Names In The Game
The Associated Press
Dec. 19, 1996
ATLANTA (AP) _ Four Atlanta Braves will be involved in stock car racing next year.
Fred McGriff, Ryan Klesko, Javier Lopez and Mark Wohlers and the racing trio will form Odyssey Motorsports, a Winston Cup team. They are joining veteran race car owners and managers Dick Bahre, Don Hume and Ton Ungurean.
``These players consistently have demonstrated the mental and physical toughness it takes to compete and win at the highest level of professional sports,'' Bahre said in a statement. ``We believe that they are a perfect fit for our team, and we expect the same level of success on the track with our racing program.''
Bahre, who has fielded teams with drivers Sterling Marlin, Morgan Shepherd, Michael Waltrip and Geoff Bodine, said the group has not signed a driver yet but is talking with several. Odyssey is also involved in discussions with potential sponsors, he said.
Klesko said he and his teammates plan to do whatever they can to make the venture successful.
``We plan to do everything we can to make sure that our car not only is competitive, but that it regularly runs up front and has a legitimate chance of winning any given race,'' Klesko said in a prepared release.
NEW YORK (AP) _ Former distance runner Doug Padilla, who broke a leg in 15 pieces when he was struck by an automobile during a training run, will be the financial beneficiary of any meet records broken during the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden Feb. 7.
Chase, the meet sponsor, will contribute $1,000 to the Doug Padilla Relief Fund for each meet record broken. Chase will guarantee a minimum $3,000 contribution, which would increase if more than three records are set.
Padilla is a two-time Olympian, 12-time U.S. champion (five outdoors and seven outdoors) and holds several American records, including the indoor 5,000-meter mark of 13 minutes, 20.55 seconds, set at the 1982 Millrose Games. Padilla won 13 titles at the Garden, including five straight Millrose victories from 1982-86.
Padilla was injured in his native Utah during the summer. He required the insertion of two plates and 15 screws into the leg. Padilla, who lacks medical insurance, has incurred huge hospital bills.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Barry Smith, assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings, was hired as coach for the Swedish Elite Division team Mif Redhawks on Thursday.
Smith has been assistant coach in the NHL for for nine years with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Red Wings.
While he was with Pittsburgh, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 1990 and 1991.
The contract with the Redhawks lasts until the 1997-98 season. No details were revealed.
``I have always had a soft spot for Swedish hockey and this is the challenge of my life,'' Smith said in a statement.
In 1983-84 he coached the Swedish Division I team Rogle, which reached the playoffs.
BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) _ Italian ski star Alberto Tomba celebrated his 30th birthday Thursday and said he discovered his first gray hair.
``I'm getting old,'' said the world and Olympic ski champion, who came back from a nine-month layoff by finishing second in a World Cup slalom at Madonna di Campiglio Tuesday.
An Austrian weekly magazine, News, reported that Tomba has a new girlfriend, Austrian model Elisabeth Ocko, 25. She reportedly was at Tomba's birthday party.
The skier, who last year broke up with Italian model Martina Colombari, would not comment on the Austrian report.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Tennis star Mats Wilander is not so sure about his career these days, but knows he is adding a new member to his family. He and wife Sonya are expecting a baby in April.
``We don't know if it is a boy or a girl yet, but that doesn't matter so much since we already have one of each,'' Wilander told the newspaper Aftonbladet.
The couple's daughter Emma is 3 and son Karl is 2.
``Emma knows, but I'm not so sure about Karl,'' the 31-year-old Wilander said about how the other family members had reacted.
The Wilanders live in Greenwich, Conn.
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ Three days after being banned for six European cup games for head-butting an opponent, AC Milan striker George Weah made a public apology Thursday through FIFA.
Weah's attack on FC Porto's Jorge Costa a month ago came as a major embarrassment to soccer's world governing body which had just announced that the Liberian striker would receive its FIFA Fair Play award.
The striker said the incident happened after he had been subjected to racial remarks during the Champions League game in Porto.
According to FIFA, Weah sent a letter to its office apologizing for ``the unfortunate situation that occurred in Porto.''
``You have given me the greatest honor and, because of a moment of craziness through provocation, I have caused you some embarrassment,'' Weah wrote.
``I want to let you know that the situation that occurred will never happen again and I hope you have the confidence in me to believe me.''
Weah will receive the Fair Play award, ironically in Portugal, when FIFA meets in Lisbon Jan. 20. The AC Milan striker also is in contention for the Player of the Year award, along with Barcelona's Ronaldo and England captain Alan Shearer.