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Noted Radio Sports Reporter Dies

January 11, 1996

BURLINGAME, Calif. (AP) _ Sam Skinner, whose radio sports reports ranged from the Olympic massacre in Munich to Super Bowls and the Indy 500, died Thursday of complications from a massive stroke. He was 57.

Skinner broke into journalism as a copy editor at the San Francisco Examiner, later moving to the San Francisco Sun Reporter, KDIA radio and KBHK-TV, where he hosted ``Black Rennaisance.″

For four decades, he was a fixture at virtually every major sports event around the world. Skinner was among the first to report the kidnapping of Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics, and helped break the steroid scandal of sprinter Ben Johnson at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Skinner went at a story with a smile on his face and his mind filled with questions. He ended each of his radio shows with the tag line: ``And if you can’t be a good sport, don’t bother to play the game.″

His knowledge of sports and understanding of the people who played and ran them brought him scores of scoops and, perhaps more important to him, the respect of those he covered.

Carl Lewis, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rick Mears and John Madden were among the stars he counted as confidants.

Skinner is survived by his mother and brother.

A memorial service is planned.

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