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At age 69 of heart failure, two-time Olympic weightlifting gold medalist Vasily Alekseyev, who was billed by SI as THE WORLD'S STRONGEST MAN on the cover of its April 14, 1975, issue. A Cold War--era hero in his native Soviet Union and a household name in the U.S. for his appearance in the opening of ABC's Wide World of Sports, Alekseyev (above) competed as a superheavyweight and took eight consecutive world titles in addition to his golds, setting 80 world records during a 10-year career that included a nine-year unbeaten streak, from '70 to '78.

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At age 69, former SI writer Saxon Kim Chapin. A skilled tennis player who twice went to the national junior championships and later competed at the varsity level at Vanderbilt, Chapin became involved in journalism when he joined The Bay City Times as a high school sports beat writer one day after his 15th birthday. At SI he made his name covering auto racing and profiling the likes of Rod Laver and Billie Jean King. Later Chapin wrote several sports books and contributed a column to the Santa Fe Reporter.


Within two hours of each other on Monday, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau and Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. Boudreau, the 2008 NHL coach of the year, entered this season knowing his job was on the line after failing to turn recent regular-season dominance into playoff success. But a 7-0-0 start was overshadowed by a 5-9-1 slump that G.M. George McPhee called the tipping point in naming former Caps captain Dale Hunter as Boudreau's replacement. In Carolina, Maurice was in his second stint with the Canes, having led them to the '02 Stanley Cup Finals before being fired in '03 and rehired in '08. His team made the conference finals in '09 but missed the playoffs in each of the next two seasons and had lost 10 of its last 13 games to sink to the bottom of the Southeast. Former Canadiens All-Star Kirk Muller will step in.

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At age 42, former English Premier League star and current manager of the Wales national team, Gary Speed, whose body was discovered at his home, where he had hanged himself. Speed (left) was the first player to make 500 EPL appearances, playing for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers between 1988 and 2007. He won 85 international caps as a member of the Welsh national team, becoming manager last December and helping the Dragons skyrocket from a FIFA rank of 112th to 45th. In 2010, Speed was made a Member of the British Empire, three stages below knighthood, for his service to the sport.


And ordered held on $100,000 bond for allegedly breaking into the Chicago home of White Sox G.M. Kenny Williams, Wayne L. Field III. During the alleged crime, which police believe occurred sometime between Nov. 18 and 21, while Williams was out of town, Field is said to have put on Williams's clothes and 2005 World Series ring, which he took with him, in addition to drinking beer from the refrigerator, eating a frozen pizza, defrosting a lobster and using the Internet. In the end Field was spotted by police as he peeked back into the house, still wearing Williams's clothes, and he was identified by a hospital bracelet bearing his name that he had left behind.

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At age 70 after being hospitalized with a stomach abscess that turned septic, former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle. One of 19 children born in Denver to a preacher father and missionary mother, Lyle (left) took up boxing in his 20s while serving 7½ years in the Colorado state penitentiary for second-degree murder. Having turned pro at age 30, he ran up a record of 30-2-1 before losing to champion Muhammad Ali by an 11th-round TKO in 1975. Lyle's slugfest the following year with George Foreman (in which Lyle had Foreman down twice before being stopped in the fifth) is widely considered one of the most exciting heavyweight fights ever. Lyle retired in '80, then made a brief comeback in '95 before hanging up his gloves with a record of 43-7-1. In recent years Lyle worked with young boxers in Denver with the hope of someday training a heavyweight champion.



Consecutive games in which Packers QB Aaron Rodgers's passer rating has topped 100, breaking the record he'd shared with Tom Brady and Steve Young.


Years since Kentucky last beat Tennessee in football before the Wildcats' 10--7 win last Saturday snapped the nation's longest in-conference streak.


Age of Minnesota embroidery shop owner Paul Deutsch, who was signed on Nov. 23 by the Wild after backup goalie Niklas Backstrom was ruled out for personal reasons and a reserve from Houston was held up by holiday air traffic. Deutsch did not suit up.


Combined ages of former CFL greats Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca, who last week brawled—throwing face punches and a few thwacks with a cane—during a Grey Cup alumni luncheon.


Average monthly expenses for free agent WR Terrell Owens, according to documents unveiled in a child support case last week. Also revealed in T.O.'s finances: He receives as much as $6,400 per post to tweet for various retailers.


For stomping on Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm during Detroit's Thanksgiving Day loss, Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. On his Facebook page Suh said, "My reaction was unacceptable. I made a mistake, and have learned from it." But has he? Since entering the league in 2010, Suh has committed nine personal fouls (more than any other player in that span) and has met with Roger Goodell to discuss his bad rep. Suh is expected to face a minimum two-game suspension along with a fine, which will add to this growing list.





Body-slammed Browns QB Jake Delhomme



Forearm to the head of Bears QB Jay Cutler



Body-slammed Bengals QB Andy Dalton



Who is your favorite NFL commentator?

Jon Gruden, ESPN 21%

Troy Aikman, Fox 9%

John Madden, retired 9%

Deion Sanders, NFL Network 8%

Chris Berman, ESPN 6%


Al Michaels, who won a Lifetime Achievement Sports Emmy last May, finished 10th, with just 3% of the votes... . Quarterbacks heavily favored one of their own; former Cowboys signal-caller Aikman earned 41% of their votes... . ESPN led all NFL broadcasters with five representatives in the top 15, followed by the NFL Network's three. Fox, NBC and CBS had two each... . In a similar poll on Facebook, SI readers also voted Gruden as their overwhelming favorite (32% of the vote), with Madden, Berman and Phil Simms following.

Based on 282 NFL players who responded to SI's survey