Horseracing’s Drug Problem: A 10 Out of 10, Says USADA.

60-Minutes-Sports-showtimeU.S. ANTI DOPING AGENCY’S TRAVIS TYGART RATES THOROUGHBRED HORSERACING’S DRUG PROBLEM A 10 OUT OF 10 – “60 MINUTES SPORTS” PREMIERES WED., JUNE 4, ONLY ON SHOWTIME®

Says He’s Ready to Step in if the Bill Passes in Congress to Put USADA in Charge

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NEW YORK (June 2, 2014)—The man who tackled Lance Armstrong and the drug problem in professional cycling says the use of performance enhancing drugs in American horse racing has reached a critical point.  Travis Tygart, who heads the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, has been approached by Congress and the racing industry to clean up the sport. On the eve of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of thoroughbred racing’s famed Triple Crown, he speaks to Armen Keteyian for a story about drugs in horseracing on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS premiering Wed., June 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

Tygart says he has spoken to many people in thoroughbred racing who believe the proliferation of drugs has put the sport in serious jeopardy. “I think it’s down to the wire,” says Tygart. If the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, now in Congress, becomes law, his agency will be ready to regulate and enforce drug use in racing, he says.  USADA did the same for the U.S. Olympic Team 14 years ago, says Tygart, so it can do it again. Back then, “We said ‘We’re going to set a plan…develop the rules… and then we’re going to build the capacity to robustly enforce those rules to insure that the rights of the clean competitors are upheld and the integrity of the competition is restored,”’ he tells Keteyian.

“I think you listen to the industry, [the drug problem] has got to be a 10 [on a scale of 10],” says Tygart.  Many worry it’s undermining the sport’s image, harming the breeding process and putting riders and horses at risk.  There is tremendous pressure to use drugs to win in a multi-billion-dollar business in which there is no national uniform code to control drug use nor a governing body or commissioner to rein it in, says Tygart. “The temptations are through the roof in this sport.”

The Water, Hay, Oats Alliance would welcome oversight from USADA.  WHOA was formed by people like Arthur Hancock III, whose family has bred thoroughbreds since the Civil War era and whose farm produced three Kentucky Derby winners.  The drugs commonly given to race horses to enhance performance is killing his sport, Hancock tells Keteyian.  “We love the horses. It’s bad for the breed, it’s bad for the fans,” he says.

Hancock and his wife, Staci, say drugs can make mediocre horses winners, whose records are then the basis for breeding them and creating a bloodline maybe more based on the drug than natural ability. The drugs lead to shorter careers, too. Hancock says horses that are ailing shouldn’t be put on a drug and made to run a mile as fast as they can go. “In the old days, the farm was the therapy…and then they’d go back [to racing].”

The use of drugs has helped to end many a horse’s career prematurely says Hancock.  “When I was a boy in 1950…you had an expectation that your horse was going to run 45 times in his lifetime…now, you know what it is?  Thirteen.”

Keteyian also speaks with Phillip Hanrahan who heads the 29,000-member National Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association. He says there isn’t a drug problem in his industry, pointing to 368,980 drug tests taken between 2009 and 2012 that 99.2 percent of the horses passed.  He says the industry does a good job of policing itself. “Could it be improved? Sure. But it’s not the Wild, Wild West picture that some would have you believe.”

###

NBA Player Rep on LeBron James: “He ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner.” JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME Premieres Wednesday

showtime-sportsNBA PLAYERS ASSOC. VP ROGER MASON JR. TELLS JIM ROME THAT LEBRON JAMES WOULD LEAD NBA BOYCOTT IF STERLING CASE NOT RESOLVED

This Month’s Edition of JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME® Premieres

Wednesday, May 14, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME

Encore Airings all month long on SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND and SHOWTIME ANYTIME

LOS ANGELES (May 13, 2014) – NBA Players Association Vice President Roger Mason Jr., tells Jim Rome on this month’s edition of JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME that superstar LeBron James is prepared to lead an NBA player boycott of the 2014-15 season if the Donald Sterling ownership issue is not resolved by the start of next season.  JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME premieres this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

“What if [Donald Sterling] is still there. I mean, he’s not going down without a fight. What if he’s still there when next season starts?” Rome asked Mason during a compelling Open Forum discussion.

“If it’s not handled by… the start of next season, I don’t see how we’re playing basketball,” Mason said. “I was just in the locker room with LeBron…  At the end of the day, you know we have leaders.  We have player reps, we’ve got executive committee members…  Leaders of the teams, they’re all saying the same thing, ‘If this man is still in place, we ain’t playing’.”

Rome followed up: “So your guy LeBron, you think he would not play if Sterling were still in there when the [next] season started?”

“I was just in the locker room three or four days ago. LeBron and I talked about it,” Mason said. “He ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner.”

Rome asked about Sterling’s wife Shelly Sterling. “What if he’s not there, but his wife is,” Rome asked.

“No Sterling deserves to be an owner of that franchise any longer,” Mason said. “And I’ve gone down the line from LeBron to the other guys in the league that I’ve talked to and they all feel the same way. There’s no place for that family in the NBA.”

Also contributing to the must-see Open Forum segment are USC Professor and pop culture expert Todd Boyd and former 13-year NFL veteran Ephraim Salaam.

Also appearing on the episode are: Anaheim Angels outfielder Mike Trout, NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, comedian D.L. Hughley, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, and former baseball great Darryl Strawberry.

JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME airs Wednesdays with encore airings all month long on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME® and is available on SHOWTIME ON DEMAND and SHOWTIME ANYTIME.

