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From Rink to the Links, a Weekend to Remember

There’s one thing you can always predict. Dale Earnhardt won’t win at Daytona. As for almost everything else on what proved one of the more remarkable weekends in sports, I bet Albert Belle wasn’t the only one having a hard time figuring it out.

* Few stories in recent memory have been as shocking, or as uplifting, as Chad Carvin’s four victories at the national swimming championships in Buffalo, N.Y.

Fourteen months ago, Carvin, 22, of Laguna Hills, was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy and told by doctors he might need a heart transplant. Were they ever wrong. This man has as fine a heart as anyone who ever competed.

* There’s nothing wrong with Terry-Jo Myers’ heart, either. In a conclusion as emotionally satisfying as any at a golf tournament since Ben Crenshaw’s Masters victory two years ago, she came from five strokes back to win the LPGA tournament Sunday in Glendale.

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She’s come back a lot farther than that. Four years ago, Myers, suffering from a severe bladder disease, was so depressed she contemplated suicide. With medication that doesn’t work for everyone, she’s regained control over her life and, apparently, her career.

* A few years ago, Sports Illustrated said Swiss cows could get down hills faster than U.S. skiers. The magazine was wrong then, but it would have been hard to argue if it had repeated the dig after season-ending injuries to Picabo Street and Tommy Moe.

Then came Hilary Lindh, overcoming her urge to retire during a season that was going downhill fast by going downhill faster than anyone else in the World Championships in Sestriere, Italy.

* Tara Lipinski, 14, skated brilliantly in becoming the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion ever, but her victory resulted from the fact that defending champion--and normally unflappable--Michelle Kwan didn’t.

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More inspiring was Nicole Bobek’s third-place finish in Nashville. With knee and back injuries preventing her from competing for a year, her dedication to a serious comeback was doubted. No more.

* During a dinner Wednesday night at Hollywood Park in honor of the late Allan Malamud, the master of ceremonies, Robert Wuhl, noted that UCLA gave Steve Lavin a four-year contract despite a 48-point loss to Stanford.

“What would he have gotten if he’d lost by a hundred?” Wuhl asked. “A 10-year contract?”

Lavin laughed last. None of his critics were too vocal after the Bruins won Thursday at Arizona, something they did only twice in the previous 11 years. Retaining their focus at Arizona State on Saturday, they are in first place in the Pacific 10 Conference with a game at home Wednesday night against USC.

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Seeking capable understudies for injured stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Robert Horry, Laker Coach Del Harris says his team is “similar to a Broadway play.” . . .

Which one? Les Miserables? . . .

Like his open letter to Laker fans, Shaq’s apology for failing to attend All-Star game ceremonies eight days ago was a solid public relations move. But the fact is he was told by the Laker doctor, Steve Lombardo, to remain in Los Angeles for twice-a-day therapy sessions Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It would have been neither easy nor advisable for him to fly to Cleveland on the morning of the game . . .

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Whether visiting the San Diego Zoo that Sunday was what the doctor ordered, that’s another subject . . .

Like others in the media, I’m wondering if it was wise for Shaq to come back so soon after his injury. Like others in the media, I’m not shy about practicing medicine without a license. . . .

If Peggy Fleming had said “good for her” one more time during Saturday night’s telecast of the U.S. women’s figure skating championships, I’ve got to believe somebody would have kicked her in her double axel. . . .

Too bad ABC didn’t show the men’s long program until Sunday afternoon, 24 hours after it was held. Even worse, the show’s host, Robin Roberts, acted Saturday night as if the results were still unknown. . . .

Here’s hoping better journalism than that will result from the Allan Malamud scholarship at USC. Director Ron Shelton and others raising funds report they’ve collected $210,000. . . .

Terry-Jo Myers? Good for her.

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While wondering if heavyweight boxing will ever be as compelling again as it is in the documentary “When We Were Kings,” I was thinking: Amanda Beard looks like she’s been getting help with her kick from friend Dennis Rodman, the LPGA should make an exception in its Hall-of-Fame criteria for Amy Alcott, there’s nothing like the start of spring training to cure these wintertime blues.

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