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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Carrying Torch Turns Out to Be Grate Experience

May 11, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

Dropping the Olympic torch--and breaking it--has made Harley Sheffield a momentary celebrity. He is scheduled to appear on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Monday night.

Last Tuesday, Sheffield was riding a bicycle across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington with the torch resting in a plexiglass holder over the rear tire when the tire caught an expansion grate and blew out. So did the Olympic flame.

A new torch, lighted from the "mother flame" kept in a van pacing Sheffield, was quickly brought out and the flame continued on its way, by motorcycle.

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Trivia time: What do Leslie L. Alexander, Glen Taylor and Barry Ackerley have in common?

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So there! Keith Gregor, a University of Cincinnati forward, speaking at the team's awards banquet, took a shot at the Kentucky Wildcats:

"I don't care who won the national championship, they're still rednecks to me."

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Who's that? Apparently not everyone found Dennis Rodman's day in drag amusing.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls' forward missed the First Communion of his 7-year-old daughter, Alexis, last Saturday while signing copies of his new book, "Bad As I Wanna Be," wearing women's makeup, a silver halter top and a pink feather boa.

"Dennis was on the TV news and Alexis saw him," said his ex-wife, Annie, in Sacramento. "Alexis said: 'Is that my daddy?' She was so distraught."

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Born-again Redskin: Defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, traded to Washington from St. Louis on draft day, became a born-again Christian on Oct. 12, 1994.

"Before that, I had a master's degree in cussing, a bachelor's degree in deceiving and a PhD in psychology mind games," Gilbert said. "I was doing wicked things."

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Explosive franchise? Peter May of the Boston Globe commenting on the change in ownership of the Dallas Mavericks that resulted in Coach Dick Motta losing his job:

"One danger sign in all of this is that Mark Aguirre temporarily surfaced as an unofficial advisor to the new team. Yipes. That's like asking the Unabomber to handle mail-order ticket sales."

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Slow and slower: Paul Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Pirate pitcher Denny Neagle:

"Neagle's fastball usually tops the radar gun at 87 mph. His regular changeup comes in at 75-78 mph. And his slow changeup labors to the plate at perhaps 60 or 65 mph."

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Looking back: On this day in 1963, Sandy Koufax pitched the second of his four no-hitters as the Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants, 8-0.

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Trivia answer: They are NBA owners: Alexander, Houston Rockets; Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Ackerley, Seattle SuperSonics.

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And finally: Detroit Red Wing goalie Mike Vernon, on how Coach Scotty Bowman decides on a starting goalie: "It depends on who he talks to and what dream he has that night."

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