The Year in Sex & Sports
By Jeff Merron

Sex and sports permeate our collective consciousness. In ways that were unimaginable 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, the line between the two activities has blurred, and often disappears. We hunger for sports stories and sex news the way Colonial-era patriots craved the latest Tom Paine pamphlet. And when the two topics are combined, woof! Down, doggie! Progress? Maybe not. But we do seem to have that "pursuit of happiness" clause of the Constitution nailed.

Derek Jeter
If only Jeter were on "The Bachelor" ...


Now that Tony Siragusa has retired ...
ESPN declares Derek Jeter and Anna Kournikova the world's most beautiful athletes.

Wally's world
Giving a new meaning to the phrase "babe magnet," a refrigerator magnet featuring a photo of the Timberwolves Wally Szczerbiak, wearing only a towel and a smile, sells for $22.50 on eBay.

Eagles cheerleaders
The Eagles cheerleaders didn't turn their backs on a calendar proposition (see August).

And the movie will be called Porky's
Former Eagles cheerleaders file a lawsuit alleging that every team in the NFL, except the Jags and the Eagles, peeped at them through a hole in the visitors' clubhouse. "It really bothers me that grown men behaved this way," said Susette Walsh, a former cheerleader. Grown men? Apparently she hasn't read the sports pages lately.


Don't expect Jeremy Shockey to guest host
PrideVision TV, a Canadian gay and lesbian cable outlet, debuts "Locker Room," a look at sports from a gay perspective. The first episode features segments entitled "Powerslam Wrestling Extreme," "Nude Surfing," "We Love Patrick Rafter," and "Jock Strap Art." Hosted by actor/musician Paul DeBoy, the show is a success, and is picked up for a second season in October.

But Vince McMahon is intrigued
Pallavolo Palermo of the Italian Female Volleyball League comes close to a deal where the club will be sponsored by porn star Eva Henger. The league president nixes the idea.

No kilts needed
Scotland's Robert Gordon University Crew Team -- four men, four women, and a female coxswain -- prepare for a major competition by training in the nude. Why? To "find out what natural assets we have for rowing," explains the team's captain, a male. Hard to believe that line worked on the ladies, isn't it?

Carin Koch
Carin Koch didn't bare all for Playboy but she did finish eighth on the LPGA money list.

Who did Hootie vote for?
Sweden's Carin Koch wins's "Babes of the LPGA" poll, with Jill McGill placing second. Neither takes up Playboy's offer to pose nude. "I never thought I'd be in a poll like this, and I never thought I'd win it either," Koch told "It's flattering." Koch became aware of the poll while teeing off in the LPGA Takefuji Classic in Hawaii, the first event of the season. "I just kind of laughed when I heard I was in the poll," she says. "I thought it was neat." Kris Tschetter finished sixth in the poll -- one place above "None of the Above." "Of course I voted for myself," she said. "I needed all the help I could get."

Forty-three home runs later ...
Rafael Palmeiro, 37, is signed on as a Viagra spokesman. After his agent says Palmiero doesn't suffer from erectile dysfunction, Palmiero issues a contradictory statement: "The truth is, I, like many others, do have occasional problems. I do, when needed, take Viagra."

Hand of godmother doesn't help Argentina
Carolina Ardohain, or "Pampita," wins the popular vote and becomes official "godmother" of Argentina's national soccer team. The 21-year-old model takes 35 percent of the vote, well ahead of second-place Gabriela Sabatini, who tallies 9.3 percent. Unfortunately, Ardohain doesn't seem to help Argentina much in the World Cup -- the national team is eliminated before the Round of 16, finishing third in Group F.


The stories were good, too
SI's swimsuit issue, with Yamila on the cover, somehow or other sidesteps the magazine industry's advertising drought and weighs down mail carriers everywhere. It features models clad in bikinis made of cigar wrappers, coffee beans, beer caps, and jalapeno peppers. Sigmund Freud surrenders.


