Mackey mushes to fourth title in row
Lance Mackey won the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race yesterday to become the first musher in the event's 38-year history to win four consecutive races.
Fans bundled up against subzero temperatures cheered the 39-year-old throat cancer survivor as his team arrived in Nome, Alaska, an old Gold Rush town.
Mackey, of Fairbanks, Alaska, gets a new Dodge truck and $50,400. He finished the race in eight days, 23 hours and 59 minutes — the second-fastest finish in race history.
"These are my heroes right here," Mackey said seconds after crossing the finish line as he was giving his 11 dogs a pat on their heads and a kiss. He then planted a kiss on his new red truck and later posed with two of his lead dogs, Maple and Rev.
The Iditarod kicked off March 6 with a ceremonial start in Anchorage. That was followed by the competitive start the following day in Willow when 71 teams took to the Iditarod trail and headed to Nome.
This year's purse was significantly less than last year when Mackey took home a truck and $69,000. The total purse is $590,000 — down from a high of $925,000 in 2008. Iditarod officials said the struggling economy caused some sponsors to pull their support.
Four-time champion Jeff King of Denali Park had been leading much of the race but was overtaken by Mackey on Saturday in the village of Kaltag, about 350 miles from the finish.
Hans Gatt of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, placed second, and King was third.
FAMILY WILL RECEIVE INSURANCE MONEY
The family of the Georgian luge athlete who died in a training crash on the Olympic track hours before the Vancouver Games formally opened last month will receive an undisclosed insurance settlement.
Vancouver organizing officials say Nodar Kumaritashvili's family qualifies for a death benefit. VANOC took out insurance on the approximately 5,000 members of the Olympic family, including athletes, for the games.
It's unknown when Kumaritashvili's parents will receive the money.
The International Luge Federation already has donated about $14,000 to the family, and other private fundraising efforts are under way for Kumaritashvili's survivors as well.
GOLD-MEDAL PUCK HEADED FOR HALL
The gold-medal puck is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, after a brief detour to Switzerland.
Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal for Canada with the puck in the 3-2 overtime thriller against the United States in the Olympic final Feb. 28 in Vancouver.
"I am glad hockey fans will get the chance to share the moment by seeing things like the overtime-winning puck up close," Crosby said in a statement yesterday.
After the game, officials accidentally shipped the puck to the International Ice Hockey Federation in Switzerland. The International Ice Hockey Federation and Vancouver Olympic organizers decided it would go to the hall. The puck will travel around the country from time to time.
College football: Ohio State has added two more years to football coach Jim Tressel's contract — and has offered him an administrative job when he retires.
Tressel, who is 94-21 at Ohio State, makes about $3.5 million a year, depending on incentives and additions.
One portion of the new contract addendum provides Tressel with a university job as an associate athletic director if he steps down as football coach on good terms before his contract ends. He would be paid $150,000 a year.
• A Boise State football player suspended from the team earlier this month has been arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery.
Boise police arrested 21-year-old Jason Robinson on Monday on a warrant accusing him of causing bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to another person.
Robinson, a safety, made 26 tackles for the Broncos in 2009.
• UCLA guard Stan Hasiak has been reinstated to the football team and will participate in spring practice.
The Kapolei High alum had been suspended since Dec. 21 for violating unspecified team rules and did not travel with the team to Washington, D.C., for the Bruins' bowl game against Temple.
Coach Rick Neuheisel said yesterday that Hasiak has done everything that was asked of him during the winter quarter.
Tennis: Marcos Baghdatis upset top-ranked Roger Federer, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4), last night in the third round of the BNP Parabas Open at Indian Wells, Calif., beating the Swiss for the first time in seven meetings.
Federer lost for just the second time in 13 matches this year in his first tournament since winning his 16th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.
Federer held his third match point on Baghdatis' serve in the 12th game, but he netted a backhand for deuce. Baghdatis went up and then forced the tiebreaker when Federer mis-hit a backhand return.
Women's basketball: Katie Smith has signed with the Washington Mystics, with general manager Angela Taylor calling the guard "the LeBron James of this free-agency process."
Smith is the third-leading scorer in WNBA history. She helped the Detroit Shock win two championships and was the MVP of the 2008 finals. She also was a member of three Olympic champion U.S. basketball teams.
More hockey: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell will miss seven to eight weeks with a broken collar bone and a fractured rib, the result of a hit from Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin drove Campbell into the boards from behind in the first period Sunday. Campbell stayed on the ice for several minutes. Ovechkin, the NHL's leading scorer, drew a game misconduct penalty for the hit and got a two-game suspension.