Two more golds for the U.S.
PARK CITY, Utah, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- With an American eagle on his helmet and a photograph of his grandfather under it, Jim Shea won the Olympic gold medal in skeleton Wednesday as a steady snowfall blanketed Utah Olympic Park.
The United States also went gold-silver in the first-ever skeleton event for women with Tristan Gale edging teammate Lea Ann Parsley.
Shea finished with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 41.96 seconds, using a late burst of speed to beat Austrian Martin Rettl by .05.
Gregor Staehli claimed bronze in the event, a face-first version of luge that returned to the Olympics for the first time since 1948
.The marquee event was scheduled easrly Wednesday evening at West Valley City, where the United States sought to reach the men's hockey semifinals for the first time since winning a fabled gold medal in Lake Placid 22 years ago.
Awaiting Coach Herb Brooks' team was Germany, which lost all
three games in the final round. The U.S., on the other hand, had two wins and a tie in the final round and had not lost an Olympic hockey game on its home turf since the 1932 Games, an 18
Tyson may get DC license
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A heavyweight title fight between champ Lennox Lewis and former champ Mike Tyson, a bout looking for a home, seemed to be headed Wednesday to Washington and the MCI Center, tentatively on June 8, the Washington Post reported.
The D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission gave its initial blessing Tuesday to Tyson's license application, the fight's main sticking point, and an event eagerly pursued by Mayor Anthony A. Williams.
The Post said, however, announcement of the commission's action "prompted a furious backlash." Business and church leaders and political activists warned the city it could lose its reputation as a wholesome tourist destination by playing host to the boxer, whom Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes recently dubbed "a sexual predator." It was Barnes' comment that led to fight promoters to drop Atlanta as a possible site.
Meanwhile, California Gov. Gray Davis, asked Wednesday about the possibility of the fight being held in his state, said he was against it.
"If it were up to me, it's a mistake," he said. "I don't think we should grant Mike Tyson a permit, certainly not now. I think he needs to get treatment and get help. And I would be opposed to it."
The fight was to have been staged in Las Vegas in April but the Nevada Boxing Commission refused to grant Tyson a license.
But, the three-member D.C. commission, meeting behind closed doors, unanimously welcomed Tyson's application at a time when authorities in four states have opposed bids by the boxer, a convicted rapist with two other investigations pending for alleged sex crimes. One member of the commission went so far as to say that approval of a license for Tyson was all but certain. A formal vote is scheduled for March 12.
Deadline near for NBA trades
NEW YORK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching, Nick Van Exel remains a member of the Denver Nuggets -- and could be with them for a while.
Van Exel, who twice this season has asked the Nuggets to trade him, reportedly has changed his mind and now is unwilling to waive the last two years of his contract, valued at $26.5 million, in order to facilitate a deal.
Tony Dutt, Van Exel's agent, told ESPN that his client would not waive the last two years of a seven-year, $77 million deal Van Exel signed prior to the 1999-2000 season.
With concerns about bulging payrolls and the luxury tax, teams are reluctant to take on players with long, escalating contracts. Van Exel is scheduled to make $12.8 million in 2004-05 and $13.7 million in 2005-06.
Teams have until 6 p.m. EST on Thursday to finalize trades.
NFL must decide on franchise players
NFL teams have until Thursday at 4 p.m. EST to designate their unrestricted free agents as franchise or transition players, which gives them the right of compensation or first refusal.
The Eagles have been unable to reach a multi-year agreement with Trotter, forcing them to use a franchise player designation. A two-time Pro Bowler, Trotter has led the Eagles in tackles each of the last three years. At 25 years of age, Trotter would have been a hot commodity on the free agent market if not restricted by the tag.
Franchise players must be offered a minimum of the average of the top-five salaries at their position or a 20-percent salary increase, whichever is greater. But the original club can match any offer and retain the player, or receive two first-round draft choices as compensation if it decides not to match.
The Kansas City Chiefs must decide whether to place a franchise designation on Gonzalez, a Pro Bowler each of the last three years, and the St. Louis Rams may slap a tag on Fletcher, the team leader in tackles the last three seasons.
Williams, Seles advance in Dubai Open
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- After learning that she will become the No. 1 player in the world a day earlier, top seed Venus Williams moved into the quarterfinals of the $585,000 Dubai Women's Open Wednesday.
Williams defeated Russia's Anna Kournikova for the second time in as many weeks, posting a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory in the second round. She also defeated Kournikova in the quarterfinals of the Proximus Diamond Games at Antwerp, Belgium and has won all seven of their meetings.
Seles, the second seed here, cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Italy's Tathiana Garbin. Seles also is coming off a tournament triumph. She captured her 52nd career title with a straight-sets victory over Tamarine Tanasugarn on Sunday in the Qatar Open.
The 28-year-old Seles is within three titles of Britain's Virginia Wade for seventh place on the WTA list of most career tournament victories in the Open era (since 1968).
Mattiace heads depleted Tucson field
TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Len Mattiace won his first PGA Tournament last week and gets a chance to go back-to-back in a depleted field at the Tucson Open beginning Thursday at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa. The top 64 players in the world golf rankings are participating in the Match Play Championship at Carlsbad, Calif.
As a result, Mattiace, Fred Funk and Jay Don Blake are the top players on the PGA money list in this event.
Mattiace shot a 15-under-par 269 to win the Nissan Open last Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory, earning the first prize of $666,000 to move into eighth place on the money list. He has played in more than 190 events.
Mattiace joined Jerry Kelly and Matt Gogel as first-time winners this year. Both Kelly and Gogel are participating in the Match Play Championships.
Dwight Gooden arrested for DUI
TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Retired major league pitcher Dwight Gooden faced drunken driving charges Wednesday after police stopped him when they noticed his car weaving in traffic.
He was charged with intoxication, violation of the open container law and driving with a suspended license.
He was arrested shortly before midnight Tuesday and refused to take breath and urine tests, police said. Gooden, 37, later was released from the Hillsborough County Jail on $500 bond.
Gooden was suspended by baseball for 60 days in 1994 for testing positive for cocaine. He failed the test again while he was on suspension and had to sit out the 1995 season.
He retired from the New York Yankees in May, and was serving as an assistant to Yankees owner George Steinb