Sports Beat

September 01, 2002

It's not surprising that Wyatt Russell would blossom into an
athlete. It's just that no one in his family expected he'd wear
skates instead of spikes. By week's end Wyatt, the 16-year-old
son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, will be one of eight
goaltenders in training camp with the Prince George (B.C.)
Cougars of the Western Hockey League. The club is so optimistic
about Russell that it has put him on its 50-player protected
list, which means he is off-limits to other teams. "When I first
saw him last year, I was concerned that he wasn't very big,"
says Russ Smart, the Cougars' director of scouting. "When I
found out he'd grown to 6'1", 160 pounds, I was doing
cartwheels." The youngest Russell comes from solid athletic
stock. Kurt played minor league baseball in the early 1970s for
the Padres and the Angels organizations before a torn rotator
cuff brought him back to the acting career he'd begun as a
child. Kurt's father, Bing, also played minor league ball, and
Braves first baseman Matt Franco is Kurt's nephew. To be close
to the youngest of their four children, Russell and Hawn
purchased a $4 million home in Vancouver earlier this year and
will shuttle between there and L.A. for the next two years.
While Wyatt probably won't make the Cougars' roster this season,
he will most likely play Junior B hockey in the Vancouver area
for the Richmond Sockeyes. "It's on the West Coast, so there's
some sanity to it for us," says Kurt. "Wyatt's our last one, so
we're fortunate to be able to do this with him."

After motocross rider Carey Hart (left) executed his signature
backflip to win a silver medal at last week's X Games in
Philadelphia, the woman who currently owns Hart's heart, pop
singer Pink, quickly offered her congratulations in the form of
an enthusiastic hug. The couple's canoodling, in fact, was so
heated during the week that one X Games organizer described the
action as "Angelina and Billy Bob-esque." Back in the day, at
least. Says Hart, "We met for the first time a year ago at the X
Games in Philadelphia, kind of hooked up about two months after
that, and things went from there. She's big into skateboarding
and from Philly." Away from the track the 27-year-old Hart is an
extra in Pink's video for her latest single, Just like a Pill.

Sure, he's played a 3,000-year-old genie (in Kazaam) and a
comic book hero (in Steel), but can Shaquille O'Neal play
himself? In late July, O'Neal and Judith McCreary, a co-executive
producer on NBC's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, pitched
CBS executives a one-hour drama involving a teammate of O'Neal's
who suffers a career-ending knee injury in a car accident. The
player desperately wants to stay in basketball as a coach, but
because his reputation is more about flash than fundamentals, no
one wants to hire him. That's when Shaq (who will play himself in
a recurring role) swoops in to help him get a coaching job at
Shaq's old high school. "He's got a million dollars in the bank,
but he has to earn the respect of the other teachers," explains
McCreary, the show's creator. CBS officials bought the idea and
told her to write a pilot. The network will look at McCreary's
script around Christmas, and if CBS likes what it sees, a pilot
will be shot next February. Should the show get picked up, expect
the Big Thespian to tape episodes before training camp for the
2003-04 NBA season.

COLOR PHOTO: JANET GOUGH/CELEBRITYPHOTO.COM (PINK AND CAREY HART)
COLOR PHOTO: MANUEL RUIZ TORIBIO-EFE/AP (BULLFIGHTER) PICTURE THIS No, the Spanish have not embraced cockfighting in their own special way. Last week, in Ciudad Real, a spectator threw a rooster into the ring, and matador's assistant Jose Tomas couldn't keep his capon. Get it? Tomas did moments later, and with the bird in hand, the bullfighting season proceeded smoothly into its final weeks. COLOR PHOTO: RON FREHM/AP (PEREZ)

THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A married Japanese homemaker has begun sleeping with her English
instructor because, she says, it makes her feel closer to
Manchester United's David Beckham.

THEY SAID IT

TIMO PEREZ
New York Mets outfielder, on why he showboated after hitting a
home run in the top of the ninth at Denver's Coors Field: "I
thought I was in New York."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)