Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth wanted speaking role with James Bond in Olympic skit

Leave a comment

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.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Tiger Woods back in contention for Olympic golf qualification

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nbcolympictalk’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

Adam Jones, five-time MLB All-Star, becomes Olympic eligible

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Should the U.S. qualify for baseball’s Olympic return, a five-time MLB All-Star could be eligible for its roster in Tokyo. And he has interest.

Outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s domestic league, which, unlike MLB, will take an Olympic break next summer to allow players to take part in the first Olympic baseball tournament in 12 years.

Jones, 34, made no mention of Olympic eligibility in a social media post announcing the signing. His Instagram avatar is a photo of him in a Team USA jersey from the World Baseball Classic.

Jones’ agent later said that Jones does have interest in playing for the U.S. in Tokyo, should an American team qualify in the spring.

“To play over in Japan has always been a desire of Adam’s, and the timing worked out that the Olympics happens to be played in Tokyo the first year of his contract,” Jones’ agent wrote in an email. “It wasn’t one of the factors on his decision BUT more of a [sic] addition to the overall package to decide to go.”

Jones called being part of the U.S.’ 2017 WBC title, “probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” according to The Associated Press. He was one of five players to be on the U.S. team at each of the last two World Baseball Classics.

The U.S. still faces a difficult task to qualify for the Tokyo Games. It lost to Mexico last month in its first of up to three chances at qualifying tournaments, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

Major Leaguers are not expected to be made available for qualifying or for the Tokyo Games.

The next two qualifying tournaments will be in late March (an Americas qualifier in Arizona) and early April (a final, global qualifying event in Chinese Taipei). It remains to be seen how MLB clubs will go about releasing minor leaguers for a tournament that will take place during spring training.

Jones could become the third player with prior MLB All-Star experience to compete at the Olympics from any nation, joining Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Jones made five All-Star teams during an 11-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-18 before playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Israel baseball turned to Shlomo Lipetz for the biggest out in program history

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nzaccardi’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

Russia boxers to boycott Olympics if sanctions not lifted

Getty Images
2 Comments

Russian boxers will only take part in the Tokyo Olympics if doping sanctions forcing them to compete as neutral athletes are overturned, the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Umar Kremlev said he has spoken with the Olympic boxing team and they “unanimously” rejected the conditions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency as punishment for manipulating doping data.

The WADA sanctions, announced on Monday, ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics.

“They said we won’t go without our flag and anthem,” Kremlev said. “We aren’t going for medals, but for that feeling that I brought the highest honor home for my country.”

Separately, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said Russia could create an alternative to the Olympics.

“This ruling show the clear crisis in international sports institutions. I believe that Russia could host its own games at home,” Valentina Matvienko said in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.

There is a precedent. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to compete in the Olympics and hosted its own Spartakiads — named after the ancient rebel slave Spartacus — with a strong socialist slant. However, the Soviet Union began competing at the Olympics in 1952 and Russians generally take great pride in the country’s Olympic achievements since then.

If the sanctions aren’t overturned, Kremlev said Russian boxers would prefer to turn pro rather than compete at the Olympics.

“A world champion (in professional boxing) is better known than an Olympic champion,” Kremlev said, adding the Russian anthem would be played before pro title fights.

Kremlev said boxers are being asked to shoulder the blame for offenses committed in other sports. He said they would still stay at home even if Russia’s athletes in other sports decided to take part.

“If other sports are guilty and people have breached the WADA code, why are we punished?” he said. “We are for honest sport and against doping. We want our sport to be clean … If someone breaks the rules, we push them out.”

Russia is a major power in amateur and Olympic boxing. It hosted both men’s and women’s world championships this year, finishing at the top of the medals table at the women’s event and second in the men’s championships. The International Olympic Committee has taken direct charge of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics after criticizing chronic financial problems and infighting at the International Boxing Association.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov talked up Russia’s chances of overturning the WADA sanctions.

“I think that there is every basis to appeal the decision, because our experts have presented their position, and they have the same database as WADA does,” Kolobkov said in comments reported by state news agency TASS. “There is an answer to every question and the whole process is ahead of us.”

The official decision on whether to dispute the sanctions will be made on Dec. 19 by the Russian anti-doping agency’s supervisory board, but senior figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have signaled their preference for taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nbcolympictalk’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]