Cannes film festival
Indian movie actors and a new wave of directors are on a mission at the Cannes film festival - to show that their industry, which turns 100 this year, is more than just Bollywood. Full Article
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Add a hint of sex to elite sport, and it's gold
BEIJING (Reuters) - Sex and sport. It's an irresistible mix and one that Olympians are no longer shy of using to fund their sporting careers.
American Olympic swimming champion Amanda Beard posed naked in Playboy magazine last year and at Beijing stripped off for an advertising campaign to protest against fashion furs.
British athletes triple jumper Phillips Idowu, cyclist Rebecca Romero and swimmer Gregor Tait were photographed naked in sporting poses for a sports drinks advertising campaign.
Female beach volleyball players are first to admit that wearing bikinis has helped boost their popularity -- and envious male players have joked about following by playing bare-chested.
"In this competitive marketplace you have to separate yourself from other athletes and the taboo of posing for Playboy or modelling has started to wane," Richard Deitsch, associate editor at Sports Illustrated's website, said.
"People hardly batted an eyelid when Amanda Beard appeared in Playboy but 10 or 15 years ago this would have caused much more of an uproar in the (United) States."
With the Beijing Olympics underway featuring over 10,500 athletes in perfect shape, websites galore are carrying photo galleries and lists of the hottest Olympians.
Playboy spokeswoman Lauren Melone said they have published a special spread of Olympians who have appeared in the magazine over the years such as Athens gold medallist Beard, four-time Olympic high jumper Amy Acuff and figure skater Katarina Witt.
Swimmer Dara Torres, the oldest U.S. swimmer at 41, has appeared in a sexy photo shoot in Maxim magazine.
Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice was featured on the front cover of men's magazine FHM as well as posing for some underwear advertisements with her former boyfriend, fellow Aussie swimmer Eamon Sullivan.
Leryn Franco, 26, a javelin thrower from Paraguay, is competing in her second Olympics at Beijing, thanks to her second career, modelling.
"Modelling is a way for me to continue with my sport, the hours are flexible, and you can earn good money through photographic modelling and the catwalk," Franco told Reuters.
But Deitsch said for hard-core sports fans the appearance or sex appeal of an athlete might make them more interesting, but only if they were winning at their sport.
He said two good examples of sports stars who had used their looks to build a brand were English footballer David Beckham and Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova.
"Ultimately it does not get away from the fact that you have to be an athlete first and a beauty second," he said.
"But when you have someone who is fantastic at both, then you are looking at a global brand."
(Additional reporting by Javier Leira; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
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