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Tennis dad may face multiple charges

| Friday, Aug. 8, 2003

PARIS -- Just how far parents might go to help children reach the sporting elite has become shockingly evident in France with the arrest of a man on suspicion he spiked the drinks of his 16-year-old son's tennis rivals with a prescription drug.

One player died in a car wreck after apparently falling asleep while driving, and another was hospitalized for two days, investigators say. Police are trying to determine whether there were other victims.

Christophe Fauviau, 43, a retired soldier from Tercis-les-Bains in southwestern France, was arrested Saturday and placed under judicial investigation to determine whether he should be formally charged with unintentionally causing a death by administering toxic substances.

He is suspected of giving the anti-anxiety drug Temesta, which can cause drowsiness, to several opponents of his son, Maxime.

Calls to the Fauviau home Wednesday and Thursday went unanswered.

The case is reminiscent of Houston's "cheerleader mom," Wanda Holloway, who was charged in 1991 with trying to hire a hit man to kill the mother of her 13-year-old daughter's cheerleading rival. Holloway, who served six months in prison, hoped the grieving daughter would drop out of tryouts for the school cheerleading squad.

Suspicions about Christophe Fauviau arose at a tennis tournament June 28 when a player reported seeing Fauviau tamper with the player's water bottle just before his semifinal match with Maxime, police say. The player turned the bottle over to police, who say it tested positive for Temesta.

The next day, Maxime defeated another player in the tournament's final match. That player fell ill shortly after the match and required a two-day hospital stay, Capt. Christian Flagella, a police investigator in the town of Dax, said Thursday.

In another tournament July 3, Maxime defeated 25-year-old Alexandre Lagardere, a school teacher. Lagardere complained of fatigue after the match and took a nap at a friend's house near the stadium. He slept for two hours, then was driving home when he crashed his car and died.

Police believe Lagardere fell asleep at the wheel. Toxicology tests showed traces of Temesta in his system, which investigators suspect was administered by Fauviau.

The case has shocked many, especially in the tennis world.

"It is unparalleled, scandalous," Thierry Pham, a member of the French Tennis Federation technical committee, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Pham said he was particularly puzzled because Maxime is not considered champion material. "He was not part of the tennis elite for his age, which makes it even the more bizarre. He was just a good, local player."

It is Fauviau's 13-year-old daughter, Valentine, who is seen as her family's great tennis hope.

"She is one of the best players in the country in her age group," Pham said. "For her it is very sad, because she will have to suffer pressure in her career because of what her father did."

Fauviau is not accused of drugging any of his daughter's opponents, but Pham said he recently clashed with the tennis federation over what is best for her career.

"He became known to us because of his daughter," Pham said. "He refused to let her join a tennis school in Toulouse and refused to allow her to play for the junior national team this summer."

Despite the doping allegations, the tennis federation is not planning extra security measures at local or national tournaments.

"It would be a bit sad if we had to start putting water in a safe with locks and a key," Pham said. "It's not right to change rules because of an isolated incident."

  • In Montreal, Andre Agassi stumbled out to a 4-1 deficit, then recovered to beat local wild-card entry Simon Larose, 6-4, 6-2, and reach the quarterfinals of the Canada Masters.

    The top-seeded Agassi, a three-time champion at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open, wasn't worried when he trailed.

    "I quickly turned it around," he said. "Today, I definitely took a big step forward."

    Agassi next faces Rainer Schuettler in a rematch of their Australian Open final in January. Agassi beat the German in straight sets then, and this will be their first meeting since.

    Schuettler, seeded eighth, beat 10th-seeded Jiri Novak, 7-5, 6-0.

    Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, seeded third, eliminated No. 16 Tommy Robredo, 6-4, 6-3, setting up a quarterfinal against Max Mirnyi, who upset No. 11 Paradorn Srichaphan, 6-3, 6-2.

    Mirnyi has won his last two hard-court matches against Federer, including at the 2002 U.S. Open.

    David Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up, downed Vince Spadea, 6-4, 6-2, and next faces Feliciano Lopez, who ousted Karol Beck, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

    Lopez had a record of only 10-16 this year until he entered Wimbledon, where he made the fourth round for the second straight year. He lost to eventual champion Roger Federer.

    Since then, Lopez has advanced to the semifinals at two of four tournaments.

  • In Carson, Calif., Lindsay Davenport struggled to get past Paola Suarez of Argentina, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, in third round of the JPMorgan Chase Open.

