MAKING THE RULES, INCORPORATED
Dale Scott becomes first openly gay MLB Umpire..First Openly Gay NFL player, Michael Sam is cut by St Louis Rams..Nascar driver, Tony Stewart kills fellow driver with car...more
Back-to-Back Bombings in Russia just ahead of Olympics..Ex-Super Agent's novel takes a look at Sports' seedy-side..Notre Dames', Manti Te'o involved in wildest story in years..Explicit Grand Jury Report..Special In-depth Expose' Inside The NCAA
The Week in Review
Todd Christiansen dead at 57..What happened to Lakers deal with Phil Jackson?..Melky Cabrera's improbable cover-up plot..Arabian head-wear causes problems for Olympics..A psychologist's view of Penn State scandal..Behind bars with Tim Montgomery..more
Coach Len Webb blogs on personal observations within the sportsworld
Former Raiders All-Pro, Todd Christiansen Dead at 57
Todd Christensen of the Los Angeles Raiders hauls in a pass for a first down against the St. Louis Cardinals in an NFL game Dec. 11, 1983. Christensen and the Raiders went on that season to the Super Bowl, at which they defeated the Washingon Redskins, 38-9. (Associated Press)
As an eloquent and colorful All-Pro tight end for the Los Angeles Raiders, Todd Christensen seemed to have a playbook in one hand and a dictionary in the other.
"All you'd have to say was, `Todd, will you just shut up? Give me a $2 word instead of a $10 word,'" teammate Matt Millen recalled Wednesday. "Todd would just laugh."
Christensen, a practicing Mormon who didn't drink but for years struggled with liver problems, died Wednesday from complications during liver transplant surgery at Intermountain Medical Center near his home in Alpine, Utah. He was 57.
A running back at Brigham Young University, Christensen became a tight end in the NFL and played 10 seasons for the Oakland and L.A. Raiders, winning Super Bowl rings in 1981 and 1984. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Christensen was among the tight ends at the cutting edge, those who did some blocking but were more adept as receivers.
"There was a stretch for us where, if there was a big catch that was made, Todd made it," Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen said Wednesday. "He'd trap it with his body at high risk. He came down with the ball."
In 1983, Christensen caught 92 passes, at the time setting the league record for tight ends. He would break his own record three years later with 95 catches. He made five Pro Bowls.
"Todd Christensen never caught a pass in his life that he didn't have more people hanging on him than a Cairo streetcar," Times columnist Jim Murray wrote in 1988. "He looks like he's leaking people when he goes over the goal line. Most of the time, his aren't the only hands on the football. Some of his receptions are more like interceptions."
Born Aug. 3, 1956, in Bellfonte, Pa., Todd Jay Christensen was the son of Ned and June Christensen, both of whom attended BYU. Todd would start the first game of his freshman year — a rarity at the school — and go on to reach the BYU Hall of Fame.
Christensen is perhaps best remembered in the NFL as the mustachioed and eccentric son of a professor, who read his own poetry at a Super Bowl news conference, and in a half-hour interview with The Times' Mark Heisler in 1985 quoted Shakespeare, Andy Warhol, C.S. Lewis, the Bible, "The Big Chill" and Raiders teammate Frank Hawkins.
Christensen, who retired from the pros after the 1988 season, was an NFL color commentator on NBC from 1990 to 1994, then did analysis for ESPN and later the now-defunct Mountain West Sports Network. In the 2012 season, he covered Navy games for CBS.
"For a lot of people, Todd was a sesquipedalian," said Allen, using a word that means a person who uses long words. "A lot of people couldn't understand Todd, but I understood him. He talked over a lot of people's heads, but I always understood Todd."
In fact, Christensen and Allen became good friends, and they had a ritual of walking out of the tunnel onto the field together for every game.
"We'd wait around for each other and make sure we were ready," Allen said. "I didn't go without him, and he didn't go without me. My brother still has a picture of the two of us walking out of the tunnel together."
Their bond was forged by the belief both Christensen and Allen had that they were overlooked coming out of college. That makes sense for Christensen, who was a second-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1978 but was cut the summer of his rookie year after suffering a broken foot in the exhibition finale. Allen, however, won the Heisman Trophy at USC and was picked 10th by the Raiders in 1982.
"There were a lot of people who didn't think I would amount to much in the NFL, and it was the same way for Todd," Allen said. "Part of what made Todd great was all those naysayers, all those people that doubted him fueled him, made him fight to become the player he became."
Christensen's survivors include his wife and four sons.
(by J. Farmer, L.A. Times)
What Really Happened To The Phil Jackson Hire?
The Los Angeles Lakers appeared imminently close to bringing back Phil Jackson for a third coaching stint with the team. But late Sunday night, the organization agreed to a four-year deal with Mike D’Antoni. Basketball observers everywhere were shocked by the development, and Jackson and his camp were among those surprised that he is not again the coach of the Lakers.
Jackson was "stunned" when the Lakers told him they had chosen D'Antoni, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports. Jackson, according to Broussard, was ready to accept the job today if negotiations went well.
"I did convey to them that I had the confidence that I could do the job," Jackson said in a statement. "I was awakened at midnight by a call from Mitch (Kupchak). He told me the Lakers signed D’Antoni...felt he was the best coach for the team."
The New York Post’s Peter Vecsey adds via Twitter, “How surprised were Jackson's people? Agent Brian Musberger was on Chicago-2-LA plane 2 negotiate w Lakers re contract when D'A was hired.”
So what happened? What led the Buss family and GM Mitch Kupchack to pull the trigger on D’Antoni and not bring back the man that led them to five NBA titles?
The Lakers, according to the L.A. Times, were taken aback by Jackson’s demands. Other media outlets, however, dispute that report and say that basketball reasons were what led to the decision.
Writes the L.A. Times’ Mike Bresnahan, “Jackson was the overwhelming favorite to return to the Lakers until they heard his informal demands, which included a stake in team ownership, according to a person familiar with the situation.”
"He was asking for the moon," said Bresnahan’s source.
But reports of Jackson’s “exorbitant demands were overblown,” sources from the Lakers and Jackson’s camp both told Broussard.
Jackson and the Lakers hadn’t even yet talked salary, a source told ESPN, "but he knew coaches don't make what he used to make anymore."
The decision apparently came down to on-court matters. Sources told Broussard that the feeling at the top of the organization was that while Jackson's triangle offense would have been a good fit for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, new additions Steve Nash and Dwight Howard would not have thrived in the system.
The Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding tweets a similar take: “I'm told Lakers ultimately decided D'Antoni's system would be better fit for Lakers personnel (Dwight/Nash), which was a concern all along.”
As Jim Buss, the son of owner Jerry Buss, took more control of the Lakers basketball operations, the organization made the decision to distance itself from the Phil Jackson era — that’s at least according to former Jackson assistant Brian Shaw, who said back in 2011 that his association with Jackson was the reason he wasn’t hired as the team’s head coach.
“Phil let me know going into the interview (with the Lakers) for me to almost disassociate myself from him, that anything that I said about him or the triangle system would hurt me because of his lack of relationship with Jimmy Buss,” Shaw said then.
(by Sporting News Staff)
Details of Bizarre Cover-Up Plot in Cabrera Doping Case
After San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in July, he knew he was facing a 50-game suspension. So to avoid that punishment, he became embroiled in a complicated scheme that involved creating a fake website for a nonexistent supplement, the New York Daily News reports.
The idea apparently was to create a digital record showing Cabrera had ordered a supplement that caused the positive test, the newspaper reports. MLB's drug program allows players who have tested positive to present evidence they ingested banned substances through no fault of their own.
So the website was part of the evidence Cabrera and his representatives made to MLB and the players’ union, but the effort failed and Cabrera on Wednesday was suspended 50 games.
“There was a product they said caused this positive,” a source told the Daily News. “Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly.”
Once MLB’s department of investigations started asking questions about the website, it quickly discovered it was an existing website that had been altered by adding an ad for a nonexistent topical cream.
At the center of the scheme is Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, who is a paid consultant for the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson. The Daily News says he is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the fake website.
Nunez told the newspaper he was “accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows,” regarding the fake website. He said the Levinsons knew nothing about the scheme. “I was the only one who had dealings with the website. Neither Seth nor Sam had any dealings with the website, nor did anyone else in the firm.”
The Levinson brothers say they were not involved in the scheme.
“Sam and I absolutely had no knowledge or dealings with anyone at anytime associated with the website,” Seth Levinson said. “I will state unequivocally and irrefutably that any payment made to the website does not come from ACES (their New York-based sports agency, Athletes’ Career Enhanced and Secured Inc.)”
Also, a players' union source tells the newspaper, “the MLBPA has not been presented with any evidence at this time that the Levinsons had any connection to the website.”
Seth Levinson said the agents used the Spanish-speaking Nunez as a liaison with their Dominican clients, including Cabrera.
“Juan Nunez is NOT a salaried employee of ACES and does NOT receive the benefits that all ACES employees receive,” Levinson said. “Most importantly, any and all calls, texts and emails that he sends come from his own PERSONAL devices (BlackBerry).”
The use of the fake website has brought attention to the case from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and MLB’s Department of Investigations, which are probing Cabrera’s associates, including trainers, handlers and agents, as they search for the source of the synthetic testosterone for which he tested positive. The Levinsons are not a target of the federal probe, a source told the newspaper.
(by Sporting News Staff)
Olympic Games in Row Over Head-Wear
The International Judo Federation says one of Saudi Arabia's first female athletes selected for the Olympics will not be allowed to wear a headscarf during competition.
Federation president Marius Vizer announced Thursday that Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani could not fight with a headscarf, saying the move was "according to the principles and spirit of judo." IJF spokesman Nicolas Messner said it was also due to safety concerns.
"In judo we use strangleholds and chokeholds so the hijab could be dangerous," Messner said. The Japanese martial art does not recognize differences in things like politics or religion and judges competitors only on their level of judo, Messner said.
Asian judo federations have previously allowed Muslim women to wear the hijab during major competitions, but Messner said the IJF had decided against it.
"The only difference between competitors should be their level of judo," he said, explaining that the grappling and throwing sport aims to be nonpolitical.
The ruling could jeopardize Shahrkhani's participation in the Olympics. Saudi leaders only agreed to send women to the games for the first time on the condition they be allowed to wear appropriate clothing for Muslim women, including a headscarf.
Shahrkhani was given a special invitation from the International Olympic Committee to compete in London. She has never fought at the international level before and has mostly been coached by her father, a judo referee.
Headscarves are allowed in taekwondo; the World Taekwondo Federation changed its rules in recent years to accommodate Islamic traditions. Some of the strongest Olympic medal contenders are from Egypt and Iran. But all taekwondo fighters also wear a headguard which covers any headscarves.
After previously banning headscarves on the field, FIFA, the governing body of soccer, now allows them.
Sarah Attar, Saudi Arabia's other female Olympic athlete, is expected wear a headscarf when she competes in distance running.
(by Maria Cheng)
"Why Didn't Anyone Call Police?" : A Pychologist's Viewpoint
As a Penn Stater, I am angry.
As a man, I am embarrassed.
As a Mens Health editor, I am curious.
Youve heard the allegations: In 2002, nowassistant coach Mike McQueary witnessed former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, then 58, sexually violating a 10-year-old boy in the coaches locker room shower. McQueary told his father as well as head coach Joe Paterno, who passed the buck to athletic director Tim Curley, university vice president Gary Schultz, and university president Graham Spanier. Sanduskys punishment: He wouldnt be permitted to bring kids onto campus anymore.
If the allegations are true, this much is clear: Theyre all at fault. McQueary knew exactly what he witnessed and didn't call 911. (Why hasn't he been fired yet?) The others either knew and are covering it up, or didn't ask the right questions.
Heres what isnt clear: At least six men could have called 911. Not one did. Why?
Why didn't anyone call the police?
It starts with the obvious: People dont want to be pulled into conflicts with others, says Roy Lubit, M.D., Ph.D., a forensic psychiatrist in New York who treats victims of sexual abuse. They especially want to avoid potentially difficult situations in the future, like going to court. So they tell themselves its not their business, or they cannot be sure what is going on, or convince themselves that someone else will take care of it.
But this situation is more complicated than that. Organizations are also very self-protective, adds Dr. Lubit. The number-one rule is, Dont embarrass the organization. Whistle blowers are often treated very badly.
Okay, but Sandusky wasnt caught stealing Capn Crunch from the dining hall. And these are, by all accounts, good men who know right from wrongand had very little motivation to protect Sandusky, whod retired three years before. I met Tim Curley when I worked in the Sports Information Office as an undergrad. Great guy. Paterno has five kids of his own, and made mentoring young men his lifes work. Doesnt seem to have an evil bone in his body. McQueary, Schultz, Spanier . . . they all seem like good, honest men.
More Men's Health: 8 Lessons All Dads Should Teach Their Kids
The human mind has the capacity to spin anything to suit what we want to believe, Dr. Lubit goes on. So you make excuses to yourself. There must be some other explanation. He just made a mistake. Hes helping those kids more than hurting them. Hed never do it again now that hes been caught. Psychologists call this motivated biasthe tendency to believe whats convenient to believe.
Another factor: cognitive dissonance. Sandusky seems like a great guy. That made it harder to believe he was doing bad things, says Dr. Lubit.
(by Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men's Health)
Former Dallas Cowboys Star Poses For Gay Magazine
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin graces the cover of the latest issue of the gay mens magazine Out.
In an interview with Out, Irvin talks about his stance on homosexual issues because of his brother Vaughn, who was gay. Vaughn died of stomach cancer in 2006.
Irvin, who is pictured on the magazines cover sans a shirt but wearing football pads and jeans, says his brothers sexual orientation helped bring to light several issues about his own decisions made with regard to relationships.
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin graces the cover of the latest issue of the gay mens magazine Out. (Courtesy of Out)Also, Irvin tells the magazine that African Americans should support marriage equality.
"I don't see how any African-American, with any inkling of history, can say that you don't have the right to live your life how you want to live your life," he said, according to the magazine. "No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with.
When we start talking about equality, and everybody being treated equally, I don't want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn't deserve equality."
The 45-year-old also said if any player in the NFL or other sport comes out, I will absolutely support him ... Ill give him 100 percent support.
Irvin played 12 seasons for the Cowboys and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007
(by Sporting News Staff)
The Fastest-Ever Sprint By a Caucasian Athlete
By running 100 metres in 9.98 seconds Friday, 19-year old French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre not only set a national record, he became the first person genetically of European origin to officially cover the distance in less than 10 seconds.
The breakthrough came at the French national athletics championship in the southwestern city of Valence.
Paradoxically, what makes this feat remarkable is not how few athletes have shattered the 10-second barrier but how many: 71, according to an AFP tally.
All but one of these 100m sprinters -- starting with U.S. trailblazer Jim Hines, who clocked 9.95 at the 1968 Mexico Olympics -- have been of recent African origin, overwhelmingly from the western part of the continent.
Before Lemaitre, the one exception was Patrick Johnson, born of an Irish father and an indigenous Australian mother.
The sheer number, and near monopoly, of under-ten-second performances linked to Africa are more than a simple coincidence or statistical anomaly, say experts.
But exactly what mix of factors has led to this outcome remains a puzzle.
"At the highest levels of athletic performance, everything matters," said Daniel MacArthur, a researcher at the Institute for Neuromuscular Research at The Children's Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.
"To compete against the best of the best, you need to have the right attitude, the right diet, the right training and the right genes," he told AFP.
Yet scientists agree that one explanation that does not hold water is race. The idea that the colour of one's skin is somehow related to innate ability is now recognized as an invidious cultural artifact that simply does not correspond to genetic reality.
"Scientifically, it is a discredited notion," said Robert Scott, a researcher at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, England who has explored the genetic determinants of elite athletic performance.
"There is more genetic diversity within small areas of East Africa than in most of Europe," he told AFP in an e-mail exchange.
But Scott and others say that doesn't mean genes are not an ingredient -- perhaps even the key ingredient -- in the recipe for super-elite sprinters, and the reason so many share West African roots.
Indeed, a flurry of research in the last decade has uncovered several genetic variants that impact the ability to move with explosive speed.
First on the list is ACTN3, a gene which determines whether the body produces the protein giving rise to so-called "fasttwitch" muscle fibres that have been shown to favour top-level performances in sprinting.
The genes are either locked on or off, which means humans have one of three possible genetic endowments: a double "RR" or single "RX" complement of fasttwitch producing protein, or the so-called "XX" or "null" variant, which yields none at all.
In non-elite athletes, the gap between having an active or silent variant is imperceptibly small when it comes to performance, studies have shown.
But when the human body nudges against its absolute limits, it can mean the difference between victory or defeat -- or between 10.01 and 9.99 in the 100 metres.
"Of the dozens of Olympic-level sprinters who have been tested for this gene so far, only a few have been found to possess the 'non-sprint' version," said Mac-Arthur.
But the question still remains: why do runners of African origin so thoroughly dominate the top of the game?
Part of the answer, at least, lies in the distribution of these "fast" genes across the globe.
On an evolutionary time scale we are all children of Africa, the cradle of the human species.
But as Homo sapiens spread, sub-populations settled and became isolated, resulting in hundreds of genetically concentrated diseases and traits, including ACTN3.
"DNA analysis carried out on 200 Jamaican Olympians . . . show that 80 per cent have the 'strong' 577RR variant," notes Rachel Irving, a researcher at the University of West Indies and co-author of a recent study examining the genotypes in top-level Jamaican and U.S. sprinters.
Led by world record holder Usain Bolt, Jamaica garnered six gold, three silver and two bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics, all in sprinting events.
Only one-to-two per cent of west Africans have the "weak" XX variant, compared to 18 per cent in the United States, 20 per cent in Europe and 25 per cent in Asia.
But other researchers argue ACTN3 is only one gene, and genes are only a small part of the overall picture.
"To the extent that the explanation is genetic, many genes are involved," said Alejandro Lucia, a researcher at European University in Madrid.
"The main factors, in my view, are more likely cultural and socioeconomic."
When China decided that harvesting Olympic gold was a priority, they combed their huge population for talent and hired the best trainers in the world. China's results speak for themselves, said Lucia.
(by Marlowe Hood)
USC Suffers Humiliating Sanctions by NCAA
The University of Southern California has lost 10 scholarships per season for the next three seasons and will not be allowed to participate in a bowl game for the next two seasons while remaining on probation for four, it was revealed on a Thursday afternoon conference call by the NCAA.
USC will also be stripped of all victories in games that former USC Heisman Trophy winning running back Reggie Bush played in during the 2004 season, when USC won the BCS national championship, as well as all wins in 2005, when they lost to Texas in the BCS championship game. There is also a possibility that USC may ultimately forfeit the 2004 BCS title.
News of the penalties originally broke late Wednesday night, but early reports only had the Trojans losing 20 scholarships and being banned from postseason play for two years. The NCAA has since released its full report and the penalties were much more significant. Full USC Coverage
The punishments applied to the Trojans stem from a four-year NCAA investigation into allegations centering around the relationship of Bush and an agent. The allegations were that Bush's mother and stepfather were provided a San Diego-area home in exchange for Bush signing on with the owner of the house (a would-be agent) as a client.
Bush has been in the NFL since 2006 and won the Super Bowl as part of the New Orleans Saints this past season. Pete Carroll, the head coach at the time of these allegations, is now the head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
USC had been waiting since February for the decision after the school's three-day hearing with the NCAA's 10-member infractions committee.
The USC basketball team also had a hand in the infractions, as former player O.J. Mayo was alleged to have received monetary benefits while attending USC. Mayo currently plays in the NBA and Tim Floyd -- the USC basketball coach at the time -- was recently hired as the head coach at UTEP. The team escaped further sanctions than ones it had already self-imposed.
(By Matt Snyder)
Former Head Coach,Pete Carroll Responds
Fan Tasered on Field at Phillies Game
A 17-year-old Phillies fan ran onto Citizens Bank Park Field last night, prompting a police officer to taser him. Predictably, national and local outrage has ensued.
A couple things to note before we get on with the soapboxing: 1) he's a minor, 2) apparently, players were covering their faces with their gloves to stifle laughter, 3) theoretically, he wasn't posing a threat, 4) there was a bomb threat Saturday in New York City.
The last one might not seem relevant, but I tend to think it is. Yes, for most of us viewing at home -- and, it appears from various YouTube videos, fans in the stadium -- this young man wasn't a threat. But to an officer charged with keeping players and fans safe, it's probably not worth waiting around to see how this thing plays out.
Philadelphia residents continue to say, "Why us?!" That's supposed to indicate that if this happens in, say, Kansas City, it doesn't matter to anyone.
But that's obviously not true: remember when Tom Gamboa was assaulted? that's what happened when security didn't get to the young fan in question.
Yes, some people might consider using a taser in this situation was excessive. It's entirely possible that the officer could have figured out another way to apprehend the fan. And, judging by the image in which both the officer and the perp are perfectly captured in the same manner by which they'll be stereotyped (not to mention the visual of the young man lying helplessly on the ground), ESPN's Josh Elliott might be right when he says this could "polarize" to our "nation".
That said, as Enrico points out at The 700 Level, this isn't the first time a Phillies baseball fan has been tasered, and the real lesson here should be easy.
Don't run on the field -- if you do, you are criminally trespassing (regardless of what your intentions are) and therefore you are subject to whatever police actions might be necessary to subdue you.
(by Will Brinson)
Transexual Sportswriter Commits Suicide
Los Angeles Times sports writer Mike Penner, who announced two years ago he was a transsexual and was changing his name to Christine Daniels, has died at age 52, the newspaper reported Saturday.
Penner was pronounced dead Friday at a hospital, said Los Angeles County coroner's Lt. Brian Elias. He said coroner's officials hadn't yet performed an autopsy or issued an official cause of death.
The Times said in a story Saturday Penner was believed to have committed suicide. Penner had returned to using the name Mike Penner last year and was a Times columnist at the time of his death.
In 25 years with the newspaper, Penner covered Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the Olympics, World Cup soccer, tennis and other sports. A fluid writer with a sharp wit, he worked at various times as a reporter, columnist and the newspaper's Los Angeles Angels beat writer.
"Mike was one of the most talented writers I've ever worked with, capable of reporting on any number of topics with great wit and style. He was a very gentle man who will be greatly missed.
This is a tragic ending and a difficult time for all of us who knew him," said Times Sports Editor Mike James.
Times Editor Russ Stanton said Penner "respected our readers a great deal, enough to share with them his very personal journey."
Penner revealed that journey on April 26, 2007, when he wrote a story for the Times headlined "Old Mike, New Christine," in which he revealed he was taking a few weeks vacation and when he returned to his job as a sports writer it would be as a woman named Christine Daniels.
"I am a transsexual sports writer," Penner wrote. "It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words."
The announcement sent shock waves through the sports world, but Penner's bosses were supportive.
As Penner himself noted, when he revealed his plans to Times Associate Editor Randy Harvey, who was then the newspaper's sports editor, Harvey "leaned back in his chair, looked through his office window to scan the newsroom and mused, 'Well, no one can ever say we don't have diversity on this staff.'"
After his vacation, Penner did indeed return as Christine Daniels, not only continuing to report on sports for the Times but also authoring a blog called "Woman in Transition," detailing his experiences.
Making public the transition, he once said, was the hardest thing he had ever done.
"How do you go about sharing your most important truth, one you spent a lifetime trying to keep deeply buried, to a world that has grown familiar and comfortable with your facade?" he asked.
At the time of his announcement he was married, and he declined to discuss his family situation. He said he was undergoing female hormone treatments but declined to say whether he planned to undergo a sex-change operation.
However, he eventually dropped the "Woman in Transition" blog and returned to writing under the name Mike Penner.
At the time of his death he was writing a column for the Times called Totally Random that focused on offbeat, lighthearted and historic moments in sports. His last one appeared in the paper on Nov. 15.
Penner is survived by his brother, John, a copy editor for the Times. Funeral plans were pending.
(by John Rogers)
The Lost Man: Tim Montgomery
On a late November morning in 2003, the World's Fastest Man admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. In front of a grand jury in the San Francisco federal courthouse, Tim Montgomery answered question after question from federal prosecutor Jeff Nedrow about drug connections -- connections to his glamorous live-in girlfriend at the time, track star Marion Jones; connections to his former coach, Trevor Graham; and connections to Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) founder Victor Conte. Though he waffled at times, Montgomery eventually spilled about them all.
But first, Nedrow, perhaps to prime the witness, recognized Montgomery's athletic prowess in front of the jurors, according to a copy of the grand jury transcript obtained by ESPN.com.
Q. Mr. Montgomery, you're currently the world record holder in the 100 meters; is that correct?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. When did you set the record?
A. 2002, September 14.
Q. And what was your time?
Q. Congratulations. That's a remarkable achievement.
It was remarkable, indeed. But the record is gone now, wiped from the books by track and field's governing body as a result of evidence culled in the BALCO case and Montgomery's admission under oath to his steroid use. Gone, too, is his freedom: the jock lifestyle, the money, the women. In fact, his life has gone to hell since that truth-telling session six years ago. He split with Jones, the mother of his 6-year-old son. He was convicted on separate felony criminal charges of check fraud and heroin distribution. And since last year, he's been locked up in a minimum-security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama's capital city, where he's to stay until January 2016.
All that remains are memories and dreams.
As federal prisons go, Montgomery landed in a cushy joint, a place with the feel of a small college campus dotted with tall pine trees. But on a hotter-than-blazes morning this summer, the one-time 100-meter record holder, now also known as federal inmate No. 56836-083, welcomes the opportunity to escape into the air-conditioned office of an associate warden. Wearing the facility's standard inmate garb of dark olive green pants and shirt and black polished shoes, Montgomery -- still trim and fit at 34 years old -- sits down for a three-hour interview with ESPN.com.
This is his home now, and will be until 2016 unless he is granted early release.He says he spends his mornings and afternoons on a landscape detail manicuring the Air Force base grounds, which include an 18-hole golf course. The bulk of his of free time is spent reading, and writing what he pitches as a tell-all book on his troubled life and the tawdry underbelly of his sport. And, of course, he works out, because -- who knows? -- one of the dreams that remains is an early release and a revival of his sprint career.
"I'm training, running," Montgomery says in a soft, friendly voice. "You can't believe the raw talent in jail that is behind bars. And they're ready to challenge you.
"In here, people say, 'Oh, we haven't really heard of you.' Then it's, 'You had the world record? OK, now we know.' That means something."
The World's Fastest Man has morphed into the fastest man in the prison yard. He is unbeaten there at every distance from 40 to 100 meters. He says he heads up a training group of about 15 inmates who work out regularly on the grass football and soccer fields.
"You're in here with testosterone levels higher than ever," he says. "They say, 'You might be fast, but not without that juice [steroids].' I say, 'OK, tell me how far you want to go.' I can say this: I haven't lost yet. I have an inner challenge. If you want to fight, I'm gonna fight back.
"In here, it is all about satisfaction and respect. Running has always been an outlet in my life. Since I've been here, my spirits have been low from time to time. I turn to the Bible a lot, and running. When you first get here, it is a respect thing. You know, 'Tim Montgomery is here.' Now, every time some new [inmate] gets off the bus, it's 'Can you run? You fast?'"
