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OLYMPIC NOTES

Softball Coach to Go to Athens

July 27, 2004|From Associated Press

Mike Candrea will coach the U.S. Olympic softball team next month in Athens, fulfilling the wishes of his wife who died recently while traveling with the team.

Sue Candrea, 49, died on July 18 of complications from a brain aneurysm she suffered while the team was in Stevens Point, Wis., on a pre-Olympic tour.

"Sue was so excited about the upcoming Olympics and would want me to continue on with our dream," Mike Candrea said from Oklahoma City. "Our entire family is behind this decision, and we know this is what she would want us to do. We have been overwhelmed with the support we have received over the past week and can't express how much it has meant to our family."

The U.S. team, going for its third consecutive gold medal, will leave Wednesday for Athens.

Mike Candrea will be accompanied to Greece by his daughter, Michelle, and son, Mikel.

Sue Candrea had retired as an accountant six months ago to travel with the team.

"She was the one who got my dad going," Mikel Candrea said. "If it wasn't for her, my dad would not be where he is today, no doubt about that."

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Polish weightlifter Szymon Kolecki, a silver medalist at the Sydney Olympics, will miss the Athens Games after testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.

Kolecki, a middle heavyweight, tested positive June 26 and was suspended pending the results of testing on a "B" sample, which were released Monday and confirmed the earlier result.

"Kolecki has to forget about the Olympics," Marek Golab, an official with the Polish Union of Weightlifters, said from Warsaw. He described the absence of Kolecki as "a great loss."

Three other Polish lifters who had planned to compete in Athens have already been disqualified from the Games after testing positive for banned substances.

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Security officials in Athens tested a new communication and surveillance system Monday that will serve as the nerve center for authorities at the Olympic Games.

The $312-million network -- developed by a consortium led by San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC -- is undergoing field tests after months of delays and other disputes. On Sunday, police practiced moving athletes and Games officials from the Olympic village and another site to the main Olympic stadium -- a drill that involved 2,000 personnel and 90 buses.

"I think it went well," Marton Simitsek, a top Olympic planner, said.

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Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers were selected unanimously by their teammates as co-captains of the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

"It's an honor just to be on this team," Iverson said. "I guess it says a lot about who I am as a player and my potential of being a good leader.

"I felt that with me being the oldest player and being in the [NBA] as long as I have been, I would be a candidate for it. And, I feel the same about Tim. ... On and off the court, I think we both deserve it."

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Allen Johnson, a U.S. Olympic and world champion hurdler, says: "Athletics is cleaner than it's ever been" despite allegations of drug use by U.S. track and field athletes.

"I want to go on record saying that it's a misperception that there's a problem with athletics, or track and field as we call it in the United States," Johnson said on the eve of the DN Galan meet at Stockholm. "The sport was the dirtiest when nobody was talking about it."

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