9-time New York City Marathon winner Grete Waitz dies
Grete Waitz, the Norwegian runner who won nine New York City Marathons and the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, died Tuesday after a six-year battle with cancer. She was 57.
Helle Aanesen, the manager of the Active Against Cancer Foundation in Norway, said Mrs. Waitz died early Tuesday at the Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway.
A former Oslo schoolteacher, Mrs. Waitz won her first New York City Marathon in 1978, setting a world record in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 30 seconds in her first attempt at running the distance. She went on to win eight more times, with her last victory coming in 1988.
She won the London Marathon twice, in 1983 and '86, the Stockholm Marathon in 1988 and earned five titles at the world cross-country championships from 1978-81 and 1983.
Mrs. Waitz also won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1983 world championships in Helsinki, Finland. A year later, she took second behind Joan Benoit in the first women's Olympic marathon.
New York Road Runner President and CEO Mary Wittenberg said Mrs. Waitz's legacy will live on through Grete's Gallop and other running programs in the city. "We are sad to lose a dear friend and our most decorated champion," Wittenberg said. "Her strength and grace throughout her fight with cancer were incredible.
"She was deeply important in making the New York City Marathon what it is today, and she inspired generations of women."
Tubby says Gophers will get better
Tubby Smith's fourth year at Minnesota was his most disappointing, stopping his streak of 17 straight 20-win seasons and leaving the stunned and depleted Gophers out of not only the NCAA Tournament but the NIT. The streak was the longest active run among major college coaches. This was also the first time Smith missed the post-season since 1993.
"We were 16-4, so I've got to look at it and say, 'OK, what changed? What needs to be changed?'" Smith said. They lost 10 of their last 11 games after two losing two players to injury.
"We'd have been playing for a Big Ten championship if Al Nolen and Maurice Walker were healthy. It's as simple as that," Smith said. "The best-laid plans."
Smith, the former Kentucky coach who turns 60 in June, said he hopes this is his last head coaching job. Though his name has surfaced in connection with openings at other schools over the last few years, Smith said he's not looking around. With three seasons left on the seven-year contract that pays him $1.75 million guaranteed annually, Smith said there's no rush to sign the extension that's been pending for months.
"It's still out there. It's still on somebody's desk. It's not on my desk," Smith said, alluding to a reason for the delay: the change at the top this summer when Eric Kaler replaces Robert Bruininks as school president. "I want to be fair, and they want to be fair. It's not about money."
■ Negus Webster-Chan, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, decommitted from Louisville for 2012. "I just didn't feel comfortable with all of the (assistant coaching) changes," he told Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop. "I just didn't feel like it was the best fit for me. I appreciate all of the Louisville fans that have showed their support for me and hope they understand."
■ Western Kentucky assistant coach Allen Edwards is leaving the Hilltoppers to become the second assistant to new Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt. Edwards, a member of Kentucky's 1996 and 1998 national championship teams, just completed his first season as third assistant at WKU.
■ Former Tennessee basketball recruit Kevin Ware committed to Central Florida on Monday night, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Ware, a 6-foot-4 guard from Conyers, Ga., was released from his letter of intent to the Volunteers after the firing of head coach Bruce Pearl. Ware, the nation's No. 56 prospect according to Rivals.com, chose Central Florida over Louisville and Georgia.
■ Northwestern junior forward John Shurna has declared for the NBA Draft. He has not hired an agent, meaning he could still return to school. Shurna averaged 16.6 points.
Ratliff second Cat dismissed this spring
Linebacker Jewell Ratliff was dismissed from Kentucky's football team for a violation of team rules, spokesman Tony Neely said. Ratliff played as a true freshman last fall and was listed No. 2 behind Danny Trevathan at weakside linebacker this spring. He is the second UK player dismissed this spring for a violation of team rules, joining freshman tight end Alex Smith.
Source: UMass to join MAC for football
A University of Massachusetts official said Tuesday the school will become a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision and join the Mid-American Conference for that sport. UMass is expected to remain a member of the Atlantic 10 in other sports.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the school had yet to announce the move.
A news conference is planned for Wednesday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., and the Mid-American Conference confirmed in a news release that it will co-host the announcement and that MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher would speak.
Pletcher keeping close eye on Uncle Mo
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Kentucky Derby contender Uncle Mo "needs to have a good 19 days" if he's going to enter the Run for the Roses. Uncle Mo took his first gallop at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, a day after he arrived from New York. The 3-year-old colt is coming off a disappointing third-place finish in the Wood Memorial, and post-race tests discovered he is suffering from a gastrointestinal infection.
Pletcher said the horse is "doing very well" but is still far from a lock in running under the twin spires on May 7. Uncle Mo dominated his last race there, rolling to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall. Pletcher and owner Mike Repole both said Uncle Mo would have to be "100 percent" to run in the Derby.
Blackhawks stave off elimination
Dave Bolland returned to the Chicago lineup after missing 17 games with a concussion and had a goal and three assists as the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks avoided being swept, routing the visiting Vancouver Canucks 7-2. Vancouver still leads 3-1 in the first-round series. Chicago's Patrick Sharp scored two power-play goals in a chippy final period that featured pushing, shoving, jawing and a fight between Vancouver's Kevin Bieska and Chicago's Victor Stalberg.
Epps, Greenwell invited to USA tryouts
Marion County's Makayla Epps and Owensboro Catholic's Rebecca Greenwell, both sophomores, were among 35 girls' basketball players who accepted invitations for the 2011 USA Basketball U-16 national team trials May 26-30 at Colorado Springs, Colo.
The last word
British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen was at a PGA Tour event recently when he gave the starter a crash course on how to pronounce his name. Sure enough, the starter nailed it, introducing him as "Loo-ee WEST-high-zen." If only he had stopped there. According to The Daily Mail of Britain, the starter then saw the initials RSA next to his name — Republic of South Africa — and added:
" ... from Russia."