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State says uncle on wrestler tests

Why is World Wrestling Entertainment back in Portland after more than a decade's absence?

Simple reason: The Oregon State Police Boxing and Wrestling Commission has relaxed its testing regulations.

'The old application of the rules pertained to professional wrestling as a sport,' says Jim Cassidy, the commission's executive director for the last four years. 'It has been reclassified as entertainment.'

As well it should be. WWE shows are scripted. Its performers are athletic entertainers, not athletic competitors. It makes you wonder why boxing, a true sport, remains under the same umbrella as pro wrestling at all in our state.

'The regulations were more stringent than we faced in any other state,' says Gary Davis, WWE's vice president of corporate communications.

The commission will now require WWE to provide proof of an annual physical exam for each participant as well as a certificate stating that the wrestler is free of blood-borne diseases.

'As long as they are clean, we don't drug-test them anymore,' says Cassidy, who adds that the commission retains the option of random testing if it chooses. 'It's been a long time coming, and I'm glad we have facilitated an agreement. Our wrestling fans have been cheated for a long time.'

The first Rose Garden card is May 31, with 'Monday Night Raw' regulars such as Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Ric Flair in a nontelevised event. Trish and Victoria will take on Jazz and Jackie in a women's match.

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday. At 10 a.m., 'Raw' General Manager Eric Bischoff will be at the Rose Quarter ticket office to visit with fans.

WWE is planning a dozen shows in the state over the next three years, including some televised and pay-per-view events.

• Tonya Harding's next two fights, both scheduled in May, have been canceled because the Vancouver, Wash., pugilist broke her nose in her last bout, a March 29 victory over Alejandra Lopez in Tulsa, Okla.

'She has been at home, taking some time off to recuperate,' trainer Jeff Hargis says.

Next scheduled fight: June 13 at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City. She's on a card featuring heavyweight Eric 'Butterbean' Esch and former WBC light heavyweight champion Donnie Lalonde. Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes will make an appearance.

Nashville promoter Brian Young says Harding's inclusion isn't a done deal. 'We're working toward that,' he says.

• After watching Oregon State's spring game, Dan Fouts says timing is the biggest issue with Derek Anderson's inconsistency as a passer.

'A lot of times, he is waiting for the receiver to break open and then gunning it, rather than anticipating the break and reading the coverage,' says Fouts, a Hall of Fame quarterback who will be on ABC's broadcast team for the Beavers' Dec. 6 game against USC.

'That is typical with quarterbacks who have a great arm, and he has one,' Fouts says. 'But he will get better. (Coach) Mike Riley and his staff will watch tape with Derek and go over and over and over what he needs to do.'

• Bob Gilder is sizzling hot on the Champions Tour. The Corvallis golfer tied for fourth in last week's Liberty Mutual Legends at Savannah, Ga., finishing two shots back of winner Bruce Lietzke to win $124,000. Gilder won the Emerald Coast Classic and $217,500 at Milton, Fla., the week before. He has jumped from 36th on the money list to ninth, with $455,121 in earnings going into this week's Bruno's Memorial Classic at Hoover, Ala.

Peter Jacobsen also is on a roll, with back-to-back top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. Last week, the Portland golfer tied for ninth in the Houston Open and won $117,000 at Redstone Golf Club, a course laid out by Jacobsen/Hardy designers. The week before, he tied for 10th at the MCI Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Jacobsen, who has played in only eight events, has moved up to 79th on the money list with $282,420 in earnings. Former Beaverton standout Ben Crane is 15th with $1,008,413.

The multitalented Jacobsen, incidentally, is headed for Cuba this weekend with Hootie and the Blowfish. No, they won't have an audience with Fidel Castro Ñ they'll be entertaining U.S. troops at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

Jacobsen will film segments for his Golf Channel show 'Plugged In,' while Hootie and his boys will play a concert. No word on whether Jake and the Flounders also will perform.

• Mary Slaney is among the class of '03 for the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. She will be inducted in July in Utica, N.Y., along with Jim Ryun and four-time Olympian George Young.

'I am really honored to go in with those two,' says the Eugene runner, 44. 'Especially Jim Ryun. When I was growing up, he was the person you knew about, read about, looked up to.'

Slaney is injury-free Ñ 'knock on wood,' she says Ñ and training to run her first marathon since she was 12, though she's unsure which one it will be.

'I have always had the ambition to run another marathon and concentrate on it,' she says. 'Marathon training doesn't go well with middle-distance training, which has always been my focus before. I want to compete again, so it makes sense to be training for a longer distance.

'But to be honest, because of all my injuries and foot problems in the past, I'm just having a lot of fun training right now. I still love running.'