The federal government plans to spend $1.4 billion related to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, according to a preliminary report from congressional investigators yesterday.
Most of that spending--about $1.1 billion--is for transportation projects such as highways and a commuter railway that probably would have been built anyway, the General Accounting Office report said. The figures are preliminary because the Games have not been held and federal agencies often do not specifically track Olympics-related spending, the report said.
The report cited $272 million of projected spending directly for the planning or operation of the Utah Olympics, including about $200 million for safety and security measures by federal agencies such as the FBI.
In contrast, total federal spending relating to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta was about $605 million, including about $92 million for safety and security, the GAO report said.
Congressional critics of the Salt Lake City Games said the Winter Games should be smaller and less expensive than the Summer Games and the $1.4 billion estimate was far higher than any previous spending.
Jack Nicklaus said he plans to devote himself to tournament golf more than he has in the past 15 years. Nicklaus, 60, said he will play in all four majors on both the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour and perhaps appear in 20 tournaments in all.
"I don't know how successful I'm going to be, but you never know unless you try," he said. "I'd like to give it a try for a season and see what I've got. I think I may fool some people. I think I may even fool myself."
Nearly a year removed from hip replacement surgery, he also thinks his health will no longer be an issue.
"I'm not going to have a grandiose belief that I'm going to whip Tiger Woods and David Duval," Nicklaus said. "I would say the odds are relatively slim that I win again. But you never know. I had a chance on one leg to win the Masters. I'd like to go back on two legs and see what happens."
Commissioner Bud Selig fined the Dodgers and ordered them to shut down their Dominican Republic operation for a year as punishment for illegally signing Adrian Beltre, but turned down the player's request to become a free agent.
After a six-week investigation by baseball, Selig also prohibited the Dodgers from scouting or signing any first-year players from the Dominican Republic for one year.
"This is a serious violation of Major League Baseball's rules," Selig said in a statement. "There are those who would like to dismiss this kind of behavior as 'business as usual.' We will not allow such an attitude to prevail in our game, and we will vigorously enforce the rules."
The Dodgers said they falsified Beltre's birth date and signed him as a 15-year-old in 1994. Baseball rules prohibit teams from signing players before they turn 16. . . .
Left-hander Matt Whisenant and the San Diego Padres avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a $450,000, one-year contract, a $180,000 raise. . . . Outfielder Danny Bautista avoided salary arbitration with the Florida Marlins when he agreed to a $500,000, one-year contract, a $175,000 raise. . . . Left-hander Mike Myers, acquired by Colorado from Milwaukee last month for Curtis Leskanic, agreed to a $3 million, three-year contract with the Rockies.
Sought Prosecutors confirmed they will seek the death penalty against former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth on charges of conspiring to kill his pregnant girlfriend. Carruth was denied bail yesterday.
Hokies Ready to Travel
Virginia Tech is making millions of dollars from its Sugar Bowl appearance. It's spending millions, too. The school is sending nearly 600 people to New Orleans, where the Hokies will play Florida State for the national championship Jan. 4.
Normally the school would send about 150 people to a road game. All 115 players, including the practice squad, will be making the trip, along with 24 cheerleaders, three mascots, 12 coaches, 20 managers and trainers and some spouses and children. The team and support staff will leave Dec. 27. A second chartered plane will leave Dec. 30. About 345 band members, along with 30 staff members and chaperons, will leave Jan. 2.
Jacqui Frazier Lyde, the daughter of former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, has decided to become a professional boxer and wants to fight Muhammad Ali's daughter, Laila, the New York Post reported. "It would be a great draw," the 38-year-old Lyde told the newspaper. "It would establish Laila financially, and then I would establish her horizontally." . . .
A judge in Arkansas revoked bond for former boxer Tommy Morrison after prosecutors said he was a flight risk. The boxer faces charges from two recent incidents, and prosecutors said during a hearing in Washington County Circuit Court that documents found after Morrison's most recent arrest indicate he planned to flee.