Another oddball sports power couple KO’d

Hayden Panettiere is on to better, not necessarily bigger, things.

It feels good to be rid of the heebie jeebies. Be honest, you were also creeped out by the bizarre pairing of heavyweight boxing champ Wladimir Klitschko and actress Hayden Panettiere, who recently called it quits.

I use the word bizarre because he’s 6-foot-5 and she’s maybe 5-foot-2. He’s 35 and she’s 21. He’s Frankenstein and she’s something out of a fairy tale. Frankly, they looked strange together.

Conspiracy theorists (read: bloggers) have been pointing to a series of mentions in the gossip columns over the last few months of Panettiere bumping into Mark Sanchez at various parties. We’d hate to tick off Klitschko, even with Rex Ryan in our corner.

Nevertheless, the beauty and the beast got us thinking about other unusual pairings. Of course, Mike Tyson and Robin Givens are the gold standard, but here are some more:

» Deion Sanders and Gabrielle Reece — The two were linked while attending Florida State in the late ’80s. The volleyball star eventually moved on to actors and Deion eventually named his kids Deion Jr. and Deiondra.

» Chuck Finley and Tawny Kitaen — The five-time All-Star pitcher married the girl from all those ’80s Whitesnake videos. Even more unusual than their relationship was the aftermath. They divorced in 2002 after five years of marriage and Kitaen was forced to enter a spousal battery counseling program. Her life has been a wreck since, even appearing on “Celebrity Rehab.”

» Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen — Chris Hansen was monitoring this match in 2007. He was 36 and she was 21.

» Tom Golisano and Monica Seles — In 2009, at the ripe age of 67, the then-owner of the Buffalo Sabres picked up the 35-year-old former tennis star.

» J.J. Barea and Zuleyka Rivera — We admired the Mavs’ sparkplug already, then he pulled a former Miss Universe earlier this year.

Amar’e makes it official

Amar’e Stoudemire became an official New York superstar in the past 10 months. He had the high-profile welcome ceremonies when he signed with the Knicks, then he turned up at all the fashion week parties, on “Regis & Kelly” and frequented the trendy nightclub circuit.
One thing had eluded him: the celebrity girlfriend. And now, that’s official, too. Stoudemire is dating singer Ciara and all her goodies. The two can hang out with Carmelo Anthony and his celebrity-craving wife, reality fixture La La. We wonder how Chris Paul will fit into this social scene next summer. The NBA’s most coveted point guard is engaged to a non-celeb.

Mac attack

For those competitive eating fans/freaks:

A man in Wisconsin this week will eat his 25,000th Big Mac. Since Nov. 23, 2000, Don Gorske of Wisconsin has had a Big Mac (or two) every day. His obsession with the burger dates back to 1972 when he had his first one, and he has charted every single one since. A self-described “Big Mac enthusiast,” Gorske’s been on “Oprah,” “Super Size Me” and in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Give me a Whopper, instead.

–Jason Raj McIntyre covers athletes off the field and runs the popular blog, TheBigLead.com

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Send 300-word submissions to letters@metro.us.



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