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Barcelona Games spark Atlanta anxiety attack

Atlanta, that most overachieving of cities, has come down with a serious case of high anxiety over its biggest prize: the 1996 Olympics. Once giddy over being given the opportunity to cement its coveted status as an international metropolis, the city now appears gripped with insecurity. "As a city, we are not ready to host an event of that magnitude," said Ruby Lerner, who runs a media-arts center in Atlanta and has been a critic of the local Olympics leadership. The insecurity surfaced at the end of the successful Barcelona Games, when Atlanta accepted the Olympic torch with the introduction of the 1996 mascot Whatizit. Whatizit, a computer-generated shapeless blue blob, was roundly criticized by media around the world and was taken by some as an apt symbol of Atlanta's perceived inadequacy. "The Barcelona experience was so good it raised questions in everybody's mind whether we can be that good," said public relations executive Bob Cohn, a member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority, a government oversight panel.

MORE OLYMPICS: The United States Gymnastics Federation is hoping to build a $9.5-million training center in downtown Indianapolis in time for Olympic gymnasts to train for at least a year before the 1996 Atlanta Games. Mike Jacki, executive director of the federation, says the group wants to have the center open by mid-1995. Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said Friday the city will give the Indianapolis-based federation 2.2 acres to build on. The planned 80,000-square-foot center would be on the east bank of a downtown canal in an area the city cleared and partially developed during the 1980s.

STEEPLECHASE: Highland Bud, part of trainer Jonathan Sheppard's four-horse entry, captured his second Breeders' Cup Steeplechase on Saturday at Belmont Park in New York. Highland Bud, which won this race in 1989 at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md., stalked the pace from the middle of the pack and made his move in the final turn of the 2|-mile race over 16 jumps.

UNLV report details unheard allegations

A report prepared by University of Nevada, Las Vegas, officials on the resignation of former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian discloses numerous allegations of rules violations not previously documented by the NCAA. One of the most serious instances cited in the report was that an employee of a Las Vegas car dealership told the university in 1991 that the dealership had been allowing UNLV players to use its cars "for years." The report, which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times, was prepared by university attorneys in response to a request by a Nevada state legislative commission conducting an investigation of Tarkanian's resignation and other UNLV-related matters. A copy of the university's report was delivered to the commission on Oct. 1 and is scheduled to be released to the public this week. Questioned about the report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week, Tarkanian called it "their typical lies."

ET CETERA: Three University of Florida runners finished in the top 10 at the Indiana Cross Country Invitational on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind. Senior Coralena Velsen finished second, junior Marny Westphal was seventh and freshman Kim Fisher placed ninth. . . . A steel company executive and an athletic director from Illinois are the finalists for the Purdue athletic director position, the school says. Morgan J. Burke, 41, of Inland Steel Co., and Ronald D. Wellman, 43, athletic director at Illinois State University, were selected from among eight semifinalists. . . . Seven-time PBA titlist Parker Bohn III averaged 237 over the final eight games of match play Saturday to earn the top seed in today's stepladder finals of the Oronamin C Japan Cup in Tokyo. . . . Lisa Bernard and Becky Williams started the second half of Central Connecticut's victory over St. Peter's on Friday night and became the first women to play together in the history of Division I men's soccer. . . . The University of South Florida volleyball team won its fourth match in a row Saturday, defeating Southern Mississippi, 15-4, 15-9, 10-15, 15-3. . . . Mark Allen set two records in winning the Ironman Triathlon World Championship on Saturday in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Allen, 34, of Cardiff, Calif., finished in 8 hours, 9 minutes and 9 seconds, taking six seconds off his 1989 record pace. He also set a record with his fourth consecutive championship.

_ Compiled by Amy Radabaugh