LONG is a big fish in the Paralympic world, but she knew she was in a much
larger pond when she attended the Sullivan Award banquet in New York City last
week. Long, 15, was one of 15 finalists for the award, which has been given to
the nation's top amateur athlete annually since 1930. Among the other nominees
were Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, Florida forward Joakim Noah, Tennesee
forward Candace Parker and six Olympic medal winners. Long won nine gold medals
at the Paralympic world championships in Durban, South Africa, in December and
has set 14 Paralympic swimming world records, but she figured she'd be
applauding for someone else. She didn't even prepare a victory speech.
But Long's name
was called, making her the first Paralympian to win the award. A home-schooled
high school freshman from Middle River, Md., Long was born in Irkutsk, Russia,
without most of the major bones in both of her legs. She was adopted from an
orphanage by Beth and Steve Long in 1993; after she arrived in the U.S.,
doctors amputated her legs below the knee.
To aid in her
therapy the Longs encouraged Jessica to be active: As a child she wore
prosthetic legs that allowed her to participate in rock climbing, basketball,
gymnastics and skiing, and at age 10 she took up competitive swimming. She
began winning races for disabled swimmers within a year, without prosthetics.
"She inspires us every day," says Steve, a supervisor with Baltimore
Gas & Electric Company. "The way she goes about life, she's
Long won three
golds at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. In South Africa she set world marks in
the 100-meter freestyle, 400 free, 100 butterfly, 200 IM and 4 � 100 freestyle
relay. She's already making plans for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. "I
want anyone with a disability to be able to say, 'If she can do that, I can do
something else,'" she says. "I want them not to be upset about their
disabilities, because there's nothing they can't do."
By Ruslan Chagaev, the WBA heavyweight title with a majority decision over
Nikolai Valuev in Stuttgart, Germany. Despite giving away 11 inches and 90
pounds to the 7-foot, 319-pound champ, Chagaev (above, right) stood toe-to-toe
with Valuev and outslugged him. He improved to 23-0 1; Valuev dropped to 46--1,
dashing his hopes of surpassing Rocky Marciano's career mark of 49 wins without
a loss. Chagaev, a 28-year-old from Uzbekistan who calls himself White Tyson
said, "For everybody who said Nikolai was too big and heavy for me, well
it's not important that I am smaller now, is it?"
By Floyd Landis, the latest round in his ongoing battle with the U.S.
Anti-Doping Agency. Last week an arbitration panel ruled that USADA can test
more of Landis's urine samples from the 2006 Tour de France, which he won after
making up a huge deficit in the 17th of the race's 20 stages. Landis tested
positive for elevated levels of testosterone after that stage. The new tests
will be performed on B samples from earlier stages. In each case the A sample
showed no banned substances. "Judging by their actions, USADA is on a
fishing expedition," said Landis, who faces a USADA hearing on May 14.
By NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the entire 2007 season, Adam (Pacman)
Jones, 23. The Titans' cornerback has been questioned by police at least 10
times since entering the league in 2005. Bengals receiver Chris Henry, 23, who
was arrested four times between December '05 and June '06, was banned for eight
games. After announcing the penalties, Goodell unveiled even tougher personal
conduct standards. The new policy includes longer suspensions ( Goodell didn't
specify how long), and teams can now be held responsible for their players'
off-the-field behavior, which could result in a team being docked draft
choices. The suspensions and the new policy were welcomed by most players and
coaches in the league—but not by Jones. "I really didn't agree with
it," he said. "But for the most part, I'm taking it like a man. I'm
going to appeal it."
At age 84, novelist Kurt Vonnegut. In 1954, Vonnegut—a talented young writer
who confessed to knowing next to nothing about sports—was hired to write for
SI, which had yet to begin publishing. One of his first assignments was to
write a caption about a racehorse who had jumped the rail at Aqueduct and
galloped across the infield. Vonnegut pondered the task, typed one sentence and
then walked out of his office, never to return. His caption: The horse jumped
over the f—ingfence. SI's loss was literature's gain. Cat's Cradle came out in
1963, and in '69 he published his most famous work, the semiautobiographical
At age 73 of complications from a stroke, Warren Strelow, an assistant coach on
the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. A longtime goaltending coach, Strelow
mentored Jim Craig, who didn't allow more than three goals in any of his seven
games as the U.S. won the gold. Strelow was also an assistant on the 2002 U.S.
team, which won the silver. He worked for the Capitals and the Devils, where he
developed Martin Brodeur, before joining the Sharks in 1997. "We will miss
him, but he will always be in my heart," said Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
"The one thing he always wanted was a Stanley Cup, so we've got to give it
By the U.S. Olympic Committee as its candidate to host the 2016 Summer Games,
Chicago. The city, which has never hosted an Olympics, would have to build
several new facilities, including a temporary 80,000-seat stadium in Washington
Park. Los Angeles, which hosted the 1932 and '84 Games, was the other finalist.
"It's just beginning," said Patrick Ryan, Chicago's bid committee
chairman. "It's a long road." The IOC will award the Games in 2009.
Bids are also expected from Madrid, Prague, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.