Stenmark outruns deadly wave

SPORTS DIGEST

December 28, 2004

Skiing great Ingemar Stenmark was sunbathing on a beach in Thailand when he saw an immense wave roaring to shore. He began running for his life.

"The water from the first wave disappeared, but then it came back with terrifying speed," Stenmark told Swedish media.

Stenmark, a Swede who won two gold medals at the 1980 Olympics and '86 World Cup races, was with friends in Khok Kloi, about 30 miles from Phuket, the popular tourist spot. He and girlfriend Christina Sylvan were not injured. Sylvan's father, Bo, was hurt but not seriously.

Stenmark was among a number of athletes and sports figures on vacation in southern Asia when earthquake-driven tidal waves swept the region.

The most powerful quake in the world in four decades has killed more than 22,000 people in 10 countries. Thousands are missing, and the death toll is expected to climb far higher.

Soccer's governing body said yesterday that all flags at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, were being flown at half staff. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, acknowledging "untold grief and bereavement," sent letters to the presidents of the soccer federations of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Maldives, Malaysia and Myanmar.

The bungalow of former Austrian tennis star Thomas Muster was hit in the Maldives, but he was unhurt. Zinedine Zidane, the French soccer star for Real Madrid, was vacationing on Reunion Island off Madagascar, one of the lesser-hit islands, the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport said.

Gaute Larsen, assistant coach of the Norwegian elite division soccer team Odd Grenland, was caught by a wave in Phuket.

"That was a near-death experience and very dramatic," he told Norway's largest newspaper, Verdens Gang, "We were lucky."

Good Morning, Geno Auriemma The UConn women had been in the Top 10 for 199 weeks. Must be because you never get worked up.

College football

Tuberville agrees to new Auburn deal

Tommy Tuberville, denying reports that he's interested in the LSU job, agreed in principle to a new seven-year contract worth $16 million to coach Auburn. Tuberville, the Associated Press Coach of the Year this year, led the third-ranked Tigers to a 12-0 regular season and its first Southeastern Conference championship in 15 years. They are playing Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on Monday.

Tennessee: Both of the Volunteers' freshman quarterbacks - Brent Schaeffer and Erik Ainge - may be out for the Cotton Bowl on Saturday against Texas A&M (7-4). Schaeffer, whose broken collarbone has healed, might miss the game because of flu-like symptoms, and Ainge still has a separated shoulder. Junior Rick Clausen will start.

Texas: With the Longhorns (10-1) preparing for their first Rose Bowl, coach Mack Brown is in line for a raise. Brown already is one of college football's highest-paid coaches with a salary of slightly more than $2 million a year. Athletic director DeLoss Dodds said details of the new contract will be announced during the week.

Livingstone: Former Pro Bowl tight end Ben Coates was hired as coach at Division II Livingstone, his alma mater, after an NFL career in which he won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in January 2001. Coates succeeds George Johnson Jr., who went 8-22 in three seasons, including a 2-8 record in 2004.

Horse racing

Injured Fogelsonger rests day after spill

Ryan Fogelsonger, who leads all jockeys with 158 victories at the major Maryland tracks this year, was off his mounts on yesterday's nine-race card at Pimlico Race Course one day after being involved in a spill. Summer Rainbow was galloping out after her third-place finish in Sunday's seventh race when she tossed the 23-year old rider who landed on his head. "The X-rays were negative, but he is pretty sore," said Kevin Witte, Fogelsonger's agent. "We are hoping to return on Thursday, if not Friday."

Santa Anita Park: Long shot Alphabet Kisses held on for a one-length victory in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes in Arcadia, Calif. Ridden by Mike Smith, Alphabet Kisses covered seven furlongs in 1 minute, 21.38 seconds and paid $42.20, $12.80 and $6.20.

Baseball

Ault is dead at 54, starred in Jays' debut

Doug Ault, who hit two home runs in the first game in Toronto Blue Jays history in 1977 and later managed teams in their minor league system, died at his home in Tarpon Springs, Fla., a few miles from the Blue Jays' spring training quarters in Dunedin. He was 54. The club provided no further details about his death. Ault, a first baseman, hit 17 homers during his four years in the majors. His career batting average was .236 in 256 games.

Layton dead: Eddie Layton, the Yankee Stadium organist and ballpark fixture for more than 35 years until his retirement after the 2003 season, died Sunday in New York after a brief illness. He was 79. Layton also performed as the organist for the New York Knicks and Rangers for 18 years.

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