- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

Five-time gold medal winner Bonnie Blair will have a different shtick than speedskating before and during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. Like any other mom of young children, Blair wants to promote healthy eating habits. So she'll be hopping around the country speaking on behalf of "Dinner and the Games," a program designed to raise the profit margin for General Mills and its Betty Crocker division.
This may not be as thrilling as Blair's victories in the 1988, 1992 and 1994 Games, but, hey, a retired athlete's gotta eat, right?
Betty Crocker, figment though she is, will be offering recipes like Snow-Capper Berry Crisp, Snowboarders' Bowl and Triple-Axel Taco Casserole whatever they are through its Web site at bettycrocker.com. A "dinner planner" also will have "fun family activities" planned for each day of the Games. (Hopefully, one will involve hitting the remote when competition becomes boring or NBC's coverage too pro-American.)
"I don't miss competing because it's exciting to be involved with this program," insists Blair, now 37. "My family always ate healthy meals together when I was growing up, and we'd like to help others do the same."
Blair concedes, however, that she is envious of next year's crop of Olympians "because they'll get to compete at home, which is a great opportunity." Blair collected her golds at Calgary, Alberta, in '88; Albertville, France, in '92; and Lillehammer, Norway in '94.
The Blair clan suffered a disappointment last week when Bonnie's husband, Dave Cruikshank, failed to qualify for the Games in the 500-meter event. But, says Blair, "he's made it four times in the past, and not many others have done that."
Unfortunately, Blair's knowledge of her sport will not be available on the Olympic telecasts because she works for ABC. However, she will work the World Championships and other events for that network.
And, we may assume, eating right all the time.

Spelling defeat
"OK, men, listen up. This exam is going to be tough, but I know you can do it. Ready? You have 30 seconds to correctly spell 'Illinois' and don't look at your uniform shirts."
These words of semi-wisdom might actually have passed from Western Illinois basketball coach Jim Kerwin to his troops, because the team played its first six home games in Macomb, Ill., with the word "Illinios" on its duds. The word is spelled correctly on the team's purple road jerseys.
The misspelling was a manufacturer's mistake, said Jason Kaufman, the school's director of athletic media services at WIU. Kaufman said he did not know the name of the manufacturer an unlikely story and that new shirts were being made before the misspelling became known. Western Illinois hopes to have new jerseys by the beginning of the year and will play home games until then in its road suits.
What's amazing, of course, is that it took six games before anyone noticed the goof and only then when a local television sportscaster passed along a tipster's call pointing out the mistake.
"I was in disbelief when I got the call," Kaufman said.
Now once again, folks: It's "o" before "i" except in Macomb.

The good Barry
Super slugger Barry Bonds has had a reputation for years as one of baseball's surlier stars, but apparently the word never reached Sports Illustrated for Kids, which honored him as its Athlete of the Year.
Who was second, we wonder John Rocker?

A flaky decision
Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Mary Lou Retton and Marie Bartoletti?
Bartoletti, of Finleyville, Pa., is the newest athlete to appear on the front of Wheaties cereal boxes, beginning early next year. A triathlete and tennis player, Bartoletti won a contest to find everyday champions to honor.
Bartoletti, an elementary school teacher, established jump rope teams with her students to raise money for the American Heart Association. She also works as a volunteer bike camp director, and raises funds to fight leukemia through race sponsorships. All of which is fine, but I doubt that the folks who make Corn Flakes are shaking in their shoes at her potential impact on the market unless, of course, the Bartoletti clan gobbles Wheaties by the carload.

Eminently quotable
Deposed Notre Dame football coach George O'Leary, on resumes in an ESPN.com interview: "Not one thing I put on paper ever got me a job. Not one time did I ever turn in a resume. I've never done a resume or been involved with a resume in any job I've ever been involved with." …
Salt Lake Olympic Committee president Mitt Romney, on the fact that staff members are taking lessons in French, which is the only official language of the Games other than English: "We all learned a few French words in high school, but you're supposed to forget those." …
Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, on being glad the idea of contraction wasn't around in the 1950s and '60s: "I played on some teams so bad we would have been contracted by midseason."

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