Where it went wrong
He was always fast, off the track as well as on. Ultimately, the fast-lane life caught up with him.
Banned from his sport in 2005 after the BALCO fallout, Montgomery didn't play nice and try to rehabilitate his public image. He didn't do "The Oprah Winfrey Show," for example, as Jones did when she was released from prison. Quite the opposite. Montgomery turned to the streets and a fast, hustler's life, amassing a rap sheet that makes using performance-enhancing drugs look like choirboy stuff.
First, in April 2007, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and money laundering scheme. He was accused of depositing three bogus checks totaling $775,000, for which he earned a comparatively modest $20,000. Then, as he awaited sentencing on those charges, he was arrested and later pleaded guilty to dealing more than 100 grams of heroin in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.
As the conversation shifts to what brought him to this prison camp, Montgomery lowers his head.
"All hell broke loose after the [world] record," he says. "I wasn't able to really capitalize. The next year, 2003, I got subpoenaed to the grand jury for BALCO."
On the heels of his 9.78 time in the 100 meters, clocked in Paris seven years ago this week, Montgomery upped the price of his competitive appearances from $25,000 to $60,000 a race; and his Nike endorsement deal spiked to $575,000 a year, he says. But when his name became linked to the BALCO drug scandal and his suspension from track and field kicked in, he says the money flow dried up.
ESPN.com obtained a number of documents in the course of reporting this story on Tim Montgomery's journey from his world record performance in the 100 meters to his convictions on heroin distribution and check-fraud charges.
"I had been around bad people the whole time," he says. "When this all happened, I had to turn to them because I was trying to get some money. You have to understand: Drug dealers want to be athletes and athletes want to be cool. Those schemes were always around me, but I didn't participate because I was all right. Then everything was happening and I decided to turn this into something. I made money, yeah. That's just part of the game on the street. That's part of the business. A lot of money is made in drugs."
Now, after the fact, Montgomery wants people to believe his life of crime was somehow intertwined with a desire to run again. He hoped to be reinstated by the IAAF when the suspension expired in 2007. Montgomery says he assumed that as a condition for reinstatement, the international track federation and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency would require repayment of the prize money he earned during the alleged doping period, because he'd heard other suspended runners had been required to return their winnings. He estimates he owed them $270,000.
"The simplest way to raise the money that came to mind was to sell drugs," he says. "I took the money I had from running and tried to double up. In the process, I lost I have a lot of money to pay back. I made good money, but I spent good money. I took chances with the check [fraud] thing to make it. People say, 'How did you get yourself in trouble?' I wanted to run."
Sports officials, however, don't buy that rationale, claiming Montgomery was never told he would have to make a lump-sum repayment. They note that the international track federation has a history of working out installment plans with athletes who apply for reinstatement after a doping offense.
"Let me say this: It is pretty pathetic to use that as an excuse for why he got involved with check-kiting schemes and all this," says Travis Tygart, head of USADA. "In fact, the [international track and field federation] has been overly compassionate in past years to working out financial repayment arrangements with athletes, like they did with [British sprinter] Dwain Chambers, who similarly owed them a bunch of money. They worked out an agreement whereby a certain percentage of his revenues after he became eligible again would be paid directly to the [federation] as repayment for that money.
"So it is ridiculous to say that is what forced him to get into this."
Entering Manhattan federal court in May 2006, Montgomery knew the end was near.Regardless, Montgomery remains tucked away in prison camp, paying a different kind of price. Instead of a $33,000-a-month check from Nike, he gets $44 a month for his landscaping gig. Gone is the $2.5 million chateau-style house he shared with Jones in Chapel Hill, N.C., where Michael Jordan and Dean Smith were among his neighbors. Instead, he sleeps in a single bed in a two-story dormitory-style barracks, with a shared bathroom on each wing.
He is in touch with Brian Lewis, a former sprint teammate at Norfolk State, who is about his only contact from his old circle of track and field friends. Letters occasionally arrive from track fans and churchgoers; but for the most part, they're written by faceless characters.
One track and field insider who isn't likely to pick up a pen and write to Montgomery, though, is Irvine, Calif.,-based attorney Emanuel Hudson, the longtime manager of sprinter Maurice Greene. It was Greene's world record that Montgomery broke in Paris. And as Hudson sees it, that performance-enhanced race took three years off Greene's reign as the World's Fastest Man -- the record wasn't broken again until 2005 by Asafa Powell -- and cost him and his client untold dollars in endorsement deals and appearance fees.
"I don't hate Tim Montgomery; but at the same time, it is very unfortunate he did some things that were very bad for our sport," Hudson says. "But I think that his station in life now is actually not based on what he did in our sport. He is in jail for basically being a crook. He was a crook. And his being a crook spilled over into our sport as well."
During the prison interview, Montgomery notes that Greene, his old rival, has also been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, though Greene has never been suspended or charged. Last year, a Mexican steroid trafficker reportedly told federal investigators that Greene was among 12 Olympic medalists that he supplied.
It isn't just Montgomery's former track and field friends who have cut him out of their lives, of course. Inmate No. 56836-083 volunteers that most of the women in his life have abandoned him, too.
"When you're out there doing your thing, you have a lot of women," says Montgomery, who has fathered four children by four different women. "I'm not seeing them. Just my parents, sister and brothers. Everybody else has left me. I guess they see eight years and 10 months [his prison sentence] and say, 'You can't do anything for me.'"
The matter of Marion
Among the missing women is Marion Jones, the golden girl of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the mother of one of his children, Timothy Montgomery Jr. Seven years ago, the couple shared a well-chronicled kiss and a hug on the Paris track after Montgomery became the World's Fastest Man. He ran the record race in a pair of Nike spikes borrowed from Jones. They wear the same size.
She was tall, polished, well-educated and -- away from the limelight, at least -- said to be surprisingly shy and eager to avoid confrontation. Jones was one of the most successful female athletes in the world, earning between $70,000 and $80,000 a race on her way to becoming one of track's first female millionaires. Vogue magazine dubbed her "The American Hero" in a cover story.
He was short, less sophisticated, a hustler of sorts with an athletic pedigree that ranked a notch or two below hers.
"I remember cleaning out her car one day and I found a check for $45,000, and it was six months old," Montgomery says about Jones, who hit hard financial times, too, during her own meteoric fall from grace. "She had forgot all about it. She was making so much good money that she didn't take care of it. And she was very generous with it. If you're in her good graces, she'll give you the world."
The romance between the former training partners that blossomed in full on Montgomery's record day in Paris ended amid the turmoil and tension of the BALCO drug saga and a string of federal criminal investigations. Most of the legal problems were focused on Montgomery; but last year, Jones ended up in prison, too. She served a six-month sentence in the minimum-security section of a Fort Worth, Texas, federal facility for lying about her steroid use and her role in the check-fraud scam. She was released just over a year ago.
As Montgomery is speaking in the prison office, it's been several years since he has communicated with Jones, though he acknowledges that Jones is close to his mother, and that "Monty," their son, spent part of this summer with her in South Carolina.
"I wrote [Jones] a letter and said I was sorry for what I had done. She never wrote back," Montgomery says. "I have no connection with my son. It bothers me a lot. That's one of the reasons why I sat down and wrote [a book]. I came to jail and she did, too, but she makes it seem like mine is worse. No mother should keep a child away from his father unless he's hurting the child."
He says he brought Jones into the bank fraud scheme, and that's behind the current friction with her. Ultimately, the fraud charges forced Jones to acknowledge her own drug past. She had long vehemently denied rumors about her steroid use, and at various times retained attorneys to fight a potential ban and later file a defamation lawsuit against BALCO founder Victor Conte, who had gone public with details about providing her with performance-enhancing drugs.
"It's why she doesn't talk to me to this day," Montgomery says. "She got involved [in the check scheme] to help me As I tried to protect her, she gave [federal investigators] a different story. She was gonna be a witness against me [yet] they had her on cameras walking in with the check. They knew it wasn't my signature on the back of the check. She was saying she didn't know anything about it. Her story didn't add up.
"They told her, 'We got you on this. If you don't come out and tell about the steroid thing, we're gonna give you five years for perjury.' They knew she was lying about steroids. She said in the [BALCO] grand jury she didn't take [performance-enhancing drugs]. They had her trapped."
An odd couple, in some ways. She was tall and elegant; he was shorter, and a hustler.
According to court documents, Jones endorsed and deposited a bogus $20,000 check into her bank account, and then lied to federal investigators about it during a 2006 bank fraud investigation. Earlier, in a Nov. 4, 2003, formal interview with lead BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky in advance of her grand jury testimony, Jones lied when asked whether she had ever seen or used "the clear," as well as whether she had received it from Graham. The clear is a designer drug that is thought to produce growth of muscle tissue. At the time, it couldn't be detected in the drug tests administered to athletes. Its formal name is tetrahydrogestrinone and it's also known as THG.
Montgomery and Jones were living together when they were called to appear before the BALCO grand jury in San Francisco in 2003. Montgomery testified first, on the morning of Nov. 6; Jones testified a week later. Their son was almost five months old at the time.
According to Montgomery, they spoke in advance about how they might address inquiries related to performance-enhancing drugs.
"We talked about it, of course," he says. "She went with what her lawyers told her to say. I said, 'Why am I gonna lie about what I did? Victor Conte distributed something not on the banned list. If it's not on the banned list, why am I in trouble?' I didn't know the grand jury [testimony] was gonna be leaked, either Believe me, she don't live in reality. It's like if you take the name off the Dasani [water] bottle -- 'I don't want you ever to tell me what you're giving me. Just give it to me.' No question, she knew what she was doing. It would be impossible not to. If you're injecting something, you know what is going on. You see changes so quick."
Over a two-week period of repeated attempts by ESPN.com, Jones couldn't be reached for comment. Nor could her former agent, Charlie Wells, who was sentenced to six months of home detention for his role in the bank fraud scheme. Neither of her criminal attorneys, F. Hill Allen and Henry DePippo, responded to numerous messages from ESPN.com over the same time frame.
As for Jones' past denials about her use of drugs, Montgomery says, "She is a great actor. She doesn't believe in reality. She thinks she can say something and make it stick. And like most athletes, the first thing we say is 'I'm not guilty.'"
Accordingly, history will remember Montgomery and Jones, once the royal couple of sprinting, as vociferous liars, says the country's lead sports doping official.
"Yeah, there is no question Marion and Tim knew exactly what they were doing," says Tygart, the USADA boss. "This is despite their public statements and vehemently denying [performance-enhancing drug use] and then attacking those that were simply doing their job. They both went after us vigorously and the federal prosecutor vigorously, but we all know it was just made up."
The doping story
The prison camp that Montgomery and 900 or so other inmates call home sits on the far end of the Maxwell Air Force Base. It is beyond the base's residential streets of neatly kept homes, beyond the playground, the grocery store and the horse stable. It is beyond the handful of retired fighter jets, remnants from an earlier time, that are displayed around the Air University campus, where military pilots come to be schooled in contemporary aircraft.
Beyond all that is the coincidentally named Montgomery Building, a brick two-story structure where the former World's Fastest Man now lays his head at night.
"It's like my own building," Montgomery says in reference to the name. And it's here, when alone with his thoughts, that his mind most often takes him back to his introduction to BALCO, to his life with Marion Jones, to the world record and to how it all came tumbling down.
It's here, too that he says he sometimes lets himself dream about the future, about competing again, maybe even in the 2012 London Olympics.
He leans forward now in a light blue upholstered chair in the prison office, his arms pressed forward on a conference table. Outside, inmates -- mostly drug offenders -- are milling about in the standard olive green uniforms as the noon hour approaches. There are no high barbed-wire fences here. No guard towers. Only prescribed boundaries, beyond which they are not to wander.
For the interview with Montgomery, officials didn't allow ESPN.com to bring cameras or recording devices onto the grounds.
"It may not look too bad, but it is prison," says Chalon Moore, a spokesperson for the facility. "You can't leave."
If it isn't Fox River State Penitentiary of "Prison Break" fame, it's at least harsh enough to bring Montgomery back to the present every morning and, on this day, keep him talking about the past.
He admits now he was on his own heavy doping regimen of testosterone and human growth hormone leading up to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where he ran in the prelims for the eventual gold-medal-winning U.S. 4x100 relay squad. The source of the drugs at that time wasn't Conte of BALCO fame, though Conte admits he provided Montgomery with a designer steroid once he was in Sydney.
"I didn't meet him until I got to Sydney," Conte says of Montgomery. "I actually met him inside the Olympic Village. I was working with other athletes, including Alvin Harrison. Someone came out and got me and took me in. Later, we got in a cab and we talked and I gave Tim some of the clear."
The earlier drugs, according to Montgomery, came through his then-coach, Trevor Graham, who arranged for some of his athletes to procure performance enhancers from Angel "Memo" Heredia. A former Mexican discus thrower who lives in Laredo, Texas, Heredia had connections and easy access to anabolic steroids across the border in Mexico, Montgomery says.
In his own words
Tim Montgomery claims he is writing a book about his track and field career and subsequent legal problems. During his prison interview with ESPN.com, Montgomery passed a six-page, typewritten "Preface" to Mike Fish. Here is an excerpt, describing his first experiences in 2008 in a federal prison in Portsmouth, Va., where he was held before he was transferred to the Maxwell Air Force Base minimum-security facility.
The concrete benches were all occupied. You could either stand, sit or lay on the floor. Bolted to a wall was a toilet and sink combination made of steel. A wiry thin black man around the age of thirty sat on his knees hugging the toilet. The man kept vomiting in an out of control manner. His stomach kept seizing in, then out. I looked up at a black guy and asked him why the man by the toilet was puking his brains out. He'd told me the man's body was suffering from heroin. It was the first time I had ever seen the drug I sold in action, rendering its user deathly sick.
A Correctional Officer walked up to the cell. He summoned me out and escorted me to a single cell similar to the one I had just left. There was a single bunk and matching steel sink and toilet combination. I asked the C.O. for a bottle of water. He laughed, then said, "You ain't no celebrity in here. You're just a normal man with little rights." He pointed to the steel sink and told me to press the shiny button. When I hit the button, a limp stream of semi-cold water came out of a small spout. I drank enough to wet my dry throat and sat down. It was apparent I'd been moved from the other inmates due to my celebrity status. I would later learn that papers would need to be signed before I entered what is called the general population. The papers removed all responsibility from the correctional institution in the event that I sustained bodily injury or, God forbid, be murdered.
"The first time I was taking something is when I got with Trevor," Montgomery says. "Trevor was sending athletes to Memo. It was crazy. You'd go down and walk across the border into Mexico, sit in a lab. Nothing is FDA-approved or anything.
"Trevor had us believing we had to do this, that it was the way to be successful and run fast. As a coach, you're thinking what he says is gospel. He's the coach. It's not like you can call your mother to ask what she thinks. This is the guy you believe in, and he's calling the shots."
Heredia, 34, was a key government witness during Graham's trial last year, when the coach was convicted on a felony charge of making false statements to federal investigators and sentenced to a year of home confinement. (Graham was cleared on two other counts.) Ironically, Graham had been portraying himself as one of the good guys for helping the government uncover the BALCO doping ring in 2003 by sending a syringe containing the clear to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Apparently, he is still standing by that story.
"With respect to being the original BALCO whistle-blower, Mr. Graham has never regretted taking those actions," Paul Alsdorf, one of his trial attorneys, told ESPN.com.
Graham's house arrest sentence ends in late October. He declined to be interviewed for this story, but through Alsdorf, he denied that he provided drugs to his athletes.
"Tim Montgomery's claims repeat the same type of allegations that the government was not able to prove at Mr. Graham's trial in San Francisco last year," Alsdorf said after consulting with the former sprint coach.
In a June 2004 interview with federal investigators, Graham also denied any involvement with steroids despite grand jury testimony to the contrary from several athletes, including shot-putter C.J. Hunter, quarter-miler Antonio Pettigrew and sprinter Michelle Collins. In the 11-page memorandum of the interview, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.com, Graham denied providing steroids to Jones. He denied opening shipments of drugs from Conte. He denied ever directing athletes to Heredia to procure drugs, and he denied even being aware of athletes' getting drugs from Mexico.
Heredia could not be reached for comment, but he testified last year that he supplied Graham with performance-enhancing drugs for his athletes, including Jones in the lead-up to the Sydney Games. A jury convicted Graham of lying to federal agents when he claimed to have had only a single conversation with Heredia -- the jurors were shown records of more than 100 telephone calls -- but it reached an impasse on two other charges: that Graham lied when he told agents he had never set his athletes up to get drugs from Heredia, and that he lied again about never having met Heredia in person. The jury voted 10-2 to convict him on the first charge, and 11-1 on the second (jurors were shown a photo of Graham and Heredia together); but it needed unanimity for a guilty verdict.
Montgomery wasn't called as a witness at Graham's trial because of what the sprinter calls a "credibility issue." However, he says during the prison interview in Alabama that a visit to Mexico, in addition to picking up a supply of drugs, often included blood chemistry testing to ensure the athlete's health wasn't being compromised by the steroids. He says Heredia also used the lab results to determine whether the athlete was at risk of failing a drug test.
According to medical records obtained by ESPN.com, Montgomery's testosterone levels were measured across the border in a Nuevo Laredo lab on Feb. 17, 2000, and then again the following day. The report indicates his testosterone level nearly doubled within that 24-hour period, presumably the result of a heavy dose of testosterone.
His former coach, Trevor Graham, continues to deny providing steroids to Montgomery or any other athletes.
"He was trying to find out how much I could take before [his testosterone level] shoots up," Montgomery recalls. "Later, Victor [Conte] was more sophisticated. Memo was a Russian-roulette person, his idea being that you got to run from the [drug] testers. You got to avoid them You just injected testosterone and then you'd hide out for 12 days. Don't go home. Don't answer your phone. Train at night and be in the hotel in the day. You didn't want to get caught."
Later, under the supervision of Conte, Montgomery had lab work done on an almost weekly basis over a five-month span in 2001, according to doping ledgers obtained by ESPN.com. He never tested positive, including up to the time he was suspended in 2005. The suspension was based on his testimony before the BALCO grand jury.
The sprinter and BALCO's Conte split before the 2002 season in what Conte describes as a dispute over $25,000 in fees owed.
"He wanted to pay half and the other half the next year," Conte says. "He wanted the money so he could open a strip club."
Montgomery, who grew up in the small town of Gaffney, S.C., says he thought the doping regimens were more or less standard operating procedure at the top levels of track and field.
"Yes, I did take something," Montgomery says. "Did I know it was anabolic steroids? Yes. It's hard to be around Victor Conte and not know what you're taking, because he is such a braggart."
Montgomery says he reached out to Conte in July of 2000, two months before the Sydney Games. But when Graham caught wind of it, according to both Montgomery and Conte, he interceded with Conte and suggested that BALCO first design an undetectable pharmacology program for his camp's star athlete, Marion Jones. Conte didn't begin to work with Montgomery until the following November.
Jones and C.J. Hunter, then her husband, spoke to the media in Sydney shortly before the news broke that Hunter had tested positive. After Conte's initial phone conversation in July with Graham and C.J. Hunter, who was then married to Jones, Conte says he shipped Graham 15 doses of the clear, a then-undetectable steroid, intended for Jones. In his new book, "BALCO: The Straight Dope On Steroids, Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, & What We Can Do To Save Sports," Conte writes that upon first meeting Graham and Hunter in Sydney, he provided them with two bottles of growth hormone -- or eight doses -- which was to be used to help Jones get through the eight days of Olympic competition.
In his BALCO grand jury testimony, a copy of which has been obtained by ESPN.com, Hunter confirmed that Jones was fueled by performance enhancers -- including the clear, growth hormone, insulin and EPO -- during her memorable Sydney Games. He described an incident in which Graham came to the apartment the couple shared in Sydney and placed the drugs in the refrigerator. He testified that he witnessed Jones inject herself with HGH in their Sydney apartment. Hunter also told grand jurors he was present on the practice track, just days before the start of competition in Sydney, when Graham called Conte for advice after Jones complained of muscle tightness caused by the clear. The tightness eventually went away.
When a grand juror asked why Jones took the clear, Hunter said Graham had his star athlete on a doping regimen after she injured her back running the 200 meters at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain, an injury that forced her to withdraw from the meet and end her season.
"[Graham's] comment was he never wanted to see her laying on the track again," Hunter told the jurors. "So, he went out to do whatever he had to do to make sure that didn't happen."
Montgomery, who eventually replaced Hunter in Jones' life, officially entered the BALCO world in November 2000 during a three-day meeting -- attended by, among others, Graham -- that launched "Project World Record." The idea was to turn the slender, talented sprinter -- nicknamed "Tiny Tim" -- into the World's Fastest Man. After the third day, Montgomery was sent home with calendars that detailed his track and weight training workouts, as well as a doping schedule that featured undetectable designer steroids.
Montgomery says the BALCO drugs intended for Jones came to Hunter, who passed them on to Graham, the coach. Later, they were shipped to Montgomery. Both Montgomery and Hunter told the grand jury that packages containing the performance-enhancing drugs were discernible by the fictitious name on the return label: Vince Reed.
"If it had 'BALCO' on it, it was the vitamins," Montgomery says . "If it was 'Vince Reed,' it was something that shouldn't be in the mail. Maybe it was once a week. Packages for Marion came to me, and I'd give them to Trevor."
Montgomery says there was a reason the drugs weren't sent directly to Graham.
"His wife is a sheriff's deputy," Montgomery says. "She didn't know about it. If packages come and are intercepted and a sheriff's deputy is his wife, it's gonna be big trouble. Victor and Trevor had it all figured out. Trevor was behind everything. He wanted to be the best nutritionist and drug coach."
As for the benefits he received from the drugs, Montgomery says, "I got stronger, muscular."
In 2002, after he split with Conte, Montgomery ran his world-record 9.78. And on that September day in Paris, Montgomery and Jones, striding hand in hand, let the world know they were young, fast and in love. For a brief moment, their lives were perfect.
"My world came crashing down," says Montgomery in the associate warden's office. His voice is a few decibels above a whisper.
(by Mike Fish who is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com)
OJ Sentenced To Prison In Las Vegas Robbery
O.J. Simpson is headed to prison for at least nine years, but a prosecutor says the former football star could have spent less time behind bars if he had accepted a plea deal before he was convicted.
Clark County District Attorney David Roger said Simpson was offered a deal for less prison time than the nine- to 33-year prison terms the graying former football star was sentenced to on Friday for kidnapping and assaulting two sports memorabilia dealers with a deadly weapon.
"Mr. Simpson wanted something just short of a public apology," Roger said. "We didn't think that was appropriate."
Roger did not offer specifics of the deal and Simpson's defense lawyers declined to discuss details.
"There was nothing that was palatable. Nothing acceptable," Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter said.
Co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart also rejected a deal that would have had him plead guilty to unspecified reduced charges in return for a promised sentence less than the 7 1/2 to 27 years he received, the prosecutor and defense lawyers said.
"It was a universal deal," said Stewart's lawyer, Brent Bryson. "Both defendants had to accept it. As we know, that didn't happen."
An emotional and hoarse Simpson said nothing about plea deals when he stood in shackles and blue jail garb and apologized before he was sentenced by Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass.
"In no way did I mean to hurt anybody, to steal anything from anyone," Simpson said, his voice cracking. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of it."
The judge said she was not convinced, and she denied that Simpson's acquittal in Los Angeles in the 1994 slaying of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, had any effect on a sentence that will make Simpson 70 years old before he is eligible for parole.
"I'm not here to try and cause any retribution or any payback for anything else. I want that to be perfectly clear to everybody," the judge said.
She called the evidence overwhelming, with the planning, confrontation and aftermath all recorded on audio or videotape.
"You went to the room, and you took guns," Glass told Simpson. "You used force. You took property, whether it was yours or somebody else's. And in this state, that amounts to robbery, with use of a deadly weapon."
"And Mr. Stewart, you got caught up in something," the judge added. "I'm not sure how much you knew. But clearly Mr. Simpson knew."
Simpson and Stewart were each convicted Oct. 3 of 12 criminal charges, including the kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon which led to their sentences, and the armed robbery, conspiracy and burglary sentences that the judge folded in with the rest. Glass threw out two coercion charges.
"We were preparing Mr. Simpson for the worst," Galanter said later. "We felt we did really well. Obviously, he's upset about the possibility of doing nine years."
Roger called it "a fair and just sentence under the circumstances" and said during a news conference that because the crimes were considered violent felonies, Simpson and Stewart won't be eligible for good time credits to lessen the minimum sentences.
The prosecutor said he did not expect they would immediately be released when they do seek parole.
Galanter and Bryson said they intend to appeal their clients' convictions. But they postponed plans to file notices of appeal Friday, after Glass asked them attend a Tuesday morning restitution hearing concerning the items stolen from memorabilia peddlers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.
The hearing will coincide with sentencings for four former co-defendants in the case who took plea deals and testified against Simpson and Stewart. Michael McClinton, Charles Cashmore, Walter Alexander and Charles Ehrlich each could get probation or prison time. McClinton could get up to 11 years; the others face less.
Former NBA Star Becomes Sacramento's First Black Mayor
Sacramento broke barriers of its own, installing the city's first black mayor who campaigned on a promise of improving public safety at a time when local governments are feeling financial pain.
Former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson defeated two-term incumbent Heather Fargo by campaigning on a theme of change. Johnson, a political novice before taking the helm of his hometown, aligned himself close to the achievements of Barack Obama, the nation's first black president.
"Sacramento also made history today in electing its first black mayor," the former Phoenix Suns point guard told supporters during his victory speech Tuesday night. "Both Obama and myself, we ran on a promise and the theme of change. No more business as usual."
Johnson's victory - 58 percent to 42 percent - affirmed the city's craving for something decidedly flashier. During Fargo's tenure, she embraced slow and steady progress in California's capital city, where many workers are employed by state government.
Johnson, 42, said he had a 50-member transition team ready to go as he inherits a $58 million city deficit. He pledged to end a "tired, bureaucratic, uninspired, unresponsive" City Hall.
Johnson will take office despite a campaign in which he was haunted by old ghosts, including allegations of sexual abuse with a minor and an ongoing federal investigation that he misused AmeriCorps grants to engage in political activities, run personal errands and even wash his car.
A few blocks away, a tearful Fargo congratulated Johnson on his win and did not want to contemplate her future after two decades of public service.
"I feel very strongly about this city ... and I think I've served it well," Fargo told a crowd of subdued supporters.
During the campaign, Johnson called in basketball stars such as Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson to stump for him. The Johnson campaign also out-fundraised Fargo and touts campaign contributions from billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Johnson's call for change resonated with voters like Richard Jackson, 56, who said he cast his ballot for Johnson because the community needs more attractions.
"We want something like L.A. or San Francisco so things are going on all night," he said.
Poll Results Show Increased Interest in Swimming Over Track & Field in Olympics
A recent USA Today/Gallup poll finds 27% of Americans naming swimming as their favorite summer Olympic event, making it the clear leader after vying with track and field for the top spot in 2000 and 2004.
