Estonia wins first-ever Winter Olympic medal
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Carole Montillet made the wait worthwhile in the women's downhill Tuesday and Estonia celebrated its first Winter Olympic medal ever by winning a second one.
Montillet became the first gold medalist of these Games for France by winning the downhill, which was postponed from Monday. She raced down the Snowbasin course in 1:39.56 to defeat Isolde Kostner of Italy by .05 of a second. The bronze went to Renate Goetschl of Austria. Oft-injured American Picobo Street failed to challenge in what is expected to be the last downhill race of her career.
Estonia, meanwhile, celebrated both a gold and a bronze medal in the men's 15-kilometer cross country race. Andrus Veerpalu captured the gold and Jaak Mae won the bronze with Estil Frode of Norway sandwiched in between for the silver.
The other golds handed out early Tuesday went to Norway's Bente Skari in the women's 10-kilometer cross country competition and to Finland's Janne Lahtela in men's freestyle moguls. American Travis Mayer claimed the silver in the moguls.
Another medal was at stake later Tuesday in men's 500-meter speed skating and the men's figure skating program was on the scheduled for the evening.
And in women's ice hockey, the United States began defense of its 1998 gold medal by crushing Germany, 10-0.
Sales of Expos, Marlins approved
NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Formal approval of the sale of the Florida Marlins to Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Montreal Expos, and Major League Baseball's acquisition of the Expos from Loria was officially announced Tuesday.
Commissioner Bud Selig initially scheduled an owners meeting for Tuesday in Chicago, but decided to give the owners the option of voting on the proposed sales by mail last week. As expected, both of the transactions received the necessary three-quarters votes for approval.
Major League Baseball will own a team for the first time in its history, although it intends to eliminate the Expos after the 2002 season.
But for what probably will be their final season in Montreal, the Expos will have Frank Robinson as manager, Omar Minaya as the major leagues' first Hispanic general manager and Tony Tavares as president.
"I am very pleased with the management team that we have assembled," Selig said. "They have long experience in the game and they are first rate in every way. Now that they are in place, they will have the authority to operate the club with complete autonomy."
Meanwhile, Expos manager Jeff Torborg and most of Montreal's front office staff will go with Loria to Florida.
Loria's purchase of the Marlins paves the way for John Henry, who has owned the Florida team the last three years, to become owner and managing general partner of the Boston Red Sox.
Loria is paying Henry $158.5 million for the Marlins and will receive $120 million from MLB for the Expos. Henry and his group are paying $660 million to buy the Red Sox, Fenway Park and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network.
Magic activates Patrick Ewing
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Orlando Magic center Patrick Ewing, who has been sidelined since Jan. 7 with patella tendinitis in his right knee, was activated from the injured list Tuesday.
Ewing played in each of the team's first 35 games before sitting out a win on Jan. 7 win over the Orlando Magic. He was placed on he injured list two days later.
The 11-time All-Star is averaging 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds for Orlando (25-24), which is tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Magic, who went 8-6 during Ewing's absence, had a home game Tuesday night against his former team, the New York Knicks. He collected five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench in a 94-90 win at New York on Dec. 30.
Ewing signed with the Magic in the offseason after playing in 79 games with the Seattle SuperSonics last season. After two injury-plagued seasons with the Knicks, Ewing averaged 9.6 points and led the SuperSonics with 7.4 rebounds per game.
Former major leaguer Jim Spencer dies
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Jim Spencer, who played for five teams in a 15-year major league career, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 55.
Spencer worked in promotions and appeared at charity events for the New York Yankees, most recently playing Saturday night in a benefit game for the Joe DiMaggio Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. He died on Sunday.
A winner of two Gold Gloves as a slick-fielding first baseman, Spencer played in the 1973 All-Star Game and was a member of the Yankees' 1978 championship team.
A first-round pick of the California Angels, Spencer also played with the Yankees, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics. He was a career .250 hitter with 146 home runs and 599 RBI. He set career-highs with 23 homers and a .288 batting average in 1979 with New York. He retired after the 1981 season, but stayed active in baseball, serving as an assistant coach for Navy.
Craig Adams sent to minors
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Carolina Hurricanes center Craig Adams, who faces a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during a fight in Sunday's 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks, has been assigned to Lowell of the American Hockey League.
Adams left the bench in the second period to attack San Jose defenseman Bryan Marchment. He received a game misconduct and a roughing minor. Marchment and Carolina left wing Chris Dingman each received roughing minors while San Jose center Owen Nolan also received a game misconduct after jumping on Adams.
Marchment, who has a reputation for delivering cheap hits, was suspended six game for elbowing Carolina right wing Shane Willis Nov. 10.
NHL rules call for a 10-game suspension for any player leaving the bench during an altercation, but Adams must be on an NHL roster for it to begin.
The 24-year-old Adams does not have a point in 27 games with the Hurricanes. In 12 games with Lowell, he has three goals, three assists and 37 penalty minutes.
The 6-0, 200-pound Adams was selected in the fourth round of the 1998 draft and had one goal and 20 penalty minutes in 44 games with Carolina last season.
Kozlov to miss Olympics
SUNRISE, Fla., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Florida Panthers center Viktor Kozlov will miss at least two games and will not play for Russia in the Winter Olympics due to an abdominal strain.
The Panthers, who own the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 17-32-5-3, had a Tuesday night game at Nashville and will play Wednesday night in Chicago before the Olympic break.
Right wings Pavel and Valeri Bure of the Panthers will play for the Russian Olympic team at the Salt Lake City Games. But the Russians will be without Kozlov and defenseman Dmitry Yushkevich of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg last week.
Kozlov, who turns 27 Thursday, suffered the injury in Florida's loss to Boston last Saturday. He has nine goals and 18 assists in 50 games this season.Acquired by Florida from San Jose in November 1997, he set career highs with 17 goals and 53 assists in 1999-2000.
MLS Cup to be held in new stadium
NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- CMGI Field, the new home of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, will host the 2002 MLS Cup.
It marks the third time that the MLS champion will be crowned in New England. The league's title game was played at Foxboro Stadium in 1996 and 1999.