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Sports digest

X Games

Brown recovers for gold medal

LOS ANGELES — Jake Brown finally has something else to talk about.

The skateboarder whose grisly, 40-foot fall to the floor of the X Games mega ramp two years ago drew gasps and became a viral video sensation, won gold Friday night in the same Skateboard Big Air competition at Staples Center.

"Feels great I guess," Brown said.

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The 34-year-old Australian earned a 94 on the third of his five runs with a backside 360 over the mega ramp’s gap into a 20-foot-high McTwist over the half-pipe for his first X Games gold.

Brown’s 2007 spill knocked him unconscious and left him with a broken wrist, a cracked vertebra and a bruised lung.

  • Freestyle motocross champion Ronnie Renner and supercross racing star Ricky Carmichael, despite coming from vastly different styles of dirt bike riding, shared a gold medal in Moto X Step-Up.

Renner and Carmichael each cleared 34 feet in the event, essentially a motocross high jump, but neither could clear 35 feet.
Carmichael, the most decorated racer in motocross history, won gold in the event last year in his first attempt.

Boxing

Crowd remembers scrappy Gatti

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Arturo Gatti drew a capacity crowd in his final show Thursday as former fighters and area tough guys filled a northern New Jersey church to pay homage to the fallen boxer.

The crowd was sprinkled with heavily muscled men sporting tattoos and close cropped haircuts that included Academy Award-nominated actor Mickey Rourke and former champs Mark Breland, Bobby Czyz and Tracy Patterson. They reflect the no-nonsense fans drawn to the scrappy, passionate and charismatic Gatti during a 16-year professional career that produced two world championships and numerous fights of the year.

Stories about the irrepressible Gatti, who died in Brazil under mysterious circumstances July 11 at the age of 37, brought more than one tough guy in the crowd to tears.

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"Everybody loved Arturo, said Chuck Zito, 56, an actor, bodyguard and former president of the New York City chapter of the Hells Angel motorcycle club. "He thought everybody had as big a heart as he did."

The boxer’s family, which buried him in Montreal earlier this month, was notably absent from the memorial Mass, according to organizers.

Basketball

Odom staying with Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Lamar Odom has agreed on a multiyear contract to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers.

After a rocky free-agent courtship, Odom will return to the club he helped to its 15th NBA title this summer. Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed an agreement, but wouldn’t discuss specifics.

The deal will keep Odom alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, along with new teammate Ron Artest. Odom accepted and thrived in a reserve role during the Lakers’ run to the title, averaging 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds.

Odom repeatedly said he preferred to stay with the Lakers, but came close to leaving. Los Angeles pulled a previous contract offer from the table, and Dwyane Wade heavily lobbied Odom to return to Miami.

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Football

Turner has second interview to coach

HOUSTON — Houston Rockets assistant Elston Turner has had a second interview to become the next coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Turner told KRIV-TV in Houston that he met Saturday in Las Vegas with Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn.

Turner has worked as an assistant in Sacramento and Portland and was a candidate for the Phoenix Suns coaching job last year.

Giants LB testifies in Burress case

NEW YORK — Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce testified before a grand jury in a Manhattan court room on Thursday and will return on Friday morning to explain his role in the Plaxico Burress accidental shooting in November.

"With respect to the process it’s appropriate for neither me to comment any further nor Mr. Pierce to make any statements at this point," attorney Michael Bachner said after emerging from the courthouse shortly after 1 p.m. EDT with Pierce standing behind him. "We expect the grand jury testimony to continue and at that point we’ll make a statement."

Pierce is voluntarily testifying as both a witness in the potential case against Burress and as a potential defendant himself of similar felony weapons charges. After Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg in a Manhattan night club, it was Pierce who reportedly who brought the gun back to Burress’ New Jersey home where police found it the following day.

Burress is facing two felony gun possession charges and this week District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said similar charges could be filed against Pierce. Indictments could come as soon as Friday afternoon, but a grand jury decision will most likely come early next week.

Burress testified on Wednesday for two and a half hours. Pierce’s testimony may be taking longer since his role is more complicated.

Pierce might not have been the only witness to speak to the grand jury Thursday. NFL vice president of security Milt Ahlerich was also inside the DA’s office Thursday morning. An NFL spokesman said he was unable to comment on whether Ahlerich was testifying in the case.

Golf

Woods returns with 1-under

GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Tiger Woods shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday at the Buick Open, his first tournament since missing the cut at the British Open.

He finished the first round eight shots back of leader Steve Lowery. If Woods fails to break 70 in the second round Friday morning, he will put himself in danger of missing cuts in consecutive tournaments for the first time as a pro.

Lowery took advantage of perfect conditions in the morning by tying a course record with a 29 on the front nine and finishing 9-under 63.

John Senden also did, making five straight birdies in the morning and finishing with nine to end up only a shot off the lead. Y.E. Yang, James Nitties, Vaughn Taylor, Brian Vranesh were two strokes back with 65s.

  • CARMEL, Ind. — Greg Norman birdied four straight holes on the front nine in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open, but a bogey on the final hole left him in a four-way tie with Joey Sindelar, Dan Forsman and amateur Tim Jackson at 6-under 66.

Jackson broke the record for low score by an amateur at this tournament, and he did it in his Senior Tour debut.
Andy Bean and Fulton Allem were both one shot back at 67.

Sindelar posted three birdies on each side. Forsman, who started at No. 10, was 4 under at the turn. Neither had a bogey. Jackson charged back with five birdies on the final nine holes.

Tony Pancake, the head pro at Crooked Stick Golf Club, said the 66s were a competitive course record. In the 1991 PGA Championship, won by John Daly, the low round was 67.

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