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Gold Medalist Lipinski to Skate as a Professional

April 08, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Gold medal-winning Tara Lipinski captivated the Olympics, but the Winter Games no longer figure in her future and her rivalry with Michelle Kwan is in her past.

Lipinski said Tuesday she is turning professional because she wants to train less so she can spend more time with her family.

"I think now, I'm going to go pro," Lipinski said on NBC's "Today." "I would love to go to the 2002 Olympics and try to win another gold." But, she said, she would feel "almost a little greedy in doing that, especially to my parents, who have given up so much."

Some experts in the field estimated her earning power at $13 million to $15 million.

Unlike in other sports, professionals may not compete in Olympic figure skating. An amateur reinstatement window that allowed former professionals such as Brian Boitano, Viktor Petrenko and Katarina Witt to compete in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer no longer exists.

Basketball

Washington Coach Bob Bender has emerged as the front-runner for the coaching job at Texas, according to a university source. Bender, 40, met with Texas officials in Dallas on his way back from vacationing in Florida.

Rob Evans, who rebuilt the Mississippi program and led the Rebels to consecutive NCAA tournament berths, was named coach at Arizona State. . . . Ron Selleaze, who led Brigham Young in scoring last season, is appealing a possible yearlong drug suspension that would end his career at Provo, Utah. . . . Duquesne University fired coach Scott Edgar. . . . The WNBA has signed 1996 Olympians Susanna Bonfiglio of Italy; Sandy Brondello of Australia and Maria Stepanova of Russia.

Tennis

Michael Chang, a three-time winner of the Salem Open and the defending champion, was defeated in the opening round of the tournament by Christian Vinck of Germany, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, at Hong Kong. . . . Sixth-seeded Thomas Muster of Austria defeated unseeded Romanian Dinu Pescariu, 7-5, 6-1, in the first round of the Estoril Open at Oeiras, Portugal. . . . Defending champion Lindsay Davenport defeated Alexia Dechaume Balleret of France, 6-0, 6-2, and teen-age sensation Anna Kournikova overwhelmed Wiltrud Probst of Germany, 6-1, 6-2, in the Bausch & Lomb women's tennis championships at Amelia Island, Fla. . . . Hoping to avenge a first-round loss to the Netherlands in the Fed Cup last year, U.S. Captain Billie Jean King selected Monica Seles, Mary Joe Fernandez and Lisa Raymond to join Davenport on this year's team.

Jurisprudence

A judge dismissed charges against three protesters who burned an effigy of the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo outside a World Series game.

The demonstrators, who believe the red-faced logo is a racist stereotype, protested outside Jacobs Field before Game 5 of the World Series between Cleveland and the Florida Marlins on Oct. 23.

Ryan Tucker, a former Texas Christian lineman now with the St. Louis Rams, was given a five-year deferred sentence, fined $5,000 and also ordered to pay $9,677 in restitution in Fort Worth, Texas, for assaulting another student during a 1996 fight in a Fort Worth bar.

A district court at Ulm, Germany, said it saw no grounds for freeing Steffi Graf's father Peter Graf, who was sentenced to three years, nine months in January 1997 for evading taxes on $6.55 million of his daughter's earnings.

In the biggest tax case ever against a Swedish sports star, skier Pernilla Wiberg has been charged with owing nearly $750,000 in back taxes.

Sweden's tax authorities claim that Wiberg, who won the silver medal in the downhill at the Nagano Olympics, transferred her prize money and advertising income from 1992-1995 to Isle of Man, a tax haven.

Miscellany

The Arizona Cardinals acquired running back Adrian Murrell and a 1998 seventh-round pick from the New York Jets for a third-round choice in this month's draft.

British shot putter Paul Edwards, who tested positive for drugs three times in three years, was banned from the sport for life by a disciplinary panel in Birmingham, England.

Cuban baseball defector Jorge Luis Toca, held for more than two weeks in a detention center in the Bahamas, was on his way to Japan after accepting an offer of asylum.

Rolly Schwartz, coach and manager of the 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team, died in Dayton, Ohio.

Schwartz, 84, was credited with developing the 1976 boxing team, which many consider one of the all-time greatest. The team included gold medalists Sugar Ray Leonard, brothers Michael and Leon Spinks, Howard Davis and Leo Randolph.

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