Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

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

Another Harding Drama

September 19, 2000

Remember Tanya Harding? No, not the one with the tire iron and the non-Academy-award-winning movie debut.

No, this one never had anybody cracked across the knee, with the possible exception of UCLA's athletic program, for which she once was a very good pitcher and a somewhat reluctant student.

This Tanya Harding, an Australian softball star, played for the Bruins a few years ago, helped them win an NCAA title and then departed on the first plane out after telling the press that she wasn't going to take her exams because she never went to the school to do anything other than play softball, anyway.

A short time later, UCLA got in big trouble with the NCAA for the manner in which it had made room for Harding and a few other softball players on its athletic scholarship list.

By then, Harding was long gone, but she certainly hasn't been forgotten.

Monday night, in Australia's second softball game of the Olympics, she lead off the second inning. When her name was announced, the stadium rocked. Seconds later, it rocked some more when she swatted the first pitch for a home run.

Thursday, the U.S. plays Australia. Lisa Fernandez, former UCLA star and current Bruin assistant coach, will be pitching against Harding. If you're thinking Fernandez wouldn't mind plunking her with a fastball, you have been following Olympic sports too closely.

THE BETTER BOUT MIGHT BE ON THE BUS RIDE HOME

In the continuing saga of Australia's feuding boxing team, lightweight Michael Katsidis won a one-round fight, even though he is on such bad terms with the coach, he refused to speak to him during the bout.

While taking a 15-6 victory over Agnaldo Magalhaes of Brazil, Katsidis shunned Coach Bodo Andreass and spoke only to assistant Dennis Hill.

Katsidis is so thoroughly disliked by his teammates that only two of them showed up to watch him fight.

A RACE ONLY A MUM COULD LOVE

Thorpemania was virtually out of control in Sydney before Ian Thorpe lost, er, finished second, in the 200-meter freestyle Monday.

"Race To Stop Nation," read the lead headline in the Australian, a newspaper.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph ran a story from an interview with Thorpe's "mum" headlined, "How to Raise A Boy as Nice as Ian Thorpe."

The sidebar to that story was "20 things you need to know about Thorpedo."

Included:

* Loves coffee and treats his mum to a cup every morning from his own machine.

* Like most 17-year-old boys, he has a messy bedroom.

* Has a secret ambition to star in American television show "Friends."

* Can't sing in tune.

ADD THORPEDO

Amid the Thorpe delirium, the tabloid Daily Telegraph printed new lyrics to be sung to the tune of "New York, New York."

The guess here is the lines were composed after a few Foster's--although the preferred beers among Sydneysiders seem to be Tooheys or Victoria Bitter.

Here's the result, slightly edited:

Start spreadin' the news

He's swimmin' today

He's gonna win the lot of it

Ian Thorpe, Ian Thorpe.

We hope you're wearing a

Swimsuit that doesn't leak

And find you're king of the pool

Right at your peak

Kick those big feet.

And, of course, the final verse:

If you can make it here, we'll

Toast you with a beer,

It's up to you

Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe.

A STRONG CANDIDATE FOR ROGGIN'S HEROES

A Sydney newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, identified Fred Roggin in Monday's editions as a broadcaster from the United Kingdom.

That's probably a good thing for Roggin, although not for the UK, because the item in which he was mentioned reported that he was doing a stand-up from atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge when he said that he was "talking to the world from the top of the world famous bridge that spans Darling Harbor."

PERHAPS THEY SHOULD CONSIDER A PREGAME MEETING AT STARBUCKS

Not that the Italian basketball team is a group of party animals or anything, but its coach blamed its poor shooting in an opening-round win over Lithuania on the "early" starting time.

The game began at 11:30 a.m.

"Usually we are sleeping at this time of day," Bogdan Tanjevic said after his team's 50-48 victory. "Perhaps the authorities should consider this."

BACK, BACK, BACK TO THE OUTBACK

The Blacktown Olympic Center seems farther down under than the rest of Down Under.

They are playing softball and baseball there, and a cab ride from downtown is $100, with tip. You can also take half a dozen or so trains, but some of them stop where you want and some don't, and you can't tell which is which because all the announcements are in a foreign language, Australian. Olympic busing is not an option, hasn't been from the first day of the Games and may approach the standards of transportation excellence established in Lake Placid, then carried on with honor in Atlanta, standards once thought to be unmatchable in Olympic lore.

It's OK once you get there, all things considered. The Aussie volunteers are like most Olympic volunteers, cheerfully clueless. But at Blacktown, they are clearly more cheerful.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|