Guilt by Association?
Marion Jones is working with her sport's most notorious steroid
Track athletes commonly play musical coaches, so it was
surprising but not shocking when Marion Jones, who won five
medals at the 2000 Olympic Games, announced on Dec. 13 that she
was leaving coach Trevor Graham, the architect of her success.
After that the story gets strange. Jones said her new coach is
Derek Hansen, a Canadian of scant credentials, who would seem
underqualified to work with one of the best sprinters in history.
Almost immediately rumors began to fly that Hansen is an
associate of Charlie Francis, a fellow Canadian coach who in 1989
coordinated the steroid program of disgraced Olympic champion Ben
Johnson. That led to Francis's getting a ban from Athletics
Canada and made him one of the most notorious figures in track.
(In Francis's 1990 book, Speed Trap, he defiantly defends the
drug usage, saying it's the only way to keep pace.) Last week a
Reuters photo showed Francis stretching out Jones at York
University in Toronto (above), lending credibility to the rumors
and leading many in track to wonder what Jones is thinking. "You
hear the name Charlie Francis, and you think, That's Ben's
coach," says two-time U.S. Olympic sprinter Leroy Burrell.
"That's not a move I would make. It doesn't seem like a good idea
to go to a guy with his reputation."
Francis, who like Jones didn't return calls from SI, may not have
changed his thinking on performance-enhancing drugs. In a Sept.
29, 2000, interview with the Web magazine Testosterone, Francis
repeatedly suggested that elite-level sprinting was impossible
without drugs. "If anyone is clean it's going to be the losers,"
"Maybe Marion felt she needed something more in her training,"
says coach Mike Holloway, who coached Olympic sprinters Dennis
Mitchell and John Capel. "We know about the drugs, but Ben
Johnson was very sound technically. Maybe Marion thinks that's
what she needs." Jones, who was the subject of drug rumors at the
Sydney Games when her then husband, shot-putter C.J. Hunter,
tested positive for steroids, might get faster with Francis.
Perhaps she'll even challenge Florence Griffith Joyner's world
record in the 100. Only Jones knows if that's worth the possible
damage to her reputation. --Tim Layden
After 14 years as mayor, Hazel Myers--or Mayor Hazel, as the
folks in Scott (pop. 7,800) call her--knows almost everything
about her Louisiana map dot. So we asked her why three streets in
the Gossen Heights section honor a certain football program and
two of its great coaches, Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. "I'll be
darned," she said. "I'll have to ask Willie." Willie is Hazel's
husband, who has a sister who has a son who attends Notre Dame,
1,033 miles, seven highways and four states away. But the streets
were named decades ago, and when Willie didn't know the origin of
Rockne, Leahy and Notre Dame drives, and when Scott's pharmacist
and fiercest football fan, Ronnie Guidry, didn't know either,
Mayor Hazel was stumped. Finally we reached 73-year-old Ronald
Gossen, at his law office in Lafayette. Gossen and his father,
Joseph, developed the subdivision in 1959 and named the streets
after so many family Saturdays listening to Irish football on the
radio. "Rockne had such an aura," Gossen says. So how about
Willingham Way? "He has a way to go yet," says Gossen, not ruling
it out. --Melissa Segura
21 Straight Wednesday games the Nuggets have lost, dating to last
$48.8 million Net worth of Winston Cup driver Jeff Gordon,
according to an affidavit he filed in divorce proceedings with
his wife, Brooke.
$1.3 billion Estimated net worth of Robert Johnson, 56, the
founder of Black Entertainment Television, who as the new owner
of the NBA's expansion team in Charlotte is the first
African-American to own a major sports team.
2 Points scored by Deerfield Middle School's Jeffrey Jordan, the
14year-old son of Michael Jordan, in an exhibition game at
Chicago's United Center.
33 Points Jeffrey's father scored that night in Washington
against the Grizzlies.
$6,186,224 Average 2002 salary for DHs, most for any position in
$3,315,341 Average 2002 salary for starting pitchers.
401 Straight games in which the 49ers have scored, an NFL record.
$25,000 Amount Sharpie is donating to the Alzheimer's Association
on behalf of the pen company's most famous user, 49ers receiver
Terrell Owens, whose grandmother is fighting the disease.
FOR THE RECORD
Of prostate cancer before he could become the first to drive
500 mph in a wheel-driven car, Don Vesco, 63. Vesco (above) and
his brother and chief mechanic, Rick, 56, were hoping to break
that barrier and eclipse the record Don set in 2001 when he drove
his jet-powered Turbinator 458 mph across the Bonneville Salt
Flats of Utah. He also holds 18 motorcycle and five other
automotive land-speed records. "Not much slowed him up," said
From complications of pancreatic cancer, former SI writer Robert
F. Jones, 68. Known for his far-ranging knowledge and voracious
enthusiasm for books and the outdoors (his friend writer Geoff
Norman eulogized him as "a sweet man, in the surest, most
Shakespearean sense of the word"), Jones was on SI's staff from
1968 to '80, covering the NFL and motor sports as well as Africa.
