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Queen Elizabeth wanted speaking role with James Bond in Olympic skit

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Queen Elizabeth II stipulated that she deliver the line, “Good evening, Mr. Bond,” in her famous 2012 Olympic skit with Daniel Craig, playing James Bond, according to a new book.

Angela Kelly, who has worked with the Queen for 25 years as a dresser, personal adviser, curator and designer, reportedly relayed the story in “The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.”

“There are few occasions on which Her Majesty will agree to break protocol, but in 2011 when film director Danny Boyle approached the Royal Household, he had a request to make that we simply could not refuse,” Kelly wrote, according to “Hello!” magazine. “She was very amused by the idea and agreed immediately. I asked then if she would like a speaking part. Without hesitation, Her Majesty replied: ‘Of course I must say something. After all, he is coming to rescue me.’

“I asked whether she would like to say: ‘Good evening, James,’ or ‘Good evening, Mr Bond,’ and she chose the latter, knowing the Bond films. Within minutes, I was back in [private secretary] Edward [Young]‘s office delivering the good news to Danny – I think he almost fell off his chair when I said that the Queen’s only stipulation was that she could deliver that iconic line: ‘Good evening, Mr Bond.'”

In earlier interviews, the Oscar-winning director Boyle said the London Olympic Opening Ceremony team first asked for permission from the royals to assure them they wouldn’t be embarrassed by the skit. Boyle thought they would use an actress to play the Queen, perhaps Helen Mirren.

“They came back and said, ‘We’re delighted for you to do it, and Her Majesty would like to be in it herself,'” Boyle said in 2013. “And this surreal thing, she would like to play herself.”

Boyle remembered filming the skit in a room where the Queen greets prime ministers. She was not in a good mood after spending the morning with the dentist. At the time, Boyle did not have her down for a speaking role.

“She said, ‘Don’t you think I should say something?'” Boyle remembered. The director obliged and asked what she preferred. “She said, ‘Oh, I’ll do something,’ and we started shooting, and she turned around and she said her lines, beautifully.”

Boyle, in multiple interviews, has cited one part of the five-minute skit as being particularly memorable.

“[The Queen] passes [Bond],” he said on NBC immediately after the Opening Ceremony. “He gives a look as he says, ‘Good evening, your Majesty.’ She walks past him. He does this thing where he thinks I’m a fictional character, she’s a real queen, she’s passing me by and these two worlds are joining. What’s that mean? I’m not sure, but I’m carrying on.”

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Cyclist in induced coma after Tour of Poland crash

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Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was put into an induced coma Wednesday after suffering injuries in a crash on the final stretch of the Tour of Poland, organizers said.

A massive crash at the finish of the first stage resulted in Dylan Groenewegen‘s disqualification from the race.

Leading a bunch sprint, Groenewegen veered toward the right barrier, pinching countryman Jakobsen, who barreled into the barrier meters from the finish line.

Jakobsen went head over heels, his bike went airborne and the barriers exploded onto the road, causing more cyclists to crash.

Jakobsen was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition and was put into an induced coma, the Tour de Pologne press office said.

Doctor Pawel Gruenpeter of the hospital in Sosnowiec said Jakobsen suffered injuries to the head and chest but that his condition was stable at the intensive care unit. Jakobsen will need surgery to his face and skull, Gruenpeter told state broadcaster TVP Sport.

Groenewegen crossed the finish line first but was disqualified, giving Jakobsen the stage win, according to the stage race website.

Groenewegen, a 27-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider, owns four Tour de France stage wins among the last three years.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) “strongly condemned” Groenewegen’s “dangerous” and “unacceptable” behavior. It referred Groenewegen’s actions to a disciplinary commission for possible sanctions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to a Russian media quote confirmed by Phil Hersh.

The ISU has not confirmed or denied Lakernik’s assertion.

Most, if not all, top-level U.S. skaters train in the U.S. or Canada. That makes the first two Grand Prix stops — Skate America and Skate Canada — likely destinations. Grand Prix assignments have not been published.

“I appreciate the ISU is open to adapting competitive formats and is working to give athletes opportunities to compete,” Evan Bates, a U.S. ice dance champion with Madison Chock who trains in Montreal, wrote in a text message to Hersh. “This announcement gives reassurance that the ISU is doing their best to ensure a season will still take place. Of course, it’s hard to predict what will happen, and we’re not sure about what country we would compete in. It would probably depend on what the quarantine rules are at that time.”

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu, who cannot enter the senior Grand Prix until 2021.

Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement that it will have more details on the Grand Prix Series in the coming weeks after collaborating with an ISU-appointed group.

“This is a great example of the figure skating community coming together to ensure that the world’s premier figure skating series will continue during these challenging times,” the statement read. “Figure skaters want to compete and figure skating fans from all around the world want to see their favorite athletes skate, and this format will ensure just that.”

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