Khannouchi, 27, fell in love with America when he won the 5,000 meters at the World University Games in Buffalo in 1993. Three months later he was training full time on the perilous pavement of Brooklyn after his late-night shifts as a busboy. After nearly being run down by a speeding car, he became a daytime envelope stuffer for a track club. In '96 his quest for citizenship, a process that usually takes five years, was delayed because an immigration agent didn't process his application properly.
Khannouchi's best chance to become an American soon is a little-known provision that aids applicants whose spouses work outside the U.S. for companies that develop American foreign trade. His chief sponsor, New Balance, might help find such a job for his wife, Sandra, whom Khalid met when both dropped out of a 5K race in Hartford four years ago and who serves as his agent, trainer, masseuse and nutritionist.
At Sandra's urging, Khalid entered his first marathon in 1997, winning Chicago in 2:07:10, which was then the fourth-fastest time ever. This year, in only his third marathon, Khannouchi chased Kenya's Moses Tanui for much of the race, passing him at 25 miles and shaving 23 seconds off the mark of 2:06:05 set last year by Brazil's Ronaldo da Costa. "The wind was burning my eyes, and I couldn't see the clocks at the mile markers," Khannouchi says. "I didn't know it was a record until I crossed the line and my wife grabbed me."
His years in New York have been bittersweet for the devout Muslim. His sister, Rachida, is undergoing chemotherapy in Rabat, Morocco, for breast cancer, which took their mother in 1995, and his older brother Said died of a heart attack in Morocco last year. Khannouchi has spurned Moroccan officials' offers of a spot on their national team. "Absolutely no," he insists. "Here I have support, good friends, family, happy life. This is my land of opportunity—my home forever." As usual, he's thinking of the long run.
News, Weather, Not Much Sports
Maybe you've noticed it—no national sports highlights on Tuesday's local news. Or on Wednesday's. More weather, less sports. More teases about celebrity diets, less sports. At TV stations all over the country, the sportscast is shrinking fast.
"If I were a kid coming out of college today, I would not go into local TV sports," says Chuck Dowdle, the longtime sports anchor at Atlanta's ABC affiliate, WSB. "There's no future in it."
Blame cable. Station managers figure sports fans won't bother with local sportscasts when they can flip on SportsCenter, Fox Sports or CNNSI. That's why Seattle's KIRO eliminated out-of-town scores and cut its sports hole from 4� to three minutes. In markets without big league teams, some broadcasting executives question the need for national sports news at all. "When you ask people why they watch local news, sports is at the bottom of the list, even in Dallas," says Dave Overton, a former news director at Dallas- Fort Worth's KXAS. Solution: Focus more on the local in local sports. That means much more coverage of area college and high school teams. When Las Vegas's KVBC shifted its focus to local teams—including a Friday-night "Operation Football" segment on high school teams-ratings jumped.
Lively and local: Some sportscasters think that's the way of the future, but old-timers aren't so sure. "In 10 years," says Atlanta's 50-year-old Dowdle, whose contract expires in 2006, "local sports will be an even smaller part of the newscast."
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