The doubles competition at the International Badminton Federation World Championships in Anaheim, by Tony Gunawan (above, back) and Howard Bach (front). The 13th-seeded duo became the first American team to win a badminton medal in an Olympic or world championship when they defeated the second-seeded Indonesian team of Candra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto. "We never expected we would win," said Gunawan, "but we gave it our best and we did." Gunawan, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2000 for Indonesia playing with Wijaya, moved to California in 2002 to continue his education. He is not yet a citizen, but Gunawan, 30, received a waiver from the IBF to compete for the U.S. He and Bach, 26, have been playing together since, and USA Badminton hopes their partnership will mean big things for the sport. "We're out of the backyard barbecue syndrome," said executive director Dan Cloppas. "Now children are going to start looking at the sport differently and say, 'Maybe I don't want to go into basketball or football. I want to be like Tony and Howard.'"
From fighting in New York State due to "diminished skills and poor performance," Evander Holyfield. The 42-year-old former champ, last seen as a contestant on the ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars, was placed on medical suspension by the New York State Athletic Commission last year, a ban that other states are required to honor. Holyfield recently underwent a battery of tests for brain damage; none was found, so the athletic commission ended his medical suspension. But pointing to his 2-5-2 record since 1999, the commission placed him on administrative suspension, which applies only to New York. Holyfield's manager, Alex Krys, told the New York Daily News he was trying to line up a fight for Holyfield in Europe.
August 28, 2005
Into the new Mascot Hall of Fame, the Phillie Phanatic (below), the San Diego Chicken and the Phoenix Suns Gorilla. As 19 mascots and several hundred fans looked on, the three pioneers were enshrined last week in Philadelphia's Center City. The Hall--which doesn't yet have a permanent home but will be located in Philadelphia--is the brainchild of Dave Raymond, who played the Phanatic for 16 years. A group of 18 committee members votes on inductees; next year they will induct the first class of college mascots. "This is about fun," Raymond said. "Sports are about fun. Sometimes we forget that."
The Fort Worth Cats' Central League game on Aug. 16, Bobby Bragan, 87, who became the oldest man to serve as skipper in a professional baseball game. The former manager of the Indians, Braves and Pirates was eight days older than Connie Mack, who managed his last game in 1950. Bragan's one-night stint as the Cats' manager was a return to the club that he managed for five years, beginning in 1948. It was an eventful evening. Bragan (above right) was accompanied to the pregame lineup exchange at home plate by his old friend Maury Wills (above left), 74, who served as his first coach, and a Seeing Eye dog. In the third inning Cats shortstop David Keesee was ejected for arguing a strike call. When Bragan asked home plate ump Brandon Misun why his player was tossed, Misun said that Keesee had accused him of "calling a lousy game." Bragan replied, "Well, I have to agree with him," and he was tossed as well.
As skating coach of the Blackhawks, four-time Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen, 40. The 1994 gold medalist in the 1,000 meters is an avid hockey fan, but his knowledge of the sport comes mainly from pickup games he played as a child in Wisconsin. "When I watch hockey on TV, I notice how most of the players aren't as efficient as they could be on the ice," says Jansen (right). "By adjusting their weight and technique, I think they'd have more energy at the end of the game and at the end of the season." Jansen, who has been giving motivational speeches and running his cancer foundation since the Lillehammer Games, plans to travel to Chicago from his Charlotte home during training camp and drop in as needed during the season.
By embattled partner Steve Belkin, his 30% stake in the Atlanta Spirit LLC, which owns the Hawks and the Thrashers. As the Hawks' representative on the NBA board of governors, Belkin blocked a deal in which Atlanta would have given up two first-round picks and guard Boris Diaw for Phoenix's Joe Johnson (SI, Aug. 15). The bickering between Belkin and the other eight partners eventually led the group to court. Representatives for Belkin and the other owners met last week in New York City, and according to a source close to the talks, he initially agreed to approve the deal to keep his position on the board of governors. When it became clear that there was lingering resentment toward him, he offered to buy out his partners. They refused, and at the league's urging, Belkin agreed to sell his share to them. In exchange the league promised Belkin it would work with him on purchasing controlling interest in another team. "This is a sad day for me," said Belkin. "I wish all involved success in the future."
By the NCAA for $56.5 million, the rights to the preseason and postseason NIT tournaments. Four years ago the NCAA was sued by the five New York City colleges that run the NIT tournaments, which said the NCAA was trying to put the postseason NIT out of business. (The NIT is a year older than the NCAA tournament, and for a time was more prestigious.) Under the terms of the deal, which ends the litigation, both NIT tournaments will be held at Madison Square Garden for at least the next five years. "We found a way to go forward," said NCAA president Myles Brand. "This is a significant agreement."
By members of the Double A Mississippi Braves of corking his bat, Tracy McGrady. The Rockets swingman took BP with the team last week and hit a 390-foot shot over the fence in left center, prompting a few Braves to jokingly suggest he had tampered with his lumber. After hitting another homer, McGrady, who hasn't played baseball since he was a high schooler in Florida, headed to the bullpen, where he showed off his curveball. "I'm not just a basketball player," said McGrady, who's also taken BP off Roger Clemens. "I've got other skills."