The percentage of Americans naming gymnastics as their favorite sport tumbled from 17% in the last two Summer Olympic years to 12% today. Basketball (5%) and diving (4%) round out the top five.
Women have propelled swimming to its status as the favored Olympic event in 2008. Thirty-five percent of women name swimming as their favorite sport, well ahead of gymnastics (19%) and track and field (8%). When Gallup asked the same question in 2004, women were equally likely to mention swimming (25%) and gymnastics (25%) as their favorite event. It is unclear why the shift has occurred -- one explanation could be that swimming has received more media attention leading up to the games, most notably 41-year old swimmer Dara Torres' improbable victory at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Men slightly prefer track and field (24%) to swimming (18%), with basketball third (9%). Their preferences are similar to what they were in 2004, though men have become more likely to mention swimming than they were eight years ago.
Interest in the Games
Americans' interest in this year's games is similar to interest levels measured at similar points prior to the beginning of previous Olympics. Fifty-six percent say they plan to watch a "great deal" or "fair amount" of the Olympics, compared with 59% readings in both 2000 and 2004.
Plans for watching the Olympics do not vary much among different subgroups of Americans. For example, men (56%) and women (56%) are equally likely to say they plan to watch a great deal or fair amount of the Olympics. There are modest differences by age, with younger adults between the ages of 18 and 29 (49%) somewhat less likely to say they will watch at least a fair amount of the Olympics than are those aged 30 and older (57%).
For the first time, fans of the Olympics can watch almost any event they choose live via streaming video over the Internet. Given the time difference between the United States and China, this might seem an attractive option for the most fervent Olympics fans who prefer to see the events unfold live. According to the poll, about half of Americans who plan to watch the Olympics will watch some of the coverage on the Internet -- just 48% say they will watch only the TV coverage. However, in addition to the 48% who will watch the games only on television, another 41% say they will watch the Olympics mostly on television, so clearly, television will be the dominant medium by which Americans view the Olympics. Just 9% say they will watch both TV and Internet about equally, and only 2% will do all or most of their viewing online.
While Americans' interest in this year's games is no higher than in the past, Americans' knowledge of where the Olympics are taking place compares favorably to past Summer Olympics games. In the summer of five past Olympic years, Gallup has asked Americans if they knew where that year's summer games were being held. This year, 79% of Americans correctly identify Beijing or China as the 2008 location, the highest Gallup has measured for an Olympiad thus far (notably, this excludes any Olympics held on U.S. soil).
The greater awareness of Beijing and China as the host city and nation may result from the media spotlight focused on China leading up to the games, first by the worldwide protests against China during the Olympic torch relay earlier this year, by controversy over world leaders' decisions to attend the games, and by some of the problems China has had in its preparation for the games, especially in trying to deal with air pollution in Beijing.
Clearly, Americans are much more aware of where Olympics are being held than they were in the 1940s and 1950s. This could reflect the fact that the Olympics were not televised until 1960, and thus Americans may not have had the immediate connection to the games that they have had in recent years.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,007 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted July 25-27, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
(To read continuing excerpts from "The Mitchell Report" on Major League Baseball, scroll down the page)
Freak Play Results In Player's Throat Being Slashed
BUFFALO, N.Y. (Feb. 10) - Florida Panthers goalie Thomas Vokoun saw fear in Richard Zednik's ashen face when his teammate reached the bench with blood gushing from his throat.
Silence fell over the crowd at HSBC Arena as ice resurfacers scraped the area to remove Zednik's blood stains from the ice. "When you see something like that, it isn't about playing anymore," said Ruff.
"He was very scared," Vokoun said, describing the frightening scene after the right side of Zednik's throat was accidentally sliced by teammate Olli Jokinen's skate during a game at Buffalo on Sunday night. "He was conscious, I guess. His eyes were closed, but he was moving and moaning."
As the Panthers traveled home to south Florida following a 5-3 loss, the team announced Zednik was stable and resting comfortably at Buffalo General Hospital after having surgery to close the gash that led the forward to leave a long trail of blood on the ice.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Zednik was hurt with 9:56 left in the third period in the right corner of the Sabres zone.
Zednik was circling the net behind the play and skating into the corner just when Jokinen was upended by Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur. Jokinen fell headfirst to the ice, and his right leg flew up and struck Zednik directly on the side of the neck.
Clutching his neck, Zednik somehow had the capacity to race the three-quarters length of the ice to the Panthers bench, where he nearly fell into the arms of trainer Dave Zenobi, who immediately placed a towel on the player's throat. With the help of defenseman Jassen Cullimore, Zednik was escorted up the tunnel behind the Panthers bench and loaded into an ambulance.
Jokinen was sickened when he watched the replay and learned it was his skate that caused the cut, leaving the Panthers' captain in no mood to continue playing.
"We shouldn't have finished the game," Jokinen said. "I saw the replay, that it was my skate that hit him in the throat. I think we were all in shock. I've never seen anything like that. There are bigger things than (finishing the game). It was terrifying.
"I didn't think anyone on our team was thinking hockey out there after an injury like that. If it was my call, I would have gone to the hospital with him."
Play resumed after a 15-minute delay, during which time crews scraped the blood off the ice and the surface was cleaned by Zambonis. NHL officials briefly considered stopping the game, but determined to continue playing after knowing that Zednik was stable and the two teams were willing to go on.
Panthers spokesman Justin Copertino said the team was making arrangements to have Zednik's wife, Jessica, fly from South Florida to Buffalo by a charter flight Sunday night. Zenobi and assistant general manager Randy Sexton also stayed behind to be with Zednik, Copertino said.
Hospital spokesman Mike Hughes said he expected the Panthers to provide an update on the player's condition on Monday.
A hush fell over the crowd at HSBC Arena after Zednik was hurt. It wasn't until the public address announcer said Zednik was in stable condition that fans gave a lengthy standing ovation.
Players on both benches, though, were still shaken.
"It was pretty solemn," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, said describing the mood on his bench. "There wasn't a lot being said (on the bench). There was just more concern for Richard than anything else.
"I can fully understand if they wanted to cancel the whole game," Ruff added. "When you see something like that, it isn't about playing anymore. But I said, 'We're going to finish the game and it's going to be what it's going to be."'
The NHL released a statement, saying: "The thoughts and prayers of the NHL family are with Richard Zednik, his loved ones, his teammates and the Florida Panthers organization."
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier credited both Zednik for having the awareness to head to the bench and also the NHL for mandating physicians be on hand and near the bench during games. Regier said doctors were already waiting in the tunnel behind the Panthers' bench when Zednik was escorted off.
Panthers defenseman Steve Montador recalled seeing Zednik in a state of shock as he got to the bench.
"He looked pale, he was obviously standing and to a degree, coherent. But he didn't look as focused as you or I right now. He was staring at nothing," Montador said. "That's a pretty brave guy to realize what's going on: Grab your neck and get off the ice."
Zednik's injury was eerily reminiscent of an injury sustained by Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk about 19 years ago at Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium. On March 22, 1989, Malarchuk severed his jugular vein when St. Louis Blues forward Steve Tuttle was upended while skating toward the crease, slicing Malarchuk with a skate.
Malarchuk required over 300 stitches but spent only one night in the hospital, returning to practice after four days. On April 2, he played the final five minutes in the season finale, less than two weeks after his injury.
It was the second serious injury caused by a skate this weekend.
On Saturday, NHL linesman Pat Dapuzzo needed dozens of stitches to close a cut on his face after he was hit by the skate of Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie in a game against the New York Rangers.
Dapuzzo, scheduled to retire at the end of the season, didn't return after the second-period injury.
Zednik has 15 goals and 11 assists this season, and had a four-game point streak (three goals, six assists) end on Sunday.
"I can't imagine what he was going through," Panthers defenseman Bryan Allen said. "What saved the situation was he had the mental ability to get to the bench and get to the dressing room, not stay on the ice. Those few seconds could have been the difference."
Click on the "Play" button above to see video of controversy involving Venus Williams' shorts.
Scientists Draw a Bead on Effective HGH Test
Shipments of human growth hormone arrived at players doorsteps by mail and by package couriers. They were purchased via the Internet, through antiaging centers and through dealers like Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant who sold it more than any other illegal substance he supplied to his Major League Baseball clients.
According to the report on doping in baseball released Thursday by the former Senator George J. Mitchell, human growth hormone has become the substance of choice for many players because there is no reliable test being used to detect it. Some players, like pitcher Andy Pettitte and the slugger Mo Vaughn, were accused of using it to help heal injuries. Others are believed to have taken it to extend their careers.
But in the coming months, antidoping experts and officials said Friday, the use of human growth hormone among professional athletes could take a marked hit. A blood test to detect the drug may become commercially available as early as this spring, according to scientists who are informed about the progress of the tests development.
Scientists must first demonstrate that the science behind the blood test is foolproof, to avoid false positives and legal battles with athletes who say they are wrongly accused of cheating, said Olivier Rabin, the science director for the World Anti-Doping Agency. He and other antidoping scientists expect the test to be ready for the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
But even if the test is deemed accurate and indisputable, which some scientists still doubt is possible, drug testers will have to overcome another hurdle: Sports leagues like Major League Baseball do not allow for blood testing of their players, and their unions oppose it. There is no urine test for the hormone.
Although athletes in sports that follow the World Anti-Doping Agencys code are already subject to blood testing, most of the analysis is still done with urine samples.
If you arent going to take blood from your athletes at that point, it would be like putting your head in the sand and ignoring the problem of doping in your sport, Rabin said, referring to when a test becomes available. The best scientists in the world, physiology and Mother Nature say that blood testing is the best way to detect human growth hormone. So yes, the time has come for these sports to change.
On Thursday, Commissioner Bud Selig described the Mitchell report as a call to action and said he would convene a summit to address testing for human growth hormone. But implementing a test in baseball and other sports may be a challenge.
Earlier this year, the executive director of the National Football League players union, Gene Upshaw, said his players would not become pin cushions for drug testers wielding needles to draw blood. Other unions have also expressed resistance.
Robert D. Manfred Jr., baseballs executive vice president for labor relations, called the issue of blood testing in baseball purely hypothetical because of the lack of a commercially available growth-hormone test. But he said the league would consider blood testing if that test emerged. Union officials declined to comment on the issue Friday.
Our view is that it is very important for us to stay completely on top of what is available, whether we have the current right to blood test or not, Manfred said. We are very interested in being on the cutting edge.
The test that may be available in the spring uses antibodies to identify growth hormone not produced in the body, said Christiane Ayotte, whose laboratory in Montreal conducts the testing for baseball. The problem, Ayotte said, is that it detects growth hormone only within a few hours of its use.
We have to be there almost when they have the syringe in their skin, she said.
Even when an athlete tests positive, scientists must demonstrate that the test works if that athlete disputes the charge.
You cant just say: My test is good. It only misses by 1 percent, said Don Catlin, who leads the Anti-Doping Research Institute in California. Thats why tests take a long time to develop. You need it airtight, but these things are complicated.
Readings From Baseballs' "Mitchell Report"
On Thursday, December 13, the so-called "Mitchell Report" was revealed to the public officially ushering in one of this Sports' most intense scandals, rivalling anything that has transpired in the long history of sports and athletics in the annals of America.
For the next several days we will post on this page excerpts from the reports' 409 pages.
THE MITCHELL REPORT:
In 2000, Stan Conte became the head athletic trainer for the San Francisco Giants,
having served in more junior positions within the organization before then. (Conte is not related to BALCO founder Victor Conte.) According to Conte, he first met Greg Anderson and Harvey
Shields during the Giants spring training that year. Anderson advised Conte that he was a
strength weightlifting guru whom Bonds had sought out for assistance. Bonds, in turn, told
Conte that Andersons presence was not a reflection on Conte, but that Bonds needed special
attention as he got older. Shields also provided personal training services for Bonds.
Conte asked Anderson for a resume during spring training. In response, Anderson
supplied a one-page document indicating that Anderson had graduated from high school and that
everything else was pending. The resume did not reveal, and Conte was unaware of, any
education or expertise that Anderson might have that would qualify him to train a professional
Conte observed Anderson training in the weight room with Bonds on numerous
occasions during 2000 spring training. Conte was concerned that the workouts involved heavier
weights than Conte would have recommended, which, in Contes view, created a heightened risk
of injury. When Conte asked Anderson about Bondss weight training program, Anderson
responded that Im doing what Barry tells me to.
During spring training, Conte met with Giants general manager Brian Sabean to
express his concerns about the presence of Anderson and Shields in the clubhouse, weight room,
and other restricted areas. Conte felt strongly that personal trainers should not have such access,
particularly where, as here, he viewed the trainers to be unqualified.
Sabean told Conte that if Conte objected to Anderson and Shields being in the
clubhouse, Conte should order them out himself. Conte said he would do this if Sabean would
support him when Bonds complained, which Conte believed would be the result of his actions.
Sabean did not respond to this request for support, leading Conte to believe that Sabean would not do so if Bonds protested. Conte therefore decided to take no action to deny Anderson or
Shields access to restricted areas.
During winter meetings in 2001, Kevin Hallinan, the director of security for the
Commissioners Office, lectured team physicians and athletic trainers about the importance of
clubhouse security generally. Conte said that after Hallinans prepared remarks, San Franciscos
assistant athletic trainer Barney Nugent stood up and said that there were issues with clubhouse
security in San Francisco that seemed beyond the capability of local security to control.
After the lecture, Nugent and Conte told Hallinan about security issues related to Bondss entourage.
According to Conte, Hallinan seemed to be familiar with the issue and promised that were
going to do something about this, its an issue and we know what youre talking about.
In January 2002, Peter Magowan, the Giants president and managing general
partner, met with Bonds in connection with the renewal of his contract with the Giants. In a
subsequent letter to Bonds, Magowan set forth a series of discussion points that they agreed to
during that meeting and that Magowan assured Bonds would remain consistent during the
duration of Bondss new contract (covering the 2002-2006 seasons). Along with a number of
other accommodations to Bonds, the Giants agreed that:Barry will provide the Club with a list of the personnel typically and
historically needed. We will also work closely with Barrys publicists to
assure them of the proper access. In return, we agree that any of the
approved personnel are not allowed to bring along any friends or
associates or family members and the personnels access should be limited
to their area of responsibility to Barry.
In August 2002, the Giants were visiting Atlanta for a series with the Braves. At
the time, Anderson was traveling with the Giants. Conte recalls that during this series a Giants
player asked Conte about anabolic steroids. Conte refused to identify the player to us, citing
athletic trainer privilege. According to Conte, the player told him that he was considering
obtaining steroids from Greg Anderson and wanted to know the health issues associated with the
use of steroids. In response, Conte explained at some length the health hazards of steroid use
and lectured the player about the unfairness to other players posed by the illicit use of steroids.
Conte believed that it was a good lecture and that he put considerable doubt in the players
Conte stated that he reported the incident to general manager Brian Sabean within
an hour of its occurrence. He told Sabean he was concerned that Anderson might be distributing
steroids to Giants players. While he refused to identify the player who had approached him,
Conte otherwise described the conversation to Sabean in detail. Sabean suggested Conte
confront Anderson and Bonds about the matter, which Conte refused to do. In Contes view, it
was not the responsibility of the athletic trainer to address such an issue.
Sabean confirmed in his interview that Contes recollection of their conversation
was accurate. He also acknowledged that he did not raise the issue with Bonds or Anderson.
Instead, he asked Conte if he knew anyone who could check out Anderson. Conte said that he
knew a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and Sabean suggested Conte call the agent to
check into Anderson. The DEA agent later told Conte that he did not find any information about
Anderson. Conte relayed this to Sabean.
Sabean told me that he believed that if Anderson was in fact selling drugs illegally
the government would have known about it. So when he received the report from Conte, Sabean did not report the issue to anyone in the Giants organization or the Commissioners Office, he
did not confront Bonds or Anderson, and he did not take any steps to prohibit Anderson from
gaining access to Giants facilities. Sabean said that he was not aware at the time of the Major
League Baseball policy that required him to report information regarding a players drug use to
the Commissioners Office.
Sabean explained that he was in a very difficult situation regarding disclosure of
this information because, as a result of the clubhouse culture in baseball, he felt he could not risk
outing Conte as the source of the information. He said that if he had insisted on Andersons
ouster from the clubhouse, Bonds would have vigorously objected, just as he did when the
Giants tried to bar Harvey Shields in response to the later (February 2004) mandate from the
Commissioners Office barring personal trainers from restricted areas.
During spring training in 2003, Hallinan and one of his deputies asked Conte to
join them in the dugout for a private meeting. Hallinan asked Conte if there was anything the
security department could do to help him. Conte responded to the effect that the horse had
already left the barn and theres no need to close the door now. He did not report to Hallinan
the conversations he had had with Sabean about Anderson the previous season, because, he said,
the incident did not cross his mind at that time.
In September 2003, published reports revealed that a search warrant was executed
on Andersons residence in connection with the BALCO investigation and that Anderson was
under investigation for the alleged distribution of anabolic steroids. Even after he became aware of this event, Sabean did not inform anyone in the Commissioners Office or within the
Giants organization of his earlier conversation with Conte about Anderson.
Peter Magowan, the Giants managing partner and chief executive officer,
recalled asking Sabean directly whether the Giants had a problem after reading the news
reports of the BALCO raids. Magowan said that what he meant by his inquiry was to ask
whether the Giants had a problem with Anderson dispensing steroids; he wanted to know
whether Sabean had any reason to know of such a problem. According to Magowan, Sabean
responded that he was not aware of any problem the Giants might have. However, Sabean
strongly denied that such a conversation occurred.
Magowan said that in September 2003, following the publicity surrounding the
execution of the BALCO search warrants, Anderson was barred from the Giants clubhouse.
According to Giants clubhouse records, by that time Anderson had visited the clubhouse on
94 different days since March 2002. On February 12, 2004, Anderson and others were indicted
by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on charges that included conspiracy to distribute
In a February 20, 2004 memorandum to all major league clubs, Commissioner
Selig and Sandy Alderson, then his executive vice president for baseball operations, reiterated
the importance of clubhouse security in light of [r]ecent events. The memorandum imposed
regulations that restricted who would be granted access to clubhouses, dugouts, and other areas
of ballparks in Major League Baseball. Under the policy, access to restricted areas was limited
to authorized club personnel, immediate family, and authorized representatives of Major League
Baseball or the Players Association. In addition, accredited media were granted limited access to portions of the clubhouse during specified periods before and after games. The policy expressly
prohibited access to restricted areas by friends, associates, agents, attorneys [and] personal
In April 2005, published news reports indicated that Bonds was still training with
Anderson outside of Giants facilities. Magowan said that after learning this the Giants
contacted the Commissioners Office, which advised that the Giants could not control Bondss
choice of persons he trained with while away from the clubs facilities.
Nevertheless, according to Magowan, the Giants asked Bonds to stop working
with Anderson. The Giants also instructed Harvey Shields and Greg Oliver, who were then both
members of the Giants training staff and worked with Bonds extensively, to have no contact with
Anderson. On July 16, 2005, Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute
anabolic steroids and one count of money laundering.
(To be continued...)
The use of a medicine to "cure" baldness is one athletes' excuse for failing a drugs test and is the latest in a long list of novel explanations. From toothpaste to beer and sex, here is our top five:
1. DENNIS MITCHELL
The sprinter was nailed for excessively high levels of testosterone in 1998, but said the failed test was caused by a night of, err, passion with his wife, along with the consumption of five beers. Good enough for us, declared the US Track and Field Association, which cleared Mitchell only to have that ruling overturned by track and field's international body.
2. DIETER BAUMANN
The German track star tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999, but argued (successfully) that he was the victim of a conspiracy to oust him from the sport by spiking his toothpaste with huge amounts of steroids.
3. PETR KORDA
Just months after winning the Australian Open in 1998, Korda tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone, and promptly blamed the cows. The Czech tennis player said his failed test was because he had eaten too much nandrolone-fattened veal. His excuse was dismissed by officials as a load of bull. They pointed out that Korda would have had to eat 40 calves a day for 20 years to achieve such high levels of nandrolone.
4. BEN JOHNSON
In one of the most high-profile doping cases of all time, the sprinter claimed his positive test for the powerful muscle-building drug stanozolol was because the sasparilla-and-ginseng energy drink he took before his race was spiked.
5. ALAIN BAXTER
After becoming the first Briton to win a medal in alpine skiing in 2002, Baxter failed a drugs test after his sample contained a trace of methamphetamine. However, Baxter was able to confirm later that the trace had originated from a Vicks inhaler bought in the US.
Gatorade Signs Tiger Woods To Historic Deal
Tiger Woods will have his own brand of sports drink next year under an endorsement deal announced Tuesday with Gatorade that marks a couple of firsts for the world's No. 1 golfer - his first U.S. deal with a beverage company and his first licensing agreement.
Gatorade said it will introduce "Gatorade Tiger" in March, with more products to follow. Woods even picked out the flavors himself, with the drink available in a cherry blend, citrus blend and grape.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Golfweek magazine reported last month it was for five years and could pay Woods as much as $100 million, moving him closer to the $1 billion mark in career endorsements.
"There have been some licensing elements to things we've done," said Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, who cited video games produced by EA Sports as an example. "But everything he does with Gatorade is going to be creating new products. It's something Tiger and I and our licensing business has been looking at for some time."
The deal has been in the works since the summer, and Golfweek reported earlier that it came down to Gatorade and Vitamin Water. It became obvious who won out when Woods began drinking from Gatorade bottles during the final month of the PGA Tour season, even when the Gatorade product wasn't available at certain tournaments.
"Gatorade has been part of my game plan for years, whether I'm training or competing, so this is an ideal match," Woods said in a statement. "I'm eager to launch my first signature product in a few months and look forward to developing additional sports performance beverages with Gatorade in the coming years."
Woods, with 61 victories on the PGA Tour and 13 major championships, joins a stable of star athletes at Gatorade - Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Mia Hamm. None of those athletes has licensing deals, which also is a first for Gatorade, a division of PepsiCo.
"His iconic nature resonates everywhere he goes," said Jeff Urban, senior vice president of Gatorade. "Bridging that iconic nature with his will to win, those things make this a big deal for us."
Urban said it was too early to say how Gatorade would market Woods and his new product line, especially since the drink will not be available until the spring.
The company released video of Woods going through sweat analysis testing with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which tested such things as his sweat rate and energy needs during exercise.
Woods has endorsed everything from sports equipment and apparel (Nike) to financial services (Accenture) to automobiles (Buick) to shaving products (Gillette). His first beverage deal comes after 11 years as a professional.
"We wanted to get away from a straight endorsement deal in the beverage category," Steinberg said. "We thought this would be the best fit for his first licensing deal. It's authentic to what Tiger does every day, as hard as he works out every day."
Woods previously had an endorsement deal with Asahi Coffee in Japan.
The Gillette endorsement features a television commercial with Roger Federer and French soccer star Thierry Henry. Steinberg said it was not likely that Woods and Jordan, who are close friends, would do a Gatorade commercial together. They have never appeared in television ads for Nike.
(by Doug Ferguson,AP)
Former NBA First-Round Draft Choice Dies at Age 40
ATHENS, Ga. (Oct. 14) - Alec Kessler, a Georgia basketball star who played four seasons for the Miami Heat before becoming an orthopedic surgeon, died after collapsing during a pickup game. He was 40.
He appeared to have had a heart attack Saturday in Pensacola, Fla., and was pronounced dead a short time later at Gulf Breeze Hospital, the university said Sunday.
Kessler, 6-foot-11, was the captain of Georgia's 1990 Southeastern Conference championship team and became a first-round NBA draft pick.
When Kessler enrolled at Georgia in 1985, he was a little-known recruit with few offers from Division I schools. After a redshirt season, he spent one year as a backup before blossoming for the Bulldogs.
During his senior season, Georgia won its only SEC basketball title. In his last college game, Kessler became the Bulldogs' career scoring leader with 1,788 points, a mark surpassed the following year by Litterial Green.
Kessler was drafted No. 12 overall by the Houston Rockets, who promptly traded him to Miami. During his time with the Heat, he averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds. After leaving the NBA he began a career in medicine.
"The thing I remember with Alec was he was so absorbed with his future," Heat trainer Ron Culp told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He always sat in the back of the airplane and the entire plane would be darkened except for Alec, and he would always be reading his medical books."
"It didn't matter if he had played that night," Culp added. "And he would always be coming in the training room and questioning the training staff and medical staff and our doctors."
Kessler was an orthopedic surgeon in Pensacola. He graduated from Georgia with a microbiology degree and from the Emory School of Medicine in 1999.
Kessler, whose brother Chad played at Georgia from 1984-87, is survived by his wife, Rhea, and sons Nicholas and Christopher.
Critics Are After A-Rod Again
NEW YORK (AP) - Everywhere Alex Rodriguez went, the lenses were on him. When he took batting practice, the cameras clicked. In the clubhouse, so many mini-cams wanted to capture his words and image that he had to move away from his locker to the center of the room.
Not that he had much to say, just a collection of cliches so old that he probably chuckled to himself as he said them. He's made a concentrated effort since spring training not to reveal his thinking, to focus on the field.
And who could blame him? Why concentrate on his past postseason performances? He is 4-for-41 (.098) with no RBIs in his last 12 playoff games and hitless in his last 15 postseason at-bats with runners in scoring position. His own failures are a big reason baseball's best player has never reached the World Series.
When the Yankees were eliminated during each of his first three seasons in New York, A-Rod was the top target in the blame game. Chances are, the fate of the pinstripes this October will turn on his performance starting Thursday in the first-round series against Cleveland.
"I think his mind-set definitely changed," Johnny Damon said. "He was always out trying to please people, try to do, say the right things."
A-Rod cut down his appearances in the media and increased 'em on the leader board.
Rodriguez hit 54 homers and had 156 RBIs this season, an onslaught likely to earn him his third AL MVP award. From the seventh inning on, he batted .349. Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he'd never seen an offensive performance like it.
New York fizzled to a 21-29 start. Had Rodriguez not hit 14 home runs in April, the Yankees could have been about 15-35.
"I don't think we would have made the playoffs if it wasn't for him," Andy Pettitte said. "Without him, I don't think we would have really had a shot down here at the end."
These could be Rodriguez's final games in New York. Since his very first day at spring training, he's been asked about that opt-out clause, the one that allows him to bolt the final three seasons of his record $252 million, 10-year contract and seek even more money in the free-agent market.
He's avoided talk about that - he doesn't have to make a decision until the 10th day after the World Series ends. Before then, the Yankees might come to him with an extension offer.
But that's too far ahead. What matters now is the next game, the next pitch. He doesn't want to think about last year's four-game exit against Detroit.
"This is probably the most comfortable he's been in the time he's been here, in my estimation," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He just seems like he's had more fun this year, even during games, where at other times you could see him grinding out a little bit too much."
Torre talks to A-Rod a lot. In describing the team's most-dissected psyche, Torre sounds more guidance counselor than manager.
"I think he sort of internalized a lot last year and in doing that, I think he really built up a lot of baggage," Torre said. "He's tried to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and this year I think he spent a lot more time just trying to help himself."