He rose to prominence next to writers such as Roy Blount Jr.,
Frank Deford and Dan Jenkins and distinguished himself with a
spare style. As a special contributor in '90 Jones wrote a long,
moving piece on his retrievers, Luke and Jake, that won the
Winchester Good News on Hunting Award. Before SI, Jones covered
an array of subjects for Time, writing 22 cover stories on topics
such as the Vietnam war and the rise of hippie culture. In '79
Jones and his wife, Louise Tyor, moved to Vermont. He wrote 14
books, including Blood Sport, a novel about a father, a son and a
After a long illness, Hank Luisetti, 86, who revolutionized
basketball by introducing the one-handed shot. In the 1930s
Luisetti, a 6'3", three-time All-America forward at Stanford,
debuted the running one-hander, which evloved into the jump shot.
He was the first college player to score 50 points in a game (on
Jan. 1, 1938, against Duquesne); in 1950 Luisetti (left) was
voted the second-best player of the mid-century (behind George
Mikan) in an AP poll of writers and broadcasters. Said Hall of
Fame college coach Pete Newell, "He was closer to dominating the
game than anyone other than Michael Jordan."
Of bone cancer, Edmonton Oilers and World Hockey Association
co-founder, Bill Hunter, 82. Wild Bill, as he was known since an
argument with a ref while coaching a game in 1949, made Bobby
Hull hockey's first $1 million player by luring Hull from the
Black Hawks to the WHA's Winnipeg Jets in '72, seven years before
the WHA and the NHL merged.
Of cancer, error-prone slugger Dick Stuart, 70. The first baseman
got named Dr. Strangeglove after making 29 errors for the 1963
Red Sox while leading the AL with 118 RBIs. "I'm the world's
worst fielder," said Stuart, who hit 228 homers in a 10-year
career. "But who gets paid for fielding?" In '56, while playing
in Class A, Stuart hit 66 home runs; from then on he wrote that
number whenever signing an autograph.
Off the Books
In Los Angeles superior court, the Sacramento Kings, by the
former agent for NBA forward Corliss Williamson, Elbert Crawford.
The suit, which seeks $10 million, claims the Kings reneged on an
under-the-table $50--$55 million contract to Williamson. The
alleged agreement occurred at the end of the NBA lockout in
January 1999, when Sacramento wanted to sign free-agent center
Vlade Divac but knew his contract (six years, $62.5 million)
would leave little salary-cap room to re-sign Williamson, a
25year-old coming off a breakthrough season. According to
Crawford's suit, the Kings persuaded Williamson to accept a
$500,000 contract for the shortened 1999 season on the oral
promise that he would get a seven-year deal worth $50--$55
million starting in 1999--2000. "The Kings told me this kind of
thing went on all the time," Crawford told SI. Team officials
deny promising a contract.
Crawford told SI that the Kings withdrew the offer after the
season because they realized Peja Stojakovic was a better fit at
small forward. Allegedly upset that the Kings wouldn't agree to
the long-term deal, Williamson fired Crawford in September 1999
and used another agent to negotiate a one-year, $3.5 million
contract. Crawford says the firing sent him on the road to
bankruptcy. Crawford's version of the events was credible enough
that the NBA paid him $75,000 for his evidence and testimony
during an investigation it conducted last year, but an official
says the league couldn't prove wrongdoing.
Williamson, now with Detroit, won the Sixth Man Award last season
and is in the second season of a six-year, $33 million deal. He
is not a plaintiff in the suit and declined to comment, but his
father, Jerry, has supplied an affidavit saying the Kings
promised they would give his son a $50--$55 million contract. If
Crawford wins, the NBA will be under pressure to discipline the
Kings. In 2000 the league fined the Timberwolves $3.5 million and
docked them five first-round draft picks (one was later
reinstated) after determining that Minnesota had signed forward
Joe Smith to a secret seven-year, $86 million deal to evade the
cap. Says an NBA team executive, "Under-the-table deals are our
version of NCAA recruiting violations." --Ian Thomsen
Who's winning the battle, Hootie Johnson or Martha Burk? SI's
Hootometer tells all.
Burk's National Council of Women's Organizations launches website
chastising companies whose executives are Augusta members.
Advantage: Burk. Website started by an Augusta supporter in
Florida gives links to sites protesting Burk and offers THE BURK
STOPS HERE! Tshirts. Advantage: Hootie. In Real Sports segment
Bryant Gumbel fails to disclose he belongs to an all-male golf
club. Advantage: Hootie. Gumbel's widely criticized. Advantage:
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
DECEMBER 27-JANUARY 9
FRIDAY 12/27--HBO 8 PM--ON THE RECORD WITH BOB COSTAS
The Round Mound of roundtables, Charles Barkley, joins Costas,
Howie Long and Tim McCarver for a colloquy on the year in sports.
SATURDAY 12/28--ESPN NOON--KENTUCKY AT LOUISVILLE
It's hoops, but call it the Rick Pitino Bowl. Louisville hosts
the Wildcats (whom Pitino coached from 1989 to '97) for the first
time since he took the Cardinals job last year.
