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Big shoes to fill at eBay

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Big shoes to fill at eBay

Saturday, June 4, 2005

There are often odd, unusual and controversial items up for sale on eBay – multi-million euro planes, the Pope’s old car and a young woman’s virginity, to name just a few. But how about the Prime Minister’s shoes?

Shoes custom designed for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have been put up for sale on eBay. The shoes, which have a reserve price of £2,930 (US $3,580), are currently owned by 65 year old Eleanor Graham. Ms. Graham bought them in a Sue Ryder charity shop after seeing a member of Thatcher’s staff drop them in the shop. She guessed that they would increase in value over the years, so Ms. Graham purchased them.

The Rayne shoes – which come in gold, silver and black suede – are size five and come with a letter received in 2001 from Ms Thatchers office confirming that she did wear Rayne shoes.

You can see the shoes at eBay by clicking here.

Getting even with the law: Wikinews interviews New York City’s ‘Jimmy Justice’

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Getting even with the law: Wikinews interviews New York City’s ‘Jimmy Justice’

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

“What bothers me is watching an officer write someone a summons and then commit the exact same violation with their official vehicle.

A civilian known as ‘Jimmy Justice’ who resides in New York City (NYC), New York, the largest city in the United States, has been videotaping NYC police officers and city workers, breaking the law while on the job.

Since 2007, he claims to have caught “hundreds of officers and other city employees violating the law,” and says he has them all on camera. He has posted his best confrontations with them to the video sharing website YouTube. As a result, Justice states that he has been asked to do a United States television show and Wikinews got an exclusive interview with him. For protection, Justice wished not to be called by his real name in fear of police retaliation.

Last year, Justice videotaped a police officer parking in front of a fire hydrant, but has only recently gained attention on social networking news sites such as Digg and reddit.com. So Wikinews contacted Mr. Justice, known as JimmyJustice4753 on YouTube, for an exclusive interview to find out what caused him to get revenge on the law.

On June 30, 2007, Justice caught officer E. Anderson of the NYPD, traffic division, parking directly in front of a fire hydrant while she went inside a restaurant to take a 15 minute lunch break.

“Do you think there is something wrong with parking a vehicle, blocking a fire hydrant,?” says Justice while following Anderson to her car after her meal.

“Mrs. Anderson I’m talking to you,” says Justice as Anderson ignores him. “You parked your vehicle blocking a fire hydrant. You are not allowed to do that. Somebody else would get a ticket for that. Why are you allowed to do it? You should be ashamed of yourself Mrs. Anderson.”

By this time, the incident has gained the interest of people nearby the scene and passing it. One unidentified woman, who claims to be a retired NYC police officer decides to intervene stating that people “are not supposed to film any police, [or] anybody employed with the police department because of the terrorism.” A short time later the woman walked off camera.

Since 2007 Justice says he has caught “hundreds of law enforcement officers and city officials” on “over 30 hours of video” violating laws from illegal U-turns in business districts to blocking bus stops and fire hydrants. Justice has only uploaded the “most colorful ones to YouTube” and recently, on April 8, 2008, Justice videotaped a NYPD tow truck officer blocking a hydrant while he also ate lunch inside a restaurant. According to NYC law, it is illegal for any vehicle to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and to park in front of a bus stop. It is also illegal for any person to make a U-turn in a business district. Fines for these violations can cost a driver up to US$115.00 for each violation occurred.

When Wikinews asked Justice why he decided to start filming the violations made by officials he answered, “what bothers me is watching an officer write someone a summons and then commit the exact same violation with their official vehicle. I started making these videos to remind the officers (and complacent civilians) that City employees have to abide by the same laws that they are paid to enforce. I plan on doing this and inspiring others to do this as well as a means of leveling the playing field against discourteous officers.”

“In NYC, the traffic cops are notorious for their draconian indiscretion in handing out summonses to civilians for petty violations. Obviously the laws are not enforced as a matter of public safety, but rather to raise revenue,” added Justice.

Justice makes little effort to get the violations on videotape saying “all I have to do to catch them is open my eyes.”

“The problem with abuse of authority is rampant in New York City. I take my video camera with me on the way to work and on the way to social events and band rehearsals and when I see action it takes me less than 4 seconds to have the camera out and in record mode,” states Justice.

His videos have drawn the attention of media and he has been featured on ABC’s ‘I-caught videos’ and Inside Edition. Justice also states that the popularity of his videos have gotten the attention producers in Hollywood, California and as a result, there are plans for a television show.