    Davenport blew a 4-3 lead in the first set, double-faulting twice in a row, as Suarez won the final three games. But she broke Suarez, a doubles specialist, twice to win the second set.

    The third set turned into another trouble spot for Davenport, who sprayed shots all over the court in gusty conditions. She trailed 3-1 before winning five of the final six games and the match.

    "It's a really strong wind going one way. Balls that are normally right in front of you are skidding," Davenport said. "It's always the toughest conditions to play in the wind because the ball is moving around so much, and you can't really aim where you want to aim because you've got to pull your shots inside the court more."

    Two seeded players were eliminated. No. 11 Silvia Farina Elia lost to 18-year-old Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5, and qualifier Nicole Pratt outlasted seventh-seeded Conchita Martinez 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

    Other winners Thursday: No. 4 Ai Sugiyama and No. 16 Francesca Schiavone.

    Top-seeded Kim Clijsters played Maria Sharapova at night.

    Individuals in the sparse pro-Davenport crowd groaned at times when she netted easy shots or slammed them well beyond the lines. An older woman scolded her, "Come on, Lindsay. You got to want it."

    At times, Davenport didn't look like she did: Her shoulders drooped, she frowned, and she was slow in getting to balls.

    Davenport, 26 and married since April, insists there's nothing else she'd rather be doing than playing tennis, something she's been at professionally for 10 years. From 1997-02, she was ranked in the top three and won titles at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open.

    But that was before Serena and Venus Williams began dominating the Grand Slam finals.

    "I'm used to be being a perfectionist and being really tough on myself and trying to get better and better. It seems like it just wears on me sometimes," Davenport said. "Mentally, I have to force myself to keep staying eager, staying aggressive and staying positive."

    And forget about regaining the No. 1 ranking, even though the Williams sisters are both injured.

    "That would be difficult," Davenport said. "Just physically what it takes on your body week in and week out, I don't know if I'm capable of that. The girls that are playing right now are younger and more eager."

    Already Davenport has said she might not play beyond this year. If she does, she said she'll play less than her usual 18-to-24 tournaments.

    "I'm concentrating more on certain tournaments," she said. "If I play next year, I don't think I'll play a full schedule and just go for trying to peak at Grand Slams."

  • In Espoo, Finland, Silvija Talaja of Croatia advanced to the quarterfinals of the Nordea Nordic Light Open on Thursday, rallying past Zuzana Ondraskova of the Czech Republic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-1.

    The victory by the 67th-ranked Talaja follows her first-round upset of Switzerland's Patty Schnyder in the $140,000 clay-court tournament.

    The Talaja-Ondraskova match featured 10 service breaks in the first two sets.

    Talaja will meet Croatian qualifier Jelena Kostanic today. Kostanic beat Marta Marrero of Spain, 6-1, 6-2.

    Second-seed Anna Pistolesi of Israel defeated Myriam Casanova of Switzerland, 6-2, 6-3. She will face Slovakia's Ludmila Cervanova, who got a walkover against countrywoman Henrieta Nagyova.

    Also making the quarters was Hungary's Melinda Czink, who downed Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. Czink will play Russian teenager Vera Douchevina while Hungary's Petra Mandula takes on Croatia's Karolina Sprem.


  • Darko Milicic has left for the United States, determined to sign with the Detroit Pistons despite a lawsuit contending he is under contract to his European team.

    The 18-year-old 7-foot forward was the No. 2 selection in the NBA draft in June behind LeBron James of Cleveland.

    Milicic said in the Dnevnik daily on Thursday he is "99 percent certain" he will sign with the Pistons despite last month's suit in New York by his team against his agent. The club is demanding at least $10 million in punitive damages.

    The Pistons said they will not proceed with negotiations until the situation with Milicic's former team is resolved.

    "He needs to take care of that stuff before we can move forward," Pistons spokesman Kevin Grigg said Thursday.

    Milicic's club, Hemofarm Vrsac, says agent Marc Cornstein and Pinnacle Management Corp. interfered with the player's European contract. Milicic has played for Hemofarm in Serbia since 2000, and the club says he is under contract through 2009.

    By signing with the Pistons, Milicic hopes "to end this mess that has emerged around my dream to play in the NBA."

    "The problems are about to be solved and now I want to concentrate on my NBA season," Milicic said before leaving Vrsac for Detroit this week.

    NBA teams are not prevented from drafting players under contract to foreign teams, but league rules stipulate an NBA team can pay no more than $350,000 toward buying out a contract. Under the pay scale for rookies, Milicic would earn about $11 million over three years in the NBA.

