If there were a gold medal for hospitality, Canadian cabby Sattar Palani would win it.

Palani is being praised for rescuing a prominent U.S. visitor stuck in Winnipeg last month with nowhere to stay.

Retired Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne was left stranded when he flew in with one of his daughters en route to a fishing lodge north of Winnipeg. Osborne had booked a hotel room, but a reservations mix-up meant there was no room at the inn when the Nebraskans arrived shortly before midnight.

The stranded visitors hailed Palani's taxi. He drove them around in an unsuccessful search for alternate accommodations. So, Palani telephoned his wife to see if they could put the Osbornes up for the night.

She agreed, then made the Osbornes breakfast the next morning, before her husband took the coach and his daughter to their next destination.

All for a $30 cab fare.

Osborne wrote a letter to the Winnipeg Free Press to call attention to the kindness Palani and his wife showed him and his daughter.

Palani said he did what he had to do.

"I didn't know who he was, but I thought I should do it," he said.


McCain Bill Passes

The Senate approved legislation yesterday aimed at protecting professional boxers from unscrupulous managers and promoters and cleaning up the tarnished image of the sport.

The bill, long sought by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), was approved without opposition. A companion bill is working its way through the House.

The measure would require promoters and organizers of major boxing events to disclose more financial information and inform state boxing commissions of charges, costs and fees they take out of boxers' purses.

It states that no boxing contract can extend longer than a year, making it more difficult to tie fighters to long-term contracts. Fighters also would not be required to hire a manager associated with a promoter.

The legislation would standardize physical exams that boxers must undergo before each match and make a brain CAT scan every two years a requirement for obtaining a license.

Fight broadcasters would not be allowed to have even an indirect financial interest in the boxer's manager or management company.

High Schools

Romeo Forsakes Largo

Rick Romeo, who succeeded his father as the second football coach in the 30-year history of Largo High School, has resigned. Longtime assistant coach Eric Wade, who played on Largo's only state championship team, has been promoted to head coach.

Romeo became Largo's head coach prior to the 1997 season, after his father, Rocco Romeo, died of leukemia. Largo was 7-3 in both of Rick Romeo's seasons as head coach. In 28 seasons, Rocco Romeo guided the Lions to 252 victories and a Maryland state title in 1976.

Wade played wide receiver and defensive back for that championship team. The 37-year-old, who lives in Mitchellville, has coached football at Largo since 1985.


Nuggets, Avalanche Sold

A group headed by billionaire banker Donald Sturm purchased the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets for $461 million after a Wal-Mart heiress dropped out of an auction for the teams. The move ended a four-month tug-of-war over Ascent Entertainment Group's efforts to sell the teams and the Pepsi Center arena, due to open next fall.

Sturm, who is a major shareholder in telecommunications giant Level 3 Communications, did not return telephone messages seeking comment. In a statement, Bill Laurie and his wife, Nancy, an heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, said they weren't prepared to match the Sturm group's offer.


Record in Butterfly

Anna-Karin Kammerling of Sweden broke her world record in the 50-meter butterfly in a meet in Istanbul. Kammerling, 19, was timed in 26.29 seconds, bettering the 26.39 she swam July 1 at the Swedish national championships. She led all the way, beating Swedish teammate Johanna Sjoberg, who was timed in 26.93. In the men's 50 butterfly, Pieter Van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands clocked the third-fastest time ever, 23.89.


A Hole-in-One or Two

A hole-in-one is remarkable enough. Two in one round is extraordinary.

Neil Bartholomew, a 3-handicapper who plays out of Holden Hills Country Club, did just that Sunday, acing two holes in the same round of the Harold Krause Memorial Tournament at Heritage Country Club in Charlton, Mass.

Using an 8-iron, he scored his first career ace on the 165-yard 13th hole. Less than an hour later, he grabbed his second with a 7-iron on the 175-yard 16th hole.

"I don't know if I'll ever come down from this," Bartholomew, 42, told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. "I've had shots inside of two inches, shots hanging on the hole. I've been very close a lot of times, so many times that I thought it would never happen."