Since Justice began getting even with officials and their violations, he states that there has been a positive change in the communities.

“The publicity my videos have received has effected positive change in the community, but we still have a long road ahead of us,” added Justice.

As a result of his videos, at the time the NYPD launched an investigation into the violations, but it is not known if any officers were charged or punished. Justice himself has never been arrested, but has been assaulted.

“I have never been arrested for this yet but they have threatened me with arrest. I have been spit on, cursed at, assaulted, and I had 2 cameras broken already,” added Justice.

Nationalised bank Northern Rock sold to Virgin Money

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Nationalised bank Northern Rock sold to Virgin Money

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Today Virgin Money finalised a deal with the British Government to acquire the nationalised Newcastle upon Tyne-based bank Northern Rock for £747 million. During 2012, the bank will be rebranded as a Virgin company and the current Northern Rock customers will become customers of the enlarged Virgin Money.

The Northern Rock bank had been nationalised in 2008 following the revelation that the company had received emergency support from the UK Government. Northern Rock had required support due to its exposure during the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group had a bid for the bank rejected prior to the bank’s nationalisation. In 2010, while nationalised, the current high street bank Northern Rock plc was split from the ‘bad bank’, Northern Rock (Asset Management). Virgin have only purchased the ‘good bank’ of Northern Rock, not the asset management company.

The deal which could have additional payments to put the total value of the sale to over £1 billion had been first announced on 17 November 2011 and was criticised by some as not being a good enough deal for taxpayers. Opposition such as the Labour Party requested that the National Audit Office investigate the sale, and for it to be put on hold. By the beginning of 2012, the deal had been approved by the Financial Services Authority and the European Commission for merger clearance.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia will be Virgin Money’s CEO and former deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sir David Clementi, will be Chairman. Virgin have also pledged to maintain an operational headquarters in Newcastle upon Tyne as well as maintaining the current branches.

Tag Your Friends In A Funny Way

Tag your friends in a funny way

by

Jessey Kents

With the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace connecting with friends, co-workers or people who live around you have become easier than ever. Now is the time when one makes friends and keeps them forever due to these social networking sites unlike as in the past, when reconnecting was a huge matter of serendipity. You can know what your friends are doing, what is going on in their lives and be well-informed about them. A trend which has been observed in the recent past is tagging.

This application was launched by the social networking sites wherein you can tag your friends in your status or you could also tag your friend s photographs which have been uploaded by you or your friend or even by someone you don t know depending on the security measures you put on your profile. Tagging allows you to more actively mention your friends and other things you are connected to on Facebook. It also lets you direct a post at specific people. Tagging is just a means of fun where you pin point some of your friends in their pictures or in your status regarding something important or funny.

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As tagging became a trend, came along a new method of tagging friends. This included tagging your friends on photos that featured different types of personality, or different smiley s or cartoons or animations etc. These applications could though be used in Facebook or MySpace but now, several sites have been launched which provide these pictures with multiple personality, or cartoon pictures etc. These sites provide several pictures to choose from and according to your friend list, you can choose the photograph by the means of which you can cover most of your friends and tag your friends. These photographs are available as Facebook tagging pictures or Facebook tag pictures. One of the excellent sites which provide these Facebook tagging pictures is http://www.friendstagger.com/ which has the options of tag your friends as personality, tag your friends as phrases, and even tag your friends as cartoon characters from the latest blockbuster movie.

Tag Your Friends on Facebook & MySpace in Pictures as Characters. Tagging Photos, Images to Tag Your Pals & My Buddies Personalities. For more details about

Facebook Tag

and

Facebook Tags

please visit our website.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Two killed, 47 injured in coach crash in Cornwall, England

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Two killed, 47 injured in coach crash in Cornwall, England

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two people have been killed and 47 people have been injured as the result of a coach crash in Cornwall, England. The vehicle, which was carrying 48 passengers as well as the driver, were travelling back from a journey to the village of Mousehole to see Christmas lights. The accident occurred at 2215 GMT yesterday in the village of Townshend, not far from the town of Hayle. Road conditions at the time were icy, which may explain why the accident occurred. The first police car that arrived at the scene lost control on the icy road and crashed into the already overturned coach. The two officers in the car were uninjured, however the earlier crash had caused the deaths of two women. One of them died at the scene of the accident and the other was later killed as a result of the injuries suffered. 47 people were injured, five of them seriously.

