Track cycling has gone retro. SuperBikes, those high-tech, lightweight, $30,000 wonders developed for the Atlanta Games as part of a multimillion-dollar program to end the U.S.'s 12-year gold medal drought in track cycling, have been replaced by more traditional-looking, cheaper ($4,000 to $5,000) bicycles (above). To encourage Olympic participation among poorer nations, the International Cycling Federation has outlawed much of the SuperBike technology, including aerodynamically refined frames that had no top tube. This could be a blessing in disguise for U.S. riders: Aboard those SuperBikes four years ago, they didn't win one track event.
Clear Face Masks
In their white mummy gear and grill masks, fencers have always looked like creatures from a horror film. No more. Transparent face masks are now mandatory in international fencing, giving fans some faces to watch. The mummy look may soon vanish too: Colored uniforms will be allowed in Sydney.
East Timorese Athletes
Ruled by Portugal for more than 400 years and by Indonesia for 24, East Timor gained independence in August 1999 through a national referendum. After the vote, hundreds of East Timorese were killed by pro- Indonesia militias, and nearly 200,000 people fled into West Timor. Thanks to an Australia-led campaign, four East Timorese athletes—including boxer Victor Ramos (left)—will compete in Sydney. Since East Timor is under U.N. administration, the athletes will march under the Olympic flag as "individual athletes," not as representatives of their fledgling country.