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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000


Mom helps Olympian get medal

Norwegian soccer player Anne Toennessen is getting an Olympic gold medal three weeks after the Sydney Games. All because her mother wrote a letter.

Toennessen was part of the women's team that beat the United States in the final. But Toennessen got a concussion in the second game of the Olympics and was sent home.

So when Norway got the gold, Toennessen was told she could not get a medal under Olympic rules because she had been replaced on the team and did not play in the final. There were medals for 18 players; she was No. 19.

The decision brought an outpouring of sympathy, especially because two players, including Toennessen's replacement, got medals though they did not play.

Toennessen's mother, Signe, wrote a letter to Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, asking for help.

This week the family got a reply from the IOC. The letter from sports director Gilbert Felli said Toennessen was entitled to a medal under the rules because she had played in the tournament.

MORE OLYMPICS: Dieter Baumann, the 1992 5,000-meter champion, wants to go to civil court to fight a two-year drug suspension imposed by the IAAF, track's world governing body. The German, who twice tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, had his last-ditch appeal dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ... Trine Hattestad, Olympic javelin gold medalist and world record holder, is retiring. Hattestad, 34, won the women's gold at Sydney. ... A U.S. defense agency is in Salt Lake City testing its ability to track the movement of deadly chemical or industrial gases, a potential threat being assessed by security planners for the 2002 Winter Games. ... The World Anti-Doping Agency is ready to investigate reports that five Italian gold-medal winners at Sydney registered high levels of human growth hormone in blood tests this year.

BOWLING: Diane Buchanan rolled the third perfect game of the 2000 AMF World Cup in Lisbon, Portugal. Buchanan's 300 game was the first perfect game by a woman in this year's tournament and the third by a woman in the event's history. ... Mike Pullin averaged 250 to lead after the second round of match play in the PBA Senior Tour's Hammond (Ind.) Senior Open. Pullin, who jumped from ninth place to first in seeking his first PBA title, has a 34-game pinfall total of 8,099.

COLLEGES: Hal Baird, who retired in May after 16 seasons as Auburn's baseball coach, will take another position at the university rather than join the Atlanta Braves organization. Baird, 51, will be associate athletic director for men's Olympic sports.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: The NCAA will issue its report on the academic fraud scandal in Minnesota's men's program next week. The NCAA's infractions committee began investigating after the university's nine-month, $2.2-million look uncovered systematic cheating and fraud. The school's findings resulted in the departure of coach Clem Haskins and two university administrators, plus self-imposed sanctions limiting recruitment and banning the team from post-season play. ... Optimism was a recurring theme as the Kentucky men met reporters during the squad's annual media day at Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky returns one senior from a team that finished 23-10 last season. "I think you're going to see a lot of improvement," guard Saul Smith said, grinning. ... I think people are going to see a lot more high-flying, death-defying acts. It's going to be fun." ... Forward Ike Harmon, a three-year starter for the Cal State Fullerton men, sustained a stress fracture in his left foot and will be out at least three weeks. ... Sophomore Amy Lingenfelder and junior Lindsey Aves have left the Georgia Tech women's team for personal reasons. Lingenfelder played in all 31 games last season as a freshman, starting 11. ... Tennessee coach Pat Summitt likes what she sees from her women's team. After a week of practice, Summitt is impressed by the team's talent, depth and attitude. "While we have only had five practices, this team has really had a real good level of intensity and tempo up and down," she said in the first news conference before the season.

HORSE RACING: Aaron and Marie Jones like Riboletta's chances in the Breeders' Cup Distaff enough to spend $400,000 on her. That is the amount they will ante up to supplement the filly to the $2-million race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. ... Jockey Willie Martinez earned his 2,000th career victory in Wednesday's sixth race at Keeneland. Martinez guided 10-1 long shot Degas to a head-length victory. ... Garden State Park, one of the oldest racetracks in New Jersey, will not hold a thoroughbred meet in 2001 because of declining attendance, handle and field sizes. ... Unbridled Vice led from start to finish for a victory in Belmont Park's $44,000 feature race. ... Freefourracing charged along the rail and went on to win the $82,525 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland.

SAILING: The first America's Cup challenger for 2003, a boat owned by San Francisco computer chief Larry Ellison, is sailing on the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand. Oracle Racing, bankrolled by Ellison, has begun its summer testing on Auckland waters. The boat, called AmericaOne's USA-61, started sailing again exactly a year after the Cup challenger series began on the gulf. At the helm was former skipper Paul Cayard, now campaign manager of Oracle Racing. New skipper Chris Dickson was on his way to Bermuda for the year's last big match-racing regatta.

SOCCER: Superstar Ronaldo was called to testify before a Brazilian congressional commission investigating Nike's $160-million sponsorship of the national team. Rep. Silvio Torres, who heads the commission, said he wants Ronaldo to clarify why he was given permission to play after having convulsions just before the final game of the 1998 World Cup, which Brazil lost 3-0 to France. ... Brazil is set to appoint Emerson Leao as its new coach. ... European soccer's governing body opened an investigation into the scuffles and alleged racial abuse that marred the Champions League game between Lazio and Arsenal on Tuesday. UEFA's investigation includes allegations that Arsenal's Patrick Vieira was subjected to racial abuse. It was uncertain how long the investigation would last. Arsenal and Lazio tied 1-1 at Rome, a result that ensured Arsenal advanced to the next stage.

SOFTBALL: The Tampa Bay FireStix and Florida Wahoos will have 28 home dates featuring 36 games in the 2001 schedule released by the Women's Pro Softball League. Next season includes games in a "Gold Medal Tour' by the U.S. team that won the Olympics. All home games will be at Plant City Stadium, including the teams playing the national team once each. The season begins in May.

TENNIS: Defending champion Magnus Norman defeated Andre Sa 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the $350,000 Heineken Open in Shanghai, China. Other top seeds also advanced. No. 2 Nicolas Lapentti defeated George Bastl 6-3, 6-2. ... Jan-Michael Gambill, the only American in the $400,000 Toulouse Open in France, reached the quarterfinals and spoiled Hicham Arazi's 27th birthday with a 6-3, 7-5 victory. Gambill next faces Carlos Moya, who eliminated Marc Rosset 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7). ... Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport beat Amanda Hopmans 6-1, 6-1 in the Generali Ladies Open in Linz, Austria, and No. 6 Amelie Mauresmo was upset by Kveta Hrdlickova 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Nathalie Tauziat, seeded fourth, defeated Karina Habsudova 6-2, 7-5. ... Belgium's top-ranked player, Dominique Van Roost, said she was retiring, ending a 10-year professional career with four singles and four doubles titles. Van Roost, 27, is ranked 18th in the world and won a bronze medal at the Olympics in women's doubles.

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