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Samaranch Reaffirms Control of IOC, Reform Process

June 17, 1999| From Staff and Wire Reports

As the International Olympic Committee tries to recover from its worst scandal, President Juan Antonio Samaranch made one thing clear Wednesday: He's in control.

In a speech at the opening ceremony of the 109th IOC general assembly at Seoul, South Korea, Samaranch dispelled rumors of an internal plot against him, reiterated he intends to complete the final two years of his term and declared that while the IOC already had taken important steps toward reform following the Salt Lake City bribery scandal, it won't rush into reforms to appease critics.

"We say 'yes' to reforms necessary to consolidate the Olympic movement, without renouncing our convictions," he said. "We say 'no' to hasty reforms to please our critics.

"No to reforms which defend the interests of some at the expense of others. No to reforms based on personal and conflicting interests."

In the speech, Samaranch sought to erase any further speculation that he might retire early, and he also denied there was a split in the administration at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and expressed support for director general Francois Carrard.

The four-day IOC session starts today, with reports from organizers of the 2000 Sydney Games and 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, and the IOC will elect the host city of the 2006 Winter Games on Saturday.

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American Olympic hopefuls, including a team of WNBA players, will take on top international foes in a four-day, five-sport tournament in San Diego this summer.

The U.S. Olympic Cup, set for Sept. 9-12, will feature women's basketball and softball, men's boxing, and men's and women's beach volleyball and swimming.

Tennis

Anne Kremer of Luxembourg upset top-seeded Monica Seles, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of the Eastbourne grass-court tournament in England. Second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain lost, 7-5, 6-2, to Nathalie Dechy of France. Meanwhile, it was announced that Sanchez-Vicario has agreed to play in the Acura Classic in August at the Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach.

Anna McCune Harper, who became the top-ranked U.S. women's tennis player in 1930, died Monday at a convalescent center in Moraga, Calif. She was 99.

Harper, a member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1931, but was called home in 1932 because of an illness in the family, then decided to give up tennis.

Sixteen months after reaching No. 2 in the ATP Tour rankings following his Australian Open championship, Petr Korda said he was retiring immediately. He had hoped to end his career at Wimbledon, but failed to qualify. Korda's status nose-dived amid a controversy after he tested positive for a steroid last year at Wimbledon.

Top-seeded Greg Rusedski outlasted Jan-Michael Gambill, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, to move into the third round of the Nottingham grass-court tournament in England.

Top-seeded Sandrine Testud of France was knocked out of the Heineken Trophy tournament at Den Bosch, Netherlands, losing, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, to Emmanuelle Gagliardi of Switzerland.

Football

After 13 years with the Dallas Cowboys, offensive guard Nate Newton became the oldest member of the Carolina Panthers when he signed a one-year deal. Newton appeared in six of the last seven Pro Bowls but was deemed expendable by the Cowboys. Meanwhile, Michael Irvin denied reports that he has demanded a contract extension or is unhappy with his diminishing role in the Cowboy offense.

Leonard Little of the St. Louis Rams was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to driving the car that killed a woman in a wreck Oct. 19. Little pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. A blood test showed that Little, 24, had a blood-alcohol level of .19, nearly twice the legal limit of .10, at the time of the accident.

Hicham El-Mashtoub, a free agent lineman waived by Cleveland in April, filed suit against the Browns, alleging he was cut because he is of Arabic descent.

The Downtown Athletic Club in lower Manhattan has won a U.S. Bankruptcy Court's approval to sell the hotel portion of its 35-story Art Deco building, allowing it to remain the home of the Heisman Trophy.

Hoping to increase attendance, organizers of the Insight.com Bowl at Tucson, Ariz., have moved the game from Dec. 26 to New Year's Eve beginning this season.

Miscellany

Oscar De La Hoya said he will move up to the super-welterweight class after his Sept. 18 bout with Felix Trinidad at Las Vegas. Welterweights weigh between 147-153 pounds, super welterweights between 154-159 pounds. . . . No charges will be filed against Indiana basketball Coach Bob Knight after a confrontation in a restaurant parking lot last week in which he was accused of making a racist remark and choking 38-year-old Chris Foster. Monroe County prosecutors concluded Knight was provoked. . . . Three years after winning the Formula One championship, Damon Hill said he is retiring when the season ends. Hill, 38, has crashed out of four of six races this year.

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