Can't argue with the results. Rodriguez especially feasted on Indians pitchers, gobbling them up like a kid eating Milano cookies. He was 8-for-24 with 13 RBIs as the Yankees swept the six-game, regular-season series, and six of his hits were home runs.
He thinks his attitude played as big a part as his improved mechanics at the plate.
"Coming into spring training, it seems like yesterday, I said that I was in a good place," Rodriguez said.
What did that entail?
"Have an opportunity to laugh at myself," he said. "I haven't done that too much over the last three years, and this year I kind of laughed at myself along with all my teammates at me all the time."
He almost always is at the ballpark early. Torre says Rodriguez is more aware of things around him than other players.
Rodriguez was interested in Yankees history, wondering where his RBI total ranked among Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio (A-Rod was 10th) and why in the early days of Yankee Stadium, the RBI totals were so high (the center-field fence was 490 feet from the plate through 1936).
Pettitte, playing alongside A-Rod for the first time, was impressed.
"Just what a student of the game he is, how hard he works. I guess I should have known that. You don't get to be the greatest player in the game and not be," the pitcher said. "He's into the game, man. I can go back - he can sit here and tell me every sequence I threw to every hitter during the course of a game, and I can't even remember that. That just tells you right there what kind of attention he's paying when he steps out on the field."
Come Thursday, the big regular-season stats will disappear and the numbers next to A-Rod's name will be "0" when he steps to the plate against C.C. Sabathia. A quick start will make some of those questions go away. A hitless day will bring back reminders of the failures.
This might be his last chance to make it in New York.
"Don't ask him about it," Jeter told the assembled media mob. "Just leave him alone and let him play."
Jury Awards $11.6 Million To Knicks Complaintant
NEW YORK (AP) - A federal jury decided Madison Square Garden and its chairman must pay $11.6 million in damages to former New York Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders in her sexual harassment lawsuit. The jury also found Knicks coach Isiah Thomas subjected Browne Sanders to unwanted advances and a barrage of verbal insults, but that he did not have to pay punitive damages.
Deciding MSG had harassed Browne Sanders, the jury found the Garden owes $6 million for allowing a hostile work environment to exist and $2.6 million for retaliation; MSG chairman James Dolan owes $3 million.
"What I did here, I did for every working woman in America," said Browne Sanders, who came out of the courtroom beaming. "And that includes everyone who gets up and goes to work in the morning, everyone working in a corporate environment."
She said it also was for "women who don't have the means and couldn't possibly have done what I was able to do."
The Garden said it would appeal, but the verdict gave Thomas a partial victory after an ugly, three-week trial.
"I'm innocent, I'm very innocent, and I did not do the things she has accused me in this courtroom of doing," said Thomas, who's married with two children. "I'm extremely disappointed that the jury did not see the facts in this case. I will appeal this, and I remain confident in the man that I am and what I stand for and the family that I have."
After the verdict, Browne Sanders hugged family members and friends gathered in the back of the courtroom.
U.S. District Judge Gerard E. Lynch called it an "eminently reasonable" verdict, and gave the jurors instructions on how to proceed. Before the jury resumed deliberations, attorneys from both sides appealed to the jurors.
Browne Sanders' lawyer, Anne Vladeck, had urged the jury to affix damages that sent a message "to avoid this happening to somebody else." She said the defendants had ruined her client's career, and she called Dolan a liar.
Thomas's lawyer, Ronald Green, told jurors they had already sent "a very clear, very strong and very forceful message.
"Punishment for the sake of punishment is not what this is all about," he said.
The harassment verdict was widely expected after the jury sent a note to the judge Monday indicating that it believed Thomas, the Garden and Dolan sexually harassed Browne Sanders, a married mother of three.
"We believe that the jury's decision was incorrect," MSG said in a statement before punitive damages were awarded. "We look forward to presenting our arguments to an appeals court, and believe they will agree that no sexual harassment took place and MSG acted properly."
MSG is owned by Cablevision Systems Corp., based in Bethpage, N.Y., and Dolan is Cablevision's CEO. Shares fell 35 cents, or 1 percent, to $34.71 in afternoon trading.
(by Tom Hays,AP)
Boat Trip Turns Into "Whopper" of a Tale
See video at the end of story...
MIAMI (Sept. 26) -- A fishing trip that began as a routine charter to the Bahamas turned horribly wrong somewhere on the high seas when four crew members vanished and the two men who hired the vessel were plucked out of a life raft.
Kirby Logan Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo are in custody on federal charges while rescuers conduct a massive search in heavy rain for the crew of the 47-foot fishing charter Joe Cool. Neither Archer, who was a fugitive, nor Zarabozo is charged in the disappearances.
"All I can say at this point is that the investigation is continuing," FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.
The pair were found in a life raft Monday about 12 miles from where the fishing boat was drifting. Authorities found no one on board and no mechanical problems with the vessel.
A key to some handcuffs was found on the boat, and a substance appearing to be blood was found on the vessel's stern, according to an FBI affidavit.
Archer and Zarabozo paid $4,000 cash to charter the Joe Cool on Sunday to Bimini, Bahamas, where they told the boat's operators they had female companions waiting for them. The Coast Guard says that GPS navigation devices on the boat show that it veered sharply south toward Cuba about halfway into the 50-mile trip.
Zarabozo , 19, of Hialeah, is a Cuban immigrant. Archer is a former soldier once stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; his ex-wife has told several media outlets that he met Zarabozo as a boy in that country and may have helped him and his family reach the U.S.
Archer, 35, of Strawberry, Ark., is wanted in his home state on suspicion of stealing more than $92,000 in January from a Wal-Mart where he was an assistant manager. He also went AWOL from the Army four years ago.
Both men made initial court appearances Wednesday. Archer is charged with fleeing prosecution in Arkansas. Zarabozo is charged with lying to federal agents.
According to the FBI affidavit, Zarabozo initially told his Coast Guard rescuers that "unknown subjects" had hijacked the boat, shot and killed the four crew members and then ordered Zarabozo to throw the bodies into the sea. Zarabozo later told the FBI he had never been on the Joe Cool, even though his state identification card was found on the boat.
The vessel was found "in disarray," according to the affidavit. It said that aside from the apparent blood and the key, investigators found six marijuana cigarettes on the boat, as well as a laptop computer, luggage, clothes and a cell phone.
Archer and Zarabozo were being held without bail at a federal detention center in Miami. Neither the FBI nor the Coast Guard would comment on what they have told investigators.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard ships and aircraft searched hundreds of miles of open ocean in heavy rain for the boat's captain, Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley Branam, 30; his half brother, Scott Campbell, 30; and Samuel Kairy, 27, all of Miami Beach.
"The weather is very, very nasty," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Dana Warr. "It makes searching very difficult, both in the air and the sea."
The search includes a C-130 aircraft and helicopters. It was expanded as far north as Cape Canaveral on Wednesday to account for possible drift caused by the Gulf Stream current. Coast Guard searchers also checked out on foot some of the dozens of small uninhabited islands that dot the Bahamas to the east of Miami.
Archer, a former military police investigator, had been stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the 1990s, according to court records. He went AWOL in 2003 and received a less-than-honorable discharge as a result, according to Arkansas records from his 2005 divorce.
In court, Archer and Zarabozo were both told they would get court-appointed lawyers. When asked whether he had any assets to pay for a lawyer, Archer said all he had was $2,200 that investigators confiscated after his arrest.
A bail hearing for both men was set for Friday. Prosecutors said they would seek to keep both in detention.
Several of Zarabozo 's relatives attended the hearing. They declined to talk to reporters.
Archer and his ex-wife, Michelle Rowe, have had no recent contact, according to her attorney, Chaney Taylor of Batesville, Ark. Rowe has custody of the couple's two young sons.
"We don't know where he's been since January," Taylor said.
Court records show that Archer has since remarried, to another woman named Michelle. In court Wednesday, Archer said he is now separated.
(by Curt Anderson, AP)
Click "Play Arrow" twice to start video
War Hero Gives Inspiration To Struggling Football Team
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Sept. 25) -As a former Army football player and the commander of a 400-man battalion, Greg Gadson was used to speaking to large groups of people.
But talking to the struggling New York Giants on Saturday on the eve of their game against the Redskins in Washington, Gadson was a little nervous.
So the lieutenant colonel who lost both legs when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle on patrol in Baghdad spoke from his heart. He spoke of concentrating on the mission, never giving up and believing in each other.
"One of the things I told the team is I love football," Gadson said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Fort Belvoir in Virginia. "It has been a big part of my life and it still is from the standpoint of how I am fighting through what I am going through now and how I lived in the Army.
"I don't want anyone to misconstrue that football is like combat," Gadson said, "but I told the team is that it's the same type of emotional investment. If you put yourself in anything, these kinds of things demand your all."
Down 17-3 at the half, the Giants needed their all to rally for a 24-17 win over the Redskins, getting the winning touchdown on a 33-yard catch and run by Plaxico Burress with 5:32 to play.
After the play, Burress ran along the Giants sideline with the ball and found Gadson sitting in his wheelchair near the bench. Burress handed him the ball.
Burress and Gadson had spoken the previous evening after Gadson finished his 10- to 15-minute motivational talk. The two grew up in the same area of Virginia and hit it off.
"All this happened to him just four or five months ago and just sitting there listening to his story and his determination and his will (was amazing)," said Burress, who had all five of his catches in the big second half. "Let's face it, things like that kind of brought a different light on me. He moved everybody in that room with his story. I just wanted to go out and give what I had."
When the Giants handed out a game ball after their first win, it was awarded to Gadson.
"Those are the guys who played," Gadson said. "I didn't play a down. My hope is that they take this and build on this and continue to do the hard work."
Gadson, 41, has his own hard work ahead.
A 1989 graduate of West Point, Gadson recalls vividly the night that his convoy was attacked. It happened on May 7 around 9:30 p.m. The convoy was moving between bases when the explosive device detonated.
The force ejected Gadson from his vehicle. As he lay in the road, he remembers not having his rifle and expecting the enemy to attack.
"As I was laying there I thought to myself: 'God, I don't want to die here in this country,"' Gadson said.
Bleeding badly, his legs seriously injured, Gadson lost consciousness and was revived by a sergeant.
"The last thing I do remember in Iraq was the helicopter coming to get me, hearing the helicopter coming," Gadson said. "I don't remember anything after that."
Four days later, Gadson was being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. His left leg had to be amputated above the knee about a week later. Gadson and the doctors decided to amputate the right one shortly after that.
"It was going to be a cosmetic leg," Gadson said. "It was not going to be of any use to me. I felt the quality of my life would be better with prosthetics."
Over the next month, Gadson had plenty of visitors, including Giants receivers coach Mike Sullivan, a West Point classmate.
Sullivan told Coughlin about Gadson last week, mentioning that the team might benefit from hearing him speak.
"I wanted the team to hear from a real hero," Coughlin said. "We can learn so many things about a person who has been through an extremely difficult part of his life."
It was a message the players appreciated.
"He exemplified what we are trying to strive for as far as being a leader," halfback Derrick Ward said.
Gadson currently spends three to four hours a day working out. The rest of the time is spent with wife Kimberly, son Jaelen and daughter Gabriella.
His long-range goal is to walk with his prosthetics in about a year, although he admits that might be pushing it. For now, he wants to be at Fort Riley, Kan., when his battalion returns from its deployment.
"I am not bitter," said Gadson, who fought in the first Gulf War, and served in Bosnia and Afghanistan before his recent tour in Iraq. "I don't have any regrets. My life had been a good life. Like any life, there are ups and downs and challenges. My faith, honestly, and my family and friends have carried me through this."
His speech helped carry the Giants for a week in the 2007 season.
(by Tom Canavan, AP)
Hockey Great Gets Protection From Spying Neighbor
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Michigan (Sept. 20) - Hockey great Gordie Howe won a temporary restraining order barring a neighbor from conducting surveillance on his home.
The former Detroit Red Wings star and his wife, Colleen, on Tuesday filed an eight-count stalking lawsuit in Oakland County. Howe, the subject of a residential association dispute for more than a year, says he's tired of being spied on.
The 79-year-old Howe claims Lionel and Karen Dorfman, a retired couple in their 70s, have engaged in unlawful eavesdropping and invasion of privacy, his lawyer Roger A. Smith said Thursday.
The Howes allege the Dorfmans have had a camera snapping photos of their house every five seconds - more than 17,000 photos a day.
The Dorfmans say they believe the Howes have used their home for business purposes since 2006 in violation of homeowner association rules and township law.
Smith said Howe has been involved in fundraising and charitable organizations, but he's not operating a business out of his home.
Circuit Judge Edward Sosnick issued the temporary order on Tuesday that bans further photographing, videotaping or audio recording of the Howes or their home. It also orders the Dorfmans to preserve any video, audio or written records already made of the Howes.
OJ In Trouble...Again!
LAS VEGAS (Sept. 14) - Investigators questioned O.J. Simpson about a break-in at a casino hotel room involving sports memorabilia, police said Friday.
The break-in was reported at the Palace Station casino late Thursday night, police spokesman Jose Montoya said.
Simpson was released and is believed to be in Las Vegas, Montoya said.
"We don't believe he's going anywhere," he said.
The Heisman Trophy winner, ex-NFL star and actor had been scheduled to give a deposition Friday in Miami in a bankruptcy case involving his eldest daughter. But it was canceled because Simpson had told attorneys that he would be out of town.
Simpson lives near Miami and has been a tabloid staple since his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were killed in 1994. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges, but a jury later held him liable for the killings in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Investigators in the casino case planned to give their report to prosecutors Friday, Montoya said. The district attorney's office will decide whether to pursue charges.
A Simpson attorney in Florida, Yale L. Galanter, did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
Track Coach Files Discrimination Suit Against School
The University of Hawai'i "balanced the UH athletics budget on the back of women's athletics," the school's women's track coach charged in a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court today.
Carmyn James, who coaches women in track and field, and cross country, said school administrators regularly short-changed her program and continue to provide male student athletes with greater opportunities than females, a violation of the federal Title IX regulations that guarantee women athletes equal opportunity.
The lawsuit also charges that UH athletic director Herman Frazier discriminated against James because she advocated for gender equity. Frazier was traveling to the Mainland today and could not be reached for comment.
John McNamara, associate UH athletic director, said: "We have not received official notification about this development. Therefore it would not be prudent to comment."
James, who has been a coach at UH since 2000, charged in the lawsuit that the university has a history of failing to comply with laws and regulations requiring gender equity in its athletic programs and said the salary, terms and conditions of her contract differ markedly from those of her male colleagues.
Since 2003, James said, her contract has been limited to one year, while similarly situated male coaches were given longer, multi-year contracts with higher pay.
In July, the university Board of Regents approved a new salary range for James' position that would allow her to earn between $53,000 and $83,496, which is similar to the new salary range for the men's tennis coach.
James' suit also charges that she has been given less staff and other support than male coaches and that the department failed to include James in "important decision making that adversely affected her program."
A UH Web site credits James with reviving the women's track and field program after a 16-year hiatus and overseeing a multi-million dollar resurfacing project for Cooke Field on the UH campus.
Saying that, "for the most part I'm an optimistic person, but you get to the point where you say enough is enough and I reached that point," University of Hawai'i track coach Carmyn James said she felt compelled to file a lawsuit against the athletic department and director Herman Frazier alleging discrimination in the treatment of women's athletics.
The decision that led to Thursday's filing in circuit court, she said, crystallized while attending the Aug. 30 UH dinner celebrating 35 years of Title IX and Hawai'i Congresswoman Patsy Mink's contributions to the landmark equality in education amendment that carries her name.
James is in her eighth season at UH, where she serves as head coach of women's track and field, indoor track and cross country teams.
"We believe that despite her personal professionalism, she is being treated as the red-headed stepchild," James' attorney Mary Wilkowski said.
James said listening to speakers at the fundraising event in Mink's honor, "really hit home with me, and I'm thinking I've tried everything that I can from within, and I just felt I had to take this final option that was left and try and create a positive change within the department.
"I just felt after five years I've been patient, persistent and positive and little progress was being made," James said.
UH officials said last night they had not yet be served with a copy of the suit and declined comment. Frazier, who arrived in Monroe, La., last night, where the football team is headquartered for today's game against Louisiana Tech, said he also has yet to see details of the suit. Frazier said, "we keep copies of everything (dealing with salaries, contracts, expenses) within our department for years and years and years but we can't comment on anything that we haven't seen."
As preparation for the suit, Wilkowski said a complaint had been filed with the Office of Civil Rights.
"What happens is, they conduct an investigation and before or after the investigation is completed, the litigant has the right to remove it and proceed in court," Wilkowski said.
At the Mink dinner, James said, speakers noted that Title IX has been around for 35 years "but battles need to be fought and the message was clear that it was our responsibility and obligation to carry on and not assume everything is good the way that it is."
James said: "I just sort of felt that I needed to raise my hand and speak up and maybe hopefully, create some positive change."
James is asking for unspecified economic and general damages, and is asking the court to ensure that the terms of her employment at UH are free of discrimination.
James' suit follows by two months a Fresno, Calif., jury's decision to award fired Fresno State women's volleyball coach Lindy Vivas $5.85 million in her suit.
(by Mike Leidemann, Honolulu Advertiser and Ferd Lewis, Honolulu News)
Muted Applause For British 400m World Champion
Amnesia is a common affliction in track and field, so the bunting brigade were bound to turn on those of us who sought to balance a Christine Ohuruogu victory in Osaka yesterday against her three missed dope tests, her management tie-up with Linford Christie and her threat to run for another country unless the British Olympic Association excused her from their lifetime ban on athletes who commit doping-related offences.
I'm struck by how many respected commentators insist that Ohuruogu's hat-trick of no shows was one big misunderstanding.
It's certainly true that she has served her time. But athletics does itself an injury when it attacks those who revisit uncomfortable truths or ask how doping will ever be defeated when there is a stampede to blame the testers every time an athlete fails to show at an address that he or she provided.
They conveniently ignore the collapse of public faith in track and field. After the BALCO and Justin Gatlin scandals, you would think there would be room for a few misgivings when a British runner treats the out-of-competition testing system with such disdain and links up with Christie, who was disgraced at the end of his own career.
I don't especially want to rain on Ohuruogu's parade but nor is this a day for unconditional celebrating. Let's confront one other awkward reality. Ohuruogu was off for a year, had two operations on her legs, came back on August 5 and then lowered her personal best in both the semi-finals and the final at the World Championships.
There is no suggestion that she cheated to facilitate such a comeback. If she had come from Russia or China, though, the Brits in Japan would have been muttering into their Asahi.
Her one-year ban was upheld by the respected Court for Arbitration in Sport, so it was clearly sound. A bit more contrition and a little less belligerence towards the BOA might have elicited a touch more sympathy.
Have you noticed that in doping-related matters the athlete is always the victim? The BOA's lifetime bans are already crumbling. Triathlete Tim Don and judo's Peter Cousins have been cleared for Olympic competition, despite each missing three appointments.
One day we are told Britain leads the way in out-of-competition testing. Then the athletes try to convince us the system is in chaos. Which is it? Can Sport England really be blamed for Ohuruogu going AWOL three times in 18 months?
She was lucky. For just one offence, Rio Ferdinand was dragged through the nettle patch of ridicule.
Athletics protects its own. It resents outsiders reciting the rules. Everyone always has a good reason, an excuse. The cost of circling the wagons, however, is deepening public scepticism. Ohuruogu is back with a bang.
British athletics is saved, with a one-two in a marquee event.
Let there be wine and song, if you don't mind raising a flute to Christie's management company.
One-handed clapping is fair response.
(by Paul Hayward, British press)
Lauryn Williams' Heart Impressive In Osaka
OSAKA, Japan -- Four truths from the 11th World Track and Field Championships, now three days old in steamy Osaka, Japan.
1) I want Lauryn Williams on my team. Any team. Dodgeball. Snowshoeing. World-class global championship sprinting. That last one, especially, because the tenacious, 5-foot-3 Williams is really good at it. If medals are awarded, she's probably going to get one, like the silver she won in the 100 meters Monday night in Osaka, Japan. In an agonizingly close finish that left the top six finishers separated by just seven hundredths of a second and required five long minutes to decide, Williams was edged at the line by 2004 Olympic 200-meter champion Veronica Campbell of Jamaica. "I'm not at all disappointed with the silver medal,'' said Williams after the race.
She shouldn't be; if ever there was a silver medal lined with gold, this was it. Consider: Williams came to Osaka having run no faster than 11.11 seconds for 100 meters this season, a whopping two-tenths of a second slower than her personal best. Eleven U.S. women had run faster. Her last two seasons had been sabotaged by a nagging hamstring injury and her inability to work it back to health while coping with the demands of running as a professional athlete. In late June, she had lowered her own expectations. "Baby steps,'' she said, minus the unbridled joy that marked most of her previous interactions with the media. "I'm just trying to put one foot in front of the other.''
She seemed unlikely to contend at the worlds, where Campbell and Torri Edwards of the U.S. were the favorites. U.S. media stalked the interview area for the semifinals, thinking that the world champion might be eliminated early. But here there was history. In 2004, Williams was an NCAA 100-meter champion at Miami who finished third at the Olympic Trials. She should have been happy just to get a plane ticket to Athens and she definitely should have been burned out from the long season. Instead, she won a silver medal behind the now-MIA Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus. A year later she barely qualified for the U.S. team that would compete at the world championships in Helsinki, and then stunned Campbell by winning the gold medal.
Yet we never learn. Minutes before the gun, I shouted to a colleague in the press area at Osaka Nagai Stadium, "Only two people can win this race,'' meaning Campbell and Edwards. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I will never underestimate Williams again. She ran 11.01 seconds, her fastest time of the year, and under the most pressure, and after four rounds.
Write it down: She will make the U.S. Olympic team next summer and contend for the gold in Beijing. Because that's what she does.
2) Lance Brauman can coach. He just has to enjoy the results in a very unusual way. The former University of Arkansas sprint assistant trains both 100-meter world champions: Tyson Gay and Campbell, who are part of Brauman's group in Fayetteville, Ark. But since November Brauman has been incarcerated at a minimum-security prison in Texarkana, Texas. He was found guilty of mail fraud and embezzlement while coaching at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas, and sentenced to 366 days in prison.
Brauman guided Gay and Campbell through their championship seasons by giving them a notebook with a year's worth of workouts and talking regularly with them on the phone. He was usually able to get in front of the television in the prison to watch Gay or Campbell race, but Gay's 100-meter victory was available live only on streaming video, which Brauman could not access.
Instead, he called his wife, Kim, five minutes after the race. At the time, Kim was in a hospital in Kansas, with the couple's three-year-old daughter, Jayci, and many other family members. Kim's father had recently undergone cardiac bypass surgery. "We tried our best to not yell and scream,'' Kim Brauman wrote in an email, "but we were all very excited.''
Lance Brauman will be released from prison on Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. Kim and Jayci will be there to meet him. He will spend the next month in a halfway house in Orlando, Fla. Kim expects that Lance will be able to watch Gay's 200-meter final on Thursday morning, U.S. time. Wallace Spearmon, another Brauman pupil, is also in that race.
3) Allyson Felix is the oldest 21-year-old in Osaka. She is barely old enough to buy a drink, yet she is running at the world championships for the third time, in addition to one Olympics. In 2003, she was a gifted, but tired recent high school graduate who failed to reach the 200-meter final at the Paris worlds. A year later, she took a 200-meter silver behind Campbell in Athens and in '05 she won the 200 in Helsinki.
Many things have changed. Experiences no longer widen her eyes. Her close friend, Justin Gatlin, is fighting an eight-year doping suspension. "This time I feel like I'm here to do a job,'' she said Monday at the U.S. team hotel.
Don't get me -- or Felix -- wrong. She's plenty happy. But this is an athlete whom I first met when she was a senior at tiny Los Angeles Baptist High, and now she is clearly a professional grownup with major goals. One of them: Break 21 seconds in the 200 meters. Her personal best is 22.11 and she can definitely get there. Another: Win multiple golds here in Osaka. After getting dumped from the U.S. 4X100-meter relay on the morning of the race in Helsinki, she expects to run both that relay and -- after ripping through a 49.70 400 meters in Stockholm and beating defending world champion Sanya Richards -- the 4X400 meters. She qualified for the 100 meters here, but dropped out when she wasn't happy with her progress in the event. "Things just weren't coming together,'' she said. "My start. I just can't get it down.''
Richards has already petitioned to change the Olympic track and field schedule next year to allow an athlete to double in the 200 and 400 meters. Felix might do the same. This adds another layer to an intriguing rivalry between two young athletes (Richards is just 22) who, by the way, are not close friends.
4) Alan Webb needs to rediscover his `A' game to win a medal in Wednesday's 1,500-meter final. Let's be fair: Webb has had an unbelievable summer and whatever he does in Osaka should be regarded as gravy. He won a Golden League 1,500 meters. He ran 3:46.91 to break Steve Scott's revered U.S. mile record. He scorched a 1:43.8 for 800 meters.
But he also wants a championship medal, and two rounds here have only re-affirmed what Webb already knew: The 1,500 meters is a gnarly place to get one. In the first round, Webb ran a tactically solid race and advanced easily. Never mind 18-year-old Kenyan prodigy Asbel Kiprop's staredown and finger wag. Monday night in the semifinals, Webb dropped back to last place and tried to circle the field in the final 400 meters, getting the fifth and final automatic qualifying spot only with a desperate sprint in the last 100 meters.
"I tried to do something I don't like, be in the back for the whole time, and it almost cost me a spot,'' says Webb. "It was close. I was trying to count guys.'' Webb didn't hang long enough with the media to explain whether he felt good enough to move more decisively or run closer to the front. (And that's fine; he's got a cool down to do, and you can be sure he'll talk deep into the night after the final).
His struggle was in contrast to his U.S. teammate Bernard Lagat (a Kenyan expatriate and 2004 Olympic silver medalist), who blew past the entire field in the final 150 meters of the first heat. It was the type of decisive, explosive move that inspires confidence for the final. Defending world champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain (via Morocco), made a similar move in Webb's heat. They were the only two runners who made qualifying look easy. The Webb who beat France's Mehdi Baala in July had the tools to make a run at the medals here on Wednesday night.
Fitness is a fragile thing. It's possible that Webb lost just a little while healing a minor hamstring tweak in late July and early August. But it's also possible that he's churning through a difficult mental process and that he'll run brilliantly Wednesday night. In the end, nothing has changed. As former U.S. Olympian Bob Kennedy told me two weeks ago: "To win a gold medal in the 1,500, you have to be tactically perfect. To win any medal at all, you have to be tactically almost perfect.''
And things are even more trying than usual: After a roller derby-rough first semifinal (Lagat's, not Webb's), Baala was disqualified, but two others were instated. The final will be run with a bloated field of 14 runners, instead of the usual 12. It will be a chaotic race. Webb suspected it wouldn't be easy to win a medal. And it won't.
(by Tim Layden)
Texas Rangers Eclipse 110 Year-old Scoring Mark
BALTIMORE (Aug. 22) - Five runs in the fourth inning. Nine runs in the sixth. Ten in the eighth. Six more in the ninth. The Texas Rangers rounded the bases at a dizzying pace and became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in a game, setting an American League record Wednesday in a 30-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.
