At 7-foot-1 and 280 pounds, Shaquille O'Neal is a man who makes his presence known without lifting a finger. When he does shake his huge body, he can be an intimidating force.
O'Neal, an 18-year-old Texan already being billed as a future first-round NBA selection, scored 26 points, blocked 10 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds Saturday night, allowing the South to post a 112-110 victory over the West on the opening day of the U.S. Olympic Festival basketball competition.O'Neal is believed to be the first person to achieve the triple-double in Festival history. The Louisiana State center, who played just 31 minutes because of foul trouble, blocked nine shots in the first half and his total of 10 total blocks is also thought to be a record.
"He's such a force, not so much offensively as he is defensively," West Coach Don Monson said. "It's just tough to get anything around the basket with him back there."
The first full day of the Festival struck a familiar chord for a couple of participants in particular.
Ed Liddie established himself as the granddaddy of all Festival performers when he assured himself a medal in the 132-pound weight class of judo. He is the only athlete to win a medal at all 10 Festivals.
"I have an amateur record over Carl Lewis and everybody else," he said. "That makes this Festival the most special. It will give me something the Carl Lewises don't have. I'm very proud. It's something very special, a great achievement. It all seems like a dream."
Tammi Reiss can't boast of the long history of Liddie, but her performance in the opening game of women's basketball provided a vivid reminder of her final contest in the 1989 competition.
A 5-6 guard at the University of Virginia, Reiss hit two free throws to force an overtime, then scored five points in the extra period to help the East edge the North 81-80. Reiss, from Glen Spey, N.Y., led all scorers with 20 points.
In last year's bronze medal game at Oklahoma City, Reiss hit a driving layup as the horn sounded to end the first overtime, then sank two foul shots with 10 seconds remaining in the third overtime before her West team lost to the South in the fourth overtime.
"I love those situations," Reiss said of handling the ball late in a game. "I love to have the ball in my hands in crunch situations."
Traci Lis, a guard from Providence College, scored 18 points for the East, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation, and Heather Burge, a teammate of Reiss at Virginia, which reached the NCAA Final Four, added 16.
In the second game, Valeria Whiting of NCAA national champion Stanford scored her team's first 10 points, boosting the West to an early lead that it rode to an 87-76 victory over the South. The West pushed its advantage to as big as 38-20 with a Whiting follow shot with 5:28 to go in the half.
Nancy Kerrigan, a 20-year-old from Stoneham, Mass., captured the hearts of the judges and the crowd on the first day of the ladies' figure skating competition. Tonya Harding of Portland, Ore., was a close second behind Kerrigan and Jeri Campbell of Garden City, Mich., was third.
Kerrigan posted two marks apiece of 5.8 and 5.7 from the seven-judge panel for technical merit, then stunned the Met Center crowd with one 5.9 and four 5.8 marks in the presentation ratings of her original program, which included several double-toe, triple-toe combinations.
Harding said she will use the difficult triple axel Sunday during the first part of her freestyle long program.
"It's there, it's ready," she said of the triple spin jump, first performed by Japan's Midori Ito in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Sunday night's program also will feature an exhibition by 1990 world women's champion Jill Trenary.
Jennifer Heurlin and John Frederiksen of the Broadmoor (Del.) Skating Club, were in first place after the preliminary round of pairs skating.
Jane Catanzaro, a senior at Temple University, scored a goal in each half to lead the East women to a 3-1 victory over the South in women's field hockey, and Barb Marois of Auburn, Mass., and Tracey Fuchs of Centereach, N.Y., scored first half goals as the North beat the West 2-0.
In women's water polo, Vaune Kadlubek of Las Vegas, Nev., the U.S. National assistant coach, scored four goals and assisted on another, helping the South overcome a three-goal deficit to tie the North 6-6. Maureen Mendoza of San Diego scored four goals as the West crushed the East 12-2.
Michelle Smith of Plainfield, N.J., threw a no-hitter as the North beat the West 2-0 in women's fast pitch competition.
Kurt Bierek doubled home two runs and Andrew Lorraine pitched 3 1-3 innings of hitless relief to lead the West to an 8-5 victory over the South in baseball.