    Last month, Milicic angered Serbia-Montenegro basketball officials for refusing to play for the national team at next month's European Championships. The team, formerly known as Yugoslavia, is defending the title.

  • Detroit Pistons center Zeljko Rebraca has undergone successful surgery to correct the irregular heartbeat that forced him to miss 50 games last season.

    Rebraca, 31, is expected to be with the Pistons when the team begins training camp in early October.

    "We are very pleased that everything went according to plan with Zelly's procedure," president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a news release.

    The procedure was performed by Dr. Fred Morady at University of Michigan Hospital.

    The 7-foot Rebraca had said in the spring that he was considering quitting basketball if the irregular heartbeat could not be corrected.

    Rebraca played in 30 games last season, averaging 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.3 minutes.

    He was named Europe's MVP in 1999 while playing for Benetton in Italy. He also played for Partizan Belgrade and Panathinaikos in Greece. He won one world and two European titles as a Yugoslav national team center.

  • Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown hired his brother Herb as one of five assistants, the second time the two will work together on a National Basketball Association staff.

    Herb Brown was Detroit's coach from 1976-78, leading the Pistons to a 72-74 record and two playoff appearances.

    He's been an assistant with Houston, Phoenix, Indiana, Chicago and Portland, where he worked last season. Herb Brown was an assistant to Larry Brown with the Pacers during the 1995-96 season.

    The Pistons also hired John Kuester, Mike Woodson, Dave Hanners and Igor Stefan Kokoskov as assistants under Brown, who was hired as Detroit's coach on June 2 after Rick Carlisle was fired.

    Kuester, Woodson and Hanners were on Larry Brown's staff with the Philadelphia 76ers last season. Kokoskov, a native of Yugoslavia, worked for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

    The Pistons, who lost to New Jersey in the Eastern Conference finals last season, selected 7-foot Serbian center Darko Milicic with the second selection in June's draft. The team hasn't signed him because of a dispute with his European club.

  • The owners of the New Jersey Nets are talking to at least four groups about selling the team, and two of the potential buyers would move the team to New York, according to a published report.

    The Star-Ledger of Newark reported in yesterday's editions that YankeeNets, the sports conglomerate that also owns the New York Yankees baseball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team, would break up the organization and sell off the Nets.

    "You can't really buy the Nets until they decide what they are going to do," Donald Unger, a former Nets owner who has expressed interest in repurchasing the team, told the newspaper. "I don't think anybody knows exactly what is going to happen."

    Partners in YankeeNets are trying to figure out how to break up the company before Sept. 1, when top investors in the company must pay former Devils owner John McMullen $35 million for the final 20 percent of the Stanley Cup champions, the newspaper reported.

    The newspaper identified four potential purchasers. Bruce Ratner, president of the New York development firm Forest City-Ratner, would move the Nets to Brooklyn to a proposed arena above the Long Island Railroad Terminal. Philanthropist Lewis Katz, the chairman of the Nets, would become a partner with Ratner in the venture, the newspaper reported. Ratner's spokeswoman had no immediate comment Thursday.

    Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders and the retired chairman of Computer Associates, would move the Nets back to their original home on Long Island.

    "We're not going to comment on the specifics. However, it's no secret Charles remains very interested in bringing an NBA franchise back to Long Island," said Cris Botta, a spokesman for Wang.

    The paper also said Alan Landis and David Gerstein, minority investors in YankeeNets, want to take control of the Nets. They did not return phone calls from the paper seeking comment, and Gerstein did not immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press.

    Unger, a New Jersey financier and a former member of the Nets ownership group, has tried to buy the team twice before and favors keeping the Nets at the Meadowlands in a renovated arena.

    Dan Klores, a spokesman for the Nets ownership group, said the reported purchasers "are just rumors," and declined further comment. He would not say if the team is for sale.

    Any move of the team would have to be approved by the NBA's board of governors, which would take into account territorial concerns of the New York Knicks, a league spokeswoman said.

  • Here's another sign the Michael Jordan era is over in Washington: The Wizards are not going back to training camp in Wilmington, N.C.

    The Wizards said they will train at Charleston, S.C., at the College of Charleston, from Sept. 29-Oct. 6.

    The Wizards trained in Jordan's hometown of Wilmington for the three seasons he was with the team, first as a front office executive and later as a player. He had planned to return to the front office in May, but he was turned away by owner Abe Pollin.

    The College of Charleston is familiar to new Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld, who was general manager of the Knicks when New York held camp there in the 1990s.