*  *  *

Showtime Sports Wins Sports Emmy Awards For “All Access: Mayweather Vs. Canelo Epilogue” And “60 Minutes Sports – Great Falls”

showtime-sportsSHOWTIME SPORTS® WINS SPORTS EMMY® AWARDS FOR

“ALL ACCESS: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO EPILOGUE”

(Best Edited Sports Event Coverage)

AND “60 MINUTES SPORTS – GREAT FALLS”

(Outstanding Long Feature)

Use this link to watch, share and embed the full Emmy award-winning episode of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Canelo Epilogue: http://s.sho.com/1lZc3ZQ

 

NEW YORK (May 7, 2014) – SHOWTIME received two Sports Emmy Awards Tuesday evening at the 35th Annual Sports Emmy ceremony in New York City for its sports programming.  “ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Canelo” Epilogue won its first Emmy for Outstanding Edited Sports Event Coverage.  “60 MINUTES SPORTS” won its first Emmy for Outstanding Long Feature in its inaugural season for the “Great Falls” segment.

SHOWTIME was nominated for eight Sports Emmy Awards in 2013, the most in network history. SHOWTIME has won 10 Sports Emmy Awards in network history.

About ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Canelo Epilogue

Broadcast eleven days after the highest grossing fight in boxing history, “All Access: Mayweather vs. Canelo” Epilogue utilized original cinematography to capture not just the grandeur and excitement of fight night but also the intimate, unseen moments at home and in the locker rooms surrounding the event. The result was a rarely seen glimpse into the preparation, execution and aftermath of world championship boxing at the highest level.

About 60 MINUTES SPORTS – Great Falls

60 MINUTES SPORTS, a sports magazine from the producers of the critically-acclaimed 60 MINUTES, reported on extreme kayaking, the rush of the sport and its inherent dangers in a story about the Potomac’s Great Falls and the tragic death of Shannon Christy, one of extreme kayaking’s rising stars. The segment, reported by David Martin, included an interview with Christy and footage of the rescue attempt and recovery of her body.

# # #

Daniel Jacobs To Fill In For Paul Malignaggi on Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

showtime-sportsMalignaggi Taking Precaution Following Last Week’s Loss;

Says He Will Be Ready For May 3 SHOWTIME PPV® Event

LOS ANGELES (April 24, 2014)—Middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs will serve as a guest analyst for the second straight week as SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING presents three world-class prizefights on Saturday, April 26, live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from StubHub Center in Los Angeles.

Jacobs will step in for critically acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who is recovering from a tough knockout loss to IBF Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter last week.  After the fight, Malignaggi was taken to a nearby hospital in Washington D.C.  He has since been released and is recovering comfortably at his home, but is opting to err on the side of caution for this week’s event in Los Angeles.

“I am feeling very good at this stage, but anytime you have any level of concussion, your best bet is to fully recover before doing virtually any activity,” said Malignaggi.  “There will be plenty of action on Saturday and the audience will be in good hands with Danny on the stick.  But make no mistake: I will not miss next week’s event in Las Vegas.  I have been looking forward to that fight card for some time.  I’ll be ready.”

The main event for Saturday’s tripleheader will pit interim WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman against former world champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz.  In the co-features, Lucas Matthysse returns from an eight-month layoff to face heavy-handed John Molina Jr., in a 10-round junior welterweight matchup and undefeated WBC Lightweight World Champion Omar Figueroa Jr., defends his title against Jerry Belmontes.  The telecast will air live, immediately following the premiere of Episode 2 of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Maidana, the most recent installment of the Emmy® Award-nominated SHOWTIME Sports® series that chronicles the dramatic lives of the world’s best prizefighters.

“I had a great time filling in for Paulie last week,” said Jacobs, who will join host Brian Kenny, Mauro Ranallo, Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and award-winning reporter Jim Gray on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.  “It was a tremendous honor to be part of that event and to show the fans a different side of myself.  I received terrific feedback, not only from SHOWTIME, but from the fans, my friends and family.  Obviously, Paulie’s welfare is my main concern but I know he will be back behind the mic soon.  In the meantime, I look forward to doing another great job at ringside.”

The 27-year-old Jacobs (27-1, 24 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., is coming off a first-round TKO of Milton Nunez on March 15 on the SHOWTIME EXTREME® undercard of the Danny Garcia-Mauricio Herrera event in Puerto Rico.  The victory was Jacob’s fifth straight win in as many fights since returning to the ring after a courageous 19-month battle against cancer and partial paralysis.

The 6-foot-1 Jacobs, who is the fifth ranked middleweight contender by the IBF and sixth by the WBC, WBA and WBO, has  won seven in a row by knockout.

#  #  #

SHOWTIME and Kobe Bryant Find Their Muse

showtime-sportsKOBE BRYANT’S MUSE – The New Original Feature-Length Documentary Captures a Never-Before-Seen Portrait of An Elite Athlete’s

Professional and Personal Journey

LOS ANGELES, CA. (April 17, 2014)  – As Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant prepares for his much-anticipated return to the NBA next season, SHOWTIME is set to air the original documentary film KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE, an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of the most successful and complex figures in professional sports.  The feature-length documentary is directed by Gotham Chopra (Decoding Deepak, ESPN’s upcoming 30 For 30 film, The Little Master). The film is currently in production in Los Angeles and will air this fall on SHOWTIME.

KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE will offer viewers a deep character portrait of a professional athlete who has transcended his sport to become a culture-moving personality,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®.  “We are thrilled that Kobe has given us this unprecedented access, which will allow our viewers to witness such a challenging period of time in the life of one of the NBA’s greatest players.”

“As a lifelong Boston Celtics fan, never did I imagine I would collaborate with Laker great Kobe Bryant,” said Gotham Chopra.   “Kobe’s quest for greatness transcends rivalries and I’m excited by his and SHOWTIME’s willingness to go down this rabbit hole together.  I’m confident audiences will be intrigued by what comes out the other side.”

At this critical juncture in his career, viewers will watch as Bryant attempts to cement his legacy, opening a window into the mind of an elite athlete still motivated to be the best, but also contemplating life after sports. KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE will feature the successes and challenges that have shaped Bryant’s professional life as well as inform audiences who are unaware of the lesser-known aspects of his career, while offering new insights to those who have followed him closely.

