Figuring It Out
How will skating get its house in order after the Salt Lake
Tidying up the mess its officials created at the Salt Lake City
Olympics, the International Skating Union on April 30 suspended
French judge Marie Reine Le Gougne and French Skating Federation
president Didier Gailhaguet for three years because of their
involvement in the infamous pairs judging scandal. When the full
ISU Congress meets in June in Kyoto, Japan, it will deal with an
even thornier issue: deciding on a new judging system that will
eliminate the deal-making and bloc voting that have damaged the
sport's credibility for years.
At least two proposals will be under consideration. One was
sketched out by embattled ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta of
Italy, who wants to do away with the current system entirely.
Instead of nine judges deducting points from a 6.0 scale at the
end of each skater's program, Cinquanta wants a system in which
14 judges award points to skaters on the basis of individual
elements. (A triple Axel would be worth more than a double Axel,
etc.) Judges would score elements as excellent, good, average,
below average or poor. A computer would then randomly select
seven of the 14 marks, making it virtually impossible to
prearrange the outcome of an event in any sort of backroom deal.
At first that seemed like a bold and brilliant initiative. But
as level heads looked into how to implement this system, a
different verdict has come in. "The ISU proposal is ludicrous,"
says Charlie Cyr, a top U.S. and international judge. "Our sport
is not static. We do not judge on a freeze-frame basis. And what
happens to the second mark [for overall presentation]? You're so
busy looking at the elements and marking a response to them,
you'd forget about the second mark completely."
May 12, 2002
The time and cost to retrain the judges is another concern.
"It's a different way of judging skating," says Lawrence
Mondschein, chairman of the judges committee of the U.S. Figure
Skating Association. "You don't sit down and pick it up in a
day. It's a rather tedious proposal."
The USFSA has come up with a less radical plan, which it will
present to the ISU Congress. Under its proposal, the 6.0 system
stays in place, except the high and low marks are thrown out.
The median mark of the remaining seven would be displayed as the
skater's score. More important, the judges would be selected not
by blind draw, as is done now, but by geographical region. No
more than two judges from any one world zone would be allowed to
sit on a panel.
Both systems have their merits. Because it would force the
judges to evaluate every element of a routine, the ISU proposal
would steer the sport away from its ever-growing obsession with
jumps. Meanwhile, the USFSA plan would eliminate the bloc
judging issue without forcing judges to relearn their trade. But
with the ISU and the USFSA, the sport's two most powerful
organizations, butting heads, it's questionable whether either
plan can muster the two-thirds majority required for a rules
change, in which case the current 38-year-old system would
remain in place.
That might be a blessing in disguise. Here's figure skating's
dirty little secret: The current judging system, flawed as it
is, is great for the sport's popularity. Part of skating's
appeal lies in the subjectivity of the scoring. Viewers delight
in accusing the judges of being corrupt, idiotic or mean to cute
Canadian kids. "What people love about this sport is they can
all be experts," says Joe Inman, a U.S. judge. "The public will
always want the score from the individual judges displayed. Many
of my nonskating friends find this is one of the most exciting
aspects of the sport." Nothing like an unpopular decision and a
good conspiracy theory to make figure skating must-see TV.
Flush with Bowls
Three new postseason games mean even so-so schools can get in on
Perhaps you can still summon the outrage you felt when New
Mexico and Southern Mississippi, both of which finished with 6-5
records last year, did not receive bowl bids. You may still be
anguished by the humiliation suffered by Wake Forest, another
6-5 team that was forced to stay home. Fortunately the NCAA is
there for you. Last week the organization certified three new
bowl games for next season, increasing the total number of bowls
from 25 to 28. That means 56 of the 117 Division I-A football
teams--or nearly 48% of the membership--will play in a
postseason game next year.
