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Back for one more

Latest: Sunday October 01, 2000 05:23 AM

  • Athlete of the Hour
  • Beauts & Busts
  • Featured Expert
  • Four Years Ago
  • Heard Around Town
  • Margin of Victory
  • On the Spot
  • Storylines
  • By Albert Lin,

    SYDNEY, Australia -- Competition was delayed for six hours because of 50-mph wind gusts, but after two failed attempts to start, the kayakers finally hit the water. And Birgit Fischer is glad they did.

    The 38-year-old and teammate Katrin Wagner captured the women's 500 meters Sunday, earning Fischer her seventh gold medal, spanning 20 years and six Games. She has at least one gold in every Olympics in which she has competed, and no doubt would have more had East Germany not supported the Soviet boycott of Los Angeles in 1984.

    The seven golds is the most by a German, and Fischer's overall total of 10 medals is a canoe/kayak record.

    Fischer has already retired three times, but she said before these Games that if she were still competitive she would stay active through the 2002 World Championships. There she could add to her astonishing total of 27 world titles.

    With relatively little interest in the Sydney Games back in the U.S., how quickly will these athletes' accomplishments fade from memory? And will this group of American champions be able to cash in, as many past gold medalists have, when it comes to endorsement contracts?
    The one track moment we were deprived of this Olympics was a Michael Johnson-Maurice Greene showdown in the 200 meters. Johnson is likely to retire before 2004, but sometime in the next year we hope these two finally face off on a track -- say at the World Championships next August in Edmonton?
    What will Athens do in the next few years to try to come close to matching the success of the 2000 Games? For that matter, let's hope the Greek capital is able to get its act together in time so the IOC doesn't move the Games to another city.
    Running one of the toughest courses in Olympic history in the face of strong gusts of wind, Ethiopia's Gezahgne Aberra won the men's marathon in 2:10:11 Sunday evening to close the 2000 Olympics.
    The American boxing and freestyle wrestling teams were both shut out from the top of the medal stand. The boxers went 0-for-2 in gold medal matches and the wrestlers lost two semifinals and two quarterfinals Sunday. It's the first gold-less Games since 1948 for the boxers and since 1968 for the wrestlers.
    NBC finally got on the ball by unexpectedly showing the gold medal basketball game live in the U.S. -- starting at 10:15 p.m. ET -- in the Eastern and Central time zones. Ah, what might have been.
    World champion Alina Kabaeva of Russia had to settle for bronze when following a toss her hoop landed and skidded out of bounds. The resulting 9.641 dropped her well behind the leaders, though she recovered with 9.950s on ball and ribbon to finish third.
    Sydney is everything you have read and more. What a beautiful, beautiful setting for anything, let alone the Olympics. We only hope it's not another 44 years before the Games return Down Under. It certainly won't be 44 years for us.

    Other countries may
    have closed the gap on the U.S. in basketball, but the rest of the world has miles to go before it can match the Americans in prancing, preening and general self-adoration, says Sports Ilustrated's Phil Taylor.
    Marathon Winner Josia Thugwane became the first South African black to take gold when he ran the grueling course in two hours, 12 minutes and 36 seconds. -- Sports Illustrated's Michael Bamberger
    The garish post-race display Saturday night by the U.S. men's 4x100-meter relay team -- removing their tops and spending plenty of time flexing and posing ( Jon Drummond even climbed up on the edge of the stands to do a Hulk Hogan routine) drew plenty of stares. It also drew apologies. "We've talked about it. As you say, we went too far. And we're truly sorry if we offended anyone," said Maurice Greene, the one with the least participation.
    Reigning handball world champion Norway, stunned in the semifinals by Hungary, squeaked by Korea 22-21 to claim the bronze. Mia Hundvin scored the game-winner with 83 seconds left on an incredibly athletic play, jumping over a fallen defender, hanging in the air and changing her arm angle.

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