The sequence of events that is believed to have happened, according to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, is that the coach went off the road, collided with a tree, going through a hedge before finally overturning, causing the vehicle to end up on its side. 60-year-old Ann Ellis, who comes from the village of Illogan in Cornwall, was physically involved in the crash. Desribing her experience of this incident, she said: “All I can remember is a big bang and we just went over. I got trapped under somebody else and there was someone on top of me. It was difficult to breathe but two gentlemen dragged me out. I was shaken, really shaken. I think we all were. It was horrific.”

I was shaken, really shaken. I think we all were. It was horrific.

Derek Smith, lives near where the accident occurred. He said that “[w]e were just going to bed when we heard a knock on the kitchen door. She was covered in mud and had no shoes or socks on and was shaking as she stood there. I could hear this commotion going on.

She said to ring the police and ambulance as their coach had turned over and there were 50 people in it and some of them were injured. My wife rang 999 and the lady was in a real panic. We gave her some socks and boots straightaway because she was freezing as she had nothing on her feet.”

75-year-old Charles Parker, who is living in St. Agnes in the county, was also injured in the accident, suffering injuries to his leg and his head. “The roads were so icy,” he explained. “I heard a cracking noise and all of a sudden we had turned over. I remember later being helped out of the coach through a window. We were close to a house and they took most of the people in there. Then helicopters turned up. It was very frightening.”

Inspector Matthew Shaw, who comes from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, explained “[i]t seems from initial investigations that the coach has slipped on ice. The road is covered in a sheet of ice, it’s treacherous, it’s difficult to even walk down there.” The amount of time taken to transport the injured passengers to a hospital was four hours.

UK court remands man in custody over Leytonstone knife attack

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UK court remands man in custody over Leytonstone knife attack

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A UK court has remanded a man in custody after he appeared in court over a stabbing incident in the capital London. Muhaydin Mire, a 29-year-old from east London, was charged with attempted murder after reportedly at least two people were injured, one seriously, in Leytonstone tube station on Saturday. The suspect, who spoke only to confirm personal details in yesterday’s hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, is also set to appear at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The motivation for the attack is not yet clear, although prosecutors told yesterday’s hearing imagery associated with Daesh was thought to be on the suspect’s phone. Witnesses reportedly heard the suspect shout the words “this is for Syria” when the attack occurred. The House of Commons voted in favour of UK military action against Daesh in Syria three days earlier. The Metropolitan Police have said they are treating this attack as a terrorist incident.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday condemned the attack as “hideous” and praised the public and police response. “It’s obviously a hideous attack,” he said, “and we’ve all seen pictures of it and read about it and first of all, full credit to the person and people who took on this attacker, and full credit to the very brave police officers who managed to subdue him […] I think this event simply showed again what brilliant and brave and dedicated people there are when it comes to our police officers.” Earlier, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The stabbing in Leytonstone is absolutely shocking. My thoughts are with the victim and his family.”

The Prime Minister also endorsed the sentiment of the phrase ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv’, which one man is heard to shout in video of the suspect’s arrest, and which subsequently became a Twitter trend. “Some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and soundbites and everything to this subject,” Cameron said, “but ‘you ain’t no Muslim, bruv’ said it all much better than I ever could and thank you because that will be applauded around the country.” Additionally, Sadiq Khan, Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London, used the hashtag in a tweet in which he added: “To defeat extremism we must directly challenge their poisonous ideology”.

Tighten Sagging Skin/With Firming Cream}

Tighten Sagging Skin::With Firming Cream

by

Larry Taylor

To tighten sagging skin with firming cream is a wise move. But tightening and firming skin must be done with a safe skin care product. Most skin care products have harmful ingredients. Let’s look at what are safe skin care ingredients that work.

Safe Ingredients

There are 3 things you must do to have healthy skin and a younger looking appearance.

Observe these simple easy to do guides and your health and appearance with benefit greatly.

1. You must eat wholesome nutritious food.

2. You must take in plenty of Omega-3

(Hoki fish oil is excellent)

3. Use a skin firming cream that is really natural

Food Nutrients

Nutritious food includes antioxidants that fight off free radical damage. When antioxidants are not in the diet, sagging skin appears. Sagging wrinkled skin is quite noticeable around the neck and eyes. Now here are a few foods you would be wise to include in your food plan. These are well-known for having antioxidants that combat free radicals.