At a time when reforms to the BCS system have been foremost on
the minds of college football observers, what the NCAA has come
up with is three more rewards for mediocrity. The new bowl
games--the Queen City Bowl in Charlotte (date to be determined),
the San Francisco Bowl (Dec. 31) and the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu
(Dec. 25)--each will pay participating schools the NCAA-mandated
minimum of $750,000 each. Certainly that kind of money is
alluring, but even conferences that will benefit from the bowls
realize these new games may not exactly be classic matchups. For
instance, the San Francisco Bowl will pit the third best team
from the Mountain West Conference against the third, fourth or
fifth pick from the Big East. Using last year's standings, that
would have meant a match-up between Colorado State (7-5) and
Pittsburgh (6-5). "The general sentiment is, 'Oh, God, just what
we need,'" says Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig
With schedules going from 11 games to 12 next year, the
possibility of 6-6 bowl teams is quite real. That would seem to
diminish the prestige of making it to the postseason. "The
definition of a reward for excellence has been debated," says
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, the chairman of the
NCAA subcommittee that approved the new bowls. "But letting more
student-athletes have an opportunity to experience a bowl game
is a positive thing." --Ivan Maisel
655 Straight Winston Cup starts for driver Ricky Rudd, tying
Terry Labonte's record; Rudd, whose streak began in 1981, can
extend the run on May 26.
30 Major league teams that Mets lefthander Al Leiter has beaten
at least once in his career, an unprecedented feat.
4,14,23 Home runs, RBIs and total bases, respectively, for
Virginia Tech outfielder Brad Bauder in a 35-4 win over
$1,005 Amount paid by a fan, in an auction benefiting the
Make-A-Wish Foundation, to have his photo taken drinking beer
with A's pitcher Tim Hudson.
4 Sets of identical twins playing in the eight-team WUSA women's
professional soccer league.
47 Police officers injured by hooligan violence in the Millwall
section of London after Millwall lost to Birmingham City in a
First Division soccer match; rioters threw bricks and explosives.
SPORT? NOT A SPORT?
THIS WEEK: BULLFIGHTING
SPORT "It's like being a quarterback: Thousands of fans are
screaming at you, and a 500-pound animal is trying to rip your
head off." --Raja Bell, 76ers guard
SPORT "Have you seen the size of those bulls' nuts? You go up
against anyone with nuts that big, it's a serious sport." --John
Mobley, Broncos linebacker
NOT A SPORT "Killing an animal in front of people, that's cruel.
You shouldn't play with animals." --Chris Fuamatu-Ma'Afala,
SPORT "Damn right it is. You get a football or basketball
player, tell him to stand close as he can in front of a bull and
see if he can move before the bull hits him. I wouldn't do it."
--Blue Stone, pro bullrider
SPORT "It's athletic, like figure skating." --Jean Racine,
NOT A SPORT "I think you have to ask the bull." --Jeff
Zimmerman, Rangers pitcher
NOT A SPORT "People show up, but it's only to watch someone stab
a bull or to see the bull kill a guy. It's more a show than a
sport." --Rich Garces, Red Sox pitcher
SPORT "You need agility to avoid a charging bull. You have to be
fleet, with quick reactions." --J.D. Drew, Cardinals outfielder
NOT A SPORT "Bullfighters are agile, but people usually are when
their lives are on the line." --Garry Valk, Maple Leafs forward
SPORT "As long as there's a chance you could die, it's a sport."
--Steve Sparks, Tigers pitcher
Boxer Gerald McClellan, blind and brain damaged, leaves home
On the eve of the April 26 Boxing Writers' Association's dinner
in Manhattan, former WBC middleweight champion Gerald McClellan
and current undisputed middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins met in
a Times Square hotel room. "Tap me," said McClellan, raising
Hopkins's fist to his own chin. Two of the most exciting boxers
of their times, they stayed for a moment in this classic pose,
worthy of a fight poster. This, however, was a different kind of
McClellan, 34, hasn't boxed since Feb. 25, 1995, when he fought
Nigel Benn and sustained a brain injury that sent him into a
coma for two months. When McClellan awoke, he was blind, 80%
deaf and wheelchair-bound (SI, March 4, 1996). Since then
McClellan has survived under the 24-hour care of his sisters
Lisa and Sandra at their tiny two-bedroom home in Freeport, Ill.
McClellan's medical insurance ran out a few months after the
Benn fight and despite a 34-bout career and a two-year title
reign he, like most retired boxers, has no savings and no pension.
