||Nightmare on Oxford Street.
||British Journalism Review; Sep2007, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p73-80, 8p
||OXFORD Street (Westminster, London, England), SHOPLIFTING, RETAIL industry -- Security measures, INVENTORY shortages, SHOPPING -- Social aspects, OLYMPIC Games
||Veteran reporter Davis recalls how a minor case of shoplifting in London’s Oxford Street, when a woman left a store without paying for five gaily-coloured hats, turned into a major story that tested Fleet Street’s finest. The accused was identified as Nina Ponomareva, aged 27, a teacher and mother of a two-year-old boy named Sasha – a white beret listed in the charge was meant for him. “So far, so routine… But, unfortunately for all, Nina was also one of the Soviet Union’s most famous women, a world-class athlete who at the 1952 summer Olympics in Helsinki had taken gold for discus throwing. Fondly nicknamed Miss Muscles, she was in London with almost 100 other Russian athletes to compete against the British in a two-day meeting at the White City, due to begin the next evening.” Summoned to appear before magistrates and headlined ‘Nina of the Five Hats’, the discus genius’s non-appearance in court set off a chain of events that Involved the Russian charg d’affaires, Lord Reading, minister of state at the Foreign Office, and the august British ambassador in Moscow, Sir William Hayter (Winchester and New College, Oxford), who “was infuriated to be summoned to the Kremlin to be harangued over this piddling business.” Davis reveals the whole hilarious story. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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