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THE INSIDE TRACK

Countdown To Olympics

September 14, 2000

* Days until opening ceremony: 1.

* Olympic update: Three athletes--a Taiwanese weightlifter, a Bulgarian triple and long jumper, and a swimmer from Kazakstan--were kicked out of the games after positive drug tests.

* March to the medals: The U.S. men's soccer team played to a 2-2 tie against the favored Czech Republic as the Olympic tournament kicked off with six games. The U.S. women play their first game today against Norway.

* Carrying the torch: The relay began its next-to-last day at a candlelight ceremony under a full moon, with four war veterans carrying the torch. It wound through the suburbs of Sydney the rest of the day, including a trip on a lifesavers' boat from Coogee to Bondi Beach.

* Olympic footnote: Transportation problems at the Sydney Games intensified when dozens of drivers quit the Olympic bus service, saying they were angry about working conditions and poor organization of timetables.

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