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EDS Contains items on the Gymnastic Lovebirds; Superstitious Weightlifters, Tom Valdiserri

April 23, 1996

EDS Contains items on the Gymnastic Lovebirds; Superstitious Weightlifters, Tom Valdiserri and Tammie Green

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Bart Conner, the former U.S. Olympic gymnast, arrived in Romania on Tuesday for his impending marriage to former Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci.

Excitement was building throughout the country four days before the lavish wedding.

``We are going to have a great weekend, and from this moment I’m feeling half Romanian and half American,″ Conner told reporters in nearly fluent Romanian shortly after he landed at Bucharest’s airport. Conner said he and Comaneci first considered getting married at their U.S. home in Norman, Okla., but, after President Ion Iliescu invited them to get married in Romania in 1994, they decided it was ``the appropriate place.″

Opposition politicians have accused the ruling Social Democracy Party _ prominent in the wedding plans _ of making capital out of the occasion before fall elections.

In keeping with Romanian practice, Comaneci, 34, and Conner, 38, will first marry Friday in a civilian ceremony conducted by city hall officials at the capital’s stylish Army Club. On Saturday, the head of the ruling party, Adrian Nastase, leads Comaneci to the altar at a Romanian Orthodox church in central Bucharest. She said the train of her wedding dress will be held by six girls, all of them members of Romania’s gymnastics team.

Comaneci gained fame with her unprecedented perfect 10s at the 1976 Olympics. Conner was an Olympic medalist in 1984.

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ATLANTA (AP) _ An astrologer’s unfavorable forecast has caused three weightlifters from the Republic of Georgia to cancel a training session for the Olympic Games, officials said.

``They have listened to their stargazer, and the stargazer has told them they should not come early to train,″ said Kim Goff, manager of the Olympic Training Alliance, which matches athletes with suitable training sites. ``We’ve had several people talking to them trying to get them to come anyway, but they’ve chosen to go with the stargazer over no-cost training.″

Bidzini Mikhaishvili, Koba Talakhadze and Muckhran Gogia trained in Coweta County southwest of Atlanta last summer and had planned to return for two weeks before the Olympics. Goff said the astrologer also advised the trio and their coach about safe days to travel and the unlucky days included early arrival dates.

``They are very in tune to the nature of their bodies as calculated by their advisers,″ said Calvin Hill, U.S. attache to the Republic of Georgia. ``They practice a lot of homeopathic medicine and feel they’d lose their edge by arriving early.″

``I think we entertained them too well, and the coach got worried we’d mess up their training,″ said Cathy Wright, chairwoman of the Olympic Committee for the Coweta Chamber of Commerce. ``He wants them on a strict diet and training routine.″

Coweta County will still host a weightlifting camp, with participants from Uganda, Tonga, Fiji, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Armenia training at the Coweta Recreation Center, Wright said. The weightlifters, about 19 athletes and six coaches, will stay at private homes.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Continental Basketball Association commissioner Tom Valdiserri resigned Tuesday, effective May 22.

Valdiserri has been commissioner of the league since September 1994. He has accepted a job as executive director of Sports Partners Inc., a sports marketing agency in Chicago.

``The CBA is a wonderful league and I will always look back on my time here with great pride,″ Valdiserri said.

Jay Frye, owner of the Fort Wayne Fury, will direct the search committee that will seek Valdiserri’s replacement.

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Tammie Green is going back on the LPGA Tour and shooting for a repeat spot on the Solheim Cup team after a nine-week layoff because of a ruptured ovarian cyst.

The former Marshall University golfer has missed six tournaments since undergoing surgery.

``A few good tournaments and I can move up″ on the Solheim points list, Green said. ``I’ve got my heart set on going back.″

Green was on the U.S. team that beat Europe in the 1994 Solheim competition at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. She is 12th on Solheim Cup points list and just 2 points out of an automatic berth on the team that will compete Sept. 20-22 at St. Pierre, Chepstow, Wales.

Green has won four times in 10 years on the LPGA Tour and has more than $1 million in earnings. She makes her comeback this week at the Sara Lee Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

``I’m looking forward to getting back out,″ Green said. ``I’ve got a lot of work to do. ... I’m working on all phases and trying to get my strength back. Stamina will be the test.″

Green had earned $19,556 in two events this season when she suffered the ruptured cyst while in her hometown of Somerset, Ohio. Surgeons also removed her appendix and stopped internal bleeding.

Cards and letters from many friends during her recovery ``has been an inspiration to her,″ said the golfer’s mother, Pat Green.

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