"This is something freaky. You won't see anything like this again for a long, long time. I am glad I was on this end of it," said Marlon Byrd, who hit one of two Texas grand slams.
Trailing 3-0 in the opener of a doubleheader, Texas couldn't be stopped. At last, the last-place Rangers did something right.
"We set a record for something on the good side of baseball," manager Ron Washington said.
It was the ninth time a major league team scored 30 runs, the first since the Chicago Colts set the major league mark in a 36-7 rout of Louisville in a National League game on June 28, 1897, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"It was AMAZING in capital letters," said Travis Metcalf, who hit a grand slam after being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day.
Hours after announcing manager Dave Trembley would return for the 2008 season, the Orioles absorbed the most lopsided loss in franchise history and set a team record for hits allowed in a game (29).
The Rangers had totaled 28 runs in their previous nine games, including two runs on seven hits in their last two.
"I knew we'd get the bats going, but I never expected anything like this," Washington said. "When the faucet is on, you want it to stay on. You never want to cut it off."
The Rangers set a team record for runs scored in a doubleheader - before the second game even started.
"You don't want to be the one to make the out. You feel like you have to get a hit every time up," Byrd said.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez, the bottom two batters in Texas' lineup, each homered twice and finished with seven RBIs.
"That was ridiculous. I have never been in anything like that in my life," said Saltalamacchia, who went 4-for-6 with a walk and scored five runs. He came in batting .179 and finished at .262.
David Murphy had five of the Rangers' 29 hits, the most by a major league team since Milwaukee had 31 in a 22-2 victory over Toronto on Aug. 28, 1992, according to Elias.
Texas had 57 at-bats, tying the AL record for a nine-inning game set by Milwaukee in its 1992 rout of Toronto.
The Rangers added five points to their team batting average, raising it to .258. They finished with more runs than outs made (27).
Baltimore went from seventh in the AL with a 4.39 ERA to 11th at 4.60.
Asked how to handle such a devastating defeat, Trembley replied, "You have a real short memory and you let it go."
Kason Gabbard (6-1) allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings. He is 2-1 in six starts since Texas acquired him from Boston on July 31.
Even with the one-sided score, there was a save. Wes Littleton earned his second career save and first this season by pitching three scoreless innings.
Texas erased a 3-0 deficit by batting around in a five-run fourth. A walk to Byrd and an infield hit by Jason Botts preceded a two-run single by Saltalamacchia. After a visit from pitching coach Leo Mazzone, Daniel Cabrera (9-13) gave up a go-ahead, three-run homer to Vazquez.
Texas made it 14-3 by scoring nine runs on 10 hits in the sixth. The 10 hits matched a club record for one inning and were three more than the Rangers totaled in their previous two games.
Cabrera left after serving up a home run to Saltalamacchia. Brian Burres yielded two singles and a walk before Byrd hit his third career slam. Saltalamacchia, Vazquez, Frank Catalanotto and Ian Kinsler added RBI singles.
Texas got seven hits in the eighth. Metcalf hit his first career slam and Saltalamacchia added a three-run shot.
Vazquez's second homer highlighted a six-run ninth.
Barnes and Noble Snubs Simpson "Confession" Book
NEW YORK (AP) -- If you're hoping to buy the new edition of O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It," don't expect to find a copy at Barnes & Noble.
Simpson's "If I Did It" allegedly explains how Simpson might have killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman.
Citing a perceived lack of customer interest, the chain said the book would only be available by special order or for purchase online through Barnes & Noble.com.
"Our buyers don't feel there will be enough of a demand to carry it in our stores," Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
A rival chain, Borders Group Inc., said Tuesday that it would stock "If I Did It," a ghostwritten, fictionalized account of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But spokeswoman Ann Binkley said Borders "will not promote or market the book in any way."
"We think it will have some interest in the first week or two, then die down," said Binkley, who added that Borders, which for the original book had planned to donate profits to charity, will not do so this time.
Simpson's book was first scheduled for publication last November by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, with an announced printing of 400,000. But "If I Did It" was dropped in response to widespread outrage. ReganBooks founder Judith Regan was later fired and her imprint disbanded.
"It is Barnes & Noble's decision, not my decision, and the marketplace will determine whether they are right or not," Eric Kampmann, the owner and president of Beaufort Books, the new publisher of "If I Did It," told the AP. "But I think it's sad if they're making their decision based on the HarperCollins experience, which was a totally different situation."
Last month, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded rights to the book to Goldman's family to help satisfy a $38 million wrongful death judgment against Simpson.
Beaufort, a small New York-based publisher, is reissuing "If I Did It" in October, with Simpson's original manuscript intact and commentary included. The Goldman family is calling the book Simpson's confession -- the same description Regan offered in justifying the original publication.
"If I Did It" is still being criticized, even if Simpson is not profiting from it. Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, has accused Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, and other family members of hypocrisy for publishing a book that he had called "disgusting and despicable" when Simpson first planned to publish it.
Simpson has maintained his innocence in the 1994 killings in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. The former actor and football great, who now lives near Miami, was acquitted of murder in 1995.
NFL Welcomes Irvin and 5 Others Into Hall of Fame
CANTON, Ohio (AP) - The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction became a family affair Saturday night. Michael Irvin lauded the Dallas Cowboys family for inspiring him to make it to Canton. Thurman Thomas asked his wife to marry him again. Charlie Sanders finally got to say "Hi Mom."
Bruce Matthews campaigned to have his brother, Clay, join him in the hall. Roger Wehrli praised the timing of his election because it allowed his grandchildren to share the special moment.
And Gene Hickerson's son, Bob, accepted on behalf of his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Then Gene was brought onto the stage in a wheelchair guided by former teammates Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Bobby Mitchell - all running backs he helped get into the hall.
Irvin kissed his hall bust before he capped the riveting ceremony with preacher's intensity. His eyes wet, his words coming slowly and emphatically, he commended Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and fellow "Triplets" Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman for motivating him. He saluted Cowboys fans, but saved his most moving tributes for the relatives who stuck with him through three Super Bowl wins and all the difficulties away from the field.
Irvin pleaded no contest to felony cocaine possession and was put on probation for four years after a March 1996 arrest. Police crashed Irvin's 30th birthday party and found him, marijuana, cocaine and strippers in a hotel room.
He subsequently had other incidents with police.
On Saturday, Irvin asked sons Michael, 10, and Elijah, 8, to stand before he recited the prayers he gives up for his sons.
"Help me raise them for their kids, so that they can be a better father than I," Irvin said. "I tell you guys to always do the right thing so you can be a better role model than dad.
"Look up, get up, but don't ever give up."
Thomas set a record by leading the NFL in total yards from scrimmage four consecutive seasons. The 1991 league MVP, he rushed for 12,074 yards in his career, and only all-time rushing leader Smith and Barry Sanders ran for more yards in the 1990s.
Thomas didn't kiss his bronze bust but rubbed the head when it was unveiled, and mentioned "it's really, really scary up here."
He later turned to wife Patti, seated in the crowd of 12,787, and asked if, after nearly 20 years together, she would marry him again.
Finally, Thomas saluted the thousands of Bills fans in the crowd.
"In closing, to the fans of Buffalo," he said to a huge cheer, "every guy that probably has stood here in all these Hall of Fame jackets and said they had the best fans supporting you, I am here to say that's hogwash. No fans are like my fans, Bills fans.
"It was a ride that none of us will ever forget. Unfortunately, we can't buy tickets for that ride again, but we will always have those memories."
Citing what he called a "simple but memorable life," Charlie Sanders entered the hall by thanking a mother he never knew - she died when he was 2 years old.
Noting how players often mug for the camera and salute their mothers, a teary-eyed Sanders said: `I thought it was something that was always special and I would want to do, but couldn't. So I take this time, right here and right now, in Canton, Ohio, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to say, 'Hi Mom'. "
To finish his speech, the tight end with the Detroit Lions from 1968-77 read from a poem, "The NFL: Just Passing Through," that he wrote in 1976.
"So give your all and nothing less, today we win, tomorrow we rest.
"You are not just my teammate, but my very best friend. Let's play together until the very end."
Sanders foreshadowed the era of pass-catching tight ends that spawned fellow Canton inductees Kellen Winslow and Dave Casper. As a rookie in 1968, he made 40 receptions for 533 yards, almost unheard-of numbers for his position. He was selected to the NFL's all-decade team of the 1970s.
"Charlie is what you look for today at that position. He was a pioneer," said Lions owner William Clay Ford, his presenter. Sanders, currently an executive with the team, has spent all 40 of his years in pro football with the Lions.
Bob Hickerson remembered his dad, who was too ill to sit on stage or speak, as "still leading the way for" Brown, Kelly and Mitchell. Then those three great runners turned things around by leading Hickerson onstage.
As a 248-pound guard, Hickerson played 15 seasons for the Browns, and Cleveland never had a losing record in that time. He made five straight All-Pro teams (1966-70) and in 1964 won the NFL championship.
"It's a tremendous honor and the crowning achievement of his career," Bob Hickerson said.
Hall of Famer Mike Munchak, who introduced his former on the offensive line-mate, lauded Matthews' "work ethic, competitiveness and passion for the game, which were contagious. He raised the standard for all of us."
Matthews' set an enviable standard for blockers. He played in more games than any positional player in NFL history, starting 292 of 296, and 15 playoff games. He had 99 starts at left guard, 67 on the right, 87 at center, 22 at right tackle, 17 at left tackle.
"Having your name mentioned with the all-time greats in the game is very humbling," he said.
Matthews also asked hall voters to consider electing his brother, former linebacker Clay Matthews.
Wehrli was a shutdown cornerback from 1969-82 who also excelled as a punt returner. He recovered a franchise record-tying 19 fumbles during his career and made the NFL's all-1970s team.
Wehrli was elected in his final year of eligibility with the regular selection committee.
"The Hall of Fame is never a given. I never for once took it for granted that I would be or should be here," Wehrli said. "I believe I was elected at this time of my life so my children ... and three grandchildren could be here and enjoy this, and remember something special about their grand dad."
(by Barry Wilner,AP)
Congress Looking Into NBA Referee Scandal
WASHINGTON (AP) -The chairman of a House subcommittee is requesting a meeting with NBA commissioner David Stern concerning the betting scandal involving former referee Tim Donaghy.
Rep. Bobby Rush, who heads the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, said he is also considering calling a hearing on the matter "should the facts warrant public scrutiny."
"If the allegations prove true, this could be one of the most damaging scandals in the history of American sports," the Illinois Democrat wrote in a letter sent to Stern on Wednesday and released to the press on Thursday.
Donaghy is the target of an FBI investigation for allegedly betting on games, including some he officiated, over the last two seasons. He resigned July 9.
Rush wrote that he appreciated the need for the league to conduct its own investigation and that he would like to meet with Stern at "the earliest appropriate time."
"Unfortunately, fairly or not, the NBA, more than any other professional sport, has been consistently dogged with allegations that league referees needlessly affect the outcomes of games by making bad calls," Rush wrote.
Hollywood Fitness "Guru" In Trouble
An Indiana Pilates instructor has her clients stretching their hands out, trying to get money ---after running off to Hollywood to handle clients like Madonna and Gwyneth.
The Indianapolis Star reports that fitness-guru-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson left many of her Fishers Crossing, Indiana, clients high and dry when she left the town for Hollywood. Clueless clients reported showing up for class this past May to find a note posted on the studio door announcing that the space was closed for equipment maintenance and repairs, but the studio never re-opened. And, says the paper, the workout wunderkind left town without refunding clients for pre-paid classes.
Anderson's lawyer, Jack Hittle, says that his clientis offering to pay her former customers 75 percent of the amount of their claims, but many are still falling off their stair climbers in anger.
This is not the first time that Pilates princess has been in legal trouble. In 2005, she was ordered to pay $450,000 to past landlords. Anderson filed bankruptcy to avoid paying their judgment. Last year a former student of Anderson's filed a $100,000 lawsuit against her and that legal action is still pending.
And the fitness diva's failure to pay up in a previous lawsuit resulted her being jailed briefly in December of last year.
Anderson is currently the target of an investigation by the consumer protection division of the Indiana attorney general's office.
Will The "It" Guy Make Soccer the "It" Sport?
CARSON, Calif. (July 13) - It's finally Becks' Day in L.A.
Soccer superstar and pop culture "it" guy David Beckham has arrived in Southern California, where he will be introduced as the newest - and by far most the most luminous - star of the Galaxy.
David Beckham is the latest player soccer fans hope can elevate the game in the United States, as the English superstar instantly becomes the biggest name ever to play in Major League Soccer's 11-year history.
The 32-year-old midfielder signed a five-year contract with Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy in January that will pay him $32.5 million in salary.
He then played out his contract with Real Madrid, where he escaped Fabio Capello's doghouse by showing he still can "bend it" on free kicks like maybe no other player in the world. Coming on strong late in the season, Beckham helped Real Madrid win the Spanish League title last month.
His play also was impressive enough for him to regain a spot on England's national team, which he formerly captained.
He and wife Victoria, aka Posh Spice, arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday night from London to begin their new lives in America. Dozens of reporters and photographers, many of them paparazzi, jostled behind barriers set up in the terminal as sports' royal couple strolled past on their way to a waiting black sport utility vehicle.
Surrounded by security guards, the couple did not comment.
Victoria Beckham wore a sleeveless black dress and sunglasses and gave a cursory wave to the paparazzi. David Beckham, looking very L.A., wore a black jacket and jeans.
Their three children accompanied them on the flight, but weren't with them as they left the airport.
Several people waiting at the airport became paparazzi themselves, snapping images with cell phones.
"It was so awesome, he looks better in person than in the magazines," said devoted Beckham fan Priscilla Flores, 15. "I'm really excited to see him play his first game here. He'll make soccer more popular here."
The media swarm also attracted curious onlookers, though not everyone knew what the big deal was.
"Who's David Beckham?" asked Austin Baker, an 11-year-old California boy waiting for a connecting flight.
Although Beckham has insisted it wasn't the lure of Hollywood that landed him in Los Angeles, he and his wife arrive in Tinseltown with enough star qualities to move them near the top of the glitterati.
They rate Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes among their best friends, and Victoria will be featured in a one-hour special on NBC on July 16 titled "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America."
Still, Beckham has said his focus would be on the soccer pitch and not on Hollywood glitz.
"I'm coming there not to be a superstar. I'm coming there to be part of the team, to work hard and to hopefully win things," he said shortly after signing with the Galaxy.
"With me, it's about football. I'm coming there to make a difference. I'm coming there to play football."
Beckham, who already has one youth soccer academy in Carson and another in London, also hopes to raise interest in the sport in America to a new level.
He acknowledged that his playing in the MLS would not make the sport transcend baseball, basketball and American football, but he said, "I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could make a difference."
Beckham's first game for the Galaxy will be an exhibition against a foe familiar to him, Chelsea FC of the English Premier League, on July 21 at the Galaxy's stadium in Carson.
He joins a Galaxy squad badly in need of a boost. Los Angeles, which is 3-5-4 in MLS play, has three exhibitions scheduled before Beckham and new teammates Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones and crew, are scheduled to face another MLS team, on July 31 at Dallas.
(The Associated Press)
Athlete Speared By Javelin in Rome
July 14, 2007 FRENCH long jumper Salim Sdiri was speared by a javelin in a freak accident at the Rome Golden League meeting today.
Sdiri was hit by the javelin which had been launched by Finland's Tero Pitkamaki at the other side of the arena at the Olympic Stadium.
The 28-year-old Sdiri, a bronze medallist at the 2007 European indoor championships, collapsed to the ground before being taken to hospital.
The men's javelin and long jump competitions were taking place at the same time when the accident happened.
Pitkamaki appeared to lose his footing as he launched the javelin which veered off course, landing in the side of Sdiri.
When he saw what had happened, Pitkamaki held his head in his hands in shock.
"Sdiri had a 4cm injury in his right side," said Giuseppe Fischetto, one of the medics at the scene.
"The point of the javelin partially penetrated his side and he was taken to hospital. Now we will have to see if the pleural membrane was damaged or if it stopped just before the muscle."
Sdiri was lying in fourth place at the time of the incident with a jump of 7.88m from his first attempt.
Doctors at the scene said that Sdiri was conscious.
Fellow competitor Andrew Howe said he had witnessed the accident.
"I took the point of the javelin from his side and there was blood on my hands," said Howe.
"As he was being taken to hospital, he said: 'Don't worry Andrew, I'm alright'."
Today's incident was not the first time such an accident had occurred.
In January, former Olympic decathlon champion Roman Sebrle was hit in the right shoulder by a javelin thrown by an athlete during a training session in South Africa.
The Czech decathlete was told that he had 'escaped death by 20cm'.
"If the javelin had hit me 10cm more to the left, it could have damaged a lung," said Sebrle.
"Twenty centimetres higher, in the neck, it could have been a lot worse."
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (July 11) - Miami Heat forward Antoine Walker said Wednesday that he remains shaken after an armed robbery at his Chicago home.
"When your life's threatened, it's obviously going to take some time to get over it," Walker said in his first public comments since the robbery. "I'm not Superman."
Walker and a relative were bound at gunpoint while multiple robbers took a car, cash and jewelry from his residence Monday evening.
"I'm happy that I'm unharmed and safe, and so is my family," the three-time NBA All-Star told reporters gathered at his suburban summer basketball camp.
"The material things that were taken from me can obviously be replaced," he said.
The vehicle taken in the robbery was found, abandoned, in Chicago on Tuesday morning.
Police have not announced any arrests in the case.
Walker said he probably would move out of the plush River North neighborhood where the attack occurred, but not out of Chicago.
In July 2000, Walker - then a Boston Celtic - was the victim of an armed robbery along with NBA center Nazr Mohammed as they sat in a vehicle waiting for a restaurant on Chicago's South Side to open. Police said at the time that three men approached and demanded cash and valuables, which included a $55,000 wristwatch.
Walker averaged 8.5 points with Miami this past season and was a key part of the Heat's run to the NBA championship the year before.
USOC Caught With Foot In Mouth
SAO PAULO, Brazil - In a joke that made Brazilians cringe and forced the U.S. Olympic Committee to apologize, a USOC worker scrawled Welcome to the Congo! on a board in the organizations Rio de Janeiro media center for the Pan American Games.
Rios O Globo newspaper published a photo of the message on its front page Saturday, and ran a headline saying the joke was full of prejudice. The message was condemned in a nation extremely sensitive about being compared to less-developed countries, especially by Americans who often are perceived as arrogant by Brazilians.
The controversy occurred as American athletes arrived in Latin Americas largest country to compete in the event that starts Friday.
The USOC issued a deep apology to the people of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro in a statement Saturday, and said the worker who wrote the phrase was disciplined and is no longer a member of the U.S. delegation to the games.
USOC officials also apologized in person to Rio Mayor Cesar Maia, senior officials of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and the Pan American Sports Organization. The USOC statement did not name the employee.
The picture in O Globo showed USOC media employee Kevin Neuendorf in front of the whiteboard, and the story quoted him as saying it was written because its really hot in Rio.
O Globo noted that Rio is in the middle of its South American winter, and that the USOC office at the games is air conditioned. The average temperature in July in Rio is 78 degrees on Saturday, the temperature was in the low 80s.
On Rios Copacabana Beach, Brazilians said it reinforced their belief that Americans frequently stereotype other countries.
Americans are full of prejudices, said Alessandra Teixeira, a 29-year old model. Everything for them is bad, and they make it worse.
The newspaper also produced a full-page graphic showing a map of the globe, pointing out that the Congo is in Africa and an ocean away from Brazil. The graphic included bright red arrows and a headline in English and Portuguese, saying Watch and Learn.
About 5,500 athletes from 42 countries across the hemisphere are expected to attend the Olympic-style July 13-29 games, as well as 2,000 delegation members, 3,000 journalists and 15,000 volunteers.
Venus Williams Rules At Wimbledon Again
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - Improbable as this Wimbledon title might have seemed, Venus Williams knew it could happen. Far away as that trophy might have appeared only last week, Williams knew she had the game and the grit to grab it. Oh, how her serves and strokes sizzle on the grass of Centre Court.
With a dominant run through the latter rounds, Williams became the lowest-ranked woman to win Wimbledon, beating Marion Bartoli of France 6-4, 6-1 Saturday for her fourth championship at the All England Club.
"I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn't even say, 'She can't win.' They weren't even talking about me," said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. "I never would doubt myself that way."
Even after missing time with a left wrist injury? Even after being two points from defeat against a teenager ranked 59th in the first round? Even after trailing 5-3 in the final set against someone ranked 71st in the third?
There really wasn't a smidgen of surprise that she once more got to clutch the Venus Rosewater Dish, as the Wimbledon champion's plate happens to be known?
"For me? No," she said. "I just have to go out there and execute. I have the experience and everything to do it."
It was similar to the performance turned in by Williams' younger sister Serena in January, when she won the Australian Open while ranked 81st. Clearly, rankings mean nothing when it comes to the Williams siblings. Nor does recent form.
If they are in a tournament, they can win it.
"As long as we're fit," the 27-year-old Williams said, "we just have so much more to give on the court."
Bartoli, who hits two-fisted forehands and backhands, learned that lesson quickly.
She hadn't faced Williams anywhere, let alone on grass - where balls skid more than they bounce - and Bartoli quickly discovered it was like nothing she'd ever experienced on a tennis court.
By the end, she was flexing her wrists and shaking her hands, trying to alleviate the sting from Williams' serves at up to 125 mph.
"I'm not playing against girls every day hitting the balls like this," Bartoli said. "I mean, it's not possible to beat her. She's just too good."
Similar has been said about top-ranked Roger Federer, who will bid for a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in the men's final Sunday against No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Federer beat Richard Gasquet in a straight-set semifinal Saturday, while Nadal advanced when Novak Djokovic stopped because of a toe injury.
Nadal will be playing on a seventh consecutive day because of all the rain during the tournament. Williams was forced to play her last four matches without a break, and she dropped a grand total of 22 games while beating No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals, No. 6 Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals, and Bartoli.
It was a remarkable display of shotmaking, court coverage and consistency, match after match. Not only did Williams whip perfectly placed strokes from all sorts of angles, she repeatedly tracked down opponents' apparent winners and got them back.
Against Bartoli, she compiled a whopping 27-9 edge in winners and won 13 of the 18 points that lasted at least 10 strokes.
"I know how to play this surface," said Williams, the first woman to receive the same paycheck as the men's champion at the All England Club. "If there's a surface to pick, grass at Wimbledon's not a bad choice."
Right from the start, Williams took it to Bartoli, going ahead 3-0. But Bartoli, who upset No. 3 Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round and No. 1 Justine Henin in the semifinals, made things interesting by breaking back with the help of a double-fault and two groundstroke errors by Williams.
All the while, Bartoli stuck to her routines. Before each of her serves, she would walk to the baseline and hop high once, then bounce a couple of times, something she said relaxes her legs. Before most of Williams' serves, Bartoli would turn her back to the court and take two big cuts, a forehand and a backhand, like a batter in the on-deck circle.
After 37 minutes, things were even at 4-4. But Williams held at love, then broke to end the first set with a swinging backhand volley.
That pretty much ended the competitive portion of the proceedings.
Perhaps because the sun finally emerged from the clouds and the temperature was suddenly in the 70s - ball kids held umbrellas at changeovers to provide shade - both finalists needed medical timeouts with Williams up 3-0 in the second set.
Bartoli had her left foot treated, while Williams got down on the court to have her left leg worked on. The American played the rest of the way with a thick bandage under her white spandex shorts, which she began wearing in the second round because the skirt she planned to use was too big.
"She's a fighter," said her boyfriend, golfer Hank Kuehne. "She's one of those people that definitely has the ability to elevate her game. ... If that's on one leg, then she's going to do that."
As the break stretched to 10 minutes, Bartoli went to the baseline, then noticed that bored fans were doing the wave. Clearly enjoying her first Grand Slam final, she joined right along, raising her arms.
After the next point, a fan shouted, "Come on, Tim!" - the familiar rallying cry for Tim Henman - and Bartoli, who was about to serve, dropped her arms to her side and laughed. Then she turned and wagged a finger.
Williams was playing in her 12th Grand Slam final, sixth at the All England Club, and winning her sixth major title. Bartoli was in her sixth tournament final and never before had been beyond the fourth round at a major.
"You walk into that court," she said, "and you know you're a part of history."
When they walked off that court, the one Williams knows so well, they passed the board that lists the past champions. Already stenciled in, below similar entries for 2000, 2001 and 2005, was Williams' name, next to 2007. Clutching a bouquet of flowers, Williams stared at it, her mouth agape.
At about that time, her father was recalling that when Venus was 9, she would talk about how many Wimbledon titles she wanted to win one day.
"I think she can win three more," Richard Williams said, "and I would be disappointed if she didn't."
At this point, who would doubt it?
(The Associated Press)
Running Legend Suffers Heart Attack
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Alberto Salazar, the former champion marathoner who collapsed over the weekend, had his condition upgraded Monday from serious to fair.
A cardiologist at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center said tests now indicate that Salazar had a heart attack while coaching distance runners Saturday at the Nike campus outside Portland, said Lisa Helderop, a hospital spokeswoman.
Salazar, who is alert and talking with his family, told a doctor at the hospital that he has a family history of heart conditions, Helderop said.
Salazar released a statement Monday thanking Nike employees, Oregon residents and the athletic community for their concern and support.
"I look forward to returning to life as a father, coach and trainer as soon as possible," he said.
Salazar, a University of Oregon graduate, won the New York City Marathon three straight years (1980-82) and the 1982 Boston Marathon. He has set six U.S. records and one world record. He is a longtime Nike employee and consultant who trains elite distance runners and has a building named for him on campus.
(The Associated Press)
Olympic Track Star, Marion Jones In Financial Woes
LOS ANGELES (AP) -Seven years after winning a women's record five Olympic track and field medals and snagging multimillion-dollar endorsement deals, Marion Jones is broke.
The sprinter is heavily in debt, fighting off court judgments and down to a bank balance of about $2,000, according to recent court records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
Last year a bank foreclosed on her $2.5-million mansion in an area of Chapel Hill, N.C., where Michael Jordan was a neighbor. She was also forced to sell two other properties, including her mother's house, to raise money.
Jones' financial woes were revealed in a 168-page deposition in a breach-of-contract suit she filed in Dallas against veteran track coach Dan Pfaff. Pfaff countersued and won a judgment against Jones for about $240,000 in unpaid training fees and legal expenses.
Legal bills have plagued Jones since 2003, when suspicions of drug use emerged and she was linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) after a federal raid. Jones retained attorneys for her BALCO grand jury testimony, for negotiations with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in her fight to avoid being banned from competition, for a defamation lawsuit she filed against BALCO founder Victor Conte, who accused her of taking performance-enhancing drugs, and for taking on Pfaff in her breach-of-contract suit.
Last year, a Jones urine sample tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO. Jones immediately quit a European track tour and returned to the United States. Although she was cleared when a backup sample tested negative, she missed at least five major international meets, forfeiting an estimated $300,000 in appearance and performance fees.
