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Christie Ends Initial Phase of Track Career

From Staff and Wire Reports

Linford Christie ran the 200 meters for his final race representing the British team at the European Cup and it ended in a dead heat Sunday at Munich.

Christie, the 1992 Olympic 100-meter champion, ended his career as the most successful athlete at the European Cup after crossing the finish line with Georgios Panayiotopoulos of Greece in the 200 meters in 20.56 seconds.

Race officials ruled the two had shared first place after Panayiotopoulos caught Christie from behind. They first declared Panayiotopoulos the winner, but changed their decision after reviewing a tape of the race.

Christie, 37, plans to retire at the end of the season.

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Soccer

Ronaldo scored two goals and Brazil defeated Paraguay, 2-0, at Santa Cruz, Bolivia to advance to the semifinals of the America Cup.

Ronaldo, who signed last week with Internazionale of Milan, scored in the 19th and 34th minutes, and missed a chance for a third goal when Jose Luis Chilavert stopped a penalty kick.

Brazil, the defending World Cup champion, will play Peru on Wednesday at Santa Cruz. In the other semifinal, Bolivia will play Mexico on Thursday at La Paz.

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Mexico also advanced, defeating Ecuador, 4-3, on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 tie at Cochabamba.

Goalie Adolfo Rios of Mexico stopped three penalty kicks and Luis Hernandez, Claudio Suarez, Cesar Chavez and Joel Sanchez scored shootout goals.

Luis Capurro gave Ecuador a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute on a penalty kick, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco tied the score 11 minutes later, heading a corner kick past goalkeeper Giovanni Ibarra.

Goalie Andy Kirk made four dramatic second-half saves, but the United States men’s under-20 national team lost to Ghana, 1-0, and a guaranteed spot in the second round of the FIFA World Youth Championships at Sham Alam, Malaysia.

The U.S., which finished third in group C, will wait until today’s results to see if it earned an at-large bid. Twenty-four teams in six groups are in the tournament. The top two teams from each group and four best third-place teams qualify for the second round.

Women’s Pro Basketball

NBC Sports’ broadcast of the inaugural WNBA game between the Sparks and the New York Liberty topped all Saturday afternoon sports shows, receiving a 3.8 overnight national rating.

“That’s an outstanding rating, better than we projected,” WNBA President Val Ackerman said. “I think to feel the enthusiasm and see the excitement coming from the fans and from the team people is very gratifying for us, and it’s a positive reinforcement in every way.”

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Each ratings point represents 972,000 homes.

A crowd of 16,102 attended Sunday’s game when Phoenix played host to Charlotte at America West Arena, breaking the record for a women’s professional game in the United States set Saturday when 14,284 watched New York’s 67-57 victory over the Sparks at the Forum.

Phoenix won, 76-59.

The two other opening games Saturday night also attracted large crowds, with 11,455 fans attending Houston’s 76-56 victory at Cleveland, and 8,915 saw Sacramento’s 70-60 victory at Utah.

“I think we had a lot of jittery players,” Ackerman said. “Yesterday was the first game for a lot of them, the first time they’d played in front of such large crowds.”

Pro Beach Volleyball

Top-seeded Jose Loiola and Kent Steffes won their first Miller Lite/AVP Grand Slam event of the season, defeating third-seeded Troy Tanner and Randy Stoklos in the Miller Lite Open at Chicago.

Splitting the $60,000 first-place check with his partner, Loiola became the first international player to reach $1 million in career earnings.

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Second-seeded Karolyn Kirby and Nancy Reno jumped to a quick 9-3 lead en route to a 15-11 victory over top-seeded Lisa Arce and Holly McPeak in the finals of the Evian Open at Atlantic City, N.J.

Tom Hoff, former Long Beach State standout, had 15 kills and six blocks to lead Team Inglenook to a 14-13 victory over Team Outdoor Products in the men’s finals at the Bud Light Pro Beach Volleyball League event at New York.

In the women’s championship, Gabrielle Reece had 13 kills and three blocks as NIKE defeated Team Discus Athletic, 12-8.

Miscellany

A giant Stanley Cup replica will help raise money to treat the kind of head injury that has left Detroit Red Wing star Vladimir Konstantinov and the team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov in comas.

Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov, injured June 13 when their limousine crashed in Birmingham, Mich., remained in critical but stable condition, according to hospital officials.

Beezie Patton won the U.S. Equestrian Team Show Jumping title at Gladstone, N.J., riding Imaginario to two penalty-free rides--the second in a six-horse jump-off.


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