FEATURES

2006 Olympics

38 That's theSpirit
Fighting off the doldrums, Julia Mancuso won gold in the giant slalom
by Tim Layden

42 SilverLining
U.S. skater Sasha Cohen overcame two falls, giving her something to build on
by E.M. Swift

46 SwedeSuccess
The Swedish hockey team reveled in the gold it wrested from its Nordic rival
by Michael Farber

48 The Best &Worst
From the U.S.'s most generous winner to a man on the rubber-chicken circuit
by Mark Bechtel

50 Jacques, BeNimble
IOC head Jacques Rogge has run three Games. His biggest test will come in'08
by S.L. Price

PRO BASKETBALL

52 The Past IsHistory
Led by All-Star Elton Brand, the Clippers are erasing decades of futility
by Chris Ballard

BASEBALL

56 GlobalWarming
At least abroad, interest in the World Baseball Classic is heating up
by Tom Verducci

COLLEGE BASKETBALLPOLL

Hot Topics
A panel of hoopsters picks the player of the year and weighs in on other issuesby Grant Wahl
PAGE 62

Departments

6 Leading Off
14 Letters
17 Air and Space
New competitors are embracing their inner glutton: They are how much they eatby Steve Rushin

18 Scorecard
• Musings from the Oscars' host
• Controversial start for the LPGA
• The first lady of Cooperstown

28 Faces in theCrowd
31 Players
80 Life of Reilly
Shani Davis should have been the feel-good story of Turin. His mom made sure hewasn't by Rick Reilly

Inside ...

74 The NFL
• Vince Young could fall to Raiders

77 CollegeBasketball
• Who's the top women's player?

78 The NBA
• Big deal: Knicks get another star

ON THE WEBSI.COM

GO TO SI.COM DAILYFOR SCORES, STATS AND BREAKING NEWS

A year after going19-15 and losing in the semifinals of the NIT, Memphis could finish thisregular season at 33-2 and earn a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament. Read whatSeth Davis and Grant Wahl have to say about Darius Washington (above) and theTigers, as well as other teams, at SI.com/collegebasketball.

Shaun Alexander,Edgerrin James (right) and Jamal Lewis will be the most coveted running backswhen the next round of NFL free agency begins on Friday. Will Alexander leaveSeattle for Carolina? How much will it take to get James? Keep track of thelatest signings at SI.com/NFL.

Get your dailydose of sports humor from Pete McEntegart, Jay Mohr and Steve Hofstetter atSI.com/scorecard.

The first pitch ofthe MLB season may not be thrown until April 2, but it's never too early forfantasy team owners to start planning. For spring training reports, go toSI.com/baseball; for a position-by-position rundown of the players to zero inon as potential bargains, go to SI.com/fantasy.

The World BaseballClassic hardly has the stature of soccer's World Cup, but it does have some ofthe game's biggest stars, including Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez (above) andJohan Santana. Follow the 16-team, 39-game tournament at SI.com/baseball.

Can't get enoughof SI columnist Rick Reilly? Go to SI.com every Thursday for his entertainingnew video segment, RIFFS OF REILLY.

Cover

PHOTOGRAPHS BYRICH FRISHMAN (MORRISON); JEFFERY A. SALTER (REDICK)

INSET ILLUSTRATIONBY: VICTOR JUHASZ

INSET PHOTO: GARYBOGDON

SI Extra

To sign up forSPORTS ILLUSTRATED's free subscriber-only e-mail newsletter, go tosicustomerservice.com/siextra.

PHOTOKYODO NEWS/AP (ICHIRO) 56
HOME STRETCH
In Fukuoka, Ichiro Suzuki led the Japanese team as it limbered up for the16-team World Baseball Classic, which begins on Friday.
ILLUSTRATION PHOTOJIM REDMAN/WIREIMAGE.COM PHOTOTODD ROSENBERG (WASHINGTON) 74
RUN FOR IT
Florida State running back Leon Washington tried to impress scouts during theNFL combine in Indianapolison Sunday.
THREE PHOTOSDAMIAN STROHMEYER (WASHINGTON); BILL FRAKES (JAMES); TOM DIPACE (RODRIGUEZ)
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)