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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | NOTES

Ebersol Criticizes Live Coverage

September 24, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

If Canadian television viewers are turning on their sets before sunrise, they're probably not watching the Olympics, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol said.

Ebersol criticized the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s decision to show most events at the Summer Games in Sydney live. CBC's coverage between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Toronto time has drawn an average of 200,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, Inc.

Ebersol has showcased the poor ratings in NBC's offices in Sydney, posting a recent newspaper story describing Canada's poor predawn viewership near NBC's production studios. By showing the Games live, it's harder for a network to enforce its rights exclusivity, said Ebersol, whose NBC network is airing 441 1/2 hours of taped coverage.

"It's a joke," Ebersol said. "I find it really amazing. In terms of a business decision, it's stupid. These are the results of running the major live events of the Olympics before dawn. They are the same events we hold for prime time."

CBC Sports Executive Producer Nancy Lee defended Canada's 288-hour package of mostly live coverage.

"We make programming decisions based on what our viewers want," Lee said. "It's a huge disservice to make viewers wait 15 hours for the 100-meter final, for instance, even if a Canadian isn't in it."

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John Dantzscher, father of U.S. gymnast Jamie Dantzscher, is hospitalized in Sydney in critical condition after a taxi accident.

Dantzscher, of San Dimas, and Jamie's 21-year-old sister Jennifer were in a cab in downtown Sydney on Friday when their cab was hit by a bus.

Jennifer suffered minor injuries and has been released from the hospital. John underwent brain surgery and has other internal injuries, according to a USA Gymnastics spokesman. According to the spokesman, the next 24 hours will be critical for Dantzscher.

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South Australian police arrested a 22-year-old Ugandan athlete in Adelaide on Saturday in connection with an alleged sexual assault on a teenage girl.

A spokeswoman for New South Wales police told Reuters that investigators were flying from Sydney to South Australia to continue their inquiries into the allegations.

She said no further details would be released at this stage, including the man's name and nationality.

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Three members of Italy's women's road cycling team were taken to the hospital as a precaution after being involved in a minor traffic accident.

A car carrying the team members rear-ended another car at an intersection in the western Sydney suburb of Bankstown, police said.

The Italian Olympic Committee said no one was hurt in the crash.

*

A Latvian rower was expelled from the Olympics after testing positive for steroids, the fifth athlete kicked out since the Games began.

Andris Reinholds tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, said Prince Alexandre de Merode, chairman of the IOC medical commission.

Reinholds, 29, finished ninth in the men's single sculls. A random test during competition last week showed a nandrolone level four times above the allowable threshold, the IOC said.

De Merode said the Latvian delegation claimed the positive test resulted from Chinese herbal medicine made in the United States, and said the Latvians produced plastic bottles of the product.

The IOC determined that was "an excuse," De Merode said.

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