Of cancer, Gayle Olinekova, 50, a marathon runner whose muscular moneymakers were dubbed the "greatest legs ever to stride the earth" in the Jan. 5, 1981, SI. At the 1980 New Orleans Marathon, Olinekova, who began racing as a teen in Toronto, ran what was then the third-fastest time for a woman marathoner (2:35:12) despite her unusually stocky 5'6", 125-pound frame. "The Twiggy look is history," she said in '81. Originally a sprinter, Olinekova embarked on a drifter's life in Europe after missing the '72 Canadian Olympic team. At one point she was sleeping in the high jump pit at Rome's Stadio Olimpi-co, where she trained during the day. She returned to North America in '74 and began lengthening her runs, qualifying for the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the 1,500 meters before Canada boycotted the Games. About that time she said, "I decided to go crazy with weights." She also subsisted on a highly unorthodox diet, eating almost nothing but fruit. Olinekova settled near L.A., became a chiropractor and wrote five books promoting healthy lifestyles.
Anonymous letters threatening them with violence if they continue their relationships with white women, six African-American NFL players, including Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell and Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. FBI agents in Cleveland have been investigating the letters, which have also been sent to roughly two dozen prominent black men in other fields, but after two years have no suspect. According to the FBI the letters, nearly all of which have been sent from the Cleveland area, are believed to have been sent by the same person. The letters, the FBI says, direct the men to terminate relationships with white women "or they're going to be castrated, shot or set on fire." Taylor is married to the sister of white teammate Zach Thomas. Mitchell, who is unmarried, appeared last year on the reality show A Dating Story, in which he accompanied a white model to an amusement park. "You can't do anything about it," Mitchell said last Friday. "There's racism on the team; I've heard racist remarks in Philly. It's sad that it's coming down to that, but it's reality. Racism is there, it's just disguised a lot now."
The 15 felony charges against Salt Lake Bid Committee members Tom Welch, 59, and David Johnson, 45, stemming from allegations that they brought the 2002 Winter Olympics to Utah by plying IOC members with $1 million worth of bribes. In throwing out the case, judge David Sam said he had "never seen a criminal case brought to trial that was so devoid of criminal intent." The pair's legal fees—reportedly more than $12 million—will be paid by an insurance company that was hired by the Salt Lake Olympic Committee shortly after the Games.
As a volunteer assistant coach for a Denver-area high school, Dave Bliss, 60. The ex-Baylor coach, who resigned in August after secretly recorded tapes revealed he tried to portray murdered basketball player Patrick Dennehy as a drug dealer to cover up NCAA violations, is helping out at Green Mountain High, where his son Jeff is a junior guard. "A coach is always a coach," Bliss told The Denver Post before Jeff scored 17 points in Green Mountain's opening-night win. "I enjoy working with young people. If I can help, I'll collect water bottles and won't yell at the referees."