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*foot notes

September 22, 2000|JAMES E. FOWLER

It seems that everywhere you look this week, all you see is the Olympics. Here are a few scattered facts to ponder while wondering what to watch on TV.

* The original Olympic Games were celebrated for more than 1,000 years from 776 BC to AD 393. Among at least four major Greek sporting festivals, the Olympics were held every four years but were abolished in 393 by the Roman emperor Theodosius.

* In 1894, French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin proposed that the games be revived on an international scale. Two years later, the first modern Olympics were held in Athens--245 athletes from 14 nations competed. In Sydney this year, about 24,000 journalists are covering 10,000 athletes from 200 nations.

* In the all-time medal standings, 1896-1996, the United States is on top with 2,019 medals. The Soviet Union (1952-88) is second with 1,010, followed by Great Britain, France, Sweden and Italy. Greece has 113 after topping all other nations with 47 at the first Olympics in 1896.

* "Olympism is a philosophy of life . . . based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles"--The Olympic Charter.

* An international scandal erupted centering on revelations that Salt Lake City won the 2002 games after wooing International Olympic Committee members with more than $1 million in cash, gifts and other inducements. Ten IOC members resigned or were kicked out. In July, Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, two leaders of the Salt Lake City bid, were indicted on fraud and other charges.

* The U.S. government will provide $3.3 million to fund anti-doping programs leading up to the Salt Lake City games, drug czar Barry McCaffrey announced recently.

* The Olympic shooting competition is more politically correct today than in 1900. At the Olympics in Paris that year, competitors shot at live pigeons instead of clay ones. The Sydney Olympics will feature 17 shooting events--10 for men and seven for women.

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