-Olives

-Avocados

-Grapes

-Passion Fruit

-Active Manuka Honey

-Wakame Sea Kelp

Important Antioxidants

Blue Passion Flower is not in our everyday diet. But it is a plant that contains an ingredient called Chrysin. Chrysin plays a very important role in that it is an antioxidant that also helps blood vessels become stronger. As a result Chrysin promotes the tightening of sagging skin.

Omega-3 Fish Oil

Hoki fish are found in the pristine waters of New Zealand. They have proven to be an excellent source of Omega-3 fish oil. One local New Zealand company distills the Hoki fish to remove all the possible contaminants. This company is the best source I have found and take it regularly myself. See my website listed below for more complete details of the health benefits of Omega-3 fish oil.

Firming Skin Cream With Safe Ingredients

It takes a special formulation along with real natural ingredients to make a Firming Cream that really works and still be safe to put on your body. Most companies have synthetics that could be very harmful. Also included will be antioxidants that are directly applied to the skin.

Formulation of Firming Cream

As mentioned, the formulation must be correct or the firming cream may as well be whipping cream. Wakame sea kelp, chrysin and keratin among other ingredients must be included in the proper concentrations to really work well.

How to Tighten Sagging Skin

A. Consume nutrient-rich foods

B. Take Fish Oil Everyday (Hoki Fish Oil)

C. Use real natural skin care products

D. See my website for source of above

Don’t be tempted to go into some big fancy department store or some cheap drug store or even a health food store expecting to find effective products. All three of the above stores have been known to carry synthetic harmful skin care products. Follow my suggested plan above and check my website for more detailed facts. Thanks, Margaret Bell

Margaret Bell is a diligent researcher of skin care systems and real natural healthy body supplements. Visit her site at: http://www.AHealthyRadiantSkin.com to discover which is the Best Skin Care Cream to Tighten Sagging Skin.

Article Source:

eArticlesOnline.com

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

US automaker bailout deal fails to pass Senate

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US automaker bailout deal fails to pass Senate
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Friday, December 12, 2008

A US$14 billion bailout package deal for the “Big Three” United States automakers — Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors — has been rejected in the United States Senate after failing a procedural vote.

The bill was rejected after bipartisan discussions on the bailout broke down when Republican Party leaders insisted that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union agree to increase wage cuts by next year in order to bring their pay into line with those of Japanese automobile companies in the United States. The UAW refused to meet the demands.

The final vote count in the Senate was 52-35, eight short of the 60 needed to pass. Only ten Republicans joined forty Democrats and two independents in voting for the bill. Three Democrats voted with thirty-one Republicans against it.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said that he was “terribly disappointed” by the failure of the bill to pass. “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight,” Reid said. “Millions of Americans, not only the auto workers but people who sell cars, car dealerships, people who work on cars are going to be directly impacted and affected.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Did the Senate do the right thing in rejecting the bailout plan?
Add or view comments

Republican Senator Bob Corker was also unhappy about the rejection. “We were about three words away from a deal. We solved everything substantively and about three words keep us from reaching a conclusion,” he said.

Some Democrats now want U.S. President Bush to reserve a portion of the $700 billion bailout package earmarked for Wall Street to assist the flagging car industry.

Stock markets worldwide fell dramatically on the news, with Japan’s Nikkei average losing 484.68 points, or 5.6 percent, reaching a level of 8253.87 points. Shares in the auto companies Toyota, Nissan and Honda all dropped by no less than 10 percent apiece. European stocks, such as those in the United Kingdom and Germany, also lost ground, with the FTSE-100 index of leading shares falling 176.3 points to a level of 4,211 at midday.

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Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skiers Jessica Gallagher and Eric Bickerton

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Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skiers Jessica Gallagher and Eric Bickerton
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, Wikinews sat down with Australian blind Paralympic skier Jessica Gallagher and her guide Eric Bickerton who are participating in a national team training camp in Vail, Colorado.

((Wikinews)) This is Jessica Gallagher. She’s competing at the IPC NorAm cup this coming week.

Jessica Gallagher: I’m not competing at Copper Mountain.

((WN)) You’re not competing?

Jessica Gallagher: No.

((WN)) You’re just here?

Jessica Gallagher: We’re in training. I’ve got a race at Winner Park, but we aren’t racing at Copper.

