At age 61 after a five-year battle with lymphoma, Charlie Francis, a former Canadian national track and field coach, who was best known for his admission during Canada's 1989 Dubin inquiry into drugs in sports that he had provided steroids to sprinter Ben Johnson and other athletes. At the '88 Games in Seoul, Johnson broke the 100-meter world record, but a drug test revealed traces of the banned steroid stanozolol, causing Johnson to become the first athlete stripped of a gold medal. Francis (above, with Johnson), who sprinted to the second round in the 100 meters at the '72 Munich Games, later speculated that PED use was widespread and explained that he had merely been seeking to level the playing field. The inquiry led to the establishment of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and to Francis's banishment from coaching for life in that nation. But in 2003 he worked with U.S. sprinters Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, both of whom later confessed to drug use.
For sale, the 193-acre farm plot near Dyersville, Iowa, that served as the main location for the Oscar-nominated movie Field of Dreams. The sellers, Don and Becky Lansing, lent their land to Universal Studios for filming in 1988 and have since operated the property as a tourist stop. Now they're asking $5.4 million for the two-bedroom farmhouse, six buildings (including a concessions stand) and the iconic dirt diamond, which Universal carved out of a cornfield. Ken Sanders, who went 29--45 with a 2.97 ERA for eight major league teams over 10 seasons in the 1960s and '70s before becoming a real estate consultant, is handling the sale.
May 23, 2010
From the United States's 2010 World Cup roster, former teenage soccer standout Freddy Adu and Charlie Davies, who starred for the U.S. at the 2009 Confederations Cup tournament. Since being drafted No. 1 overall by MLS's D.C. United at age 14, Adu (SI, April 19), now 20, has scored only twice in international play and will watch a second straight Cup finals from home. Davies, whom many penciled in as the team's striker of the future after his performance last year in Johannesburg, has spent the past seven months recovering from an array of life-threatening injuries (most relevant: a broken right femur, tibia and fibula) suffered in a car crash on the eve of the U.S.'s Cup qualification. On May 12, after coach Bob Bradley announced that Davies was unfit for competition, the 23-year-old blamed the snub on his French club, FC Sochaux, with which he had been rehabbing and which had reportedly provided negative feedback on Davies's progress.
To the quarterfinals of the 2010 NCAA lacrosse tournament, the men's and women's teams representing the University of Virginia, where less than two weeks earlier a member of the men's squad, George Huguely, was charged with the murder of a women's player, Yeardley Love (SI, May 17). Last Saturday the top-seeded men, who wore ONE LOVE on their warmups and a patch with Y.L. 1 on their jerseys, dispatched unseeded Mount St. Mary's 18--4, after which coach Dom Starsia observed, "You witnessed a team that was happy to be on the field again." The following afternoon the sixth-seeded Cavaliers women, wearing similar tribute attire (below), broke an 11--11 tie with eight minutes remaining against unseeded Towson to win 14--12, a triumph that included a hat trick by Love's roommate Caity Whiteley. The teams return to the field next weekend, the women against No. 3 seed North Carolina on Saturday and the men against No. 8 Stony Brook on Sunday.
From a Washington, D.C., hospital after being treated for blood clots around his lungs and legs, NASCAR driver Brian Vickers. On May 12 Vickers, 26, was in Washington for a tour of Congress when he experienced discomfort in his chest; he was taken to an emergency room, where a CT scan revealed the clots. After taking blood-thinning medication, Vickers was released last Friday and cleared to fly to Charlotte, where he plans to meet with specialists this week. Vickers, who's currently 27th in the Sprint Cup standings, is now on an indefinite leave of absence from his number 83 Red Bull team. "Doctors are not sure what caused the clots or how it happened," said Jay Frye, VP and G.M. of Red Bull Racing. "He's been tested and given a clean bill of health." While Vickers is sidelined, Casey Mears will pilot his Camry. On Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Mears came in 22nd.
Last Saturday in Sydney Harbour, 16-year-old Australian skipper Jessica Watson, after a solo, nonstop and unassisted voyage around the world that made her the youngest person to achieve such a feat. Watson, who turned 17 three days later, shed tears of joy as she finished her 210-day, 23,000-nautical-mile journey, which started in Sydney, headed north across the equator and then dipped below South America and South Africa. She arrived on her 34-foot yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, to a pink-carpet reception at the Opera House. "[Others] don't realize what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of," Watson said of her trip, during which her vessel was overturned seven times by waves that occasionally reached 40 feet high. "It's amazing, when you take away those expectations, what you can do."
THEY SAID IT
Canadiens defenseman, on the raw feelings between Montreal and Philadelphia, its Eastern Conference finals foe: "It's fun to hate the Flyers, just like it's fun for them to hate our fans and our team. It should be a good series as far as hate goes."
Consecutive saves at home by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before he blew an opportunity on Sunday in a 6--3 loss to the Twins, leaving him tied for the alltime record with Eric Gagne (Dodgers, 2002--04).
Games for the Marlins without a homer by a lefthanded batter this season before leftfielder Chris Coghlan's round-tripper against Mets lefty Oliver Perez last Friday, the longest such season-opening streak since the 52-game drought by the Houston Colt .45s, in 1963.
Runs by the Blue Jays and the Rangers through four innings last Friday, the second most in the first four frames since 1979 (26, Phillies-Cubs).
Consecutive no-hitters tossed this season by Castilleja (Calif.) High softball pitcher Samantha Albanese, tying the national record.
Purse earned for finishing 30th by 12-year-old Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., at the Canton (Ga.) Open bowling tournament, making him the youngest ever to earn money at a PBA event.