No curling up by the fireplace
British curlers Ewan and Fiona MacDonald, husband and wife, pledge abstinence during the Olympics. "Whenever we have got a big match or a championship we abstain," explains Fiona. It works for her -- the British women win gold. But not for him -- England's finest broomsmen finish in a three-way tie for seventh place.

German skier Ronny Ackerman helps his team win silver in the Nordic combined, and attributes his success to his 389 days of abstinence before the Games. But who's counting?

Oh, Canada!
Beckie Scott wins Canada's first cross-country skiing gold medal ever. Until this feat, she was best known for posing au naturel, along with her teammates, for the 2001 Nordic Nudes calendar.

"You must be careful"
Anti-abortion group Generation Life protests against the free availability of 12,000 condoms, which athletes can pick up in clinics at competition sites and the Olympic Village. An organizing committee spokeswoman has no apologies. "We're not distributing them," she said. "They're available like aspirin, Tylenol, and bandages. It's good public health policy." 18-year-old Yugoslavian bobsledder Vuk Radjenovic, agrees. "It's a very good idea, a very, very good idea. Today is a very nasty time for diseases, and there will be a lot of parties in the Olympic Village, I suppose. It's a natural thing, sex, but you must be careful."

United nations
Reports from deep inside the Olympic Village indicate that officials have removed Jacuzzis and hot tubs. It's another blow for the Olympic spirit. An unnamed athlete, quoted by the New York Daily News, says, "Let's just say they let us know they didn't want any more intermingling of nations."

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski
This is not porn. Except to figure skating judges.

More trouble in figure skating
Pairs skating and Ice Dancing saw some different moves performed, considering the new rules enacted in May 2001 prohibiting "undignified poses and positions" such as, according to the International Skating Union's communication No. 1115, "sustained upside down splits, and spread eagles while leaning backwards low to the ice." An American judge, Nancy Meiss, explains: "If I want a young man waving his partner's assets in my face, I can rent a porn video. The males are acting like pimps."

It's all about winning
Anni Friesinger, the German "sex symbol of speed skating" known for her provocative poses in German magazines, wins a gold in the 1,500 with a world record time of 1:54.02. She says it tops being known for your bottom. "When someone says to you, 'You have a good body,' it is a compliment. But first there must be results, then come the photos." OK, we got it -- first results, then photos. Do Anna K's doubles victories count?

Hey, that's not Mike Modano
USA Hockey endows its women's team bobblehead dolls with terrific breasts, so souvenir seekers can distinguish the dolls from their male counterparts. Defenseman Karyn Bye, who modeled for a doll, said, "Hey, whatever sells." Vince McMahon immediately proposes a new league, the WXHL, featuring players in very tight sweaters.


The Year in Review
Check out more of's coverage of the year in sports:

Jim Caple: A year Seinfeld could love
Eric Neel: Remembering icons
Darren Rovell: Business trends
Vote: Most memorable moment
Vote: Athlete of the Year
Vote: Team of the year

Just don't dress like that at Augusta
In an examination of sex and the LPGA tour, SI's Ivan Maisel takes a step out of the Victorian era and notes that "Grace Park showed a lot of collarbone in a shirt with a rounded neck." Maisel also wins the metaphor-of-the-year award with this gem: "Then there was Catrin Nilsmark, the tour's high priestess of style, who wore her slacks tighter than a lie on a driving-range mat."

But I don't really need it
Pele reaches an agreement with Pfizer to appear in Viagra advertisements. The 61-year-old soccer icon says, "If I had impotence I would not hesitate to talk about this with my GP."

Three's a crowd
Keith Cox wins a Playboy contest, and part of the prize is that he gets to attend an Opening Day game with a Playmate. He decides to go see the D-Backs open their season in Phoenix, but there's a hitch -- his wife is going, too. "I think I need to chaperone him," said Debbie Cox. "I don't mind letting Keith get a little enjoyment. But there is a limit." We're sure he's all too aware.

David Beckham
Man U star David Beckham brings a little spice to the British tabloids.

