Of cancer at age 60, 1972 Olympic silver medalist Wayne Collett. A track star at UCLA from 1968 to '71, Collett ran what was then the fastest-ever 400-meter time (44.1 seconds) at sea level during the '72 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., which he followed with a silver medal at the Munich Games (above). But Collett became a civil-rights lightning rod after he and gold medalist Vince Matthews—both African-Americans—refused to face their flag during the The Star-Spangled Banner at the medal ceremony; afterward, Collett raised a fist in a black-power salute. Both sprinters were scolded by the IOC for their "disgusting display" and banned from the rest of the Games, forcing the American 4 √ó 400 relay team to withdraw. Collett, who later became an attorney, defended his actions, saying, "I couldn't stand there and sing the words, because I don't believe they're true."
To practice, three months after walking away from football, Florida coach Urban Meyer. The 45-year-old cited health concerns (including chest pains that had sent him to the hospital after the Gators lost to Alabama in the 2009 SEC championship game) when he declared his resignation last December; but he U-turned 18 hours later, opting instead for a leave of absence leading into the '10 season. Even then, Meyer stuck around long enough to assemble what Scout.com rated as this year's top recruiting class. Visibly bulked up but declining to elaborate on his health last Wednesday, Meyer told reporters pointedly, "I feel fine, and I feel good."
For the 2010 baseball season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery, Twins reliever Joe Nathan, who finished second in the majors in saves last season, with 47. The 35-year-old righty (who is scheduled to collect $11.25 million in '10) first sensed trouble during a 20-pitch appearance against the Red Sox on March 6. He left that game with elbow pain, after which manager Ron Gardenhire reported that all was "fine." But an effort to pitch through the injury, which was later diagnosed as a torn ulnar collateral ligament, proved fruitless. On Sunday, after 10 minutes of playing catch, Nathan decided to shut it down for the season. "Now, we have to find somebody to step in there and do a job," Gardenhire said. "Not replace him, but do a good job and get some outs." The most likely in-house candidate is 6'11" righty Jon Rauch, who has 26 saves over his past four seasons.
By former NFL tackle Jon Runyan (right), his candidacy for Congress. The 36-year-old, who was voted by his peers to be the NFL's second-dirtiest player in a 2006 SI poll, retired in '09 after 14 seasons (nine with the Eagles). Now, running as a Republican in New Jersey's Third Congressional District, Runyan will campaign as a conservative who opposes big government and federal stimulus spending. To his new arena Runyan not only brings name recognition but also the personal wealth to finance his candidacy. (He made $39.9 million in the NFL.) But in what is expected to be a rugged contest, he may have to do some drive-blocking: Reports suggest Runyan has been a registered Republican for only four months, and he may get flagged by conservatives for his pro-choice stance. Further, his handling of property taxes on his 25-acre Mount Laurel estate has caused a stir. The Philadelphia Inquirer found that Runyan paid $57,000 in '09 on the five acres on which he resides, but $468 on the rest—part of which is home to, ironically, four donkeys—by registering the space as farmland.
By Fairbanks, Alaska, native Lance Mackey, for the fourth time in as many years, the 1,112-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Mackey, whose father and brother are also Iditarod winners, crossed the finish line in Nome on March 16—eight days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and nine seconds after he started, marking the second-fastest time in the 37-year history of the event. A throat-cancer survivor who has admitted to using medicinal marijuana during past races, the 39-year-old pledged this year to abstain from the substance, which he says suppresses pain and stimulates his appetite. (Cancer treatments have robbed Mackey of taste buds.) Mackey beat 70 other mushers in winning $50,000 and a new truck.
At age 83 of natural causes, Charles (Chick) Lang, who brought luster to the middle jewel in horse racing's triple crown, the Preakness Stakes. Born into the sport of kings—he was the grandson of a Kentucky Derby--winning trainer and the son of a Derby-winning jockey—Lang made his mark at the Baltimore track, where he would work from 1960 to '87 as director of racing, VP and G.M. Described as a "P.T. Barnumesque promoter," he tirelessly hyped the Preakness, once even floating hundreds of black and yellow balloons (the colors of the Preakness's flower blanket) over a Kentucky Derby parade. In '71, for better or for worse, he instituted Pimlico's open-infield policy, a staple of the modern race. Later in his life Lang consulted at tracks across the country and called races on the radio. "Chick always said he loved racing more than he loved me," Lang's wife, Nancy, joked to The Baltimore Sun. "And that was O.K."
THEY SAID IT
Milwaukee Brewers manager, on choosing his mound corps before Opening Day: "There are combinations and permutations.... There's a gazillion of them, things that could happen to fill out the pitching staff. We've got conundrums, too."
Victories by the Devils over the Penguins in 2009--10. That total is the most in a season sweep over a defending Stanley Cup champion since Boston beat Chicago eight times in 1938--39.
Career points scored by the Cavaliers' LeBron James by the end of Cleveland's 92--85 win over the Bulls last Friday, during which James became the youngest player (25 years, 79 days) to hit 15,000, eclipsing Kobe Bryant by two years, 57 days.
Goal differential at the 2010 CONCACAF U-17 women's soccer championship for the United States team, which outscored opponents 38--0 in five games but lost to Canada on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie in the semis.
Approximate number of Saints season-ticket holders who will be displaced after their seats are destroyed to make room for a press box; the existing media area will be occupied by 16 new Superdome luxury suites.
Youth hockey sticks recalled by the sporting goods company Bauer after Canada's health department warned of their high lead content.
DAVID DUROCHIK/SPORTPICS (RUNYAN IN UNIFORM)
ED HILLE/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (RUNYAN)
JOHN BIEVER (MACHA)