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

A Dream Session for Chelsea

September 21, 2000

Chelsea Clinton made the long trek to the U.S. men's basketball practice in suburban Penrith on Wednesday and was greeted enthusiastically by the players, who presented her with an autographed jersey--then made her shoot until she made a shot.

"On the line," Gary Payton told her, then let her move in from the free-throw line to about six feet. It took four or five attempts, but Clinton made one.

"Lord have mercy," she said after a couple of misses, then high-fived Ray Allen and the other players as they crowded in to congratulate her after she sank a shot.

"I'm so bad. It's a demoralizing experience," Clinton said, but Alonzo Mourning cut her some slack.

"Well, she had on those high-heel shoes," he said. "You can't shoot too well in those--but I've never tried."

Kevin Garnett was impressed.

"She's cool," he said. "We as athletes are in the public eye, but she's got 40 bodyguards. I sort of feel for her. She's our age--me, Vince [Carter], Ray--and can't really do too much. But to be the president's daughter, that's cool."

Clinton earlier attended a women's game, visiting the team in the locker room.

THAT'S ONLY HALF THE STORY

Carter was late for the bus before a recent practice, prompting trainer Keith Jones to say: "Half-man, half-asleep."

THANKFULLY, THEY GET A PER DIEM

Guard Tim Hardaway didn't practice Wednesday because of flu-like symptoms.

Coincidence?

"Dream Team on the Town," blared a promotional card for the afternoon edition of the Daily Telegraph, saying Hardaway and other players partied until about 4 a.m. at a Darling Harbor club, adding that the entourage ended its night at a fast-food joint.

"Ordering large Double Whopper meals and chicken burgers, eight Dream Team members devoured $83.50 worth of food on the trip back," the paper reported.

BUT DID SHE GET A TIP?

What's this about a drug-free Games?

More than 700 syringe bins were carted into the Olympic Village after several used syringes were found in athletes' rooms.

Not that the Olympic people minded the syringes--some athletes apparently use them to inject vitamins--but at least one maid was cut with a used one.

SHE'S HAPPY, PLANE AND SIMPLE

There will be no replay of that classic women's soccer gold-medal match from the Atlanta Games, the one between the U.S. and China, but don't expect U.S. Coach April Heinrichs to bemoan the fact.

After Norway ousted China from the 2000 Olympics on Wednesday, Heinrichs was asked if she was sorry not to get another crack at the Chinese, the 1996 silver medalists who held the U.S. to a 1-1 tie in a first-round game Sunday.

"No," Heinrichs shot back. "You've got to be crazy. They're an awesome team and I'm [going to be] standing on the shore watching their plane take off, with a little wave.

"Thank God it's them getting on that plane and not us."

SORRY, OUR BAD

You-Can't-Win-For-Losing Dept.:

A column in the Sydney Morning Herald described the following e-mail from an Australian living in Santa Barbara:

"Elsa Morgan, from Woollahra and now in Santa Barbara, California, says the Olympics lift-out in The L.A. Times including glowing reports of Ian Thorpe's spectacular finishes, as well as other Australian successes. Is there an overly patriotic Aussie working in that paper's newsroom?"

No worries, mate. We won't commit that sin of objectivity again.

ASK 'EM AFTER THE RACE

Four fast friends from the Westwood-based HSI track club, Maurice Greene, Ato Boldon, Jon Drummond and Inger Miller, are renting a house at Coogee Beach.

Although Greene, Drummond and Boldon are all entered in the 100 meters, they say their friendship is close--except when they are competing against each other.

That, as it turns out, is much of the time.

"Everything we do is somewhat competitive," Drummond said. "Even walking down the street, one guy is going to try to walk faster than the other guy."

Boldon says, "The outside perception has always been, 'How can you guys possibly compete against each other and still remain friends?' But amid all the cynicism, isn't that what the Olympics are all about? Leaving competition on the playing field and being friends when it is all over.

"Maurice and I have always been able to separate who we are from what we do."

HOGWASH IS MORE LIKE IT

What is Miller doing among the men of HSI in the house?

" . . . Someone has to do the washing up," the Sydney Morning Herald speculates.

Not likely.

"They don't know Inger very well," HSI Coach John Smith said.

FOR ANOTHER $500, IT COMES LIGHTED

Those gold-colored kangaroos that Australian athletes tossed into the crowd during the opening ceremony are among the most sought-after collector's items of the Games. Already they are being sold for as much as $350 (U.S.).

That is small change compared to the $3,000 (U.S.) being offered by one collector for torches that were used in the Olympic torch relay and cost those who ran with them $350.

HE'S BEEN KNOWN TO BLOW A SEAM

Jeff Tarango had to do some last-second needlework before he was allowed to take the court against Diego Camacho of Bolivia on Wednesday.

Warned beforehand that Olympic rules about sponsors' logos were different from ATP rules, Tarango had sent his shirts to be approved and was told he had passed muster. However, when he went out for his first-round match, he was told the shirt had too many logos, and he had to pull a pair of nail scissors out of his bag and do some impromptu alterations.

"I'm a good seamstress," he joked. "I failed home economics but the IOC accepted my seamstress ability."

BY THE NUMBERS

19,584 Number of fans in 95,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground for U.S.-Kuwait soccer match.

4-12-6 The U.S. men's soccer record in 11 Olympic appearances before Sydney.

39.5 Average margin of victory by the U.S. men's basketball team.

74 Miles per hour of fastball thrown by U.S. softball pitcher Chirsta Williams.

*

--From reports by Helene Elliott, Randy Harvey, Grahame L. Jones, Robyn Norwood and Bill Plaschke.

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