Beckham's a true all-around star
Rumors fly that Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham and husband David conceived their upcoming baby on Old Trafford, Manchester United's home pitch. "I think it's illegal to perform an act like that at Old Trafford," she says. "That's not where he was made." Man U fans are outraged at the suggestion that it's illegal to score at Old Trafford.


Hootie wants it framed for his office
A photo of Christie Kerr, kissing a trophy she won at the Longs Drug Challenge, makes waves on the Internet, because the glass trophy clearly resembles an enormous glass phallus. Is it some kind of secret LPGA signal?

Same old, same old
SI publishes its Annual Swimsuit Backlash Letters Issue. They're getting a little more sophisticated. One female subscriber asks for some beefcake, too. Another reader, probably not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, says she can't figure out how the same company that puts out SI for Women, which publishes an annual swimsuit issue, can publish a swimsuit issue.

Virgin records
A.C. Green, long outspoken about his belief in premarital abstinence, finally ties the knot. At age 38, he says his honeymoon "was worth the wait." No offense to A.C. or his wife, but we kind of find that hard to believe.

Biker of the year
Michelle Dumaresq (formerly Michael), a Canadian mountain-bike rider who had undergone a sex-change operation in 1996, wins the Canada Cup series, making the country's national team. Two of her teammates say she shouldn't be able to compete in the World Championships in Austria. But she does, and places 24th. Dumaresq used to be 6 feet, 210 pounds, reports Sports Illustrated, but after the operation and hormone therapy, is now 5'9 1/2" and 180 pounds. She shrunk?

Soccer match of the year
Luther College, in Iowa, officially bans the annual nighttime nude soccer matches, saying that the events have drawn too many outsiders to the campus, and have created an unsafe atmosphere. Despite the sanctions, 75 students play au naturel in front of about 200 spectators, according to campus security. This is later confirmed by university officials, who we're sure studied the videotapes often, and with great care.

Bum rap
A research report in the European Journal of Urology reveals that some men can't get erections after long bicycle rides because bicycle seats reduce the oxygen supply to the penis. The researchers recommend that the problem can be solved if male cyclists change their body position -- while cycling.


Anna Kournikova
Even though the Penthouse photos were fakes, Anna managed a revealing year.

A dream deffered
Penthouse publishes what it says are photos (taken from video) of Anna Kournikova topless. Anna K. says the photos are not of her, and she files a lawsuit against the magazine. The photographer says he thought it was Anna K. in the video because the woman's nipples met his comparison test, in which he matched the video with photos of Anna in a sweat-soaked shirt.

A few weeks later, Penthouse settles a lawsuit brought by 28-year-old Judith Soltesz-Benneton, who said that the 12 Penthouse photos of Anna K. were actually of her, taken seven years ago while she was sunbathing on Miami's South Beach. Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione apologizes to Soltesz-Benneton and says he'll destroy all unsold copies of the issue. Because it's our job, we studied the photos, and seriously, there's just no way that anyone, especially the experts at Penthouse, could have believed that was Anna.

Everyone loves Pecker
Fans of the Erie (Pa.) Otters of the Ontario Hockey League honor their team's top scorer, Cory Pecker, by throwing dildos onto the ice after the team wins the title. Um, we're not sure if we can say this, but there's got to be Pecker Bobblehead Doll in hockey's future.

Not that there's anything wrong with it
Mike Piazza, responding to rumors, holds an impromptu press conference before a Mets-Phillies game to tell the world, "I'm not gay. The truth is that I'm heterosexual and date women and that's it. End of story." Mets GM Steve Phillips, ever the pragmatist, also tries to douse the flames a bit: "If statistics hold up, in every clubhouse there is somebody who is gay. So what? Who cares?"

World Cup sex, part I
Polish national soccer team coach Jerzy Engel says that he'll allow his players to bring along wives and girlfriends during the World Cup. Some players accept the offer, but others don't. "I want to concentrate on football during the World Cup," says midfielder Cezary Kucharski. "I would worry too much about my wife. That would be bad for my concentration." Kucharski doesn't explain what about his wife, exactly, he'd be worried about.

In any case, the strategy doesn't work. Poland exits early, ousted after finishing last in Group D competition.

