The Houston Rockets' center Akeem Olajuwon, who changed his first name to Hakeem. Olajuwon said he made the alteration to conform to the more traditional Arabic spelling of the name, though it will still be pronounced ah-KEEM, as before. Hakeem, which means "wise one" or "doctor," will take some getting used to. In fact, Olajuwon was observed signing autographs as Akeem even after he made the change.
By the AAU as the winner of its 1990 Sullivan Award (presented to the nation's top amateur athlete), John Smith, 25, making him the first wrestler to win the honor in its 61-year history. Smith, now an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, earned a gold medal in the 136½-pound class at last year's Goodwill Games and is the first U.S. wrestler ever to win four world or Olympic titles.
By the WBO of its junior welterweight title, Greg Haugen, for testing positive for marijuana after his Feb. 23 split-decision victory over Hector Camacho in Las Vegas. In addition, Haugen was fined a record $25,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service in Clark (Nev.) County. The WBO also ordered Haugen to grant a rematch to Camacho. "Screw the WBO," said Haugen, who admitted to longtime marijuana use. "I'm going to kick Camacho's butt, and they can have their belt."
By Georgia Tech senior third baseman Andy Bruce, an NCAA record by hitting a home run in eight consecutive games, breaking the mark of six, set in 1983 by Jeff DePiano of the University of Jacksonville. Bruce, who turned down a $55,000 signing bonus as the A's fifth-round draft choice last June, found out about the record while reading a newspaper during a post-game whirlpool treatment.
March 25, 1991
By Rick Swenson, a blizzard in northern Alaska, as he won a record fifth Iditarod sled dog race. Four-time champion Susan Butcher had a one-hour lead entering the final leg of the 1,163-mile race from Anchorage to Nome, but when a ferocious snowstorm hit just 77 miles from the finish, she and several other mushers chose to return to shelter. "It was a surprise to me that she turned back knowing that I didn't," said Swenson. "But maybe she's gotten a little soft with four victories under her belt."
By Irish gambler and carpet-supply king Noel Furlong, $925,000, to the British customs department to settle a seven-year sales-tax debt and thereby become eligible to enter the United Kingdom. No sooner had Furlong arrived in England than he wagered a reported $220,000 on his wife's horse, Destriero, in the first race at the Cheltenham Festival. Destriero, who went off at 6-1, won the race and earned Furlong over $1.85 million. "Furlong is without a doubt the biggest gambler in Europe," said Mike Dillon of Bookmakers Ladbrokes Asserts. "He frightens the life out of bookmakers."