Originally created 03/24/01

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Slutskaya wins short program in Vancouver

Irina Slutskaya's mastery of Michelle Kwan carried through the short program in the World Figure Skating Championships on Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Russian, who beat Kwan in three of their last four major events, including the last two Grand Prix finals, was first with seven judges. She built the edge with her speed across the rink; an amazing 16-revolution layback spin that requires only eight turns; and, perhaps, a slight bobble by the American. Slutskaya also flowed better than the three-time world champion and five-time U.S. winner.

SKIING: Former Olympic downhill champion Bill Johnson remained in a coma Friday, a day after sustaining severe head trauma in a crash during an FIS downhill at Big Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Mont.

"He's still critical and stable," Kalispell Regional Medical Center spokesman Jim Olivers on said. "We're in a 24- to 48-hour window where the brain swelling is expected to go down and the neurosurgeon can check him again."

The outlook, however, remained unchanged. It's too early to know when or if Johnson's condition will change.

Johnson won the 1984 Olympic downhill at Sarajevo after brashly declaring that everyone else was racing for second. Now 40, he was staging a comeback with the goal of racing in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

BASKETBALL: Aiken Tech lost its second round game in the National Junior College Division II tournament late Thursday night, as host Danville Area Community College walked away with a 81-67 victory.

A day earlier the Knights won their first-ever game in national competition.

In a consolation game Friday, Aiken lost to Kirkwood Community College 90-72.

In Thursday's game, Darrick Broddie and Tarence Callahan each had 13 points for Aiken Tech, which was playing in its third national tournament in four years. On Friday, Callahan led the way with 19 points.

FOOTBALL: Mark Chmura, the former Green Bay Packers tight end acquitted on sexual assault charges, can sign an NFL contract and resume his career, commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled Friday.

Tagliabue decided punishment wasn't warranted but said Chmura should be evaluated under the league's substance abuse policy.

The 32-year-old Chmura was found innocent last month of sexually assaulting a teen-ager at a post-prom party in April 2000.

Chmura "clearly used very poor judgment in participating in the high school-related activities" and "should commit himself to disciplined and constructive standards of personal conduct in the future," Tagliabue said.

BASKETBALL: Aiken Tech was eliminated from the National Junior College Division II tournament late Thursday night when host Danville Area Community College walked away with a 81-67 victory in the second round.

A day earlier the Knights won their first-ever game in national competition.

Danville used free throws to pad its score against Aiken Tech, going to the line 40 times and making 31.

Danville jumped to a 40-21 halftime lead before the Knights outscored the home team 46-41 in the final 20 minutes.

Darrick Broddie and Tarence Callahan each had 13 points for Aiken Tech, which was playing in its third national tournament in four years.

BOXING: Oscar De La Hoya is changing his tune from Latin rhythms back to the sounds of leather against flesh.

"I've decided just to stick with boxing, focus on boxing until I retire," said the former champion in four weight classes, who has recorded a CD that was nominated for a Grammy for best Latin pop album of 2000.

On Saturday night in Las Vegas, De La Hoya will meet Arturo Gatti in a 12-round bout, his first fight since losing the WBC welterweight title to Shane Mosley on a split decision last June 17. The bout is expected to start about 11 p.m. EST.