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U.S. standout Miller to skip rest of season

American skiing star Bode Miller won’t compete again this season but has yet to decide on retirement, with the Vancouver Olympics less than a year away.

“At this time, I find more happiness doing other things than being on tour,” the defending overall World Cup champion said Tuesday in his online diary

The New Hampshire skier has not won a race this season and already sat out the last two weekends. He was visiting his 1-year-old daughter in San Diego and resting his ankle, injured in a crash in December.

This season, Miller finished second three times and failed to medal at the world championships in France last month. He ranked eighth in the overall standings but still had a shot at the downhill title.

Miller will miss races this weekend at Kvitjfell, Norway, and the following week at Are, Sweden.


Castroneves tax trial under way in Miami

Race-car driver and “Dancing with the Stars” winner Helio Castroneves never sought to evade U.S. income taxes and planned to pay the Internal Revenue Service when he received $5 million from a deal made a decade ago, his attorney told a federal jury in Miami.

Defense attorney Roy Black said in an opening statement that the Brazilian driver, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, knows nothing about U.S. tax laws and relied on experts to handle his finances. Black said there was no scheme to hide money from the IRS.

“All his taxes were properly done. They were properly paid,” Black told the 12-person jury.

Prosecutor Matt Axelrod disagreed, describing a series of allegedly fraudulent deals dating to 1999 involving a Panamanian corporation created to dodge taxes. Axelrod accused Castroneves’ business manager-sister, Katiucia, and Michigan sports attorney Alan Miller of playing a role in the fraud.

The three are charged in a seven-count indictment with tax evasion and conspiracy, which could land each of them behind bars for more than six years. The trial is expected to last up to six weeks.


UNLV women’s golf tied for second in tourney

The UNLV women’s golf team was tied for second after the first round of the Wave Invitational in Moorpark, Calif.

The Rebels shot 6-over-par 294 to open the six-team event, matching Brigham Young and standing 11 shots behind host Pepperdine.

Natasha Krishna paced UNLV with a par 72 to tie for sixth. BYU’s Natalia Jimenez led after a 66.

Also: The rough economy forced leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee to approve cutting the federation’s work force by up to 15 percent as a way of saving more than $7.1 million in the 2009 budget.

Chief executive officer Jim Scherr said the decision was more of a pre-emptive move than a reflection on the USOC’s less-than-full slate of sponsors. But he conceded the bad economy was too big an issue to ignore.

Lance Armstrong will go head-to-head with Astana teammate and chief rival Alberto Contador for the first time in Spain’s Castille and Leon Vuelta this month.

Astana is planning to send a star-studded team to the March 23 to 27 tour in northern Spain, with Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer and possibly tour expert Andreas Kloeden joining co-leaders Armstrong and Contador.

The family of John Wooden has a request for his many fans: Please stop sending items for the 98-year-old coaching great to autograph. Wooden, who coached UCLA to a record 10 national basketball titles, is recovering from pneumonia that put him in a hospital.

Wooden’s daughter, Nan Muehlhausen, said certain steps needed to be taken to ease the burden on her father.

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