THE DOCTOR IS IN
The new IOC president seems to be the right medicine
IOC president Jacques Rogge's calendar looked like a traffic
bottleneck, a mishmash of intersecting entries and sideways
scribbles in the margins. "I have no room for doodling," Rogge
(pronounced ROH-ga) said during a trip to New York City. And no
time for dawdling. While visiting media and Olympic sponsors in
the U.S., he held 19 meetings in nine cities over four days.
In his first three months on the job, Rogge, 59, a retired
orthopedic surgeon, has allayed suspicions that he would be a
clone of Juan Antonio Samaranch, his predecessor and supporter.
He has eschewed the title Your Excellency that Samaranch so
enjoyed, and as if to highlight his background as an Olympian (a
credential Samaranch lacked), the former world champion sailor
said that in Salt Lake City in February he'll live at the
Olympic Village--something he did three times as an athlete and
five more as an official with the Belgian team. A month into his
presidency, Rogge toured Games venues in Utah, a place Samaranch
avoided after the Salt Lake bidding scandal broke in 1999.
Before his election, Rogge pledged candor on any Olympic-related
topic, and in a meeting with SI last week, he spelled out his
positions on some of those issues.
DOPING Last summer the IOC released initial results of its
testing of 600 over-the-counter nutritional supplements, showing
that 20% of them contained banned drugs, including steroids.
Rogge rejects Samaranch's suggestion that the IOC might be
better off removing some substances from its lengthy banned
list. "With all due respect to Juan Antonio Samaranch, he's not
aware of the reality of sports medicine and doping," Rogge said,
implying that athletes would exploit any newfound leniency. "If
you test positive for contaminated food supplements, you'll hang
SWIFTER, HIGHER, SMALLER? Rogge would like to see South American
and African nations host the Olympics but thinks the Games have
become too big and expensive for cities on those continents. He
points out that the number of credentials issued to athletes,
officials, journalists, volunteers and support staff grew from
130,000 in Barcelona in 1992 to 185,000 last year in Sydney.
Only about 10,000 of that number in Sydney were athletes, and
Rogge thinks personnel cuts can be made in other areas without
harming the quality of the Games. He'd also like to see smaller
venues--future bid cities shouldn't feel they need to build an
18,000-seat swim stadium as Sydney did. "We don't want to leave
white elephants," he says.
As for events, 300 gold medals were awarded in Sydney. Rogge
doesn't anticipate that the IOC will add sports without
eliminating subcategories in others--boxing, for instance, will
lose one weight class and men's wrestling will give up two to
accommodate women's wrestling for 2004. Cutting events outright
is tricky. While Americans might wonder what badminton is doing
in the Games, Rogge points to its huge popularity in Southeast
Asia as justification for its inclusion.
New York 2012 While recognizing the generosity behind the
gesture, Rogge says he would not support an offer from the mayor
of Rome to withdraw his city's bid for the 2012 Games if the
USOC picks New York as its candidate city. "New York would be
fantastic," Rogge said, "but we must complete the bid process to
ensure that the athletes get the most qualified host. New York
must win on its own merit, not because of sympathy or
EDDIE FUTCH, 1911-2001
That Eddie Futch lived to 90 without making any enemies was
remarkable enough, but considering that almost all those years
were spent in boxing, a business in which nice guys generally
don't finish at all, it's even more astonishing. Beloved of
friends and rivals alike, Futch was a gentleman trainer whose
good nature didn't seem to interfere with success in the ring.
He trained 22 champions, six of them heavyweights, and would
have trained who knows how many more if he hadn't been as
scrupulous about his fighters' conduct as he was about his own.
Futch, who died on Oct. 10 at his home in Las Vegas, had only
recently withdrawn from the sport he'd distinguished for so
long. To the younger generation he may be best remembered as the
man who somehow whipped the undisciplined Riddick Bowe into a
heavyweight champ. Bowe, who found it hard to listen to anyone's
instructions, idolized the man he called Papa Smurf and listened
enough to win the WBA, WBC and IBF titles from Evander Holyfield
in 1992 but not, ultimately, enough to keep Futch from dropping
Futch could be impatient that way, ignoring the money when it
got in the way of his standards. More fighters were turned away
than taken in. Of those Futch did work with, the record is
plain: He made them better. Starting with Don Jordan, who won
the welterweight title in 1958, Futch trained such champions as
Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Alexis Arguello and Mike McCallum.
While Muhammad Ali is regarded as the greatest heavyweight of
his era, Futch devised upsets of Ali by both Joe Frazier and Ken
For all that, he may best be remembered for a defeat. Futch was
the man who threw in the towel before the 15th round of the
Thrilla in Manila, telling an enraged Frazier, "It's over." Many
believe that Frazier, going into that final round, might have
rallied to take the rubber match of the Ali-Frazier trilogy, but
Futch wasn't about to risk Frazier's life--the fighter's left
eye was swollen shut--to find out. It was, beyond any
championship he brought a fighter, an example of Futch doing the
right thing, which he did for an awfully long time.
