One team for Soviet Union in OlympicsSports...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

One team for Soviet Union in Olympics

Sports officials throughout the Soviet Union, excluding th newly independent Baltic republics, have pledged to field a united team for the 1992 Olympics, the Tass news agency said yesterday.

The decision to send a single Soviet team to Albertville and Barcelona was made at a meeting of sports officials from the republics, the National Olympic Committee and representatives of the all-union sports federation, Tass said.

The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia -- annexed by Moscow in 1940 -- have regained their independence in the wake of the failed coup in the Soviet Union last month.

International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch said yesterday he will recommend at an IOC meeting Tuesday in Berlin that the three Baltic republics be admitted independently to the Olympic movement.

Hockey

Wayne Gretzky showed why he's Team Canada's captain and leader, breaking a scoreless tie late in the second period, as the Canadians advanced to the finals of the Canada Cup with a 4-0 victory over Sweden last night in Toronto.

The victory put the two-time defending champions into the finals against the United States, which eliminated Finland on Wednesday. The best-of-three series will begin tomorrow night in Montreal.

Bill Ranford stopped 30 shots for his first shutout. He has allowed just 11 goals in Canada's six games.

* Pittsburgh Penguins coach Bob Johnson flew to his Colorado )) home to begin radiation treatments on his remaining brain tumor, but promised he will coach again -- soon.

In his first public statement since becoming seriously ill Aug. 29, Johnson said, "The fire of coaching still burns inside of me. I will be back. When I return, it will be my greatest day in coaching."

He issued the statement less than 24 hours after undergoing a procedure on his second brain tumor. The tumors, believed to be malignant, were discovered last month after he developed stroke-like symptoms while coaching Team USA in the Canada Cup tournament.

Gambling

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue endorsed House legislation halt the spread of legalized gambling on professional and college games, saying it would protect the integrity of the events.

"We believe there has to be a bright line between gambling and our games," said Tagliabue, who called state-sanctioned sports wagering "point-spread gambling sponsored by the state."

His comments were reinforced by Frank Robinson, assistant general manager of the Baltimore Orioles; Red Auerbach, president of the Boston Celtics, and Richard Schultz, executive director of the NCAA.

They were strongly opposed by a group of officials representing state governments and New Jersey's casino industry, who contend the proposed federal legislation would deny them revenues and intrude into their fiscal domains.

Boxing

An Indiana prosecutor will fight an attempt by Mike Tyson's lawyers to get a gag order to prevent lawyers and police from talking about the boxer's case before his January rape trial.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Patricia J. Gifford has scheduled a hearing today on the request filed by James H. Voyles, an Indianapolis lawyer representing the former heavyweight champion.

Voyles' request urges Gifford to bar lawyers and police from making statements that would prejudice the case and prevent Tyson from receiving a fair trial. The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 27.

Colleges

Legislation meant to limit the NCAA's power by requiring it to follow courtroom-style rules when investigating Illinois college athletics was signed into law by Gov. Jim Edgar.

The new law bars the use of illegally obtained evidence, allows cross-examination of witnesses and requires speedy hearings in NCAA investigations. It also allows subjects of the investigations to ask the courts to review NCAA decisions.

Other measures restricting the NCAA's enforcement procedures have been enacted or are being considered in Florida, Nevada and California.

Jurisprudence

A lawyer warned counsel for Martina Navratilova that she and former lover Judy Nelson would suffer "devastating" emotional stress if their palimony lawsuit was not settled out of court, according to testimony.

"If litigation is filed, the press here and abroad will have a field day," contended Jerry Loftin, an attorney for Nelson, in a letter sent four months ago to Mike McCurley, Navratilova's Dallas lawyer.

"The emotional stress and strain on an ordinary individual would be devastating and seemingly catastrophic to an athlete attempting to perform," Loftin wrote last spring. " . . . Both sides will be the loser."

McCurley produced the letter and read excerpts into the record during cross-examination of a witness in a bizarre preliminary hearing in which Navratilova is attempting to have Loftin removed as Nelson's attorney. Testimony in the pretrial issue began Monday, but has been overshadowed all week by on-again, off-again negotiations of a settlement. Those talks apparently broke off yesterday.

Sailing

Challengers for the 1992 America's Cup are threatening to boycott the regatta unless a rule is changed to allow them more time to launch new boats.

Ernie Taylor, executive director of the Challenger of Record Committee, said that representatives of the 10 challenging syndicates will meet Sept. 25 in France to discuss a possible mass withdrawal.

The challengers are upset by a March 3 ruling by America's Cup trustees that each challenger select the boat it will sail by Dec. 20. Those yachts would be the only vessels those syndicates could sail in the extensive trials. But under terms of the Deed of Gift, a century-old document that governs the event, the defending San Diego Yacht Club isn't required to select its boat until the morning of the first race in the final series.

Taylor said he suggested the boycott after receiving a letter Tuesday from Tom Ehman, general manager of the America's Cup Organizing Committee, holding the CORC to the Dec. 20 date. Challengers who do not identify their yachts by then would become invalid, the letter states.

Soccer

Forward Phillip Gyau, who closed the regular season strongly with three goals and three assists, was named yesterday the Maryland Bays Player of the Month for August.

Gyau follows forward Jean Harbor (May), goalkeeper Steve Powers (June), and midfielder Kevin Sloan (July) as the monthly winners for Maryland, which was 19-2 in the regular season before losing to the Albany Capitals, 2-1, in overtime in the first game of the best-of-two American Professional Soccer League semifinals Friday night in Albany, N.Y.

Hockey

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Bob Johnson flew to his Colorado home to begin radiation treatments on his remaining brain tumor, but promised he will coach again -- soon.

In his first public statement since becoming seriously ill Aug. 29, Johnson said, "The fire of coaching still burns inside of me. I will be back. When I return, it will be my greatest day in coaching."

He issued the statement less than 24 hours after undergoing a procedure on his second brain tumor. The tumors, believed to be malignant, were discovered last month after he developed stroke-like symptoms while coaching Team USA in the Canada Cup tournament.

Johnson's illness was considered life-threatening and prompted emergency surgery Aug. 30 to remove one tumor.

Chop shot

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