Sports Beat

May 11, 2003

HOLLYWOOD IT-GIRL Kirsten Dunst has said "Bring it on" to the
grass courts of the All England Club. Dunst, 21, will play a
tennis star in the romantic comedy Wimbledon, to be released next
year. Parts of the movie, which costars Paul Bettany (A Beautiful
Mind), will be shot at this year's tournament. To prepare for her
role Dunst is taking lessons from 1987 Wimbledon champ Pat Cash.
She spends two hours a day on the court (last week Cash
fine-tuned her serve) and does an hour of weights, lunges and
sit-ups. Look for Cash to make his big-screen debut--the
38-year-old Aussie will reportedly have a cameo in which he'll
reenact his famous leap into the crowd after beating Ivan Lendl
in the final.

--There was a time when Shonda Schilling saw long hours in the sun
as one of the perks of being a player's wife. "It was the
ballpark in the summertime, then Florida during spring
training--year-round tanning opportunities," says Shonda, wife of
Diamondbacks ace Curt Schilling. But in 2001, after a mole on her
back led to a diagnosis of melanoma, Shonda changed her
philosophy. Last August she launched the SHADE Foundation, which
teaches athletes about skin protection. Along with the American
Academy of Dermatology, Shonda organized free skin-cancer
screenings for players, team personnel and their families at
Phoenix's Bank One Ballpark on Monday; other teams will offer
screenings at ballparks this month. Several big
leaguers--including Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe, Marlins manager
Jeff Torborg and Tigers trainer Kevin Rand--have battled skin
cancer. And Shonda, who has had five surgeries for six melanomas,
says players are becoming more diligent about sunscreen. "Curt
passes the word in the clubhouse," she says. "The wives are a big
influence too. Erika Mantei got [her husband, Diamondbacks
closer] Matt to stop using the tanning bed."

--Last month Los Angeles composer Jef Bek traveled to Tampa to
seal a deal with Evel Knievel to produce a rock opera about the
daredevil's life. The apparently very psyched Knievel, 64, picked
up Bek at the airport in his trademark red-white-and-blue Ford
truck and popped in a Bek demo tape of songs from the show. Then,
with music blaring, Knievel tore through traffic at a speed you'd
expect from a man who once put himself into a coma trying to jump
the fountains at Caesars Palace. "It was a little scary," says
Bek, 40, "but it was cool, because he seemed to really dig the
music." Bek, a former drummer for the Broadway production of The
Who's Tommy, has written the story and composed most of the
music. He's looking for backers for the show, which he hopes to
open next spring. Says Bek, "I envision a huge spectacle with
motorcycle stage jumps and music that is an homage to '70s rock."

--In case you're one of those folks who reads Playboy for the
articles, the June issue has a wide-ranging interview with Mets
catcher Mike Piazza. In the piece Piazza, who's dating Playmate
Alicia Rickter, says he always confesses to a priest after having
sex. "I've got friends who are priests," he says. "If I confess
to them, they'll say, 'Hey, we teach that you should wait for
marriage, but if you care for the girl, that matters too.'"...
Gary Stevens finished a distant sixth aboard Buddy Gil in the
Kentucky Derby, but you might say it was still a good-looking
ride. PEOPLE has chosen the 40-year-old Hall of Famer as one of
its 50 Most Beautiful People.

COLOR PHOTO: LISA O'CONNOR/ZUMA PRESS (SCHILLINGS) The Schillings COLOR PHOTO: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP (KABAEVA) PICTURE THIS There's not much money in gymnastics, but Alina Kabaeva can always make ends meet. The judges went head over heels for her at the Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics European Team Championships in Moscow last Saturday. While inspecting her pedicure, the malleable Muscovite helped Russia win. COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY (CALCAVECCHIA)

THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

The American Dairy Association has sculpted a life-sized replica
of NASCAR driver Terry Labonte's car out of 3,500 pounds of
cheese.

THEY SAID IT
MARK CALCAVECCHIA
Pro golfer, on the value of watching the leader board while he's
playing: "I like to know whether I don't need to do anything
stupid or whether I need to try to do something stupid."

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)