Ruth, Didrikson Named Top Athletes

From Staff and Wire Reports

Larger than life in their day, their deeds and legends enduring the passage of time, Babe Ruth and his namesake, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, prevailed as the top man and woman in the Associated Press 100 Athletes of the Century poll released Saturday.

Michael Jordan, Jim Thorpe, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky and Jim Brown filled the next five spots behind Ruth.

Martina Navratilova, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Billie Jean King finished far back of Didrikson, who ranked No. 9 among all athletes.

In choosing the top 100, the AP relied on the judgments of 16 experts, including athletes, writers and historians.

The only active athletes are Jack Nicklaus (12), Jerry Rice (50), Pete Sampras (51), Tiger Woods (58), Cal Ripken (82) and Mark McGwire (84).

America's Cup

Young America is on the brink of elimination in the challenger series off Auckland, New Zealand. Young America, seventh in the race for the six semifinal spots, lost to America True to fall 17 points behind sixth-place Le Defi Francais with only two races left in the third-round robin.

With each race winner receiving nine points, Young America needs two victories and two Le Defi Francais losses to qualify for the next stage. Le Defi beat Young Australia when the Australian boat failed to finish the race.

Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes clinched a semifinal berth with its victory over AmericaOne, and Italy's Prada maintained the series lead with a win over Abracadabra.

The four-month regatta will decide which of the 10 remaining teams takes on defender New Zealand for sailing's most prized trophy in a best-of-nine series starting in February.

Soccer

Shannon MacMillian scored two goals as Team USA defeated the World Team, 8-5, in an indoor exhibition match at San Jose.

Team USA broke out early, then held on in the second half in front of 10,842 at San Jose Arena.

The victory gives Team USA a 5-5 record on its tour, which concludes with matches in Tacoma, Wash., today and Portland, Ore., on Wednesday.

Darren Ferguson, son of Manchester United Coach Alex Ferguson, scored the winner in the 68th minute as second-division Wrexham ousted Premier League Middlesbrough, 2-1, in in the third round of the F.A. Cup.

In other games, second-division Burnley eliminated Derby, 1-0, West Ham lost to first-division Tranmere, 1-0, and first-division Birmingham defeated Premier League Watford, 1-0.

Winter Sports

Tara Lipinski, 17, scored two perfect 10.0s for artistic impression at Washington to become the youngest winner ever in the World Professional Figure Skating Championship. Alexei Urmanov of Russia won the men's competition with a prop-filled routine.

Every competition produced a first-time winner. Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow won the dance, and traditional also-rans Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko won the pairs.

Rob Kingwill of Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Shannon Dunn of Steamboat Springs, Colo., won halfpipe races in the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain.

Kingwill, who missed the World Cup season because of a separated shoulder and a broken ankle, received 42.7 points.

Dunn finished with 40.0 points and won $10,000 for defeating Canadian Natasza Zurek, who finished with 37.5. Cara-Beth Burnside of Orange was third with 37.2 points.

Norwegian Thomas Alsgaard finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of countryman Espen Bjervig at Appada, Italy, to bring his World Cup cross-country total to 216 points, 76 ahead of Liechtenstein's Stephan Kunz. . . . Samppa Lajunen of Finland won the Nordic Combined one-jump and 7.5-kilometer cross-country ski sprint at Vuokatti, Finland, to move atop the World Cup standings. . . . The Norway men's biathlon team won the World Cup 7.5 kilometer relay at Pokljuka, Slovenia, finishing ahead of Russia in 1 minute 48.2 seconds.

Double Olympic and world champion Hermann Maier will try to avenge his giant slalom disqualification of two years ago at Val d'Isere, France, when he goes for his sixth World Cup race victory in seven tries today.

Miscellany

Tennyson E. Kelsay, grandfather of Nebraska football player Chris Kelsay, was shot to death Friday while walking in a shopping center parking lot. Auburn, Neb., police said the 84-year-old Kelsay was shot several times with a .22-caliber rifle fired from a passing vehicle.

Chris Kelsay's older brother Chad played for Nebraska from 1995-98 and is a rookie linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Vermont's attorney general William Sorrell agreed to investigate allegations of hazing involving the Vermont hockey team and the university's response to the charges.

The university internally investigated allegations of hazing, and announced early this month that players, who were not identified, had been disciplined.

Tony Ayala Jr. got some needed rounds and also satisfied his fans by stopping Tony Menefee in the eighth round at San Antonio for his third victory since he was released from prison in April. Ayala, 36, spent 16 years in prison for rape.

Vitali Klitschko (27-0) of Ukraine successfully defended his World Boxing Organization heavyweight title at Hamburg, Germany, when American Obed Sullivan refused to answer the bell for the 10th round.

On the undercard, unbeaten Juan Carlos Gomez (27-0) knocked out Ghana's Napoleon Tagoe in the ninth round of a one-sided fight to retain his World Boxing Council cruiserweight title.

Citing a lack of financial backing from major league baseball, Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore announced they will not continue participation in the four-team California Fall League, which completed its first season in November.

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