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Jaws IV: Snack Time in Sydney
Rick Reilly
April 03, 2000
To win an Olympic gold medal, would you:
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April 03, 2000

Jaws Iv: Snack Time In Sydney

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To win an Olympic gold medal, would you:

a) sleep with the Iraqi discus team?

b) Greco-Roman wrestle Tonya Harding?

c) swim in shark-infested waters?

If you're figuring on being a triathlete at the Sydney Olympics this summer, you'd better pick c, because it looks as if there are going to be more sharks around Sydney Harbor than at the Greater Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers convention.

In the last six weeks there were at least nine shark-related incidents in and near Sydney Harbor, the site of the swimming segment of the triathlon. Three sharks were caught just outside the harbor in two days—one bull, one silky and one 17-foot great hammerhead, which is the kind of shark that flosses triathletes from between its teeth. Off the harbor beach of Athol, a 61-year-old guy was taking a dip when a shark nibbled on his knee and left a wound that needed stitches. At two nearby ocean beaches swimmers made like hell for land when sharks were sighted, and at a third beach a shark tossed two boys off a Boogie Board. An eight-foot shark attacked a boat full of high school rowers on the Parramatta River, which Sydney Harbor feeds into. That's freshwater, people! My god, what's to keep them out of your swimming pool?

Good thing the Olympics aren't being held on the West Coast of South Australia, where last month an Aussie surfer had to repeatedly jam his fingers into the eyes of an 11-foot bronze shark before it would let go of his buddy. How's a triathlete supposed to practice something like that?

Reporter: So, Lars, how are you preparing for Sydney?

Lars: Well, mostly I'm watching a lot of Three Stooges movies.

Lifeguards on the beaches around Sydney are warning people not to swim near seals, as sharks enjoy seals for between-meal snacks. Unfortunately, the swimmers in the Olympic triathlon will wear wet suits, probably black, which means they'll look exactly like...seals! Plus, ever since Sydney started cleaning up the harbor water for the Olympics, more sharks have been coming around. Let's see: clear view, easy access, seal disguises. To a shark the Sydney Olympic triathlon will be ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT SUSHI NIGHT.

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