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WORLD SPORTS SCENE / RANDY HARVEY : Hottest Race Around Now Has a Hotline

July 28, 1993|RANDY HARVEY

The most intriguing 100-meter race since last summer, one involving 1984 and '88 Olympic champion Carl Lewis and 1992 Olympic champion Linford Christie of Great Britain, is scheduled for Friday at Gateshead, England.

Track fans in the United States will not be able to see the race live on television, perhaps not even delayed, but they will be able to hear it. All that is required is a telephone.

A West Hollywood company, World Cavalcade of Sports, is offering veteran track and field radio commentator Victor Holchak's call of the race for free to those who call 1-800-94-TRACK. Holchak was an easy choice as the voice. He owns the company.

Holchak said he expects to have his first report available from Gateshead at about 1:30 p.m., approximately 45 minutes after the race ends. He will have a more detailed analysis, as well as results from other events, later in the day.

That will be the first of his daily 1 1/2-minute reports from the European track and field circuit, including the Aug. 13-22 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

If there is significant interest, Holchak might charge for the service in the future. But he is able to provide it free this summer because of financial backers, who want to find out whether the concept is feasible for next summer's World Cup of soccer. Meantime, track and field in the United States will benefit.

"The IAAF (the sport's international governing body) looks at the United States as a Third World country when it comes to marketing their sport," Holchak said. "They realize they have to do something here, not only to attract new fans but to keep the ones they have, and this is something they believe can help."

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Gateshead revisited: Trying to be like Lewis, Christie has launched a singing career, releasing a record called "Keep On Running."

He did not heed his own lyrics in the recent British championships. With a considerable lead in the 200-meter semifinals, he eased up in the final 15 meters and was, as the Brits say, "pipped" at the finish line. He did not advance to the final.

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Coach Bob Kersee said his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, is disappointed that he won their latest argument, preventing her from competing in both the heptathlon and the long jump in the World Championships. She will concentrate on the heptathlon.

She blames his stubbornness.

He blames the IAAF.

"It's their responsibility to look at who their leading attractions are and accommodate them," Kersee said. "They know Jackie has been competing in the heptathlon and long jump for most of her career, but they wouldn't change the schedule so she could do both. It's the sport's loss."

If she entered both, she would have to compete in the long jump the night before the heptathlon begins. She tried that two years ago in the World Championships at Tokyo, where she injured herself in winning the long jump and had to withdraw from the heptathlon.

"She believes she can do both, and I don't doubt her," Kersee said. "But I don't want to take the risk."

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Implicated in the Italian corruption investigation that has spread from politicians to businessmen, Raul Gardini, the 60-year-old former head of the Ferruzzi conglomerate, died Friday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He perhaps is best known in the United States as chairman of the syndicate that sponsored the losing finalist in the 1992 America's Cup, Il Moro di Venezia.

But that was not the only time he was prominently featured on the sports pages of U.S. newspapers. As former owner of a professional basketball team in Rome, he lured the Clippers' 1989 No. 1 draft choice, Danny Ferry, to Europe for one season along with then-Celtic guard Brian Shaw.

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England's legendary cricket player, Ian Botham, retired last week. He was as colorful off the field as on, often making headlines for his fondness for language that was not the Queen's English, women who were not his wife and smokes that were not tobacco.

He also is too quick-witted for his own good. On a tour of Pakistan, he said it was a place not fit even for his mother-in-law. It was not recorded whether his mother-in-law or the Pakistanis were more offended.

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