judge won't fast-track sail issue, Clears way for sailing to begin
Stow the lawyers and bring on the big boats. The most contentious America's Cup in 159 years is finally out of the courtroom and in the hands of the sailors.
Justice Shirley Kornreich of the New York State Supreme Court told two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland and American challenger BMW Oracle Racing to sail their best-of-three grudge match scheduled to begin Feb. 8 in Valencia, Spain, in giant multihulls.
According to both teams, Kornreich said during a Friday conference call with lawyers for bickering billionaires Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison that she won't expedite a hearing in a motion by Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing challenging the legality of the sails on Bertarelli's 90-foot catamaran Alinghi 5. "We are delighted that BMW Oracle's attempts … to win the America's Cup in court have been denied," Bertarelli said in a statement. BMW Oracle Racing said it's not trying to disqualify Alinghi's boat but wanted the issue clarified before racing began. "If they use illegal sails and win, we would still want to see this issue resolved," BMW Oracle Racing spokesman Tom Ehman said.
Vonn extends lead in World Cup with finish
Lindsey Vonn extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings, skiing a cautious slalom run to finish third in a super-combined (super-giant slalom and slalom runs) won by Sweden's Anja Paerson at St. Moritz, Switzerland. The American earned 60 points to build a 116-point lead over Germany's Maria Riesch, who skied out of the super-giant slalom. Vonn said she got a boost ahead of the super-combined race at the Olympics next month. "It's the first event (Feb. 14), and now I have that confidence," she said."
Men's World Cup skiing: American Ted Ligety won his first Cup race of the season, a giant slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for his third podium of the season. Bode Miller skipped the race to rest his sore ankle before the Vancouver Games. Olympic medal contender Didier Cuche of Switzerland broke his right thumb during the race, putting his Games participation in doubt.
baseball: Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman, a 17-game winner last season, agreed to a one-year, $2.425 million deal that avoided arbitration. … Right-hander Michael Wuertz agreed to a two-year, $5.25 million contract with the A's. … Infielder-outfielder Fernando Tatis agreed to a one-year, $850,000 deal to stay with the Mets, who also gave a minor-league deal to right-hander Josh Fogg. … Outfielder Xavier Nady and the Cubs finalized a one-year, $3.3 million contract. … Former All-Star reliever Derrick Turnbow agreed to a minor-league deal with the Marlins and will join them for spring training. … Reliever Miguel Batista and the Nationals agreed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. … Outfielder Eric Byrnes agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners, signing for the major-league minimum of $400,000.
track: Crystal Cox, who ran in the preliminaries for the U.S. gold medal-winning 1,600-meter relay team in the 2004 Olympics, admitted using anabolic steroids and accepted a four-year suspension and disqualification. Cox almost certainly will lose her gold medal; the consequences for her teammates aren't known.