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Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Princess is no team player at Olympics

 LONDON (AP) -- Princess Anne thinks there's a simple solution to containing the size of the Olympics -- drop team sports.
 "I am on record as saying team games should not be part of the games," said Anne, president of the British Olympic Association. "It is a distortion in terms of numbers. If you are trying to rationalize the games in terms of future numbers, then the things you ought to get rid of are the team games."
 Around 10,200 athletes will compete in next month's Sydney Games, 200 above the ceiling set by the International Olympic Committee.
 There are 28 sports on the program in Sydney, including two new ones, triathlon and taekwondo. Team sports include basketball, soccer, handball, field hockey, baseball, women's softball, water polo and volleyball.
 "Other people will say, 'Don't be ridiculous, nobody will watch it unless there are team games," Anne said. "That's largely an argument between being pragmatic in terms of management and the ability to sell the games as a TV entity."
 Anne, speaking to British reporters in remarks published Tuesday, competed for Britain in the three-day equestrian event at the 1976 Montreal Games.
 She is one of Britain's two delegates on the IOC. She said she never considered resigning from the IOC during last year's bribery scandal surrounding Salt Lake City's bid for the 2002 Winter Games.
 "If there were any reasons for me to quit, they existed long before the scandals and for entirely different reasons," Anne said. "They were personal ones, but I don't think you would be interested in them.
 "But the one thing that shines through about the Olympics is the commitment of the athletes themselves. There's something quite remarkable about a world-class, multisports festival once every four years.
 "If the athletes turned around and said, 'This is all corrupt and bent,' there would be no reason to carry on."
 Anne said the reforms adopted by the IOC last December in the wake of the scandal "go far enough."
 The princess also defended the IOC's anti-drug efforts but lamented that cheaters still go undetected.
 "The IOC have done so much in the fight against drugs, but the constant changes and the way people have come up with new drugs means there is always going to be someone who is going to cheat," she said.
 "It may not be the athlete, it may be the trainer. It is a difficult area, though the majority of people at that level want clean games, particularly the athletes."
 Anne said she favors a lifetime ban for drug cheats. The IOC calls for minimum two-year suspensions for athletes caught using steroids.
 "The lifetime ban comes from athletes themselves," Anne said. "The athletes who have always been clean think that this is the only way of dealing with it."
 Britain last staged the Olympics in 1948 in London. There have been unsuccessful bids by Birmingham and Manchester, while London is lining up a possible bid for the 2012 games.
 Asked about the prospect of getting the games, Anne said: "It begs the question, 'How long will I live?' Life's too short to think about that."
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