2004 OLYMPICS

washingtonpost.com's Bill Grant took your questions Thursday. Read the transcript.
American Tim Mack wins the pole vault by clearing an Olympic record 19 feet, 6¼ inches. Teammate Toby Stevenson won the silver at 19-4¼.

Manu Ginobili scores 29 points to lead Argentina to an 89-80 victory over the United States in the Olympic basketball semifinals, pushing the Americans into the bronze-medal game.

Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia wins the long jump with a leap of 23-2½. Teammates Irina Simagina and Tatyana Kotova finish off the first long jump sweep in Olympic history.

Osleidys Menendez of Cuba sets an Olympic record to win the javelin -- throwing 234 feet, 8 inches, just shy of her own world record.

Liu Xiang of China wins the 110-meter hurdles, setting an Olympic record and tying the world record of 12.91 seconds. It was China's first gold in men's track.

Light heavyweight Andre Ward is the only American to advance to boxing's gold medal round, beating Uzbekistan's Utkirbek Haydarov to extend his six-year winning streak.

Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway wins gold in the mountain bike race, her 15th consecutive victory in internationally sanctioned events. She's won 28 of her 32 races since May 2003.

"I know it's going to be a definite adjustment. I never escape how I feel. I still work with those feelings every day."
-- Synchronized swimmer Tammy Crow, who will serve jail time after a no contest plea to vehicular homicide, after winning a bronze with the U.S. team.

"When I heard all these people -- the thousands of people -- shout my name, it was the most beautiful thing that I have heard in recent years."
-- Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris, on the crowd delaying the start of the 200-meter final by chanting his name and whistling.

"I don't have to figure out what my workout's going to be tomorrow. If I want to go for a run, I can go for a run -- and it doesn't have to be that fast. ... My body's thanking me right now."
-- Mia Hamm, one day after her last game with the U.S. women's soccer team.

The U.S. women's basketball team, undefeated since the 1992 Games, takes on Australia for the gold.

Two gold-medal winners in Athens, Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, square off in the 5,000 meters.


Rude Awakenings

By Bill Grant
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Web Posted: Friday, Aug. 27, 2004; 7:31 p.m. EDT

ATHENS -- Can we talk about manners for a minute, please?

It seems to us that Pierre de Coubertin, the guy we have to thank -- or blame -- for this 17-day sportsathon, would not be pleased with some of the very unsportsmanlike behavior we've seen in Athens during the past two weeks. After all, de Coubertin said the Games should be "the quadrennial celebration of the springtime of humanity."

Sorry, Pierre, but not quite. Consider:

Greek fans delayed the finals in the 200-meter dash for about 10 minutes Thursday night while they booed and jeered and heckled because their hero, Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris, wasn't competing. You remember, he had that little missed-drug test, mysterious motorcycle accident snafu at the beginning of the Games and withdrew before he got thrown out by the IOC.

The Greeks must have learned a thing or two about behavior from the Russians, who days earlier caused an eight-minute stoppage in the men's gymanstics individual event finals while hissing a low score for one of their gymnasts.

There was the mannerly way in which Russia's gymnastics queen, Svetlana Khorkina, skulked off the floor after accusing the judges of "fleecing" her. Gee, you can't even count on royalty to be well-behaved.

Then you have the case of Germany's Judith Arndt, who flipped the bird to her own cycling federation as she's crossed the line to win the silver medal in the road race. You have to wonder what Judith would have done had she not  made the podium.

Bad manners are not limited to athletes. We had coaches behaving badly in Thursday's U.S.-Spain men's basketball game. Either Larry Brown was rude to call timeout with 23 seconds left and his team up by 11 or Spanish Coach Mario Pesquera was rude for sticking his finger in Brown's face at midcourt after the game. Hell, let's just agree that they were both rude.

But no coaching rudeness compares with the un-Olympic-spirited antics of a South Korean judo coach, Suh Joung-bok, who was expelled for hitting one of his athletes after she lost a bout. This guy just plain needs help.

Still, there have been moments that would warm the cockles of de Coubertin's heart (which is, by the way, buried in Olympia).

Consider the U.S. men's track team -- winners of the gold medal for rudeness at the Sydney Games after the men's 400-relay team triggered howls of protest with their preening during a flag-draped victory celebration. But things change, maybe because footage of that debacle was shown to Athens-bound Olympians as an example of how not  to behave in Greece.

Shawn Crawford, Justin Gatlin and Bernard Williams were taking a much-deserved victory lap after they swept the 200 meters Thursday when they heard the strains of the national anthem. It was being played for Americans Dwight Phillips and John Moffit, who won gold and silver in the long jump. The three sprinters stopped their victory lap and turned toward the medal ceremony. "You had to stop. You can't disrespect the national anthem," Crawford told NBC. "They earned their moment."

For that sentiment, we have to say "thank you."

New Zealand Says Leave the Wreaths in Greece
New Zealand's five medal-winning athletes have been advised to leave their olive wreaths in Greece because quarantine regulations ban them from bringing them home. "They could carry pests and diseases, and that could be passed on to other plants," said Veronica Herrera, a spokeswoman for the ministry's biosecurity authority. The USOC says the United States has no such concerns, noting that some U.S. athletes already have taken their wreaths home.

Gym Dandies
We're not sure how they came up with these numbers, but the AP reports that the the average use of the stationary bikes at the massive gym in the Olympic Village is for 12.5 miles, for a total of 28,000 miles during the Games. The average treadmill run is 5.2 miles for a total of 19,200 miles, and the staff calculates that 67,000 tons of weights will be lifted by the time the Olympics end.

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From the E-mail Bag
Gretchen Teel of Alexandria writes to say: " ... I just got done watching the final of the men's 200 meters, and to say I was shocked and disgusted by the crowd's actions is an understatement. I understand that they are disappointed that their star [Kostas Kenteris] was not there, but to boo, whistle, and hold up the competition like they did was horrendously disrespectful to the athletes who waited ... waited ... still waiting ... to compete in something they have trained so hard to do. I can't say I'm feeling too much goodwill at the moment, and, while I usually like to see lots of medalists from lots of different countries, I was so proud to see the American men sweep those medals. They kept their cool and stayed in control. There was no reason to boo them ... instead the Greek fans should hold their own athletes responsible for their own actions. The competitors in the final had nothing to do with missed tests and doping suspensions."

Ginny Cate of Fairfax wonders, " ... What's with the chamois cloth-like towels that the divers use? And why is it that the divers have to shower off after each dive, yet you never saw the swimmers doing that. The swimmers were in the water for a far longer time, the divers are in for 30 seconds and yet they shower off. I don't get it. ..." Can somebody help Ginny on this one?

E-mail Us
We'd like to hear what you are thinking about the Olympics, and we'll even publish the few that don't make us blush, gag or speed-dial our lawyers. Keep 'em clean and keep 'em short and remember to put "Olympics" in the subject line.

As always, we want to thank our colleagues at Reuters and the Associated Press for their contributions to today's report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Shawn Crawford, along with 200-meter sweepmates Bernard Williams and Justin Gatlin, earns the respect of a boisterous Greek crowd. (AFP)
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