Derek Jeter is on the verge of becoming baseball's richest player.

After helping lead the New York Yankees to three World Series titles in four years, the all-star shortstop is near agreement on a record contract worth about $118 million for seven years.

Jeter submitted a $10.5 million figure for 2000 in salary arbitration yesterday, a record amount for a player, and the Yankees put in $9.5 million, the most ever offered by a team. Neither side expects the matter to go to a hearing.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and Jeter's agent, Casey Close, declined to comment. Two sources familiar with the negotiations, speaking on the condition they not be identified, said a seven-year deal to keep him in pin stripes is nearing completion.

"Eventually, I'll get a long-term deal," Jeter said yesterday at the Yankees' training complex in Tampa, Fla. "Hopefully, it will be sooner than later. It's out of my hands. We'll see what happens. It's just a matter of time, I think."

The deal and the average salary would break the records set by pitcher Kevin Brown on Dec. 12, 1998, when he agreed to a $105 million, seven-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a deal that averages $15 million.

In addition, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte is close to agreeing to a $25.5 million, three-year contract, one source said. After swapping arbitration numbers with the team, catcher Jorge Posada agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year deal.


Summer Games Candidates

Beijing, Toronto and Paris are the leading candidates to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, said Richard Pound, a vice president with the International Olympic Committee.

The Games will be awarded in July 2001 at the IOC's annual session scheduled for Moscow, Pound said after the IOC unveiled its first global Olympic marketing campaign.

"Beijing may even have the inside track because they almost won in 2000," Pound said. "But Toronto and Paris are both good."

Among the other cities interested in hosting the 2008 Summer Games are Havana, Istanbul, Cairo and Osaka, Japan.


Tyson-Lewis Bout Discussed

Mike Tyson is in England to fight British champion Julius Francis, but there is talk of Tyson fighting another British heavyweight--undisputed champion Lennox Lewis.

Shelly Finkel, Tyson's boxing adviser, and Seth Abraham, president and CEO of Time Warner Sports, discussed the possibility of a Lewis-Tyson match during the Concorde flight bringing Tyson to England on Sunday.

"There are a lot of problems to overcome, but I believe Lennox against Tyson is a definite possibility," Abraham said. "If Lennox continues to win, and if Tyson continues to win, they will fight. It is only a question of when. It would be the biggest payday of Lennox's career. It would be his pension money."

The Times of London said the fight could happen in September, possibly in London. But Abraham said December or the spring of 2001 was more likely.

One stumbling block is that Lewis is under contract with HBO, a Time Warner company, while Tyson has a deal with rival network Showtime.


Maradona in Cuba

Diego Maradona, wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt and tattoo, arrived in Cuba for drug treatment following his emergency hospitalization caused by cocaine use.

"I have faith in Cuban medicine and I know that they can cure me," the 39-year-old Argentine soccer star said after his flight from Buenos Aires.

Maradona chose to be treated in Cuba because of difficulties in obtaining a visa to the United States. He tested positive for stimulants during the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Maradona is a known admirer of Cuba President Fidel Castro. He met the Cuban president when he visited the island in 1987 to receive a sports medal.

Medical authorities at Havana's airport said Maradona would be treated in the capital.


Fans in Hall of Fame

"Cowboy Mom" and "Chief Zee" both got into the Pro Football Hall of Fame before Joe Montana.

The pair were two of 31 football fans recognized for dedication to their favorite NFL teams and "enshrined" at the Hall. This is the second year the Hall has honored some of the NFL's most passionate fans with an exhibit.

Marion Dillon, a k a "Cowboy Mom," and the other fans were welcomed to the Hall in a ceremony by Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach.

Zema Williams, better known to Redskins fans as "Chief Zee," has been attending Washington's games since 1978 dressed in a full head dress.


Armstrong Wins Owens Trophy

Lance Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer and captured the Tour de France last year, won the 2000 Jesse Owens International Trophy Award. In balloting by an international panel, Armstrong received 90 votes, the International Amateur Athletic Association announced. Maurice Greene, who set the world 100-meter record and won three gold medals at the world track and field championships last year, was second with 59 votes. Armstrong will be honored at a dinner Feb. 10 in New York.