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Chief Organizer of Turin Olympics Will Not Resign

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The chief organizer of the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics withdrew his threat to resign Thursday after resolving a dispute with government officials over control of the games.

After meeting with International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Valentino Castellani said he was satisfied with a deal clarifying the division of powers between himself and Mario Pescante, the government-appointed games supervisor.

The 2006 Olympics will be held the same year national elections are to take place, and Berlusconi’s government hopes to avoid any possible embarrassment.

Castellani, a former mayor of Turin, said last week he intended to resign because he felt Pescante’s role conflicted with his own. But Castellani said Thursday “a page had been turned” and he would remain head of the organizing committee through the games in February 2006.

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“We have put it in black and white -- there is now an equal distribution of duties and powers,” he said.

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Most New Yorkers want the city to host the 2012 Olympics but don’t believe a $1.4-billion stadium is needed to win the bid, according to a poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll found 64% of respondents supported the city’s Olympics ambitions while 30% were opposed. Only 39% said the city must build a new stadium on the West Side to secure the games compared with 47% who disagreed.

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New York faces four European rivals for the Games -- Paris, London, Moscow and Madrid. The IOC will select the host city in July.

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Germany could lose its Olympic gold medal in the equestrian team jumping event to the United States because a horse’s backup doping sample tested positive for banned substances.

The German riding federation said that the backup sample confirmed the initial positive result for Goldfever, ridden by Ludger Beerbaum of Germany’s gold medal-winning quartet in Athens.

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If Germany loses the gold, it will go to U.S. riders Chris Kappler, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward and Peter Wylde.

Golf

Grace Park birdied the last three holes in a six-under-par 66 that left her in a four-way tie after the first round of the LPGA Tournament of Champions at Mobile, Ala.

Juli Inkster, Laura Diaz and Christina Kim also took advantage of soft conditions from overnight rain to shoot opening 66s.

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Soccer

Major League Soccer and its players’ union tentatively agreed on a five-year labor contract, ending nearly 18 months of negotiations.

The deal must be ratified by the players.

The agreement features an increase in the minimum annual salary from $24,000 to $28,000 next season and increases to $34,000 in the final year of the contract.

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MetroStar midfielder Amado Guevara was chosen MLS’s most valuable player. Guevara led the MetroStars in assists (10) and points (30).

The UCLA women’s team will play host to first-round NCAA tournament matches today and Sunday. Today’s matches, at Drake Stadium, are UCLA vs. Pepperdine at 5 p.m. and Nevada Las Vegas vs. San Diego at 7:30 p.m. The winners will meet at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The defending champion United States defeated South Korea, 3-0, at the FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.

Wednesday night’s Jorge Campos-Romario international retirement match between the 1994 World Cup teams from Mexico and Brazil drew a crowd of 52,482 to the Coliseum.

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Tennis

Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will play singles for the United States in next month’s Davis Cup final at Spain, with twins Bob and Mike Bryan in doubles.

The best-of-five final will be held on clay Dec. 3-5 in Seville, and the United States will be trying to win its first title since Pete Sampras led the team to the 1995 championship. The Americans have won the title a record 31 times, but this is their first appearance in the final since 1997.

Motor Sports

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Carl Edwards had a fast lap of 167.487 mph to win the pole for tonight’s Darlington 200 truck race in South Carolina.

Patrick Carpentier, who has been a driver in the Champ Car World Series for eight years, announced he will join the rival Indy Racing League next year.

Miscellany

World and Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton of Los Angeles has a benign brain tumor. Hamilton, 46, is expected to be released from a hospital today.

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Hamilton is a skating show producer. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1997 and treated with surgery and chemotherapy.

Bowler Liz Johnson was eliminated from the Uniroyal Tire Classic at Wickliffe, Ohio, a day after she became the first woman to qualify for a PBA Tour event. Johnson lost, 4-2, to Brad Angelo.

The U.S. men’s and women’s volleyball teams are looking for new coaches. Toshi Yoshida resigned as women’s coach to accept a teaching and coaching position in his native Japan.

Doug Beal, the men’s coach, will become chief executive officer of USA Volleyball.

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Nina Kraft acknowledged taking the performance-enhancing drug EPO in the weeks leading to her victory in the Hawaii Ironman competition, and faces a two-year ban.

Katie King’s second-period goal lifted the United States to a 1-1 tie with Canada on in the Four Nations Cup international women’s hockey tournament at Burlington, Vt.

T.J. Simers has the day off.


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