Originally created 12/30/04



Austrian downhiller wins in World Cup

In Bormio, Italy, Austrian downhiller Johann Grugger won his first World Cup race Wednesday on the course that will host the upcoming world championships, while overall Cup leader Bode Miller came in 14th.

Grugger finished in 1 minute, 55.77 seconds on the Stelvio, one of the most physically demanding courses on the World Cup circuit. Austrian Michael Walchhofer, the reigning downhill world champion, was 0.24 seconds behind in second and countryman Fritz Strobl, the Olympic gold medalist, was third.

Austria's Benjamin Raich, second to Miller in the overall standings, was 17th, and defending overall champion Hermann Maier, winless this season, was 11th.

Grugger was behind Walch­hofer's pace for most of his run before picking up his speed over the final section.

His previous best finished were two third-places in downhills, at Val Gardena on Dec. 18 and St. Anton last season.

Daron Rahlves of the United States, who won the last race held here in 2002, was sixth.

The worlds will be held at Bormio – and nearby Santa Caterina for women – from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13.


First Met to deliver a grand slam dies

Rod Kanehl, who hit the first grand slam in the history of the New York Mets, has died. He was 70.

Kanehl, whose hustle endeared him to the team's fans in the dismal first years of the franchise, died on Dec. 14 after suffering a heart attack several days earlier, the Mets said. A memorial service is planned next week in Cathedral City, Calif.

Kanehl had spent eight years in the Yankees' minor league system when he joined the Mets in their inaugural season of 1962.

A long shot to make the team, he won the heart of manager Casey Stengel by crashing through fences to catch balls and chasing everything, a quality that also made him a fan favorite on a team that lost a then-record 120 games that first year.

He spent three seasons with the Mets, the only major league team he played for, playing every position but pitcher and catcher.


Navratilova to start her 30th season

In Gold Coast, Australia, Martina Navratilova has arrived in Australia to begin her 30th season of professional tennis at 48.

Navratilova, who delayed plans to retire after competing at her first Olympics this summer, will play doubles in 2005 with Daniela Hantuchova, a 21-year-old Slovakian.

Navratilova, winner of 58 Grand Slam titles, will compete in next week's Gold Coast hardcourt tournament and team with France's Nathalie Dechy, winner of the 2003 Gold Coast singles title.

"She said last year would be her last year, but she's still playing because she loves tennis and she feels like she has a chance of winning," Gold Coast tournament director Liz Smylie said.

Hantuchova is playing the Hopman Cup in Perth, but will join Navratilova for the Sydney International beginning Jan. 10 and the Australian Open beginning Jan. 17.

Navratilova will play doubles and mixed doubles – with India's Leander Paes – at the Australian Open.


Dispute arises over Hall of Fame repair

In Springfield, Mass., the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has sprung some leaks, and there is a dispute over who should pay to fix the problems.

"We're trying to figure out what is wrong," city economic developer Thomas McColgan was quoted as telling the Republican newspaper of Springfield. "I think it's minor."

The city is seeking bids to build scaffolding to examine the 90-foot high dome, find the problems and do the repairs.

The 2-year-old, $109 million building, a parking garage and the 18½-acre site is owned by the city. The property is rented to the hall in a 99-year lease.


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