The meeting with Hopkins happened during McClellan's first trip
out of Freeport since the coma. He and Lisa had traveled 19
hours by train at the request of his close friend Teddy
Blackburn, a longtime boxing photographer who got an award at
the boxing writers' dinner. McClellan didn't know it--he rarely
knows where he is, or even the time of day--but Blackburn was
being feted for helping raise money for McClellan and his
caretakers. "We need to be reminded of fallen fighters like
Gerald," says Lou DiBella, a boxing promoter who brought two
young fighters to meet McClellan. "It's no secret that our sport
could do more to help our own."
Or as Blackburn says, "I'd like to think that Gerald's case
could help change some things in boxing, but will it? I don't
think so. The best you can do is help one boxer. Gerald was a
champion, and we can't just let him slip off the face of the
McClellan doesn't seem to remember the Benn fight, one of the
most brutal of his career. McClellan absorbed a fair number of
blows to the head but had knocked Benn down and appeared to be
winning when he suddenly collapsed in the 10th round. Neither
does he have much short-term memory. "Is he a champ?" McClellan
mumbled to Lisa after being introduced to Hopkins.
"Yes," said Hopkins, leaning close to McClellan's ear.
"Say it again. Louder."
"Yes. Middleweight champion of the world, just like you, brother."
The next day Lisa helped McClellan get into a tuxedo and took
him to the awards ceremony, where he was wheeled onto a stage
with Blackburn. The two received a standing ovation. All in all,
McClellan's stay at the banquet lasted less than half an hour,
enough time for him to have a glass of juice and a few bites of
steak. Then he and Lisa left the table and went to get ready for
their long ride home. --Evan Kanew
Eating It Up
Check out the boom in food that comes with an athlete's
Match the sports star with his product:
1) Jeff Cirillo a. salsa
2) Omar Vizquel b. pickles
3) David Frost c. burritos
4) Hines Ward d. wine
5) Adam Deadmarsh e. steak sauce
1) c. Mariners third baseman Cirillo swears by his Senor
Cirillo's Burritos; he says he eats at least two a week.
2) a. Indians shortstop, avid artist and salsa lover Vizquel
designed the label on his jar, a reproduction of his painting
3) d. South African golfer Frost, who grew up on a vineyard,
dedicates each of his wines to a different PGA golfer and a
dollar from each bottle's sale goes to a charity designated by
that player. The labels are designed by LeRoy Neiman.
4) e. What else would a player named Hines endorse but a gloppy
tomato-based condiment? The Steelers wide receiver's
"Thick-n-Zesty" steak sauce is scheduled to hit Pittsburgh-area
stores later this year.
5) b. Kings right wing Deadmarsh's pickles hit Denver in 1998,
when he was with the Avalanche. Though he was traded to L.A.
last year, the dills have stayed hot in Colorado. (Proceeds
benefit a hospital in Deadmarsh's hometown of Trail, B.C.) Why
pickles? "I like pickles," says Deadmarsh.
WHY DO BASEBALL MANAGERS WEAR UNIFORMS?
Coaches in the NBA, NFL and NHL don't wear players' garb. (Good
thing, too: Imagine George Karl in a tank top and shorts.) But
big league skippers are different because they go onto the field
during games. That is why major league baseball deems them
subject to Rule 1.11 (a), which says, "All members of the team
must wear a similar uniform." Says Mariners manager Lou
Piniella, "It would be weird to walk to the mound in a suit. I'd
feel like part of the security force."
Even before Rule 1.11 (a) went on the books in 1957, all but two
big league managers dressed like their nines rather than to the
nines. Connie Mack, who managed the Philadelphia Athletics from
1901 to '50, and Burt Shotton, who managed the Phillies and the
Brooklyn Dodgers for eight seasons in the '40s, are the only
skippers ever to work in civvies, but they sent uniformed
coaches onto the field to make pitching changes and harangue the
umps. "Could you imagine going out there in shiny dress shoes?"
says Braves manager Bobby Cox. "How would you kick dirt on the
Baseball managers (and players) receive an undisclosed sum of
money for wearing their uniforms, as part of a licensing
agreement with MLB Properties and individual uniform suppliers.
Not that the managers wear playing threads for the compensation.
"If we didn't have to go on the field," says the Cardinals' Tony
La Russa, "I'd just as soon wear my stylish jeans."
EXPELLED Three members of Notre Dame's football team who,
according to news reports, have been accused of raping a female
student. The school won't comment on the expulsions, but lawyers
for the players say they were kicked out for "sexual
misconduct." The players say they're innocent and plan to
appeal. No criminal charges have been filed.