((WN)) So. Your guide is Eric Bickerton, and he did win a medal in women’s downhill blind skiing.

Jessica Gallagher: Yes!

((WN)) Despite the fact that he is neither a woman nor blind.

Jessica Gallagher: No, he loves telling people that he was the first Australian female Paralympic woman to win a medal. One of the ironies.

((WN)) The IPC’s website doesn’t list guides on their medal things. Are they doing that because they don’t want — you realise this is not all about you per se — Is it because they are trying to keep off the able bodied people to make the Paralympics seem more pure for people with disabilities?

Jessica Gallagher: Look, I don’t know but I completely disagree if they don’t have the guides up there. Because it’s pretty plain and simple: I wouldn’t be skiing if it wasn’t with him. Being legally blind you do have limitations and that’s just reality. We’re certainly able to overcome most of them. And when it comes to skiing on a mountain the reason I’m able to overcome having 8 per cent vision is that I have a guide. So I think it’s pretty poor if they don’t have the information up there because he does as much work as I do. He’s an athlete as much as I am. If he crashes we’re both out. He’s drug tested. He’s as important as I am on a race course. So I would strongly hope that they would put it up there. Here’s Eric!
Eric Bickerton: Pleased to met you.

((WN)) We’ve been having a great debate about whether or not you’ve won a medal in women’s blind downhill skiing.

Eric Bickerton: Yes, I won it. I’ve got it.

((WN)) I found a picture of you on the ABC web site. Both of you were there, holding your medals up. The IPC’s web site doesn’t credit you.

Jessica Gallagher: I’m surprised by that.
Eric Bickerton: That’s unusual, yeah.

((WN)) One of the things that was mentioned earlier, most delightful about you guys is you were racing and “we were halfway down the course and we lost communication!” How does a blind skier deal with…

Jessica Gallagher: Funny now. Was bloody scary.

((WN)) What race was that?

Jessica Gallagher: It was the Giant Slalom in Vancouver at the Paralympics. Actually, we were talking about this before. It’s one of the unique aspects of wearing headsets and being able to communicate. All the time while we were on the mountain earlier today, Eric had a stack and all he could hear as he was tumbling down was me laughing.
Eric Bickerton: Yes… I wasn’t feeling the love.
Jessica Gallagher: But um… what was the question please?

((WN)) I couldn’t imagine anything scarier than charging down the mountain at high speed and losing that communications link.

Jessica Gallagher: The difficulty was in the Giant Slalom, it was raining, and being used to ski racing, I had never experienced skiing in the rain, and as soon as I came out of the start hut I lost all my sight, which is something that I had never experienced before. Only having 8 per cent you treasure it and to lose all of it was a huge shock. And then when I couldn’t hear Eric talking I realised that our headsets had malfunctioned because they’d actually got rain into them. Which normally wouldn’t happen in the mountains because it would be snow. So it was the scariest moment of my life. Going down it was about getting to the bottom in one piece, not racing to win a medal, which was pretty difficult I guess or frustrating, given that it was the Paralympics.

((WN)) I asked the standing guys upstairs: who is the craziest amongst all you skiers: the ones who can’t see, the ones on the mono skis, or the one-legged or no-armed guys. Who is the craziest one on the slopes?

Jessica Gallagher: I think the completely blind. If I was completely blind I wouldn’t ski. Some of the sit skiers are pretty crazy as well.

((WN)) You have full control over your skis though. You have both legs and both arms.

Jessica Gallagher: True, but you’ve got absolutely no idea where you’re going. And you have to have complete reliance on a person. Trust that they are able to give you the right directions. That you are actually going in the right direction. It’s difficult with the sight that I have but I couldn’t imagine doing it with no sight at all.

((WN)) The two of you train together all the time?

Eric Bickerton: Pretty well, yes.
Jessica Gallagher: Yes, everything on snow basically is together. One of the difficult things I guess is we have to have that 100 per cent communication and trust between one another and a lot of the female skiers on the circuit, their guide is their husband. That’s kind of a trust relationship. Eric does say that at times it feels like we’re married, but…
Eric Bickerton: I keep checking for my wallet.
Jessica Gallagher: …it’s always about constantly trying to continue to build that relationship so that eventually I just… You put your life in his hands and whatever he says, you do, kind of thing.

((WN)) Of the two sport, winter sports and summer sports person, how do you find that balance between one sport and the other sport?

