fibrosis.
David is a 25-year-old venture capitalist from Denver, Colorado. He enjoys golfing, skiing and spending time at his family’s beach house.
Clay is a 30-year-old pro football player from a small town outside of Chicago, Illinois, and considers himself a good mix of city and country boy.
Ryan is a 26-year-old banjoist from Manhattan Beach, California, originally from Cape Cod. He plays with his family in a bluegrass band and also enjoys sailing.
Lincoln is a 26-year-old sales account exec from Los Angeles, California, originally from Nigeria. Named after Abraham Lincoln, he wants a big family and to make his mom proud.
Alex is a 31-year-old construction manager from Atlanta, Georgia, who loves country music and spending time on his boat.
Nick is a 27-year-old attorney from Orlando, Florida, who loves brunch, barbecues, the beach and track suits.
Chris is a 30-year-old sales trainer from Orlando, Florida, originally from New York. He’s passionate about health and fitness.
Chase is a 27-year-old advertising VP from Sanford, Florida, who competed in the College World Series for the University of South Carolina. He loves adventure and the outdoors.
Christon is a 31-year-old Los Angeles, California who quit his corporate job to become a Harlem Globetrotter. He’s now a professional dunker in LA.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/22/18
We now know what Cate Blanchett’s jury thought of the films that screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “a very strong year,” she said at the jury’s festival-ending press conference. And we know what buyers thought of the festival lineup: not bad, judging by the deals.
But what will Oscar voters think?
That’s always a tricky question, because the connection between the world’s most prestigious film festival and the world’s most celebrated film award can fluctuate wildly. In 2011, for example, three of the films that screened at the festival — “The Artist,” “The Tree of Life” and “Midnight in Paris” — landed Best Picture nominations, with “The Artist” winning.
But the success rate hasn’t approached that since then, although 2016 had an impressive across-the-board showing: One Best Picture nominee (“Hell of High Water”), the Best Foreign Language Film winner (“The Salesman”), six other nominees in the Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature categories and eight more films submitted by their home countries in the foreign language race.
Last year, though, was more typical: two foreign nominees (“The Square” and “Loveless”), one supporting actor nominee (Willem Dafoe for “The Florida Project”) and one documentary nominee (“Faces Places”), with no winners among them.
Realistically, this year’s crop of Cannes films will probably fare similarly once Oscar voters get a look at them. The only film that screened at the festival or one of its sidebars that has a significant chance of landing a Best Picture nomination is Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which could well be in the conversation once U.S. audiences get a look at it later this summer.
Lee’s film, which mixes humor with incendiary anger and looks at the state of America today through a story set in the 1970s, is timely enough and strong enough to be a real player, though it will likely divide critics and audiences in America more than it did in Cannes.
Otherwise, Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” seems destined for below-the-line categories at best, while a surge of attention for Paul Dano’s understated “Wildlife,” which premiered at Sundance but also screened in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar, could make it a dark-horse contender in the adapted screenplay category.
A few Cannes documentaries could also have a shot, foremost among them Kevin Macdonald’s “Whitney,” which drew headlines out of Cannes for its allegations that Whitney Houston was sexually abused as a child by a relative. Wim Wenders’ “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” will likely be in the conversation, and so might be “The State Against Mandela and the Others” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache.”
But really, the most fruitful connection between Cannes and the Oscars this year will likely come in the foreign language category. Only six of the 93 countries that submitted films to the Oscars last year chose Cannes entries, but we could easily see double that many submissions come from this year’s festival.
While the individual committees that select each country’s entry can be making their decisions on the basis of politics, cronyism and lots of other factors, a Cannes berth is a powerful sign that the film might have international interest.
Among the no-brainer selections: Lebanon’s “Capharnaum,” the Jury Prize winner and the film that received the longest and loudest ovation of the festival; Poland’s “Cold War” from director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign language Oscar; Belgium’s “Girl,” which won the Camera d’Or and the Un Certain Regard performance award; Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” from a director (Ciro Guerra) whose last film was an Oscar nominee; and Turkey’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” whose director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has been responsible for four previous Turkish submissions.
Kenya’s “Rafiki,” a same-sex romance that is the first Kenyan film ever accepted to the Oscars, would be an easy choice if it hadn’t been banned in its home country — though if the submitting committee is independent enough to choose it, the ban could give it a boost. First-time director A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine” seems likely to be the Egyptian entry, while the Cannes acting award that went to Samal Yesyamova should be enough to put “Ayka” at the top of Kazakhstan’s submission list.
