Michael Johnson's sweep of the 200 and 400 meters at the Olympics, never previously accomplished by a man in the same Summer Games, was voted the top sports story of the year in an Associated Press poll released Thursday.
Johnson's feat, capped by a record-shattering 19.32-second clocking in the 200, narrowly won story-of-the-year honors over the story of the event where it happened and the problems at that event, the Centennial Summer Games at Atlanta.
Third in the voting was the saga of golfer Tiger Woods, who won a record third consecutive U.S. Amateur championship, then passed up his final two years at Stanford to turn pro and win two of the first seven PGA Tour tournaments he entered.
Evander Holyfield's victory over Mike Tyson for the heavyweight championship was fourth, one place ahead of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' record 72 regular-season games and fourth NBA title in six seasons.
Sean Daugherty scored a season-high 19 points to lead Wisconsin (7-1) to a 74-59 victory over Ball State (7-3) at Madison, Wis. . . . Zendon Hamilton had 18 points and 12 rebounds as St. John's (4-4) ended a three-game losing streak with a 68-61 victory over Manhattan (3-4) in the ECAC Holiday Festival at New York. In the title game, St. John's will play Georgia Tech (5-3), which defeated Hofstra, 58-47.
Germany's Steffi Graf has withdrawn from the Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth, Australia, because of a virus.
Graf will be replaced by Petra Begerow, ranked 63rd in the world. Australia plays Croatia and France takes on the United States in opening matches Sunday.
Michael York and Mark Parrish scored two goals apiece, and Brian Boucher made 39 saves as the United States opened the World Junior Hockey Championships with a 4-0 victory over Switzerland at Geneva.
Canada, looking for a record fifth consecutive title, opens play today against Germany.
Names in the News
The Cleveland Indians signed free-agent infielder Tony Fernandez to a one-year contract for an undisclosed salary. Fernandez, 34, spent the last two years with the New York Yankees but sat out the 1996 season after he suffered a broken elbow in spring training. . . . Clayton Tonnemaker, an All-American lineman at the University of Minnesota and member of College Football's Hall of Fame who played for the Green Bay Packers, died in St. Paul of complications after heart and lung surgery. He was 68.
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1996 Story of the Year Voting
* Michael Johnson wins 200-400 (16): 606
* Olympics/problems (40): 587
* Tiger Woods (7): 526
* Evander Holyfield (5): 454
* Bulls-Jordan (4): 420
* Kerri Strug (10): 397
* Yankees win World Series (9): 373
* Olympic women's gold (4): 223
* Baseball labor (2): 204
* Carl Lewis (0): 155
* Cowboys-drug charges (0): 118
* Roberto Alomar (1): 118
* Greg Norman (0): 109
* 12-year-old Jeff Maier (1): 104
* Amy Van Dyken (0): 103
* Don Shula retires (0): 95
* Colorado Avalanche (0): 82
* John McSherry dies (0): 78
* Cigar (0): 76
* Lou Holtz retires (0): 62
* Brett Butler (0): 56
* Browns-Oilers moves (0): 46
* U.S. 500-Indy 500 rivalry (0): 45
* Record home run year (0): 29
* Tom Lasorda retires (0): 28
* Eddie Murray 500th home run (0): 26
* Women's pro basketball (0): 25
* Marge Schott (0): 24
* Steffi Graf (0): 24
* Brett Favre (0): 23
* MLS debuts (0): 22
* Paul Molitor (0): 22
* Albert Belle leaves Indians (0): 20
* Princeton beats UCLA (0): 19
* NBA drafts teenagers (0): 17
* Denver Broncos clinch (1): 15
* Stadiums-franchise moves (0): 13
* Nebraska beats Florida (0): 13
* Boston College gambling (0): 13
* Winston Cup (0): 13
* Dave Stevens (catcher-no legs) (1): 10
* Kirby Puckett retires (0): 9
* Kentucky wins NCAA basketball (0): 8
* Karrie Webb (0): 3
* College football arrests (0): 2
* Alex Rodriguez (1): 1
* Chris Boniol FG record (0): 1
* Michelle Smith's swimming (0): 1
(First-place votes in parentheses)