Tuesday's intriguing people
Rather than focusing on her opening day win at the Australian Open, media outlets seem fixed on Venus Williams' dress.
January 18th, 2011
12:48 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Venus Williams

The elder Williams sister is at the Australian Open without her sister Serena, and she dismantled Sara Errani in straight sets, yet the storyline on the 30-year-old tennis champ revolved around a little blue dress.

The aqua blue number with horizontal stripes prompted a Yahoo! Sports columnist to opine that the “length of Venus Williams’ hemline is inversely proportional to the tennis star’s age: as she gets older, the dresses get shorter.”

The New York Daily News penned the verbose headline, “How short is that skirt? Venus Williams’ mini-dress at Australian Open turns heads.” The Daily Telegraph’s headline stated, “The sheer cheek of it,” and another site proclaimed that Williams had gone skirtless at the Grand Slam event.

Let’s not feign surprise. It's hardly the first time that Williams has caused a stir with her uniform. She and her sister take pride in their unique appearances on the court.

In September, she wore a sparkly fuchsia dress (with a sparkly, black undergarment) that was so tight commentator Mary Carillo said, “She uses that fabric a lot in her designs … and for the last couple of years we’ve seen her have to correct her outfit after every point.”

At last year’s Australian Open, Williams opted to wear flesh-colored underwear. When she stretched for a fore- or backhand, it gave the impression that she was in the buff under her tennis dress.

She told the Daily Mail that she designed that outfit herself. She is, after all, a fashion designer and interior designer.

Williams wore the supposedly scandalous underwear the year after the Melbourne tournament banned skimpy dresses following an incident in which French teen Alize Cornet wore a see-through top during a doubles match leading up to the tourney.

Unfortunately, it appears that a woman’s choice of dress often outplays her prowess on the court. Look no further than the Daily Mail report on Maria Sharapova’s dress for this year's open.

Noting that it is less revealing than the dresses she usually wears, the newspaper mused that this design would come “much to the disappointment of her male fans.”

Jeffrey Zaun

Twenty years ago, the Navy A-6 Intruder on which Zaun was a navigator and bombardier was shot down over Iraq.

He and the pilot were captured, and Zaun, then 28, underwent surgery for two broken arms before being held as a Persian Gulf prisoner of war for 46 days. Today, according to the Courier-Post in his hometown of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, he is an associate director of credit analysis for Standard and Poor’s.

During his captivity, photos of Zaun were beamed back to the States. His face was battered. Some wounds were suffered in the crash, others at the hands of Iraq’s secret police, he told the Courier-Post. At one point, he was forced to read a statement denouncing the war.

Zaun told the newspaper he never hated Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

“It’s interesting I outlived him,” he said.

Zaun left the military in 1995 after the A-6 Intruder was phased out, he said. A Philadelphia Inquirer story in 2003 reported that Zaun was broke, jobless and living in his parents’ ranch home in Cherry Hill.

Laid off as an investment banker in 2001, Zaun told the paper his red Saturn was sitting idle in the driveway because he couldn’t afford insurance.

“I'm famous for being shot down and, hey, I got shot down again, but I will survive that, too. I'm trying something risky - starting a career in banking," he told the Inquirer.

Seems the risk paid off, as the U.S. Naval Academy grad with an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is back on his feet.

Though he’s made media appearances to speak about prisoners of war and the Geneva Conventions, he prefers a lower profile.

The 48-year-old Jersey City resident now enjoys a high-rise cubicle in Manhattan’s financial district, and he says he thinks today’s soldiers aren’t getting the praise they deserve.

“To actually get a functioning quasi-democracy out of (Iraq) was a little above my expectations,” he told the Courier-Post. “We got a ticker-tape parade after a month and a half of war, and those guys since 2003 fought a dirtier, longer and harder war and did not get the accolades.”

Casey Therriault

At historically black Jackson State University, fans call him “White Tiger.” His teammates call him “Blue-Eyed Soul Brother.”

But it wasn’t that long ago that the 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback was known for something wholly different: his manslaughter conviction.

An ESPN profile tells how Therriault was 18, home from California’s College of the Sequoias, when he became involved in a January 2008 altercation outside the Margarita Grill in Grand Rapids, Michigan, near his hometown of Wyoming.

Jonathon Krystiniak had a .27 blood-alcohol content and was allegedly looking for trouble, following Therriault, his friends and friends of those friends outside, ESPN said.

One of the guys in the group insulted Krystiniak, Therriault chuckled, Krystiniak hit the teen, Therriault hit him back and the rest of the group stomped and kicked Krystiniak into a coma, according to media reports.

Krystiniak died two weeks later, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, reported.

A judge ruled Therriault was the least culpable of the defendants and didn’t intend to kill anyone, the paper said. He pleaded guilty and received a six-month sentence, which he finished in June 2009.

Despite serving his debt to society, none of the schools that recruited him wanted to take a chance. He eventually found himself under center at Grand Rapids Community College, where, after serving jailtime, he was a lot tougher to intimidate, according to the Michigan news website, mlive.com.

Therriault did not disappoint. He racked up 2,169 passing yards, 620 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns en route to a national championship berth, which his Raiders lost 41-37.

It caught Jackson State’s attention though, and this past season, he put on a similar performance with 3,600 yards of total offense and 41 touchdowns, making him the conference’s Newcomer of the Year and first-team all-conference quarterback.

As for being a minority on campus, Therriault seems oblivious, as do the Jackson State fans, ESPN reported.

“He described it once as saying that he forgets he’s white,” his girlfriend told the station.

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Filed under: Australia • Business • College football • Crime • Finance • Michigan • Mississippi • Most Intriguing People • New Jersey • Sports • Tennis • War
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. fartmare

    TENNIS IS GAY! AND SO IS CNN!

    January 19, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. reverse racism

    I find it interesting how racist people can be. Its okay to call people rednecks and slander white people. If you say anything about an afro they lose it. Get over it you got your president for 4 years. Dont count on it in 2012. People are tired of hearing your crap.

    January 19, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • keepItReal

      ARE YOU SERIOUS?? I just LOVE the white sheet you are wearing.. Question for you, are you just as upset with Tiger Wood or is he better because he is ONLY part black? Get a grip what WILL it take for us to no longer see color? I am thinking that it will be when aliens for outerspace and not from across a boarder show up 😉

      January 21, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. deadend

    GROSS!

    January 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
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