Former Olympic Skier Fights Serious Infection
Former Olympic downhill champion Bill Johnson no longer wants to go through treatment after dealing with a life-threatening infection that has attacked his major organs.
Hospitalized since June 29, the one-time daredevil skier refuses a feeding tube, even though it hurts to swallow, his mom said in a phone interview Wednesday. He no longer wants supplemental oxygen or even antibiotics that could possibly help him.
He’s tired of being poked with needles, sick of all the tubes attached to him. His mom said that Johnson’s wish is simply to leave the hospital and return to his room at an assisted living facility in Gresham, Ore., where the 53-year-old was living before the illness.
That way, he can fight this on his terms and in his own way.
Johnson’s health has steadily declined in recent years because of mini strokes. Three years ago, he had a major stroke that began to steal the use of everything but his left hand — his steering hand, the one he used to power his motorized chair down the hallways at the care facility.
All-Star Rating Up
New York — The Major League Baseball All-Star game’s television rating is up slightly from last year’s record low.
The American League’s 3-0 victory Tuesday night on Fox earned a 6.9 rating and 12 share, up from a 6.8/12 in 2012.
Played at the Mets’ Citi Field, the game’s viewership got a boost from its trip to the big market of New York. The 11.3 rating there was up 16 percent from a year ago, when Kansas City hosted.
There was also a spike in viewers when Mariano Rivera made his final All-Star appearance, with the rating peaking at 7.6/13 right about that time.
Williams Jersey Sells
New York — A jersey worn by Ted Williams in 1946 sold for $184,000 and a Babe Ruth model bat from 1925-27 went for more than $166,000 in live bidding this week by Hunt Auctions.
Items from Warren Spahn’s personal memorabilia collection amassed over $900,000. Spahn’s 1957 Cy Young Award sold for $126,000, and his personal Hall of Fame ring went for $55,200.
The auctions were held Monday and Tuesday in Manhattan.
Bucs Add Ex-Giants Kicker
Tampa, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth will miss the upcoming season with a torn Achilles tendon and the team has signed two-time Super Bowl winner Lawrence Tynes as his replacement.
The Bucs announced Wednesday that Barth was injured last week in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., and underwent successful surgery on Monday. He will be placed on the non-football injury list.
Tynes is a ninth-year pro who spent the past six seasons with the New York Giants, helping them win NFL titles in 2007 and 2011. He was a Pro Bowl alternate last season.
Lions Cut Injured RB
Allen Park, Mich. — The Detroit Lions released running back Jahvid Best on Wednesday after concussion problems prevented the former first-round draft pick from playing at all in 2012.
Best hasn’t played since October 2011, and his return was looking increasingly unlikely. Best agreed to a five-year deal with the Lions after they drafted him in 2010, but he’s played only 22 games.
Best accounted for 1,000-plus yards and six touchdowns as a rookie, but he was limited to six games during the 2011 season after what he said was the third concussion of his football career. He hasn’t played since a loss to San Francisco in 2011.
ESPN Reunites With
Bristol, Conn. — Keith Olbermann is rejoining ESPN to host a late-night show.
Olbermann rose to prominence as a SportsCenter anchor from 1992-97 before one of several contentious departures that have marked his career.
Olbermann will premiere Aug. 26, the network said Wednesday. It will generally air at 11 p.m. ET Monday-Friday on ESPN2, depending on live event coverage on the channel.
The show will include commentary, interviews, panel discussions and highlights.
Olbermann said in a statement that “I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN.”
“I’ve been gone for 16 years and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network,” he said.
“Our histories are indelibly intertwined and frankly I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses — old and new — who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”
His last two politically oriented jobs ended poorly. Olbermann quit abruptly in January 2011 after eight years as a prime-time host at MSNBC, and his later tenure at Current TV lasted a year before he was taken off the air and responded with a lawsuit, settled out of court.