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Sports Beat

A pool for love? German freestyle swimmer Franziska van
Almsick--who won a total of eight medals in the past three
Olympic Games--recently dispelled retirement rumors by telling
the German tabloid Bild that she'll compete in the 2004 Games.
More important, she divulged that her favorite place to have sex
is "in the water." Franziska, 24, who is dating heavily tattooed
German Olympic team handball player Stefan Kretzschmar, also said
that from a competitive standpoint, "sex has always given me a
big boost." Thanks for sharing, Franziska, and please pass the

Pat Riley may be the boss of the Heat, but when it comes to the
Boss, he's just another groupie with great hair. Riley has
attended a half-dozen shows on Bruce Springsteen's current tour,
including concerts in Chicago and L.A. Springsteen's hit The
Rising is played at home games when Riley walks onto the floor,
and he has incorporated the song into practices. "I'm rising up,
man," says Riley, whose Heat was 1--7 at week's end. With
Springsteen playing Saturday at the Heat's home floor,
American-Airlines Arena, Riley is thinking about violating one of
his vaunted rules and keeping his team in town the night before a
road game so he can attend the show. The Heat would fly to
Orlando the next day for a 5 p.m. start against the Magic. "It
gives me goose bumps when a man who's worked hard on a career for
30 or 40 years, a musician, gets a calling," Riley says of
Springsteen whose album is based largely on interviews he did
with relatives of those who died in the Sept. 11 tragedy. "He got
those people who were impacted to allow him into their lives,
into their feelings."

Ever wondered what an NBA player's bedroom looks like? Neither
have we, but Celebrity Bedroom Retreats ($30, Rockport
Publishers), a recently published book by New York City interior
designer Joanna Lee Doster, provides something perhaps better: an
intimate look at the red and ocher Moroccan-style sleeping
quarters of SI swimsuit model Tyra Banks, girlfriend of Kings
forward Chris Webber. If you must see where athletes wake up, the
book features the bedroom of 76ers big man Derrick Coleman (white
floor-to-ceiling wall units, a 70-inch TV) and the mahogany chest
and ceramic fireplace that grace the bedroom of NFL quarterback
turned CBS broadcaster Boomer Esiason. Doster had difficulty
landing other sports stars. "Derek Jeter didn't want his bedroom
photographed," she says.

The wedding was in Belgium, but nobody waffled when 20-year-old
tennis star Justine Henin (No. 5 in the world) married longtime
boyfriend Pierre-Yves Hardenne, 22, a tennis coach, in the rural
village of Marloie last Saturday.... IRL driver George Mack, the
second African-American to compete on that circuit, will appear
on the Nov. 27 episode of Shipmates, the syndicated reality
dating series.... If it comes down to Reese Witherspoon versus
Pam Anderson, we're definitely tuning in: The Austrian ski resort
Soll is hosting its first Ski World Championships for Blondes
next month. The competition is open to women only, and all
non-blondes can get a dye job right on the slopes, giving new
meaning to the term "highlight films." First prize, by the way,
is a trip to Sweden.

COLOR PHOTO: VINCENT THIAN/AP (ALI) PICTURE THIS Twenty-seven years after the Thrilla in Manila we have the Duel in Kabul. Boxer Abdullah Shakin (right) clearly respects the jab of this mustachioed mauler, 60year-old Muhammad Ali. The former champ was on a three day goodwill mission in Afghanistan. As one of the United Nation's Messengers for Peace, Ali is helping raise awareness and money for poor and war-battered countries.




A Colorado elementary school teacher who died at age 96 willed
$40,729.88 to Ralphie, the buffalo mascot for the University of
Colorado football team.


Bucks guard, after being called for three fouls in 43 seconds
against the Knicks: "I caught myself playing defense. Now I know
what not to do."