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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

X-traneous X-hibition X-tracts Pay

July 13, 1999|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

And now, the explanation:

The photo that ran on this page Thursday showed Travis Pastrana in flight on his motorcycle, leaning all the way back to where his back was flat against the seat, San Francisco seemingly below. The perfect example, it would seem, of the rebel attitude that organizers of ESPN's X Games would foster.

Or a real bad X-ample.

Pastrana won the motorcycle stunt competition June 29 at Pier 30 near the Bay Bridge, but ESPN refused to pay the $10,000 prize because of that stunt. Having already locked up first place, the 15-year-old from Annapolis, Md., purposely flew into the water.

The free-spirit approach of the X Games was suddenly nowhere to be found. Officials let Pastrana keep the gold medal, but decided to use part of the money for the salvage operation that hauled the motorcycle from the water some five hours later and donate the balance to a charity involved in Bay cleanup.

Welcome to the PC Games.

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Trivia time: Who is the only player to win the British Open at five courses?

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Body double: An announcement is expected Wednesday that Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura will return to the ring with the World Wrestling Federation as part of the Aug. 22 SummerSlam in Minneapolis. It remained unclear Monday whether it would be as a competitor or referee.

"He's going to be taking some vacation time," Ventura spokesman David Ruth said. "It's business that is separate from his gubernatorial duties."

Tell that to the people who think image is never separate from the duties of a leader.

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Add Ventura: It's possible that the sight of a governor in the ring won't be the most surprising aspect of all this.

This is the same Ventura, after all, who once successfully sued WWF president Vince McMahon after claiming McMahon pocketed $1 million on royalties and interest from a wrestling tape. Now the two are scheduled to appear together at the news conference.

Maybe the whole thing was a long-term publicity stunt to build up interest for SummerSlam. Come to think of it, maybe becoming governor was too.

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Strong enough: Derek Strong, the former Laker and a standout player at Palisades High, is back with the Orlando Magic--and back with us all.

The 31-year-old power forward was undergoing outpatient surgery June 11 in Florida to repair a broken nose when he had an adverse reaction to an anesthetic that sent his heart rate and his body temperature soaring. The situation got so serious that Strong's heart stopped beating before CPR restored the rhythm.

"It's scary, but no one lives forever," Strong, who is expected to be working out again by the end of the month, told the Orlando Sentinel. "If that would have been my time, that would have been my time. You can't avoid it. Basically, I have eight lives left."

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Trivia answer: Tom Watson, at Carnoustie, Turnberry, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Royal Birkdale.

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And finally: Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, is offering drive-thru betting on its horse races, hoping to make wagering more convenient, or at least more expedient.

No word on whether you can also get an order of fries.

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