In more than two decades as a track commentator, ABC's Marty Liquori scrupulously has avoided the temptation to become a part of the action, going so far as not to tell runners how far they were from the finish line or even where their closest competition was.
But Liquori crossed that line during the running of the Advil Mini-Marathon, which airs today on "Wide World of Sports" (Channel 2, 4: 30 p.m.) and probably helped keep a deserving runner on course for the Olympics, and saved her from injury.
"For 25 years, I've been able to keep that distinction of watching people, but not being a part of it, but I felt like I had to do something," said Liquori, a finalist in the 1,500 meters in the 1968 Olympics.
With about 300 yards to go in last Saturday's race in New York, Liquori was sitting in the lead convertible, watching Kenya's Tegla Loroupe, a two-time New York City Marathon women's winner, headed for apparent victory, when a street person emerged from a water stand and began running with and into Loroupe.
Liquori realized that no one would be able to assist the 82-pound woman, a medal candidate for this year's Games, and flashed back in his mind's eye to the 1984 Olympics, when Gabriel Anderson staggered into the Los Angeles Coliseum at the end of the women's marathon, obviously hobbled with heat stroke.
No one immediately helped Anderson, and Liquori didn't want the same fate to befall Loroupe.
"I just knew if she fell, it would probably affect her Olympics. It was a spur of the moment thing," said Liquori, who jumped out of the car and grabbed the man by his lapels, pulling him away from Loroupe, who finished the race unharmed.
Waterlogged U.S. Open
Besides their irons and drivers, the golfers at this weekend's U.S. Open may need their water wings and a good short game at a saturated Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club.
"I talked to some of the players, and they really feel like this is
extremely difficult . . . and it's wet, and you have a very long golf course," said NBC analyst Johnny Miller. "It will play very nicely if you're in the fairway off the tee. If you're not, you're going to have a lot of problems."
Besides the weather and its effect on the course, one of the other big stories at the Open will be how Greg Norman responds in his first major since his collapse in the final round of the Masters in April.
"As Johnny said the other day, is that [the collapse] the benchmark in his career and from now on, it's on the downside?" said fellow analyst Dave Marr. "There comes a time when you hit that wall and you don't win the big deals anymore. I'm real interested to see how he does."
Miller and Marr, who just received a contract extension into the next century, will be joined by host Dick Enberg and a third analyst, Roger Maltbie, among others for 12 hours this weekend, with coverage beginning today and tomorrow at 12: 30 p.m. on Channel 11.
Hanging up the gloves
Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes calls it a career this weekend.
No, really. He does.
Holmes, who held the title for seven years, allegedly retires tomorrow after 23 years in the ring with a 10-round fight against Anthony Willis from Bay Saint Louis, Miss. (Channel 13, 5 p.m.)
"A Larry Holmes fight is like a car accident -- people have to stop and look. There will be TV rubbernecking on Father's Day," said Rob Correa, a CBS Sports programming vice president.
The network will ensure that you have a chance to see this potential wreck, as Holmes will join host Gus Johnson at ringside of today's Aaron Davis-Anthony Stephens fight (Channel 13, 5 p.m.) and will be the subject of a pre-fight feature tomorrow.
Speaking of fights, today's HBO boxing tripleheader has a couple of intriguing angles. First, the network will show a tape of last Friday's Oscar De La Hoya-Julio Cesar Chavez bout immediately after the Kevin Kelley-Derrick Gainer match.
Also, HBO will track the busy day of Roy Jones Jr., who will play point guard for the Jacksonville Barracudas of the USBL, then fight Eric Lucas in a super middleweight bout tonight. The proceedings begin at 9: 30 p.m.
Winter's last gasp
In case you need a final hockey fix, ESPN is repeating the deciding game of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight at 7: 30, with highlights of celebrations in Colorado and Florida and interviews with the participants.
The final game of the U.S. national women's basketball team's barnstorming tour across the globe takes place today in Chicago against Russia on ABC (Channel 2, 1 p.m.).
Pub Date: 6/15/96