    "The college has enjoyed a long and wonderful relationship with Ernie Grunfeld for a number of years, and we look forward to hosting the Wizards," College of Charleston athletic director Jerry Baker said.

  • The Los Angeles Sparks signed forward Lynn Pride on Thursday and waived center Jenny Mowe.

    Pride, a first-round draft pick by Portland in 2000, has averaged 4.3 points in her WNBA career.

    Mowe, signed to a seven-day contract Tuesday, played 10 games for Portland in 2001 and 2002 and was waived by Washington before the season.


  • Pitt will honor all-time great Jimbo Covert for his recent election into the College Football Hall of Fame when the Panthers play host Notre Dame at Heinz Field on Oct. 11.

    An All-American offensive lineman for the Panthers in 1981 and 1982, Covert, a Freedom High graduate, is the 22nd Pitt player or coach to earn induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and the sixth in the last nine years.

    "Jimbo Covert is synonymous with the tough, blue-collar Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh football tradition," Pittsburgh athletic director Jeff Long said. "The University of Pittsburgh takes great pride in welcoming Jimbo back to honor his richly deserved election into the College Football Hall of Fame."

    In his three seasons as a starter, Covert helped Pitt to a 31-5 record (.861) with three consecutive Top 10 finishes. The 1980 and 1981 teams went 11-1 and finished No. 2 in the national polls. Covert allowed just three sacks his final three seasons, including zero as a senior. He was a consensus All-American in 1982 and played in the prestigious Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl games. He later starred for the Chicago Bears.

  • Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow expects the school to avoid significant NCAA sanctions over a suspected recruiting violation in February.

    The school hired outside consultants to conduct an investigation after then-assistant football coach Rod Sharpless allegedly provided $335 to prospective recruit Victor Abiamiri.

    The school fired the coach, reported its findings to the NCAA, and ceased actively recruiting Abiamiri.

    A report in Thursday's editions of The Washington Post said the NCAA infractions committee is expected to announce as early as next week that the violation is a "major infraction."

    In a meeting with the NCAA on June 13 in Kansas City, Maryland officials presented evidence on why the situation should be labeled secondary. The evidence included a comparative analysis of other situations labeled as secondary; the isolated nature of the incident; and the swift and decisive remedial actions taken by the university.

    According to Yow, the NCAA staff commended the university on the thoroughness and speed of its review, and on the actions it took in response.

    "We have not received a response from the committee, and we have no reason to believe that any significant sanctions for the football program will occur, regardless of how the committee characterizes its findings," Yow said.

  • The eight-year contract football coach Mark Richt signed at Georgia contains a $1.5 million buyout for the first five years and an $800,000 buyout for the final three.

    That means if Richt leaves Georgia after this season, his new employer would have to pay Georgia $8.4 million. He makes $1.5 million a year.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the figures in yesterday's editions after getting a copy of the contract through the open records law. The school later confirmed the numbers.

    Richt agreed to the contract last December, just before the Bulldogs beat Florida State, 26-13, in the Sugar Bowl to complete a 13-1 season. They won the Southeastern Conference championship for the first time since 1982.

    "This is where I want to be," Richt told the paper. "I didn't blink an eye. It just says Georgia wants me and I want Georgia. I know I wanted Georgia from Day 1. We like it here a lot."

    The school would have to pay Richt the buyout amounts if he's fired without cause.

    "I think it shows his commitment to us," athletic director Vince Dooley said. "I think it's a mutual commitment for the first five years. He didn't have any troubles with that because he wants to be here."

  • Washington fullback Zach Tuiasosopo is expected to miss his team's first three or four games after being charged with punching out windows of four cars following a sorority party.

    He will be allowed to practice with the Huskies, who began fall practices Wednesday, coach Keith Gilbertson said.

    Tuiasosopo has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge. Police estimated the damage at the Fisherman's Terminal parking lot on May 10 at $6,800.

    "He's done everything we've asked him to do since his incident, but there has not been a resolution with the law," Gilbertson said. "So he's on the team and will practice, but will not play until that is resolved."

    Tuiasosopo's trial on a charge of felony malicious mischief, which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, begins Sept. 25. A pretrial hearing is scheduled Sept. 12.

    The Huskies' fourth game is their Pac-10 opener against Stanford on Sept. 27. They play at UCLA the following weekend.

    Tuiasosopo, a junior, is expected to be replaced by Ty Eriks for the season opener Aug. 30 at defending national champion Ohio State.

