The former wife of Beatles star Paul McCartney was accused on Thursday of allegedly abusing a Paralympic official earlier this week after failing to qualify for the British Paralympic ski team.
According to Steve Douglas of the Associated Press, Heather Mills reportedly lunged at the official on Monday "in a fit of rage and screaming insults" after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ruled that a new prosthetic leg she had been using had not been ratified by the IPC; she had refused to wear the requisite cover on the prosthetic leg, citing "unnecessary weight" and "intolerable pain" when the cover locks to her leg. Subsequently, her application was withdrawn for a spot on the British ski team, which will travel to Russia in February for the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi.
IPC spokesman Craig Spence said Mills verbally abused Sylvana Mestre and began to push her:
"Sylvana is deeply upset, traumatized. She (Mills) verbally abused Sylvana, and started to push her. There were 10 witnesses in the room who saw what went on."
According to the report, Mills will likely receive a fine equivalent to $1,370 and the incident will be reviewed by the IPC's legal and ethics committee. Her coach, John Clarke, is reportedly planning to file a formal complaint about Mestre, claiming a "vendetta" against Mills.
The former wife of McCartney was awarded the equivalent of approximately $39 million in her divorce settlement in 2008. Fifteen years earlier, in 1993, she had lost her left leg below the knee after a road accident with a police motorcycle. She began skiing soon after she divorced McCartney in 2008, joining the British disability skiing team in 2010 and won a silver medal in a slalom event at the World Cup in New Zealand this year.
In a statement released by Spence on Thursday on behalf of the IPC, he said there's no excuse for Mills' behavior:
"Para-athletes are role models and an inspiration to billions of people around the world. We understand the pressure athletes are under in the lead-up to Sochi 2014 and that Heather has been working extremely hard to achieve her goal. However, there can be no excuse for such aggressive and intimidating behavior towards such a highly respected and experienced official within the Paralympic Movement."NGUYEN: Billie Jean King named a member of U.S. Olympic delegation