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September 03, 2004

Coach says Robbins in denial (September 3, 2004)

"THE head coach of Australian women's rowing Harald Jahrling has reignited the Sally Robbins "no row" debate claiming she does have a problem and needs to acknowledge it.

Jahrling, who is under pressure himself as it has emerged he had his cards marked before the Olympics, made the explosive claims while holidaying in Tuscany in Italy.

Jahrling believes Robbins will not be psychologically equipped for a 2008 Olympic campaign unless she first admits she has a problem and deals with it.

Asked if he feels Robbins could make it to Beiing, Jahrling told The Daily Telegraph: "After she has seriously worked on her problem. Sally has chosen to ignore she has a problem. It has got worse over the years.""

Read more at Coach says Robbins in denial (September 3, 2004):

Posted by Darren at 12:15 PM

August 31, 2004

Athlete caught with pants down [31aug04]

"AUSSIE water polo player Craig Miller was dragged from the closing ceremony of the Athens Games after pulling his pants down while celebrating centre stage with fellow athletes.

Miller, 32, was grabbed by security staff and rushed from the stadium. "He pulled down his trousers," a Greek official said after bundling Miller away.

The veteran water polo player looked stunned and a little shaken as he was taken away for questioning, his belt hanging loose and his trousers askew.

It was the only sour note during a ceremony in which an exuberant Australian team celebrated the close of their most successful overseas Olympic Games."

Read more at Athlete caught with pants down [31aug04]

Posted by Darren at 12:28 PM

August 30, 2004

Matthew Helm's perfect 10

"MATHEW Helm reckons it's a dive he has practised thousands of times.

And the two-and-a-half back somersaults with one and a half twists in a pike position turned out to be his ticket to a silver medal.

Helm pulled off one of the best dives of his life to clinch second in the men's 10m platform, capping off Australia's greatest Olympics in diving -- one gold, one silver and four bronze."

Read more at Helm's perfect 10

Posted by Darren at 02:17 AM

Aussies win surprise relay silver

"Australia has won an unexpected silver medal in the men's 4x400 metre relay at the Athens Olympics.

The Australian team of John Steffensen, Mark Ormrod, Patrick Dwyer and Clinton Hill finished second behind the United States (2:55.91) in a time of 3:00.60.

Nigeria ran home in 3:00.90 to claim the bronze medal.

It was the first time since the 1956 Olympics that Australia had medalled in the event.

Steffensen, who celebrates his birthday on Monday, could hardly believe the team's achievement.

"Who would have thought us boys getting second, I'm speechless, you don't know how hard we have had to work," he told Channel Seven.

"All us boys have done some real hard yards and right now its hard to believe."

Read more at Aussies win surprise relay silver

Posted by Darren at 01:33 AM

Petria Thomas to carry flag at closing ceremony

"Triple gold medallist in swimming, Petria Thomas, will carry the Australian flag at this morning's closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics.

In her third and final Olympic campaign, Thomas won the 100 metres butterfly and was a member of the women's 4X100m freestyle and medley relay teams, which both won gold in world record breaking fashion.

She also won silver in the 200m butterfly to add to four previous medals she had won in Atlanta and Sydney.

Thomas's success in Athens was especially significant due to the fact she has undergone three shoulder reconstructions during her 10-year international career."

Read more at Thomas to carry flag at closing ceremony

Posted by Darren at 01:33 AM

August 28, 2004

U.S. and Australia: A golden matchup - Women's Basketball

"There had been an air of inevitability throughout the Olympic women's basketball tournament that the United States and Australia would meet for the gold medal.

Yesterday that matchup was realized, with both of the tournament's undefeated teams advancing through their semifinal games at the Olympic Indoor Hall. First, the United States edged Russia, 66-62. Then, Australia ran away from Brazil, 88-75.

Today, when the championship tips off at 9:15 a.m., Pittsburgh time, the Australians aim to undo the final remaining feeling of inevitability.

The one that says the Americans are a lock to win."

Read more at U.S. and Australia: A golden matchup

Posted by Darren at 04:49 PM

Kookaburras clinch historic gold

"Jamie Dwyer scored a golden goal as Australia's field hockey men discarded the tag of Olympic chokers with a 2-1 victory over reigning champions the Netherlands in a rousing final this morning. Dwyer slammed the goal in the eighth minute of extra-time following a penalty corner after both teams were locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time."

Read more at Kookaburras clinch historic gold

Posted by Darren at 06:21 AM

Australia wins Men's Hockey Gold Medal

Australia have just defeated the Netherlands in the Men's Hockey competition.

They scored a tie breaking goal in the dying seconds of a first period of extra time.

the score was Australia 2 - Netherlands 1.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Team from Australia
The winner of the
Silver Medal: Team from Netherlands
The winner of the
Bronze Medal: Team from Germany

Posted by Darren at 05:08 AM

Aussie Helm leads platform diving; Americans shut out of medals

"Caesar Garcia and Kyle Prandi failed to advance out of the 10-meter platform preliminaries Friday and that meant one thing: No medals for American divers, their first Olympic shutout in 92 years. Caesar Garcia (seen here) and Kyle Prandi didn't make it out of the men's 10-meter platform prelims the event would have been the USA's last shot at a medal. By Mark Humphrey, AP Garcia, of Baton Rouge, finished 23rd with 388.77 points. Prandi, of Strongsville, Ohio, dropped from second-place to 21st after the second round and wound up 29th out of 33 divers with 346.53 points."

Read more at USATODAY.com - Aussie Helm leads platform diving; Americans shut out of medals

Posted by Darren at 04:27 AM

Nathan Deakes to assess his technique

"Nathan Deakes's coach says the Olympian's technique will be reassessed following his disqualification from the 50-kilometre walk in Athens. Deakes was leading the field with the eventual winner, Poland's Robert Korzeniowski, when he was disqualified at the 33-kilometre mark. The 26-year-old did not receive any warnings during his bronze medal effort in the 20-kilometre walk last week. Deakes's coach Brett Vallance said his charge's disqualification came as a surprise."

Read more at Deakes to assess his technique - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport.

Posted by Darren at 12:27 AM

August 27, 2004

The Australian: Aussie cyclists get belated gold [August 27, 2004]

"AUSTRALIAN track cyclists Peter Dawson and Stephen Wooldridge are to receive belated Olympic gold medals. The International Olympic Committee has agreed to give gold medals to the pair, who rode in the heats but missed out on the team which won the final of the 4000m team pursuit on Sunday.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) lodged an appeal for the medals and announced today the IOC had heeded its plea. In cycling team events only those who ride in the finals normally get medals, unlike swimming, where heat swimmers in relays are also rewarded. Wooldridge and Dawson were delighted when told of the decision by cycling team high performance manager Michael Flynn."

Read more at The Australian: Aussie cyclists get belated gold [August 27, 2004]

Posted by Darren at 08:58 PM

August 26, 2004

Jana Pittman look to drop hurdles

"Olympic 400m hurdles finalist and world champion Jana Pittman of Australia said on Thursday that she was considering switching to the 400m flat race to ease the pressure on her injured knee.

"It has definitely crossed my mind that next season I wouldn't mind running the 400 flat," Pittman told Sky News Australia after finishing fifth in the medal race at Athens just 17 days after undergoing knee surgery."

Read more at Pittman look to drop hurdles

Posted by Darren at 09:01 PM

Nathan Baggaley in the running for three golds

"His coach describes Nathan Baggaley as a mongrel, a racer and a big-occasion performer.

Baggaley will need to live up to his reputation to win the three gold medals he is targeting in the Olympic paddling finals, which begin tomorrow.

Australia has a shot at five kayaking medals on Friday and Saturday.

The Byron Bay surf lifesaver is the strongest hope; he is a two-time world champion in the K1 500 and finished third in the K1 1000 at last year's world championships.

He will also paddle the K2 500 final with 1992 Barcelona gold medallist Clint Robinson.

In the individual races Baggaley will be up against his arch rival, Norway's Eirik Veraas Larsen, who beat him in the heats of both events.

He has recovered from a cold that threatened his preparation and has used the heats and semi finals to fine-tune his racing.

"As soon as you line up in that final, anything can happen," he said."

Read more at Baggaley in the running for three golds

Posted by Darren at 08:54 PM

Holland, Australia set up summit clash in hockey

"Defending champions Holland and favourites Australia won their semifinal clashes in contrasting fashion to set up a title clash in the Olympic men's hockey competition here today.

Holland overcame a fighting Germany 3-2 to get themselves just a win away from clinching their third successive Olympic hockey gold while Australia toyed with a hapless Spain for a comprehensive 6-3 win.

In other classification matches of the day, India went down to Pakistan 0-3 for their fourth loss in six matches in the competition and New Zealand beat South Korea 4-3."

Read more at Olympics: Holland, Australia set up summit clash in hockey

Posted by Darren at 06:30 AM

Aussies dominate Olympic cycling with six golds

"Australia confirmed their status as the new force of world cycling after dominating the Athens Olympics with six gold medals, two of them on a memorable closing day's competition at the Velodrome.

Ryan Bayley clinched the sprint-keirin track double and Stuart O'Grady and Graeme Brown teamed for a dynamic victory in the 50km madison to round off Australia's greatest cycling performance at an Olympics.

In Wednesday's other gold medal, Russian Olga Slyusareva broke through for her first Olympic title at the age of 35 in the women's points race."

Read more at Aussies dominate Olympic cycling with six golds

Posted by Darren at 06:11 AM

Ryan Bayley wins Men's Keirin Gold Medal - Cycling

The winner of the Gold Medal: Ryan Bayley from Australia

The winner of the Silver Medal: Jose Escuredo from Spain

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Shane Kelly from Australia

Jana Pittman finishes fifth in 400m Hurdles

Australians rose in the early hours of the morning to see comeback kid Jana Pittman race in the 400m hurdles race in Athens. After two weeks of a roller coaster ride of injury and miracle recovery Jana today saw her finish fifth behind Greece's Fani Halkia, Romania's Ionela Tirlea-Manolache and Tetiana Tereshchuk-Antipova.

Posted by Darren at 05:21 AM

August 25, 2004

Aussie Austrian wins women's triathlon

"Kate Allen, born in Australia and competing for Austria, kicked past Australia's Loretta Harrop with about 120 meters left Wednesday and won the Olympic women's triathlon by nearly seven seconds. Allen was timed in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 43.45 seconds. Susan Williams of the United States earned the bronze medal."

Read more atAustrian wins women's triathlon

" Australia's Loretta Harrop has finished a close second in the women's Olympic triathlon event in Athens.

Austrian Kate Allen, who was born in Geelong, won the race in 2:04.43 hours, having run down Harrop in the final 150 metres of the climactic run leg.

Harrop finished seven seconds behind Allen, with Susan Williams of the United States placing third.

A former world champion, Harrop established a 30-second lead during the run leg and looked certain to take the gold.

But the 34-year-old Allen timed her race to perfection, storming through the field with a stunning run.

Harrop said she was struggling towards the end of the race.'

Read more at Harrop takes silver in tight finish

Posted by Darren at 11:51 PM

Ryan Bayley wins Men's Sprint Gold Medal - Cycling

The winner of the Gold Medal: Ryan Bayley from Australia

The winner of the Silver Medal: Theo Bos from Netherlands

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Rene Wolff from Germany

Australia reaches baseball gold medal game

"Chris Oxspring tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday in helping carry Australia to a 1-0 win over Japan and into the Olympic baseball gold medal game.

Brendan Kingman singled home the game's only run in the sixth.

Oxspring (2-0) struck out five batters and gave up five hits in the semifinals. Australia will play either Canada or Cuba in Wednesday's championship contest.

Australia is assured its first Olympic baseball medal."

Read more at Australia reaches baseball gold medal game

Posted by Darren at 12:50 AM

August 24, 2004

Australia's Women's Eight Kiss and Make up

"AUSTRALIA'S women's eight rowing crew today assured Olympics team boss John Coates they will stop publicly criticising Sally Robbins.

Robbins has been at the centre of a furore after she stopped rowing with 500m to go in the Olympic final of the women's eight two days ago.

She later dropped her oar with about 100m to go as the Australian boat came in a distant last.

Coates summoned the crew after several members breached team guidelines by publicly criticising Robbins.

He said the meeting this morning went well and the crew displayed great maturity.

"They certainly understand as a group that there have been breaches of our team guidelines which you know say that team members shouldn't talk disparagingly about other team members," Coates told reporters.

"There are certainly assurances that won't happen again."

In a media conference, Robbins said she has broken down during a race before and blamed the problem on anxiety."

  • No more, vow rowers
  • Posted by Darren at 09:33 PM

    USA softball wins gold vs. Aussies USA softball wins gold vs. Aussies

    "Team USA captured the gold today by beating Australia 5-1, capping one of the most dominant team performances in Olympic history.

    The team's 79th win in a row was golden for the Tucson connection - the first gold medal for coach Mike Candrea of the University of Arizona, ex-Wildcats Jennie Finch and Lovie Jung and Tucson native Tairia Mims-Flowers. Former UA outfielder Leah O'Brien-Amico, meanwhile, won her third gold.

    Crystal Bustos was the big slugger today, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning, scoring O'Brien-Amico."

    Read more at USA softball wins gold vs. Aussies

    Posted by Darren at 05:00 AM

    August 23, 2004

    U.S. women's softball could be golden today

    "One win from gold. One shutout from perfection.

    Lisa Fernandez reacts after the final out of the team's semifinal game agaisnt Australia Sunday.
    Click photo for larger image.

    The U.S. softball team, unbeaten, unscored upon and almost unbelievable, rolled to its eighth consecutive shutout yesterday, 5-0, against Australia, and into the gold medal game.

    "We're here for one thing," pitcher Lisa Fernandez said, "and that's to win a gold medal."

    To take their third consecutive Olympic title, the Americans will have to beat the Australians -- the closest thing they have to an archrival -- again.

    After getting beat by the United States earlier yesterday in the heat, Australia took cold showers, ate sandwiches, reapplied sun block and qualified for today's championship game by beating Japan 3-0 behind Tanya Harding's fourth shutout.

    "We want another bite of the cherry," Australian coach Simon Roskvist said. "They're tough, but so are we. We're going to come right at them.""

    Read more at U.S. women's softball could be golden today

    Posted by Darren at 07:04 PM

    Rower too exhausted to carry on: team boss

    "The manager of Australia's women's rowing team has leapt to the defence of a member of the eights crew who stopped rowing during Sunday's Olympic final.

    Sally Robbins stopped rowing late in the race, leaving the Australian crew losing ground to cross the line in sixth place after going to the start line as one of the medal favourites.

    Team manager Wayne Diplock said Robbins was exhausted.

    "It basically gets to the end of the regatta and it's a combination I suppose of mental and physical exhaustion and just one of those things," he said.

    "I think we saw it in the men's eights race as well. The timing's a little bit wrong and if one rower gets exhausted a couple of hundred metres out, there's not a lot you can do.""