World Cup sex, part II
Italy's coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, bans his players from having sex during the first round of the World Cup, and adds that after that, "moderation is needed."

The strategy doesn't work. Italy loses to Korea in the round of 16.

World Cup sex, part III
An poll reveals that on nights before World Cup matches, one of three British fans plans to abstain from sex.

The strategy doesn't work. England loses to Brazil in the quarterfinals.


Finally, a successful strategy
Ronaldo, who's abstained throughout the World Cup, tells reporters, after Brazil defeats German for the World Cup, that "Winning the World Cup is more rewarding (than sex). I will have sex in a few moments, but the World Cup only happens every four years."

Heather Mitts
Even the notoriously rough fans in Philly had no reason to boo Heather Mitts.

Good thing Ronaldo didn't meet her
23-year-old Philadelphia Charge star Heather Mitts appears on the cover of Philadelphia Magazine's "Sexiest Singles" issue in a cleavage-revealing, see-through black dress. "This might create an awareness that there is a league," she explains. Uh-huh.

Sports babes, which featured 15-minute sports reports delivered by nude women, is shut down by its founder, AEBN Inc., a company that specializes in pay-per-minute streaming porn. "The ad market is completely down," explains AEBN president Scott Coffman. Maybe the ad market needs some Viagra.

Where are the SportsCenter highlights?
Uniliver detergent brand Persil sponsors Britain's nude boules team in the international championships in the Netherlands, providing a uniform of socks, sweatbands, baseball cap, and towel. "People might ask why a washing powder company is working with people who don't wear clothes," says a Persil marketing yob. Others might ask what the heck "boules" is.

We're canceling our subscription
Sports Illustrated for Women comes out with its swimsuit issue, which features Apolo Ohno, Rick Fox, and Mike Piazza. Leading up to the issue, Ohno won SIW's poll as the sexiest man in sports. Also making it into the issue: "Banana" George Blair, an 87-year-old water skier. "I'm just elated!" exclaims Blair. "This is one of the biggest compliments I've ever received." We figure the "Banana" nickname must have something to do with it.

Anna drops her shorts
While practicing at Wimbledon, Anna Kournikova is asked to remove her shorts -- an assistant referee tells her she has to take off her black shorts because Wimbledon's rules require all-white clothing. "She was very cooperative and her coach gave her a pair of his shorts," explains the ref, who can't wait to tell his buddies that he asked Anna K. to remove her shorts, and she did.


Too bad it's not a sport
150,000 Durex condoms featuring the slogan "Spirit of Friendship" (really) are supplied to athletes during the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. That works out to 30 condoms per competitor, or three per competitor per day. One journalist crunches the numbers and predicts New Zealand will use the most condoms during the Games, because Cuba, the 2000 Sydney condom champ, isn't in The Commonwealth, and because Durex's demographics reveal that New Zealanders lead the world in sex, copulating an average of 115 times a year.

Serena Williams
Serena's outfit raised, umm, eyebrows, but there was nothing controversial about her domination in winning the U.S. Open.


If Catwoman played tennis
Serena Williams sets tongues a-hanging and a-wagging when she appears on court at the U.S. Open in what the website calls a "dominatrix-style catsuit." In fact, it's Lycra that has the appearance of black leather. And Serena knows it's a style that she, but few others, can pull off: "If you don't have a decent shape, this isn't the best outfit to have," she tells reporters. And, she adds, it's all for the good of the sport: "Maybe more people want to watch tennis. Maybe more people look."


Dating game
About eight months after former Eagles cheerleaders filed a lawsuit accusing visiting NFL teams of peeping into their dressing room at the Vet, the current squad comes out with the 2002-2003 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders Lingerie Calendar. There's a lot of skin showing. "We were looking to push the envelope, no question about it," says an Eagles PR man. "We wanted to steam it open." An ounce of prevention?

Mixed reviews
The British Observer Sport Magazine does a thorough workup on sex and sports performance, and surveys some of the great athletes, past and present.

