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Promoter Receives Medal for Turning Oscar Into Gold

THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

December 09, 1996|STEVE SPRINGER

The most prized possession of World Boxing Council super lightweight champion Oscar De La Hoya, despite his triumphs as a professional, is the gold medal he won at the 1992 Olympics, a medal he had dedicated to his mother, who had died of breast cancer.

But De La Hoya presented his promoter, Bob Arum, with that medal at a surprise party held for Arum in a Reno hotel Saturday night.

"This is just unbelievable," said a touched Arum, who was celebrating both his 65th birthday and his 30th year in boxing.

Arum accepted the medal on one condition.

"I'll make a deal with you," he told De La Hoya. "I will keep this until you retire. Then, I will return it to you."

Asked how he could part with his medal, De La Hoya said, "I wanted to give it to this man who has made all my dreams come true.

"But," he added with a grin, "he'd better display it [the medal] in a nice place."

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Trivia time: Who holds the NFL record for most carries in a season without a touchdown?

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No losers here: President Clinton and Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wouldn't dare take sides during Saturday's Army-Navy game.

They both wore buttons, bordered in purple, that read: "Army vs. Navy--Joint Winners."

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The best: Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon on Pete Rozelle: "He is the best commissioner any sport ever had. It's extremely unlikely there will ever be another commissioner so innovative, so good at building consensus, so adept at being on the cutting edge of cultural changes. That is his legacy."

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Must be the mustache: Jim Oelstrom, a district manager for a mechanical power transmission manufacturer in Milwaukee, bears a striking resemblance to Packer Coach Mike Holmgren.

So much so that when he volunteers to monitor the lunchroom at St. Dominic's School, where his son Matt is enrolled, the pupils there refer to him as "Mike" or "coach."

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Really cooking: Most athletes are happy to have their own candy bar, but Kentucky basketball Coach Rick Pitino has taken the food endorsement game a step further.

Beginning early next year, Pitino Classic Italian Foods will offer pasta in 10 sizes and shapes, according to the Louisville business newspaper "Business First."

Pitino will be a partner in the venture, and his image will be on the label.

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Trivia answer: Joe Washington of the 1978 Baltimore Colts, 240.

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And finally: Texas Coach John Mackovic after his Longhorns made a mess of the bowl alliance by upsetting two-time defending champion Nebraska, 37-27, in the Big 12 championship game: "That's why they put erasers on pencils."

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