In her prime, Jones was one of track's first female millionaires, typically earning between $70,000 and $80,000 a race, plus at least another $1 million from race bonuses and endorsement deals.
In 2000-01, she competed in 21 international events, including the Sydney Olympics, where she won five medals - three gold.
(The Associated Press)
Tiger Has a Cub
Less than 24 hours after Tiger Woods finished second at the U.S. Open on Father's Day, his wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter. He announced Monday night on his Web site that Sam Alexis Woods was born early Monday morning.
"Both Elin and Sam are doing well and resting peacefully," Woods wrote. "We want to thank our doctors and the hospital staff for all their dedicated and hard work. This is truly a special time in our lives and we look forward to introducing Sam to our family and friends over the next few weeks. We thank everyone for their well wishes and continued respect of our privacy."
Woods said he would miss a major if it meant seeing the birth of his child. Now he won't have to, but it's not clear how his upcoming schedule will be affected.
Woods finished a shot behind Angel Cabrera on Sunday to finish second in a major for the second time this year.
He's scheduled to host a tournament in Washington, D.C., from July 5-8. The British Open starts July 19, and the PGA Championship begins Aug. 9 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.
"I'm pacing myself already just because of the fact that I have a baby coming up," Woods said about two weeks ago. "I don't know how much I'm going to play after that or how much I'm going to play before that. A lot of that is depending on what happens and the health of Elin and our child."
The past two years have been life-changing for Woods, who has won 12 majors in his brilliant career.
Shocker at Oakmont
He turned 30 in December 2005, and the following May his father, Earl, died at age 74 after a long bout with cancer.
A month later, Woods failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He came back to win the British Open in July and broke down in tears on the 18th green at Royal Liverpool, sobbing on the shoulder of his caddie.
In December, Woods went public with his wife's pregnancy. Last week, before the U.S. Open he talked about becoming a father.
"My practice sessions are going to have to be tailored around a little bit, have to move things around. But, you know, I don't really know how my game is going to be affected by it because I've never gone through it before," he said.
"All I know is that Elin and I are excited, and that this is far more important than any game of golf. This is an opportunity for us to raise our first child, and we're really looking forward to it."
You Decide: Free Weights or Weight Machines?
Deciding between free weights and weight machines is like trying to decide between salmon and tilapia for dinner: They both have their strong points.
Both options build muscles. However, free weights (barbells and dumbbells) help you work on balance. Weight machines, on the other hand, can reduce the risk of injury from poor form. Here's why.
Free Form or Injury-Free?
Lifting free weights can work your arms, chest, legs, and shoulders, but it also engages foundation muscles in your torso (the ones that give you good posture and balance) because your body has to work to steady the weights as well as lift them. Be careful you are not losing your balance.
Using static weight machines doesn't engage your stability muscles the same way. However, weight machines can help reduce your chances of overstretching a muscle or joint because they're built to guide your motions.
So weigh your risks (prone to injuries?) and goals (to build muscle, balance, or both?) before lifting weights.
RealAge Benefit: Lifting weights for 10 minutes just 3 times per week can make your RealAge as much as 1.7 years younger.
Danica Patrick Confronts Rival Driver
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3) -Danica Patrick may be small, but she's not about to back down on the track or off.
Patrick, one of two women in Sunday's ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile, had an on-track collision with the car driven by Dan Wheldon and then made a beeline for the Englishman in the pits after coming back to finish eighth.
The incident took place on the 88th of 225 laps, with Patrick, who started 17th in the 18-car field, diving low on the track in an attempt to pass both Wheldon and last week's Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti for fourth place.
She got past Franchitti with no problem and appeared close to passing Wheldon when the two cars came together, sending Patrick's car spinning into the infield grass. She made a great save, straightening out her car and getting back on track as the yellow flag came out.
The collision bent Patrick's suspension and forced a long pit stop for repairs, costing her a lap that she eventually made up with pit strategy and a timely late caution.
Wheldon's car was not damaged and he went on to finish third, behind winner Tony Kanaan and Franchitti.
The postrace conversation between Patrick and Wheldon was a pretty one-sided, with Patrick doing most of the talking and eventually giving her rival a light push as she walked away.
"I just came up to him, looked up at him, put my arm around him, started walking and said, `What happened. What was that for? Did you not see me? Why didn't you back off?' And he didn't say anything," Patrick explained.
Patriots' Player Dies In Jet-Ski Mishap
NEW ORLEANS (May 28) - The body of New England Patriots player Marquise Hill was found Monday, a state official said, a day after he was reported missing following a jet ski accident on Lake Pontchartrain.
Hill's body was discovered by searchers about a quarter of a mile from where the former LSU star and a female companion were involved in the accident, Capt. Brian Clark of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department said.
"The family will have to make positive identification," Clark said, "but the body we found was that of Mr. Marquise Hill."
The Coast Guard was called Sunday night, Petty Officer Tom Atkeson said. The search began immediately, using boats and helicopters.
By the time the body was found, the Coast Guard, Wildlife and Fisheries, the New Orleans Police Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department were involved, Clark said.
Hill's body was taken to the Orleans Parish Coroner's office, but phone messages left there and on coroner Frank Minyard's cell phone were not immediately returned.
Hill's agent, Albert Elias, said he had been told Hill and a young woman were jetskiing Sunday in the lake when both of them went into the water, which had a strong current. Elias said the woman was able to make it to a pylon and hang on until she was rescued, while Hill was last seen floating away from the scene.
Hill played on LSU's national championship team and was a second-round draft pick by New England in 2004.
"We are all shocked," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement.
The woman, whose identity was not available Monday, was rescued and sent to Tulane Medical Center where she told them Hill had tried to keep her calm as the two were drifting away from each other.
Neither Hill nor the woman wore a life preserver, Atkeson said.
"It's so important to have a life jacket and a signaling device," Atkeson said. "One keeps you afloat and the other helps us find you."
Elias said Hill, a defensive end, spent much of his time since Hurricane Katrina helping family members rebuild their homes.
"From what I hear he's done a lot to help with things after Katrina and I know he had a great passion for the city of New Orleans," said former LSU quarterback Matt Mauck, who was Hill's teammate at LSU. "Off field he was a really kind person, kind of like a gentle giant. And not only for LSU, but for New England and everyone who got chance to meet him throughout his life, everyone has to be extremely saddened and disappointed to hear the news."
After going to the NFL, Hill continued to do much of his offseason training at LSU's Baton Rouge campus, about 80 miles up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, and was known and admired by current Tigers players, university athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said.
"His presence meant a lot for some of the younger guys. He gave them someone to look up to and he was always there for them," Bonnette said. "Here's a 6-foot-6, 300-pound guy, as intimidating as can be, and yet every time you approached him he always welcomed you with big old smile. In between the lines, he had his game-face on, but outside the lines, in the community or in the weight room, he was always smiling and having good time."
Aaron Will Not Acknowledge Milestone
NEW YORK (May 22) - Even if Barry Bonds is poised to break the home run record right there in Atlanta , Hank Aaron is not going. Period.
"I will never reconsider my decision," Aaron told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday from his adopted hometown.
Bonds is 10 homers from matching the 755 mark that Aaron set during a 23-year career with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves , and the Milwaukee Brewers .
Aaron doesn't plan see the milestone homer in person, wherever it might happen. And that includes Atlanta, if it takes that long - Bonds and his San Francisco Giants don't play there until mid-August.
"No, I won't be there," he said.
Asked why, Aaron said: "I traveled for 23 years, and I just get tired of traveling. I'm not going to fly to go see somebody hit a home run, no matter whether it is Barry or Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig or whoever it may be. I'm not going any place. I wish him all the luck in the world."
Aaron said he had no wisdom for Bonds as the Giants slugger pursued the mark.
"I don't have any advice whatsoever, no advice to anybody," Aaron said.
The interview largely covered a classical music composition by Richard Danielpour whose subjects are Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Josh Gibson.
Aaron for the most part declined to discuss Bonds, whose run for the record has been tainted by allegations that he has used performance-enhancing drugs.
Aaron, a Braves senior vice president, said he follows his team closely, but usually by television from home rather than going to Turner Field.
As to what he might be doing when Bonds broke the record, Aaron said, "I have no idea, probably playing golf somewhere."
Ex-Heavyweight Champ In Bout With Daughter
PHILADELPHIA (May 17) - Former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier has refiled a lawsuit against his daughter, days after she won a primary election for Philadelphia judge.
Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde turned over some of the documents that are being sought, but hasn't fully accounted for the money she managed for her father from 1989 to 2004, Frazier's lawyer said on Thursday.
Frazier sued for the return of his records in April, but suspended the suit as his daughter waged a campaign for Philadelphia Municipal Court judge. She is poised to secure one of two open positions. The job pays $148,000 a year.
"Joe just didn't want to ruin his daughter's judgeship ," Frazier lawyer Michael P. Kelly said.
Frazier's lawyers believe he may be missing out on film royalties, product endorsement fees or other income perhaps promised in his old contracts.
Frazier-Lyde, a lawyer, took up boxing in 2000 at age 38 and won titles in three different weight classes.
She didn't immediately return a message left at her campaign headquarters.
Deposed Cycling Champ, Propositioned By USADA?
Floyd Landis claims the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's lead attorney approached his lawyer offering "the shortest suspension they'd ever given an athlete" if Landis provided information that implicated Lance Armstrong for doping.
At a news conference Thursday to preview his upcoming arbitration hearing, Landis said he made the Armstrong allegations public not because he planned to use it as evidence when testimony begins Monday, but to show the lengths USADA will go to in prosecuting athletes.
"It was offensive at best," Landis said. "It speaks to the character of the prosecution."
The 2006 Tour de France champion said USADA general counsel Travis Tygart approached his attorney, Howard Jacobs, with a deal shortly after learning of Landis' positive doping test during the Tour.
He said Jacobs characterized the conversation as one in which USADA would offer a deal if Landis passed on information about seven-time Tour champion Armstrong "or information about someone more important than me."
Over the years, Armstrong has fought doping allegations that have never been proven.
As for what he told Jacobs when the attorney passed on the information: "I don't think that offer justified a response," Landis said.
Jacobs did not immediately return messages left at his office by The Associated Press, and Tygart held to USADA's restriction on commenting about ongoing cases.
"If Mr. Landis will waive the rule and allow me to comment, then I'll be happy to address his nonsense," Tygart said.
USADA has a history of reducing penalties for athletes who provide evidence of doping violations by other athletes, though asking for information about specific athletes is not allowed. Landis faces a two-year suspension and forfeiture of his title if his positive test is upheld.
Armstrong and Landis are former teammates who went through an unfriendly split in 2004, but Armstrong has publicly supported Landis and been an outspoken critic of the way anti-doping agencies do business.
"I believe in Floyd, I believe he hasn't had a fair shake," Armstrong said recently.
The Armstrong revelation was the latest in a string of allegations Landis has levied against USADA and anti-doping authorities as he puts the final touches on his defense.
Over the past several months, he has toured the country to drum up support and money for his defense. He says the leak of the positive doping test last July damaged his reputation, and he's not even sure a victory in arbitration will repair all that.
Motorcycle Accident Claims Boxers' Life
(May 7, 2007) San Francisco, California--
Former two-time world champion Diego "Chico" Corrales was killed in a motorcycle accident early Monday evening in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the death of the 29-year-old former IBF & WBO super featherweight champion and WBC lightweight champion, occurred at the intersection of Fort Apache and Russell Roads in southwest Las Vegas. Corrales' promoter Gary Shaw and his longtime manager James Prince confirmed the former world champion's death following the fatal motorcycle accident.
Corrales had recently purchased a 2007 K7 Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Las Vegas Police said that Corrales was traveling at a "high rate of speed" northbound on Fort Apache at about 7:15 p.m. when he struck the rear of a 1997 Honda Accord. Corrales was thrown from his motorcycle and flew into an oncoming 2004 two-door Mercedes-Benz sedan.
Las Vegas Police report that Corrales was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The boxer's body still wearing a full face helmet, was covered by a sheet and remained on the street while police continued to investigate the accident.
Originally from Sacramento, California, Corrales first gained fame when he captured the IBF 130-pound crown, when he scored a seventh round TKO over Robert Garcia, in October 1999. Corrales defended that belt four times scoring victories over John Brown, Derrick Gainer, Justin Juuko and Angel Manfredy. However, in October 2001, Corrales suffered the first loss of his pro career when he was knocked down five times by Floyd Mayweather and was halted on a 10th round TKO.
It would be more than two years before Corrales would return to the ring after spending time incarcerated, following an assault conviction against his pregnant former wife. In March 2003, Corrales won the vacant WBO 130-pound title after scoring a narrow 12 round split decision over Joel Casamayor. In August 2004, Corrales captured the WBO lightweight title by scoring a 10th round TKO victory over Acelino Freitas.
In May 2005, Corrales staged the biggest win of his career by climbing off the canvas to score a memorable and stunning 10th round TKO win over Jose Luis Castillo. With his left eye almost totally closed and all ready down twice in the 10th round, Corrales miraculously climbed off the deck and battered Castillo into submission along the ropes to score one of the most implausible TKO's in boxing history. Spitting out his mouthpiece after each of the knockdowns and having the referee deduct a point for the second infraction, Corrales' profile looked like a cross between a disfigured gargoyle and ground chuck.
Nevertheless, Corrales fought back and caught Castillo with a left hook that rocketed off the WBC champion's jaw followed by a punishing right hand square on the chin. Corrales continued to pull the trigger with two more brutal right hands that drove Castillo back against the ropes. Corrales followed with a withering volley of shots, as the defenseless Castillo's eyes rolled back in his head and he skidded sideways out on his feet along the ropes. Referee Tony Weeks had no choice but to stop the carnage at 2:06 of the 10th round.
Following his improbable victory over Castillo, Corrales lost the last three fights of his career while battling to make weight and still remain competitive as a lightweight and than as a welterweight. In October 2005, Corrales was knocked out in four rounds by Castillo in their rematch. One year later, Corrales was unable to make the lightweight limit of 135 pounds and he was stripped of his title before dropping a 12 round split decision to Joel Casamayor.
This past April 7th, Corrales suffered his third straight defeat when he dropped a ten round unanimous decision to Joshua Clottey. The boxer from Ghana floored Corrales in the 9th and the 10th rounds and he also had a point deducted for spitting out his mouthpiece.
Corrales finished his career with 40 victories, 5 losses and 33 wins by knockout. Corrales is survived by his wife, Michelle and five children. The couple was residing in Las Vegas, Nevada at the time of his death.
GULFPORT, Miss. (May 6) - Three-time boxing champion Hector "Macho" Camacho was sent to jail Monday after pleading guilty to a 2004 burglary charge.
Camacho faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Circuit Judge Steve Simpson delayed sentencing, but ordered him sent straight to jail because a bail bond agent said he hadn't heard from Camacho for more than two years, the Sun Herald reported on its Web site.
Camacho, who is being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s. His last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision.
A warrant was issued for Camacho on Dec. 22, 2004, for a November burglary of a computer store. He was arrested in January 2005 on the burglary charge, and was also was charged with drug possession after police allegedly found ecstasy in his hotel room at the Imperial Palace. Trial on the drug charge is tentatively set for June.
In a written statement in January 2005, Camacho apologized for the break-in, which caused nearly $13,000 in damage and losses at ZDI Computer Center in Gulfport.
Camacho had bought a laptop from the business but had left it there for work on technical problems. He was trying to retrieve his computer, his attorney, David Morrison, said. The break-in was "a momentary lapse in judgment," he added.
Morrison said negotiations had taken place with the business owners, Solomon and Samantha Wheeler, until their attorney made an "outrageous" demand for $500,000 to avoid media exposure.
Wayne Woodall, the Wheelers' attorney, claims Camacho fell through the ceiling, cut himself, urinated inside the office and left with seven laptops and about $5,600 in checks and cash.
Camacho has had several brushes with the law involving drugs, his driving habits, and domestic assault. When he was 16, he served 3 1/2 months in a New York prison for auto theft.
Former Millrose Games Winner and Award Winning Actor, Roscoe Lee Brown Passes Away
Actor Roscoe Lee Browne, whose rich voice and dignified bearing brought him an Emmy Award and a Tony nomination, has died. He was 81.
Browne died early Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long battle with cancer, said Alan Nierob, a spokesman for the family.
Browne's career included classic theater to TV cartoons. He also was a poet and a former world-class athlete.
His deep, cultured voice was heard narrating the 1995 hit movie "Babe." On screen, his character often was smart, cynical and well-educated, whether a congressman, a judge or a butler.
Born to a Baptist minister in Woodbury, N.J., Browne graduated from historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he later returned to teach comparative literature and French. He also was a track star, winning the 880-yard run in the 1952 Millrose Games.
Browne was selling wine for an import company when he decided to become a full-time actor in 1956 and had roles that year in the inaugural season of the New York Shakespeare Festival in a production of "Julius Caesar."
In 1961, he starred in an English-language version of Jean Genet's play "The Blacks."
Two years later, he was The Narrator in a Broadway production of "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe," a play by Edward Albee from a novella by Carson McCullers. In a front page article on the advances made by blacks in the theater, the New York Times noted that Browne's understudy was white.
He won an Obie Award in 1965 for his role as a rebellious slave in the off-Broadway "Benito Cereno."
In movies, he was a spy in the 1969 Alfred Hitchcock feature "Topaz" and a camp cook in 1972's "The Cowboys," which starred John Wayne.
"Some critics complained that I spoke too well to be believable" in the cook's role, Browne told The Washington Post in 1972. "When a critic makes that remark, I think, if I had said, 'Yassuh, boss' to John Wayne, then the critic would have taken a shine to me."
On television, he had several memorable guest roles. He was a snobbish black lawyer trapped in an elevator with bigot Archie Bunker in an episode of the 1970s TV comedy "All in the Family" and the butler Saunders in the comedy "Soap." He won an Emmy in 1986 for a guest role as Professor Foster on "The Cosby Show."
In 1992, Browne returned to Broadway in "Two Trains Running," one of August Wilson's acclaimed series of plays on the black experience. It won the Tony for best play and brought Browne a Tony nomination for best featured (supporting) actor.
The New York Times said he portrayed "the wry perspective of one who believes that human folly knows few bounds and certainly no racial bounds. The performance is wise and slyly life-affirming."
Browne also wrote poetry and included some of it along with works by masters such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and William Butler Yeats in "Behind the Broken Words," a poetry anthology stage piece that he and Anthony Zerbe performed annually for three decades.
Investigation Into Death of Legendary Cricket Coach
KINGSTON, Jamaica (March 21) - Forensic experts searched for evidence Wednesday in the hotel room where Pakistan's cricket coach died under what police called "suspicious" circumstances, but authorities said they had reached no conclusions about the case.
Cricket Loses a Legend
As the forensics team completed its work, investigators awaited the pathologist's findings on what killed Bob Woolmer, whose body was found a day after his team was upset by Ireland in the Cricket World Cup.
"There is no evidence it's a homicide but we're waiting for further information from the pathologist before we make any more statements," Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields told The Associated Press.
Pakistan, already out of contention at the World Cup, won its rain interrupted last group match by 93 runs against Zimbabwe on Wednesday. Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq dedicated the victory to Woolmer.
It was Inzamam's last match as Pakistan. He announced after Woolmer's death that he was quitting the captaincy and retiring from limited-overs international cricket.
Woolmer, 58, was found unconscious in his Kingston hotel room on Sunday morning and pronounced dead at a local hospital. The previous day, Pakistan was stunned by Ireland in a St. Patrick's Day victory that assured Pakistan's early ouster from the World Cup.
A Pakistan team official said there was blood and vomit in the room and Woolmer was found by hotel staff on the floor with his mouth wide open.
Shields had said during a news conference late Tuesday that police were treating Woolmer's death as "suspicious." But when asked if police were pursuing a murder investigation, Shields said: "No, we are not saying that."
A preliminary autopsy on Woolmer was inconclusive.
Cricket is beloved in Britain and its former colonies, and Woolmer was one of the most respected coaches in the world.
But leading the Pakistan team was a high-profile, high-stress job: After the loss to Ireland, angry fans swarmed the streets back home, some burning effigies of the team captain.
Reports have emerged in Pakistani media of a murder plot but Woolmer's wife, Gill, discounted conspiracy theories in an interview on Indian television.
Following the loss to Ireland, "He e-mailed me the following morning. He did mention that he was really depressed and could not believe how this could have happened," she told NDTV.
"The Pakistani team's poor performance affected him, as any other big tournament that he lost as a coach," she said. "He believed that what happened. One has to move on."
She told NDTV that her husband had Type 2 diabetes and was on prescription anti-inflammation drugs, but said in an interview with Cape Argus newspaper in South Africa that he was healthy and regularly exercised.
"There was nothing wrong with him, he was perfectly fit," she said.
Inzamam-ul-Haq resigned as Pakistan's team captain and retired from one-day cricket following Woolmer's death. Pakistan Cricket Board head Naseem Ashraf and the organization's three-member selection committee also resigned over the Ireland loss and an earlier defeat to the West Indies.
Their resignations were submitted to Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf - the patron of the Pakistan board.
Separately, former Irish Cricket Union president Bob Kerr died Wednesday of a suspected heart attack while in Jamaica to watch World Cup matches, said Irish assistant coach Matt Dwyer.
Kerr was an executive board member of the Irish Cricket Union and chairman of the North West Cricket Union. Kerr was 68.
Track Coach Forced To Retire
COLORADO SPRINGS, United States (AFP) - Athletics coach Remi Korchemny, who pleaded guilty to misbranding a prescription drug in the BALCO steroid scandal, has ended his challenge to US Anti-Doping Agency violations.
The anti-doping agency announced here Monday that the 74-year-old Ukranian-born mentor to Britain's Dwain Chambers and Americans Kelli White and Chryste Gaines has agreed to effectively end his coaching career.
US Anti-Doping Agency officials said that Korchemny agreed that he is no longer eligible to participate in any sports organization using the World Anti-Doping Agency code, include USA Track and Field, world governing body IAAF and the US Olympic Committee.
Korchemny's guilty plea in July of 2005 formed the basis of USADA's case against him. He was given a one-year probation last February for providing illegal synthetic steroids to Olympic-caliber athletes from 2001 through 2003.
Korchemny was one of five men convicted in the BALCO steroid scandal, including BALCO founder Victor Conte, BALCO vice president James Valente, chemist Patrick Arnold and Greg Anderson, trainer for baseball star Barry Bonds.
Dodger Prospect A Real-Life Jed Clampett...sort of
VERO BEACH, Fla. (March 2) - Sharing a clubhouse with luminaries like Jeff Kent , Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Schmidt is Matt White, the Dodgers ' reluctant rock star.
Billionaire in Dodger Blue?
Matt White has a fallback if he can't make the Dodgers' roster - he owns a piece land that holds over a billion dollars worth of rock.
The 29-year-old White, who is not a five-time All Star like Kent, a former Olympian and first-round draft pick like Garciaparra or a one-time Cy Young award runner-up like Schmidt, could not have looked more uncomfortable being interviewed Friday if his uniform were made of burlap.
A left-handed pitcher with seven major league appearances in nine professional seasons, Whites claim to fame is a 50-acre parcel of land in Hampshire County in western Massachusetts that is rich in mica schist, a slatelike rock that is used for hearths, patio decks, steps and walls.
How rich? A geologist who inspected the property last summer told White that he was sitting on roughly 24 million tons of mica rock worth an estimated $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion.
As more people have heard about his quarry, it has created a quandary for White, whose dream is to be the next Billy Wagner , not some real-life Jed Clampett in the interview rotation of "Access Hollywood."
"I'm here to play baseball," White said. "Everybody wanting to talk about the rocks and everything is beyond me." He added: "I keep telling guys, I just don't want it to be a distraction for anybody. We're here to field the best team for the Dodgers and to win a World Series. I'm here to be part of that team and contribute, not talk about rocks."
White, a nonroster invitee, is trying to crack a Dodgers pitching rotation that has a wealth of talent. Schmidt, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Randy Wolf are the top four starters, and there are a handful of other legitimate contenders for the No. 5 spot. The club has three potential setup men in Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Meloan and Brett Tomko and two possible closers in Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito.
"He has a dream of being a major league pitcher and he's doing everything possible to make it happen," Manager Grady Little said. He added, "He keeps trying to get better and get back to the major leagues. I'll tell you what, that's admirable."
In his Dodgers debut Friday afternoon against the Washington Nationals , White faced four batters in one-and-a-third innings of relief and did not give up a hit. The last batter, catcher Brian Schneider, struck out swinging on a wicked slider, a pitch that White worked on while playing winter ball in Venezuela.
Whites debut went better than Schmidt's, who had given up a walk and a double after four batters and allowed two hits and two walks in his two innings of work.
"It felt good to show everybody what I can do," said White, who made his major league debut in May 2003, allowing six runs in two-thirds of an inning of relief for the Boston Red Sox in a loss to the Yankees . He also appeared in three games with the Seattle Mariners that season and made one start with the Nationals in 2005 before spending the 2006 season with Philadelphia 's Class AAA team.
White bought the land in Hampshire County a few years ago from an aunt who was moving to a nursing home. He paid $50,000 for the property and discovered the mica stones while clearing land for a house he intended to build on it. His aunt died last year before the family had a ballpark idea of the property's true value.
It is expensive to excavate mica, which is why White is considering selling the land. His father, Jim, a former logger, is overseeing the operation. White secured a $100,000 loan to pay for the excavating equipment and the diesel fuel that the equipment drinks like water.
In the first year of mining, he said they did not make enough to pay off the debt. "There's expenses that go into the process, and that's what everybody doesn't understand," White said. He added, "Things have just been blown up so far out of proportion."
Much like a homeowner whose house has been appraised at seven figures but is not a millionaire, White has yet to reap any true financial rewards from his valuable property.
White the journeyman was so fearful of being perceived by his new teammates as some kind of genteel man that he asked Little if he could clarify his situation during a team meeting last month, shortly after the pitchers and the catchers had reported.
"I wanted to make sure they knew that I'm not a billionaire and that I'm here trying to outwork everyone around me because my dream is to be a major league pitcher," White said.
Little, who was managing the Red Sox when White got his first major league start, said he understood. "What happened to him is like someone winning the state lottery," Little said. "That's naturally going to overshadow a lot of things in his life from the past."
It was a telephone call from Little that led to White's signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers. "I didn't know exactly where to go and who to sign with," White said. "But I got the call from Grady, and he said he'd like to have me come into camp and compete for a job. That's all I can ask for, a fair opportunity."
The rock business is White's fallback plan. Baseball remains his passion.
"Trust me," he said, "I'm going to ride out baseball as long as I can. I want to make my career in this."
(by Rick Silva, AP)
New "Item" : NFL's Reggie Bush & Singer, Ciara
New Book Outs Former NBA Player
Outsports.com confirmed today that John Amaechi is in fact the gay former NBA player who is planning on coming out of the closet with an autobiography called Man in the Middle next week. How do they know it's him? Amaechi contacted the gay sports site last year, and they helped connect him with his current publicist Howard Bragman, who leaked the news about the upcoming book this past weekend.