Brazilian striker Romario: "Good strikers can only score goals when they have had good sex on the night before a match." (Is there any other kind?)

British soccer legend George Best: "I certainly never found it had any effect on my performance. Maybe best not the hour before, but the night before makes no odds."

Sprinter Linford Christie: "Not having sex makes you more aggressive. You need that aggression."

Former cricket player Simon Hughes: "I'd say pre-match sex helped more than it hindered. I took six wickets and bowled out Zimbabwe to win a match for Middlesex the night after a dalliance with a Harare hairdresser, and enjoyed similar success during a four-day fling with a Birmingham nurse."

More Heather
Playboy polls Web surfers on the sexiest women's soccer players. Heather Mitts of the Philadelphia Charge wins, and the Charge's Rakel Karvelsson finishes second. Philly is obviously the team to watch, as Charge Lorrie Fair finishes fifth.

Naked injustice
Members of Australia's national soccer team, "The Matildas," who became well known for raising money by issuing a nude calendar before the 2000 Sydney Games, say the Australian Women's Soccer Association pressured them to appear topless in a Japanese TV commercial promoting toothpaste. The spot, filmed before the Games, was intended to raise money for the Olympics. The g-string clad soccer players were paid $4,000 each for the spot, while the sport's, ahem, "governing body" raised $56,000.

Just not at Augusta
The Report On the American Golfer, a survey of about 2,000 serious players, reveals that of all players who put in 25 rounds a year or more, 8 percent have had sex on the course. Those with a low handicap may know something, though -- 18 percent of the best golfers have done the deed on the links.

Sex over steroids
The sprinting coach of Germany's national track team tells "Fit for Fun" magazine that sex before races is improves the performance of female sprinters, because it raises their testosterone level.

Jeremy Shockey
"They just won't believe that it was all just a joke! Really!"

I was only kidding
Giants rookie Jeremy Shockey tells Howard Stern and an audience of millions that if he had played with a gay teammate in college, "I probably wouldn't, you know, stand for it." He adds that the problem, as he sees it, is that "they're going to be in the shower with us and stuff, so I don't think that's gonna work." Shockey apologizes once he realizes that people were, you know, listening. "Whatever I did to offend people, I apologize," he said. "I'm not prejudiced in any way."

And she throws a good screen pass, too
Anita Marks, the quarterback of the Miami Fury of the Independent Women's Football League, unsuits up for Playboy. It's all for the game. "A lot of people aren't aware of womens' pro football. This was an opportunity to shed a positive light on females in sports." Right.

Competition for Anna
SI reports that Simonya Popova, a 17-year-old Russian tennis star, is being groomed for WTA greatness down in Florida. She's 6'1" tall, 160 pounds, and has a 125-mph serve that's "more accurate than ICBM," according to her father. Even better, she wears "midriff-baring outfits, so small they appear to come from Gap Kids, [which] highlight her ample décolletage," writes SI's Jon Wertheim. "She has already agreed to pose for the tour's annual swimsuit calendar. When she turns pro, an image consultant hired by her agent will travel with her."

Simonya, as it turns out, is a fictional character, but it fooled us for a while, simply because -- well, what's not to believe?

Curtis Strange gets outfoxed
Europe's Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance, says he won't ban players from having sex during the tourney. The strategy works, as Europe defeats the U.S., 15½-12½

Healthy living
Laura and Jennifer Berman, sisters who co-host "For Women Only," a women's health program on the Discovery Channel, tell Sports Illustrated for Women, "We actually have many patients who report that the only time they can reach orgasm is after doing extensive leg lifts or some sort of strenuous exercise that not only increases blood flow but muscle tension in the genital area."

No wonder there are so many smiling faces at the health club.

Gender benders
Gay Games organizers decide that transgenders can compete against athletes of their chosen sex when the Games come to Sydney in November. Proof that they've been living as their "self-identified gender" will be all that's necessary -- no hormone testing.

Without wife Milene, would Ronaldo be just another Brazilian soccer player with two names?

