COLUMNIST Susan Reimer says her sports writer husband...

February 14, 1994|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

COLUMNIST Susan Reimer says her sports writer husband doesn't consider figure skating a sport because "people watching decide who wins."

I agree, though this creates a problem with what many sports writers consider the No. 1 guys' sport. Boxing. A referee and judges often have to tell the rest of us who won a prize fight.

In the good old days, they didn't have decisions. Boxers fought till one or the other couldn't fight anymore. That was a sport. Now, actually, when you think about it, that's the way Tonya Harding skates. She beat Nancy Kerrigan the old fashioned way. She broke her leg. Well, not exactly, but you get my point. She, or somebody, hired a guy to do it. (Maybe the U.S.A should enter him in the Olympics.)

Among contests that I also don't consider a sport is golf. I agree with tennis' John McEnroe on this one. He says if you don't have to run, it's not a sport. I dismiss golf as a sport for other reasons. The players are too gentlemanly, never cheat or scream at officials or complain out loud about rules, and they don't even criticize their opponents. Also they dress like adults.

*

The U.S. Olympics Committee agreed to pay Tonya Harding's lawyer, Robert C. Weaver Jr., to come to Norway to explain why she won't tell them if she was involved in the hit on Nancy Kerrigan. It turned down Tonya's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and his lawyer, Ronald H. Hoevet. Mr. Hoevet volunteered to come, if, he said, he was paid all expenses and his usual $200 per-hour fee.

The USOC decided it couldn't afford that. First-class airline tickets, hotel accommodations and, since he is always working on his client's behalf -- even when traveling, eating, sleeping -- $6,000 a day in billable hours (30x$200). What's that you say? There are only 24 hours in a day? Not according to the American Bar Association.

Neither Tonya Harding nor Nancy Kerrigan was expected to win the gold medal for figure skating at the Olympics, but that was before this knee-capping business. Now Nancy is a very sympathetic figure. So, since, as Susan Reimer's husband implies, judges can be very subjective in this "sport," she might win.

On the other hand, the judges may be so fearful of being sued by Robert Weaver if Tonya doesn't win, they'll vote for her.

new year's resolution was no more lawyer-bashing, but I just can't keep it up another day. I'm only human. Did you hear the one about the very elderly, nearly senile man who asked a lawyer how much in cash to prepare a simple will?

A hundred dollars, he was told. He took a crisp new $100 bill from his wallet and handed it to the lawyer. After the will was written, and the old gentleman left, the lawyer discovered that he'd been handed two $100 bills, which were inadvertently stuck together.

This created for him a problem of professional ethics.

Should he tell his partner?

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