Outsports agreed to keep quiet about his coming out party until just before his first television appearance, which is scheduled to air February 13 on ESPN's "Behind the Lines." Plus, they've also received an advance copy of his book:
He followed his time as a Cavalier with three years playing in Europe, where he dated and had a regular boyfriend for a time in England. He returned to the NBA in 1999 and was celibate until he went to the Jazz. His guaranteed contract with the Jazz set his mind at ease, and it was there that he began venturing out to gay establishments and building a mostly gay circle of friends (the first wide circle of friends of his life, according to the book). ...
The book also offers insight into the closed world of professional sports, including Amaechi's spirited and friendly political arguments with Karl Malone, what he called the betrayal of Orlando Magic management, kind words from former Indiana coach Bobby Knight, his regret that he never told Greg Ostertag, "the gentle big man" whom he respected, that he was gay when Ostertag asked him while they played together in Utah, his respect for then-Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, and his lack of respect for Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.
"Unbeknownst to me at the time," Amaechi wrote, "Sloan had used some anti-gay innuendo to describe me. It was confirmed via e-mails from friends who worked in high-level front-office jobs with the Jazz."
There's has to be a "gentle big man" joke to be made, but I'm going to keep this serious. It's probably unfair to single Sloan out, not just because he hasn't had a chance to respond but also because you get the feeling these types of attitudes are pervasive in the super-macho world of professional sports.
But still, is anyone surprised accusations like this are directed at the Utah Jazz? This team has never been a bastion of diversity (has there been any other recent team with as many white players year after year?), and owner Larry Miller did make headlines last year with his decision to pull Brokeback Mountain from his chain of movie theaters. I'm sure Miller and Co. are loving the fact their team will be prominently connected to this story when it mushrooms in the coming weeks.
Bonds' Contract Has Escape Clause For Giants
NEW YORK (Jan. 30) - Barry Bonds gave the San Francisco Giants the right to terminate his $15.8 million, one-year contract if he is indicted.
The unusual provision could set off a legal test between the rights in an individual player's contract and rights under the union's collective bargaining agreement. The language, included in the deal that was completed Monday night, is designed by the team to protect itself in case Bonds is charged in the federal government's steroids investigation.
Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in a California federal prison because he has refused to testify whether Bonds committed perjury when he told a 2003 grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Complicating matters, the version of Bonds' contract that was sent to the commissioner's office by the Giants was not approved, Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, said late Tuesday. Borris said the team was redrafting the agreement to address the provisions in question and sending him a revised version by express mail for Bonds to review and sign. Borris wouldn't specify what was at issue.
As part of the agreement, if Bonds is indicted the Giants have the right to terminate it under two sections of the Uniform Player Contract, a baseball executive said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team didn't announce that detail.
Under 7(b)(1), a team may terminate a contract if the player shall "fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the club's training rules."
Section 7(b)(3) gives the team the right to end the deal if a player shall "fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any manner materially breach this contract."
In addition, the Giants have the less drastic option of converting Bonds' deal to nonguaranteed, the baseball executive said. Players with nonguaranteed contracts can be released before opening day for 30 or 45 days' termination pay, depending on the timing.
As part of the deal, Bonds gave up the right to ask the players' association to file a grievance if he is indicted and the contract is terminated. But nothing would stop the union from pursuing a grievance on its own.
Giants owner Peter Magowan declined comment.
Borris said the additional language in Bonds' contract would be unenforceable if the matter ever was litigated because baseball's collective bargaining agreement would take precedence. Because of that, Borris said the inclusion of the added provision is meaningless.
"Although it is not my policy to comment on the specifics of an individual player's contract, the reporting that Barry will allow the Giants to get out of his contract if he is indicted on the federal steroid investigation is inaccurate," he said. "The collective bargaining agreement governs the work relationship between the owners and players, not the Giants' unilateral assertions."
Bonds was at AT&T Park on Tuesday and held a meeting with about 100 people from the team's staff, Giants spokesman Jim Moorehead said.
"It was a meet-and-greet session," Moorehead said.
On Monday, as the contract was being finalized, Magowan and Bonds met to put their ill will behind them. A day after the season ended, Magowan had said "we need to go in a new direction" and that "we do need to get younger and healthier."
Bonds was miffed by those remarks, said those around him. Before Thanksgiving, Magowan called the Bonds camp to clarify his comments and say he did not mean to offend the star.
Bonds became a free agent after completing a $90 million, five-year contract, and the sides agreed to the financial terms of a new contract Dec. 7. His new deal allows him to earn $4.2 million in performance bonuses: $500,000 for 250 plate appearances, $1 million each for 300, 375 and 450, and $700,000 for 525.
Under the new agreement, two of Bonds' trainers - Harvey Shields and Greg Oliver - no longer will be on the Giants' payroll. They also won't be permitted in restricted areas in any major league ballpark, such as the clubhouse.
"I have no problems with it," Bonds said. "(Oliver) and Harvey will be with me, just outside the ballpark."
As part of the agreement, Bonds gets to use a luxury suite at AT&T Park for five games and gets five free lower box seats for all road games. He also gets a hotel suite on road trips.
(AP Sports Writers, Ronald Blum and Janie McCauley)
SYDNEY, Australia (Jan. 23) - A diver escaped a 10-foot shark's attack by poking the animal in its eye after it had already chomped on his head once and was preparing for another bite, witnesses and officials said Tuesday.
An average of 15 shark attacks occur annually in in Australia -- one of the highest rates in the world -- and just over 1 per year are fatal.
Eric Nerhus, 41, was flown to a hospital with serious injuries to his head, body and left arm after the attack Tuesday off Cape Howe, about 250 miles south of Sydney.
The shark grabbed Nerhus by the head, crushing his face mask and breaking his nose, said Dennis Luobikis, a fellow diver who witnessed the attack.
"He was actually bitten by the head down - the shark swallowed his head," Luobikis said.
The shark, believed to be a great white, came back for a second bite, clenching its jaws around Nerhus' torso and leaving deep lacerations in his side, said Luobikis.
Nerhus wrestled free of the shark's jaws, and later told rescue workers he had poked the shark in the eye, an unidentified worker from the Snowy Hydro Rescue Helicopter service told local media.
Nerhus was pulled from the water by his 25-year-old son and rushed to a hospital, suffering blood loss and shock.
"Eric is a tough boy. He's super fit," said Luobikis. "But I would say that would test anyone's resolve, being a fish lunch."
Shark attacks are relatively common in Australian waters, home to some of the world's deadliest sea life. Scientists say there are an average of 15 shark attacks a year in Australia - one of the highest rates in the world - and just over 1 per year are fatal.
Sampras And Sanchez-Vicario Enter Hall Of Fame
NEWPORT, R.I. (Jan. 17) - Pete Sampras was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
The owner of a record 14 men's singles Grand Slam championships is joined in the 2007 class by Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Sven Davidson and Russ Adams.
They'll be inducted July 14, and Sampras will participate in an exhibition the next day.
Sampras was ranked No. 1 for a record 286 weeks, including 102 in a row from April 1996 to March 1998. He won a total of 64 singles titles, including his haul of majors: seven at Wimbledon, five at the U.S. Open and two at the Australian Open.
Sampras won the last match of his career, beating Andre Agassi in the 2002 U.S. Open final.
His singles record was 762-222, and he earned more than $43 million in prize money, a mark that still stands.
Sanchez-Vicario won three French Opens and was the first Spanish woman to win the U.S. Open singles title in 1994. In addition to those four major singles titles, she won six doubles and four mixed doubles Grand Slam championships.
She finished with 29 titles in singles, 67 in doubles. In 1995, she was ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles.
Sampras and Sanchez-Vicario were elected in the "recent player" category. Davidson was elected in the "master player" category, and Adams, a photographer, was elected in the "contributor" category.
Davidson was the first Swedish man to win a Grand Slam title, at the 1957 French Championships, and also won the 1958 Wimbledon doubles title.
Cheaper To Keep Her
NEWARK, N.J. (Jan. 13) - New York Giants star Michael Strahan was ordered to pay his ex-wife $15.3 million - more than half his net worth - in keeping with the couple's prenuptial agreement.
Expensive Split for Strahan
A judge orders Giants star Michael Strahan to pay his wife $15.3 million in their divorce proceeding.
Under the agreement, Jean Strahan was entitled to 50 percent of their joint marital assets and 20 percent of his yearly income from each year they were married.
Strahan claimed that he wasn't responsible for the 20 percent because his wife failed to ask for it every year.
But state Superior Court Judge James Convery disagreed, saying in his ruling that "the plaintiff is not credible in his claim that the defendant never asked for her separate funds."
In addition to the $15.3 million, Convery awarded Jean Strahan hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support
Jean Strahan, who married the football player in 1999, said she was happy with the ruling.
"It pays to tell the truth, and I told the truth," she said in Saturday's New York Post. "I never asked for a penny more than the prenup that Michael and his lawyers wrote and made me sign. And all I ever asked for was that to be upheld."
A call to Michael Strahan's attorney, Robert Penza, and his agent, Tony Agnone, were not immediately returned Saturday.
A call to Jean Strahan's attorney, Ellen Marshall, was also not immediately returned.
Big Mac Breaks Silence On Falling Short Of The Hall of Fame
TUSTIN, Calif. (Jan. 13) - Mark McGwire had little to say about being left out of Cooperstown in his first public comments since the Hall of Fame announcement.
Big Mac Speaks
The former slugger talked briefly Friday to the Cal State Fullerton newspaper, the Daily Titan, about being denied baseball's highest honor in his first time on the ballot. Amid questions about his role in baseball's Steroids Era, McGwire was picked by 23.5 percent of voters in totals released Tuesday - far short of the 75 percent needed for induction.
"I had an absolutely wonderful career that I am very proud of," McGwire said as he signed autographs at a charity event benefiting the Orange County Abuse Prevention Center. "I'm not in control of what happens - I was in control of hitting the ball."
McGwire, whose 583 home runs rank seventh on the career list, appeared on 128 of a record 545 ballots in voting released by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres and Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles were voted in and will be inducted in July.
McGwire has been reclusive since he appeared in front of Congress two years ago to address steroid use in baseball. The 23.5 percent vote he received represented the first referendum on how history will judge an age when bulked-up players came under suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Baseball didn't ban steroids until after the 2002 season.
McGwire was one of more than two dozen sports personalities on hand for Friday's event called "Luck be a Lady," organized by a committee of players' wives. Among those in attendance were Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey , St. Louis Cardinals infielder Adam Kennedy and Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne.
After retiring, McGwire has kept active in charity work, heading the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children.
Trouble Brewing Over Athletes Changing Nationalities
NAIROBI: Kenyan athletics officials yesterday said there was little they would do to assist a former national athlete to regain his old status after he was stripped of his citizenship as a Bahraini.
The Kenyan-born Mushir Salem Jawher, formerly known as Leonard Mucheru, lost the Bahrain passport after taking part in a marathon in Israel at the weekend.
The athlete was one of two Kenyans granted the automatic citizenship of Bahrain in 2004 following an intervention over their case by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) since they had not competed for Kenya in three years.
"As far as Athletics Kenya is concerned Jawher is a Bahraini," AK secretary David Okeyo said.
"He applied and was granted the automatic change to run for Bahrain and went ahead to change his citizenship. It is very unfortunate ... there is nothing we can do."
Jawhar competed in the race in Israel using his old Kenyan passport although the Kenyan immigration rules does not allow for dual citizenship.
Okeyo said it was upon the immigration department to investigate the matter but added his federation would only accept Jawher back to run for the country after a three-year lapse in line with IAAF rules.
"Mucheru is a very good athlete. There is no doubt about it but he's in a very difficult situation," Okeyo said. Kenya's mass circulation newspaper Daily Nation in its editorial wrote: "This is embarrassing. But what is even more troubling is the report that the athlete may have entered Israel on a Kenyan passport ... since Kenya does not allow dual citizenship, the athlete should have surrendered his Kenyan passport on defecting to Bahrain," the Daily Nation said.
The Israeli daily Jerusalem Post had reported that Jawher, who won the Tiberias marathon, was the first Arab athlete to take part in a sports event in Israel.
Bahrain and Israel do not have any diplomatic ties.
Axe on disgraced athlete backed
The decision to strip a naturalised athlete of Bahraini citizenship for taking part in a sports event in Israel won widespread support yesterday.
Mushir Salem Jawher took part in and won a marathon in Tiberius, Israel, under his Kenyan name of Leonard Mucheru.
He had earlier won a silver medal for Bahrain in the 5,000 metres event at the Asian Games, Doha, last month.
MPs condemned Mr Mucheru's remarks to Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post that he had made history as the first Bahraini runner to take part in an event there, following the marathon last Thursday.
The MPs also called for tougher restrictions on naturalisation for sportsmen and women, following several cases.
Independent MP Dr Aziz Abul said that it was regretful that someone who in name belonged to Bahrain had taken part in an event in an enemy country.
"I can't say what he has done is wrong, considering that he participated as a Kenyan, but speaking in the name of Bahrain is something I cannot accept," he said.
"Under Bahrain's nationality law, anyone who gets the Bahraini nationality should drop the other nationality he has unless it is of the GCC.
"Sports naturalisation is a problem, because it doesn't follow the normal naturalisation guidelines.
"This athlete doesn't speak our language, lives in Bahrain and doesn't believe in the country's rules and regulations, which as a Bahraini he is obliged to."
Dr Abul fears that this could happen again, unless sports naturalisation is done according to the law.
"There are other naturalised Bahrainis whose job is only sports and I hope that they will be told to stay away from what this athlete has done," he said.
Al Wefaq MP Mohammed Al Mezal said that the act was an insult, but praised the government's quick reaction in stripping Mr Mucheru of his nationality.
"This athlete has breached the country's laws, because he doesn't believe in them and I hope that other naturalised athletes are warned to stay away from anything that would harm Bahrain's image, or else face the same fate."
Al Asala MP Isa Abu Al Fateh said that naturalised athletes were all about money, with no real loyalty to the countries they represent.
Mr Abu Al Fateh said he hoped that international sports organisations would step in to ensure that only people who really belong to a country can compete in its name.
Bahrain Society Against Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy vice-president Badriya Ali said that the government's decision was correct, for the sake of maintaining Bahrain's stance against Israel.
Ms Ali said that she hoped this would serve as an example to deter others from dealing with Israel in any way including sports and business.
General Organisation for Youth and Sports president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said that Mr Muchero took part in the event of his own accord.
"He participated using his Kenyan passport and had travelled to Israel from Kenya," he said.
"We have stripped him of his Bahraini citizenship."
Bahrain Athletics Association president Mohammed Jalal said that Mr Muchero went to Israel without informing anyone in Bahrain.
"Going to a country we are boycotting is completely forbidden," he said.
Longest Standing College Hoops Losing Streak Ends
PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 7) - Nobody understands the laws of probability better than the cerebral players at Caltech. The Beavers finally won - their first NCAA basketball victory since 1996.
The California Institute of Technology beat Bard College of New York for its first win in 207 games, dating back to 1996.
However, here's another hard number: They still have a string of conference defeats dating back almost 22 years.
Coach Roy Dow and his squad of brainy - as opposed to brawny - Beavers beat Bard College of New York 81-52 on Saturday night, ending a mathematically improbable run of 207 consecutive NCAA Division III losses.
"It was a combination of a sense of relief and happiness for the kids. They were euphoric," said Dow, in his fifth season as the coach.
Travis Haussler had 27 points and eight rebounds, and Matt Dellatorre added 24 points and eight rebounds in the romp over Bard.
"We expected to win a game, but not like this," Dow said, a bit astounded at the surprisingly easy victory.
The win also was Caltech's first in 60 games overall, including non-NCAA foes.
With a 1-207 record in their last 208 NCAA contests, the Beavers next hope to end an even longer losing streak, 245 consecutive defeats in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play going back almost 22 years. They haven't begun league play yet this season.
"We still have to get that other streak," Dow said. "It will be difficult. We lost a lot of players from last year's team."
The California Institute of Technology, which has a student body of some 850, is renowned for its programs in science and math, and for being lovable losers in its athletic programs.
Albert Einstein lectured at Caltech, Linus Pauling was a professor and 31 Nobel Prize winners either have taught or studied on the small campus in suburban Los Angeles. The school has extremely high admission standards and puts arduous academic demands on the students.
So while the school attracts some of the nation's best and brightest, it doesn't necessarily draw the athletically gifted. Like all Division III schools, Caltech doesn't give athletic scholarships, and many of Dow's players didn't so much as play varsity basketball in high school.
Among the handful of fans at the game Saturday night were the school's new president, Jean-Lou Chameau and his wife, Carol Carmichael, who had arrived from Singapore just a couple of hours before tipoff.
"They were the first ones who came across the floor and extended congratulations," Dow said with obvious pride.
Government Wins Court Ruling Against Major League Baseball
SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 27) - Government investigators are entitled to the names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for illegal drug use in 2003, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The court's ruling could bolster the government's perjury case against Barry Bonds if his name is among those who tested positive. The slugger has been the target of a perjury investigation since he testified before a grand jury that he didn't knowingly ingest illegal drugs.
Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer, is currently in prison for refusing to testify in the perjury probe. Anderson was previously convicted of steroids distribution.
Investigators seized computer files containing the test results in 2004 during raids on three labs involved in the Major League Baseball testing program the previous year.
The samples had been collected by the league as part of a survey to gauge the prevalence of steroid use. The results were to be kept secret.
Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Union, didn't immediately respond to a telephone call and e-mail seeking comment.
Williams Sister's Dad Found Liable In Lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 21) - The father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams is liable but doesn't have to pay damages in a lawsuit that claimed he reneged on a deal for his daughters to play in an exhibition match.
A jury Thursday cleared Venus Williams of all allegations but said Serena Williams let her father act as an agent for her. Neither sister must pay damages.
The dispute centered on whether Richard Williams had authority to commit his daughters to play in a 2001 "Battle of the Sexes" match that never took place. Venus and Serena Williams testified during the more than monthlong trial that only they have authority to approve contracts.
Promoters Carol Clarke and Keith Rhodes, owners of a company called CCKR, brought the breach of contract lawsuit.
"The first thing I said to the jury is this case is about the sanctity of a contract. And the jury understood that," said John Romano, the promoters' attorney. "To say that I'm disappointed would be the understatement of the century."
Romano said he almost certainly will appeal.
Richard Williams acknowledged drawing up terms of the agreement with the promoters, but insisted he told them they would have to go through the IMG sports agency, which represents Venus and Serena, to complete any deal. The promoters said he made no such disclaimer.
Richard Williams also acknowledged he lied to the promoters when he told them his daughters were aware of the negotiations. Both sisters testified they knew nothing of the deal and never would have agreed to play in the match.
Despite the agreement with Richard Williams, the sisters' attorney, F. Malcolm Cunningham, noted to jurors in closing arguments that neither Venus nor Serena signed anything.
Throughout the trial, attorneys for the promoters showed jurors tax returns that indicate payments to Richard Williams by his daughters for management fees, bolstering their contention that he had authority to sign contracts for them.
However, attorneys for the sisters and their father claimed the payments were mischaracterized for tax purposes and that Richard Williams is not their manager and was paid merely for coaching services.
The promoters sued the sisters, their father and his company, Richard Williams Tennis & Associates, for unspecified damages. They claimed the tournament could have made about $45 million, of which 80 percent was to go to Richard Williams' company. An initial trial last year ended in a mistrial.
Sprinting, Vaulting Robbers Hit Georgia Bank
LAWRENCEVILLE Federal agents are seeking two suspects believed to be responsible for a Tuesday morning bank robbery in Lawrenceville.
The incident occurred around 10:15 a.m. at the First Bank of the South, located on Riverside Parkway in Lawrenceville.
According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation press release issued by spokesman Special Agent Stephen Emmett, the two suspects wore ski masks over their faces and burst into the bank, with one of them running up to and vaulting over the teller counter.
Both brandished semi-automatic handguns, Emmett said. While making threatening comments to bank employees, both suspects took money from various bank drawers and placing it into two blue nylon bags with USA Track and Field logos on them.
The suspects fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money in a dark blue 1989 Toyota Corolla that was stolen Monday night from a local apartment complex.
The suspects are described as slender, light-skinned black men between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 in height, Emmett said.
In addition to the ski masks, both were wearing dark blue or black clothing with hoods during the incident.
Anyone with information on the suspects should call the FBI Violent Crimes Squad at 404-679-9000.
Stern Levels Harsh Punishment For NBA Brawl
NEW YORK (Dec. 18) - The NBA came down hard on the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets , and none of the brawlers was spared. Not Carmelo Anthony , the NBA's leading scorer, who got the harshest punishment, a 15-game suspension. And not the teams themselves, who were fined an unprecedented half-million dollars each Monday.
"I was very disappointed," Commissioner David Stern said. "Clearly, we're not getting through or players in certain circumstances just don't want to be restrained. I would suggest that those players will not have long careers in the NBA."
In all, seven players were suspended for a fight that spilled into the stands at Madison Square Garden with just over a minute left in Saturday night's game. The penalties were without pay, costing Anthony about $641,000 in salary.
Also suspended: New York 's Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith of the Nuggets, 10 games; New York's Mardy Collins, six; teammate Jared Jeffries,four. The Knicks ' Jerome James and the Nuggets' Nene each were penalized one game for leaving the bench area during the chaos.
Though there was no separate penalty for Knicks coach Isiah Thomas,who warned Anthony not to go into the lane before the mayhem started, Nuggets coach George Karl singled him out for the sharpest criticism, calling his actions "despicable."
"There's no question in my mind it was premeditated," said Karl, whose team now faces an even tougher time making the playoffs. "He made a bad situation worse. He's a jerk for what he's trying to do."
It was the NBA's scariest scene since the brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans two years ago. The league is still recovering from that episode, and Stern made it clear the players needed to control themselves - or else.
"We have set up the goal of eliminating fighting from our game. We haven't eliminated it completely," Stern said.
The record fines were "more general message that I'm going to start holding our teams accountable," he said.
Asked about the previous largest fine for on-court misbehavior, the NBA couldn't find anything remotely close.
NBA players' union director Billy Hunter said he would talk to Anthony and his agent Tuesday before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.
"I think that 15 is a bit heavy," Hunter said. "I don't think 15 games is necessary. I think it's out of whack compared to what been imposed in the past."
If there's any upside to the story, it's that the Knicks and Nuggets won't play again this season.
"The incident was deeply regrettable, unacceptable on every level and I hope and expect to never witness anything like it again. We are all very sorry it happened," Garden chairman James Dolan said.
The fight started just as Denver's 123-100 victory was wrapping up, and 10 players were ejected.
Stern was especially troubled by the fight between Robinson and Smith that landed in the seats.
"My concern is actually for the safety of the players and the fans, and when things get out of hand you cannot predict or project where they're going to go," Stern said. "There were certain players who weren't going to allow themselves to be calmed."
There was speculation Thomas would be penalized for his comments to Anthony. Stern acknowledged hearing about it, but said he relied only on "definitive information" when handing out punishments.
But Stern was clearly annoyed by remarks from Thomas and the Knicks that the Nuggets were somehow responsible because they kept four starters on the floor late in the blowout.
The brawl began when Collins prevented Smith from an easy basket by grabbing him around the neck and taking him to the floor.
Smith got up and immediately started jawing with Collins, and Robinson jumped in to pull Smith away. Anthony shoved Robinson, and Robinson and Smith then tumbled into the front row while fighting.
Just as things appeared to be calming down, Anthony threw a hard punch that floored Collins. Jeffries sprinted from the baseline toward halfcourt in an effort to get at Anthony, but was tackled by a Denver player.
By the time security finally contained Smith, the players were nearly at the opposite end of the court from where things started.
In Denver, Karl was blunt with his criticism of Thomas.
"I think his actions after the game were despicable. He made a bad situation worse. I'll swear on my children's life that I never thought about running up the score. I wanted to get a big win on the road.
"My team has had trouble holding leads at the end of games," he added. "I didn't want the score to get under 10 points because if it would've gotten under 10 points it would've had a negative feeling on my team."
The Nuggets saw a 25-point, first-half lead dwindle to just two points in the fourth quarter Monday night, but held on to beat the Washington Wizards 117-108 without its suspended players.
Thomas declined comment on Karl's remarks. His undermanned Knicks upset the Utah Jazz in overtime Monday night, 97-96, on a layup by Stephon Marbury just before the buzzer.
"We are in concurrence with whatever the league has offered us, and whatever the commissioner said we support and will abide by," Thomas said.
Karl has bigger problems now. He'll be without Anthony until the Nuggets' game at Houston on Jan. 20, and Smith will be gone until Jan. 8. That duo combines for more than 48 points a game.
"It's going to be tough," said Nuggets center Marcus Camby , one of the five players ejected who wasn't suspended. "It's already tough being in the Western Conference, and missing guys like J.R. and Carmelo is going to make it even worse."
Anthony's conduct represents a big blow to the All-Star player, team and league. He starred as a captain on the U.S. team at the world championships this summer, and had been getting more marketing opportunities as one of the league's brightest young stars.
Stern took none of that into account when issuing his decision.
"We judged him on his actions on the court, period," Stern said. "And they deserved a harsh penalty."
(AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.)
Medalist Fails Gender Test
NEW DELHI, India (Dec. 17) - An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters in the Asian Games this month has failed a gender test and is expected to be stripped of the medal, according to reports Monday.
Santhi Soudarajan took the gender test in Doha, Qatar, after the victory.
The test reports sent to the Indian Olympic Association on Sunday said Soudarajan "does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman," The Times of India reported. The test was administered by a medical commission set up by the games' organizers.
There are no compulsory gender tests during events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federation, but athletes can be asked to take a gender test. The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, and an internal medicine specialist.
Dr. Manmohan Singh, chairman of the medical commission of the Indian Olympic Association told the Indian Express newspaper that the Olympic Council of Asia had been informed of the results of Soudarajan's gender test.
Sports officials in the athlete's home state of Tamil Nadu said that they have no information on her whereabouts.
"If the reports are true, then it is very sad and extremely disappointing," her coach, P. Nagarajan, told the Indian Express.
Marion Jones' Future Still In Doubt
Former triple Olympic champion Marion Jones says she is still undecided about her athletics future. The 31-year-old American is not in training, even though most of the world's elite sprinters have already begun preparations for the 2007 season.
"I just need to make a lot of decisions," Jones told a news conference in Belize while visiting her mother's Central American homeland with her three-year-old son Monty.
"My son is getting to an age where it is necessary for me to be present more and more. I'll make some decisions with my family in the next several months about what the future holds."
Jones, who won three gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said her family life was far more important than athletics.
"Please don't get it wrong that track and field is the number one priority in my life, being a mother and being part of a family is the number one thing," she said.
Jones has often said she would retire after the 2008 Beijing Olympics but the controversy surrounding a doping test at the U.S. championships in June has led her to contemplate leaving the sport earlier.
"Absolutely," she told the New York Times earlier this year when asked if she was considering retirement.
Jones's initial test for the blood-boosting drug
erythropoietin was positive at the championships but she was cleared when her B sample was negative.
However, she remains under scrutiny by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in connection with the BALCO doping scandal.
