- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
To competition with two wins following an 11-month absence, South African runner Caster Semenya (above), whose win in the 800 meters at last year's world championships was clouded by a controversy over her gender (SI, Sept. 7, 2009). Semenya, 19, was given the go-ahead to compete by the IAAF after completing a battery of gender tests. She won races in Finland last Thursday and on Sunday, but her best time was seven seconds slower than her time at the worlds. "The speed is not there. It's still a long way," her coach, Michael Seme, said. "But it's going according to my plan."
By Floyd Mayweather Jr., a take-it-or-leave-it offer to fight Manny Pacquiao in November, a bout that would have made each fighter an estimated $60 million. Promoter Bob Arum placed a deadline of last Saturday on the offer, and Mayweather—who is considered to be the second-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, behind Pacquiao—never responded. Arum speculated that Mayweather doesn't want to commit to any fight until his uncle Roger Mayweather, who is also his trainer, goes on trial next month for allegedly assaulting a female boxer. As a result, Pacquiao is expected to fight either Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto in November, with his take estimated to be a quarter of what he would have made by fighting Mayweather.
By the family of Dean Smith, that the 79-year-old former North Carolina coach is suffering from memory loss. Smith's family sent a letter to former players and coaches last Saturday to respond to recent published reports about the coach's failing health. The letter confirmed that he has a "progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects his memory." The letter read, in part: "He may not immediately recall the name of every former player from his many years of coaching, but that does not diminish what those players meant to him or how much he cares about them. He still remembers the words of a hymn or a jazz standard, but may not feel up to going to a concert. He still plays golf, though usually only for nine holes instead of 18."
In an attempt to stifle a sneeze, Padres pitcher Mat Latos. "I held my sneeze walking down the [dugout] steps and felt a little pull," said the 22-year-old, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique. His was the most serious in a week of strange injuries. Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett (above) was lifted from a Saturday start after he cut both of his palms slamming open a set of double doors in frustration between innings. And Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan missed Seattle's series with the Angels after a table fell on his toe as he tried to close the curtains in his hotel room early last Thursday morning.
From the Tour de France for headbutting another rider, Mark Renshaw of Australia. Renshaw, 25, was acting as a lead-out man, trying to clear a path for his HTC-Columbia teammate Mark Cavendish. When Julian Dean, the lead-out man for Garmin-Transitions, tried to squeeze him late in last Thursday's 11th stage, Renshaw responded by headbutting him in the shoulder three times. He was tossed from the race after the stage. "It was quite unusual behavior and certainly not very appropriate when you are sprinting at 65 kilometers per hour," said Dean. But there was a silver lining to it all: Cavendish sprinted to a win in the stage.