    Read more at Rower too exhausted to carry on: team boss

    Posted by Darren at 05:21 PM

    Aussie wins women's diving

    "Chantelle Newbery won Australia's first gold medal in diving since 1924 Sunday night, easily holding off China's Lao Lishi and Aussie teammate Loudy Tourky in women's 10-meter platform. American Laura Wilkinson, the defending Olympic champion, was fifth.

    Newbery finished first with 590.31 points, prompting cheering Aussies to wave flags and plastic kangaroos at the indoor pool.

    "I'm just rapt," she said. "I just can't believe the way it all turned out."

    Lao earned silver with 576.30 points, while Tourky took bronze with 561.66. Emilie Heymans of Canada, the current world champion, was fourth with 555.03. Wilkinson scored 549.72 points."

    Read more at Aussie wins women's diving; Wilkinson 5th

    Posted by Darren at 06:34 AM

    Chantelle Newbery wins Women's 10m Platform Diving Gold Medal

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Chantelle Newbery from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Lishi Lao from China

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Loudy Tourky from Australia

    Australia defeats Japan in Softball - Will play US in Final

    "Kerry Wyborn hit a three-run double and Tanya Harding pitched another shutout as Australia beat Japan 3-0 on Sunday, setting up a rematch with the United States in the gold medal game.

    Harding, who didn't start when the Aussies lost 5-0 to the U.S. team in the semifinals earlier on Sunday, blanked Japan on three hits. She's 4-0 and hasn't given up a run in 33 innings in the tournament.

    Australia has been outscored 15-0 in its two losses in these games against the Americans, whose eight wins have all been shutouts.

    Harding has beaten the U.S. team twice before in Olympic play - the only pitcher ever to do so. She'll likely start the gold medal game, too. With the win over Japan, the Aussies are guaranteed at least a silver medal after winning bronze in the past two Olympics."

    Read more at Aussies Win, Will Play for Softball Gold

    Posted by Darren at 02:36 AM

    August 22, 2004

    One more for gold: U.S. beats Australia 5-0 in Softball

    "One more victory and the U.S. softball team will have its goal: a third Olympic gold.

    USA pitcher Lisa Fernandez lets out a yell after the American's win over Australia in the semi-finals.

    Right now, the Americans aren't just a Dream Team they're more like the Perfect Team.

    Lisa Fernandez pitched a three-hitter Sunday and Crystl Bustos drove in two runs as the Americans rolled to their eighth shutout in eight days, 5-0 over Australia, putting them into the gold medal game.

    On Monday, the United States will play the winner of Sunday's bronze medal matchup between the Aussies and Japan. At this point, the opponent might not matter."

    Read more at One more for gold: U.S. beats Australia 5-0

    Posted by Darren at 11:30 PM

    Eights slump as Sally Robbins stops rowing

    "The Australian women's eight bid for Olympic gold ended in tears when a crew member stopped rowing before the finish.

    Team officials said coach Harald Jarhling was furious after Sally Robbins lay back with a quarter of the race to go and dropped her oar about 100m from the finish line.

    The crew were third at the 1000 metre mark but dropped back to fifth by 1500, crossing the line almost 10 seconds after the fifth place-getters, Germany.

    Robbins was exhausted, not ill or injured, and an Australian official quoted Jarhling as saying he had not seen anything like it in his 35-year coaching career.

    She had to be helped from the boat.

    "I just rowed my guts out in the first 1,500 and didn't have anything left and that's all I could have done for today," Robbins said.

    "I did whatever I could and my best was what I put out there today and I plan to keep rowing.

    "This experience only makes me stronger."

    Robbins said she had not had a chance to talk to her crew mates but she was sure they would be supportive.

    "I will just say (to them) that I did everything I could," she said.

    "This is what I could do today and I put 110 per cent in, and that's what everyone does.""

    Read more at Eights slump as Robbins stops rowing

    Posted by Darren at 10:26 PM

    Horror draw for Jana Pittman

    "THE luck of the draw hasn't gone Jana Pittman's way.

    The Australian is up against the two fastest women in the world this year plus the world record holder in her 400m hurdles Olympic semi-final.

    It is a horror draw compared with the second semi-final, where the only serious threat to Pittman - assuming her injured knee continues to hold under the pressure - would have been American Lashinda Demus, the fourth fastest woman in the event this year.

    It will be a true test for world champion Pittman, who easily won her heat but recorded only the ninth fastest qualifying time overall when she raced at the Olympics 13 days after undergoing knee surgery."

    Read more at Horror draw for Jana

    Posted by Darren at 10:23 PM

    Ryan Bayley and Anna Meares lead Australia sprint charge

    "Australians Ryan Bayley and Anna Meares have led the charge through the first round of the men's and women's cycling sprint heats at the Athens Olympics.

    Bayley, a junk food fanatic who lists deep fried chicken as his favourite meal, clocked 10.177 seconds in his 200-metre burst for the line, just 0.037 seconds ahead of Dutchman Theo Bos.

    The fastest qualifiers face the slowest in knock-out races from now until the final on Tuesday."

    Read more at Bayley, Meares lead sprint charge - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport.

    Posted by Darren at 09:49 PM

    Grant Hackett Sets Olympic Record in 1500m

    "For years they Aussies have dominated the distance events like they were a private fiefdom owned lock, stock and barrel by Australia, Inc. No foreigners permitted, thank you.

    The Aussie greats of the last 15 years - Perkins, Housman, Kowalski and Hackett -- more ofen than not would simply beat up on their foreign competitors, measuring their victories in pool-lengths, rather than seconds or tenths of a second.

    And the greatest of all these distance denizens has been one Grant Hackett -- world record-holder, current world champion, defending Olympic champion, undefeated in seven years. Unassailable. Invincible.

    Hackett won his pet event today, and he carved 8-hundredths of a second off Kieren Perkins' 1992 Olympic record in the process, touching in 14:43.40. But the days of Aussie dominance are gone, thanks to the efforts of two -- no, make that three -- teenagers separated by thousands of miles but sharing a determinataion to bring the Aussie distance dominance to a quick close. "

    Read more at Hackett Sets Olympic Record in 1500, Just Nips Jensen, Davies

    Posted by Darren at 05:57 PM

    Aussie swim team best since '56

    "THE Australian swimming team finished the Athens Olympics as the nation's most successful since the 1956 Melbourne Games.

    Australia won 7 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze in the pool to once again finish second on the medal table behind the powerful Americans (12-9-7).

    "We've done very well here. After all the hype of Sydney ... it's a significant achievement for us," said Australian head coach, Leigh Nugent.

    Grant Hackett leaves Athens as only the third swimmer in history to win back-to-back Olympic 1500m freestyle titles behind American Michael Burton and fellow Queenslander Kieren Perkins.

    His victory tonight in 14 minutes 43.40 seconds was less than two seconds ahead of American Larsen Jensen. Nevertheless, the triumph allows Australia to truly claim the race as its own.

    Going into the Athens Games, Australia and the United States were equal with seven Olympic 1500m titles.

    But Hackett's win on the last night of the swimming program in Greece puts Australia ahead with eight."

    Read more at Aussie swim team best since '56

    Posted by Darren at 05:56 PM

    August 21, 2004

    Boomers sink to third defeat - Athens Olympics 2004

    "Daniel Santiago scored 20 points and Elias Ayuso added 18 to lead Puerto Rico past Australia 87-82, an Athens Olympics men's basketball preliminary victory that ensured Puerto Rico a quarter-final berth.

    In the day's other match, undefeated Spain pushed reigning world champions Serbia and Montenegro to the brink of Olympic elimination with a 76-68 triumph.

    Carlos Arroyo, second only to Chinese center Yao Ming among Olympic scorers, contributed 16 points as Puerto Rico, which opened with an epic upset of the United States, rose to 3-1 in Group B with its win over the Boomers.

    The Boomers meanwhile have sunk to 1-3 but still hold slim hopes of finishing in the top four of their six-team group to reach the medal play-offs.

    They close round-robin action against unbeaten group leader Lithuania, also assured a quarter-final spot thanks to the Aussie loss."

    Read more at Boomers sink to third defeat - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport.

    Posted by Darren at 10:35 PM

    Ginn and Tomkins rowing's golden boys

    "World champions Australia have won gold in the men's coxless pair at the Athens Olympics, to give 39-year-old James Tomkins his third Olympic gold and Drew Ginn, 29, his second.

    The Australians, renowned for their long, elegant style, beat Croatia' Skelin brothers by half a length. South Africa finished with the bronze medal.

    The popular Australians were given a rousing welcome onto the medal podium.

    "When we were on the finish line we were pretty emotional about it," Ginn said."

    Read more at Ginn and Tomkins rowing's golden boys

    Posted by Darren at 06:42 PM

    Australia win Men's Double Sculls Gold Medal

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Team from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Team from Croatia

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Team from South Africa

    Drew Ginn and James Tomkins Win Men's Pairs Rowing Gold Medal

    Drew Ginn and James Tomkins from Australia have just won the Gold medal in the Men's Pairs Rowing. In second place was the Croatian team of Sinisa Skelin and Niksa Skelin and in third the team from South Africa, Donovan Cech and Ramon di Clemente.

    Posted by Darren at 04:38 PM

    Jana Pittman about to Run

    After a saga of a lead up to Athens Jana Pittman is about to run in her first 400m hurdles heat. Will her injured knee hold up?

    Stay tuned for details of her race...

    The first start is a false start...

    Jana won her first heat - using a normal stride pattern (jumping off both legs).

    Her time was 54.83 which was not particularly fast in comparison to the first heat but she laid off in the last 20 meters.

    This must have been a real confidence boost to her but the real test will be in the Semi finals on Saturday night Athens time.

    Posted by Darren at 04:12 PM

    Curtain falls on Thorpe's Olympics

    "IAN Thorpe's Athens Olympics are over after the men's medley relay team failed to qualify for the final, finishing ninth fastest.

    Thorpe didn't get to swim the relay, Australia resting him for the final on the last day of the eight-day swimming program tomorrow.

    But the heat line-up of Matt Welsh, Jim Piper, Adam Pine and Michael Klim failed to get the Australians into the eight-lane final, clocking the ninth fastest time 3min 39.14sec.

    They were 0.29sec behind the eighth fastest qualifiers, of the Ukraine (3min 38.85sec).

    Nevertheless, Thorpe will fly home as Australia's greatest Olympian, ahead of Dawn Fraser, with a total of five gold, three silver and a bronze from two Olympics."

    Read more at Curtain falls on Thorpe's Olympics

    Posted by Darren at 04:03 PM

    Aussie Soccer Official fined, banned

    "OLYROOS fitness trainer Anthony Crea has been banned and fined for making an offensive gesture during the Australians' Olympic soccer match against Serbia and Montenegro.

    Crea was fined 8130 ($13,900) and suspended for five matches, meaning he will watch the rest of the tournament from the stands."

    Read more at Aussie official fined, banned

    Posted by Darren at 04:01 PM

    Amelie Mauresmo defeats Alicia Molik - Women's Tennis

    "Australia's Alicia Molik crashed out of the Olympic tennis tournament this morning with a 6-7, 3-6 semi-final loss to France's Amelie Mauresmo.

    Mauresmo's win saw her progress to a final date with Justine Henin-Hardenne, who staged one of the greatest comebacks of her career to fight back from 5-1 down in the final set and beat French Open champion Anastasia Myskina in her semi.

    Molik still has an opportunity to win a medal when she plays Myskina for the bronze.

    "I get a chance to redeem myself and back it up tomorrow," she said.

    "I play Myskina tomorrow and we've had some great matches, so I'll be looking to improve."

    For the purist it may have contained too many errors, but Henin-Hardenne's 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 victory over the Russian will go down as a classic."

    Read more at Molik falls as Henin sets gold standard

    Posted by Darren at 03:58 PM

    Meares in 500m time trial gold triumph

    "Australia's world champion Anna Meares produced a world record when it counted to stun her rivals and win the women's 500 metres time trial at the Athens Olympics overnight.

    The 20-year-old Meares, riding last in the 12-strong field, trumped China's Jiang Yonghua's Olympic record in the previous ride only minutes earlier to claim gold in 33.952 seconds.

    Not only did Meares get under that time but she even snatched Jiang's world record of 34:000 in the bargain."

    Read more at Meares in 500m time trial gold triumph

    Posted by Darren at 03:57 PM

    August 20, 2004

    Australia defeat Canada 1 - 0 in Softball - Medal Guaranteed

    Australia are guaranteed a medal in Softball competition after defeating Canada tonight 1 - 0. Even if they loose their next match the will still win at least a Bronze medal.

    Posted by Darren at 04:35 AM

    Leisel Jones takes silver

    "LEISEL Jones's bold challenge for an Olympic gold medal fell just short as she took silver in the 200m breaststroke overnight.

    The 18-year-old Australian took the race out hard but was overtaken in the final lap by American world recordholder Amanda Beard.

    Jones clocked 2m23.60sec to finish 0.33sec behind Beard.

    The Queenslander's best time of 2m22.96sec set during heavy training in Brisbane about six weeks ago would have been enough for the gold overnight.

    She was ahead of Beard by about a second at the final turn but wasn't able to hold off the American, who's known for her scorching last lap."

    Read more at Jones takes silver

    Posted by Darren at 04:06 AM

    Jodie Henry wins Women's 100m Freestyle Gold Medal

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Jodie Henry from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Inge de Bruijn from Netherlands

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Natalie Coughlin from United States

    Posted by Darren at 03:49 AM

    Nathan Deakes talks the talk for walk

    "Nathan Deakes is quite open about his ambitions in the 20-kilometre road walk, the first event on the first full day of the Athens athletics program.

    Deakes wants a medal at minimum, a gold at best. He turned 27 on Tuesday and it would be a belated birthday present.

    "I'd love to medal and that means the gold as well. I'm going in with very high expectations and will be disappointed if I come away with no medal."

    Deakes' ambitions are based on his third place earlier this year in the World Walking Cup in Germany. Since then, he has had more than a month training at high altitude in St Moritz and then a final stint back at the World Cup venue of Naumburg.

    Even Deakes' dodgy hamstrings, which have persistently troubled him for over two years, are getting in tune with the rest of his physiology."

    Read more at Deakes talks the talk for walk - Athletics -

    Posted by Darren at 03:12 AM

    U.S. Men's Hoops Team Rallies to Beat Aussie

    "It was another slow start for the U.S. men's basketball team on Thursday, but the Americans rallied to post an 89-79 win over Australia at the Olympics.

    Tim Duncan had 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Allen Iverson and Shawn Marion each totaled 16 points.

    The victory moved the United States to 2-1 and solidified its chances of making the quarterfinals. Only Lithuania is currently ahead of the Americans in Group B."

    Read more at U.S. Men's Hoops Team Rallies to Beat Aussie

    Posted by Darren at 02:28 AM

    August 19, 2004

    Jana Pittman Will Compete

    "World champion 400 metres hurdler Jana Pittman has declared she is ready to race at the Athens Olympics after making a has made a miraculous recovery from a knee injury.

    Pittman's Games were all but over when she damaged a knee ligament before a Golden League meet on August 6, but she underwent an operation, has received intensive physiotherapy and is now confident her knee is repaired enough to compete."

