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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPICS | SPOTLIGHT / THE SHORT
AND SWEET SIDE OF THE GAMES

According to Fidel, Tony Soprano Could Be at Fault

October 01, 2000

Whining has become as much a part of the Olympics as winning.

The latest to cry foul is Cuban President Fidel Castro.

In a speech welcoming the nation's athletes who returned from Sydney on Friday, Castro questioned the surprise defeats of several Cuban boxers.

Some of the defeats were genuine losses, the Cuban leader said, but he added "the rest were robbed from us." His speech was widely reproduced by Cuban state media Saturday.

Castro said international boxing had become increasingly corrupt, and he denounced what he said was an anti-Cuban bias among some Olympic judges aimed at toppling the Caribbean island state from its position as a world amateur boxing giant.

"Of course, they want to get even with us, they probably think they can neutralize us this way," he said.

"More than ever, we will carry on denouncing the disgusting mafia that prevails in boxing."

The 74-year-old Cuban president, who is a keen sports fan, spoke after the International Amateur Boxing Assn. (AIBA) Friday denied formal protests from Cuba against the defeat of two of its boxers in the quarterfinals.

HE'S THE ONE POUNDING THE OTHER GUY

One Cuban who was successful was heavyweight Felix Savon, who won his third consecutive Olympic gold medal.

His victory early in the morning was all the rage in Havana.

"My papa won! My papa won!" 6-year-old Felix Mario shouted after watching his dad beat Russia's Sultanahmed Ibzagimov. "I'm not going to be a baseball player anymore. I'm going to be a boxer like him!"

Felix Mario's twin sister, Maria Felix, was hiding.

"She gets scared when she sees her papa in the ring," said the children's mother, Maria.

Savon's wife said the twins and their 4-year-old brother, Draysel, have watched all of their father's fights, no matter what the hour.

"It is very important that they know who their father is," she said.

COLD TRUTH IS HE MUST SUFFER

Ray Allen struggled with a bad cold for the final week of the Olympics.

Talk about a headache.

The last thing Allen wanted was to become the Andreea Raducan of the U.S. men's basketball team.

"Yeah, I can't take Sudafed," Allen said. "That's the worst part, I'm so reluctant to take any medicine. Even if the doctor tells me I can take it, I'm still like, 'I don't know.'

"I just have to trust his expertise in medicine. I have taken some. But if you look at the list of drugs that they ban from athletes, they can be supplements of any medicine.

"Even coming on the plane, they give us rolls with seeds on them. And you ask, 'Are these poppy seeds or sunflower seeds on the bread?'

"I mean, anything can happen. It's a lot tougher when you have 12 guys you have to watch out for. We've been getting memos every day. But all it takes is one wrong turn where you put something wrong in your body, and they can suspend the whole team.

"I don't think people understand the magnitude of that. Winning the gold, and then getting drug-tested, and somebody tests positive."

THEY'RE GRRRRRRREAT!

Kellogg Co. will put the faces of four U.S. gold medal winners on boxes of breakfast cereals.

Sprinters Maurice Greene and Marion Jones and swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg will join Tony the Tiger on boxes of Frosted Flakes, while swimmer Jenny Thompson will be featured on boxes of Crispix.

BY THE NUMBERS

3: Consecutive gold medals for Cuban heavyweight boxer Felix Savon

1,000: Romanians that greeted gymnast Andreea Raducan, who lost gold medal after a positive drug test.

44: Years since country repeated as men's field hockey champion before Netherlands' victory Sunday.

$43,560: Price paid (U.S. dollars) at an auction for rebel mascot Fatso the Wombat.

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