Jessica Gallagher: It’s not easy. Yeah, it’s not easy at all. Yesterday was my first day on snow since March 16, 2010. And that was mainly because of the build up obviously for London and the times when I was going to ski I was injured. So, to not have skied for that long is obviously a huge disadvantage when all the girls have been racing the circuit since… and it’s vice versa with track and field. So I’ve got an amazing team at the Victorian Institute of Sport. I call them my little A Team of strength and mission coach, physio, osteopath, soft tissue therapist, sport psychologist, dietician. Basically everyone has expertise in the area and we come together and having meetings and plan four years ahead and say at the moment Sochi’s the goal, but Rio’s still in the back of the head, and knowing my body so well now that I’ve done both sports for five years means that I can know where they’ve made mistakes, and I know where things have gone really well, so we can plan ahead for that and prepare so that the things that did go wrong won’t happen again. To make sure that I get to each competition in peak tone.

((WN)) What things went wrong?

Jessica Gallagher: Mainly injuries. So, that’s the most difficult thing with doing two sports. Track and field is an explosive power; long jump and javelin are over four to six seconds of maximum effort. Ski racing, you are on a course, for a minute to a minute and a half, so it’s a speed endurance event. And the two couldn’t be further apart in terms of the capabilities and the capacities that you need as an athlete. So one of the big things I guess, after the Vancouver campaign, being in ski boots for so long, I had lost a lot of muscle from my calves so they weren’t actually firing properly, and when you’re trying to run and jump and you don’t have half of your leg working properly it makes it pretty difficult to jump a good distance. Those kind of things. So I’m skiing now but when I’m in a gym doing recovery and rehab or prehab stuff, I’ve got calf raising, I’ve got hamstring exercises because I know they’re the weaker areas that if I’m not working on at the moment they’re two muscle groups that don’t get worked during ski. That I need to do the extra stuff on the side so that when I transition back to track and field I don’t have any soft tissue injuries like strains because of the fact that I know they’re weaker so…

((WN)) Do you prefer one over the other? Do you say “I’d really rather be out on the slopes than jogging and jumping the same…

Jessica Gallagher: I get asked that a lot. I think I love them for different reasons and I hate them for different reasons so I think at the end of the day I would prefer ski racing mainly because of the lifestyle. I think ski racing is a lot harder than track and field to medal in but I love the fact that I get to come to amazing resorts and get to travel the world. But I think, at the end of the day I get the best of both worlds. By the time my body has had enough of cold weather and of traveling I get to go home and be in the summer and be on a track in such a stable environment, which is something that visually impaired people love because it’s familiar and you know what to expect. Whereas in this environment it’s not, every racecourse we use is completely different.

((WN)) I heard you were an average snowboarder. How disappointed were you when you when they said no to your classifications?

Jessica Gallagher: Very disappointed! For Sochi you mean?

((WN)) Yes

Jessica Gallagher: Yeah. I mean we weren’t really expecting it. Mainly because they’ve brought in snowboard cross, and I couldn’t imagine four blind athletes and four guides going down the same course together at the same time. That would be a disaster waiting to happen. But I guess having been a snowboarder for… as soon as we found snowboarding had been put in, I rang Steve, the head coach, and said can we do snowboarding? When I rang Steve I said, don’t worry, I’ve already found out that Eric can snowboard. It would have been amazing to have been able to compete in both. Maybe next games.

((WN)) So you also snowboard?

Eric Bickerton: Yes.

((WN)) So she does a lot of sports and you also do a crazy number of sports?

Eric Bickerton: Uh, yeah?

((WN)) Summer sports as well as winter sports?

Eric Bickerton: Me?

((WN)) Yes.

Eric Bickerton: Through my sporting career. I’ve played rugby union, rugby league, soccer, early days, I played for the Australian Colts, overseas, rugby union. I spend most of my life sailing competitively and socially. Snow skiing. Yeah. Kite boarding and trying to surf again.

((WN)) That’s a lot of sports! Does Jessica need guides for all of them?

Eric Bickerton: I’ve played sport all my life. I started with cricket. I’ve played competition squash. I raced for Australia in surfing sailing. Played rugby union.

((WN)) Most of us have played sport all our lives, but there’s a difference between playing sport and playing sport at a high level, and the higher level you go, the more specialized you tend to become. And here [we’re] looking at two exceptions to that.