The documentary will examine Bryant’s storied basketball career, detailing his mentorships, allies and rivalries that have helped shape his 18-year tenure in the NBA.  The ultimate competitor for nearly two decades, a 16-time All-Star and winner of five NBA championships, Bryant dominated professional basketball until a series of recent injuries threatened to abridge his career.  With unbridled access to his daily experience, the film will reveal what makes Bryant tick and the life-long inspirations that have motivated him.

Kobe Bryant’s Muse is executive produced by Kobe Bryant and Gotham Chopra in association with Mamba Media.

Jeanie Buss Gives Her Thoughts On The Lakers’ Season And More On The Next Edition Of Jim Rome On Showtime®

showtime-sports“Disappointment. Awful. It’s not Laker-esque at all.”

-Jeanie Buss on the Lakers’ Season

 

JEANIE BUSS GIVES HER THOUGHTS ON THE LAKERS SEASON AND MORE ON THE NEXT EDITION OF

JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME®

This Month’s Edition of JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME Premieres

Wednesday, April 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Only on SHOWTIME

 

LOS ANGELES (April 9, 2014) – Los Angeles Lakers President Jeanie Buss joins this month’s edition of JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME and gives her take on the Lakers’ season, discusses her fiancé Phil Jackson’s new job with the New York Knicks and says she doesn’t think NBA teams are intentionally tanking. The episode premieres this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®.

Rome also is joined in The Forum by former NBA star Raja Bell, NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus and author Paul Solotaroff, who discuss the standing ovation given to Ryan Braun, the Philadelphia Eagles cutting star DeSean Jackson, and more of today’s hottest sports topics. Plus, former No. 1 ranked tennis player Andre Agassi talks with Rome about his autobiography. And, Rome goes one-on-one with 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, San Antonio Spurs forward Manu Ginobili and Boston Red Sox star Jonny Gomes.

JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME premieres the second Wednesday of every month with multiple replays each week on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME®.  The program is available at SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.

Following are excerpts from this week’s Jim Rome on SHOWTIME:

ROME: “If could use one word to describe this season, what would it be?”

JEANIE BUSS: “Disappointment. Awful. It’s not Laker-esque at all.”

ROME: “You are engaged to Phil Jackson. Did he at any point say, ‘I want to get back in. I want something to do.’ Did he come to you and say, ‘I would like to have an official job with the Lakers?’ ”

BUSS: “What was important to him was that he wants to see my family be successful. And however he can help he wanted to help. I am in charge of the Lakers. I’ve empowered Mitch Kupchak and my brother Jim Buss to put together the best team they can. There was no role for Phil Jackson in this organization and that is why he’s not here.”

ROME: “How is there not a role for Phil Jackson within that organization?”

BUSS: “Phil wanted to work again. I could have hired him to work in the marketing department or possibly season-ticket sales, but I don’t think he would have been very good at it (laughter). The basketball side was covered and Phil wanted to influence an organization and I feel he got the second-best job in the NBA working with the New York Knicks.”

JIM ROME: “Is there tanking going on in the league?”

JEANIE BUSS: “I think it’s disappointing going out and telling players not to play. From what I know, I would say no. I think it’s impossible.”

***

ROME: “How could the Milwaukee fans give Ryan Braun a standing ovation? Don’t you earn a standing ovation?”

RAJA BELL: “I think they should be ashamed of themselves for cheering for him like that. Not for the PED use. What he did after with the lying and then throwing innocent people under the bus and ruining their lives. That’s the despicable thing.  So you can’t cheer for him stand-ovation wise.”

ROME: “In regards to the Eagles cutting DeSean Jackson, if it wasn’t about the money and gang-ties had something to do with it, is that worth cutting someone over?”

PAUL SOLOTAROFF: “If you are mob-deep in the NFL everyone from the director of team security on down to the guy who wipes the balls knows it.  Aaron Hernandez got into a big white suburban with three stone-cold bloods every Sunday and trailed huge clouds of ganja.  Everybody in that clubhouse knew.  And nothing stays in-house in an NFL clubhouse.”

***

ROME: “What was your reaction when you heard Tiger Woods had to withdraw from the Masters?”

BUBBA WATSON: “Sad. For the game of golf, he’s the icon. He’s the best player in the world. You want him to be here. You want the world to see him. And I want to play with the best … We all want to beat Tiger Woods if we can.”

ROME: “You describe yourself as a new-age redneck. What is that?”

WATSON: “I don’t drink. I’ve never been drunk. I don’t dip. Don’t smoke. I don’t hang out in bars and I don’t like country music. I don’t hunt. I’ll fish, but I don’t touch the fish. My mom’s from the country, so I guess I got a little country in me.”

ROME: “Golf Digest put Paulina Gretzky on the cover and the LPGA wanted to know why she made the cover, and not one of their players. Do you have a problem with that?”

WATSON: “I don’t have a problem with it. She’s a great role model for kids. She a model and has a great family sports heritage. But I think for the magazine they could have gone to a younger girl who’s actually playing the game like Lexi Thompson who just won a major. The magazine I think went the wrong way with that. For the magazine I don’t think it’s the way to go.”

*  *  *

TOM BRADY ON UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN’S GREG HARDEN: “Without a doubt…I’m forever grateful to him.” – On The Next Edition Of “60 MINUTES SPORTS” on SHOWTIME®

60-Minutes-Sports-showtimeMeet an Unsung Coach Who has Been Building Better Athletes at University of Michigan

for 28 Years Through Their Hearts and Minds

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PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5 AT 9 P.M. ET/PT

The University of Michigan sports department has a secret weapon.  Greg Harden has been quietly developing the hearts and minds of players at the university as a counselor for nearly three decades. By building better people, Harden made better athletes, helping to mold its Division 1 program into one of the most successful in America.   Just ask three-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback Tom Brady or Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, some of the famous alums who say Harden made a crucial difference in their careers.  Correspondent James Brown profiles Harden for the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS premiering Wed. March 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

Brady came to Harden as a frustrated junior backup quarterback who knew he needed something extra to become the starter.  Brady says Harden kicked him into a higher gear mentally. “Your whole life, people have always told you how great you are as an athlete…he’s probably the first person in your life that says, ‘Well, you don’t deserve to really be on the field.’”  Brady says, in fact, he wasn’t the best athlete around, but there was something else Harden made him tap into.