    Read more at Pittman set, Hawke, Huegill on song

    Posted by Darren at 11:19 PM

    US v Australia Men's Basketball Scores

    The half time score in the USA v Australia Men's Basketball is Australia 51 - USA 47.

    At one point during the second quarter Australia had a lead of up to 12 points.

    Update - At three quarter time Australia lead the US 67 - 65 after a quarter in which the US led by 3 points.

    Update - Final Score - US 89 - Australia 79

    Posted by Darren at 10:48 PM

    US smashes 4x200m relay record, Australia 4th

    "Australia has narrowly missed a medal in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay at the Olympics in Athens as the United States broke a 17-year-old world record to take gold.

    The American team of Natalie Coughlin, Carly Piper, Kaitlin Sandeno and Dana Vollmer broke the oldest record in the book, setting a new mark of 7:53.42 minutes. China was second and Germany third.

    Petria Thomas swam an heroic final leg to take the Australians to within 0.05 seconds of a medal, just minutes after she was presented with the silver medal she won in the 200m butterfly.

    In finishing fourth, the Australian team of Alice Mills, Elka Graham, Shayne Reese and Thomas broke the Commonwealth record.

    The US quartet sliced more than two seconds off the previous record of 7:55.47 mins set by East Germany in 1987."

    Read more at US smashes 4x200m relay record, Australia 4th

    Posted by Darren at 03:36 PM

    Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

    "Ian Thorpe now has the full set of Olympic medals, winning bronze after coming surprisingly close in trying to win the Games treble that is the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle events. In winning bronze in the 100 metres final, Thorpe swam his best ever time. Also in the pool overnight, an amazing swim from Jodie Henry."

    Read more at Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

    Posted by Darren at 03:16 PM

    Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

    "Ian Thorpe now has the full set of Olympic medals, winning bronze after coming surprisingly close in trying to win the Games treble that is the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle events. In winning bronze in the 100 metres final, Thorpe swam his best ever time. Also in the pool overnight, an amazing swim from Jodie Henry."

    Read more at Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

    Posted by Darren at 03:12 PM

    Australia eyes softball medal

    "AUSTRALIA'S softball team has gold in its sights after almost guaranteeing itself a berth in the Olympic medal playoffs with a 5-0 extra innings win over China overnight.

    Australia joined the mighty US team as the only countries with four wins to their name, while Canada, China, Greece and Taipei each have two victories.

    The win should guarantee Australia a top four spot and could be enough to secure it first or second place after the preliminary round.

    Once again Australia's success was built around pitcher Tanya Harding who has been in great form and kept China scoreless."

    Read more at Australia eyes softball medal

    Posted by Darren at 02:55 PM

    Australia eyes softball medal

    "AUSTRALIA'S softball team has gold in its sights after almost guaranteeing itself a berth in the Olympic medal playoffs with a 5-0 extra innings win over China overnight.

    Australia joined the mighty US team as the only countries with four wins to their name, while Canada, China, Greece and Taipei each have two victories.

    The win should guarantee Australia a top four spot and could be enough to secure it first or second place after the preliminary round.

    Once again Australia's success was built around pitcher Tanya Harding who has been in great form and kept China scoreless."

    Read more at Australia eyes softball medal

    Posted by Darren at 02:54 PM

    Jodie Henry Breaks 100m Freestyle World Record

    Jodie Henry from Australia has just broken the World Record in the 100m Freestyle in her Semi Final for the event.

    Posted by Darren at 02:45 AM

    Australia defeats Japan in Women's Basketball

    "The Australian Opals have maintained their unbeaten record in the women's Olympic basketball tournament win a 97-78 win over Japan in Athens.

    Lauren Jackson top-scored with 31 points for the Opals, who were always in charge and led 56-35 at half-time.

    Trish Fallon chipped in with 12 points while Laura Summerton, Penny Taylor and Suzy Batkovic each added 11."

    Read more at Jackson inspires Opals to easy win

    Posted by Darren at 12:45 AM

    Endurance swimmers short-changed at Olympics: Hackett

    "Australia's Olympic 1,500 metres champion Grant Hackett says long-distance swimmers are being robbed of their chance to shine at the Athens Games.

    Hackett said the Olympic program was unfair to endurance swimmers who were given only one event to showcase their talents, while the sprinters and middle-distance swimmers could pick and choose as many as they liked.

    American teenager Michael Phelps has been the leading light in the pool in Athens after entering eight events and already has five medals after just four days, but the 1,500m is on the last day of the swimming competition.

    "It's a bit unfair," Hackett said. "The sprinters have the 50 and the 100 and the middle-distance guys have the 200 and the 400.

    "We only have the 1,500 but we should have the 800 as well.""

    Read more at Endurance swimmers short-changed at Olympics: Hackett

    Posted by Darren at 12:40 AM

    August 18, 2004

    Ian Thorpe just makes final

    "IAN Thorpe has only just scraped into tomorrow's Olympic 100m freestyle final in Athens, denying freestyle god Alex Popov a spot in the race.

    Thorpe, who's already won the 200-400m freestyle double at the Games, clocked a sluggish 49.21s to take the last place in the eight-man final - just 0.02s ahead of Popov.

    Popov has more Olympic freestyle gold medals than any other man with four, after victories in the 50m and 100m freestyle at both the 1992 and '96 Olympics.

    The 32-year-old Russian was by far the oldest man in the semi-final lineup - 14 years older than the youngest."

    Read more at Thorpe just makes final

    Posted by Darren at 03:23 AM

    Mark Philippoussis Defeated by Olivier Rochus - Men's Tennis

    "Mark Philippoussis, restricted by tendonitis in his knee, crashed out of the Athens Olympic tennis tournament when his game disintegrated after winning the first set against Belgium's Olivier Rochus this morning.

    The 27-year-old Australian, losing finalist at the 1998 US Open and 2003 Wimbledon, lost 6-3, 0-6, 1-6, and Rochus now plays third seed Carlos Moya of Spain.

    The 23-year-old Rochus, who beat Philippoussis in Dubai in March in their only other match, kept battling away as the Scud exploded.

    He was at a loss to explain what went wrong."

    Read more at Scud lost for words at Greek defeat

    Posted by Darren at 01:01 AM

    Australia defeats Angola - Men's Basketball

    "Australia defeated Angola 83-59 in the men's Olympic basketball competition in Athens on Tuesday.

    The win evened Australia's record to 1-1 after its opening defeat to hosts Greece on Monday.

    Shane Heal top-scored for the Boomers with 18 points while hot young prospect Andrew Bogut put 16 points on the board.

    Bogut was 7-of-7 from the field for the game and also finished with a game-high 11 rebounds."

    Read more at Boomers down Angola

    Posted by Darren at 12:59 AM

    Aussies' hopes going under

    "Australia's baseball team came into the Olympic tournament with high hopes for a medal.

    But, as they spell in Down Under, the "offence" is going to have to get a little more offensive.

    For the second day in a row, the Aussies struggled to string together hits, this time falling to Taiwan 3-0 at the Olympic Baseball Complex on Monday.

    Australia fell to Cuba 4-1 in its opener"

    Read more at Aussies' hopes going under

    Posted by Darren at 12:36 AM

    Thorpe, Not Phelps, Has Chance to Win Eight Olympic Gold Medals

    "Only one swimmer can leave Athens with eight Olympic gold medals, and it's not Michael Phelps.

    While much of the pre-Games publicity focused on Phelps's bid to break Mark Spitz's record of seven victories at one Olympics, Ian Thorpe is the one with a chance for eight career gold medals before the Games are over.

    The 21-year-old Australian captured his fifth Olympic title last night with a victory in the 200-meter freestyle, where he passed defending champion Pieter van den Hoogenband in the final 50 meters before a boisterous crowd of 11,000 at the Aquatic Center. Phelps finished third, ending the American's quest to match or break Spitz's mark from the 1972 Munich Games.

    `` (Thorpe) was on top of his game,'' Phelps told reporters. ``He's one of the greatest swimmers of all time. He has a perfect stroke. It's unbelievable how he moves through the water.''

    Thorpe won the most anticipated swimming matchup in Athens in an Olympic-record 1 minute, 44.71 seconds, breaking the mark of 1:45.35 that Van den Hoogenband set in Sydney four years ago. The 26-year-old Dutchman was second in 1:45.23, while Phelps swam a personal-best 1:45.32.

    ``It was a final that excited a lot of people on three continents, but I wasn't focusing too much on that,'' Thorpe said at a press conference. ``I wanted to concentrate on what I wanted to do in the race, and I did that.''"

    Read more at Thorpe, Not Phelps, Has Chance to Win Eight Olympic Gold Medals

    Posted by Darren at 12:10 AM

    August 17, 2004

    Jamie Dwyer helps Aussies hold Argentina - Hockey

    "Jamie Dwyer drew level four minutes from the end as Australia forced Argentina to a 2-2 draw in the men's field hockey tournament at the Athens Olympics.

    Australia, looking for their first Olympic gold despite making the semi-finals in five consecutive Games, faced an embarrassing defeat when Mario Almada's two goals put the Argentines ahead.

    But Dwyer, the 25-year-old Queenslander, saved the Kookaburras the blushes with his second equaliser of the match."

    Read more at Dwyer helps Aussies hold Argentina

    Posted by Darren at 10:20 PM

    Thorpedo sinks Phelps

    "Ian Thorpe touched the wall, pumped a fist in the air and let out a yell that all but said, "Take that!"

    Two lanes over, Michael Phelps was draped over the rope, huffing and puffing as he looked at the scoreboard.
    Phelps' improbable pursuit of Mark Spitz is over, Thorpedoed by the man in black.

    Thorpe thwarted Phelp's attempt to take home seven gold medals, winning the 200-meter freestyle Monday while the kid from Baltimore was relegated to bronze for the second night in a row - a medal to be savored, for sure, but not the color he needed to catch Spitz.

    With his long arms churning smoothly, his enormous feet kicking furiously, Thorpe passed Pieter van den Hoogenband in the homestretch, finishing with an Olympic record of 1 minute, 44.71 seconds. The Dutchman's time was 1:45.23 - good enough for silver.

    Though Phelps swam the fastest 200 of his life, it wasn't enough in this ballyhooed showdown."

    Read more at Thorpedo sinks Phelps

    Posted by Darren at 06:25 PM

    Ian Thorpe wins Men's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal

    Australia's Ian Thorpe has just taken out the Gold medal in the Men's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal beating Pieter Van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Ian Thorpe from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Pieter Van den Hoogenband from Netherlands

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Michael Phelps from United States

    Posted by Darren at 02:50 AM

    Simon Fairweather a shock first round loser

    "Australian reigning Olympic champion Simon Fairweather became the first major casualty of the strong winds which have dogged the archery at the Athens Games when he lost in the first round of the men's individual contest on Monday.

    The Australian, beaten by Anton Prylepav of Belarus 141-137, said the winds were the worst he had encountered in the past five Olympics.

    "You've got the head wind here coming straight down the stadium and there's not much you can do to hide from it," he said."

    Read more at Fairweather a shock first round loser

    Posted by Darren at 01:27 AM

    August 16, 2004

    French Open finalist Elena Dementieva upset in first round by Alicia Molik

    "French Open finalist Elena Dementieva of Russia was upset in the first round of the Olympic tennis tournament, losing to Alicia Molik of Australia 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 Monday.

    At a nearly empty Court 1, whipping winds gave Dementieva, the silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games, plenty of trouble with her serving already the weakest part of her game. Nearly each ball toss was an adventure, with the fourth-seeded Russian having to lean awkwardly just to make contact on serves.

    Dementieva resorted to just getting the ball in court, sometimes tapping in second serves at about 60 mph.

    Molik, who's ranked 24th, broke Dementieva's serve six times and was never broken herself over the last two sets."

    Read more at French Open finalist Elena Dementieva upset in first round

    Posted by Darren at 09:54 PM

    Australia defeats South Africa - Women's Hockey

    "Reigning gold medallists the Hockeyroos bounced back from a shock opening match defeat to beat South Africa 3-0 in their Olympic Games women's hockey match.

    Goals to Julie Towers, Suzie Faulkner and Peta Gallagher gave Australia victory after it lost its Games opener 2-1 to Germany on Saturday.

    After being on the backfoot for the first 25 minutes, striker Gallagher swung the game the Hockeyroos way, beating two defenders with a great turn then passing to Towers to slot in from close range.

    Then Faulkner struck just before halftime, getting a deflection off Louise Dobson's penalty corner to make it 2-0."

    Read more at Hockeyroos down South Africa

    Posted by Darren at 09:32 PM

    Suzanne Balogh wins Gold Medal in Women's Trap Shooting

    Suzanne Balogh from Australia has just taken out the Gold medal in Women's Trap by four shots from her nearest competitor Maria Quintanai from Spain. Lee Bo Na from Korea took our the Bronze Medal.

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Suzanne Balogh from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Maria Quintanai from Spain

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Lee Bo Na from Korea

    Posted by Darren at 08:47 PM

    Australian gymnasts ready for medal

    "National coach Peggy Liddick has warned the gymnastics superpowers that Australia plans on collecting an historic Olympic medal in the women's all-around final on Tuesday.

    Australia has never won an Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics and only scraped into its first all-around final by the barest of margins as the eighth and last qualifier.

    But Liddick says the cut-throat format for the final will work in Australia's favour, and against the medal favourites from the US, Romania and China.

    In the qualification round, every country sent six team members to the floor, five performed each of the four apparatus and the best four scores counted.

    In Tuesday night's final, it's three up, three count."

    Read more at Australian gymnasts ready for medal

    Posted by Darren at 08:04 PM

    Tamsyn Lewis - Swapping Pouts for Smiles

    "The last time the world got a good look at Tamsyn Lewis, she was pouting from the pages of a men's magazine, wearing next to nothing and looking more like she was preparing for a career in modelling than training to run the 800 metres in Athens.

    Yesterday the 26-year-old emerged from the Olympic athletes' village, decorously attired in the official team kit of white, gold and green shirt, stone-coloured shorts and runners, to deny tabloid newspaper suggestions she had been bludging, accuse Australian athletics officials of making her run while injured, and promise a peak performance next week.

    "Seb, Daley and I are confident it's all coming together at the right time," Lewis said, referring to English coaches Sebastian Coe and former decathlon gold medallist Daley Thompson, with whom she has spent most of the year training in the Surrey countryside south of London."

    Read more at Swapping pouts for smiles - Aussie Update -

    Posted by Darren at 03:26 AM

    Petria Thomas wins Women's 100m Butterfly Gold Medal

    Petria Thomas has just won the Women's 100m Butterfly Gold Medal in a close race against rival INge de Bruiijn who ended up coming third.

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Petria Thomas from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Otylia Jedrzejczak from Poland

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Inge de Bruijn from Netherlands

    Posted by Darren at 03:04 AM

    Thorpe and Phelps Go head to head

    Tonight was the first time we'd seen Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps swimming in the same race. It was only a Semi final of the 200m Freestyle - and they were around two seconds outside world record pace - but there was something special in thinking about what was to come in tomorrow's final and tonight's relay at the end of today's competition.

    Obviously both were holding their cards close to their chest today but one has to wonder if we'll see some world records fall in the next few days.

