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Thursday, August 31, 2000
Torchbearer dies after relay leg; Olympic staffer dies in accident

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- A 74-year-old torchbearer died of a possible heart attack just minutes after carrying the Olympic flame Thursday on the 85th day of the torch relay.

 Police said Ron King, a former professional cyclist, was pronounced dead soon after completing his leg of the torch relay in his home town of Muswellbrook, northwest of Sydney.

 It was the first fatality linked with the torch relay, which includes 11,000 torchbearers on its 100-day journey around Australia to Olympic Stadium, where the Olympic flame will be used to ignite the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

 Muswellbrook Shire Council general manager Lou Fisher said local residents were in shock.

 "I spoke to him yesterday and he was happy and very excited about the torch ... and very much looking forward to running with it," he said.

 The torch relay will continue west Friday before starting a final loop that will take it into Sydney in the days leading up to the Olympics, which start Sept. 15.

 On Wednesday, a Sydney 2000 staffer died after a collision between his motorcycle and a woman riding a non-motorized scooter in the main Olympic precinct.

 Police did not release the man's identity.

 The woman sustained multiple fractures and was transported by ambulance to nearby Westmead Hospital. She was reported to be in a stable condition.

 The fatality occurred just two days before a security lockdown at all Olympic venues.

 Scooters, bicycles, in-line skates and skateboards will all be banned, for safety purposes, from any Olympic precinct from Friday until after the Oct. 18-29 Paralympics.

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