"I've moved past it a long time ago," said Jones when asked about the scandal.
"I've never done anything wrong, I've never taken any illegal substances and that's really what it comes down to."
NHL Introduces First Japanese Player
LOS ANGELES (Dec. 15 ) - Japanese goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji has been called up by the Los Angeles Kings for a chance to become the first Japanese to play in the National Hockey League.
The Kings announced Friday a decision to call up Fukufuji from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League following an injury to one of their goaltenders during recent training.
Fukufuji is expected to make the Kings roster for their home game Saturday against the Dallas Stars .
The 24-year-old native of Kushiro, Hokkaido, signed a two-year contract with the Kings in 2005 and has since played for minor league teams in the Kings organization.
East Germany To Compensate Doping "Victims"
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Former athletes who were victims of East Germany's systematic doping program will get a one-time payment as compensation for health problems and give up any other legal action.
According to an agreement signed Wednesday in Berlin, the 167 recognized victims will each receive $12,210 by the end of February.
The agreement ends years of legal wrangling between the victims and German sports officials.
The German Olympic Sports Union and the federal government will share the $2.03 million cost of the settlement, signed by the victims and their lawyers and DOSB, the umbrella organization of German sports.
``We take the moral responsibility and we want to make sure that something like that cannot happen again,'' DOSB president Thomas Bach said after the signing of the agreement.
The federal government will finance two-thirds of the settlement, with the money coming from unused funds that had been set aside for cultural activities during this year's soccer World Cup.
Doping victims said they would lend their voice to the battle against doping.
Their lawyer, Michael Lehner, said the payments could only partly compensate for the wrong they suffered.
``For the victims, the most important thing was to be recognized as such,'' he said.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of East Germany, it became clear that much of the communist country's sporting achievements were fueled by performance-enhancing drugs under a government-run program.
Many athletes later said they had been unwitting victims of the program, given drugs without their knowledge while still teenagers. Many said they had suffered permanent health problems because of steroid use.
The victims had gone to court to demand compensation from German sports organizations, arguing they had inherited the property and funds of former East German sports institutions. The sports organizations in the west had argued against being held responsible for the doping system of former East Germany.
Lehner also asked the pharmaceuticals company Jenapharm, which produced many of the drugs, to contribute to the payments.
The government had set up a fund for doping victims four years ago. A total of 194 former athletes each received $13,700 under that compensation program.
``Some athletes from the former East Germany have suffered considerable health damage because of the state-run forced doping in the GDR,'' Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. ``A compensation for their mental and physical pain is hardly possible.''
(by Nesha Starcevic,AP)
USATF Revises "Zero Tolerance" Policy
INDIANAPOLIS The USA Track & Field Board of Directors has approved a revision of its existing Zero Tolerance plan that will create a system for taking action against coaches whose athletes are penalized for doping offenses. The plan, which also focuses on others in a position to influence athletes, including medical personnel and agents, was approved by the Board at USATFs 2006 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.
This expansion of our Zero Tolerance policy provides protection for our athletes, the sport, and coaches who are doing things the right way, said USATF CEO Craig A. Masback. While USADA remains responsible for issuing doping bans, the Board of Directors recognizes how critical it is that we do everything we can to deny USATF benefits to those who may be influencing athletes to use drugs.
The Registered Coach system requires all coaches seeking benefits from USATF including credentials to national championships, stipends, and positions on national team staffs to apply for the Registered Coach designation. Individuals who in the past have coached athletes serving doping bans of two years or more, whose present athletes are sanctioned for two years or more, or who themselves have been sanctioned as a coach or as an athlete, will have their Registered Coach status evaluated by a Review Panel. Coaches deemed to be ineligible by the Panel will, if the decision stands on appeal, be refused USATF benefits. In addition, USATF as a matter of policy will decline to promote to the media or sponsors athletes who work with ineligible coaches.
Measures to ensure the integrity of support staff extend to medical personnel who are assigned to national teams. In addition to undergoing the currently used background check, medical and support personnel nominated to national team staffs will undergo a formal application process. That process will include a statement in which the applicant signifies that he or she has never used performance enhancing drugs, and has never and will never advocate, aid or abet drug use in sports.
USATFs Authorized Athlete Representative Application Form will be amended to inquire whether the Agent has represented athletes in the past who have been disciplined for doping offenses and whether the Agent (him or her self) has ever been disciplined for a doping offense. Language will be added to the effect that the Agent has not nor will in the future counsel, encourage, aid or abet an athlete to use performance enhancing substances or techniques.
Additional measures in the revised Zero Tolerance plan call for continued lobbying to increase the penalties for drug use, continued cooperation with USADA and promotion of USATFs drug-tip hotline (1-866-809-8104).
Details for implementing the Registered Coach designation are in the works, with the system to be put in place during 2007.
Zero Tolerance 101
USATF passed its Zero Tolerance policy at its 2003 Annual Meeting in Greensboro, N.C. Among the programs put in place by Zero Tolerance were a call for increased penalties for doping offenses, an increase in the number of drug tests administered to American track and field athletes, the creation of a whistleblower hotline (1-866-809-8104), the establishment of a quarterly anti-doping newsletter, USATFs Be A Champion athlete outreach program, and an expansion of the number of USATF anti-doping seminars held with athletes and coaches.
While the original Zero Tolerance was athlete-focused, this new program recognizes the reality that very few athletes dope on their own, Masback said. USATF continues to analyze ways in which we can shore up the fight against drugs, and this new policy is just one example.
For more information on USATF and the 2006 Annual Meeting, visit www.usatf.org
After 18 Years, Johnson Still Launching Trial Explanations
Disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson has claimed superstar rival Carl Lewis played a part in a conspiracy to sabotage his drug sample at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, costing him his 100 meters gold medal.
Johnson set a world record of 9.79 seconds to win the 100 meters at Seoul but was stripped of his gold medal and world record when he tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol.
The Canadian-born sprinter has since admitted using banned drugs but has continued to insist his positive test at Seoul was the result of a conspiracy to discredit him.
"I have the information on how it was done and why it was done this way and who was behind it," Johnson told Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper in a Dec. 1 interview.
Asked whether Lewis was involved, Johnson said: "I won't say too much but . . . he's involved."
Johnson has claimed he drank beer with a former US football player in the drug test waiting room at Seoul, that the footballer was "a family friend" of Carl Lewis and that his beer had been tainted with stanozolol.
"I've been speaking to my lawyer and he wants to keep it as low (key) as possible until next June. We're trying to get some information, try to get that guy (the footballer) to speak," Johnson told the Herald Sun.
Lewis, in his book Inside Track, admitted knowing the footballer seen drinking with Johnson at Seoul but ridiculed any suggestion the player may have tampered with Johnson's beer. The Herald Sun was unable to contact Lewis for comment.
Lewis' manager, Joe Douglas, rejected Johnson's claims, saying: "Carl had absolutely nothing to do with Ben testing positive."
Asked how the footballer obtained a pass into the doping control area, Douglas said: "If I thought Ben was going to take a masking agent I might plant somebody in there to make sure if he did he would take a photo of it.
"You want to make sure somebody doesn't take anything from their bag, to get close enough to make sure he (Johnson) didn't take anything to cover up.
"That's as far as I can go. But there is no way, ever, that Carl would sabotage or make any athletes turn positive. That's not his style.
"Carl would never ever try to get somebody caught on drugs. He might be upset they weren't getting caught, but he would never sabotage anyone."
Johnson's disqualification in Seoul led to Lewis being awarded the gold medal and the world record for his time of 9.92 seconds.
Johnson made similar conspiracy allegations in an interview with an Australian television network in October. He admitted he had been a long-time user of performance-enhancing drugs but said stanozolol was not one of the drugs he had been using.
"Number one, that day the drugs that they find in my system was not the drugs that I was using," he said.
"Number two, Ben Johnson was sabotaged in Seoul. Somebody set me up.
"I'm not denying at all that I was taking drugs but that's the drugs that I was using that they claiming.
"Drugs was in sports long before Ben Johnson came on board and drugs will be there long after Ben Johnson is gone."
Ex-BYU Distance Runner Produces New Energy Drink
In an effort to further the health, well-being and success of athletes everywhere, a former BYU runner has developed a new sports drink that purports to offer instant energy to athletes in an easier-to-digest format.
Mark Jensen, creator of the newest sports drink, Gleukos, developed the idea while working on his MBA at BYU. Unsatisfied with drinks that helped hydrate athletes but also put them on a sugar high, Jensen decided to produce a drink around a basic scientific idea.
"I was disappointed with the drinks that were on the market," Jensen said. " We wanted to design a better beverage."
The idea of his product is based on the knowledge that glucose is the fuel for the human body. Most drinks that claim they can give more energy to an athlete focus more on carbohydrates and complex sugars like fructose. Both of these nutrients, despite providing the body with power, have to be broken down into glucose before they can be used for the body's energy stores. Jensen felt if he could simply put glucose into his product to begin with, the body could bypass the digestion process and give athletes quicker energy.
"The concept is to take a normal IV bag that you'd find in a hospital and basically flavor it," Jensen said. "That's it-we wanted an oral IV."
Jensen also wanted to add other nutrients, like potassium, that are crucial to athletic performance and cut out sodium, a nutrient he says most people get more than enough of.
Jensen already has key supporters for Gleukos. Not coincidentally, his biggest supporter is current BYU men's cross-country coach and running legend Ed Eyestone.
A little over two years ago, Jensen started promoting his new drink by getting the Eyestone's squad to try his fresh-off-the-shelves product.
"The first time I met him, I felt he was a little skeptical," Jensen said. "I mean, this kid shows up with a drink saying it's going to make him run faster."
Fortunately for Jensen, Eyestone overcame his initial skepticism and has been using the product for his team ever since.
"Mark was nice enough to give us some of the product initially," Eyestone said. "We were happy to be the guinea pigs. I liked the concept of it and what it was."
Eyestone and his Cougar runners, including national champion Josh Rohatinsky, aren't the only ones who have embraced the newfound product. Gleukos is the official beverage of U.S. Track and Field, the Subaru cross-country ski team and Rubicon Cycling team.
Jensen said the drink is not only for the elite athlete, but for recreational ones as well. Associated Food stores agreed to carry the beverage, which comes in powder and ready-made liquid. The BYU Creamery also has decided to carry the product.
Eyestone said his nationally-ranked runners are happy with the drink and will continue to use it.
"We're glad to have an association with him," Eyestone said. "He [Jensen] has been very generous about providing for our glucose needs. It's produced promising results."
Mexican Athletic Federation Warned of Doping Violations
Written Warning: Mexican Athletic Federation
Friday 1 December 2006
The IAAF hereby informs that it has notified the Mexican Athletic Federation (Federación Mexicana de Atletismo) with a written warning for the breach of IAAF Rule 41.3
Rule 41.3 states, Every Member shall report to the IAAF promptly, and in all circumstances, within 14 days notice to it, any adverse analytical finding obtained in the course of doping controls carried out by that Member or in that Members Country or Territory, together with the name of the athlete concerned.
Despite a considerable requests and subsequent reminders, the Mexican Athletic Federation had repeatedly failed to provide the IAAF with the name and doping control form for an adverse analytical finding related to a doping control test on one of its athletes.
The IAAF Council decided in March of this year in Osaka to use its sanctioning powers against Member Federations who were non compliant with the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules. Under this regime, the sanction applicable for a first time violation is a written warning followed by financial penalties and ultimately suspension of the Member concerned in the case of repeated violations.
EDINBURGH, Scotland (Nov. 27) - Donald Trump wants to build a $1.9 billion golf resort in Scotland.
Trump offered plans Monday for a golf academy and two championship-standard courses on a 1,400-acre site near Aberdeen.
Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland, wants to build 1,000 homes, 36 luxury villas and a 450-bedroom luxury hotel on the same site. Local officials are expected to make a decision on the project in June.
Environmental groups oppose the development, which is planned for the environmentally sensitive Menie Estate, an area of unspoiled sandy beaches.
"We will do the best we can to incorporate the most responsible development, economically, environmentally and aesthetically," Trump spokesman Ashley Cooper said.
Trump, who owns several golf courses in the United States, has already warned that any lengthy planning delays could lead to the cancellation of the project. He also objected to a proposed offshore wind farm, saying it would ruin the view.
Alan Campbell, head of the Aberdeenshire Council, welcomed Trump's interest.
"Such an investment could have the potential to deliver huge benefits," Campbell said.
Top European Promoters To Ban Graham's Athletes
LONDON (AP) - The directors of Europe's top track and field meets will consider whether to shun athletes connected with coach Trevor Graham, who has been indicted by a U.S. grand jury investigating steroids in pro sports.
Euromeetings president Rajne Soderberg told The Associated Press the issue will be discussed when meet directors gather March 2-4 for the European indoor athletic championships in Birmingham, England. Euromeetings comprises the top track and field meets in Europe.
Graham was indicted on three counts of making false statements to federal agents. Federal prosecutors said Graham lied to investigators about his ties to the BALCO lab at the center of the steroids scandal.
Several of Graham's athletes have tested positive for steroids and other banned substances, including Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin, who tested positive for testosterone and other steroids in April. Other athletes who have been coached by Graham include Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones.
''We cannot have any association with (Graham) any longer,'' Soderberg said Thursday.
USATF Chief Gives State of The Sport Address
INDIANAPOLIS - Recalling a year that was marked by successes and challenges, USA Track & Field CEO Craig Masback Wednesday looked toward goals for the upcoming year in his annual State of the Sport address, given at the Opening General Session of the 2006 USATF Annual Meeting. The Opening General Session was held at the Westin hotel in downtown Indianapolis.
"2006 was a year of hope and humility, a year of progress and punishment, and a year of accomplishment and agony," Masback said in opening his address. "We met or exceeded our strategic plan objectives in almost every category, and saw performance and programmatic success at every age level of our sport."
The successes of 2006 laid the foundation for a strong 2007. Taking a cue from the Annual Meeting motto to "Focus on the Horizon," Masback listed key objectives for 2007:
* Maintaining and extending Team USA's status as the World's #1 Track & Field Team
* Dramatically improving the visibility of the sport in the United States, doing so in two notable ways. The first is via an innovative new television and Internet presence that is currently being negotiated. The second is via USATF's new logo and look, announced on Wednesday.
* Working to increase participation in America's leading participatory sport, focusing resources on grass roots and club initiatives.
Among the highlights of 2006 were an increase in television ratings for the Visa Championship Series, with a 30 percent overall increase and two shows that were the most-watched track broadcasts in ESPN history. In addition, "participation in our sport was up in every category, our Be A Champion program took USATF's message about healthy lifestyles, fitness and living life with integrity to a record number of young people. Our foundation expanded considerably and made its first elite athlete development grants. Our sport raised more than $600 million for charity and was more than ever part of the fabric of America."
While strides were made in the anti-doping fight, including recognition by Congress, the IAAF and the media that the current U.S. testing system is a "gold standard," Masback acknowledged that the positive drug test of Justin Gatlin over the summer dealt a new blow to the sport.
"We will never be 'past' the doping issue, and shouldn't be, but once again we must face it directly, acknowledge its challenge for our sport and deal with it effectively, so that the pure joy of our sport that attracted us to it in the first place can triumph."
In order to accomplish that goal, Masback pointed to a need to implement a revised version of USATF's Zero Tolerance Plan, initially adopted to USATF at the 2003 Annual Meeting in Greensboro, N.C. "That plan must take strong action against those around the athletes who influence them to use drugs," Masback said. Athletes must continue to "do the right thing" and compete clean, while everyone in the sport must step forward to report suspected drug use. Further, USATF must continue to educate the press, government and public about the facts of the doping struggle, and must further strengthen its relationships with the IAAF and USOC, as well as the Indianapolis-based NCAA and Black Coaches Association.
USATF's Annual Meeting concludes Sunday in Indianapolis. For more information on USATF and the meeting, visit www.usatf.org
2006 U.S. TRACK & FIELD HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Biographies for the "Class of 2006" for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame follow:
LYNN JENNINGS: One of the most accomplished women's long distance runners in U.S. history, Jennings was a dominant force in cross country, both in the U.S. and internationally. Jennings has won more U.S. women's cross country titles than anyone in history with nine crowns over a 12-year span from 1985 to 1996. She won three consecutive women's world cross country championship titles from 1990 to 1992. She won the silver medal in that event in 1986 and the bronze medal in 1993. A three-time Olympian, Jennings won the bronze medal in the 10,000 meters at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. A four-time member of U.S. World Outdoor Championship teams, Jennings medaled at two World Indoor Championships, winning 3,000m bronze in 1993 and silver in 1995. Jennings won 10 U.S. Outdoor Champion titles (3,000m-1988 and, 1990, 5,000m in1996, plus seven 10,000m titles), and set the women's world indoor 5,000m record of 15:22.64 in 1990. Her U.S. 10,000m record of 31:19.89 set in 1992 lasted for a decade.
DAN O'BRIEN: One of the finest decathletes the world has ever known, O'Brien is tied with 1968 Olympic gold medalist and fellow Hall of Famer Bill Toomey for the most U.S. national 10-event titles ever with five. O'Brien captured his own Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Games in Atlanta with 8,824 points in what was his 11th consecutive decathlon win since September 1992. In winning, he avenged a no-height performance in the pole vault at the 1992 Olympic Trials - which kept him off the U.S. Olympic team. O'Brien also twice set the world record in the decathlon, and had a best of 8,891. The world decathlon champion in 1991, 1993 and 1995, O'Brien earned the year-end world #1 ranking from Track & Field News on six occasions and finished in the top ten of T&FN's World Athlete of the Year voting four times during his career.
KEVIN YOUNG: In an electrifying performance that would have won the flat 400m title as recently as the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Young became the first and only man in history to shatter the 47-second barrier by winning the 1992 Olympic men's 400m hurdles gold medal in the astounding world record time of 46.78 seconds. Using his unusual technique of switching between 12 and 13-stride intervals between hurdles, Young bettered the world record of 47.02 set by Edwin Moses in 1983 despite slamming the final hurdle and raising his arms in triumph prior to reaching the finish. His record still stands and he remains the only athlete ever to break the 47-second barrier. As a collegian, Young was nicknamed "Spiderman" by his teammates at UCLA, where he won the 1987 and 1988 NCAA 400m hurdles crowns. After winning the 400m hurdles at the 1993 USA Outdoor Championships, later that summer Young won the gold medal at the World Outdoor Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
OLLAN CASSELL: A figure who reached the highest levels of track and field as both an athlete and an official, Cassell served as the track & field administrator for the AAU from 1965-1970, and as the AAU's executive director from 1970-1980. Following the implementation of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, Cassell managed the transition from the AAU to the new national governing body as the executive director of The Athletics Congress/USA Track & Field. He served in that capacity from 1980 thru July 1997. An IAAF Vice-President from 1984 to 1996, during his tenure as the nation's chief track and field administrator the sport transitioned from an amateur to a professional sport. Cassell currently is involved in real estate and is a professor of Olympic Sports history at universities in the Indianapolis area. He also serves as the president of the Indiana Olympians Association.
REX CAWLEY: As a student at USC, Cawley won the NCAA national title in the 440 yard hurdles in 1963. He set the world record of 49.1 seconds in the 400m hurdles during the 1964 Olympic Trials, becoming a favorite to medal at the Olympic Games. At the Olympics in Tokyo, he defeated his nearest competitor in the event, John Cooper of Great Britain, by .5 seconds to take home the gold medal. A two-time USA 400m hurdles champion (1963 & 1965), Cawley was twice world-ranked #1 in the 400-meter hurdles by Track & Field News, and he also achieved rankings in the 400m dash and 110m hurdles. Cawley was the runner-up in the 1963 USA vs. Russia dual meet in Moscow with his time of 50.9 seconds before winning against the Russians in another dual affair in 1964 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 49.5 seconds.
BEN EASTMAN: A collegiate star at Stanford University, Eastman won the IC4A 880 yard run in 1931, and in the spring of 1932 he set three world records running 440 yards in 46.4 seconds, and the 880 in 1:51.3 and 1:50.9. In 1932, Eastman won his second IC4A half-mile crown and finished as the 400m runner-up at both the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games in Los Angeles to former world record holder Bill Carr. In 1933, Eastman turned his attention to the 800m/880y and won that event at the AAU Nationals. That year he set world indoor records in the 500 meters (1:02.0) and the 600y dash in 1:09.2. In 1934 he lowered the world record for the 880 to 1:49.8. Eastman retired in 1934 and made a comeback two years later before permanently hanging up his spikes after placing fifth in the 800 meters at the 1936 Olympic Trials. He died October 6, 2002.
MATT McGRATH: Born in Ireland and later immigrated to the United States, McGrath was included in the group of large and dominant throwers of the era knowns as the "Irish Whales." Considered world class in the hammer at 27, McGrath remarkably remained in the top ten of the world list until age 50. The winner of seven national hammer titles, McGrath also captured seven indoor weight throw crowns. McGrath won the silver medal at the 1908 Olympics in London and later dominated the competition by winning gold at the 1912 Stockholm Games, where the shortest of his six throws was 15 feet farther than anyone else's best. His longest throw of 54.74 meters/179 feet, 7 inches was an Olympic record that lasted 24 years. McGrath won Olympic silver at Paris in 1924 and held the world hammer throw world record on two occasions. He died January 29, 1941.
BILL NIEDER: As a high school star Nieder became one of the first prep athletes to break the 60-foot barrier with a 12-pound shot put. Coincidentally, at the University of Kansas, he was the first collegiate athlete to better the 60-foot mark with a 16-pound shot. During his career, Nieder faced the difficult task of competiting against fellow National Track & Field Hall of Famers Parry O'Brien and Dallas Long. The winner of the 1955 NCAA Outdoor title and the AAU crown in 1957, Nieder won the silver medal, finishing as the runner-up to O'Brien at the 1956 Olympic Games before winning the gold medal in 1960 in Rome with an Olympic record throw of 19.05 meters/62 feet, 6.25 inches. Nieder, who set the shot put world record on four occasions, tried boxing when his track and field career ended following the 1960 Olympics. He lost in his first bout and hung up the gloves for good.
(For more information on the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, visit www.usatf.org)
2006 ASIAN GAMES SET TO OPEN
All eyes on hurdler Liu Xiang
With few athletes of calibre like China's Liu Xiang, attention will be focusing on the men's 110 meters hurdles world record holder when track and field events get underway at the December 1-15 Asian Games in Doha.
Liu Xiang of China celebrates setting a new world record in the men's 110-metre race at the IAAF Super Grand Prix athletics meeting in Lausanne July 11, 2006. Liu won the race in a world record time of 12.88 seconds. [Reuters]
The 23-year-old Liu, who shattered the world record when he clocked 12.88 seconds at an IAAF meet in Lausanne last July, is looking to round off his sizzling season in style with a second Asian Games gold.
Four years ago, he scored a runaway victory in the 110m hurdles, clocking a games record of 13.27, bettering compatriot Li Tong's 1994 mark of 13.30.
"The Asian Games is of great importance," said Liu, who is training in South China's Guangzhou, the host city of the 2010 Asian Games. "My goal is simple - winning the gold."
Despite starting as the overwhelming favorite, Liu was warned against complacency because in a technical event like the hurdles, anything is possible.
"It's the end of the season but we still have to work hard," said Liu's coach Sun Haiping. "If I have to, I will make Liu train until his head spins."
Liu, who won the IAAF Performance of the Year Award last week, headlines a 41-strong Chinese squad which also includes teenager Huang Haiqiang, who grabbed gold in the high jump at the world junior championships in Beijing last August, and Asian women's pole vault record holder Gao Shuying.
China won 14 gold medals at the Busan games, roughly a third of the gold medals on offer in track and field. Having Liu and Huang in its ranks, China is expected to walk away with the most gold medals again in Doha.
But if anybody other than Liu Xiang could produce a world class performance, Japan's Olympic hammer throw champion Koji Murobushi tops the list.
The 32-year-old veteran, who was unbeaten this season, is aiming for a third straight Asiad gold to emulate his father, Shigenobu, who won the title for five times in a row.
The Japanese headed home with only two gold medals in track and field at the Busan Asiad. But, this time, they are looking to redeem their position as a regional powerhouse.
Japan is pinning gold-medal hopes on marathon, where it will be represented by Tsuyoshi Ogata, the 2005 world bronze medal winner, and Atsushi Fujita.
The men's 4x100m relay is a traditional Japanese strength, and Shingo Suetsugu, the men's 200m bronze medalist at the 2003 world championships, looks set to defend his Asian Games title.
The hosts and their neighbors, however, cannot be neglected.
Buying in African talents in the past four years have put the Gulf states of Qatar and Bahrain on the map of world athletics. Former Kenyan two-time world 3,000 steeplechase champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen now competes for Qatar, while Bahrain's Maryam Yusuf Jamal became the first Asian woman from outside of China to win a World Cup event after the Ethiopian-born runner had unleashed a blistering last lap to run away with the women's 1500m in Athens in September.
As a matter of fact, west Asia was already a force to be reckoned with in Busan 2002, where Saudi Arabia surprised all by claiming seven gold medals in track and field.
The west Asians are very likely to hit new heights when the Asian Games return to this region for the first time since Iran played host in 1974. Anyhow, competing in heat is routine for them.
REVISITING PERIODIZATION IN FITNESS TRAINING
If you are running more miles and working out harder but showing little improvement, you may be missing a key ingredient in your training recipe: recovery.
Case in point: I ran eight minutes faster in last week's Motive Bison Stampede Half-Marathon than I did in 2005. My training mileage remained the same 50 a week. So did my weekly speed sessions and my long runs.
So what did I do differently? I learned to build in some recovery, making sure to run several days of only two to four miles every 10 days or so.
Most runners shudder at the word "recovery," thinking that they have to train less, or that "no pain, no gain" is the only winning formula. But the reality is that the largest fitness gains are made while you are not running, not when you are.
For some runners, a recovery plan can be something as simple as running every other day. For others, a more cyclical plan works.
"We usually work on a 21-day cycle," said Steve Sisson, assistant coach of the women's track and field and cross country programs at the University of Texas. "We'll run 14 days of harder work, followed by a seven-day recovery period. That might mean one quality-maintenance workout, and the rest is recovery. I find that this allows for mental recovery as well."
From a purely physiological standpoint, a key fitness concept is that the greater the training stimulus, the stronger the recovery response. That translates into an improvement in fitness.
"Many of us don't run hard enough on a regular basis to trigger a strong recovery response," writes Matt Fitzgerald, author of Triathlete Magazine's Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide.
"A runner who trains five times a week at an effort of five on a scale of one to 10, will see fewer fitness gains because the body is neither challenged significantly during any one run nor allowed to recover from an intense training stress. It's much more beneficial to do two of those workouts at a difficulty level of eight, and the other three at about three. Both schedules add up to 25 points, but the two hard-three easy schedule stimulates a larger recovery response and consequently, bigger training gains," says Fitzgerald.
With marathon training in full swing, incorporating recovery time could not be more important.
"You need to build in breaks in order to compensate for the hard work you have done and time for the body to take on the adaptations," said Sisson. "It's the only way you are going to improve."