But I really don't need it redux
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Guy Lafleur, and Pele are honored at a sex researcher's convention in Montreal for promoting awareness of erectile dysfunction. Both athletes promote Viagra. Lafleur says he doesn't need it, though. "No, not yet, but if I had that problem I wouldn't be shy about seeing a doctor." Gee, haven't we heard that line before?

More advice from Ronaldo
Ronaldo says, on a late-night Spanish TV show, "Sex a couple of hours before the match is the key to success. The man has to be rather passive and just enjoy the experience. This relaxes him and makes him happy, which in turn gives him a whole load of energy." Ronaldo adds that getting it on with his wife, former model Milene Dominguez, is the secret to his soccer success. Does this mean practice is cancelled?


She can beat Anna on the court as well
Taking a cue from Simonya? Russian tennis star Anastasia Myskina poses in the October issue of GQ nude, on the back of a horse. Ride on.

Football like it used to be
The Museum of Sex opens in New York; it features a display on a lesbian football team called the Howdy Club, which played in the New York area in the 1930s and 1940s.

Football like it is
Former NFL defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo reveals, in ESPN The Magazine and on HBO's "Real Sports," that he's gay. He says that he retired early in part because he was living a double life, hiding his sexuality from his teammates while enduring many gay jokes told in the locker room. "They made me go further and further into depression, further and further into shame," he said, adding that he contemplated suicide. Is the NFL ready for gay players? Probably not, says Tuaolo's former teammate, Sterling Sharpe: "He would have been eaten alive and he would have been hated for it."


Cheeky attitude
Lions QB Joey Harrington reveals to Cosmopolitan that "touching a woman's face and putting my face against hers excites me. Soft cheeks are so appealing."

Nasty's girls
Former Romanian gymnasts Lavinia Milosevici (an Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion), Corina Ungureanu and Claudia Presecan pose nude for a Japanese magazine, and also say they'll appear in porn videos. The Romanian gymnastics chief disapproves: "I saw the pictures on the Internet and we are very concerned about the fact that in some of them the girls appear in costumes with the national colors. I don't think that's fair because what they did doesn't have anything in common with Romanian gymnastics."

Countryman and former tennis star Ilie Nastase comes to the gymnasts' defense: "It is absolutely normal what these girls to do." Nastase adds that he's willing to pose nude, and he's "waiting for offers."

Ronaldo would agree
German swimmer Franziska van Almsick, whose official Web site bears the slogan, "More than a Great Swimmer," tells the world she warms up for races by having sex -- preferably in the pool. "Sex has always given me a big boost," she says. The strategy works, as Swimming World magazine names van Almsick Europe's Swimmer of the Year.

Van Almsick, who has posed in a somewhat revealing fashion several times for Maxim Germany, won't be posing for Playboy, as is rumored. Her Web site's FAQ section addresses the issue. Thanks to Google for the translation: "Franziska does not have anything against erotische photos. It has already some given, e.g. in MAXIM . She finds however photos, which do not abandon the last secret, more erotischer. There are no plans for an Playboy appearance, different reading messages is untrue."


They'd never make it as figure skaters
Former Romanian gymnasts Milosevici, Ungureanu, and Presecan follow through on their threat, posing nude on various gymnastics apparatus in an adult video filmed in Tokyo and broadcast on cable. Because of this, Japan's gymnastics officials say they may ask the International Gymnastics Federation to ban the Romanian team from the 2003 Yokohama Junior Grand Prix. "Even if Milosovici has retired from competition, her act is a disgrace to gymnastics," says the executive director of the Japanese Gymnastics Association.

Father of the year
Damir Dokic, the "mad dad" of tennis who's been banned from tennis venues worldwide, tells the British tabloid the Sun that "More than 40 per cent of women in world tennis are lesbians." He adds, "I couldn't stand it if [daughter] Jelena turned out to be one of them. I'd kill myself." Jelena, who's asked the WTA to keep her father away from her matches, is dating Formula One driver Enrique Bernoldi. Of course, her father also disapproves of this. "I don't like him. I hope the relationship doesn't last long," he tells a Serbian newspaper.

Jeff Merron writes for Page 2.



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