“I found I could get the edge from my competitiveness and through my drive and work ethic and those were some of the things Greg really said. ‘This is what your strengths are. Let them be your strengths,’” Brady says Harden told him.  “Without a doubt…I’m forever grateful to him,” the superstar says.

Says Harden, “[Brady] still can’t run…but you can’t catch him,” he says laughing. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is his heart and his mind. You can’t measure that boy’s heart…his mind.”

Howard says he owes his famous trophy to Harden. “If Greg Harden is not at the University of Michigan in the late 80s, I don’t win the Heisman,” says the former All-Pro wide receiver and Super Bowl XXXI MVP.  He was thinking of leaving Michigan but Harden, he says, straightened him out.

Harden told the young player he was dreaming.  “I had to get him to stop fantasizing about being a star and to turn into a student involved in athletics who would allow himself to be coachable.”

Harden could give advice not just because he had a degree in social work and had been a drug and alcohol counselor, but because he had been in their shoes.  He was recruited out of high school to Michigan as a track star with a chip on his shoulder.  “The coaches weren’t too happy with me,” he tells Brown.  “I was that guy who didn’t have a clue who thought he knew everything.”  He dropped out to support his pregnant girlfriend and drifted for a few years before turning his life around by returning to Michigan to get his degree.  He lived and learned the lessons he has been imparting to athletes all these years.  “I’ll tell them that if you want to be the best, you’ve got to decide with or without [sports] …your life is going to be amazing. Then, all of a sudden, your sport falls into a context.”

FALLING 800 FEET DOWN A HIMALAYAN PEAK IS JUST PART OF THE “JOB” FOR JEREMY JONES, THE BIG MOUNTAIN FREE RIDER – ON THE NEXT EDITION OF “60 MINUTES SPORTS” ON SHOWTIME®

The Extreme Sport Jones Calls His Art, Most Would Say is a Near Death Experience

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PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5 AT 9 P.M. ET/PT

     An 800-ft. fall down a Himalayan Peak was all in a day’s work for legendary snowboarder Jeremy Jones.  Called big mountain free riding, it’s a job he loves, and it’s brought him to five continents where he’s hiked through chest high snow and hurricane force winds, for days or weeks, to get to peaks where even helicopters can’t go.  All to make his “art” or his “line” on an untouched slope with a vertical drop so steep it practically looks like a wall of snow.  Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi profiles this snowboarding pioneer and goes on a few adventures with him on the next edition of 60 MINTUES SPORTS premiering Wed., March 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

The fall in the Himalayas was part of the final film in a trilogy about Jones’s snowboarding feats.  Called “Higher,” it will be released in September, but 60 MINUTES SPORTS got a sneak peak. The trek to Nepal meant training for weeks to make the arduous expedition in the high altitude, in this case over 21,000 feet up.

Jones watched the long fall for the first time with Alfonsi.  “I knew there were no rocks to worry about below me. I just kept my board in front of me and it’s kind of like going down white water rapids at this point,” he nonchalantly tells Alfonsi.  A few days later he would climb back up the mountain, even further, to the summit of the peak that has no name on a map but that Jones calls Shangri-la.  This time he would ride it down. “This is probably the most serious line I’ve ever tried to snowboard,” says Jones.

As dangerous as it looks, Jones takes every precaution he can. He has turned around after reaching peaks due to factors like weather or a high chance of an avalanche. He also does his best to avoid lethal terrain.  “In certain spots on certain mountains that’s what we call a ‘no fall zone’ and a no fall zone means if you fall you’ll die,” says Jones.

For almost 20 years, Jones, 39, has been on the leading edge of the sport that took off with helicopters launching skiers and boarders to remote mountains in Alaska, often to make spectacular films.  Over the last five years, he began going where the helicopters couldn’t as an added challenge. “I hold the mountains that I hike compared to the mountains that I’ve taken a helicopter to very different[ly]. It’s much more personal. These mountains are deeply etched in my DNA at this point,” says Jones.  The new tack can at times put Jones in dangerous situations, but he says he’s not a crazy daredevil. “When I get it figured out and the time’s right, then yes, I will take it to the edge and ride a very fine line,” he tells Alfonsi, “But…only when the stars have aligned perfectly.”

Jones’ evolution as one of the greatest snowboarders ever was directly influenced by his two older brothers, Todd and Steve, who were extreme skiers and founders of the Jackson Hole, WY based film business “Teton Gravity Research.”  Jones has travelled the world to find the perfect slopes and been in 18 Teton Gravity Research films along the way, but Jackson Hole is still one of his favorite places to ride.   Visiting Jones and his brothers in Jackson, Alfonsi and 60 MINUTES SPORTS cameras watched him and his brothers tackle “Corbet’s Couloir,” often called “America’s scariest ski slope.”  Jones and his older brother Todd descend the shoot that looks more like a cliff than a slope.  Says Jeremy Jones, “Some of the best days…moments of my life [are] with these guys right next to me…that’s the coolest part of what we do.”

New England Patriots Let Injured Vince Wilfork Travel So The Team’s “Heart And Soul” Can Be With Them On The Road – On The Next Edition Of “60 Minutes Sports” On Showtime®

60-Minutes-Sports-showtimePREMIERES WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8 AT 10 P.M. ET/PT

            It was bad enough the New England Patriots lost the physical contributions of 325-lb. Vince Wilfork to an injury.  But would the team also forgo his spiritual support, a big loss considering team owner Robert Kraft calls Wilfork the Pat’s “heart and soul”, at away games due to the team’s unwritten rule against injured players traveling to away games with the team?  No, they made an exception for the big man who is also a team captain and an integral part of one of pro football’s perennial powers.  Pam Oliver profiles the dynamic Wilfork on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS premiering Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

The injury to his Achilles tendon took him off the field for the season, but Wilfork was determined to not let it take him away from the game and his teammates.  He approached Coach Bill Belichick.  “‘Bill, you know I would love to travel with the team when I am able to. I understand if you tell me no…but I want to be with you guys,’” He says he asked, “And [Belichick] was like ‘We would love that.’”