    Posted by Darren at 02:56 AM

    Michael Diamond hat-trick bid fails

    "ON the same day shooter Michael Diamond relinquished his position as king of Olympic trap, Australia found a new prince in Adam Vella.

    Vella, from Victoria, defied predictions to take bronze in the event at his first Olympic Games, while gold medal favourite Diamond failed to make the final.

    Vella shot consistently over two days and dropped just one target in the final for an overall score of 145 out of 150 in windy conditions.

    Russia's Alexei Alipov won gold with an almost-perfect score of 149, while Italian Giovanni Pellielo took silver with 146.

    Vella, 33, said he was stunned by his success."

    Read more at Diamond hat-trick bid fails

    Posted by Darren at 02:29 AM

    US defeat Australia - Softball

    "Lisa Fernandez and the U.S. softball team showed Australia no mercy. Fernandez allowed one hit and the Americans dominated their old Olympic nemesis, blowing out the two-time bronze medalists 10-0 Sunday in a game called after five innings because the Aussies were too far behind.

    International rules state a game ends whenever a team trails by more than seven runs after five innings - the so-called slaughter rule.

    This one certainly qualified.

    After an eight-run fourth inning, all Fernandez had to do was get three outs in the fifth to finish off Australia (1-1), the only team to beat the United States twice in Olympic competition. Both times, Fernandez was the loser."

    Read more at U.S. Softball Team Again Shows No Mercy

    Posted by Darren at 02:22 AM

    Sara Carrigan Wins Women's Road Race Gold Medal - Cycling

    Sara Carrigan has just won the Women's Road Race Gold medal in a close race from Silver Medal winner Judith Arndt.

    The winner of the Gold Medal: Sara Carrigan from Australia

    The winner of the Silver Medal: Judith Arndt from Germany

    The winner of the Bronze Medal: Olga Slyusareva from Russia

    Posted by Darren at 01:57 AM

    August 15, 2004

    Arthurs finds inspiration for win

    "A rejuvenated Wayne Arthurs relished a Davis Cup-style atmosphere as he advanced to the second round of the Olympic tennis competition.

    Arthurs, making his Games debut at the ripe old age of 33, had too many guns for Victor Hanescu, eliminating the Romanian 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in front of a vocal contingent of spectators decked out in green and gold.

    The bulk of the Australian tennis team was in the stands to support Arthurs, including coach John Fitzgerald, doubles partner Todd Woodbridge and fellow veteran left-hander Nicole Pratt, as well as Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard.""

    Read more at Arthurs finds inspiration for win

    Posted by Darren at 10:04 PM

    Australia inflict heavy defeat on NZ - Men's Hockey

    "Australia fired the first salvo in their battle to win an elusive men's hockey gold on Sunday, fighting their way past rivals New Zealand 4-1.

    Australia have made the Olympic semifinals seven times and won six medals -- three silver, three bronze -- but despite having one of the strongest teams on the circuit have never pushed through to gold.

    Ranked third in the world, the Aussies put on a strong display of running hockey with Jamie Dwyer finishing off their relentless attacks with three flying field goals off both sides of the stick."

    Read more at Australia inflict heavy defeat on NZ

    Posted by Darren at 09:49 PM

    Australia defeats Egypt - Men's Water Polo

    "As it was expected, the opening game of the Men' s Olympic Water Polo tournament held no surprises in store.

    Egypt, upon its return to the Olympic Games after 36 years, was easy prey for the Australians, who dominated the game by 14-3.

    Some experts, at the beginning of the match, may have had the feeling that the match could have finished without a big difference in score.

    By the time the Egyptians had realised the level of the game the score had risen to 8-1. At the beginning, the representatives of Africaheld the score downto 2-1, the goal having been scored by Ahmed MAHMOUD, but their enthousiasm did not last long."

    Read more at Egypt created no problems to Australia

    Posted by Darren at 09:48 PM

    Cuba Defeats Australia - Baseball

    "Australia's baseball team has been soundly beaten 4-1 by one of the gold medal favourites Cuba in its Olympic Games preliminary round match.

    Australia fell behind early to a towering home run from Cuba's Michael Enriquez in the first inning and never recovered against the two-time gold medallists.

    Two errors in the third proved costly, allowing Yullieski Gourriel to get far enough around to advance home on Osmani Urrutia's single."

    Read more at Cuba easily accounts for Aussies

    Posted by Darren at 09:36 PM

    Australia fire first shots in battle for gold - Hockey

    "Australia fired the first salvo in their battle to win an elusive men's hockey gold on Sunday, fighting their way past rivals New Zealand 4-1. The Aussies, who have won six Olympic medals - three silver, three bronze - have one of the strongest teams on the circuit.

    "We are unabashed in our determination to win the gold," said Australia coach Barry Dancer.

    "We're upfront about that as individuals and as a team. It's in our face all the time so if you don't address it, there'll be doubt. And anyway, going for a first is great motivation."

    Ranked third in the world, the Aussies put on a strong display of running hockey with Jamie Dwyer finishing off their relentless attacks with three flying field goals off both sides of the stick."

    Read more at Australia fire first shots in battle for gold - Field Hockey

    Posted by Darren at 08:37 PM

    Axe chopped me down: McEwen

    "Australia's Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen says he felt like his legs had been chopped off as he tried to sprint for the finish in the Olympic road race.

    McEwen finished 11th in the 224km race in searing heat around Athens' ancient city when for once his legs couldn't respond in the final sprint.

    "In a word, excruciating. Six hours in, I don't know how hot it was, it felt like 50, it was probably only 41," he said.

    "It was just a really tough race with that climb 17 times.

    "Normally you start to sprint and it's on automatic and you just go.

    "I was literally having to push left and right and making my legs go around because when I started to go and tried to sprint it was like someone took an axe and chopped my legs off."

    McEwen's teammate Stuart O'Grady called it the hardest one-day race of his life, with the 17 laps featuring a tough climb up the gruelling Lykavittos Hill."

    Read more at Axe chopped me down: McEwen

    Posted by Darren at 08:13 PM

    Thorpe leads big guns

    "Ian Thorpe signalled his intent in the 200m freestyle
    Australian star Ian Thorpe set the quickest time in the 200m freestyle heats as the four fastest men in history cruised into the semi-finals.

    Thorpe clocked one minute 47.22 seconds in the eighth and last heat with reigning champion Pieter van den Hoogenband 0.10 seconds behind.

    US sensation Michael Phelps, chasing a record eight golds, also went through, along with Australian Grant Hackett.

    Britain's Simon Burnett qualified for Sunday night's semi-finals in 1:48.68."

    Thorpe leads big guns


    Posted by Darren at 07:25 PM

    Thorpe, Phelps to clash in 4x100m free

    "After winning their first gold medals on the opening day of the Athens Olympics, Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe will cross paths for the first time on day two of the Games.

    The main clash between the pair is Monday's 200 metres freestyle final but the second day of swimming will offer a sneak preview into the most eagerly anticipated race in Athens.

    There is an even chance they could meet in the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle, but even if they are drawn apart, they will at least meet in the men's 4x100m freestyle relays, one of four finals on the second day.

    The US had never been beaten in the event at an Olympics until Sydney four years ago when Thorpe anchored Australia to a famous victory."

    Read more at Thorpe, Phelps to clash in 4x100m free.

    Posted by Darren at 07:18 PM

    Australian softballers power past Japan

    "Australia has roared out of the gate in Olympic softball with a 4-2 victory over Japan on the opening day of the Olympic softball program.

    Australian third baseman Natalie Titcume starred with a two-run, slamming a pitch to the deepest part of the Olympic softball stadium in centre in the fourth inning to put Australia ahead 3-2.

    The Australians added another run in the fifth to put the game out of reach when designated player Stacey Porter singled to left, scoring Natalie Ward, who opened the frame with an infield single.

    Japan had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first innings."

    Read more at Australian softballers power past Japan

    Posted by Darren at 07:16 PM

    Germany down champion Hockeyroos in Olympic shocker

    Australia's bid to win a third successive Olympic women's field hockey title stumbled at the first hurdle when they crashed to a 2-1 defeat by Germany.

    The other favoured contenders, however, came through unscathed on the opening day as world champions Argentina toyed with Spain 4-0, the Netherlands hammered South Africa 6-2 and China blanked Asian rivals Japan 3-0.

    The Hockeyroos looked a pale shadow of the dream team that swept gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Games and at home in Sydney four years later under their former coach Ric Charlesworth.

    Germany down champion Hockeyroos in Olympic shocker

    Posted by Darren at 06:55 PM

    Australian Rowers power world's best time

    "AUSTRALIAN rowers Amber Halliday and Sally Newmarch were ready to celebrate with a real meal after setting a world's best time in the lightweight sculls heats today.

    Halliday said they were trying to keep a lid on their excitement ahead of the semi-finals at the Olympic Rowing Centre on Thursday but would treat themselves to dinner.

    "We have been living on power bars and Powerade and Sustagen for the past few days so we will be having some real food," Halliday said.

    The Australian duo used a strong tail wind to full advantage on the Schinias course to record a time of six minutes 49.90 seconds over the 2000 metres."

    Read more at Rowers power world's best time

    Posted by Darren at 06:38 PM

    Husband and wife Divers win medals on same night

    "They came to Athens as husband and wife and in the same pool, on the same night, each won Olympic bronze.

    But Australian divers Robert and Chantelle Newbery aren't celebrating just yet - they have another four events on their competition schedule.

    The party will come when they fly home to Brisbane to be with their two-year-old son Jet, they said on Saturday night.

    Robert Newbery partnered Mathew Helm in the 10m synchronised platform event while Chantelle teamed with former Russian Olympian Irina Lashko to win bronze in the 3m synchronised springboard."

    Read more at Husband, wife win medals on same night

    Posted by Darren at 05:12 PM

    Women's 4x 400m Freestyle Relay - Australia breaks World Record

    "AUSTRALIA's women followed the lead of their men in Sydney by passing the USA on the final leg and breaking the world record in the 400 freestyle relay final of the Athens Olympics.

    When Jodie Henry touched at 3:35.96, the Aussies broke Germany's 2002 record by 0.04 of a second. Henry's anchor split was the fastest all-time: a remarkable 52.95.

    The youthful powerhouse of Australian womens swimming Lenton (19), Henry (20) and Mills (18) combined with the experience of three-time Olympian Petria Thomas (28) (see pictured) to take the womens freestyle relay for the first time since the 1956 Olympics when the Aussies were spearheaded by legend Dawn Fraser."

    Read more at World Record! Women's 400 Freestyle Relay --Australia Passes U.S. on Final Leg!

    Posted by Darren at 04:27 PM

    Olympics-Swimming Superpowers in Pool Duel to Savor

    "Australia and the United States, the superpowers of Olympic swimming, clash in a men's relay pool duel Sunday that could see the world record tumble.

    China, the last communist superpower, had a dream start to Athens 2004, scooping four gold medals on day one to consolidate their position as Asia's titan of sport.

    But for host country Greece, hailed for its superb opening ceremony, there was more shame to contemplate after its two top sprinters were suspended from its team over a drugs inquiry.

    In the Olympic pool where spectators have been sweltering in the baking Greek Sun, the Americans are out for revenge."

    Read more at Olympics-Swimming Superpowers in Pool Duel to Savor

    Posted by Darren at 04:25 PM

    Australia v US begin Swimming Showdown

    "That feisty kangaroo adorning the green-and-gold Australian banner several swim fans wrapped themselves in Saturday night wears boxing gloves for a reason.

    The Aussies love a good scrap. And with all the ballyhoo about Michael Phelps and the "greatest American men's team ever," they haven't had to look hard for a sparring partner.

    So on a night when Phelps' first gold-medal performance washed over the Olympic Aquatics Center pool like a tsunami, Australian swimmers made a pretty loud splash of their own.

    Ian Thorpe, their beloved "Thorpedo," who reportedly is relishing his 200-meter Monday night showdown with the American teenager who has overshadowed him here, captured a second straight gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle with a narrow victory over countryman Grant Hackett and Klete Keller of the U.S.

    And the Aussie women's 400-meter freestyle-relay team delighted in snapping the U.S.' 48-year Olympic winning streak in that event, although the Americans' silver medal had a silver lining for anchor Jenny Thompson."

    Read more at Aussies, U.S. begin showdown in the pool

    Posted by Darren at 09:06 AM

    Ian Thorpe Launches 400m Defence

    "Ian Thorpe opened his Athens Olympics campaign cautiously and comfortably today, conceding the top qualifying spot in the 400 metres freestyle to fellow Aussie Grant Hackett.

    World record holder Thorpe almost did not get a chance to defend the 400m free crown he won in Sydney, sensationally falling from the starting block at the Australian trials to be disqualified.

    But qualifier Craig Stevens withdrew from the event, paving the way for Thorpe to take his place alongside Hackett."

    Read more at No mistakes as Thorpe launches 400m defence .

    Posted by Darren at 12:03 AM

    Michael Diamond's Hat-Trick Chance Looks Slim

    "Shooter Michael Diamond's chances of claiming a third straight Olympic gold medal look slim after two rounds of the men's trap.

    Diamond hit 25 out of 25 targets in the first preliminary round, but managed only 22 hits on target in the second."

    Read more at Diamond's hat-trick bid suffers blow - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport.

    Posted by Darren at 12:02 AM

    James Tomkins and Drew Ginn Make Semi Finals - Rowing

    "Australian duo James Tomkins and Drew Ginn have easily won their heat of the men's coxless pairs on the opening day of Olympic rowing competition at the Schinias Rowing and Canoeing Centre.

    Tomkins and Ginn, who won gold in the 1996 Olympics as part of the men's coxless four, qualified for the semi-finals after taking out their heat in time of 6 minutes 55.04 seconds.

    They finished over three seconds ahead of Nikola Stojic and Mladen Stegic of Serbia and Montenegro.

    New Zealand pair Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater recorded the fastest time of the day in winning the third heat in 6:54.75 mins."

    Read more at Tomkins and Ginn cruise into semis

    Posted by Darren at 12:00 AM

    August 14, 2004

    Phelps, Thorpe, Hackett Qualify Easily On First Day Of Olympic Swimming

    "Michael Phelps made his first day in the Olympic pool look easy.

    He began his quest to break Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic gold medals as the fastest swimmer in morning preliminaries for the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4 minutes, 13.29 seconds _ well off his world record of 4:08.41....

    Ian Thorpe, the superstar of the Sydney Games, settled for being the second-fastest qualifier behind Australian teammate Grant Hackett in the 400 freestyle.

    Hackett finished in 3:46.36. Thorpe, the world record holder, was next in 3:46.55.
    "

    Posted by Darren at 11:10 PM

    Jog puts Jana Pittman back on track

    "JANA Pittman has jogged for the first time since injuring her knee nine days ago, boosting her spirits and enhancing her Olympic prospects.

    Pittman's coach Phil King said the world champion 400m hurdler's recovery was now ahead of schedule and she is firming to take her place at the Athens Olympics."

    Read more at Jog puts Jana back on track

    Posted by Darren at 10:44 PM

    Tanya Harding Bails Out Australian Softball Team against Japan

    "Tanya Harding bailed out Australia by pitching 6 1-3 innings of no-hit relief, and Natalie Titcume hit a two-run homer as the Aussies beat Japan 4-2.

