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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPICS

Notes

September 13, 2000|ROBYN NORWOOD

The U.S. men's and women's basketball teams left Melbourne for Sydney more than a day ahead of schedule Tuesday because demonstrations protesting the World Economic Forum outside their Melbourne hotel were restricting their movement and caused the men's team to miss a practice.

"It was wild," forward Antonio McDyess said. "We were like prisoners in our hotel. People couldn't come out or go in. There wasn't anything to do."

Guard Gary Payton witnessed similar protests last December in Seattle in connection with World Trade Organization talks.

"This wasn't that bad," said Payton, who plays for the SuperSonics. "We went through a lot more difficulty in Seattle. People were tearing up buildings and police were macing people. The only bad thing here was we were in the hotel and couldn't get out and do anything, and Melbourne's a great city. We wanted to see it and we didn't get to."

"It was just something we had to deal with," Coach Rudy Tomjanovich said, adding that although the schedule was disrupted, he and the team didn't feel particularly unsafe.

"Still, there's a little doubt. We left at 6:30 in the morning, and the protesters were there. I just tried not to make it a big thing, but you never know."

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