Exceptions are usually reserved for players who carry the ball or make spectacular open-field tackles, not for hulking lineman like Wilfork.  But Wilfork is no ordinary nose tackle. “He’s the heart and soul,” says Kraft, who calls Wilfork a personal friend.  “You’re always looking for leadership from within, where someone steps up and motivates and brings people to a higher plane,” says the Patriots owner.

“He is an inspiration, especially to the younger guys coming in and the way he conducts himself. He is pretty special,” says Kraft.

Wilfork says he wasn’t always special. He evolved into the player and person he is now through change that began five years ago.  Then, he was more likely to be singled out for bad conduct on the field than for being a good example to youth. “It was a chip I had on my shoulder and I showed it every play,” recalls Wilfork.

The turning point, he says, was a late hit on then-Denver Quarterback Jay Cutler that cost him a big fine and made him and his wife re-examine his attitude.  “My wife and I, we talked. I said, ‘You know what, I need to do things a little different. I need to tone it down a little bit man,’” he says he told his wife, Bianca, who Oliver also speaks to at length for this story.

“We have rules now,” Bianca tells Oliver.

This Month’s 60 MINUTES SPORTS Premieres Wed. Jan. 8 on SHOWTIME

60-Minutes-Sports-showtimeSKIING IS A FAMILY AFFAIR FOR U.S. OLYMPIC FAVORITE MIKAELA SHIFFRIN – THIS MONTH’S EPIDOSE OF “60 MINUTES SPORTS” PREMIERES WED. JAN. 8 ONLY ON SHOWTIME®

Two of the reasons that American Mikaela Shiffrin could become one of the youngest skiers to win an Olympic Gold medal in an alpine event are Jeff and Eileen Shiffrin, her caring and expert skiing parents.  A few weeks before she competes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the 18-year-old skier and her parents show Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi the tough, yet cautious path that led her to the top level of her sport at such a young age.  Alfonsi’s profile of Shiffrin will be featured on this month’s edition of “60 MINUTES SPORTS,” premiering Wed. Jan. 8 at 10:00PM on SHOWTIME.

Following the premiere, 60 MINUTES SPORTS is available at SHOWTIME ON DEMAND, on mobile devices via SHOWTIME ANYTIME and multiple replays on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME.®

The Shiffrins are dedicated skiers. Eileen is a Masters champion and Jeff skied in college, so it was natural to put Mikaela on skis at the age of two. The plan wasn’t to build her into the world champion Mikaela would become 15 years later, when she won the world championship title in the slalom and became the youngest world champion in 28 years. “So many people, particularly in our society, get focused on the result, the end game,” Jeff tells Alfonsi. “I think that is the wrong process.”

The Shiffrins instead wanted to instill in their daughter something deeper than just a burning desire to win.  It’s more than winning says Jeff. “It’s about the dance with the hill…the feeling…if there’s five magical turns in one five-minute run, then I’m kind of like, ‘I want to go back up and do it again.’”

Jeff and Eileen taught Mikaela the “dance” from a young age.  One exercise her mother utilized to perfect her slalom technique was a broomstick drill.  With a broomstick in her hands, Eileen would practice clearing gates with Mikaela in their kitchen. It didn’t seem strange to the youngster at the time. “I didn’t really know anything else. She was like, ‘Mikaela, let’s get the broomstick and practice slalom,’ I was like ‘okay mom.’”

The Shiffrins enrolled their daughter at the Burke Mountain Academy, where often icy Vermont conditions prepared her for the varying surfaces she would later encounter while competing in Europe. But she wasn’t allowed to compete in all the races her skills qualified her for. Mom and dad wanted their young daughter to emphasize training, where a typical day for her meant 15 runs, over racing, which meant just two runs. “It’s so much more efficient,” says Mikaela.  “I always felt like if I was racing against girls five years older than I was then I needed to get five years of experience in one winter of training.”

Even with their daughter in the Olympics competing with the world’s best, Jeff and Eileen still take it slowly with Mikaela, keeping her out of the Super G and the Downhill races at the Games, the two events that require the most speed and present the most danger.  Those races can wait a little longer for Mikaela.  “She’ll be more ready because there have been years…of progression…if I put you in a Ferrari tomorrow and say, ‘open it up,’ you’re going off the road. Sorry…there’s a process,” says Jeff.

Mikaela has been in the big leagues of skiing for a few years now and throughout the big races, her mom was with her, an unusual sight on the World Cup circuit.  Mikaela knows it surprises the competition. “I don’t think there’s ever really been a mom around on the World Cup,” she tells Alfonsi. “You can be surprised over in your corner. I’m gonna go win this race.”

#  #  #

Zab Judah And Paulie Malignaggi Media Conference Call Transcript

showtime-sportsMarylyn Aceves    

Thanks everyone for joining us today. We have Zab Judah and Paulie Maliganggi available to talk to you and answer your questions about the fight.

Richard Schaefer    

Thank you, Marylyn. I’m really excited, I’ve been talking with Paulie and Zab Judah, I know its freezing cold in New York but those guys are going to heat up the Barclays Center. It’s been a terrific year for SHOWTIME. It has been the best year in boxing history for SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME is not ending the year with one bang but two bangs. The first one will be Dec. 7 here with Judah and Malignaggi. It’s a battle of Brooklyn; it’s for the pride of Brooklyn.

