Rome, Athens and Stockholm are the front-runners to hold the 2004 Olympics, according to a report by the International Olympic Committee released Thursday in Geneva.
Cape Town, South Africa, a sentimental favorite for political reasons, was hurt by its soaring crime rate and technical inadequacies. Africa is the only continent never to have staged the Olympics in the 100-year history of the modern Games.
A record 11 cities are bidding for the showcase event that will follow the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The other candidates are Istanbul, Turkey; Lille, France; Rio de Janeiro; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Seville, Spain; and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The evaluation report was released only two weeks before the contenders are reduced to four or five on March 7 by an IOC panel, with final selection by the full IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 5.
Carolina’s linebacking corps, which produced three Pro Bowl players last season, got younger and faster when the Panthers signed Micheal Barrow, 26. Barrow, a former Houston Oiler, signed a five-year deal worth $15 million.
Veteran offensive lineman Raleigh McKenzie, 34, signed a two-year, $1.75-million contract with the San Diego Chargers. To make room under the salary cap, the Chargers released safety Kevin Ross.
The Minnesota Vikings re-signed defensive end Fernando Smith to a two-year contract.
Miami Dolphin defensive tackle Daryl Gardener was shot in the jaw while driving on a Dallas freeway at 2:15 a.m. Thursday, apparently by someone who had followed him from a nightclub. He had two bullet fragments removed from the base of his tongue and was listed in satisfactory condition.
A federal court judge in Albany, N.Y., has thrown out a $4.4-million award a jury returned against former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for unjustly firing his former trainer Kevin Rooney.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy said that the judgment was improper because Rooney had failed to prove Tyson had a contractual agreement with him.
Ken Norton Jr., the San Francisco 49er star and son of the former heavyweight champion, had a change of heart and withdrew a lawsuit filed in state district court in Dallas seeking a temporary restraining order to let him box this week in a regional Golden Gloves tournament. He had been denied entry in the amateur event because he is a pro in another sport.
Green Bay cornerback Tyrone Williams was denied on an appeal in Lincoln, Neb., and ordered to begin serving a six-month jail term for a shooting incident in which he fired two bullets into a car.
Louisiana State is checking its telephone records to make sure the unauthorized use of long-distance access codes is not a widespread problem, said football Coach Gerry DiNardo. Four unnamed LSU players have been implicated in the unauthorized use of a coach’s long-distance code.
Britain’s Tim Henman was the sole survivor of a slew of upsets at the European Community Championship in Antwerp, Belgium, as two more seeded players, Marcelo Rios of Chile and Spain’s Felix Mantilla, were ousted.
Rios, seeded second, was beaten, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), by Martin Damm of the Czech Republic and the fifth-seeded Mantilla lost to qualifier Dick Norman of Belgium, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6). Henman stopped Sweden’s Mikael Tillstrom, 6-2, 6-3.
Track and Field
Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia broke his own world indoor record in the 5,000 meters with a time of 12 minutes 59.04 seconds in the DN Games in Stockholm, Sweden, becoming the first to break the 13-minute mark indoors. He held the previous record of 13:10.98.
Australia’s Emma George broke her own record in the women’s pole vault, soaring 14 feet 11 inches at the Melbourne Grand Prix meet in Australia. The previous mark was 14-9. . . . Banned sprinter Ben Johnson’s attempts to race competitively again were dismissed as “strange” by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, which said it had not received a formal application from the 35-year-old Canadian. . . . Leonard “Buddy” Edelen Jr., 59, the first American marathoner to set a world record, died of cancer in Tulsa, Okla.
The University of California has dropped Idaho from its fall football schedule because of Idaho’s unresolved status as a Division I NCAA member. Cal will instead play at Louisiana Tech.