    Tuiasosopo is the younger brother of former Huskies star quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, now the backup quarterback with the Oakland Raiders, and the son of former NFL defensive lineman Manu Tuiasosopo.

    The Allegheny College football team was picked to finish fourth in the North Coast Athletic Conference in both the preseason coaches and the media polls. The Gators, coming off back-to-back 5-5 seasons, garnered 157 points in the media poll, just three points ahead of Ohio Wesleyan.

    In a close vote, Wasbash topped the media poll with eight first-place votes and 228 points, followed by Wittenberg (223) and Wooster (220). Wooster topped the coaches poll (91) and Wabash (89) and Wittenberg (87) just behind.

    In addition to the preseason polls, the NCAC announced the All-Decade team, covering the conferences second decade. The NCAC, which was founded in 1983, selected 35 players for the All-Decate Team, including seven Gators. Wittenberg had the most players of any school with 16.

    Paul Bell '95 (QB), Jim Mormino '98 (RB), Ronnie Anderson ;97 (WR), Nathan Six '99 (TE), Brad Goe '95 (C), Anson Park '96 (OL) were offensive selections for Allegheny while Nick Reiser '97 (DL was the lone defensive pick for the Gators.


  • Jan Stephenson is ready to follow Annika Sorenstam and Suzy Whaley and take on the men.

    Stephenson accepted an invitation to play in the Champions Tour event in October at Hawaii's Turtle Bay Resort.

    The 51-year-old Stephenson, a winner of 32 pro events including three major championships, said she is looking forward to teeing it up against the likes of Craig Stadler, Fuzzy Zoeller, Tom Watson and Tom Kite.

    "I've played with them for years," Stephenson said Thursday after a practice round for the LPGA tour's Wendy's Championship for Children. "Basically we grew up together on the LPGA and PGA tours."

    Stephenson said she consulted with players on all three tours, her sponsors, friends and family before deciding to play in the 50-and-over event. She will round out an 81-player field vying for a $1.5 million purse.

    "My goal is to finish 30th," she said. "I certainly don't think that's out of the question."

    The Champions Tour does not have a cut and its tournaments are played on courses only marginally longer than those on the LPGA tour.

    Sorenstam received an exemption to play in the Colonial and missed the cut after playing two rounds in front of huge galleries. Whaley went through qualifying to earn a spot at Hartford and missed the cut.

    "Annika and Suzy were such great ambassadors for women's golf," Stephenson said. "If I don't look like I'm having a good time, it could hurt. And if I don't play well, it could hurt."


  • Pavol Demitra will stay with the St. Louis Blues, after the team agreed to re-sign him to the one-year $6.5 million salary an arbitrator set this week.

    Following the ruling Monday, the Blues had until yesterday to decide whether to keep Demitra, their top scorer with 36 goals and 93 points, trade him or allow him to become a free agent.

    The pay hike will push the team payroll to more than $58 million, and team officials have said that's too high. The Blues may consider trimming payroll through other means such as trades.

    Demitra was sixth in the NHL in scoring last season. He established career highs in points and assists and ranked first on the team in all offensive categories. He was 12th in the NHL in goals scored and his 57 assists ranked seventh.

    Demitra has led the Blues in scoring four of the past five seasons and has topped 30 goals in three of the past five seasons. He has finished in the top 15 in the NHL in total scoring four of the past five seasons.

    For his career, the native of Slovakia has 181 goals and 254 assists.

  • Defenseman Calle Johansson retired Thursday, ending a career in which he appeared in more games than any other player in Washington Capitals history.

    Johansson, 36, will remain with the team as a scout.

    He played 983 games for the Capitals during a team-record 15 seasons. He also is the franchise's leader in points by a defenseman (474), assists by a defenseman (361) and power-play goals by a defenseman (51).

    Johansson's career ended on a harsh note. He was upset when he was benched by rookie coach Bruce Cassidy for most of overtime in the Game 6 loss to Tampa Bay that eliminated Washington from the playoffs. General manager George McPhee previously announced that Johansson would not be returning as a player.

    "In pursuing free agency I realized that it would be much too difficult to put on another team's jersey," Johansson said. "And I believe I made a great decision by staying with the Capitals."

    Johansson was acquired from Buffalo in a trade in 1989. The Sabres drafted him in 1985.

    Johansson played for Sweden in 1998 Olympics, 1996 World Cup, the 1991 and 1992 world championships and the 1986 and 1987 world junior championships.


  • In Henderson, Ky., jockey Remi Gunn remained in critical condition a day after she was injured in a spill at Ellis Park.