Eric Bickerton: I suppose that I can round that out by saying to you that I don’t think that I would ever reach the pinnacle. I’m not prepared to spend ten years dedicated to that one thing. And to get that last ten per cent or five percent of performance at that level. That’s what you’ve got to do. So I’ll play everything to a reasonable level, but to get to that really, really highest peak level you have to give up everything else.

((WN)) When you go to the pub, do your mates make fun of you for having a medal in women’s blind skiing?

Eric Bickerton: No, not really.
Jessica Gallagher: Usually they say “I love it!” and “This is pretty cool!”
Eric Bickerton: We started at the Olympics. We went out into the crowd to meet Jess’ mum, and we had our medals. There were two of us and we were waiting for her mum to come back and in that two hour period there was at least a hundred and fifty people from all over the world who wore our medals and took photographs. My medal’s been all over Australia.

((WN)) Going to a completely different issue, blind sports have three classifications, that are medical, unlike everybody else, who’ve got functional ability [classifications]. You’ve got the only medical ones. Do you think the blind classifications are fair in terms of how they operate? Or should there be changes? And how that works in terms of the IPC?

Jessica Gallagher: Yeah. I think the system they’ve got in place is good, in terms of having the three classes. You’ve got completely blind which are B1s, less than 5 percent, which are B2, and less than 10 percent is a B3. I think those systems work really well. I guess one of the difficult things with vision impairment is that there are so many diseases and conditions that everyone’s sight is completely different, and they have that problem with the other classes as well. But in terms of the class system itself I think having the three works really well. What do you think?
Eric Bickerton: I think the classification system itself’s fine. It’s the one or two grey areas, people: are they there or are they there?

((WN)) That affected you in Beijing.

Jessica Gallagher: Yeah. That was obviously really disappointing, but, ironic as well in that one of my eyes is point zero one of a percent too sighted, so one’s eligible, the other’s just outside their criteria, which left me unable to compete. Because my condition is degenerative. They knew that my sight would get worse. I guess I was in a fortunate position where once my sight deteriorated I was going to become eligible. There are some of the classes, if you don’t have a degenerate condition, that’s not possible. No one ever wants to lose their best sight, but that was one positive.

((WN)) On some national competitions they have a B4 class. Do you think those should be eligible? In terms of the international competition?

Jessica Gallagher: Which sports have B4s?

((WN)) There’s a level down, it’s not used internationally, I think it’s only used for domestic competitions. I know the UK uses it.

Jessica Gallagher: I think I… A particular one. For social reasons, that’s a great thing, but I think if it’s, yeah. I don’t know if I would… I think socially to get more Paralympic athletes involved in the sport if they’ve got a degenerative condition on that border then they should be allowed to compete but obviously… I don’t think they should be able to receive any medals at a national competition or anything like that. So I was, after Beijing, I was able to fore-run races. I was able to transition over to skiing even though at that stage I wasn’t eligible. So that was great for us. The IPC knew that my eyesight was going to get worse. So I was able to fore-run races. Which was a really good experience for us, when we did get to that level. So I think, with the lack of numbers in Paralympic sport, more that you should encourage athletes and give them those opportunities, it’s a great thing. But I guess it’s about the athletes realizing that you’re in it for the participation, and to grow as an athlete rather than to win medals. I don’t think the system should be changed. I think three classes is enough. Where the B3 line is compared with a B4 is legally blind. And I think that covers everything. I think that’s the stage where you have low enough vision to be considered a Paralympic sport as opposed to I guess an able bodied athlete. And that’s with all forms of like, with government pensions, with bus passes, all that sort of stuff, that the cut off line is legally blind, so I think that’s a good place to keep it.

((WN)) Veering away from this, I remember watching the Melbourne Cup stuff on television, and there you were, I think you were wearing some hat or something.

Jessica Gallagher: Yeah, my friend’s a milliner. They were real flowers, real orchids.

((WN)) Are you basically a professional athlete who has enough money or sponsorship to do that sort of stuff? I was saying, there’s Jessica Gallagher! She was in London! That’s so cool!

Jessica Gallagher: There are two organizations that I’m an ambassador for, and one of them is Vision Australia, who were a charity for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. So as part of my ambassador role I was at the races helping them raise money. And that involves media stuff, so that was the reason I was there. I didn’t get paid.

((WN)) But if you’re not getting paid to be a sponsor for all that is awesome in Australia, what do you do outside of skiing, and the long jump, and the javelin?

