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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Strug Will Bend Over Backward to Learn Skating

September 17, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

Olympian Kerri Strug is taking on a challenge that every other principal performer for the Ice Capades has met years before joining the show. She's going to learn to skate.

She doesn't have to for the tour show, which makes stops at the Pond of Anaheim and the Forum in October. Producers will put a mat at the edge of the ice so that she can perform gymnastic routines. But she wants to learn.

"Even before I knew I would be appearing with the Ice Capades, there were three things I told myself I would learn to do when I quit competing in gymnastics," she said. "I wanted to ice skate, roller-blade and rock climb. I'll ask somebody with the show to teach me to skate during the tour."

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Trivia time: Which school holds the NCAA Division I-A football record for average yards gained rushing in a season?

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Comedy relief: Syndicated columnist Norman Chad on Chris Berman's emergence on "Monday Night Football's" halftime show: "That's like Father Guido Sarducci doing Easter Mass at the Vatican."

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Bee-ware: High school girls competing in a cross-country meet at California University of Pennsylvania on Saturday couldn't outrun a swarm of angry bees that overtook them a half-mile into the race.

Six runners were treated at area hospitals after being stung. Another 30 to 50 runners were treated at the scene for bee stings.

The course was rerouted for Saturday's four other races.

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Touchy, touchy: On the assumption that umpires seem more confrontational than ever these days, Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald went to the umpires' room to discuss the issue with crew chief Bruce Froemming.

According to Le Batard, Froemming pointed a finger in his face and shouted:

"Who says we're more confrontational? Who says? You're going to just write what the players say? If you aren't going to write what we say too, you might as well just get the . . . out of here. You don't . . . with me!"

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Grumpy: Seattle Mariner Manager Lou Piniella wants to dump a few pitchers.

"I will not carry the same staff next year," Piniella said. "I'm getting tired of getting roughed up."

You only walk to the mound, Lou, you don't pitch from it.

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Looking back: On this day in 1954, Rocky Marciano knocked out Ezzard Charles in the eighth round at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

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Trivia answer: Oklahoma, with a 472.4-yard average in 1971.

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And finally: In Monday's Briefing, Baltimore Raven owner Art Modell complained about the hostile crowd atmosphere in Pittsburgh. His former town, Cleveland, was no picnic ground either, according to Houston Oiler guard Kevin Donnalley.

"I'm going to miss going to Cleveland," he said. "I'm going to miss 'the Dawg Pound.' I heard some of the greatest obscenities in NFL history shouted from that end of the field."

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