Canadian skaters get gold medals
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The International Olympic Committee Friday announced that gold medals will be awarded to Canadian figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, at least temporarily calming the furor over alleged competition fixing at the Winter Games.
Under pressure from International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Skating Union, Ottavio Cinquanta, recommended that Sale and Pelletier receive a gold medal along with Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze --- whose victory in the pairs event last Monday touched off the scandal.
Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze will keep the gold medals they were awarded.
"This is justice," Rogge said.
The central figure in the skating controversy, French judge Maria-Reine Le Gougne, was also suspended by the ISU. The length of that suspension has not been determined.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien praised the action of the IOC.
"The decision by the IOC merely confirms what we all knew in our hearts," Chretien said. "These two extraordinary young talents put on a gold medal performance for the world."
Olga Danilova won her fifth career Olympic medal Friday, outdueling Russian teammate Larissa Lazutina to capture the five-kilometer combined pursuit.
In previous Games, this event, which features a five-kilometer classical race followed by a five-kilometer freestyle pursuit, had been staged over two days and featured two medals. Danilova and Lazutina swapped gold and silver four years ago at Nagano.
Patric-Fritz Leitner and Alexander Resch excelled on the lower half of Utah Olympic Park's treacherous Bear Hollow run and won the gold medal in men's doubles luge Friday while Americans took the silver and bronze.
The German tandem set a track record on its first run with a time of 42.953 seconds and was second-fastest on the second trip down the course for a combined mark of 1 minute, 26.082 seconds.
Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin had the fastest second run to edge countrymen Chris Thorpe and Clay Ives for the silver by .004 of a second with a time of 1:26.216.
Padres outfielder Mike Darr killed
PEORIA, Ariz., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- San Diego Padres outfielder Mike Darr and another man were killed in an auto accident on a Phoenix highway early Friday morning.
The one-vehicle accident occured at 1:55 a.m. local time on Route 101, according to Frank Valenzuela, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Department of Public Safety.
A friend of Darr, 23-year-old Duane Johnson, also was killed in the accident. Johnson was the son of UCLA assistant football coach Don Johnson.
Another passenger, Ben Howard, 23, a minor league pitcher, was treated at the scene and released.
Darr, 25, was driving a sports utility vehicle westbound when he
lost control and tried to overcompensate. The vehicle went
across all three lanes and hit the median, ejecting front-seat
passengers Darr and Johnson, who were not wearing seat belts.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
NBA hands Jazz guard 3-game suspension
NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The NBA Friday suspended Utah Jazz guard DeShawn Stevenson three games without pay after he pleaded no contest earlier in the week to a sexual offense charge.
He will miss road games Friday against Toronto, Sunday at New York and Monday at Cleveland.
On Monday in Fresno County Superior Court, Stevenson received a sentence of two years probation and 100 hours of community service after entering a no contest plea to a statutory rape charge.
Stevenson, 20, is a second-year guard who went from high school directly to the NBA. He had started a handful of games at shooting guard this season but played just four minutes off the bench in Thursday's win at Philadelphia.
Quigley, Hill lead Verizon Classic
LUTZ, Fla., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Dana Quigley and Mike Hill each shot 7-under-par 64s on Friday to share the lead after the first round of the $1.5 million Verizon Classic.
The most active player on the Senior Tour last season was Quigley, who took part in 37 events. He also has played in each of the three previous tournaments this season.
Currently fifth on the money list, Quigley was fourth at the season-opening MasterCard Championship and was tied for fifth last week at the ACE Group Classic.
Hale Irwin, who won for a whopping 33rd time on tour with a one-stroke victory last week, shot a 1-under 70 on Friday.
Stewart takes Daytona series opener
DAYTONA, Fla., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The opening round of the International Race of Champions series had a definite Indy Racing League flavor Friday.
Although NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart won Friday's race when he passed Al Unser Jr. with two laps to go, Stewart was the 1997 IRL champion. Unser is currently in the IRL although he continues to look for a full-time ride this season.
And the driver who finished second to Stewart was Sam Hornish Jr., the defending IRL champion. Stewart won the race averaging 175.610 miles per hour and beat Hornish by a mere 0.111 seconds.
It was Stewart's second career IROC win and his second victory during SpeedWeeks. Stewart won last Sunday's Budweiser Shootout and finished second to Michael Waltrip in the second Gatorade Twin 125 qualifying race on Thursday.
Seles reaches semifinals in Qatar Open
DOHA, Qatar, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Top-seeded Monica Seles of the United States and fourth-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand each advanced to the semifinals of the $170,000 Qatar Open hardcourt tennis event Friday.
Seles, who last week made it to the semifinals of an indoor event at Paris, breezed to 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Australian eighth seed Nicole Pratt.
She faces another Australian, Alicia Molik, in the semifinals.
Tanasugarn, coming off consecutive straight-sets wins, defeated Slovakian Maja Matevzic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Friday and will meet Slovakia's Janette Husarova in the semifinals.
Molik, ranked No. 54 in the world, got past Italy's Tathiana Garbin, 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Husarova, who upset second-seeded Frenchwoman Sandrine Testud in the second round, recorded a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory over Russian Anastasia Myskina.
Venus Williams in Belgium semifinals
ANTWERP, Belgium, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Top-seeded American Venus Williams and third-seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France will meet for the second straight week as each was victorious Friday in the inaugural $585,000 Proximus Diamond Games.
Williams held a 6-3, 1-0 lead in her quarterfinal match Friday
when Italian Silvia Farina Elia retired due to an ankle injury.
Williams, seeking her 23rd career title, defeated Mauresmo in
three sets in the semifinals of the Paris Indoors event last
Mauresmo defeated Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 7-5 on Friday. Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, seeking her eighth career title, got by Denmark's Eva Dyrberg, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in Friday's other quarterfinal match. Schnyder faces second-seeded Justine Henin of Belgium, who ousted sixth-seeded Magdalena Masleeva ofBulgaria 7-6 (7-1), 6-1.
Only one seed makes Denmark semis
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The top two seeds tumbled at the Copenhagen Open tennis tournament on Friday, leaving red-hot Davide Sanguinetti of Italy as the lone remaining seed.
One day after winning a marathon match, Sanguinetti moved into the semifinals with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory over eighth seed Christophe Rochus of Belgium. He has won 13 straight matches.
Top-seeded Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic and second-seeded Rainer Schuettler of Germany were not as fortunate, falling to unseeded foes.
Novak was a 6-3, 6-2 loser to Magnus Larsson of Sweden, who has made the most of his wild card into this event. He has won six straight sets since dropping his first of the tournament.
Schuettler was beaten, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, by Belgium's Oliver Rochus, who reached his first semifinal of the year.