Defending world champion

Brad Walker

broke an 8-year-old American record in the pole vault yesterday at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., clearing 19 feet, 9 3/4 inches on the same field where he'll try to make his first U.S. Olympic team in only 3 weeks.

"The track's good, we'll say that," Walker said. "Eugene, when the weather's nice, is probably one of the best places to jump. The American record's here for me now. I know that it's a great place to jump. I know I'm confident that I can jump high here, so it just adds to my confidence for the trials."

Walker, 26, broke the record held by Jeff Hartwig at 19-9 1/4. Then, Walker took two shots - after skipping the first attempt to catch his breath - at Sergei Bubka's world record of 20-1 3/4, but didn't come close.

One of the competitors the two-time U.S. outdoor champion defeated was Hartwig.

"I always thought if I did it, I'd want to do it at a meet that Jeff was at," Walker said. "We're great friends. We've talked a lot over the years. He's given me pointers. He hugged me and told me, 'Good job.' "

Walker shared the spotlight at America's biggest track meet with Maria Mutola, the middle-distance star from Mozambique. She won the 800 meters for the 16th straight year in her final appearance at Prefontaine.


* Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek is expected to announce his retirement, a person in the NHL told the Associated Press. The Red Wings scheduled a news conference for today without revealing details. Hasek, 43, won six Vezina Trophies as the NHL's top goaltender and two Hart Trophies as the league's MVP.

Sport Stops

* One of Cuba's top baseball prospects has defected and settled in south Florida in hopes of playing in the major leagues. Dayan Viciedo arrived in the United States at the end of May and is now living with friends and family, said his agent, Jaime Torres. The 18-year-old Viciedo is from the central province of Villa Clara. He was a third baseman with the Villa Clara team, one of Cuba's major league teams.

* Police detained about 100 hooligans in Klagenfurt, Austria, for shouting Nazilike slogans during Germany's European Championship 2-0 victory over Poland. Lukas Podolski, who was born in Poland but moved to Germany in his childhood and became a citizen, scored both goals. Also, Croatia defeated Austria, 1-0, in Vienna.

* Polish driver Robert Kubica took advantage of a mistake by defending champion Lewis Hamilton and earned his first Formula One win in his 29th start at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Hamilton smashed his Mercedes McLaren into the Ferrari of reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

* Horst Skoff, 39, a former Austrian tennis player who won four ATP Tour titles, died during a business trip to Germany.

* Double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, of Japan, set a world record in the men's 200 meter breaststroke in Tokyo, finishing in 2 minutes, 07.51 seconds. *