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Holiday Specials

Here's hoping you enjoy the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in
February, because if you're a U.S. taxpayer you're footing much
of the bill. That's one significant finding in our investigative
report by Don Barlett and Jim Steele on the financing of the
2002 Games (page 78). Snow Job is the first piece that the
two-time Pulitzer Prize winners--for Philadelphia Inquirer
stories on the IRS's auditing practices, in 1975, and on special
tax breaks granted by Congress, in '89--have written for SI
since joining Time Inc. four years ago. When SI assistant
managing editor Craig Neff learned last year that Barlett and
Steele were interested in digging into a sports story, he
suggested they visit Salt Lake City, where they struck the
journalistic equivalent of Olympic gold. "Imagine having Randy
Johnson and Curt Schilling show up and ask if they could pitch
for your team," Neff says. "They're masters at ferreting out
documents and details--the most meticulous, tireless reporters
you'll ever find."

What they found was, in effect, a taxpayer ripoff. In the name
of the Games the U.S. government awarded Utah some $1.5 billion,
much of that for projects it had little reason to fund. That
federal money, not coincidentally, also boosted the fortunes of
some of the country's richest businessmen, many of whom were
chummy with members of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

In addition to our investigation into the Games, we have another
special: our third network TV show in as many years. Sports
Illustrated's Night of Champions will be hosted by Bob Costas
and broadcast by NBC at 8 p.m. (EST/PST) on Dec. 15. As befits
the show's location in Hollywood, some of the brighter stars in
the entertainment world, including Rob Lowe and Matthew Perry,
are scheduled to make presentations. Yolanda Adams, Alan Jackson
and Five For Fighting will perform, while Saturday Night Live's
Darrell Hammond will take a less-than-reverent look back at the
year in sports. Special honorees will include a three-time NBA
MVP, Magic Johnson, and a seven-time Winston Cup champion, the
late Dale Earnhardt. Of course we'll also announce the SPORTS
ILLUSTRATED 2001 Sportsman of the Year, as well as honor SPORTS

As the holidays approach, there's one more SI project of
interest--especially to the eye. SI creative director Steven
Hoffman and swimsuit editor Diane Smith led a six-month
expedition through our photo archives to produce the definitive
retrospective of our 37-year-old institution, the swimsuit
issue. Knockouts: Five Decades of Swimsuit Photography lavishly
displays shots of 67 models from 28 photographers on 276
oversized pages. At least one picture taken for each swimsuit
issue is represented, and nearly half of the photos have never
before been published. There's also a foreword by Frank Deford
and behind-the-scenes shots of and quotes from the models.
Knockouts is available at bookstores and by calling
800-457-4066. The price is $50.

Bill Colson, Managing Editor

COLOR PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: MIRKO ILIC (OLYMPICS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION) On our gift list: a TV show, a swimsuit book and an Olympics investigative story.

TWO COLOR PHOTOS [See caption above]