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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPICS

Notes

September 13, 2000|HELENE ELLIOTT

A busy street outside the Sydney Entertainment Center, the site of most of the volleyball competition, was blocked off for nearly an hour this afternoon while police examined a suspicious package left across the street by a man spectators said had acted in an odd manner.

Bomb squad technicians rushed to the scene to X-ray the package and determined it was not dangerous, although police would not immediately disclose its contents.

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At 39, Maureen O'Toole is the oldest player on the U.S. women's water polo team, only two months younger than Coach Guy Baker. Because of her long wait to participate in the Olympics, she plans to march in Friday's opening ceremony, even though the U.S. team's opener against the Netherlands will be little more than a day away. For O'Toole, it was an easy decision.

"I've been waiting this long to be able to be in the Olympic Games, and to be part of the opening ceremonies is pretty exciting," she said. "I'll definitely be there."

O'Toole's 8-year-old daughter, Kelly, will be in Sydney to watch O'Toole and the U.S. team compete for a medal in the six-team tournament.

"She wants to meet the women's soccer team," O'Toole said. "Soccer is definitely a more important sport to her. . . . She told me many times she wants to meet Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain."

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U.S. players will wear slightly different swimsuits than they wore when they won the Holiday Cup tournament.

Because their old suits tore too easily at the shoulders when opponents grabbed them, the U.S. players had the straps reinforced and widened.

"You try to get as tight a fit as possible," Baker said. "Some had straps that were too thin on top. The necks are higher, too, to make sure it's more difficult to grab. It's a real problem in this sport."

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