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Monday, October 2, 2000

100 moments from Sydney

 The flame has been extinguished and the flag folded up, but the memories of the XXVII Olympiad will live on.
 
 Here is a completely subjective list of 100 heroes, zeroes, highs, lows, winners, losers, touching moments, good lines, bad actors, anecdotes and any other stuff that was left over after three weeks to pad out this stupid list...
 
 1. Thorpedo.
 2. Bondi Beach's dress code.
 3. Simon Whitfield's smile.
 4. Waneek Horn-Miller's pride.
 5. Anne Montminy's giggle.
 6. Shredded bathing suits in waterpolo.
 7. "LOOK RIGHT" painted on the street at ntersections.
 8. Still not knowing which way to look when crossing the street.
 9. Danish rowers.
 10. Seeing the Olympic rings lit up on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
 11. The lights playing on the roof of the Sydney Opera House.
 12. An Australian newspaper spelling Diane Jones-Konihowski as Dianne Smith-Honikowski.
 13. Eric Moussambani's solo swim in the 100m heats at the International Aquatic Centre. From Equatorial Guinea, he gamely thrashed about while the crowd cheered him on.
 14. Spelling Pieter van den Hoogenband's name.
 15. Pronouncing Pieter van den Hoogenband's name.
 16. A cellphone going off and 25 people all digging into their pockets to see if it's their's.
 17. Mobile phone rings. We used to get all our classical music training from Bugs Bunny. Now it comes from the rings on cellphones.
 18. Divers protecting the athletes from sharks in Farm Cove during the triathlon swims.
 19. Snakes on the mountain bike course.
 20. A spider in the press centre at the pool. A big spider.
 21. Scalpers, who struggled to unload their tickets. A $355 ticket for the men's 10m diving final could be had for $70.
 22. Canada going four days into the Games without a drug controversy - a new record.
 23. The job done by Canadian waterpolo goaltender Josee Marsolais, the Patrick Roy of the waves.
 24. Victoria Bitter beer.
 25. Spending three weeks in a country and still not being able to recognize the denomination of coins (at least there are no pennies).
 26. Derek Porter's tears. The Canadian sculler apologized for not winning a medal. He needn't have.
 27. The foghorn from the Senobe Canoe Club spurring Echo Lake, N.S.'s Steve Giles to a bronze medal.
 28. The follicly resplendent Romanian's women's eight rowing team which prompted one journo to remark: "Good to see they've got the playoff beards going."
 29. The Dream. Hosted by Roy and H.G., the irreverent late-night show became must-see TV at the Games.
 30."Flat bag." Just one of Roy and H.G.'s expressions for a male gymnast doing the splits.
 31. "Hello, boys." Roy and H.G.'s term for a male gymnast spinning on his back while doing the splits.
 32. How, according to Roy and H.G., every athlete from a former Eastern bloc country was a carpet or furniture salesman.
 33. "Tool tugging," Roy and H.G.'s term for what happens underwater in the very physical men's waterpolo games.
 34. Fatso, the Fat-Arsed Wombat. The mascot for the TV show The Dream became the cult hero of the Games and was fetching bids of more than $85,000 in an internet auction.
 35. Any of the heavyweight weightlifters, who looked like Fatso.
 36. Marion Jones, who had her run at five gold medals halted after two.
 37. C.J. Hunter, Jones' husband, who had his credibility halted after one newspaper article accused him of flunking a drug test.
 38. The awkward minutes when the Olympic cauldron was halted on its climb up a waterfall because of the failure of a "10-cent gizmo."
 39. Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman lighting the torch.
 40. Cathy Freeman lighting up Stadium Australia with her win in the 400m.
 41. The Hockeyroos, the Australian women's field hockey team which was the female version of The Dream Team.
 42. The wackiest auction items: Chocolate moulds of the hands and feet of Olympic athletes.
 43. A marathoner complaining about all the partying and sex in the village which was making it hard for him to prepare for his event, always held on the last day of the Games. Said the village mayor: "There is not a lot of evidence of open bonkage that I can see."
 44. The unluckiest crook at the Games. He stole the accreditation of a gymnast and then used it to go to a basketball game. He wound up sitting beside the athlete whose pass he had stolen and was caught.
 45. Aussie long jumper Jumpin' Jai Taurima who knew it was time to stop celebrating his silver medal in the pub next to the stadium when the plastic cup holding one of many bourbon and cokes fell out of his hand at 5 a.m.
 46. The most dedicated volunteer. Kenneth Palmer, a host driver for the Brazilian team, was buried in his volunteer uniform when cancer claimed him during the Games.
 47. People with nothing better to do. Shoppers lined for up to two hours just to get into the Olympic Super Store in the Olympic Park.
 48. A busy signal. There were reports Bulgarian kayakers had tested positive for drugs during the summer, but officials couldn't act because the telephones for the Bulgarian anti-doping commission were always busy.
 49. The contrast of the gold medal-winning Canadian men's 4x100 relay team of 1996 and the shambles in which the team found itself this time around.
 50. The Oarsome Foursome. Australia's coxless fours have a great nickname.
 51. The American 4x100 relay team posing and flexing after their win and doing nothing to endear Americans to the rest of the world.
 52. More rude behaviour: Italian waterpolo players damaged pool-side furniture after a quarterfinal loss to Hungary. Unlike certain U.S. hockey players, the furniture smashers were caught.
