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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 24, 2002

Cohen skates into second

American Sasha Cohen's dramatic performance and blinding spin in Saturday's free skate was not enough to win the Cup of Russia Grand Prix in Moscow.

Cohen, who tops the Grand Prix standings, finished second to Russia's Viktoria Volchkova, who rallied from third after the short program to win her first senior gold medal.

World champion Irina Slutskaya, making a late-season debut after starting her training late, finished third.

In the closing moments, Cohen pulled off a spin with her free leg almost vertical.

"I go out to attack," said Cohen, who was not competing for points. "I skated the best of my three Grand Prixs."

In other events, China's Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao won pairs. Russia's Evgeny Plushenko won men's gold.

WINTER SPORTS: Dutch speed-skater Erben Wennemars won a 1,500-meter World Cup race in Heerenveen, Netherlands, setting a stadium record of 1 minute, 46.63 seconds. American Derek Parra was third (1:48.18). Parra leads the standings after four races. ... Americans Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin (1:27.641) opened the World Cup luge season with a doubles victory in Park City, Utah. ... France won its first World Cup cross-country race, as Vincent Vittoz (23:59.9) won a 10K freestyle event in Kiruna, Sweden. ... German authorities suspended former European bobsled champ Thomas Platzer, now a skeleton racer, after he tested positive for steroids.

VOLLEYBALL: Florida swept Georgia 30-19, 30-20, 30-27 in the the SEC tournament. The Gators face host Arkansas at 3:30 today in the final. ... South Florida beat Houston 30-24, 22-30, 30-26, 30-22 in a quarterfinal of the Conference USA tournament in Chicago. Shameka Mitchell and Michelle Collier each had 14 kills for USF. The Bulls play at 1 today. ... Leyre Santaella Sante had a match-best 24 kills to lead host Central Florida to the Atlantic Sun championship. The Golden Knights beat Georgia State 30-27, 26-30, 29-31, 30-27, 17-15. UCF secured the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. ... Florida State advanced to the ACC tournament final, beating top-seeded North Carolina 30-23, 30-25, 30-23. The Seminoles face host Georgia Tech at 3:30 today.

HORSES: The company that employed the man charged with being behind the Breeders' Cup betting scam fired a worker in 1999 for attempting to redeem counterfeit tickets, the Daily Racing Form reported. An employee for Newark, Del.-based Autotote Corp. was caught by track personnel while trying to redeem counterfeit tickets in a supervisor's office. The Delaware Racing Commission will investigate how the '99 ticket caper was pulled off and why the commission was not notified. ... Sligo Bay edged Grammarian by a length in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, returning $20, $11 and $7.20.

BOXING: Vitaly Klitschko knocked out Larry Donald in the 10th round in Dortmund, Germany, paving the way for a WBC heavyweight title fight with Lennox Lewis. ... Johnny Nelson kept his WBO cruiserweight title on a split decision after 12 rounds with Guillermo Jones in Derby, England. ... British heavyweight Audley Harrison won his U.S. debut, stopping Shawn Robinson in the first round of a six-rounder in Atlantic City, N.J.

SOCCER: Italian League's Cagliari will play its next three home games on a neutral field as punishment for a fan attack on a rival goalkeeper. Authorities fined it about $10,000.

GYMNASTICS: Courtney Kupets won the women's uneven bars at the World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, the first American in more than 20 years to win the title. The 16-year-old scored 9.550 points to beat World Cup champion Iona Petrovschi of Romania.

AMERICA'S CUP: High wind (more than 20 knots) postponed racing in the challenger series a second straight day in Auckland, New Zealand.

POWERBOATS: Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys fame won a Super Vee world title after winning two races that comprise the Key West Offshore Worlds championship.

SAILING: France's Michel Desjoyeaux won the multihull competition of the Route du Rhum trans-Atlantic solo race. The 37-year-old reached Pointe-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe, from Saint-Malo in 13 days, 7 hours, 53 minutes.

SWIMMING: University of California's Natalie Coughlin set world short-course records in the FINA World Cup series at East Meadow, N.Y. Coughlin won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.71, topping her 2001 mark of 57.08. Then she finished the 100 individual medley in 58.80, topping Jenny Thompson's 1999 mark of 59.30.

WEIGHTLIFTING: Bulgarian Zlatan Vasilev won gold in the 85-kilogram division at the World Championships in Warsaw, Poland. For the women, Russia's Svetlana Khabirova won the 75-kilogram category.

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