The presence of U.S. tennis player Andy Roddick in the Olympic athletes' village is apparently causing international hearts to flutter. The Australian women's water polo team has posted a bounty of $500 for the first one among them to kiss the defending U.S. Open champion. And Roddick is bracing for an ambush.
"I'm thinking that it is going to be a hit-and-run -- while I'm standing in line for food or something," Roddick said following his first-round loss in doubles yesterday.
Mardy Fish, Roddick's doubles partner and Olympic-village roommate, cracked that he'd already hatched a plan to get half of the $500 bounty for himself. He's going to give away his key to the room.
-- Liz Clarke
The security blimp hovering over Athens, the centerpiece of the Games' high-tech surveillance, was downed Sunday, but not by terrorists.
Winds gusting up to 40 mph put the security blimp and two television blimps out of service, according to an NBC official.
The security blimp, part of an interconnected system of cameras and monitors located throughout the city, was replaced in the sky by a fleet of helicopters, the official said.
NBC lost images provided by the television blimps, one of which is usually tethered above the beach volleyball venue.
-- Amy Shipley
Security might be a high priority at these Games but so, too, apparently, is comfort.
An Athens police car with its blue lights flashing screeched to a halt at a major intersection yesterday morning next to a police officer who was directing traffic. The person in the car handed something through the window to the officer, who was neatly dressed in a crisp blue shirt, white cap and white gloves.
As the car sped off, the officer resumed the job of directing traffic.
He also sipped through a straw the iced coffee with whipped cream he had been given, waving cars by with his free hand.
-- Amy Shipley
Athletes here aren't the only people in snazzy uniforms.
Despite a reputation for careless, even disgusting, customs of dress, many journalists have been outfitted in garb and equipment specially made for the Olympics. There are Canadians in red, and Mexicans in smart white polo shirts.
Japanese journalists appear to be equipped with special fans, which they wave vigorously in Athens's summer heat, and on the crowded pink shuttle buses that ferry reporters among the venues.
But the journalists who should get a medal for most coordinated Olympic outfits are those from the Brazilian TV network, BAND.
Clad in green, knee-length shorts, and yellow shirts trimmed in green, with a green and yellow CBS-style logo on the back, BAND's crews look like members of a soccer team, or a gang of furniture movers.
But in the tense scrums for post-competition interviews, it's not hard for Brazilian athletes to find the home country's media.
-- Michael E. Ruane