Sports Calendar

December 5-7

US Open Swimming Championships

This is perhaps the biggest meet since the Olympics and will attract many top Americans, including Josh Davis, the only male competing in Atlanta to win three gold medals, and Misty Hyman, who has already set two national high school records this fall.

December 5-8

JCPenney Classic (golf)

Normally this season-end, mixed team event would come and go with little fanfare. Not this time. Tiger Woods and Kelli Kuehne are expected to team up in this mixed event, bringing unusual attention to this $1.3 million tournament held at the Innisbrook Hilton Resort near Tampa, Fla. Kuehne, a friend of Woods's from their days in junior golf has been a dominating amateur. She will be making her pro debut.

December 6

Houston vs. LA Lakers

What makes this National Basketball Association matchup special are the rival centers, Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon and LA's Shaquille O'Neal. This is the first confrontation of these giants since Shaq joined the Lakers, with three more engagements scheduled before the playoffs begin.

December 6-8

Women's college soccer finals

Last year Notre Dame ended the University of North Carolina's nine-year championship run in the semifinals before defeating the University of Portland in sudden-death overtime in the title game. This time the Irish hope to repeat playing in Santa Clara, Calif. The men's four-team finals will be held in Richmond, Va., Dec. 13 and 15.

December 7

Army-Navy football

For the first time since the Roger Staubach era at Annapolis in the early 1960s, these rivals arrive at their season-ending clash with winning records. Army is 9-1, Navy 8-2. What happens on the neutral turf of Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, however, often forms the season's most lasting memory.

December 8

Five-a-side world soccer championship concludes

Compared to the World Cup tournament, the paint is hardly dry on this event, first played in 1989. Officially this will be the third Futsal World Championship arranged by the international soccer federation (FIFA).

Futsal is played on a basketball-style court, but without walls, differentiating it from American indoor soccer. Spain is hosting the competition, which began with 16 countries on Nov. 24. The finals will be in Barcelona.

December 12-15

Cup of Russia (figure skating)

A six-event international series that began with Skate America in early November wraps up in St. Petersburg, Russia. Those competing are jockeying for position leading into the 1998 Winter Olympics, which are only 14 months away.

December 21-23

National Football League regular season ends

Surprising Denver has stood helmet and shoulder pads above the rest of the league during much of the season. Green Bay and San Francisco, however, are the cream of the National Conference, which has produced the last dozen Super Bowl winners. The playoffs kick off Dec. 28 and 29.

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