- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2004

During this Black History Month, it’s appropriate to note that some prominent sports figures will be honored at the annual Kids In Trouble (KIT) Lifetime Achievement Awards gala April4 at a site to be determined.

Honorees at the affair, which is sponsored by the KIT board of directors, will include Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown, boxer Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, tennis star and women’s sports coach Bessie Stockard, Olympic hurdler Lacey O’Neal and the Rev. Walter Fauntroy (once an outstanding sandlot football player).

Presenters will include boxing manager Emanuel Steward, boxing historian Bert Sugar, Philadelphia 76ers executive vice president Sonny Hill and former NFL defensive back Johnny Sample.

Kids In Trouble, founded by long-time District sportscaster Harold Bell and his wife, Hattie, always puts on dandy affairs. For information, call 202/610-0700.

Turpin: Good as Gold

Vic Gold, the Washington writer and insider, says he has “a quibble” with last week’s The Way It Was column that referred to 1950s middleweight Randy Turpin as “a nobody” when he won the title from Sugar Ray Robinson in a stunning 1951 boxing upset.

Gold, of course, knows something about underdogs. He was deputy press secretary for GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in the 1964 campaign against incumbent Lyndon Johnson.

“Whatever Turpin’s awkward skills, he had Ray’s number,” Gold says in an e-mail. “He not only beat Robinson fair and square in their first fight, he was ahead in the second until Robinson turned it on. The fight was stopped with Turpin against the ropes with only eight seconds left in the 11th round — eight seconds! … I always wondered — and still do — how it was with two thrilling matches to their credit, Robinson and Turpin never met in a rubber match. Robinson, I think, didn’t want any more of Randy Turpin.”

Good point, Vic.

Nancy and Tonya redux

Finally, 10 years after their celebrated rivalry and scandal, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding agree on something.

In an interview aired on “The Early Show” yesterday on CBS, Kerrigan said Harding wasted her ability. “She had so much talent and some of the biggest jumps in skating,” Kerrigan said. “It’s a shame that her talent went to waste, really, because of all of it.”

Harding, who also was interviewed, echoed the comments, saying, “It was actually a waste of a life and a career. You know, I can’t look back and change anything. I just have to deal with it and go on.”

In case you’ve forgotten the ugly details, Harding’s live-in ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired a hit man to attack Kerrigan at the 1994 national championships. Nancy had to withdraw from nationals but ended up winning silver at the Olympics. Harding always has denied knowledge of the attack, but not many take her at her word.

Now, as then, it’s all so sad.

Honoring a pioneer

Vanderbilt University retired the No. 25 basketball jersey of Perry Wallace, the first black player in the Southeastern Conference, during a ceremony Saturday on its Nashville campus.

Wallace, now a law professor at American University, starred for Vanderbilt from 1968 to 1970. He remains the second leading career rebounder in Commodores history and was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

Underwear League?

Apparently organizers of the Lingerie Bowl — the Super Bowl halftime spectacular that had models and actresses playing tackle football in their skivvies — haven’t gotten the post-Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake word that suggestiveness will be out (or at least more subdued) at future Roman Numeral Extravaganzas. They said they plan to form a Lingerie Football League and stage a second Lingerie Bowl.

“Our distributors are extremely pleased with the results of the inaugural Lingerie Bowl,” said concept creator Mitch Mortaza, taking his head out of the sand long enough to issue a statement.

Each team will consist of 13 models led by a celebrity quarterback and captain. And, hey, if anybody needs a coach, Gary Barnett might be available.

Eminently quotable

NBC’s Jay Leno on what some politicians consider the greatest issue of our time: “John Kerry says the economy is the most important issue. President Bush says it’s the homeland security issue. And Bill Clinton says it’s the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.” …

Denver Nuggets forward Mark Pope on wishing the team had come up with a more creative injury than knee tendinitis: “I was pushing for something interesting like chronic dandruff or some type of serious schizophrenia disorder, a mental disorder. You never see that.” …

Five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, asked for details about his new time-trial bike, which he introduced while winning Saturday’s stage of the Tour of the Algarve in Portugal: “We don’t want to talk about the bike. It’s fast.”

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