Side Lines for Thursday — November 10, 2005

• Bush presents Ali with highest civilian award

Bush presents Ali with highest civilian award

By Jonathan M. Katz – ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — Muhammad Ali, his hands shaking and eyes reflecting the White House chandeliers, accepted the nation’s highest civilian award from President Bush on Wednesday.

Bush called him “the Greatest of All Time” and “a man of peace,” and tied the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the former heavyweight champion’s neck. It was Ali’s first public appearance in months, six days after undergoing back surgery in Atlanta. Wobbly from the effects of Parkinson’s disease, the 63-year-old Ali at times had to applaud with his left hand clenched in a fist, and now and then appeared to have trouble sitting up in his seat.

But when it came time to accept his medal, Ali stood proudly in his black suit and red, yellow and black tie, embraced the president and whispered in his ear. The president pretended to take a jab at Ali. The champ responded by pointing to his own head and moving his finger in a circle around his ear. The crowd laughed. When he sat down, Ali made the same gesture again.

Ali was one of 14 luminaries to receive the award Wednesday.

Rafael Palmeiro offers explanation

WASHINGTON — Rafael Palmeiro took responsibility Wednesday for his failed steroid test but offered a possible excuse hinging on a tainted vitamin shot, giving his first public explanation on the eve of a congressional report into whether he lied under oath.

In a statement released by his lawyers, the former Baltimore Orioles slugger acknowledged several facts that already had been reported, including that Palmeiro had raised the possibility that a shot of vitamin B-12 he was given by a teammate and took in April “might have been the cause” of the positive drug test that led to his 10-day suspension by Major League Baseball.

UH clinches 10th straight WAC title

LOGAN, Utah — The University of Hawai’i clinched its 10th consecutive Western Athletic Conference women’s volleyball title Wednesday night with a 31-29, 32-34, 24-30, 30-24, 15-7 victory over Utah State.

Jamie Houston had 21 kills to lead the Rainbow Wahine, who extended their WAC winning streak to 104 matches. Victoria Prince had 14 killed for UH, ranked ninth in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Women’s Volleyball Poll, while Tara Hittle contributed 13 and Juliana Sanders added 12.

Zuzana Cernianska led the unranked Aggies with 20 kills.

Hawai’i improved to 19-6 overall and 12-0 in the WAC. Utah State fell to 17-10 and 9-4.

UH travels to San Jose State on Saturday.

The game begins at 5:00 p.m.


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