The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the U.S. Soccer Federation is considering not renewing the contract of U.S. women's soccer coach Tony DiCicco when it expires at the end of this year.

No negotiations have taken place between DiCicco, winner of 99 of 115 games at the helm of the 1999 World Cup and 1996 Olympic champions, and U.S. Soccer since the Women's World Cup ended two months ago.

"They have been up front and honest with me," DiCicco, the winningest U.S. soccer coach, men's or women's, told the Union-Tribune, "and very much noncommittal in either direction."

Hank Steinbrecher, secretary general of the USSF and its No. 2 officer behind president Bob Contiguglia, said talk of contract renewal is "incredibly premature" because the federation is in the midst of its quadrennial review of the women's soccer program.

"There have been no decisions taken," Steinbrecher said Thursday. "Bob is not leaning one way or the other way. We are doing our due diligence. . . . I'm sorry the process takes so long, but that's the process."


France Advances

France reached the final of the Davis Cup for the third time in the 1990s with a convincing doubles victory yesterday.

The French pair of Olivier Delaitre and Fabrice Santoro defeated the inexperienced Belgian team of Xavier Malisse and Christophe Van Garsse, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, giving France an insurmountable 3-0 lead in a best-of-five semifinal series. France had taken a 2-0 lead Friday on singles victories by Sebastien Grosjean and Cedric Pioline. In the other semifinal, Australia led Russia 2-1 after Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Andrei Olhovskiy beat Australians Mark Woodforde and Sandon Stolle, 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 8-6. . . .

Monica Seles, a five-time champion and winner of the Princess Cup the last three years, defeated eighth-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), in the semifinals in Tokyo. The second-seeded Seles will play top-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who yielded only 11 points on her serve in an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over seventh-seeded Amy Frazier in the other semifinal.


Chmura's Season Over

The Green Bay Packers placed Pro Bowl tight end Mark Chmura, one of Brett Favre's favorite targets, on injured reserve, meaning he will miss the rest of the season.

Chmura, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times and ranks fourth in team history among tight ends with 188 receptions, was deactivated because of "some recurrent symptoms from his neck injury," GM Ron Wolf said in a news release.

Chmura has been plagued by a bulging disk, and he had numbness in his hands and arms last Sunday for the third time in six weeks.


Lukas Lasts

Jens Lukas of Germany was the surprise winner of the 154-mile run from Athens to Sparta, Greece.

Lukas, battling the heat and exhaustion, completed the round-the-clock journey in 25 hours 38 minutes 3 seconds. He finished 90 minutes in front of the second runner, Frenchman Jean Pierre Guyomarch. Japan's Jun Onoki was third, finishing in 27:16.36.

Organizers said 190 started the race and about half were expected to finish.

The runners followed a route that tradition says was taken nearly 2,500 years ago by Phidippides, a messenger on a mission to get Sparta to help Athens fend off a Persian invasion. The route was plotted by a group of British air force officers in 1982, following the writings of the ancient historian Herodotus, and has been run as a race each year since.


It's All Ullrich

Jan Ullrich of Germany virtually assured himself of winning the Tour of Spain by capturing the next-to-last stage of the cycling race in Avila.

Ullrich covered the 28.8-mile time trial from El Tiemblo to Avila in west-central Spain in 1:04.57. The victory widened Ullrich's lead to 4:15 over Spaniard Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.


Mascots Named

Salt Lake organizers released the names of the mascots for the 2002 Winter Olympics: a rabbit named Powder, a coyote named Copper and a bear called Coal. Officials hope they bring the kind of money to the Games that Utah's skiing, copper industry and coal mining have brought the state.