Jessica Gallagher: I’m an osteopath. So I finished my masters’ degree in 2009. I was completing a bachelor’s and a masters. I was working for the Victorian Institute of Sport guiding program but with the commitment to London having so much travel I actually just put everything on hold in terms of my osteo career. There’s not really enough time. And then the ambassador role, I had a few commitments with that, and I did motivational speaking.

((WN)) That’s very cool. Eric, I’ve read that you work as a guide in back country skiing, and all sorts of crazy stuff like that. What do you do when you’re not leading Jessica Gallagher down a ski slope?

Eric Bickerton: I’m the Chief Executive of Disabled Winter Sports Australia. So we look after all the disability winter sports, except for the Paralympics.
Jessica Gallagher: Social, recreational…

((WN)) You like that? You find it fulfilling?

Eric Bickerton: The skiing aspect’s good. I dunno about the corporate stuff. I could give that a miss. But I think it is quite fulfilling. Yeah, they’re a very good group of people there who enjoy themselves, both in disabilities and able bodied. We really need guides and support staff.

((WN)) Has it changed over the last few years?

Eric Bickerton: For us?

((WN)) Being a guide in general? How things have changed or improved, have you been given more recognition?

Eric Bickerton: No. I don’t see myself as an athlete. Legally we are the athlete. If I fail, she fails. We ski the exact same course. But there’s some idiosyncrasies associated with it. Because I’m a male guiding, I have to ski on male skis, which are different to female skis, which means my turn shape I have to control differently so it’s the same as her turn shape. It’s a little bit silly. Whereas if I was a female guiding, I’d be on exactly the same skis, and we’d be able to ski exactly the same all the way through. In that context I think the fact that Jess won the medal opened the eyes to the APC about visual impairment as a definite medal contending aspect. The biggest impediment to the whole process is how the Hell do you get a guide who’s (a) capable, (b) available and (c) able to fund himself. So we’re fortunate that the APC pushed for the recognition of myself as an athlete, and because we have the medal from the previous Olympics, we’re now tier one, so we get the government funding all way through. Without that two years before the last games, that cost me fifteen, sixteen months of my time, and $40,000 of cash to be the guide. So while I enjoyed it, and well I did, it is very very hard to say that a guide could make a career out of being a guide. There needs to be a little bit more consideration of that, a bit like the IPC saying no you’re not a medal winner. It’s quite a silly situation where it’s written into the rules that you are both the athlete and yet at the same time you’re not a medal winner. I think there’s evolution. It’s growing. It’s changing. It’s very, very difficult.

((WN)) Are you guys happy with the media coverage on the winter side? Do you think there’s a bias — obviously there is a bias towards the Summer Paralympics. Do the winter people get a fair shake?

Eric Bickerton: I think it’s fair. It’s reasonable. And there’s certainly a lot more than what it used to be. Winter sports in general, just from an Australian perspective is something that’s not well covered. But I’d say the coverage from the last Paralympics, the Para Winter Olympics was great, as far as an evolution of the coverage goes.

((WN)) Nothing like winning a medal, though, to lift the profile of a sport.

Jessica Gallagher: And I think that certainly helped after Vancouver. Not just Paralympics but able bodied with Lydia [Lassila] and Torah [Bright] winning, and then to have Eric and I win a medal, to finally have an Aussie female who has a winter Paralympic medal. I guess there can be misconceptions, I mean the winter team is so small in comparison to the summer team, they are always going to have a lot more coverage just purely based on numbers. There were 160 [Australian] athletes that were at London and not going to be many of us in Sochi. Sorry. Not even ten, actually.
Eric Bickerton: There’s five athletes.
Jessica Gallagher: There’s five at the moment, yeah. So a lot of the time I think with Paralympic sport, at the moment, APC are doing great things to get a lot of coverage for the team and that, but I think also individually, it’s growing. I’ve certainly noticed a lot more over the past two years but Eric and I are in a very unique situation. For me as well being both a summer and a winter Paralympian, there’s more interest I guess. I think with London it opened Australia and the word’s eyes to Paralympic sport, so the coverage from that hopefully will continue through Sochi and I’ll get a lot more people covered, but I know prior to Beijing and Vancouver, compared to my build up to London, in terms of media, it was worlds apart in terms of the amount of things I did and the profile pieces that were created. So that was great to see that people are actually starting to understand and see what it’s like.

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