We also have some of the best talent in those respective weight classes that are going to be showcasing what they are all about in meaningful fights. Truly a big thank you to SHOWTIME for stepping up and delivering this fight card to fans in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s been the biggest year in their short boxing history for Barclays Center. It was no other than Paulie Malignaggi who opened up the building last October and every one of those events since we’ve seen more and more people embracing the sport and showing up at Barclays Center. Every show we’re going from one record crowd to the next and that’s exactly what I expect for this big night on Dec. 7 – a new record crowd for Barclays Center.

Pricing tickets that everyone can afford has become a hallmark for Golden Boy Promotions. Tickets are an unbelievable deal. We want a record crowd event at Barclays Center. It’s really an unbelievable deal to see this great card.

I want to thank our sponsors as well – Corona, AT&T, Casamigos Tequila and the Grudge Match, a movie which will be coming out in December.

I now want to introduce to you Zab Judah. He’s one of the best known names in the sport of boxing. He’s always exciting and that’s exactly what this sport wants and needs. He knows what’s at stake here. It’s not just the pride of Brooklyn, but the 147-pound weight class is the deepest weight class, the biggest names are fighting there and that’s exactly what Zab Judah wants. He knows he needs to beat Paulie Malignaggi to move on to those big world title fights in the division.

Zab Judah

Thank you, Richard, I appreciate it. Training camp has been fun. We had a great training camp here in Las Vegas and a lot of good public relations and I’m just excited to come back home and be crowned the king of BK.

 

Richard Schaefer

Paulie is one of the most skilled fighters, always comes to win. He has a tremendous personality outside the ring. I think whatever he does he always strives to be on top and I think there’s no question Paulie is the best color commentator in the sport. But it doesn’t stop there – Paulie still has unfinished business in the ring and he realizes what a win against Zab is going to do to him in that stacked weight class. So he’s going to come to win.

Paulie Malignaggi

It’s a pleasure being on with everyone once again. I really look forward to mixing it up with Zab and hopefully we get a record crowd for Brooklyn at Barclays Center. I know he’s got a lot of support in Brooklyn and I know I have a lot of support in Brooklyn. We have a great supporting cast on the undercard and I think this card has the potential to be the best card that Barclays Center has put on yet, and we’ve had some great cards there. Hopefully, like Richard said, we get a good crowd. I would like it to be a sell-out card. I think it is going to be the most spectacular card that has been at Barclays yet. I look forward to mixing it with him and seeing who really is the king of Brooklyn for this generation and I’ve prepared very well for that.

Q: Dan Rafael ESPN- Hello guys- good to talk to you today. I’d like you both to answer. You guys are both from Brooklyn in the same weight class. When did you start to think this fight would happen?

Zab Judah

For me this fight came about after the Garcia fight. In my preparation for moving forward to do what I do they said Paulie and I said “Paulie, nah, Paulie is my homeboy.” But I was like, ‘Hey, you know this is an opportunity that you’ve got to take for boxing.’ So I guess we’re here now. Like I said, this is a fight where there’s no animosity or anything like that. It’s just us going in there and representing for our city.

Paulie Malignaggi

I’d like to echo the same sentiments as Zab. For a lot of years I came up behind Zab and he kind of laid the building blocks for my generation. He was kind of the guy to look up to and to try to match his accomplishments. It really didn’t come to mind, we were in different weight classes and at different places in our career, but people started mentioning it and talking around Brooklyn the past year or two. But I still didn’t think the fight had any chance of happening because we were still in different weight classes and kind of had different goals for our careers. We each took a competitive loss in our last fight and it’s kind of a situation where you have to take a step back in way from world title fights. But this isn’t such a step back because we’re still world-class even with no world title on the line.

It made a lot of sense from that perspective and also for us both being from Brooklyn. Until the fight was made I didn’t think it would be more than Brooklyn talk and that’s all. I think in the last couple of years people started getting in my ear that people in Brooklyn wanted to see what would happen if me and Zab Judah got in the ring together.

Q -Dan Rafael – I kind of thought this fight would get made a while ago. With the combination of Golden Boy working with the Barclays Center and Zab signing with Golden Boy it seemed like this fight was going to happen.

Paulie Malignaggi

Zab just got signed after the Garcia fight and this was all a recent thing. Once Zab got signed that’s when the fight got brought up. Up until recently I didn’t think it would happen, but then when he got signed it started to come to fruition.

Q- Dan Rafael – You both seem to have a chip on your shoulder in past fights. Is it a little bit more difficult to get motivated for this fight because you guys have a lot of respect and a good relationship outside of the ring?

Zab Judah

My motivation comes from the opportunity. The opportunity of still being here 18 years strong, to be competitive against young fighters like Paulie Malignaggi and Danny Garcia, and to still be competing at a high level of boxing. I mean, to be crowned the kings of BK, that’s a very big accomplishment coming from Brooklyn. There’s one thing a lot of people will tell you – there’s a pride about being from Brooklyn. Now we’ve got the opportunity in a sport that I’ve been in for the last 18 years of my life to be called the king of it. I’m excited for this one and that’s where the motivation comes from on my part.

Paulie Malignaggi

The competition drives us all. That’s the reason we do this and get up in the morning and train hard for each fight. You need different things to drive you. The competition always is the driving force. The competitor in me is driven by winning. Winning means everything to me. Yeah, Zab is someone I respect and looked up to coming up, but winning means everything to me. I’m a competitor in anything I do, especially boxing. It’s not hard to get up for a fight like this. You can still respect your opponent and still get up for a fight. Come on man, we’re both wearing eight ounce gloves so I’m sure once someone gets hit we’ll both be throwing arms at each other.

Q- I know you both want to win really bad. How hard would it be to lose this fight in your hometown?

