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Sports Beat

Kobe Bryant attended the Teen Choice Awards in Universal City,
Calif., last Saturday night, a rare public appearance since he
was charged with the sexual assault of a 19-year-old Colorado
woman on June 30. By Bryant's side was his wife, Vanessa, wearing
the $4 million diamond ring Kobe gave her on July 21 and an I
LOVE KOBE bracelet. Neither Kobe nor Vanessa spoke to the press,
but he did give an acceptance speech to the crowd of more than
4,000 after receiving a bright green surfboard as his trophy for
winning the Teen Choice Male Athlete award for the second
straight year. Bryant, who in his speech quoted Martin Luther
King Jr. and said he was "going through some dark clouds right
now," was to be in the public eye again on Wednesday. Fox was to
broadcast the awards show at 8 p.m., two hours after Bryant's
preliminary court hearing was scheduled to be televised live from
an Eagle County courtroom.

--For the first time in 16 years Nick Faldo will miss one of
golf's majors. The Briton has decided to skip next week's PGA
Championship in Rochester, N.Y., to stay at home in Weybridge,
England, with his wife, Valerie, and his fourth child, Emma
Scarlet, who was born on July 28. "This is an incredibly special
time in my life, becoming a dad again at 46, and I promised
Valerie that I would be around to support her and our new
daughter," said Faldo, whose 65 straight majors is the longest
active streak. New fatherhood isn't getting in the way of the
event's defending champ, Rich Beem, whose wife, Sara, gave birth
to the couple's first child, son Michael Waide, on July 25. The
baby was born a little early, which saved Beem from a tough
decision: Sara was due on Aug. 16--the same day as round 3. Beem
had been contemplating missing the tournament or leaving early if
Michael had arrived during play.

--Cycling fanatic and U.S. senator John Kerry (D., Mass.) was on
his bike at 6 a.m. last Saturday in Sturbridge, Mass., to ride
the first leg of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, which raises
money for cancer research. "I don't know about you, but I'm
having withdrawals from watching the Tour de France," Kerry said.
"I want more." He got it. The Democratic presidential hopeful,
who was treated for prostate cancer last February, finished the
110-mile race in just under 6 1/2 hours, placing 32nd out of
3,700 riders.... It might not have quite the nostalgic ring of My
Old Kentucky Home, but New Jersey's Monmouth Park landed a
rocking theme song for its signature horse racing event, last
Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational (won by Peace Rules).
Garden State godfather Bruce Springsteen gave the track his
blessing to adopt Born to Run as the event's anthem.... Sure it's
nice to be an international tennis star, but it's not the life of
Hugh Hefner. ATP hotshots Wayne Ferreira, Robby Ginepri and
Nicolas Kiefer used an off day during the Mercedes-Benz Cup in
L.A. to visit the Playboy Mansion. The players, who were escorted
by Playmate-actress Julie McCullough (Miss February, 1986),
played Hefner's pinball machines, chatted up Playmates in Hef's
gym and fed monkeys in his private zoo. "I can't believe this is
somebody's house," said Kiefer. "He has 100 employees and eight
girlfriends. Unbelievable."

COLOR PHOTO: E.J. FLYNN/AP (BRYANTS) The Bryants and their bauble


COLOR PHOTO: JEREMY NICHOLL/POLARIS (WRESTLERS) PICTURE THIS Two wrestlers in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, grapple while trying not to incur the wrath of Khan, or the ire of the three punctilious judges dressed in traditional Mongolian garb, a la Genghis Khan. Naadam--which means "the Three Manly Games"--is an annual competition to commemorate the 1921 Mongolian revolution. In addition to wrestling (you lose if your knee, elbow or back touches the ground), competitors take part in archery and horse racing events.



Robert Flowers, a security chief at the 2002 Winter Olympics, had
his pocket picked while in a similar capacity at the Moscow-Utah
Youth Games in Russia.

Giants quarterback, on the mental part of his game: "I try to
stay out of my own way. Sometimes going inside my head is like
going behind enemy lines."