QUIETER DAY FOR ALI AS HE TURNS 71
Muhammad Ali had a knockout of a 71st birthday, celebrating with friends and family and watching a video of his "Rumble in the Jungle" win over George Foreman in Africa.
Ali's former business manager, Gene Kilroy, said the fighter — who has long suffered from Parkinson's — particularly enjoyed a big cake in the celebration Thursday at his home just outside Phoenix.
"It was good to see him in great spirits and looking so good," Kilroy said. "He's very comfortable in his Parkinson's body. As he said many times, it could be worse."
The birthday was in contrast to Ali's 70th, which was marked with a series of lavish events, including a party in Las Vegas that raised money for Parkinson's research.
R. Gordon takes stage in rally
American Robby Gordon won the 13th stage of the Dakar Rally, finishing in La Serena, Chile. Gordon, a veteran of NASCAR and Indy cars, was 22 seconds ahead of Guerlain Chicherit. Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel kept the overall lead in the event, which finishes today in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Due to security threats, the rally, which kept the name of Senegal's capital, hasn't taken place in Africa since 2007 and has run in South America since 2009.
State stars dot new league draft
Florida State forward Tiffany McCarty was the No. 2 overall pick by Washington and Seminoles teammate Casey Short went No. 5 to Boston in the inaugural entry draft for the National Women's Soccer League. Florida defender Kathryn Williamson also went in the first round, No. 8 to Portland. Also selected: Florida's Erika Tymrak (11th overall, Kansas City), Holly King (18th, Washington), Jo Dragotta, a former Gaither High standout (21st, Boston); FSU's Taylor Vancil (17th, Chicago); and UCF's Nicolette Radovic (16th, Portland). The eight-team league begins play in the spring.
SKIING: France's Alexis Pinturault won a World Cup super-combined in Wengen, Switzerland, as American Ted Ligety did not finish after a ski slipped free.
FIGURE SKATING: Olympic champion Evan Lysacek withdrew from next weekend's U.S. Championships because of a slow recovery from sports hernia surgery.
BOWLING: Doug Kent, winner of 10 PBA Tour titles, including four majors, and Danny Wiseman, a 12-time tour winner with one major, were selected for the PBA Hall of Fame. The induction is March 30 in Indianapolis.