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.