Authorities: Olympian confesses to NY rapes

A former Olympic sprinter from the Caribbean confessed that he raped four women and a teenage girl during a 4-year period after stalking them in New York City's parks, authorities said yesterday.

Alvin Henry, a member of the 400-meter relay team for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was arrested Sunday near Prospect Park in Brooklyn by police who matched him to a composite sketch of the rape suspect.

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The 30-year-old runner was arrested on charges of rape, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse, police said. He was being arraigned yesterday, and information about his lawyer wasn't immediately available.

Brian Lewis, secretary general of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, confirmed the man was the same Alvin Henry who had run for Trinidad and Tobago.

Lewis said he didn't know what Henry was doing in the United States. Henry lives in Queens.

"He stopped running a couple of years ago," Lewis said. "He just dropped off the scene."

Police said Henry attacked three women in Baisley Park and Roy Wilkins Park in Queens and two others in Prospect Park, including a 15-year-old girl in April. In at least four of the attacks, police said the women had been walking with men. When the men left, Henry pounced, police said.

The latest assault took place June 15 in Prospect Park, where police said Henry brandished a gun and raped a 34-year-old woman. After that attack, investigators were able to link it to others.

Colleges

* Former Auburn and Clemson coach Cliff Ellis was hired as Coastal Carolina's basketball coach. He succeeds Buzz Peterson, who left after two seasons to become player personnel director for the Charlotte Bobcats.

* The Big Ten Network will launch Aug. 30 with a highlight show and follow 2 days later with its first football games: regional coverage of Penn State-Florida International and three other games. The conference has been at odds with Comcast over whether the cable provider will carry the network.

* Western Michigan basketball coach Steve Hawkins, 44, was hospitalized for 3 days and released after having a seizure at his office. Hawkins was resting at home and expected to make a full recovery.

Sport Stops

* Chris Benoit, the pro wrestler who strangled his wife and son and committed suicide last month, bought injectable steroids excessively, according to court papers released yesterday. His doctor was charged with improperly prescribing drugs to other patients. Dr. Phil Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to Benoit every 3 to 4 weeks between May 2006 and May 2007, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent said in an affidavit filed Friday.

* Zurich Financial Services Group has agreed to a 2-year extension as title sponsor of New Orleans' annual PGA event.

* Bershawn Jackson led an American medals sweep in the 400 meters at the Athens (Greece) Grand Prix Tsiklitiria meet, beating Kenneth Ferguson by a hundredth of a second. James Carter was third. Also, American Angela Williams won the women's 100.

* China's efforts to clear Beijing's notoriously polluted air ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics include a test to pull 1 million cars from the streets, the International Olympic Committee reported. China's Olympic committee told the IOC Executive Board that it planned to hold 1 million cars off the roads of Beijing for 2 weeks in August as a test run in case a similar measure is needed for next year's Olympics. *