    Harding came off the bench in the first inning to replace starter Brooke Wilkins, who walked five to force in two runs for Japan. Harding, a three-time Olympian, shut down the defending silver medalists the rest of the way, retiring 19 of the 20 batters she faced."

    Read more at Harding Bails Out Australian Softball Team

    Posted by Darren at 10:40 PM

    Australia and China Win first Round Women's Basketball

    "Lauren Jackson, the WNBA's MVP last season with Seattle, scored 27 points to lead Australia past Nigeria 85-73 to open the Olympic women's basketball tournament Saturday. Also, China defeated South Korea 71-54.

    Nigeria, making its Olympic debut, trailed 62-44 entering the fourth quarter, but closed within 77-70. Nigeria then missed three of four free throws, and Jackson scored Australia's final six points to seal the win.

    Penny Taylor, who plays for Phoenix in the WNBA, and Suzy Batkovic each had 11 points for Australia, which shot 50 percent from the field.

    Australian won the silver medal in 2000.

    In the other game, Chen Nan scored 17 points to lead China's domination on the boards."

    Read more at Australia, China Win in Women's Hoops

    Posted by Darren at 10:36 PM

    Pittman due in Athens on Monday

    "World 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman will fly to Athens on Monday and has a good chance of making the Olympics a week after knee surgery, an Australian Olympic official said. Pittman tore a cartilage at a meeting in Zurich eight days ago and is being treated in the Italian town of Varese.

    The 21-year-old is due to run her first heat on August 21. "She has a very good chance of running," said the Australian Olympic official, who asked not to be named. "A day before her race she will be put to the test when she puts her leg over the first hurdle."

    Pittman is waking every two hours at night to ice her knee for 20 minutes in a desperate bid to make the Games."

    Read more at Pittman due in Athens on Monday

    Posted by Darren at 06:09 PM

    Beach volleyball champions return with new partners

    "Three Olympic beach volleyball champions will take to the court today to try to win another gold medal but each has found a different partner since Sydney.

    Australian Natalie Cook, who teamed up with Kerri Pottharst for a hometown victory at Bondi Beach in the 2000 Games, will try to triumph again with new partner Nicole Sanderson.

    They should have an easy victory over Bulgarian sisters Lina and Petia Yanchulova today, the first day of the preliminary competition.

    Pottharst, who briefly retired from the sport in 2003 but has now teamed up with Summer Lochowicz, plays in the first women's match of the Athens Games.

    The duo face China's Tian Jia and Wang Fei."

    Read more at Beach volleyball champions return with new partners.

    Posted by Darren at 04:36 PM

    Australia's world class sailors enter the water today

    "Australians Jennifer Armstrong and Belinda Stowell begin their quest for successive gold medals when the two-week long Olympic regatta gets underway today.

    Eight races are scheduled for the opening day, two each in the men and women's 470, Finn and Yngling classes.

    Armstrong and Stowell will be defending the gold medal they won in Sydney in the 470 class.

    The other Australians in action will be Malcolm Page and Nathan Wilmot in the men's 470, Nicky Bethwaite, Karyn Gojnich and Kristen Kosmala in the Yngling and Anthony Nossiter in the Finn.

    No medals will be decided until later in the regatta."

    Read more at Australia's world class sailors enter the water today.

    Posted by Darren at 04:32 PM

    Aussie Equestrian Team Member Survives Games Challenge

    "AUSTRALIAN equestrian Mary Hanna has survived a last-minute Russian challenge to her place in the Olympic dressage competition.

    Hours before the opening ceremony, the Russian Olympic Committee appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over a late allocation of Games dressage berths.

    Two riders from Finland and Israel were forced to withdraw in July, and their places were given to the next two highest-ranked riders from Australia and France.

    But the Russians argued the International Equestrian Federation applied the wrong ranking system."

    Read more at Aussie survives Games challenge

    Posted by Darren at 04:27 PM

    Jana Pittman closer to track return

    "Injured Australian athlete Jana Pittman says she is feeling stronger and could probably run today.

    The world champion 400 metres hurdler tore the cartilage in her right knee a week ago.

    She is currently doing about nine hours of rehabilitation a day and has not yet made a decision on whether she will run her race.

    "I've had a few weird dreams in the last few days," she said.

    "I had one where I made it to the finish line and it was all fine, rosy and dandy and it was the Olympics and all that sort of stuff, and another where it buckled under me ... and I made it to the finish line."

    Read more at Pittman closer to track return

    Posted by Darren at 04:18 PM

    Japan, US stand between Aussies and softball gold

    "Australia's softballers begin their quest for gold when they take on Sydney silver medallists Japan in the first match of the Olympic tournament in Athens today.

    The Australians have won bronze at the past two Olympics and are hoping for a medal of a more precious kind this time around.

    But the Japanese will be tough first-up adversaries - they are still hurting after an extra-inning loss to the Americans in the gold-medal game in Sydney in 2000.

    The United States team start their quest for a third straight Olympic gold medal today when they take to the diamond against Italy.

    Canada will take on Taiwan and China square off against hosts Greece.

    Each team will play the others once and the top four teams go into a playoff round for the medals."

    Read more at Japan, US stand between Aussies and softball gold

    Posted by Darren at 09:01 AM

    August 13, 2004

    Katrina Powell - Hockeyroos skipper Powell recovers from injury

    "Australia's women's hockey captain Katrina Powell has been cleared to play at the Athens Olympics.

    The Hockeyroos skipper had been in doubt since suffering a torn calf muscle at a warm-up tournament in Spain last week.

    The news is a major boost for a Hockeyroos outfit which is aiming to defend the gold medal it captured in Sydney four years ago."

    Read more at Hockeyroos skipper Powell recovers from injury

    Posted by Darren at 06:34 PM

    Stuart O'Grady - Olympic Contenders - Men's Road Race

    "This year has been a welcome renaissance for O'Grady. After performing well early on in the year, he went to the Tour and took a stage victory in the pouring rain as part of the yellow-jersey producing break. The next day, after a crash wiped out some of his sprint rivals under the flamme rouge, he put on the green jersey and vyed for it all the way to Paris. He showed he's not afraid to attack and can last some climbs, although his form is evidently peaking after he outsprinted Paolo Bettini for HEW-Cyclassics victory recently. He should be a real challenger in a sprint. Teammates McEwen and Cooke are just as fast as 'Stuey', but it looks doubtful that they can survive the energy-sapping climbs the Athens course has to offer."

    Read more at Olympic Contenders - Men's Road Race

    Posted by Darren at 08:55 AM

    August 11, 2004

    Tunisia Vs Australia Men's Soccer Preview

    Group C

    Tunisia Vs Australia Kick Off 20:30 Greek Time

    Tunisia conceded just 2 goals in 6 qualifying games making them one of the in form teams on the way into this tournament Up front the striking duo of Ali Zitouni and Saber Trabelsi both playing there club football in Tunisia provide the goals this is there fourth time at the Olympics and they will no doubt be hoping to break there duck of never winning a game. There record reads played 9, drew 3, lost 6. Australia have most of there major names missing from the competition partly due to age and partly due to not being allowed to go by there clubs one important person could be Craig Moore he goes into the Olympics having apparently sacrificed his career at Scottish club Rangers for the chance to represent Australia.The 28-year-old was transfer-listed and stripped of the Rangers captaincy after telling boss Alex McLeish that he was determined to represent his country at the Olympics.

    Prediction
    Tunisia 1 - 1 Australia

    Key Man
    Craig Moore - Australia

    Posted by at 10:29 PM

    Brazil Vs Australia Womens Soccer Preview

    Group G

    Brazil Vs Australia Kick Off 18:00 Greek Time

    This could be a very interesting game with the Brazilians being the most skillfull of the womens football teams in the world take on the rough and tumble Australians. Brazil play Attacking football and Australia play defencivley meaning alot of Brazilian shots and a lot of Australian tackles, the Brazilians are starting to be noticed as serious players in the women's football game and Auatralia are hoping to finish higher than the 7th the managed in there home town of sydney, look out for Lana Harch who scored a hatrick in the 3 - 0 beating of Fiji in the qualifiers.

    Prediction
    Brazil 2 - 1 Australia

    Key Player
    Lana Harch

    Posted by at 09:22 PM

    Olympic Profile: Lauren Jackson

    AGE: 23
    HOMETOWN: Albury, Australia
    RESIDENCE: Canberra, Australia
    AFFILIATION: Seattle Storm
    POSITION: Center
    WILL REPRESENT: Australia
    OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE: 2000

    HER STORY: The WNBA's reigning Most Valuable Player led the silver-medalist Aussies in rebounding and scoring during the 2000 Sydney Games. ... Her talent is in the genes -- both parents, Gary and Maree, played for Australia's national teams. ... Jackson is averaging 21 points (ranks No. 1 in WNBA) and 6.80 rebounds per game this season. ... She had 33 points against Washington July 17. ... Scored 25 points -- she had three 3-pointers -- and hauled in eight rebounds Aug. 1 against Charlotte as the Storm closed out the pre-Olympic portion of their schedule with a 17-8 record. ...

    Continue reading Olympic Profile: Lauren Jackson

    Posted by Darren at 04:54 PM

    Four Australian Wheelchair Athletes Qualify for Olympics

    "The Australian Wheelchair Track and Road team confirmed its standing as the number one squad in the world with 4 athletes qualifying for the Olympic Wheelchair events in Athens. Louise Sauvage (West Ryde, Sydney), Christie Dawes (Merewether, Newcastle) and Eliza Stankovic (Merewether,Newcastle) will make up a large portion of the field in the 800m Women's Wheelchair final to be conducted in Athens on the 22nd August 2004. While Kurt Fearnley (Merewether, Newcastle) will be Australia's sole competitor in the men's 1500m wheelchair final on the same day.

    All four athletes competed in the heats on thursday evening in Atlanta and progressed through to the semi finals which were held earlier tonight.

    In the women's first semi final Christie Dawes continued her remarkable improvement at this level placing third with a new personal best time of 1:54.68 gaining automatic qualification through to the final. While in the second Semi Final Louise Sauvage stamped her authority on the event also setting a new personal best time of 1:50.06 and being the fastest qualifier for the final in Athens. Ealier in the day Louise set in a new World record in the 400m with a time of 54.29. While Eliza Stankovic continued the Aussie dominance placing third in the second semi final also setting a new personal best time of 1:50.76. It is the first time Australia has ever had three women contest the Olympic final. "

    Read more at Four Aussies Qualify for Olympics

    Posted by Darren at 01:49 PM

    Stats dampen Aussie Olympic medal hopes

    "It's that time of year again: Olympic medal tally time.

    Every four years they emerge from the bushes, the statisticians who twist and tug at medal tables from years past and come up with a statistical probability of how many medals any given country will bring home.

    But for Australia, the news this year isn't so good.

    Sports statisticians are warning the country to prepare itself for a much less impressive medal haul than in 2004 when Sydney hosted what the International Olympic Committee called "the best Games ever".

    Australia won 58 medals in Sydney: 16 gold, 25 silver and 17 bronze.

    But Australian sports statistician Professor Stephen Clarke, from Melbourne's Swinburne University, has predicted that Australian athletes will win just 40 medals this time around and just 10 of those will be gold. He predicted 14 silver and 16 bronze medals."

    Read more at Stats dampen Aussie Olympic medal hopes

    Posted by Darren at 01:16 PM

    Australian Athletes to Miss Opening Ceremony

    "AUSTRALIA'S marching ranks for the Olympic opening ceremony will be missing cyclists, swimmers, soccer players, rowers and other athletes.

    They will watch it on television because of the late finish and the distance between their rooms and the stadium.

    All Australia's cyclists and soccer players will miss Friday night's opening in the spectacular OAKA stadium, along with most swimmers and rowers, who will compete on Saturday.

    Officials will supplement the back rows of the ranks with more coaches, doctors and physios than are usually offered the chance to march.

    Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said all 482 athletes and six officials were allowed to march, but next-day competition had ruled out many.

    Athletes will assemble at 5.30pm to travel to the ceremony. Competitors from outer sites would have an even earlier start, and would not get to bed until 1am at the earliest.

    Mr Coates said it would be a very long day for athletes competing the next day, and those staying at outlying villages."

    Read more at Athletes to miss opening

    Posted by Darren at 01:09 PM

    Delta Goodrem Ready for Olympics Role

    "DELTA Goodrem was due in Athens last night to prepare for tonight's performance in front of Australian athletes at the Olympic village.

    And there was possibly a much bigger show ahead - the Opening Ceremony.

    The singer flew into the country with her mother, Lea, and was to catch up with boyfriend, Olympian Mark Philippoussis.

    Unfortunately for Goodrem, the tennis player changed his plans at the last moment and will not arrive in Athens until today.

    Philippoussis is staying in the athletes' village and will compete in the Olympics as one of only three Greek-Australians on the team.

    Goodrem was flown to Athens by the Australian Olympic Committee and arrived on the same day as the dress rehearsals for the opening ceremony.

    She will perform at the Australian reception in the village tonight, singing the national anthem and two of her own songs."

    Read more at Delta ready for Games role.

    Posted by Darren at 01:08 PM

    Eugen Galekovic claims Australian Football Goal Keeping Spot

    "EUGEN GALEKOVIC has claimed the goalkeeping spot ahead of Brad Jones for Australia's opening Olympic men's soccer game with Tunisia in Crete tomorrow.

    In probably the most contentious spot, coach Frank Farina selected Melbourne-based Galekovic ahead of the reserve Middlesbrough 'keeper.

    Farina is sticking with the attacking formation he has used in the lead-up Games, effectively opting for three forwards.

    The match is a vital one for the Olyroos who are expected to need at least a draw if they are to get past the preliminary round."

    Read more at Farina opts for Galekovic

    Posted by Darren at 01:07 PM

    Coach on Brit hit list

    "BRITAIN is out to poach another of Australia's top Olympic coaches, with athletics head coach Keith Connor to be approached during the Athens Games.

    Australia's former swimming head coach Bill Sweetenham has worked since November 2000 as Britain's head coach and it has developed into a new power in the pool, winning eight medals, including two gold, at last year's world championships.

    United Kingdom Athletics chief executive David Moorcroft confirmed yesterday he hoped to speak personally to Connor, an Englishman, in Athens.

    "We've done a lot of work already to find a new high performance director (head coach) and Keith hasn't applied," Moorcroft said, "We've got some people doing the headhunting and I'm sure he's on the list.

    "He hasn't applied, but we're going to approach some people. I'm hoping to speak to Keith while I'm over there even though I won't have the Olympic accreditation to get to him and he will have a job to do for Australia.""

    Read more at Coach on Brit hit list

    Posted by Darren at 01:05 PM

    IOC lose to power of Thorpe co

    "THEY are the coolest rockstars of the Athens Olympics and in typical rockstar fashion, Australia's athletes commanded the biggest, rowdiest audience of the Games to date, completely upstaging the International Olympic Committee.

