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Monday, October 2, 2000
Ups, downs of fun and Games

By JIM KERNAGHAN, Free Press Sports Columnist

  A list of highs and lows from the Olympic Games:


- Closing ceremony: Fireworks will never be the same.

- The volunteers: Never faded, never grumped and a happy G'day to the very end.

- The venues: Sparkling and first-rate.

- The fairness: High prices but whatever the cost, Aussies give you good measure.

- Most fascinating athlete: Aussie Cathy Freeman, the Aboriginal who helped unite a nation.

- Second most: Marion Jones, three golds, two bronze.

- Toughest athlete: The right cross that walks like a man, Cuban boxer Felix Savon.

- The rocks: Australian history gone uptown with bouncing night life.

- Darling Harbour: The most beautiful evening stroll anywhere.

- Most beautiful athlete: Stunning ex-Russian, now-Aussie pole-vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva.

- Most handsome athlete: Tall, blond and perfectly muscled Derek Porter.

- Golden Canadians: Wrestler Daniel Igali, triathlete and closing ceremonies flag-bearer Simon Whitfield; tennis pair Daniel Nestor and Sebastien Lareau.

- Most grace under pressure: Porter, facing the media.

- The A for effort: Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea, who had never swam 100 metres before and almost didn't make it.

- The A for marketing: Fatso "the fat-arsed wombat," unofficial mascot.

- Strongest man: Iranian super heavweight lifter Hossein Razazadeh's world record 260-kilogram lift equalled hoisting three large refrigerators over his head.

- Most-heard chant: "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi-oi-oi."

- Continuity award: British rower Steve Redgrave, five Olympics, five gold medals.


- Canada's performance: We knew the medal count would be down, not almost off the scale.

- Donovan Bailey: When you come to run, run it out.

- Vince Carter: One blown kiss to mom would suffice.

- Stupidest athlete: A several-way tie for each bonehead caught for performance-enhancing substances. The 17 caught before even getting to Sydney tied for second.

- Stupidest thief: The guy who stole the athlete's accreditation, sat in his seat and was chased down by the Australian judo team.

- Sydney drivers: They don't chase after you, it just seems like it.

- NBC's packaged highlights versus live coverage.

- German middle-distance runner Nils Schumann's tattoo -- a stylized Swastika.

- French runner Marie-Jose Perec: Full retreat before the battle.

- Venus Williams: She came, she didn't see anything, she conquered tennis gold and left.

- Top down: Female water polo players getting their suits ripped off during competition. Bondi Beach felt this should go in the Highs.

- O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochrane, zooming half-way around the world to the side of alleged drug cheat C.J. Hunter.

- Who's listening? Disgraced Romanian weightlifter Adrian Mateas first threatened suicide, then went on a hunger strike to protest expulsion for steroid use.

- The drunk I had to fight off while doing a radio interview.


- "Someone must have put it in my toothpaste." German runner Dieter Baumann, after testing positive for steroids.

- Australian high jumper Alison Inverarity on her career: "I've had plenty of ups and downs."

- Disqualified race walker Jane Saville on what she needs to overcome her disappointment: "A gun to shoot myself."

- "I think they're saving them. They're not that Olympian." An athlete's village clinic volunteer on requests for additional condoms.

- "Expectations are high, support is medium, the outcome average." Canadian swim coach on Canada's approach to sports.

- "I just stood there and was a target." American boxer Michael Bennett after he was stopped by Savon.


- $10,000-$20,000: Expected auction price for Cathy Freeman's one-piece track suit. Bought last week for a couple of hundred dollars.

- $100,000-plus: Money expected from U.S. collector by chap who caught sprinter Maurice Greene's gold-soled right show when he threw it into the crowd.
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