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KWAN WINS SHORT PROGRAM <br> WITHOUT HER MENTOR

She went it alone and didn't seem the worse for it. Still, it wasn't close to vintage Michelle Kwan at Skate America on Thursday night in Colorado Springs, Colo.

While the five-time U.S. and four-time world champion won the women's short program, she made an atypical error that severely lowered her scores. Not that having longtime coach Frank Carroll with her would have made any difference when Kwan botched a triple flip.

"That mistake in the short, the flip, was one of those things," Kwan said. "I was a little tentative, and that caused it."

Kwan, 21, didn't seem unnerved by the decision earlier this week to split with Carroll with the Olympics less than four months away -- or by much of anything else in the first competition of the season. She simply goofed enough to get technical marks ranging from 5.0 to 5.4.

Ogilvy, Singh tied
for Buick Challenge lead

Australian rookie Geoff Ogilvy shot a career-best 64 for a share of the first-round lead with Vijay Singh in the Buick Challenge in Pine Mountain, Ga.

Five players were one shot back in the final chance to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship. Joel Edwards, part of the pack at 65, is about $500,000 behind 30th-place Kenny Perry and needs a victory to have a chance to qualify. The Buick winner earns $612,000.

Elsewhere in golf:

Bob Gilder shot a 5-under-par 67 to take the lead after the first round of the Senior Tour Championship in Oklahoma City. Gilder had a bogey-free round and was one stroke ahead of Tom Kite.

Annika Sorenstam, seeking her seventh LPGA Tour victory of the year, beat Michele Redman, 5 and 3, today in the second round of the World Ladies Match Play Championship in Narita, Japan. South Korea's Se Ri Pak, seeded second behind Sorenstam among the 16 LPGA Tour players, also advanced, beating Scotland's Janice Moodie, 2 and 1. Pak has five victories this season.

Williams faces sanctions
for withdrawing from Sanex

Venus Williams withdrew from next week's tennis season finale in Munich citing a wrist injury, prompting officials to threaten to withhold her $140,000 year-end bonus.

Williams hasn't played since beating sister Serena in the Sept. 9 U.S. Open final. She joins Martina Hingis and Monica Seles as absentees from the season-ending Sanex Championships.

Williams may have to undergo an examination by an independent physician to determine the extent of the injury, Women's Tour Association officials said. If the problem isn't serious, she may lose her bonus and face further sanction.

"In view of Venus's repeated confirmations of intent to play, this is very disappointing," said WTA Chief Executive Officer Bart McGuire in a statement.

Bonus pool funds are awarded to top-ranked players who fulfill their commitment to play in a minimum 17 tournaments per year, including the Sanex Championships. Williams has played 12 tournaments, compared to world Hingis' 18 appearances.

Williams withdrew from a tournament in Austria this week, also citing injury. She pulled out of a Moscow event this month because of security fears and gave family reasons as her excuse for skipping another event in Germany.

The U.S. women's team withdrew Thursday from the Nov. 7-11 Fed Cup in Madrid because of security concerns following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Boxer stripped of ranking
for comments about attacks

The World Boxing Council has stripped the ranking of Australian middleweight Anthony Mundine for comments that the United States had brought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks upon itself.

The WBC, based in Mexico City, said it read Mundine's remarks "with stupefaction" and said it was dropping him indefinitely from the WBC ratings.

Mundine, an Australian Aborigine who reportedly became a Muslim to model himself on former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, said in a television interview Monday that Australians should keep out of the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan.

"I really feel that it's not our problem," Mundine said. "They call it an act of terrorism but if you can understand religion and our way of life, it's not about terrorism. It's about fighting for God's laws, and America's brought it upon themselves (for) what they've done in the history of time."

He apologized for the statements in "an open letter to the world" published on his Web site.

Mundine, ranked 14th by the International Boxing Federation, is scheduled to fight for the IBF title Dec. 1 against Sven Ottke. The IBF plans no action against Mundine.

Officials shorten
Tour de France course

They're trying to "Lance-proof" the Tour de France.

Saying they wanted no repeat of this summer's runaway victory by American Lance Armstrong, Tour officials unveiled the 2002 route that is the shortest in history and designed to keep the outcome in the balance until the final stages.

The route covers 2,034.8 miles in 21 stages. In 1989, the shortest Tour totaled 2,036.7 miles. This year's race was 2,141.5 miles long.

Four of the six key mountain stages are scheduled for the last eight days next year, meaning there probably won't be a winner much before July 28.

Around & About

Ashley Cullen scored twice as the Niagara women's soccer team ended its home schedule with a 4-2 loss to Detroit Mercy. . . . Mary Helak (St. Mary's) earned All-American honors for Medaille at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association women's volleyball nationals. Medaille was eliminated from the round-robin tournament after losing to the University of Dallas, 30-24, 30-22, and Florida College, 30-28, 30-16.

In Section VI Class B boys soccer quarterfinals, Steve Lesmes scored his 30th goal of the season and Andy Ferguson also found the net as undefeated Fredonia (17-0) blanked Dunkirk, 2-0 . . . John DeCarlo scored twice for Williamsville East in a 4-0 shutout of Starpoint. . . . Mike Restivo scored twice and Scott MacCallum added a single goal as Albion edged Grover Cleveland, 3-2. . . . Admir Kadric, Mahran Omer and Shprien Hassan scored for Lackawanna in a 3-0 win over Alden.

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