Of cardiac arrest, Marco Pantani, 34, the last cyclist other than Lance Armstrong to win the Tour de France, in 1998. Often racing with a bandanna on his head and hoops in his ears, the lithe Italian was nicknamed "the Pirate." One of the sport's best climbers, he never got to defend his title after being thrown out of the 1999 Giro d'Italia when a blood test raised suspicions of doping. He went into seclusion for a year, but returned to the Tour de France in 2000. During a mountain stage that year Armstrong, who was leading overall, pulled up at the finish line to let Pantani win. Pantani took offense, adding fuel to a rivalry that reached a low in '02 when Pantani said of Armstrong and his battle with testicular cancer, "He is a great rider but not a great champion. He's clever at making the most of his sickness." Pantani finished a strong 14th in last May's Giro but later entered a treatment center for depression. Though several bottles of antidepressants were found in the hotel room where Pantani's body was found, investigators ruled out suicide.
That his injured groin will sideline him all year, Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek. He played just 14 games this season after coming out of retirement to sign a one-year, $6 million contract with Detroit and bump the team's $8 million-a-year goalie, Curtis Joseph, to the bench. Hasek's announcement came three days after a series of workouts with Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard, who said, "[ Hasek] passed all the tests." Nonetheless, the six-time Vezina Trophy winner, who last played on Dec. 8, decided he wasn't able to return. Before the season Detroit tried to trade Joseph, who had signed a three-year deal when Hasek retired after leading Detroit to the 2002 title. The two stars didn't converse all season, and third-stringer Manny Legace was given the dressing stall between them, earning him the nickname "Jimmy Buffer." "Strange," Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman said of Hasek's announcement. "I don't really know what to say about the whole situation. It's very unusual. Puzzling."
On charges of steroid peddling and money laundering, Barry Bonds's trainer Greg Anderson, track coach Remi Korchemny, and Victor Conte Jr. and James Valente, officials at BALCO, the California lab at the center of the government's probe. According to the indictment, investigators inspected letters, e-mail and surveillance tape that show criminal activity and implicate as yet unnamed athletes. (Numerous athletes connected to Conte or BALCO, including Bonds, Yankee Jason Giambi, track star Marion Jones and several NFLers, testified before a grand jury in this case.) "Illegal steroid use calls into question not only the integrity of the athletes who use them, but also the integrity of the sports that those athletes play," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "We have not limited prosecution in this setting to those who are being prosecuted today."
By the Philadelphia Daily News, a $1,000 reward for the head of the Phillie Phanatic, which was stolen at the team's Feb. 6 charity auction. Longtime Phanatic Tom Burgoyne took off the costume when he went on a break and stashed it in an unlocked room. He returned 30 minutes later to find the mammoth head—valued at $3,000—missing. Burgoyne, 37, described the AWOL appendage as having a "long snout, tongue, eyes, green fur and a little bit of body odor." The Daily News has offered the reward with no questions asked. "Frankly," the paper wrote in its plea on Feb. 11, "we wouldn't know what to ask anyway."