 

Paulie Malignaggi

I think it’s more for the fans. It’s hard to go back to your fans and say, ‘Oh man you’re not the best fighter in your borough.’ I think the motivation is from there. You fight guys from other cities and you rep your neighborhood, you rep your city real well. I get announced as from Brooklyn, N.Y., regardless of where I’ve lived in my career because it’s a sense of pride.   Here, the other guy is announced from Brooklyn, N.Y., and it’s a sense of inner-pride within the city. You have to run into the other guy’s fans. I don’t run into Adrien Broner fans in New York or other people’s fans in New York. But I can run into Zab’s fans and that is a mini-motivator itself.

 

Zab Judah

Like Paulie said, the job is the motivation for what we’re doing right now. I’m motivated by the opportunity. I’m motivated by the situation. Paulie is somebody that I’ve known for a long time. I’ve watched him, I’ve watched him grow and there have even been a lot of fights where I’ve supported him. So now, it’s kind of crazy to be going up against each other but it’s the sport that we chose and, like he said, once the bell rings and the leather starts flying I think that anybody would come to their senses.

Paulie Malignaggi

It’s a really emotional fight. You want to be king of Brooklyn. It’s the kind of fight you get up for because there are a lot big fights in your career but there is a lot of extra emotion being able to represent your borough and being able to be the king of Brooklyn. I know I have what it takes to be a world class fighter; I know what it takes to get back to the top. Winning a fight like this and getting myself a chance to get another world championship in my career is something I don’t doubt

Q- Lem Satterfield- Zab- Paulie told me about a time when you coached him as an amateur. He said he lost the fight but he’s always looked up to you. Do you remember that and do you remember what you thought of him as a fighter back then?

Zab Judah

I thought he won that fight, from my recollection. Even back then as an amateur he had a heart, he was gutsy. He came out, he was very scrappy. I recall that, yeah, we kind of pulled out a lot of champions that year. So yeah, I think that Paulie did win the fight that year.

Paulie Malignaggi

I didn’t win that fight but I lost to a big rival of mine. But we won the team trophy. Zab was the team coach and we won the team trophy at the Empire State Games.

Q- Lem- Obviously you guys fought at the highest level both at 140 pounds and 147 pounds. At what point do you think you were at the absolute best in your career?

Zab Judah

I would probably say my Mickey Ward fight. I was 15-0 and I was highly motivated. That was one training camp I remember Ronnie Shields and my dad – we had a tough training camp. I was only 15-0, I remember taking on Mickey Ward and he had like 34 or something fights. He was known as a killer at that time, he was stopping guys with body shots. Everyone was like, ‘Zab that’s not a fight you should take, it’s going to mess your career up.’ And we went in there and we trained very hard, we had a dog camp and went in there and won the fight.

The first half of the Mayweather fight I was super sharp. It’s different times. Even in my last Danny Garcia fight I came on very strong at the end. I don’t look at one particular fight and say this was the best fight because every night is special to me. Every time you step in the ring you’ve got different things that happen, you’ve got to weather through them.

Paulie Malignaggi

I’d say there have been a couple different times in my career when I was at an elite level or getting there. There was a moment in 2003 and 2004 where I thought I was really coming into my own, starting to win fights and starting to look impressive. I was getting to fight high level contenders and then I had a real bad hand injury. My hand was shattered and it set me back a lot and hindered a lot of my progress. I always wonder how I would have kept progressing if I didn’t have those injuries. You have a lot of youthful enthusiasm at that point in your career. I can pick nights where I’ve been sharper than others but I can’t pick one night where I’ve been my best.

Q- How do you capture that moment or those moments in this particular fight? Do you feel that you’re motivated given that you’re fighting in your home town?

Zab Judah

I’m highly motivated and I’m ready to come in there and do what I do. Like Paulie said, I’m a very competitive person. As everybody can see throughout my career, I hate losing. Some of my early losses I kind of went crazy. I’ve learned to control myself over the years but losing is something that’s not in my arsenal right now and it’s something that we’re not looking forward to doing and we looking at progress and moving forward. This is why we teamed up with Golden Boy and Super Judah Promotions with Golden Boy. We’re ready to take on the world. I think Golden Boy and SHOWTIME are the two biggest- you’ve got the biggest promoter and you’ve got the biggest network out there and this is a place where Zab Judah needs to be. Zab Judah is pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, hands down, and I am going to show the world that I am the best. Give me the opportunity and I’ll show you.

Paulie Malignaggi

I think the motivation has to always be there. I think if you try too hard to summon it you fight yourself out. I look at the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my career and I try to put my best game face on fight night. If you think about trying to match your best performances you probably won’t because you’ll be thinking about the wrong things. The focus has to be to concentrate and focus on the person in front of you. You have to focus one round at a time, one minute at a time. And from there you put on some good performances without evening knowing it. I don’t think the goal is to put on a good performance, I think the goal is to execute a game plan when you go in there. Sometimes it comes out beautifully, sometimes it doesn’t. But you can’t go in there trying to put on a good show, you go in there trying to execute. That’s what I go in there trying to do.

Richard

First of all I want to say that both of those guys are rejuvenated because of all of the opportunities at 147 pounds. For both of them, one of their best fights is actually their last fight. When Paulie fought Broner he fought a great, great fight and I think he surprised a lot of people. Most people had it as an easy fight for Broner and look what he did. And that’s not because of what Broner didn’t do; it’s because of what Paulie did. I think he’s right there at the top and he knows what this win can lead to and how important this fight is. The same goes for Zab fighting Danny Garcia- most people thought it would be a one-sided affair. And look what Zab did, he turned back the clock. That’s as good of a Zab as I’ve seen. When Zab wants something he goes for it and I know he wants this. Their biggest fights, their best fights were actually their last fights and that’s why this is such a meaningful showdown.

Q- Mike Woods- This question is for Paulie- You’ve made no secret that in the last couple years you’ve thought about if you want to do this anymore. What are your thoughts now?

