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

Three Jeers for the Boss

September 25, 2000

And you thought there was trouble at Dodger Stadium . . .

Two handballers, one from Norway and one from Sweden, submitted Olympic biographies that noted their marriage.

Everything was fine until Olympic officials realized, both athletes were women.

The IOC reportedly ordered the removal of the marriage reference.

When Juan Antonio Samaranch was asked about this during a recent news briefing, he claimed he did not understand the question.

Three Scandinavian journalists--in a news conference occurrence as rare as Samaranch actually answering a question--stood up and booed.

FULL-SERVICE SECURITY

At the baseball and softball complex in suburban Blacktown, all entering vehicles are searched under the hood.

During a recent search, a security officer and former mechanic noticed something other than a bomb.

"Looks like your battery's leaking acid," he told the driver, who promptly did a U-turn and drove to the nearest garage.

A SHORT SHOPPING LIST

Before a recent soccer game at Canberra's Bruce Stadium, the Cameroon men's team showed up with dark green shorts, which too closely resembled the U.S. team's blue shorts.

For just these occasions, teams are asked to bring both light and dark uniforms. But Cameroon had forgotten the light ones.

So officials traveled to a local sporting goods store and purchased 18 pairs of white shorts just before kickoff.

RIDING WAVE OF PUBLIC OPINION

Fans who go to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for soccer games are not averse to doing the wave. But there's a difference.

One corner of the stadium is the hallowed territory of the Melbourne Cricket Club, whose members gain free admission to a private pavilion for all events at the stadium.

So when the wave circles the ground, fans' cheers turn to boos when the wave passes through the pavilion and then back to cheers again immediately after.

The bizarre sound effect has a become a sporting tradition in Melbourne.

IT'S A COMPLIMENT, WE THINK

Yvette Higgins, who scored the decisive goal for Australia in the women's water polo gold-medal match against the United States, was described by teammate Debbie Watson as "the Dennis Rodman of water polo," for her free-spirited ways and her penchant for dying her hair unusual colors.

Higgins begged to differ. "I'm unique," she said.

SIR YES SIR

Just call him Sir Steven Redgrave.

British newspapers began a campaign Sunday to win knighthood for the 38-year-old British rower who won a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal Saturday in rowing's coxless fours.

"Arise Sir Hero," said the Sunday People tabloid.

Of Sunday's dozen nationwide papers, every one had Redgrave on the first page.

The Independent wants the five-time Olympic champion to oversee British sports.

"Put him in the House of Lords as a sports supremo with the power to propel us in the right direction," the paper said. "Now that he has stopped rowing the boat he may relish the chance to start rocking it on behalf of sport."

After winning his fourth gold four years ago in Atlanta, Redgrave announced his retirement with one of the best remembered quotes of those Games: "Anyone who sees me go anywhere near a boat again, ever, you've got my permission to shoot me."

But despite being diagnosed in 1997 with diabetes, he returned to make history as the only athlete in an endurance event to win five in a row.

IN THIS CASE, GOLD MEANS GREEN

Chinese athletes have won a record 18 gold medals and their overall performance has helped reaffirm China's position as Asia's sporting powerhouse, which could boost Beijing's bid to host the Olympic Games in 2008.

It has also been profitable for the athletes.

The government promised gold medalists at least $9,600--more than 10 times what many Chinese earn in a year--with $6,000 for a silver medal and $3,600 for a bronze, said Chinese Olympic official Shao Shiwei.

LEAVE THE CAR IN PARK

The little driverless car that was the hit of the hammer competition is in the pits for good.

The head of competition for track and field, Bill Bailey, decided to ban the car from being used in the men's and women's discus.

The remote-control car with "Sydney 2000" on the side was used to fetch the hammer after each throw. It is owned by UCS Inc., the New Jersey-based company that supplies most of the track competition equipment for the Sydney Games.

Bailey said the blue car broke down in the hammer preliminaries and was unable to travel in a straight line. He also cited the car as a relatively new piece of equipment. However, the car was used in the Barcelona Games eight years ago.

Anatoly Angelov, chief engineer for UCS and the man who operated the car, was upset with the decision.

"Of course it doesn't travel in a straight line. It's remote control," he said. "We used it in Barcelona with no problem."

The car drew a huge cheer when it was shown on the big screens at Olympic Stadium during Friday's qualifying.

"I was on television with it," Angelov said. "This was fun for everybody, but it's not fun for him [Bailey]. I don't understand it."

TASTES LIKE CHICKEN

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