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Catch Olympic Fever Before It's Too Late

August 21, 2004

Greece, a small country, working against tremendous odds and negative advance publicity, staged a world-class, beautiful and spectacular opening ceremony. Our American athletes conducted themselves with dignity and grace. And how did The Times sports section report the story? With pratfall humor and ridicule. Particularly disgusting was Bill Plaschke's juvenile attempt to be witty by portraying the presentation as though it were a burlesque show. Too bad the U.S. Olympic Committee couldn't have persuaded The Times sports staff that their smart-aleck comments typify the thoughtless insensitivity that encourages hate toward the U.S. around the world.

Ross Barrett

Los Angeles

*

Congratulations to Athens for a truly spectacular opening ceremony. No thanks to Bob Costas and Katie Couric. They did their best to trivialize everything with a host of foolish comments. It was like seeing a classic movie with an obnoxious chatterbox seated right behind you.

Theo Miles

Claremont

*

In his Aug. 17 article, "All That's Missing Is Perspective," it appears that it is Mr. Plaschke himself who lacks the perspective to understand the motivation behind swimmer Michael Phelps' Olympic pursuits.

It is evident that for Phelps, the opportunity to compete among the world's most elite athletes in his sport outweighs the risk of losing. Rather than participating only in events in which he is favored to win, Phelps has sought out the most difficult challenges. Unknowingly, Mr. Plaschke has observed the truly inspiring nature of Michael Phelps' competitive strategy.

Natalie McClernan

Echo Park

*

The U.S. men's basketball team has far exceeded my disappointments from a letter that I wrote two weeks ago. As we found against Puerto Rico, this is the worst U.S. basketball team ever assembled for the Olympic Games. I am pretty sure that I could assemble a team from weekend warriors that could shoot, pass and defend better.

The U.S. men's basketball team, USA Basketball and the NBA should be ashamed and embarrassed. But then again, with the mentality of those listed above, I am quite certain they couldn't care less.

Geno Apicella

Burbank

*

I am a proud citizen of the United States. But how can you not pull a little bit in the bottom of your heart for international teams playing against a U.S. team consisting of million-dollar prima donnas from the NBA?

Scott Bentley

Malibu

*

The fact that the U.S. men's basketball team is staying on a luxury ship in the Mediterranean, instead of in the Olympic dorm with the other athletes, is 10 times more embarrassing to me as an American than the fact that they lose games.

It's so gaudy, extravagant, pretentious, and so utterly ... American.

Paul Ollen

Lakewood

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