The Battle for Bonds's Ball
Minutes after Barry Bonds hit his 73rd home run, on Oct. 7, Pac
Bell Park officials descended on the rightfield stands where the
ball had landed and whisked away Patrick Hayashi, 36, the fan
who'd recovered the valuable souvenir. Hayashi (below) wouldn't
comment on his plans for the ball, which experts estimate could
fetch $1 million, except to say, "I am just savoring the moment."
That moment might not be so savory if Alex Popov has his way.
After the historic homer, San Francisco's KNTV ran footage
showing that the ball had actually been caught by Popov, 37, who
was wrestled to the ground by a mob. Moments later Hayashi
emerged from the crush and pulled the ball from his pocket.
Popov, a health-food restaurateur, has hired a lawyer and plans
to seek a restraining order to stop Hayashi from selling the ball.
The Giants say the ball is with its proper owner. "Once Major
League Baseball identifies the individual with possession of the
ball, that's the end of that," says team spokesman Jorge Costa.
But legal scholars aren't so sure. "If Popov caught the ball,
it's his ball," says Paul Finkelman, a law professor at Tulsa
and the author of Fugitive Baseballs: Abandoned Property, a
legal paper about balls that fly into the stands. "If you say
what happened is O.K., then you're arguing you can punch, kick
and scratch someone to get something that isn't yours."
Hayashi has hired an agent, Michael Barnes, who says, "I'm
amazed someone would think my client is not the rightful owner.
He was nowhere near Mr. Popov--he was the recipient of the ball
coming out of the mad mob. My client was at the right place at
the right time."
Q Can a player be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
based on his performance in a pro league other than the NFL?
A Or in other words, will Doug Flutie (right) ever make it to
Canton? Although Flutie's NFL numbers and accomplishments are,
at best, slightly above ordinary, when his CFL exploits (41,355
passing yards, three Grey Cups, six Most Outstanding Player
Awards) are taken into account, he starts looking more like Hall
material. Is Flutie a future Hall of Famer?
"We are the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so we do look at leagues
besides the NFL," says Hall spokesman Joe Horrigan. "Billy Shaw
is in the Hall, and he played his entire career in the AFL."
Stats from the All-American Football Conference and the USFL are
also recognized by the Hall. "This is Jim Kelly's first year to
be considered for induction, and his career will be examined as
a whole, including his two seasons in the USFL," says Horrigan.
As for Flutie, however, Canton doesn't recognize CFL stats
because the Canadian game uses different rules. In addition,
says Horrigan, "We include only football leagues from this
country. The CFL has its own Hall of Fame."
In San Antonio not long ago, the inner-city block now occupied
by the Carver Academy was a desolate stretch of crack houses
flanked by an abandoned refrigerator factory and a mortuary.
"There hadn't been any development in the area for years, and it
showed," says Spurs center David Robinson.
What's developing there now are young minds. In 1997 Robinson
contributed $5 million--believed to be the largest single
charitable donation ever by a pro athlete--toward the $14
million cost to build a private elementary school on San
Antonio's predominantly black East Side. In September the Carver
Academy, targeted to children of low-income families, opened its
doors to 60 students in four grades. When construction is
completed next year, the school will accommodate 280 students
from prekindergarten to eighth grade.
"I wanted to infuse some money and some pride into the area,"
says Robinson, who monitors the school's development closely. He
interviewed candidates for the headmaster position and wrote the
school's charter, which stresses discipline and religious faith.
Because most families pay only $300 toward the $8,000 cost to
educate each child, Robinson is also aggressively raising funds
to establish a $45 million endowment. "It's critical that I stay
involved," he says, "if only to show these kids that there's
more to loving than opening your checkbook." Robinson's
commitment has impressed those closest to the project. "The
academy is named for George Washington Carver," says assistant
headmaster Everett White, "but only because we couldn't persuade
him to call it the David Robinson Academy."
The Braves, to commissioner Bud Selig's request that, out of
respect for the victims of Sept. 11, victorious postseason teams
refrain from the traditional locker room champagne celebration.
After sweeping the Astros in the division playoffs, the Braves
doused one another with beer. The Diamondbacks, however, popped
the cork on the real bubbly on Sunday.
A request by U.S. Speedskating for an exception to new FAA rules
governing carry-on articles, to allow skaters to take their
equipment with them in the passenger compartment on airline
flights. The athletes fear their razor-sharp blades might be
damaged if transported as checked baggage.
By French insurance giant AXA, the renegotiation of its contract
to provide coverage for next year's World Cup soccer tournament
in Japan and South Korea, because of heightened risks following
the Sept. 11 attacks. AXA says it will pull out of its contract,
which was to have insured the tournament for more than $850
million against various risks including terrorism, on Nov. 11
unless a new deal is struck. FIFA has paid more than $10 million
of its $17 million premium.
Jack Nicklaus, as a member of the Augusta National Golf Club,
where he won six Masters titles. He and Arnold Palmer are the
only Masters champions who are members.
