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October 1-10

World gymnastics championships

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Coach Bela Karolyi, the Professor Henry Higgins to Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton, has ended a brief retirement to groom yet another potential world champion in his Houston gym, 13-year-old Dominique Moceanu. Having won the United States title in August, she now heads to the world meet in Sabae, Japan, along with Oklahoman Shannon Miller, the reigning world champion.

October 3

Baseball playoffs begin

The new three-stage format, put on hold during last year's strike-curtailed season, makes its debut with eight teams engaged in Division Series, followed by the league championship series and the World Series. (See game schedule below.)

October 7

National Hockey League season begins

After missing 468 games at the start of last season because of a labor lockout, the NHL gets back to playing a full slate. Back, too, is Pittsburgh Penguin superstar Mario Lemieux, whose physical condition led him to take a year-long sabbatical. The New Jersey Devils are the defending Stanley Cup champions.

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October 7

Big Ten football showdown

The Penn State-Ohio State game in University Park, Penn., may go a long way to determining which team represents the conference in the Rose Bowl. Sixth-ranked Penn State, a perfect 12-0 last season, is undefeated through three games at this writing, but so, too, is sixth-ranked Ohio State, which faces Notre Dame Sept. 30. Other key games during October include Florida vs. Auburn (Oct. 14) and Nebraska vs. Colorado (Oct. 28).

October 26-29

Skate America International '95

Since 1979 this event has heralded the start of a new figure-skating season. The top four female skaters from last spring's world championships - gold medalist Chen Lu of China, Surya Bonaly of France, and Nicole Bobek and Michelle Kwan of the US - converge on Detroit's Cobo Arena.

October 26-29

The Tour Championship (men's golf)

The top 30 money-winners on the PGA Tour, including leader Greg Norman, vie for more greenbacks in one of the year's richest tournaments, with a $3 million purse. The Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., hosts the event. The sixteen-player World Championship of Women's Golf will be played Oct. 12-15 in Seoul. Sweden's Annika Sorenstam is the LPGA's current No. 1 player.

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