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FOR THE RECORD
June 16, 2003
DiedOf kidney and heart failure, pro wrestling pioneer "Classy" Freddie Blassie, 85. A last link to wrestling's carnival roots, the 6'1", 220-pound Blassie (real name: Fred Blassman) became prominent in the game wrestling at fairgrounds, after serving in the Navy during World War II. His bleached-blond hair, gravelly voice and knack for riling opponents with tirades that invariably included his signature put-down, "pencil-neck geek," made Blassie wrestling's first superstar villain. His antics often incited crowd violence. He lost the vision in his right eye when he was hit by a hard-boiled egg thrown from ringside. He regularly had to fight his way back to his dressing room, and he was stabbed by fans on 21 occasions. He developed a cult following late in his career and in 1982 starred with Andy Kaufman in My Breakfast with Blassie, a satirical response to the arthouse movie My Dinner with Andre. He was also a favorite guest of Regis Philbin's. Though he wrestled his last match in 1973, Blassie made appearances for WWE until a few months ago. In May he attended a card in Philadelphia partly to promote his recent autobiography, Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks. "The really great ones will do anything to get a reaction," said WWE chairman Vince McMahon. "Freddie would do or say anything. Few have ever been as good."
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June 16, 2003

For The Record

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Died
Of kidney and heart failure, pro wrestling pioneer "Classy" Freddie Blassie, 85. A last link to wrestling's carnival roots, the 6'1", 220-pound Blassie (real name: Fred Blassman) became prominent in the game wrestling at fairgrounds, after serving in the Navy during World War II. His bleached-blond hair, gravelly voice and knack for riling opponents with tirades that invariably included his signature put-down, "pencil-neck geek," made Blassie wrestling's first superstar villain. His antics often incited crowd violence. He lost the vision in his right eye when he was hit by a hard-boiled egg thrown from ringside. He regularly had to fight his way back to his dressing room, and he was stabbed by fans on 21 occasions. He developed a cult following late in his career and in 1982 starred with Andy Kaufman in My Breakfast with Blassie, a satirical response to the arthouse movie My Dinner with Andre. He was also a favorite guest of Regis Philbin's. Though he wrestled his last match in 1973, Blassie made appearances for WWE until a few months ago. In May he attended a card in Philadelphia partly to promote his recent autobiography, Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks. "The really great ones will do anything to get a reaction," said WWE chairman Vince McMahon. "Freddie would do or say anything. Few have ever been as good."

?Of heart failure in a hotel room in Dresden, Germany, French cyclist Fabrice Salanson, 23. The rising star for team Brioches La Boulangere was scheduled to ride in the Tour de France but was found dead on June 3, the morning before the start of the Tour of Germany. An autopsy showed that Salanson's heart was enlarged. The condition is common in athletes with extreme training regimens, but can be caused by the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO), and rumors of a scandal surfaced when a spokesman for Germany's state prosecutors said that unidentified vials and pills were found in Salanson's bag. An IOC-accredited lab then tested Salanson's body for EPO and did not find drugs or banned substances.

Saved
From choking, LPGA Hall of Famer Donna Caponi, by Charlotta Sorenstam. Before Friday's second round at the LPGA Championship, Sorenstam performed the Heimlich maneuver on Caponi, freeing a chunk of apple from her windpipe. Sorenstam (whose older sister, Annika, won the tournament) then shot a 75 and missed the cut. "In my eyes Charlotta is a hero," said Caponi, who won the tournament in 1979 and '81 and was at the event as an analyst for The Golf Channel.

Broken
Marion Jones's national high school record in the girls' 200 meters, by Allyson Felix. A senior at North Hills Los Angeles Baptist, Allyson (SI, June 9) won the state championship in 22.52 seconds, .15 of a second faster than Jones ran the 200 11 years ago—but .41 slower than Allyson herself ran it in April at the Banamex Grand Prix in Mexico City. Allyson's latest time stands as the record because it was registered at a high school meet. A crowd of 11,627 at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., cheered as Allyson, who has signed a letter of intent to USC, took a victory lap. "To finish off like that was special," said Allyson. "The record was definitely on my mind."

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