The Icelandic film “Woman at War,” which was bought by Magnolia for the U.S., comes from Benedikt Erlingsson, whose brilliant “Of Horses and Men” was the country’s 2013 submission, though it may have been too weird for Oscar voters. Portugal’s soccer story “Diamantino” seems a logical choice, as does Hungary’s “One Day.”
Countries like France and Italy always have a plethora of choices, which holds true this year even if they don’t consider anything except Cannes movies. Italy, for example, could opt for Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which won the festival’s best actor award and is from the director of the acclaimed “Gomorrah” (which Oscar voters didn’t go for); or Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro,” a fable that won the screenplay award and was widely thought to be a real Palme d’Or contender.
And France has a variety of possibilities, including Christophe Honore’s “Sorry Angel,” Stephane Brize’s “At War,” Vanessa Filho’s “Angel Face,” Gilles Lellouche’s audience-friendly “Sink or Swim,” Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage” or even Gaspar Noe’s hallucinatory “Climax.”
But France could also opt for Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” a tough but mainstream war movie about an all-female unit fighting terrorists. It didn’t fare well with Cannes critics, but it could easily become a favorite of the Academy’s foreign language voters.
The biggest question marks might surround the Asian films. Japan, China and South Korea swing between submitting critical favorites and trying to second-guess Oscar voters by choosing less daring movies or big epics. So while China has strong candidates in Jia Zhang-Ke’s “Ash Is Purest White” or Bi Gan’s rapturously received “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” it’s anybody’s guess as to whether their selection committee will deem those films acceptable. Likewise with South Korea and Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” which was clearly the hit of the festival, and Japan with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or.
The director of the last of those films has been down this road before. In an interview with TheWrap in 2014, Kore-eda admitted that he was disappointed when “Like Father, Like Son,” which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, was passed over in favor of “The Great Passage” when Japan made its 2013 Oscar submission.
“But honestly, given the track record of how that committee in Japan decides on their films, I was not surprised,” he said. “The committee isn’t particularly interested in the world’s criteria on these films.”
Oh, one more thing:
Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built”? Not a chance.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/20/18
Germany’s Nicole Schott competed in the ladie’s figure skating free skate at the Winter Olympics Friday morning in South Korea (Thursday evening stateside) — and her musical selection raised more than a few eyebrows on social media.
The 21-year-old skated to the score from Schindler’s List — Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning 1993 film depicting German-occupied Poland during World War II, and attempts to save those persecuted during the Holocaust — and the choice immediately caught the attention of Twitter users.
“Um is this weird y’all correct me if I’m wrong cause y’all know I’m a dumb ass some times,” tweeted Leslie Jones, sharing a brief video of her profanity-laden reaction to the news.
Other social media users had similar shocked reactions.
Schott opened up about her musical selection to Golden Skate last year.
“I think it was a good choice for me,” she said. “This kind of sad music is my strength. I am not someone who could skate to Don Quixote. Schindler’s List is one of my favorite pieces of music.”
Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics
Other social media users pointed out that skating to music from Schindler’s List is actually somewhat common. Yulia Lipnitskaya’s free skate to the music won her gold at the 2014 Olympics as Sochi — although she also faced criticism for the choice.
While some users simply slammed Schott for the selection, others critiqued it while noting that she surely did not mean to stir controversy.
“The music score of Schindler’s List is beautiful. I’d like to know why Nicole Schott of Germany chose to skate to it,” wrote one user. “I seriously doubt that she intended any offense.”
people.com | 2/23/18
Poland's sports include almost all sports, in particular: track & field, basketball, boxing, fencing, football, American football (Gridiron), handball, ice hockey, swimming, volleyball, and weightlifting. The first Polish Formula One driver, Robert Kubica, has also brought awareness of Formula One Racing to Poland. Football is the country's most popular sport, with a rich history of international competition. Poland has also made a distinctive mark in motorcycle speedway racing thanks to Tomasz Gollob, a highly successful Polish rider. The Polish mountains are an ideal venue for hiking, skiing and mountain biking and attract millions of tourists every year from all over the world. Baltic beaches and resorts are popular locations for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and a broad-range of other water-themed sports.