 53. Chinese diver Tian Liang knocking off the first 100-point plus dive in Olympic history, a back 3-1/2 somersault.
 54. British oarsman Steve Redgrave winning gold in five straight Olympics.
 55. German kayaker Birgit Fischer winning her sixth gold medal at her fifth Olympic Games. The 38-year-old mother of two might have had gold in six straight games but for the East German boycott of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
 56. Officials at the gymnastics setting the vault five centimetres too low, sending a number of competitors to nasty spills. Sorry, they said.
 57. Athletes without their clothes on. You couldn't swing a dead kangaroo without seeing Australian polevaulter Tatiana Grigorieva without her duds on. She's got a nude calender coming out. Talk about setting the bar higher.
 58. Lost in translation. "Cross your fingers" became "hold your thumbs" when International Canoe Federation president Ulrich Feldhoff was trying to get the racing started Sunday.
 59. Lost in Translation II: "Play ball" became "Prepare yourself for the commencement of the match."
 60. The pole vaulter who kind of, y'know, nicked himself on the top of his pole when he started falling on the other side of the bar.
 61. Blue Rodeo performing at The Moose Lodge, the "Canadian" bar in Darling Harbour.
 62. Blue Rodeo having to stop performing at The Moose Lodge while the crowd, the majority of which was Aussie, sang "Waltzing Matilida" after Australia won a cycling gold on television.
 63. Good little meat pies.
 64. Big, bad hot dogs.
 65. Breakaway chocolate bars. The staple of one sportswriter's diet.
 66. New sports that being with "T." They're good for Canada. Four of our 14 medals came in the new sports triathlon, trampoline and taekwondo. Tennis, too, which is relatively new. Now if we can just get tiddleywinks or tapdancing into the Games.
 67. Volunteer uniforms. Talk was one volunteer turned down $5,000 for his clothes. If you had seen what these outfits look like, you'd know where the expression a "a fool and his money are soon parted comes from."
 68. A Fool, Part II: The asking price for one of the shoes worn by 100m champ Maurice Green: $100,000.
 69. NBC's Olympic ratings disaster. Good news for Toronto's bid. If the network that paid $3.2 billion US for the Games through 2008 has anything to say about it, the 2008 Games won't be in China's time zone.
 70. A great line about NBC's tape delayed coverage. David Letterman said he tuned in and "Jesse Owens was pissing off Hitler."
 71. Boomerang shopping.
 72. The face of Australian race walker Jane Saville after she was disqualified 150m from a gold medal.
 73. The face of French sprinter Marie-Jose Perec avoiding a showdown with Freeman as she bolted Sydney claiming she was harrassed.
 74. Perec's mistake. Turns out the media she thought was harrassing her outside her digs were at a bus stop for a media shuttle.
 75. "Madamoiselle La Chicken," the headline in Sydney's Daily Telegraph the day after Perec left.
 76. Bulgarians. The weightlifter who lost his silver medal because of a positive drug test smoked a cigarette outside a McDonald's while they gave his medal to a Chinese athlete 150 metres away.
 77. Moths attracted to the lights of Stadium Australia. Bug zappers would have overheated.
 78. The heart of the Canadian men's basketball team.
 79. One Sydney paper's prediction of 99 medals for Australia. 80. They didn't miss it by too much. The Aussies had 58.
 81. Donovan Bailey's cold.
 82. Bruny Surin's hamstring.
 83. Glenroy Gilbert's frustration over those two teammates' indifference to the 4x100 relay team.
 84. Daniel Nestor, the worst guest around. He upset Aussie Pat Rafter in singles. Then, with partner Stephane Lareau, denied The Woodies doubles gold in their swan song in front of their home crowd.
 85. Maxime Boilard's finishing kick to take fourth in the men's C-1 500m.
 86. The medal-winning cyclist who was caught, um, celebrating, with a young lady in a dark recess outside the stadium an hour later.
 87. Being in a country where the Canadian dollar is worth more than their's.
 88. American infielder Brent Abernathy. He won gold before the games started, picking up $125,000 in a poker game at a casino near their Gold Coast training site. That's about $8.50 US.
 89. Field hockey. Why don't they just get longer sticks?
 90. "Lots of ore, but no gold." Headline in the Daily Telegraph on Aussie rowers.
 91. Police cars and taxis, which looked the same.
 92. Sebastian Coe. The former sprinter threw his bags in the backseat of a taxi and gave his hotel name. The guy in the front seat turned around and said: "you realize this is a police car." They took him to his hotel.
 93. Aussie swimming hero Ian Thorpe being refused access to the athletes village because someone had forged his accreditation so his pass had been canceled. He showed his two gold medals and was allowed in.
 94. The two Koreas marching into the stadium together for the Opening Ceremonies.
 95. Park to Kim to Park...The Aussie baseball team got a scouting report on the South Koreans and were told to watch out for these two guys Park and Kim. Trouble is there were five Parks and four Kims on the roster.
 96. More Korean stuff: a media guide, usually over the top in praise, had this say about a baseball coach: "His current team has the worst record in the league and he is somewhat of a surprise choice to the roster."
 97. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy. It didn't take too long for that chant to become a pain.
 98. The "cossies" (bathings suits in Aussie lingo) at beach volleyball.
 99. The chant at beach volleyball: "Cossie, cossie, cossie, off, off, off!
 100. Trying kangaroo which prompted one scribe to say, "Skippy is much better as a peanut butter than a main course."