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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

The Standard Has Been Set for C.J. Hunter

September 28, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Art Thiel of the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, writing from Sydney: "It's been hard to top the excuse offered last year by a banned international cyclist: Someone sabotaged his toothpaste with a performance-enhancing drug.

"But he lost the lead in the category of drug-induced whoppers at these Olympic Games after a coach from Uzbekistan was busted at the airport packing 15 vials of human growth hormone. Sergey Voynov said it was to help cure his baldness.

"So the standards C.J. Hunter, the U.S. shotput star, must meet in the Summer Games' most pervasive competition--the drug alibi tournament--are high."

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Trivia time: Who were USC's first Olympic gold medalists in track and field?

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Unloved: Wallace Matthews of the New York Post was worried that the Australians were too friendly to the Americans at the Olympic Games.

"The Aussies, it turns out, hate us. Very much. Just like the rest of the world. Why, I'm not sure. But the Bronx cheer is vacationing in Sydney these days, and its target is us. As in U.S.

"Maybe it's because we sent not a team, but an army, enough bodies [615 athletes, plus their coaches, publicists, stylists, lackeys, factotums and flunkies] to take over the entire continent if we so chose."

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Sleeping network: Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle: "NBC delayed Stacy Dragila's decisive pole vault so long Monday night that the suspense was right out of Hitchcock--as long as you were in the bathroom when a Visa commercial scooped the network and congratulated Dragila on her gold medal."

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Add FitzGerald: "What the network should have done to deflect criticism of its all-tape, all-the-time coverage of the Olympics: Change its name to NBC Classic."'

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Not a clue: There were 45,653 fans on hand, but 20,000 missing for the Bengal-Jaguar game in Jacksonville last week, prompting Jaguar Coach Tom Coughlin to say:

"I can't for the life of me understand where the others were."

Said Ron Borges of the Boston Globe: "Probably boarding up their homes, since there was a hurricane hitting at game time."

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The devil is waiting: Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel is unpopular in Eugene, Ore., where the Huskies meet the Ducks on Saturday.

When Neuheisel was coaching at Colorado he called for a fake punt late in the 1996 Cotton Bowl game against Oregon, when the Buffaloes beat the Ducks, 38-6.

Neuheisel told Bud Withers of the Seattle Times that he got memorable messages from Oregon fans. "I got one from a priest," he said. "He told me I was going to rot in hell."

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Huffing and puffing: Bernie Lincicome in the Rocky Mountain News: "There would be fewer overweight umpires if the umps had to run with the players as officials in other sports do. Come to think of it, there would be fewer overweight first basemen too."

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Looking back: On this day in 1951, Norm Van Brocklin of the Rams threw for an NFL-record 554 yards and five touchdowns as the Rams routed the New York Yankees, 54-14, at the Coliseum.

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Trivia answer: Fred Kelly in the 110-meter high hurdles and Alma Richards in the high jump at the 1912 Games in Stockholm, Sweden.

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And finally: South Carolina football Coach Lou Holtz, on being invited by President Clinton to spend a night at the White House:

"I've read about all those people who have to contribute to stay. I've stayed there and didn't contribute anything. In fact, I took some linen."

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