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January 30, 2012
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January 30, 2012

For The Record

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At age 70, 1968 Olympic ski jumping champion Jiri Raska, whose performance on the middle hill in Grenoble, France, made him the first Czech to win gold at a Winter Games. (He added a silver on the large hill.) Raska was a world-record holder for one day the next year when he cleared 164 meters in Planica—in then Yugoslavia—before Manfred Wolf bettered his mark by a meter. In the U.S., Raska gained further renown, in '70, as the winner of the first American ski flying tournament, in Ironwood, Mich. He promised to quit as soon as a junior beat him, and he did, retiring in '76 to coach the men's and junior national teams. In 2003 the Czech Ski Association voted Raska (above) Czech skier of the century, and in October, President Vaclav Klaus honored him with the Medal of Merit.

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At age 79 following a stroke, football equipment innovator Byron Donzis. While designing a protective jacket for military pilots in the 1970s, Donzis revolutionized football's protective gear when he devised a similar air-cushioned article of clothing that could be worn under pads and jerseys. That fall he visited a Houston hospital room where Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini was recuperating from broken ribs and demonstrated how the flak jacket could absorb blows from a baseball bat. Pastorini adopted the jacket—which today is standard gear for quarterbacks—and the NFL soon after contracted Donzis to develop more gear, which later included neck and thigh pads.


By Zach Tomaselli, one of four people who initially reported sexual abuse by former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine (who has since been fired), that he doctored e-mails—which he claimed came from police who believed his story—in an attempt to prove to the media that Fine had molested him. The 23-year-old Tomaselli—the only one of the accusers whose case has not passed the statute of limitations—maintains that he was truthful in telling police that Fine molested him when he was 13. But the admission by Tomaselli (who is awaiting sentencing on child-molestation charges of his own for abusing a boy at a summer camp where he was a counselor), along with that of Floyd VanHooser, who a week earlier admitted to making up a similar abuse charge against Fine, weakens the case against the coach. VanHooser is currently serving a 16-year sentence as a repeat offender for a burglary he committed last year.


After suffering a stroke last Friday, Princeton freshman running back Chuck Dibilio, who took Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in 2011. Dibilio (left), who set a conference freshman record with 1,068 rushing yards en route to a first-team All--Ivy League selection, underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from the main artery in his brain and is currently undergoing tests to determine the cause of the clot, which caused his arms to go numb and his speech to slur while he was studying on campus. Dibilio's family does not know his long-term prognosis, but he has been able to speak and move his extremities.

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At age 29 following a training crash that left her in critical condition, freestyle skier and 2014 Olympic favorite Sarah Burke (right). On Jan. 10, after landing a routine 540-degree flat spin on a halfpipe in Park City, Utah (the same halfpipe on which snowboarder Kevin Pearce was injured two years ago), Burke is said to have flipped over, landing on her head and entering cardiac arrest. She was airlifted to the University of Utah Hospital, where doctors medically induced a coma and performed neurosurgery to repair a tear in her vertebral artery; but, said Burke's publicist, the injuries resulted in "irreversible damage to her brain." Afterward Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, said Burke's accident was a "fluke more than anything else."

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