    In the battle of the rival press conferences, the IOC was made to look ridiculous when it claimed priority by holding its briefing in the largest conference room at Athens' main press centre, yet barely attracted enough journalists to match the number of talking heads it paraded on stage.

    That forced Australia's highest-profile swimmers, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Matt Welsh, Petria Thomas, Leisel Jones and Libby Lenton, to hold their press conference simultaneously in a far smaller room filled to overflowing with around 300 journalists, photographers and cameramen.

    Dozens of other media representatives took one look at the jam-packed conditions and turned away."

    Read more at IOC lose to power of Thorpe co.

    Posted by Darren at 01:05 PM

    Diamond targets gold after traumatic year

    "Two-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Diamond of Australia says he has a point to prove after a traumatic year of court hearings nearly sidelined him from the trap shooting in Athens.

    Diamond was cleared of assault charges at the start of the year and freed without conviction on a firearms charge.

    But he missed the selection trials due to the hearing and his gun licence was rescinded.

    The national shooting association threw him a lifeline for Olympic qualification by agreeing to a shoot-off with the eventual runner-up in the trials."

    Read more at Diamond targets gold after traumatic year

    Posted by Darren at 12:43 PM

    Pittman set to resume jogging

    "World 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman plans to start jogging again on Friday, just five days after undergoing knee surgery and eight days before her first Olympic qualifying round.

    Pittman said she received the news she was hoping for during an examination with a specialist the day after her knee operation in London.

    "It was a real quick visit," Pittman said.

    "He examined it and said there was no obvious swelling and that everything is on track.

    "I'm now off to the team camp so the team doctors and physiotherapist can monitor it.

    "I've been given a set of four strengthening exercises to do four times a day, I've got to ice it heaps and I'll meditate for two hours a day.""

    Read more at Pittman set to resume jogging.

    Posted by Darren at 12:42 PM

    Cheer squad to motivate Australian Olympic team

    "The Australian Olympic team is a long way from home but team officials don't believe that means that their athletes should be deprived of the powerful "home town advantage".

    In fact they're doing all they can to make the athletes feel like they're one big family in the Olympic village. They're building support, camaraderie and cheer squads, and they've drafted in sporting heroes to help.

    Controversially the Olympic great Dawn Fraser has not been enlisted at these games, but the racing driver Peter Brock has."

    Read more at Cheer squad to motivate Aust Olympic team.

    Posted by Darren at 12:29 PM

    De Bruijn sends warning massage to Australians - Swimming

    "She may not seem the unstoppable force she was four years ago in Sydney, but ask Dutchwoman Inge de Bruijn how she feels heading into her third Olympics and her answers are very revealing.

    "I'm very excited," de Bruijn said. "I feel very fit, very strong, very confident."

    And that's very ominous for her opponents. In Sydney, an excited, fit, strong and confident de Bruijn won the 50-metre and 100m freestyle, the 100m butterfly and the hearts of most Australians.

    In the four years since, she has not been quite so dominant, and in March, she saw her 100m freestyle world record of 53.77 seconds beaten by Australian Libby Lenton. It didn't particularly surprise her.

    "I thought they were awesome swims by the Australian girls [Lenton and Jodie Henry, who equalled de Bruijn's record], both of them actually," she said.

    "Records are meant to be broken and I saw it coming."

    Read more at De Bruijn sends warning massage to Australians - Swimming

    Posted by Darren at 12:26 PM

    This is not an Australia-US competition, says Aussie head coach

    "THE Olympic swimming competition is not just a meet between the United States and Australia despite their powerful squads, Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said yesterday.

    The US are bringing the worlds strongest team but other countries, such as Britain, have good squads, Nugent said.

    This is not an Australia-US competition here, he told a news conference.

    Everyone from around the world is at the Olympics and we consider everyone to be our competitor. There are a lot of other people out there besides the red, white and blue.

    Ian Thorpe, defending champion in the 400m freestyle, said the depth of competition would be clear when Australia tried to retain their mens 4x100m freestyle relay title.

    Rising power South Africa and Russia, who won the world championship in the event last year, could contend for the gold medal with the United States and Australia, he said."

    Read more at This is not an Australia-US competition, says Aussie head coach.

    Posted by Darren at 12:15 PM

    Ian Thorpe considers ultimate payback

    "IT WAS a question which saw Ian Thorpe momentarily stumble. Not quite as clumsily as when he fell from his blocks in the Australian Olympic swimming trials, an aberration which looked to have ruled him out of his favourite 400 metres event at Athens 2004.

    But enough to produce a pause, a wry smile and the suggestion that one of the great sporting stories could be witnessed here next week.

    If he won gold in the 400m would he give it to his team-mate, room-mate and big pal Craig Stevens, the man whose selfless decision to bow out of the 400m team, albeit under pressure from an expectant nation, won Thorpe a reprieve?

    "I havent thought about that so I cant give a definitive answer," floundered Thorpe in response. "Im concentrating on swimming the race and hope that goes well. Ill make any other decision after Ive competed." "

    Read more at Thorpe considers ultimate payback

    Posted by Darren at 12:01 PM

    Thorpe has chance to join immortals

    "Forget about Greek gods, Ian Thorpe has a chance to join Australia's Olympic immortals if he can win Saturday's 400m freestyle gold in Athens.

    Thorpe will equal Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and Betty Cuthbert as the country's most successful Olympians with four gold medals if he's victorious in his first swimming event of the Games.

    And he'll join Rose as the only men in Olympic history to have won back-to-back 400m freestyle titles.

    But not if Grant Hackett has anything to say about it.

    Hackett believes he's ready to go faster than he's ever been before.

    "I think it's time that I do a personal best," he said.

    "I feel like I've done the work in the past couple of years to really bring it down and wherever that leaves me in terms of the medals we'll wait and see."

    Read more at Thorpe has chance to join immortals.

    Posted by Darren at 11:56 AM

    August 10, 2004

    Ian Thorpe won't wear 'mean look'

    "MICHAEL KLIM reckons the Australian men's 4x100m freestyle relay is reminiscent of the Mean Machine, if only Ian Thorpe would shave his head.

    While relay contenders Klim, Ashley Callus and Olympic rookie Eamon Sullivan have all lopped their locks like the Mean Machine, Thorpe just can't bring himself to follow suit.

    "I don't think it's ever going to happen," Klim quipped today.

    "It's highly unlikely."

    Nevertheless, the members of the relay have talked about evoking the spirit of the Mean Machine when they race at the Olympics on Saturday - the first day of competition in swimming."

    Read more at FOX SPORTS | ATHENS OLYMPIC GAMES | Ian won't wear mean look (August 10, 2004).

    Posted by Darren at 09:28 PM

    Ian Thorpe - Unbeatable

    "IAN THORPE has received a huge vote of confidence from the man who plotted his downfall in the 200m freestyle at the Sydney Olympics four years ago, Pieter van den Hoogenband's coach Jacco Verhaeren.

    Thorpe and van den Hoogenband embraced as friends beside the Athens Olympic pool yesterday, but in eight days they will meet as rivals for the gold medal in the 200m freestyle.

    That event is being billed as the race of the century, with American superstar Michael Phelps and former world record-holder Grant Hackett also to line up.

    However, Verhaeren believes Thorpe is almost unbeatable, saying he expected the reverse of Sydney, where van den Hoogenband triumphed and took away the Australian's world record.

    "Thorpe has had a big advantage since Fukuoka [the 2001 world championshps] - I think Ian Thorpe is the winner of the 200," he said.

    "I think we have to be very good to beat him."

    Read more at Thorpe 'unbeatable'

    Posted by Darren at 09:25 PM

    Jana Pittman 'unsure' of gold medal

    "JANA PITTMAN has conceded she's not so sure whether she can win Olympic gold.

    Pittman has spent her first night at the Australian team hotel in Varese, northern Italy, where she is under the watchful eye of Australian team doctor Tim Barbour.

    But it wasn't a peaceful night for the 400m hurdles world champion, who was awake every two hours icing her injured right knee for 20 minutes at a time.

    "Last night she woke up every two hours and iced it for 20 minutes," Pittman's coach Phil King said.

    "She's very tired this morning."

    Read more at Jana 'unsure' of gold .

    Irina Lashko set to make a splash in Athens

    "Australian diver Irina Lashko says she will compete "with anger" at the Athens Games after being barred from the Sydney Olympics by her former homeland Russia.

    Lashko represented Russia at three Olympics before taking Australian citizenship in 1999 in the hope of competing for her adopted country in 2000.

    But the Russian Olympic Federation refused to give her clearance and she had to watch as the Sydney Games unfolded, a feeling she described as the worst in her life.

    Now she is back, at the age of 31, to represent Australia at the Olympics for the first time."

    Read more at Lashko set to make a splash in Athens - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport. .

    Posted by Darren at 09:14 PM

    Opals and Boomers save best form for Athens

    "Australia's men's and women's basketball squads have not even arrived in Athens yet but both teams will fly in on Wednesday brimming with confidence after completing their Olympic lead-up games in stunning fashion around Europe.

    The Opals won the gold medal with a 74-70 victory over China in the final of the inaugural FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament in Heraklion, Greece, while the Boomers scored an impressive 66-59 win over hosts Italy - the team that defeated the US Dream Team last week - in a four-nation tournament in Reggio Calabria.

    For the Opals it was a typically dominant performance by Lauren Jackson, scoring 24 points and dragging in 13 rebounds. But she was well supported and Trish Fallon finished with 13 points and eight boards.

    "It was a great win against a very well-oiled and drilled Chinese team leading into the Olympics," four-time Olympian Sandy Brondello said. "While we still know we need to finetune a few things, we are very happy with where we are at and winning the first ever Diamond Ball Tournament is sensational.""

    Read more at Opals and Boomers save best form for Athens

    Posted by Darren at 08:07 PM

    Jobie Dajka Loses Doping Appeal

    "Track cyclist Jobie Dajka has lost his appeal against his expulsion from Australia's Olympic team.

    The ex-world keirin champion was taken off the team after being charged with bringing the sport into disrepute when he admitted lying to a doping inquiry.

    Dajka appealed to the Sydney-based Court of Arbitration for Sport but it ruled on Monday the ban should stand. Furious Dajka said: "I'm probably the first to be ejected from an Olympics for taking a vitamin. It's a joke."

    He added: "I will just have a month off and start again. It's what I live for. I've done nothing wrong.""

    Read more at Cyclist Dajka loses appeal

    Posted by Darren at 02:23 PM

    Jana Pittman in Italy for treatment

    "World 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman is in Italy in a last-ditch bid to recover from a knee surgery in time for the Athens Olympics.

    Pittman, Australia's best hope for athletics gold until she tore a cartilage at a meeting in Zurich last week, will seek treatment in the northern town of Varese before deciding whether to come to Athens.

    "She will spend the next 10 days undergoing rehabilitation and basically the medical staff, her coach and Jana will make a decision as to whether she feels she is up to running here," Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred said.

    "She is a very, very determined person and I think she would probably want to run on one leg if we would let her."

    Read more at Pittman in Italy for treatment

    Posted by Darren at 02:19 PM

    Wayne Arthurs lands Athens berth

    Australian Wayne Arthurs will replace Martin Verkerk in the men's singles at the Olympics after the Dutchman was ruled out because of injury.

    Verkerk, last year's French Open finalist, has a chest muscle strain.

    Arthurs lands Athens berth

    Posted by Darren at 02:06 PM

    Stars must align for flagbearer

    "HAVE you put your money on Ian Thorpe being given the honour of carrying the Australian flag at the Athens Games opening ceremony on Friday night?

    Or perhaps the original Oarsome Foursome team members James Tomkins or Mike McKay?

    Then screw up your betting tickets because Australian team chief John Coates has ruled them out of his list of flagbearing contenders.

    More correctly, they have been ruled out by the decisions of the swimming and rowing teams not to march in the opening ceremony so they keep themselves fresh for competition.

    Thorpe, who is on target in Athens to become the greatest Australian Olympic medal winner of all time -- he already has five from Sydney and needs only another four to surpass Dawn Fraser and Susie O'Neill -- certainly cannot afford a late night just before his prime event, the 400m freestyle, particularly with Grant Hackett threatening him as never before."

    Continue reading Stars must align for flagbearer .

    Posted by Darren at 01:42 PM

    Australian Cycling Team - Strongest Ever

    "Australian track cycling coach Martin Barras has declared that Australia's track team for Athens is the strongest force mustered for international competition in a velodrome.

    With Australia seeking a record medal haul at the Games in cycling, Barras said the depth and talent of the team left him with no doubt it would surpass other great teams from the past 20 years, such as those from Germany and France.

    From world 500metres time-trial champion Anna Meares and two-time world silver pursuit medallist Katie Mactier, to surging sprinter Ryan Bayley, who is in career-best form, and the triple world champion and world record-holding team pursuit riders - to name only a few from the team - Australia has cyclists capable of collecting medals in almost every track event."

    Australia's team 'the strongest ever' - Cycling -

    Posted by Darren at 01:41 PM

    August 09, 2004

    Danielle Kelly Withdraws from Olympic Gymnastics

    "The Australian gymnastics team has been rocked by Danielle Kelly's withdrawal from the Olympics following a calf muscle injury.

    The 18-year-old Queenslander, a member of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2003 world championships, tore her calf muscle in training in Athens.

    She will be replaced by 16-year-old Victorian Karen Nguyen who will fly from Cologne to the Olympic city this week.

    "She has been examined by (team doctor) Peter Fricker and she won't be able to participate in the Games," Olympic team boss John Coates told reporters."

    Read more at Kelly's Olympic dream crushed

    Posted by Darren at 11:47 PM

    John Coates Tight Lipped on Australian Flag Bearer

    "Who will carry the flag when the Australian team marches into the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony on Friday night?

    Will it be equestrian Andrew Hoy, chasing a fourth team gold medal at his sixth Olympics; shooter Michael Diamond chasing three successive individual gold medals at his fourth games; medal-winning sailor Colin Beashel at his sixth games or some-one else?

    Only one person knows the answer and he isn't telling.

    "I haven't made a decision," said Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, who is heading the team in Athens.

    "I know there is a lot of speculation in Australia."

    Coates' comments came as he sat beside sailor Beashel, a member of the 1983 America's Cup winning crew, at the Australian team media conference on Monday.

    "We have a number of athletes with great credentials and he's one of them," he said of Beashel"

    Read more at Coates tight-lipped about flag bearer.

    Posted by Darren at 11:46 PM

    Icy night helps Jana Pittman's knee repair

    "Jana Pittman spent the night icing her knee in a desperate bid to be fit for the Olympic 400m hurdles which start in Athens on August 21.

    Pittman's coach Phil King said the world champion was encouraged by the lack of swelling around the injury and a positive report back from her London surgeon this morning.

    "She saw the doctor at 7am this morning and everything looked good," King said.

    "He advised Jana that under normal circumstances it would take six weeks but athletes tend to be a little more in tune with their bodies.

    "He's confident the recovery will go quickly for Jana."

    King said her knee joint now had to adjust after having a piece of the patella tendon removed in weekend surgery and then she would undergo careful monitoring and physiotherapy over the next few days.

    "We're very, very encourage by the minimal amount of swelling," he said.

