Jeff Gordon. at 26, 11ins the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup, his second Winston Cup point title in three years. Gordon's 1997 points total4,710.

The Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in June 1997 for their fifth NBA championship in seven years. Michael Jordan is chosen Finals MVP arecord fifth time.

When the collegP foothall season ends, two teams share the national champ10nship. Michigan (12-0) is named No. I by the sports wnters' poll, and Nebraska (13-0) by the coaches' poll.

Nagano, Japan, hosts the 1998 Winter Olympic Games during F'ebruary. Three new medal sports ma,ke their Olympic debut: curling, snowboarding and wo111c11 's ice hockey.

Oetroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman powers his team to the 1997 Stanley Cup championship. its first iu 42 }ears, !J) sweeping the Philadelphia f'lyers in four games.

In its debut season, the WNBA exceeds all league expectations for success. TI1e Houston Comets' championship 11in over the New

York Liberty caps the 1997 season.

Dean Smith, winningest coach in college basketball history, retires in Octoberafter 36 seasons at North Carolina. Sports Illustrated names him 1997 Sportsman of the Year.

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