    Jockey Greta Kuntzweiler was also involved and has a right shoulder injury, said Bob Cunningham, Ellis Park's director of marketing.

    The spill occurred in Wednesday's fourth race, a one-mile race for $8,000 claimers.

    Gunn's mount, Betty Sue, was running seventh in the nine-horse field when she clipped heels with a horse in front of her and fell around the final turn, Cunningham said.

    She's Got It, with Kuntzweiler aboard, tripped over the fallen Betty Sue and rolled over Gunn, Cunningham said. Kuntzweiler was thrown clear, Cunningham said.

    Gunn, 43, lay motionless on the track for several minutes before paramedics placed a collar around her neck, Cunningham said. She was taken away on a stretcher and rushed to St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville, Ind.

    Kathy Keach, a nursing supervisor, said Gunn remained in the hospital's intensive care unit Thursday. She would not comment further on the extent of Gunn's injuries.

    Kuntzweiler, 27, was also taken to St. Mary's and was released Wednesday. Keach would not specify the extent of Kuntzweiler's injuries.

    Cunningham said Kuntzweiler returned to Louisville, where she lives. She's had her share of injuries in the past three years.

    In May 2002, she missed three months after sustaining a broken vertebrae in a spill. She was out for two months in October 2000 after breaking her ankle in another fall.

    The horses were not injured, Cunningham said.


  • Darlington Raceway president Andrew Gurtis made it official yesterday -- NASCAR's oldest superspeedway will get lights.

    The track's announcement said the raceway was expected to be equipped for night racing by fall 2004. Specific event information about any races under the lights for next year will come when NASCAR releases its 2004 schedule later this month, the track said.

    Gurtis says lights give the track more flexibility in scheduling.

    "Inclement weather becomes less of an issue, and television audiences as well as ticket buyers are certainly always receptive to prime time racing, regardless of the event," Gurtis said.

    The track will hold two NASCAR weekends in 2004 -- one in March and the other in November.

    The facility is also home to two Busch races and a Craftsman Truck series event.

  • The Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the 2004 Formula One calendar because of anti-tobacco legislation

    The decision leaves only one Formula One race in North America -- the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

    Race organizer Normand Legault said he was notified in a letter from Formula One officials.

    The legislation was announced in 1997 and Legault told a news conference the Montreal race received a seven-year grace period before tobacco sponsors had to be dropped.

    Legault said organizers made their decision based on Canada's and Quebec's legislation.

    "So basically what that means for next June's event is that Michael Schumacher's Ferrari could not sport Marlboro's colors and Jacques Villeneuve's car could not have Lucky Strike on it," he said.

    The weekend event has drawn crowds of more than 300,000.

    "There will be an important negative impact on Montreal's tourism," Legault said.

    In Belgium, Parliament recently voted to ease a ban on tobacco advertising in an attempt to get the Belgian Grand Prix back on the Formula One calendar next year. That race was dropped from the 2004 schedule by the sport's world governing body.


  • In Schinias, Greece, a pre-Olympic rowing event was called off because of strong winds, another troubling sign for organizers trying to fine-tune preparations for next year's games.

    The conditions disrupted the four-day World Junior Rowing Championships and heightened doubts about the decision to build the Olympic rowing center in Schinias, a coastal area 18 miles from Athens and known for sustained summer winds.

    Organizers said they would meet at dawn Friday to decide if the rowing can resume. More than 500 athletes from 45 countries are taking part and some teams were counting on Thursday's heats to remain in the event.

    On the first day of competition Wednesday, waves kicked up by wind swamped some boats and forced the U.S. and British eight-man teams to abandon their sinking crafts. Organizers had moved the start of races two hours earlier to 6:30 a.m. to try to avoid the winds that normally intensify during the day.

    The rowing is the first of a series of important test events this month to assess Olympic venues and give experience to personnel.

    "This is why we have test events," said Denis Oswald, president of the world rowing federation and the chief IOC overseer of the Athens Games.

    Oswald noted that rowing officials will have more time to wait for acceptable conditions during the Olympics, when the rowing will last eight days from Aug. 15-22. Organizers also said wind speeds lessened considerably in the last two weeks of August.

    Organizers tried to present the high winds as a fluke.

    "We have statistics for the last 11 years that totals 339 August days," organizing committee executive Marton Simitsek said. "The statistics show that only on eight of these 339 days did we have similar conditions with what we're experiencing these last days."

    Gusts hitting more than 32 mph churned waters on the

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