    "It's a credit to Jana. She's been up icing it and keeping it elevated all night.""

    Read more at Icy night helps Jana's knee repair.

    Posted by Darren at 11:32 PM

    Jana Pittman plans Olympic comeback after knee surgery

    "World 400 metres hurdle champion Jana Pittman has been given fresh hope of competing in the Athens Olympics after undergoing successful knee surgery in London.

    Twenty-four hours earlier the 21-year-old athlete had been in tears after tearing cartilage in her right knee during a warm-up for a track meet in Zurich. After undergoing surgery she says she now has a better than evens chance of lining up for her heats in just twelve days time. Pittman told reporters after the operation she plans to resume training immediately."

    Read more at Jana Pittman plans Olympic comeback after knee surgery

    Posted by Darren at 06:13 PM

    Australians praise Olympics pool

    "The Australian swimming team has had their first training session at the Olympic pool and praised the venue.

    In March, organisers scrapped plans to build a roof over the pool because they would not finish it in time, sparking criticism from many in the Australian camp concerned about the heat.

    But after swimming at the venue backstroker Matt Welsh says he is no longer concerned.

    "The stands are high enough (to block the sun)," he said.

    Head coach Leigh Nugent said he was impressed with the facilities"

    Read more at Australians praise Olympics pool.

    Posted by Darren at 06:07 PM

    Australia defeats China - Women's Basketball

    "WNBA star Lauren Jackson scored 24 points to help Australia beat China 74-70 in a thrilling final, winning FIBA Diamond Ball tournament on August 8 evening.

    "I was satisfied with my players especially in the third period," said Chinese head coach Gong Luming."Their defense was good, but they were a little bit relaxed at the start of the last period."

    With a 14-4 point run in the third period, China led Australia 55-53 and entered the last period 60-55.

    However the Australian, headed by the MVP of last year's WNBA season Jackson, came back strongly with a 12-0 storm to take thelead again with 67-60 and seal the victory finally.

    Jackson also contributed 13 rebounds for the Olympic defending bronze medalists, which were also joined by 2002 WNBA All-stars Penny Taylor, who added five points."

    Continue reading Australia beat China to win Diamond Ball basketball

    Posted by Darren at 03:41 PM

    Ian Thorpe fails the Athens taxi-driver test

    "IN keeping with Ian Thorpe's excellent new rock star persona, the swimming team's arrival in Athens has been cloaked in the sort of secrecy and hysteria usually reserved for a Rolling Stones tour.

    All kinds of rules and restrictions govern the ferrying of athletes to and from the airport. As the swimmers were scheduled to fly in after training in Germany, Australian media were agitating for a shot of our aquatic gods and goddesses setting foot - size 18 or otherwise - in the ancient city.

    Alas, you're more likely to sneak into the stadium to build sandcastles in the long jump pit - not that hard, apparently - than get near the tarmac."

    Read more at Thorpe fails the Athens taxi-driver test.

    Posted by Darren at 03:40 PM

    Aussies' grass is always greener

    "Clyde Rathbone was right. The grass is indeed greener in Australia and just in case it wasn't going to be green enough for them at the Olympic Village in Athens, they brought a few sods of their own turf with them.

    This week the Australians rolled out instant grass on the barren soil in front of their living quarters for the next month or so, quicker than South African cricket players could roll slow-burning grass into a Rizla.

    It could not be confirmed whether they had brought the sods all the way from Australia or bought them locally, but the lush grass was so thick and so fair dinkum deep green that it could only have been watered by the rains of Sydney and cared for meticulously in the Japanese Garden in Darling Harbour. Or perhaps they got it half-price from a cousin of the mayor of the Olympic Village.

    Whichever it is, a member of the South African team, who are, for the fourth Games in a row, next-door neighbours of the Australians, said it was a sight to behold."

    Continue reading Aussies' grass is always greener.

    Posted by Darren at 12:45 PM

    Cheryl Salisbury says the focus is on Football

    "For Cheryl SALISBURY, captain of the womens Olympic Football team of Australia, the Olympic Games is a great opportunity for her team to play up to their potential and prove to be among the great powers of womens football.

    The 30-year-old SALISBURY (AUS) has played in three World Cups and this is her second Olympic Games competition. After her teams practice yesterday at the Kaftantzoglio stadium:

    On personal as well as team goals for the Games:

    "I hope to play the best I can and lay the team the best I can. As far as the team is concerned, we wish to be successful in every possible way, from playing up to our potential, to winning as many games as possible and have the best possible standings.""

    Read more at Women : SALISBURY (AUS) says the focus is on Football

    Posted by Darren at 11:50 AM

    Aussies out to better their 6 Swimming Gold Medals in Sydney

    "Four years ago, Australia won six swimming medals in Sydney. It's sizeable, considering that the whole contingent won only 16. Now they are targeting more.

    Despite much hype, Thorpe won only the 400m free, losing to Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband in the 200m free. Hoogie, incidentally, also took the 100m free.

    Thorpe has set his sights on becoming the first to win the three frees: 100m, 200m and 400m. This has prompted him to withdraw from the 200m individual medley.

    Nevertheless, if Australia can retain their two relay titles, Thorpe could get five golds, which will only pale if the all-round American Phelps wins seven.

    If he does get his unprecedented hat-trick of frees, he must thank Craig Stevens without whose generosity Thorpe would have been a non-starter in the 400m."

    Aussies out to better Sydney

    Posted by Darren at 11:38 AM

    Pittman's Olympic hopes rise

    "World 400m hurdles champion Jana Pittman has been given a 60 per cent chance of competing at the Olympic Games after undergoing knee surgery.

    "We're back in the mix," Pittman's coach Phil King said.

    "It was nowhere near as bad as first interpreted."

    Pittman flew to London for a second medical opinion after she tore cartilage in her right knee during the warm-up for her final pre-Olympic race in Zurich on Friday night.

    King said the London surgeon discovered a lot of the damage displayed in a MRI scan was from past wear and the tear to her lateral meniscus was only slight.

    Pittman, who was given a general anaesthetic, had surgery on the knee in London on Monday when the surgeon shaved the tear out of the cartilage.

    "The news is all very good," King said."

    Continue reading Pittman's Olympic hopes rise .

    Posted by Darren at 11:33 AM

    Dajka appeal held over

    "BANISHED Olympic cyclist Jobie Dajka will have to wait four more days to learn whether he has any chance of riding for Australia in Athens.

    Dajka flew into Sydney from Frankfurt this morning for a scheduled 5pm hearing in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    But the hearing was postponed at the request of both sides less than two hours before it was due to start.

    It will now be heard at 6pm (AEST) Monday.

    Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates took the decision to expel the 22-year-old Dajka from the Olympic team last week after Dajka admitted having lied about his use of syringes in Adelaide last year."

    Read more at Dajka appeal held over.

    Posted by Darren at 08:38 AM

    August 08, 2004

    Lauren Jackson leads Australia to 75-57 win over Greece

    "WNBA starLauren JACKSON scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Australian women's Basketball team to a comfortable 75-57win over Greece in the the FIBA Diamond Ball tournament in Heraklio, Crete.

    On court for just 29 minutes, the dominating Seattle Storm centre was ably supported by veteran forward Trish FALLON (14 points) as the Sydney Olympic Games silver medallists lifted their intensity to take control of the game in the second half. The Opals led 21-20 after the first period and 44-38 at half-time beforeusing their dominance on the boards (50-33) to shut down the Greek offence."

    Read more at JACKSON leads Australia to 75-57 win over Greece.

    Posted by Darren at 11:34 PM

    Jana Pittman may make Athens

    "Pittman beat American Sandra Glover to win her world title in 2003
    World 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman could appear in Athens, despite tearing cartilage in her knee.

    The Australian sustained the injury in her warm-up at the Zurich Golden League meeting.

    Pittman said the damage to the lateral meniscus in her left knee appeared to be less serious than an initial diagnosis had suggested.

    "There's a chance they may be able to go in there and put a few stitches in and I might run in Athens," she said.

    She added: "It's gone from being a one percent to maybe a 20 or 30 % risk so you've just got to wait and see but a possibility is better than nothing."

    Earlier, a devastated Pittman said she would not compete."

    Read more at Pittman 'may make Athens'.

    Posted by Darren at 11:13 PM

    Australian Swimmers Arrive in Athens

    "Australia's all powerful Olympic swimming team has arrived in Athens as new hope emerged that Jana Pittman might still be able to join them at the Games.

    As Pittman entered a London hospital for exploratory knee surgery she hoped might keep her Olympic dream alive, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and the rest of the swimmers arrived at the historic home of the Games amid tight security.

    The 42-strong unit has been tipped to deliver more than a third of Australia's medals at the Games.

    Leading website Swiminfo.com has predicted Australia to win eight gold, eight silver and two bronze medals in the pool - more than the 1956 team dubbed the nation's greatest.

    The team's chartered flight flew into the Olympic city from their pre-Games training camp in Germany.

    Team boss John Coates said the arrival of the swimmers would further boost morale within the Australian contingent.

    He said other members of the Olympic team regarded Australia's leading swimmers as heroes."

    Read more at Swimmers arrive amid new hope for Jana

    Posted by Darren at 11:07 PM

    Pittman vows to collect gold in 2008

    "The only thing holding the shattered pieces of Jana Pittman's life together is the dream of winning Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.

    Pittman vowed today to collect her gold medal in China in another four years and warned it was almost pointless for any other athlete to bother turning up to contest the 400m hurdles.

    ''I now have an incentive - more than anybody else in the world - to come out and run fast in Beijing,'' she said.

    ''If one of the other athletes got injured and they were the favourite two weeks before the Olympics, I would never want to race them again, because that can only make the right kind of person very hungry and angry for future years.''

    In all seriousness, Pittman said she would have given up her legs or even her life to win Olympic gold in Athens.

    So competing in Beijing would be more then about winning gold but about fulfilling her life ambition."

    Read more at Pittman vows to collect gold in 2008.

    Posted by Darren at 09:53 PM

    Jana Pittman - Sorry Australia, I've let you down

    "Jana Pittman last night apologised to a nation for injuring her knee, which has almost certainly killed off her Olympic dream.

    The 21-year-old 400 metres hurdles world champion said: "I want to say sorry to all of Australia because I think I have let them down."

    The world champion hurdler will make a last-minute dash to London for a second medical opinion in case there's any hope she can cling to her Olympic dream.

    Pittman tore the lateral meniscus in her right knee in an accident during the warm-up for the 400m hurdles at the Zurich Golden League, her last competition before the Games.

    She was rushed to hospital for X-rays and an MRI scan of her knee, which revealed the damage.

    She said: "I promised so many people that I would win gold but I really think its over now, at least for this Olympics."

    Read more at Sorry, Australia, I've let you down - Athletics - .

    Posted by Darren at 09:52 PM

    Olympic Opals take a shine to mesmerised Korea

    "THE Australian women's basketball team recorded a comfortable 84-59 win over Korea in their first game of the inaugural FIBA Diamond Ball tournament yesterday.

    The game was the first time the Opals' entire Olympic team has been together since it was announced by the Australian Olympic Committee in July.

    Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor joined their teammates in Heraklion on August 3 with the WNBA in the US breaking for the Athens Olympics.

    The tournament provides important preparation for the Opals, who are keen to get as many games under their belts now the whole team is finally together. The Australians' size dominated the Koreans, reflected in the rebounding stats of 50-22 in the Opals' favour.

    Jackson's individual tally of 20 points was impressive on its own, but was achieved in less than 21 minutes of court time showing that she really will be the player to watch in the Olympic tournament."

    Read more at Olympic Opals take a shine to mesmerised Korea.

    Posted by Darren at 06:09 PM

    August 07, 2004

    Australian Swimmers Sick

    "Three members of Australia's Olympic swimming team have been taken ill at the team's training camp in Germany.

    Giaan Rooney, Jodie Henry and Alice Mills are all suffering from sore throats, headaches and slight fevers, though so far only 18-year-old Mills is sitting out training sessions.

    It is not unusual for swimmers to experience such symptoms when they begin to taper off their training in the run-up to a major competition like the Olympics."

    Read more at Aussie swimmers struggle with illness - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport..

    Posted by Darren at 09:06 AM

    Australia to Send Second Biggest Team to Athens Olympics

    Australia boasts second largest Olympic team - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport.
    "Australia will have the second largest team at the Athens Olympics.

    Australia is sending 482 athletes to the Games, second only to the United States in terms of numbers.

    The president of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, says it is something to be proud of."

    Posted by Darren at 09:05 AM

    Jana Pittman to Miss Olympics - Injury

    "Pittman beat American Sandra Glover to win her world title in 2003
    World 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman will miss the Olympics after tearing cartilage in her knee.

    The Australian pulled out of Friday's Golden League meeting in Zurich after sustaining the injury during warm-up.

    The 21-year-old is set to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the tear but she is expected to be sidelined for at least two to three months."

    Source - Pittman to miss Olympics

    Get more news on this story at Pittman in doubt for Athens.

    Posted by Darren at 08:41 AM

    Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst prepare for the spotlight

    "Australia's Sydney Olympic gold medal beach volleyballers, Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, will not only have to cope with different partners at Athens but the spotlight as well.

    Games will be held under lights in the cool of the evening, a first for the Australians.

    Pottharst, now playing with Summer Lochowicz, said the heat wasn't an issue but playing late was.

    Lochowicz's and Pottharst's first game is scheduled for 10am on August 14 but their second is at 10pm two days later.

    "I'll have to try and stay awake," joked Pottharst.

    Cook, who is now teamed with Nicole Sanderson, said sunlight, or the lack of it, paled into insignificance compared with the crowd's response in matches. Remembering the stirring passion of the crowd at the Sydney Olympics, Cook said the late starts would help generate more interest from the locals."

    Read more at Cook, Pottharst prepare for the spotlight - Beach Volleyball - .

    Posted by Darren at 12:33 AM

    August 06, 2004

    Dajka appeal held over

    "BANISHED Olympic cyclist Jobie Dajka will have to wait four more days to learn whether he has any chance of riding for Australia in Athens.

    Dajka flew into Sydney from Frankfurt this morning for a scheduled 5pm hearing in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    But the hearing was postponed at the request of both sides less than two hours before it was due to start.

    It will now be heard at 6pm (AEST) Monday.

    Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates took the decision to expel the 22-year-old Dajka from the Olympic team last week after Dajka admitted having lied about his use of syringes in Adelaide last year."

    Read more at Dajka appeal held over.

    Posted by Darren at 03:08 PM

    Libby Lenton learns signals for psychological warfare

    "LIBBY LENTON does not know when it will come, or how it will come, but she does know that the psychological warfare is about to begin.

    The fresh-faced 19-year-old sprinter will arrive in Athens on Sunday for her first Olympic Games with a target on her forehead as the world record-holder in the most coveted event in swimming, the 100metres freestyle.

    And she is prepared for some of her rivals for the gold medal to greet her in the traditional fashion.

    "Everyone who has been to an Olympic Games says to expect the unexpected, and that kind of psychological games do go on," Lenton said at the national team's training camp in Germany."

    Continue Reading Lenton learns signals for psychological warfare.