NAMED As one of PEOPLE magazine's 50 most beautiful people, Salt
Lake City Olympics organizer Mitt Romney, 55. U.S. skeleton gold
medalist Jim Shea, 33, told PEOPLE (which like SI is published
by Time Inc.), "I'd be really excited to look like him when I
get to be his age."
RESCUED From a burning car by Falcons linebacker Chris Draft,
35-year-old Anthony Ivory. Draft was driving with his friend Che
Holloway on Interstate 85 near Atlanta at 3 a.m. on April 28
when Ivory's car, which was in front of Draft's, struck a
concrete divider. Seeing the car ablaze, Draft and Holloway ran
to it and pulled the unconscious Ivory from the front seat.
Ivory suffered minor bruises. Said Draft, "I don't know. Maybe I
was meant to be there. Maybe I was the only one who could have
pulled him out."
FREED On bail, English golf ball forager John Collinson. Around
midnight on April 26 Leicester police caught Collinson, clad in
a diving suit, on a private course with sacks of balls he'd
fished from a pond. Collinson, 36, said he earns $22,000 a year
by selling retrieved golf balls and that he files taxes on his
earnings. After he got a six-month jail sentence for theft,
British lawmakers raised an outcry and Collinson was released
pending an appeal.
SURGING Ratings for Canadiens games on French-language TV
network Radio-Canada since it began airing matches without
announcers. Radio Canada has gone without play-by-play or
analysis since a labor dispute began on March 23. Ratings are
10% higher than the last time Montreal made the playoffs, in 1998.
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
MAY 11 - MAY 17
SATURDAY 5/11--ABC 1 PM--Indianapolis 500 Pole Day Qualifying
Gentlemen, start your jockeying. Pole position for the 86th
annual race will be won this afternoon at the Brickyard.
SUNDAY 5/12--NBC (12:30 PM, 3 PM and 5:30 PM)--NBA Conference
The NBA playoffs--the longest television spectacle since The
Thorn Birds--slogs its way to Game 4 of the conference semifinals.
TUESDAY 5/14--HBO 10 PM--Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Will Phil Mickelson ever win a major? Gumbel profiles the
hard-luck lefty; there's also the harrowing tale of Manute Bol,
the 7'7" former NBA center who's now a political refugee from
his native Sudan.
WEDNESDAY 5/15--ESPN 2 2:30 PM--Bayer Leverkusen vs. Real Madrid
The most prestigious soccer club competition on the planet
concludes in Glasgow, with the Champions League Final.
Superpower Real looks to win a record ninth European title in 46
THURSDAY 5/16--ESPN2 7:30 PM--Jamaica vs. U.S. Men's National Team
Only two games to go--including this friendly against the
Jamaican national team, mon--before the U.S. leaves for South
Korea and the World Cup.
THURSDAY 5/16--HBO 10 PM--On the Record with Bob Costas
Last year World Wrestling Federation boss Vince McMahon
sputtered and growled so much during a contentious interview he
looked like he was going to pile-drive Costas. This is the
SATURDAY 5/11--HBO 9:30 PM
Felix Trinidad vs. Hacine Cherifi
This is Trinidad's (40-1, 33 KOs) first appearance since losing
to Bernard Hopkins last September; expect him to bid adieu to
France's Cherifi (32-5-1, 20 KOs) and reestablish himself as an
FOX's New NFL Team... Recommending Doris Burke... The Price of
The worst-kept secret in broadcasting finally became public last
week when Fox introduced JOE BUCK, TROY AIKMAN and CRIS
COLLINSWORTH as its No. 1 NFL team. Each man brings exceptional
credentials to the booth--Buck is the best broadcaster of his
generation, Aikman had a terrific debut season in 2001, and
Collinsworth has been solid on Fox's pregame show for the past
four years--but can these parts mesh into a team worthy of
succeeding JOHN MADDEN and PAT SUMMERALL? Much of Aikman's
success last year was due to the deferential nature of fellow
analyst DARYL JOHNSTON. Will the headstrong Collinsworth be just
as giving? The success of the Fox trio could depend on it.
