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Sports Beat

He's a bachelor No-Mah. Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and
his longtime sweetheart, soccer star Mia Hamm, were married last
Saturday in Santa Barbara in front of nearly 400 attendees on the
grounds of a private estate overlooking the Pacific. Guests
included U.S. national team members Brandi Chastain and Julie
Foudy, Red Sox players Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek, and
actor-comedian Jay Mohr. Said Victor Garciaparra, Nomar's uncle
and one of his two best men, to the Boston Herald, "Nomar said
the only thing that could make the day any better was if he knew
he was going to stay in Boston." The shortstop is in the final
year of his contract and has been the subject of trade rumors.

--She can't get by using just one name yet, like Gisele and Tyra,
but 16-year-old Russian tennis prodigy Maria Sharapova--she of
the impressive service grunt and the No. 32 world ranking--has
taken the first step toward supermodel status by signing with IMG
Models. The 6-foot blonde, who won her second career title last
month (putting her two ahead of fellow Russian knockout Anna
Kournikova), will work in cosmetics and fashion. Says Ligia
Brickus, an IMG Models account executive, "She has a Grace Kelly

--No, Jim McKay didn't work it, but The First Olympics, a movie
set in ancient Greece, is on its way from Columbia Pictures. The
studio has hired Robert Rodat, who wrote the Oscar-nominated
screenplay for Saving Private Ryan, to write the script.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will tell the story
of an "Athenian warrior and athlete who earns the right to leave
the battlefield to go to Olympia to compete against a Spartan
nemesis in the pentathlon." Mmm ... maybe we'll wait till it
comes out on discus.... It's Wayne-ing Gretzkys. After the Great
One finished playing in the NHL's outdoor alumni game in Edmonton
last Saturday (page 58), his 14-year-old daughter, Paulina, took
the stage in the subzero chill to warm up the crowd of more than
57,000 before the main event of the Oilers versus the Canadiens.
Paulina, who bears a close resemblance to her mother, actress
Janet Jones, delivered Sarah McLachlan's I Will Remember You and
received a huge ovation.... ABC Sports has tabbed Justin
Timberlake to write the theme music for its NBA coverage and star
in the network's NBA promotional campaign, called Can't Get
Enough. In one of the spots Timberlake offers to play one-on-one
against a cardboard cutout of LeBron James.... The recording
artist Ashanti was sitting next to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter
at the Lakers-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on Nov.
19--but she wasn't his date. Nor is it clear whether that
distinction could be applied to MTV veejay and former Miss Teen
USA Vanessa Minnillo, who was sitting on his other side. Jeter
told the New York Post that Minnillo was "just a friend." ... It
was easy to pick out the celebrities at last week's dinner for
the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation on Staten Island--they all
wore nameplates marked CELEBRITY. Named for the late father of
boxing trainer and ESPN2 analyst Teddy Atlas (he once trained
Mike Tyson), the foundation gives scholarships to people in need.
John Franco, Thomas (Hitman) Hearns, Bobby Thomson and Chuck
Wepner were among the athletes who turned up, as did actor Chris
Noth and longtime comedian Uncle Floyd.

COLOR PHOTO: SIMON KWONG/REUTERS (TAI CHI) PICTURE THIS The Qi to happiness? More than 14,600 Tai Chi enthusiasts--dressed in white shirts and black trousers--gathered in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on Sunday to set a world record for the largest demonstration of the ancient Chinese martial arts exercise. The movements of Tai Chi gather Qi (life force) and distribute it throughout the body.





CBS talk show host, on being a new father: "I can hardly wait
until I beat up on my first hockey coach."