Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | SPOTLIGHT / The
Short and Sweet Side of the Games

Lasorda Is Gibby, er, Giddy Again

September 18, 2000

How much did Tom Lasorda miss managing?

He was still in uniform doing interviews nearly two hours after running onto the field and pumping his arms in celebration of the dramatic 4-2 victory in 13 innings by his U.S. baseball team over Japan on Sunday.

The former Dodger manager excitedly compared Mike Neill's game-winning homer to Kirk Gibson's homer that won Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against Oakland. He even brought up memories of Orel Hershiser and Game 7 of the National League championship series against the New York Mets that season.

"I jumped up for Kirk Gibson, and I jumped up for this young man," Lasorda said. "I felt like it was the 1988 playoffs and Orel Hershiser was on the mound."

Lasorda's team fashioned the victory not only with the home run, but with an earlier hit-and-run play that led to the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.

His penchant for manufacturing runs is something the Dodgers haven't seen since he left in 1996.

SHE HAS PITCHED A FIT OVER ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Lisa Fernandez, the former UCLA softball star and current UCLA assistant coach who is considered by most who follow the sport to be the best player ever, gets that rating on more than the strength of her pitching, where she has not given up an earned run since 1998.

This summer, on a tour that brought the U.S. women a 60-0 record, not including the three exhibitions they also won, Fernandez led the team in hitting, from third base or designated hitter spots.

So is she content, riding along nicely as her team positions itself for a gold medal repeat?

Well, not exactly. She still fumes over the dramatic loss to Australia in an early round game of the '96 Olympics. That's the game in which she carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 10th inning, and had two outs and two strikes on Joanne Brown, once a teammate at UCLA. Brown hit a two-run homer and, despite the eventual U.S. gold medal, Fernandez has never quite forgotten. Indeed, in women's softball circles, that remains the shot heard 'round the world.

Look for few smiles from either side when the teams meet Thursday.

ITALIAN MEN PROVIDE NO SHORTAGE OF CURIOSITY

It might have gone unnoticed in Los Angeles, but it certainly didn't go unnoticed in Melbourne.

Players on the Italian men's soccer team, celebrating a victory over Australia, discarded their shorts and tossed them into the crowd. The Melbourne Cricket Ground--known locally simply as "the G"--has rarely been treated to so many half-bare buttocks.

Thanks, but if anyone is going to shed clothing after a game, we'd prefer it were Brandi Chastain, not Gianluca Zambrotta.

AND HOW DO YOU SAY 'SLAM DUNK?'

Perhaps the least known fact at the Sydney Games has come to light, courtesy of U.S. women's press officer Aaron Heifetz.

He reveals that U.S. soccer player Cindy Parlow and U.S. basketball legend-in-the-making Vince Carter took three semesters of Swahili together while at the University of North Carolina.

Just in case the Games ever go to Nairobi.

IT'S AN ISSUE OF MUCH GREATER IMPORTANCE

A number of corporate chieftains, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Coca-Cola's Douglas Daft, IBM's Louis Gerstner and Adidas' Robert Louis-Dreyfus, are at the Games.

But one no-show is Jacques Nasser, Ford Motor Co.'s Australian-born chief executive. According to Sydney's Sun-Herald, he canceled his plans to attend because of the Firestone tire crisis.

THERE WAS NO FURTHER DELAYING HIS ENJOYMENT

Dick Ebersol, head of NBC Sports, raised eyebrows when he left a news conference and then began scouring under a staircase as if he'd lost a contact lens.

It turns out he was looking for the cigar he'd placed there before entering the room.

"Too good to waste," he said upon finding it, confirming that it was a Havana.

"My parents taught me to be tight with the dollar," he said.

He hasn't been as tight with NBC's dollar, paying a record $705 million for U.S. rights to these Games. It should be noted, however, that the network has sold $900 million worth of advertising.

SHOTGUN WEDDING? NOT IF HE CAN HELP IT

Fire a shotgun and hit all 75 4-inch clay targets launched into the air at different angles?

No problem for Michael Diamond of Australia, who repeated his 1996 Atlanta trap shooting gold medal triumph Sunday and reinforced his status as an athletic hero in his homeland.

But take the marital plunge? That isn't so easy.

Diamond told reporters Monday he's engaged and preparing to focus on his personal life. "There definitely are wedding bells in the air, although I don't know when," he said. "We bought a house too. These steps are coming one by one."

Are they tougher than shooting?

"Definitely," Diamond said emphatically.

A NATURAL FOR AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEO

U.S. women's soccer star Mia Hamm took her video camera to Sydney to record the opening ceremony, but she accidentally dropped the camera into what Australians call the "dunny," better known as the toilet.

Nothing like going in the tank right before the big game.

HE NEEDS TO KNOW HIS ROLE AND SHUT HIS MOUTH

Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates was so ecstatic over Cathy Freeman's role as the final torchbearer that it left him tongue-tied.

In a news conference, he called her Australia's "mole rodel."

--From reports by Bill Plaschke, Bill Dwyre,

Randy Harvey, Helene Elliott and Grahame L. Jones

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

By the Numbers

1993: Last time Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie lost a 10,000-meter race.

33: Age of U.S. swimmer Dara Torres, who won the first individual Olympic medal of her career.

28: Average age of U.S. women's soccer team.

$7,500: Cost of personal hovercraft featured in opening ceremony.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|