Over the next few weeks ESPN will assemble its announcing teams
for the 2002-03 NBA season, and the usual suspects (BRENT
MUSBERGER, MARV ALBERT) will likely to be paraded out like
Thanksgiving Day floats. Here's a vote for a name that lacks
cachet but not credibility: DORIS BURKE. The 36-year-old ESPN
hoops analyst and play-by-play voice for the WNBA's New York
Liberty is a superbly prepared broadcaster blessed with an
innate feel for the game. In February 2000 she shone as an
analyst on a Knicks game and has been excellent on both men's
and women's college basketball telecasts. ESPN would be wise to
find room on its roster for her.
Caveat Emptor: For those thinking about doling out $54.95--a
pay-per-view record--for the June 8 heavyweight fight between
MIKE TYSON and LENNOX LEWIS, here's something to chew on:
Tyson's six most recent fights have lasted a total of 19 rounds.
The death of TLC singer Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes struck a nerve in
the sports world. Lopes, who was killed in a car crash in
Honduras on April 25, was an on-again, off-again girlfriend of
free-agent receiver Andre Rison. (Last summer Rison announced
that he and Lopes were to be married, but it never happened.)
Rison refuses to talk about Lopes's death. Also shaken was Dale
Earnhardt Jr. The NASCAR star, who says he's been a fan of TLC
since his teen years, became incensed when he heard that autopsy
photos of Lopes's body were available on the Internet. For the
last year Earnhardt and his family have been involved in a legal
battle to keep similar pictures of Dale Earnhardt Sr. private.
"Circulating pictures of [Lopes's] body on the Internet is just
plain wrong," says Junior. "I know exactly what her family is
going through." At Sunday's Pontiac Excitement 400 in Richmond,
the members of Earnhardt's pit crew paid tribute to Lopes by
wearing black stripes under their left eyes, and a black stripe
was taped under the left headlight of Earnhardt's car.
Attention prospective home buyers: There's a bargain to be had
in the north Dallas area--if you're willing to take a place
that's got a gaudy metal prime time sign on the front gate.
Deion Sanders recently cut the asking price on his house in
Plano, Texas, from $2.7 million to $2.25 million. Built in 1987,
the sprawling 9,200-square-foot estate in the tony Willow Bend
neighborhood features five bedrooms, seven baths, a tennis
court, a pool, a separate guest house with a gym and movie
theater, and an underground parking garage that can hold seven
cars. Sanders originally put the place on the market a year ago
but found no takers.
So how do you celebrate a four-homer day? If you're Mariners
centerfielder Mike Cameron, you let your teammates stage a mock
coronation. Cameron, who hit home runs in four consecutive at
bats against the White Sox on Thursday, was stopped by
leftfielder Mark McLemore before entering the Seattle clubhouse
after the game. McLemore outfitted Cameron with a hastily
constructed cardboard crown that read KING CAM 5-2-02 and a cape
made of towels on which the number 4 had been written several
times. Cameron was led into the clubhouse, where he walked
through a gauntlet of cheering teammates who doused him with
beer. "I had to walk the line like I was marrying the princess,"
says Cameron. "The guys made me feel like the king of the hill."
No after-hours celebrating though--the team had to quickly get
on a late flight to New York. By the time Cameron got to his
hotel, it was well after 3 a.m. Not that Cameron missed out on
any fun. "I was laughing as I went to sleep," he says. "And I
woke up in the middle of the night laughing."
DON'T MISS: Sports movie fans have two very different options to
choose from this week. Opening on Friday is Ultimate X, an
eye-popping IMAX documentary about the 2001 Summer X Games. Also
debuting is the Oscar-nominated Lagaan, a drama from India that
centers on a game of cricket between a group of British
colonialists and a bunch of Indian farmers in 1893. Take your
pick: radical nosegrinds or wicked googlies.
THIS WEEKS SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
H'Angus, the monkey mascot of England's Hartlepool soccer club,
has been elected mayor of Hartlepool.
"Gerald was a champion, and we can't let him slip off the face
of the earth." --DARKNESS VISIBLE, PAGE 25
THEY SAID IT
Yankees bench coach, on his job duties: "If Joe Torre orders a
hit-and-run and it works, I pat him on the back and say, 'Smart
move.' If it doesn't work, I go down and hang around the water