WEDNESDAY 1/1--NBC 4 PM--BRIAN BOITANO'S SKATING SPECTACULAR
Skate into 2003 with South Park's favorite athlete. Olympic
medalists Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan and pop star
Jessica Simpson will also perform.
THURSDAY 1/2--TNT 7:30 PM--WIZARDS AT BULLS
The first of Michael Jordan's two trips this season to his old
FRIDAY 1/3--ABC 8 PM--ORANGE BOWL: NO. 5 IOWA VERSUS NO. 4 USC
Who says this isn't No. 1 versus No. 2? Trojans quarterback and
Heisman winner Carson Palmer battles Hawkeyes signal-caller Brad
Banks, the Heisman runner-up.
SATURDAY 1/4--CBS 2 PM--TENNESSEE AT CONNECTICUT
The annual must-see game in women's basketball. The Lady Vols
want to avenge their 79-56 loss to the Huskies in last year's
FRIDAY 1/3--ABC 8:30 PM
Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State versus No. 1 Miami
If the favored Hurricanes beat the Buckeyes and quarterback
Craig Krenzel (right) they'll run their win streak to 35 games
and become the first team since the 1994--95 Nebraska Cornhuskers
to win back-to-back titles.
SI's Under Review-ers Choice Awards recall highs and lows of
sports broadcasting in 2002:
PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Charles Barkley. Only TV spiritualist
John Edward crossed over better than Barkley did in 2002. TNT's
lightning-rod studio host branched out beyond basketball with his
own talk show (Listen Up!), a weekly spot on CNN's TalkBack Live
and his straight-talkin' book I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It.
Whether discussing cross burning ("If someone burns a cross in
your yard, please shoot them) or homosexuals ("I have a lot of
gay friends--I don't wanna kiss 'em, but I love them!"), Barkley
BAD TIMING AWARD NBC's Saturday Night Live, which showed a rerun
featuring host Derek Jeter smacking baseballs into the crowd and
audience members doubling over in faux injury. The show aired
March 30, two weeks after Brittanie Cecil, 13, died from being
hit by a puck at a Blue Jackets game.
BEST DOCUMENTARY HBO's :03 Seconds from Gold The one-hour show,
which examines the final moments of the U.S.--Soviet Union gold
medal basketball game at the 1972 Olympics, features rare
practice footage and revealing interviews with the Soviet
FIGHT OF THE YEAR CBS hoops analyst Billy Packer and ESPN's Dick
Vitale mixed it up on Outside the Lines as Packer blasted Vitale
for breathlessly hyping players (LeBron James in particular) and
described himself and Vitale as "unsavory characters." Vitale
called Packer's criticism "ludicrous" and "absurd."
POSEIDON ADVENTURE Award Three-way tie among ESPN's Mohr Sports,
ESPN's Around the Horn and ESPN basketball analyst Tim Hardaway.
Mohr, an unwatchable collision of comedy and sports, was
canceled, but the other disasters--Hardaway stumbles and mumbles
on air; Horn's game-show format is headache-inducing--grind
HEAVY MEDALS Though security concerns and corruption charges were
the dominant stories, the 2002 Olympics were the most successful
Winter Games in U.S. history. America won 34 medals, second best
among all nations. What country medaled the most at Salt Lake
a. Canada c. Norway
b. Germany d. Russia
FIZZLED OUT Before baseball's division play, an old adage had it
that the team in first place on July 4 would win the pennant.
Four of the six teams in first place this past July 4 qualified
for the postseason. Which two did not?
THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP Pair the athlete with what he became in 2002.
1. Khalil Greene a. Top college baseball player
2. Bob Heintz b. NFL's Mr. Irrelevant
3. Ahmad Miller c. PGA's leading putter
4. Tim Montgomery d. World's fastest human
CALL TO ORDER Rank the quantities of these 2002 athletic
achievements from highest to lowest.
a. Dominik Hasek's regular-season victories
b. Priest Holmes's touchdowns
c. Mark Martin's top 10 Winston Cup finishes
d. Barry Zito's regular-season wins
HEAVY MEDALS: b. German athletes won 35 medals, including a
competition-high 12 gold and 16 silver. The U.S. won 10 gold, 13
silver and 11 bronze. Norway won the third most (24), followed by
Canada (17), Russia (16) and Austria (16).
FIZZLED OUT: At the end of play on July 4, 2002, the Mariners had
a five-game lead over the Angels in the AL West, and the Dodgers
led the Diamondbacks by 1 1/2 games. Neither advanced to the
postseason, finishing the season 6 and 3 1/2 games out of the
wild card, respectively.
THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP: 1. a; 2. c; 3. b; 4. d
CALL TO ORDER: Holmes (24 touchdowns); Zito (23 pitching wins);
Martin (22 top 10 finishes); Hasek (21 goaltending victories)
thinking." --GUILT BY ASSOCIATION? page 26