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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:

HIGHS

- 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.

LOWS

- 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.

BEST LINES

- "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.

$UPER $ALES

- $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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IOC strips gold medal
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Nestor's golden win hits home
BOXING
Harrison starts in Britain
WEIGHTLIFTING
Bulgarian coach resigns
TRACK & FIELD
Student suspended for e-mail threats
CANOE/KAYAK
Bridesmaid Brunet
PENTATHLON
Brit wins women's modern pentathlon
TRIATHLON
Simon's our man
BASKETBALL
Dream Team hangs on for another gold
WATER POLO
Hungary destroys Russia in title game
GYMNASTICS
Barsukova wins rhythmic gold in an upset
EQUESTRIAN
Wind dashes Millar's medal hopes
VOLLEYBALL
Yugoslavia beats Russia for gold
DIVING
Despatie arrives early
FIELD HOCKEY
Netherlands retains Olympic title
TAEKWONDO
Bosshart wins bronze in taekwondo
SYNCHRO
Ironic performance wins bronze
SAILING
Clarke retires after finishing 17th