Arnold Schwarzenegger was an hour late to the Special Olympics' weightlifting venue in Raleigh, N.C., but that didn't bother Dave and Iris Sheets.
The Greensboro, N.C., couple came to see their 46-year-old son, Marty, who was competing in his sixth Special Olympics. Sheets competed in the first Special Olympics held in Chicago in 1968.
"I'm just happy he gets the opportunity to compete," Iris Sheets said yesterday. "It means so much to him. It makes him happy, so it makes us happy."
The competition started at 10 a.m., and Schwarzenegger appeared at 11 a.m. from behind a curtain in an army-green T-shirt, khaki shorts and black gym shoes. He was greeted with a flurry of camera flashes.
But Sheets, the lone North Carolinian entered in the powerlifting competition, drew the loudest cheers when he bench-pressed 154 pounds. After setting the bar down, he leaped off the bench, arms raised, and gave Schwarzenegger a vigorous handshake as he left the stage.
"I'm delighted how far powerlifting has come in the Special Olympics," Schwarzenegger told the crowd. "In 1976, I did this three-week program to study what impact powerlifting would have on Special Olympics. At that time, they were afraid to include powerlifting.
"But we ran that clinic and not only did it help the Special Olympians physically with their strength and conditioning, it also gave them tremendous self-esteem. Now, there are more than 200 athletes in it."
HBO Done at Wimbledon
The strawberries and cream have been great, but 25 years at Wimbledon was enough for HBO. The cable network will not renew its contract with the grass-court classic after a quarter-century of coverage.
Time Warner Sports President Seth Abraham said HBO's decision had nothing to do with ratings or money. The network paid $50,000 a year when it started with Wimbledon in 1975, while the current five-year deal averaged about $8 million a year. Ratings have been steady if unspectacular.
"As I look ahead, I felt the need to refresh our schedule," Abraham said from his London hotel room.
Abraham would not elaborate on his plans to acquire replacement programming, but said it would not involve another tennis tournament.
Petty Out of Hospital
Stock car racing great Richard Petty checked out of a hospital in Greensboro, N.C., and returned home after being treated for bleeding ulcers.
Petty, 61, was admitted to Moses Cone Hospital last week after he lost 40 percent of his blood, according to his son, Kyle. "Evidently he ate something or he didn't eat something and one of the ulcers ruptured," Kyle Petty said.
IOC Denies Tax Charge
The International Olympic Committee said it never had been involved in tax fraud and falsification of documents as reported last week by a Swiss magazine.
"It's not true," IOC spokesman Franklin Servan-Schreiber said. "It's as simple as that."
The Lausanne weekly L'Hebdo printed what it said was a secret Swiss government memorandum describing the alleged IOC misconduct. The story, printed Friday, said Swiss authorities turned a blind eye in an effort to sway the 2006 Winter Games selection in favor of Sion, Switzerland.
But Servan-Schreiber said the Lausanne-based IOC had an unwritten agreement with local state authorities, dating from 1971, that exempted foreign organizations from tax on 30 percent of earnings and Swiss employees from tax on 15 percent of earnings.
Russia handed Yugoslavia its first loss at the European Championship in Pau, France, beating the two-time defending champion, 76-68. In Le Mans, Germany advanced to the quarterfinals with a stunning 102-85 victory over Croatia. Yugoslavia and Russia also advanced, but Croatia, one of Europe's most respected teams, was eliminated, failing to qualify for next year's Olympics in Sydney.
CAPTION: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger lends support to Willie McKinney of West Virginia during bench-press competition at Special Olympics in Raleigh, N.C.