British runner Paula Radcliffe (above), who won the London Marathon on Sunday in 2:17:42, the fastest time ever recorded in a women-only race and more than five minutes ahead of the field. Radcliffe, who was the favorite to win the Olympic marathon, dropped out after 22 miles in Athens because of stomach pains and also withdrew during the 10,000 meters later in the week. An established front-runner, Radcliffe shot to the lead immediately in London, running the first mile in a blistering 5:03. Again at 22 miles she doubled over and stopped for 10 seconds to shake off stomach cramps. "I'd just like to apologize to the nation for stopping like that, but I was losing 10 seconds every time I felt a cramp," she said. Radcliffe's victory interrupted a string of outstanding results by Kenyan runners who claimed podium places around the globe on the busiest marathon weekend of the year. Martin Lel won the men's division of the London race in 2:07:26 on Sunday, and on Monday his countrywoman Catherine Ndereba became the first woman to win the Boston Marathon four times. (Kenyan men were second and third behind Ethiopia's Hailu Negussie in Boston.) Said Ndereba, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, "We feel we can win any race."
To the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Marlins' Class A affiliate, righthander Jeff Allison. Florida's top pick in the 2003 draft, Allison, 20, has fought an addiction to the prescription painkiller OxyContin and nearly died of a heroin overdose last summer, and he hasn't pitched in two years (SI, Dec. 20, 2004). The Marlins announced he will work out with the Grasshoppers until he is ready to pitch. The team also forbade Allison from talking to reporters. "They're getting him ready to play baseball," Grasshoppers president Donald Moore said. "Beyond that, I have no comment."
April 24, 2005
As a U.S. citizen, Bernard Lagat, who won a silver medal for Kenya in the 1,500 meters at the 2004 Olympics. The change in nationality means Lagat, the second-fastest metric miler in history, will miss the track world championships in Helsinki this August. Under IAAF rules athletes who transfer citizenship can't represent their new countries in international competition for at least 12 months, though if Kenya doesn't approve the change, Lagat could be forced to sit out three years. "I thought long and hard before changing my nationality," said Lagat, who has a home in Tucson and has lived in the U.S. since 1996. "But, at 30, I have to look to my future after my running career has come to an end."
For the rest of the season by the Bulls' medical staff, center Eddy Curry (above), who hasn't played since experiencing an irregular heartbeat before a game in Charlotte on March 30. Curry, 22, has been examined by heart specialists in Chicago and Boston but the causes of his arrhythmia--which recurred only briefly after he returned from Charlotte--are still unknown. Doctors say the tests so far have been favorable but not conclusive, and the team wants Curry to undergo six more weeks of testing. That means the Bulls will make their first playoff appearance since 1998 without their top scorer. (Curry is averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.) "I really think everything will turn out for the best," said Curry. "But right now I've got to be cautious."
From a near collision with a speeding truck on a Boston street, Patrick McCarthy, 8, who was scooped away from danger by Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees' third baseman was waiting at a crosswalk on the afternoon of April 12 when McCarthy started to run across Newbury Street. Rodriguez reached out and pulled him back to the curb just before the truck sped by. "I just looked up, and I saw Alex Rodriguez," said McCarthy, who was already a New York fan despite living on Martha's Vineyard. "And I said, 'My name's Patrick McCarthy, and I'm going to pitch for the Yankees someday.'" Said the boy's father, Joe, "We're just glad it wasn't Bill Buckner who was there."
After 35 years, Monday Night Football's run on ABC. Under the terms of the new broadcast deal that the NFL signed on Monday, ESPN will broadcast MNF starting with the 2006 season. ESPN's deal runs for eight seasons and calls for the games to be aired at 8:40 p.m. The pact also will bring the NFL back to NBC after a six-year absence: The Peacock will take over Sunday night games from ESPN for the next six years. (NBC will also get the 2009 and 2012 Super Bowls.) The deal leaves ABC, which is losing $150 million a year on the MNF deal it signed in 1998, as the only one of the four major networks without the NFL. Said NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, "A great deal with the NFL is the best deal you can get in television."
To planting a bomb in Atlanta's Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics, Eric Rudolph. The former Army explosives expert pleaded guilty in federal court last week to the Olympic bombing as well as three other bombings of two women's clinics and a gay nightclub. Rudolph, 38, said the Olympic bombing was intended to shut down the Games and embarrass the U.S. government. One person was killed and 111 injured in the Olympic attack. Rudolph, who eluded capture until being arrested in 2003, was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without parole.
At age 45 after a two-year fight with intestinal cancer, Panthers linebackers coach Sam Mills. An undersized (5'9", 225 pounds) linebacker, Mills played in the USFL for three seasons before having a successful 12-year NFL career with the Saints and Carolina, during which he made the Pro Bowl five times. He joined the Panthers' staff in 1998 and, after learning he had cancer before the 2003 season, he continued to coach between chemotherapy treatments. "I'm around something I enjoy, and that is very important," Mills told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in February 2004. "As long as I have the power in me to go ahead and continue to coach, I will."
Lance Armstrong, 33, who announced on Monday that this year's Tour de France will be his final race. The six-time Tour champ, who recently signed with a new team sponsored by the Discovery Channel, said he wants to spend more time with his three children and working to raise cancer awareness. "Ultimately, athletes have to retire," he said.