Slaney Triumphant In Millrose Return

Posted: February 08, 1997

Twenty-three years after winning her first Millrose Games title and 11 years since winning her last, Mary Slaney made a triumphant return to New York's prestigious Madison Square Garden.

Running with the same flawless style and precision she showed in winning the 1983 world outdoor 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter titles and setting virtually all the U.S. women's distance records, Slaney, 38, won the mile last night with a powerful performance.

Her time of 4 minutes, 26.67 seconds was the fastest in the world in three years and the first sub-4:30 clocking in the Garden since Paula Ivan, of Romania, beat Slaney in 1989 in 4:23.72.

As Slaney pulled away from Suzy Hamilton on the final lap, the sellout crowd of 18,266 gave her a standing ovation.

Slaney's appearance was her first in the Chase Millrose Games since Ivan beat her eight years ago. Since then, she has been wracked by injuries.

While Slaney's was a popular victory, the men's mile produced a surprise winner, as Spain's Isaac Viciosa, last year's pacesetter, blew by Jason Pyrah with two laps to go and won in 3:59.34.

Earlier, Olympic hurdles champion Allen Johnson and 1992 Olympic 200-meter champion Gwen Torrence scored victories by .01 of a second.

In another close race, Bruny Surin, the two-time world indoor champion and a member of Canada's 400-meter gold medal-winning team in the Atlanta Olympics, took the men's 60 meters in 6.58, .01 seconds ahead of American Maurice Greene.

Jamaica's Michelle Freeman won her second consecutive title and third in four years in the women's 60-meter hurdles.

Olympic 400 hurdles gold medalists Derrick Adkins and Deon Hemmings, of Jamaica, had varying success in different events.

Adkins won the 500 meters, rallying from third place with a half lap remaining on the small, tight 11-laps-to-the-mile track and finishing in 1:02.98. Mark Everett, a seven-time Millrose champion at distances between 500 and 800 meters, was second for the second straight year.

FIGURE SKATING Olympic champion Oksana Baiul said on ``The Oprah Winfrey Show'' she had four or five mixed drinks before crashing her Mercedes but contends she wasn't drunk. The skater, a Ukrainian who lives in Simsbury, Conn., was going nearly 100 mph when the car ran off a Connecticut road Jan. 12, police said. She suffered a concussion and needed 12 stitches in her scalp. A passenger broke a finger. Her blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, and at 19 she is two years below the legal drinking age.

GOLF Tiger Woods seized a two-stroke overall lead, shooting a course-record 64 on the par-72 Thai Country Club course after two rounds of the Asian Honda Classic in Bangna, Thailand.

Al Geiberger shot a 6-under-par 66 for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Senior PGA Tour's LG Championship in Naples, Fla.

Mark O'Meara shot a 6-under-par 66 to share the lead with Steve Lowery at 11-under 133 after 36 holes of the Buick Invitational in San Diego.

BASEBALL

Texas Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez, the American League MVP, will undergo surgery today to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and will probably be sidelined until mid-May.

Umpires union chief Richie Phillips expressed dismay with the Baltimore Orioles' decision to pay Roberto Alomar during his five-game suspension for spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck last season.

Comerica Bank and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a $145 million loan to finance the construction of a new downtown ballpark.

TENNIS Jana Novotna, Karina Habsudova, Judith Wiesner and Chanda Rubin earned quarterfinal victories at the Austrian Open in Linz, Austria.

The United States took a 2-0 lead over Brazil after the first two singles matches of their opening-round Davis Cup meeting at Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. MalaVai Washington and Jim Courier earned the American wins.

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