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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

Fighter Jets Escort Plane Carrying NBC Personnel

November 09, 2001|From Staff and Wire Reports

Two F-16 fighter jets escorted a private plane carrying NBC Sports' Olympic leadership when it lost radio contact with air traffic controllers after taking off at Salt Lake International Airport.

NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer, NBC Olympics Co-Chairman Dennis Swanson, and announcers Jim McKay, Hannah Storm and Dan Hicks were heading to New York on a Gulfstream jet Wednesday after a four-day Winter Olympics production seminar.

"During our seminar we had lengthy discussions about Olympic security," Ebersol said. "So it was enormously encouraging to see how quickly and forcefully the Air Force responded to the unusual behavior of our aircraft."

The jet lost radio contact after takeoff and was circling the Great Salt Lake when it was met by the F-16s. The fighter jets guided the Gulfstream to Ogden airport.

"I'm delighted we have Hill Air Force Base so close and if an aircraft is doing something unexpected, they are able to scramble and respond on an urgent basis," Salt Lake Organizing Committee president Mitt Romney said.

FAA air traffic manager Tom Brown said the jet "was not forced down. The F-16s asked if they could provide any assistance because the private jet had some radio difficulty."

Boxing

Jose Navarro made quick work of Jesus Valadez in front of 3,608 at the Pond in Anaheim, knocking him out at 2:46 of the second round of a scheduled six-round junior-bantamweight bout.

Navarro, a South Central Los Angeles native making his Southern California professional debut, improved to 7-0 with his second KO when he caught Valadez (2-1), of Highland Park, with a vicious left hook to the ribs. Valadez, his nose already bloodied, went down to one knee and did not stand up before being counted out.

Tennis

France got off to a good start in its bid for a second Fed Cup title when Sandrine Testud and Amelie Mauresmo won their matches against the Czech Republic at Madrid.

Germany and Russia also won on the second day of the competition, defeating Australia and Argentina, respectively.

Testud defeated Kveta Hrdlickova, 6-4, 6-1, and Mauresmo defeated Denisa Chladkova, 6-2, 7-5. France made it a sweep when Testud and Nathalie Tauziat beat Petra Cetkovska and Alena Vaskova, 6-3, 6-2.

Germany took an insurmountable 2-0 lead over Australia when Blanka Lamade defeated Alicia Molik, 7-6 (2), 7-5, and Barbara Rittner outlasted Nicole Pratt, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

The loss left the Czechs with no chance to reach Sunday's final. They also lost Wednesday to Russia. The victory by Germany also dropped Australia out of contention.

Soccer

U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller injured his left ankle during practice and was dropped from the roster for Sunday's World Cup qualifier at Trinidad and Tobago.

The U.S., which already has qualified for next year's World Cup, will start either Zach Thornton or Nick Rimando.

Second-half goals by Walter Samuel and Claudio Lopez gave Argentina a 2-0 victory over Peru in a South American World Cup qualifier at Buenos Aires.

Argentina already had qualified for the World Cup and is 12 points ahead of second-place qualifier Paraguay, which lost to Venezuela, 3-1.

Nationwide celebrations after Ecuador's first-ever qualification for the World Cup have left four people dead and about 70 injured, the Red Cross said. Ecuador tied Uruguay, 1-1, on Wednesday.

Ghana's soccer authority is planning an emergency meeting to discuss reports its players received cash payments from Nigerian officials after the game that secured Nigeria's place in the 2002 World Cup.

Golf

David Duval recovered from an early bogey with seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch while carding a six-under-par 65 for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the $1.6-million Dunlop Phoenix at Miyazaki, Japan.

British Open champion Duval, making his first professional appearance in Japan, had eight birdies and two bogeys at the Phoenix Country Club.

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus will team up in a prime-time TV exhibition next summer in Palm Desert, taking on Sergio Garcia and Lee Trevino in the third Battle at Bighorn.

Woods and Nicklaus have played together only once, the first two rounds of the 2000 PGA Championship that Woods won for his third consecutive major.

Miscellany

Former Angel general manager Bill Bavasi and former Loyola Marymount athletic director Brian Quinn are among the five finalists to become athletic director at Cal State Fullerton.

Other finalists are Maryalyce Jeremiah, senior associate athletic director at Fullerton; Ron Prettyman, athletic director at Cal State Dominguez Hills; and Dr. Terry Wanless, former athletic director at North Dakota.

Wanless has already interviewed.

The other finalists are scheduled to interview later this month and in December.

John Easterbrook, director of athletics since 1994, announced his retirement last summer. He will leave his post Dec. 3.

UCLA guard Ray Young, a senior who averaged 7.0 points last season, will redshirt.

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