Rochester, N.Y., radio station WHAM-AM's request to carry
Chargers games. San Diego team officials say they have no
interest in intruding on the Bills' traditional turf. Both WHAM
and Rochester's CBS TV affiliate say they've been deluged with
requests--many of them from female Doug Flutie fans--to carry
Here at Scorecard we have at our fingertips a vast array of
sophisticated sources of information: expert analysis, insider
scouting reports, early access to breaking news. All of which we
marshal each week for one overarching task--making our picks in
the neighborhood football pool. Of course, a little knowledge is
a dangerous thing (or in our case an unlucky thing) so given our
losing ways in matters of prognostication, we turned to other
experts. We asked five seers to give us their picks for last
week's slate of NFL games: a telephone psychic; a professional
sports tout; the four-year-old son of an SI staffer; April, a
sea lion at New York's Central Park Zoo; and Mavericks owner
Mark Cuban. The results (correct picks in italics):
SELECTION METHOD "I talk to my spiritual guide."
PICKS Cardinals, Ravens, Browns, Lions, Panthers, Giants,
Steelers, Chargers, Falcons, Titans, Broncos, Dolphins, Raiders
SELECTION METHOD "I look at insiders at certain organizations
and where they're moving their money."
PICKS Cardinals, Packers, Bengals, Lions, Panthers, Giants,
Chiefs, Patriots, Falcons, Titans, Broncos, Jets, Colts and
SELECTION METHOD "I always choose animals. I most like
PICKS Bears, Ravens, Bengals, Lions, Panthers, Rams, Steelers,
Patriots, Falcons, Buccaneers, Seahawks, Dolphins, Colts and
The Sea Lion
SELECTION METHOD A HOME sign was placed to April's right, and an
AWAY sign was placed to her left. As each game was
announced--and a fishy treat proffered--her preference was noted.
PICKS Bears, Packers, Bengals, Lions, Panthers, Giants,
Steelers, Patriots, 49ers, Titans, Seahawks, Dolphins, Colts and
SELECTION METHOD "Scratching my head and flipping a coin."
PICKS Bears, Ravens, Bengals, Vikings, Saints, Rams, Steelers,
Chargers, 49ers, Titans, Broncos, Jets, Colts and Cowboys
Life away from the limelight can be tough for former athletes,
which is why Inside Schwartz, NBC's new sitcom about a wannabe
sportscaster with a rich fantasy life, has proved to be a
godsend for ex-jocks. The show has already featured cameos by
Bill Buckner, Dick Butkus and Bo Jackson (below, with Schwartz
star Breckin Meyer), and athletes appearing soon include Magic
Johnson and Deion Sanders. NBC execs have urged executive
producer Stephen Engel to land active stars; their wish list
includes Tiger Woods, Shaquille O'Neal and--of course--Anna
Kournikova. "But with athletes like that," says Engel, "if
they're not in season, they're on vacation." Two who have taped
scenes that ended up on the cutting-room floor: Keith Hernandez
and Michael Irvin. Engel insists it wasn't because of their
performances but because the episodes ran long.... Bob Costas
and his wife, Randy, are divorcing after 18 years of marriage.
According to Pam Davis, Bob's business manager, "The parting is
amicable. They are devoted to their children, and Bob will
continue to live in St. Louis to remain close to them." The
couple have a 15-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. Costas
and his wife decided on the split in August but held back
announcing the news for personal reasons.... Fever Pitch, Nick
Hornby's 1992 book about his obsession with the English soccer
club Arsenal, is headed for the big screen. Actually, Pitch was
already made into a movie as a 1997 British production, but the
new film will Americanize the story: The hero's sport will morph
from soccer into baseball, with the Red Sox taking Arsenal's
place. "The Red Sox will be the crutch for the man being unable
to make commitments in his life," says producer Amanda Posey.
"That is, until he meets a woman he can fall in love with and
must choose between the team and the woman." One detail to be
tweaked: The book climaxes with Arsenal's victory over Liverpool
to win the 1989 league championship. Unless the film strays into
sci-fi, a Bosox World Series title won't be part of the remake.
Technical fouls called in the past two years on Rasheed Wallace,
who'll be a Trail Blazers co-captain this season.
Age of Kay Marshall, Australia's reigning Formula One powerboat
champ; her competitors call her Ma.
Average prime-time viewers from Sept. 3 to Sept. 23 for two of
Canada's new digital cable channels: Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV.
Amount the group Save Our Canyons has offered Salt Lake
officials not to place five 160-foot-diameter Olympic rings on
the foothills above the city--$5,000 more than Olympic
organizers would donate to the city for permission to erect the
High bid as of Monday on eBay for a collection of nearly 600
Shawn Kemp trading cards; the seller will put the money from the
sale of the set, which took almost 10 years to assemble, toward
his college education.
This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse
Now that he's done with baseball and football, Deion Sanders
says he'd like to join the professional bass-fishing tour.
the program given the Titans' sparse facilities: "My dream has
been to find recruits who step into our gym and say, 'Wow, look
at this. This is great.' So we went out and recruited in Senegal."