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

That's Some Carry-on Luggage

September 16, 2000|ROBYN NORWOOD

Amid all the security concerns, the Sydney Morning Herald reported an unusual incident.

A flight bringing some of the final Olympic competitors into Sydney was delayed because guns could not be found on board.

The Ansett flight from Melbourne reportedly was kept waiting on the tarmac while workers located pistols belonging to Olympic shooter Irada Ashumova, who was concerned they had not been transferred from a connecting flight from Azerbaijan.

IT'S IN THE STARS FOR GAZE

If infectious enthusiasm is a main ingredient to Olympic success, than Andrew Gaze of Australia will either win a gold medal here or take over for Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Gaze is the basketball star from Seton Hall's NCAA title team of 1989 who played on two NBA teams, the '98 champion San Antonio Spurs and also the Washington Bullets. He is also a five-time member of Australia's Olympic basketball team, starting as a 19-year-old in Los Angeles.

Friday night, he carried the flag in the opening ceremony, leading his 628 teammates, the largest Aussie Olympic team ever and the largest contingent here. And if the flag hadn't been firmly attached to its pole, Gaze's enthusiastic swooshing to the crowd would have eventually sent it flying off into the stands.

Among those certainly not surprised by this was Gaze's father, Lindsay, whose own Olympic participation gives the family a role in every Olympics since 1956, when Lindsay was a member of the Aussie Australian rules football team, a demonstration event in Melbourne. In 1960, '64 and '68, he played on the country's basketball team and then coached it in '72, '76, '80 and '84. In '84, Andrew was a player, and has been in every Olympics since.

When Andrew was announced as the flag-bearer at a reception of Australian dignitaries and Olympians last Thursday, Lindsay said he was most nervous about the next 10 minutes, when his exuberant son would make an acceptance speech.

"You just never know when he gets that microphone," Lindsay said.

Sure enough, while thanking everybody from here to Perth, Andrew knocked the microphone off its holder and was heard to utter, into the falling mike, "Jesus Christ."

A SILVER IS WORTH A FEW CITIES

Former UCLA sprinter Ato Boldon, of Trinidad and Tobago, when asked what his country would give him if he wins a gold medal:

"Tobago."

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