Paulie Malignaggi

You don’t give yourself a definitive answer when it comes to something so serious. If I accept the fight then I accept the fight and go in and train 100 percent. Sometimes between fights I’ll be thinking, ‘I don’t know if I’m up to train for a fight again.’ But once mentally and physically I decide to fight I kind of erase the negativity. Its full speed ahead, you step on the gas and you go. Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning of camp when you’re trying to get back into shape you’re like, ‘Man, why did I do this?’ But once that competitive juice comes back and you start getting in shape, you start feeling sharp, you start feeling good and you realize why you do this. You realize the things that spur you on, that motivate you, that drive you to do this. The adrenaline rush, the excitement as a fight approaches and all of a sudden you’re not thinking about those negative things anymore and you’re thinking about all the positive things and all the fun this brings. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard fight fighting at this level. But, at the same time, it’s a situation where I’d rather be here than anywhere else.

Q – Does it make it more difficult because you’ve become such a highly regarded commentator? Because you always have something to fall back on?

Paulie Malignaggi

No, not the training, the training I work hard. Anything I do, I do it wholeheartedly. But sometimes before camp starts you wonder, ‘Do I really feel like getting up and starting another training camp?’ But once I’m in training camp, I do the miles and I put the hours in the gym wholeheartedly. There’s never a time where I say I don’t want to train today because I could fall back on something. I’m not the kind of person that does something half-assed. If I know I won’t do it wholeheartedly I won’t do it. When I accepted this fight I knew what that came with.

Q- Zab – do you ever stay awake at night and say, ‘Man I’m 36 years old, this really could be my last fight?’

Zab

No, as far as the age, my age is great. I’m highly motivated. You’ve got one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Floyd Mayweather, he’s older than me. You’ve got Juan Manuel Marquez, he just knocked out Manny Pacquiao with one punch, he’s older than me. You’ve got Bernard Hopkins, one of the baddest fighters of today’s era, he’s my grandfather. So when you say old, what do you mean by old? Old by what, longevity?   I’ve been in the game since I was 18 years old and I’ve been world champion multiple times in different weight classes. Is that what you mean by old? I mean as far as age goes, I’m far from old. I mean, some of the best of the best of the world today are way older than me and I’m just highly motivated the opportunity. I want to thank Richard Schaefer and the whole Golden Boy staff and team for just even allowing themselves to do business with my camp and myself and I think we’re going to have a phenomenal time. I think that when people say your last time or your last fight is your best fight, this is nowhere near my last fight. This is the beginning of a turn of a new leaf. I am going to go in there and come out of this fight successfully.

Yeah Paulie and I have a great respect for each other, but at the end of the day there can only be one winner and I am going to take that route. I’m going to take that medal of achievement and I’m going to step up and do what I’ve got to do. Is there any beef or anything?   No, there’s no beef. But we’re both two competitive athletes and Paulie’s supposed to say his skills are better than mine and I’m supposed to say that my skills are better than Paulie’s. That’s what’s going to make Dec. 7th a fantastic night of boxing. That’s why all of Brooklyn and New York City and the tri-state area and New Jersey and Connecticut need to come out and watch a great night of boxing. You are going to watch two of the best guys to come out of the tri-state area put on for you guys. So be there.

Q- What do you admire most about each other?

Zab Judah

Number one, I admire Paulie because he’s from Brooklyn. He stands up with that Brooklyn pride. He represent Brooklyn wherever he goes, he talks about it and keeps it fresh in people’s ears and eyes. Number two, he’s a fighter. I respect that every fighter has the heart and audacity to climb into the ring and take on competitive fights, so you’ve got to respect him as a human being. Yes, I do.

Paulie Malignaggi

The admiration I have for Zab came from trying to follow in his footsteps coming up. I saw him accomplish things that I had the goal to accomplish. I watched Zab accomplish each and every one of them before me. It was an admiration and a motivator to see someone my city, from my borough accomplish these things and get some credibility and notoriety doing the same thing that I do. When somebody does it so close to home they automatically get that admiration when they’re older than you and you see them accomplishing those things and you kind of want to follow in their footsteps. That admiration comes from being that younger fighter looking up to someone like that.

Q – Gina Caruso – What’s your comfort level now coming back into the ring with someone you know and respect so much.

Zab Judah

I don’t know, it’s the situation. It’s nothing personal against Paulie. It’s something that we’ve got to go in here and do. This is how we feed our family. This is the game that we chose. My greatest motivation in this situation is I just fought a 25-year-old undefeated young fighter, one of the best young 140-pound fighters today and I hung in there. Everybody said if there were 30 more seconds the fight would be different. So that’s where my inspiration and motivation comes from. Just being able to still go toe-to-toe with the young boys like this and just show that when I do step up and when I do focus my mind and focus on getting these guys I just go in there and get them. With that kind of motivation I am the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

Paulie Malignaggi

I think with me, the approach I always take is in boxing you have to have a short memory. No matter how much you’ve accomplished or how low you can go as far as downfalls, you have to forget about them and you have to move on no matter what. I put whatever happened behind me, the Broner fight is done. The opponent now is Zab Judah. As Zab said, there’s nothing personal as far as a competitive aspect is concerned, but that’s the guy in front of me and that’s the guy I intend to be successful against in two weeks. The game plan is focused on that and nothing else. In reality you can only look forward. The past can’t be changed, only the future can be changed.

ABOUT “JUDAH VS. MALIGNAGGI”:

Judah vs. Malignaggi is a 12-round fight for the NABF and NABO Welterweight titles taking place on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Super Judah Promotions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T, Grudge Match and Casamigos Tequila. In the co-featured bout, Devon Alexander puts his IBF welterweight title on the line in a 12-round bout against Shawn Porter,  Erislandy Lara defends his interim WBA Super Welterweight title in a 12-round fight against Austin Trout and Sakio Bika defends his WBC Super Middleweight title against Anthony Dirrell in a 12-round bout.  The SHOWTIME telecast begins at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT immediately following ALL ACCESS: Broner vs. Maidana which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT. The telecast will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).

Tickets priced at $250, $125, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, available at www.barclayscenter.comwww.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, by calling 800-745-3000 and at the American Express Box Office. For group tickets, please call 800-GROUP-BK.