    Posted by Darren at 02:49 PM

    Ian Thorpe ready for 10 more years of Swimming

    "Ian Thorpe says he believes his rivalry with American Michael Phelps could extend long past the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

    Thorpe was speaking to reporters overnight at the Australian team's training base in the German town of Sindelfingen.

    "He's not the only one who can swim fast," Thorpe said of Phelps, who has replaced him as the number one swimmer in the world in the run-up to the Games.

    "There are also some Europeans but my name is Ian Thorpe and I will swim very fast in Athens.

    "I want to be swimming for another 10 years at least."

    Phelps is hoping to better Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics by entering in eight events at Athens.

    Thorpe, who already has three gold medals from Sydney four years ago, is chasing Spitz's career tally of nine."

    Read more at Thorpe ready for 10 more years.

    Posted by Darren at 02:39 PM

    Jana Pittman Eyes Debbie Flintoff-King's Record

    "DEBBIE Flintoff-King will arrive in town only hours before tomorrow morning's Golden League meeting and Jana Pittman has the perfect welcome gift planned: she's going to break her mentor's 16-year-old national record.

    Flintoff-King and her three children will join her husband, Pittman's coach Phil King, for the final phase of the Olympic preparation, with Pittman excited about having the 1988 Seoul Olympic champion back in her corner.

    "Debbie arrives today so I would really like to break her record in front of her," Pittman said.

    Pittman would have liked to have already added the record to her name and made a mess of an attempt on Sunday in Heusden, Belgium, when she and King were convinced Flintoff-King's time of 53.17sec -- which she ran to win the Olympic gold medal -- would be broken."

    Read more of Jana eyes mentor's record .

    Posted by Darren at 10:59 AM

    Jana Pittman Cuts Hair for Gold Medal

    "JANA Pittman has lopped her hair in pursuit of Olympic gold.

    Gone also are the teeth braces and when she races the belly-button ring, earrings, watch, bracelet -- anything that might add the slightest weight and slow her down by a fraction of a millisecond when she's competing.

    It was with a heavy heart that Australia's track and field golden girl cut her locks, which reached halfway down her back.

    "I made the ultimate sacrifice yesterday and went and cut my hair off, which was shattering," she said.

    "I loved it long, I really did, but it was also really heavy."

    Read more at Hair today, gold tomorrow for Jana.

    Posted by Darren at 10:45 AM

    "My name is Ian Thorpe and I will swim very fast in Athens"

    "Australian swimming sensation Ian Thorpe has begun the war of words with rival Michael Phelps just over a week before the start of the Olympic Games.

    American Phelps is aiming for a record eight gold medals at Athens and has taken over the mantle of number one male swimmer in the world from Thorpe.

    "He's not the only one who can swim fast," Thorpe said of Phelps.

    "There are also some Europeans but my name is Ian Thorpe and I will swim very fast in Athens.""

    Read more at Thorpe throws down gauntlet

    Posted by Darren at 10:38 AM

    August 05, 2004

    Grant Hackett Eyes 1500m World Record

    "Grant Hackett is ready to break his 1500-metre world record at the Athens Olympics - even if his rivals doubt it will ever be broken.

    Larsen Jensen, who won the 1500m at the US Olympic trials last month, said of Hackett's stunning 14 minutes 34.56 seconds: "It's such a fast time I don't know if it's going to happen again, because it's just so insane. The next time somebody gets close to that time might be in 20 years from now."

    But Hackett feels that, with his good preparation in the Olympic lead-up, he is ready to better the mark, set at the world titles in Japan in 2001, which slashed almost seven seconds off Kieren Perkins's previous mark."

    Read more Confident Hackett takes aim at 1500m record .

    Posted by Darren at 08:47 AM

    Australian Olympians Invade Europe

    "Eight days to go and the Australians are ready. The nation's Olympic athletes are scattered around Europe plotting their paths to Athens and putting the finishing touches to training.

    As the world's thoughts turn to Greece and the Games, most of Australia's track and field athletes are based in Varese, Italy, a tourist mecca known for its silk and leather, but chances are the premier sprinters have had little chance to sample them.

    Australia's swimmers are holed away in Sindelfingen, a small German town on the outskirts of Stuttgart that has been their European base for the past three years.

    The training camps, in warm, sleepy European locations, enable the athletes to get used to the sort of heat they will encounter in Athens, and to prepare mentally.

    In Sindelfingen, where Australia's biggest star Ian Thorpe is being protected from the media gaze that will inevitably settle on him after the swimming team lands in Athens on a chartered plane, the camp is an opportunity for the swimmers to put the finishing touches to their training and gather themselves for the competition."

    Continue reading Australians invade Europe with eyes on the prize .

    Posted by Darren at 08:40 AM

    August 04, 2004

    Australian Swimming Team take Security Precautions

    "Australian swimming officials are so intent on ensuring nothing goes wrong with their Olympic team that they are avoiding commercial airlines.

    Instead, the 42 swimmers and almost as many support staff will fly from their German training camp to Athens on Sunday in a chartered aircraft.

    Australian Swimming wants to keep the team as relaxed as possible when they touch-down in the Olympic city, five days ahead of the August 13 opening ceremony.

    The swimming team, which some have predicted will be Australia's most successful in any Olympics, has been training in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, since late last week to acclimatise to the European summer.

    Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said commercial flights into Athens were considered unsuitable."

    Continue reading Cotton wool for Aussie swim team.

    Posted by Darren at 03:18 PM

    Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe Battle will be Olympic Highlight

    "Swimming, perhaps for the first time, is threatening to trump athletics as the main attraction at the Athens Olympics, thanks to Michael Phelps (news - web sites) and Ian Thorpe (news - web sites).

    The pair are bidding for places in swimming immortality by tackling two of the sport's greatest records and their clash promises to be the highlight of the August 13-29 Olympics.

    Phelps is aiming to better Mark Spitz (news - web sites)'s record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics while Thorpe, who already has three gold medals from Sydney four years ago, is chasing Spitz's career tally of nine.

    Phelps surpassed Thorpe as the number one swimmer by setting five world records and winning four gold medals at last year's world championships in Barcelona.

    But the American teenager has his sights set even higher in Athens, contemplating a gruelling schedule that would make him the greatest Olympian of all time."

    Continue reading Phelps and Thorpe Battle Looms as Olympics Highlight

    Posted by Darren at 10:54 AM

    August 03, 2004

    Australian defeats Czech Republic - Women's Basketball

    "Czech Republic 46 Australia 57
    AUSTRALIA's women's basketball team gained revenge in their second and final game of the pre-Olympic series in Brno today.

    Veteran forward Rachael Sporn's return helped the Opals, who losing game one by nine points the previous evening.

    Sporn, who was rested for game one with of a minor shoulder injury, started tonight and her experience made a huge difference.

    It allowed Suzy Batkovic to come off the bench and, after struggling in recent matches, she came to the fore with 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals in her 23 minutes.

    The key to the Opals' win was a solid third quarter, when they built on a five-point halftime lead."

    continue reading Sporn's return lifts Opals.

    Posted by Darren at 11:33 PM

    Serbia and Montenegro defeats Australian - Men's Baskeball

    "Serbia and Montenegro 79 Australia 61

    SERBIA and Montenegro gave the Boomers a pre-Olympic reality check at the FIBA Diamond Ball tournament in Belgrade today.

    Serbia and Montenegro have won the past two world basketball championships and showed why they are likely to be the team to beat at the Olympics.

    "We were given a basketball lesson tonight," said Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian.

    "We were beaten all over the court - both offensively and defensively."

    Continue Reading Boomers 'given basketball lesson'

    Posted by Darren at 11:32 PM

    Delta Goodrem Heading to Athens Olympics

    "Delta Goodrem will sing the national anthem for Australia's athletes at a private party in Athens before the official Olympics opening ceremony.

    Goodrem, who made a rare public appearance in Sydney today at the ARIA Number One Chart Awards, confirmed she would be leaving for Athens this week ahead of the Olympics, which open on August 13.

    "It is going to be wonderful to be in the Olympic Village again, from having the Sydney Olympics which was such a fantastic atmosphere to going over there to be amongst the athletes," Goodrem said."

    Continue reading Goodrem going to Greece.

    Posted by Darren at 11:22 PM

    August 02, 2004

    Pittman second in Belgium

    "Australia's Jana Pittman has finished second in the 400 metres hurdles behind American Sandra Glover at the IAAF Grand Prix II meet in Heusden, Belgium.

    Glover won in a time of 53.40 seconds, with Pittman clocking 53.43.

    Fellow Australian Lauren Hewitt finished sixth in the women's 200 metres, while sprinter Patrick Johnson placed sixth in the men's 100 metre event.

    Another Australian, Paul Burgess, finished third in the pole vault.

    Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj achieved a confidence-boosting pre-Olympics win in the 1,500 metre event.

    The 28-year-old posted a time of 3 minutes and 29.18 seconds to better the season's previous best of 3:29.21, set by Kenyan Bernard Lagat in Paris last week."

    Continue Reading Pittman second in Belgium

    Posted by Darren at 06:54 PM

    Tamsyn Lewis Poses for Ralph Pictures

    "SUPER-FIT runner Tamsyn Lewis has shown her Olympic form, shedding her shorts and tank top for the beach and a bikini in a summery spread for Ralph magazine.

    Lewis, 26, Australia's leading female 800m runner, stepped out of her athletic comfort zone for the lads' magazine shoot.

    "I race in a two-piece that's quite revealing, but it's very different when you get to look like a real girl and have your hair and make-up done," she said of her transformation into a pin-up.

    While the shoot was an entertaining distraction, Lewis, who is in Europe preparing with her coach Lord Sebastian Coe for the Olympics, has her sights set on bringing home a medal from Athens."

    Continue reading Lewis loves a laddish looka>.

    Australian Swimmers Drug Tested on Arrival

    "WHEN the Australian swimming team arrived in Germany for its pre-Olympic training camp, the drug testers were waiting at the hotel.

    Australia's two highest-profile swimmers, Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett, who last week said they didn't believe the Olympic Games would be "clean", were among the first singled out for testing over the weekend.

    In all, 12 of the 42 swimmers were required to provide urine samples before they had even unpacked."

    Read more at Athletes tested on arrival

    Posted by Darren at 12:07 AM

    August 01, 2004

    Hungary defeats Australia - Women's Waterpolo

    Aussies pipped by Hungary - Breaking News - http://www.theage.com.au:
    "Australia's women's waterpolo team was beaten 5-4 by world champion Hungary in a six-nation tournament.

    Australia was always on the back foot, down 2-1 down at the quarter, 3-2 at halftime and trailing 5-3 heading into the last seven minutes before closing the game with a 1-0 quarter.

    In a game where 2000 Olympic champion Bronwyn Smith played her 200th game for Australia, the result was not all bad news."

    Posted by Darren at 11:29 PM

    Ian Thorpe Almost Quit Swimming

    "AUSTRALIA'S strongest swimmer nearly didn't make it into the Olympic squad: Ian Thorpe was ready to quit two years ago and returned to the pool only because his new coach made his sport fun once more.

    "It would have been quite possible for Ian to leave swimming," says his coach of almost two years, Tracey Menzies. "I think it's a tribute to him and what he does - if he doesn't enjoy what he's doing and he does not perform, then he is not going to stay on in the sport.

    "We should feel very privileged he's still in the sport and still offering a lot to the sport and to the other swimmers who look to him as a mentor.""

    Read more at Thorpedo almost quit, says coach.

    Posted by Darren at 11:28 PM

    Jana Pittman Faces Rivals for Gold Medal

    "JANA PITTMAN will come face to face with several of her main rivals for Olympic gold when she races in Huesden, Belgium tonight.

    Three weeks to the day before Pittman lines up for the first heat of the 400 metres hurdles in Athens, she will test herself against the second and third placegetters from the recent US trials.

    Angela Taylor, who ran second in 53.36sec, and Lashinda Demus, who was third in 53.43sec, have both run faster than Pittman this year.

    Pittman's last effort over the 400m hurdles was on July 4 in Crete when she clocked 53.52sec. Her coach, Phil King, said yesterday that Demus in particular would be a strong contender at the Olympics."

    Continue reading The Australian: Pittman tunes up against US pair.

    Posted by Darren at 12:25 PM

    Hungary defeats Australia - Women's Waterpolo

    "Australia's women's waterpolo team was beaten 5-4 by world champion Hungary in a six-nation tournament.

    Australia was always on the back foot, down 2-1 down at the quarter, 3-2 at halftime and trailing 5-3 heading into the last seven minutes before closing the game with a 1-0 quarter.

    In a game where 2000 Olympic champion Bronwyn Smith played her 200th game for Australia, the result was not all bad news."

    Read more at Aussies pipped by Hungary.

    Posted by Darren at 12:20 PM

    July 31, 2004

    Australian PM Back Peddles on Athens Security Statement

    "JOHN Howard yesterday moved to ease diplomatic tensions with Greece over the adequacy of protection for Australia's Olympic athletes.

    The Prime Minister said yesterday he did not mean "any offence to the Greek Government" in expressing concerns on Thursday over whether Australian athletes would be "fully protected" by the host nation.

    His remarks were described by a Greek government spokesman as "unhelpful", coming less than two weeks before the opening of the Olympics.

    The spokesman also suggested that if Australia had any further concerns about Greece's security arrangements it should raise them now."

    Read more at The Australian: Howard didn't mean to offend

    Posted by Darren at 01:14 PM

    South Korea defeats Australia - Men's Football

    "Australias Mens Olympic Football preparations encountered a small speed bump with a 3-1 loss against Athens-bound Korean Republic in hot and humid conditions in South Korea tonight.

    It was a disappointing loss for the Australians, who had looked impressive in racking up four successive victories since coming into camp, including a win over the Japanese Olympic Team in the countdown to Athens.

    Australia trialled 1-0 at half time after conceding a goal in the 16th minute to Korean Republic striker Cho Jaejin and found themselves down 3-0 before Ahmad Elrich scored a late consolation goal for the visitors."

    Read more at .

    Posted by Darren at 12:48 PM

    Jana Pittman on Track for Gold Medal

    "Jana Pittman, who returns to the 400 metres hurdles at a meeting in the Belgian town of Heusden-Zolder on Saturday night, is poised to step up to Olympic Games shape.

    Pittman will have just one other race before the Games - a clash with this year's world fastest, Sheena Johnson of the USA, and most of her major Olympic rivals at Zurich's Weltklasse meeting next Friday - and her coach, Phil King, says she is already in similar shape to when she won the gold medal at last year's world championships.

    "Jana is going really, really well," King said from her base in Switzerland on Thursday. "She has had a very good training block. She has done some really good specific sessions. She has freshened up a bit.

    "Jana would be very much expecting to take the next step."

    Pittman has already returned to her Paris form in one aspect. After weighing as much as 75 kilograms when she ballooned out with weight work and inappropriate diet earlier this year, she is at her world championships racing weight of 68.5kg."

    Read more at Pittman's campaign taking shape: coach - Athletics - .

    Posted by Darren at 10:58 AM

    Aleksandr Parygin - Modern Pentathlon

    "The road to Athens has been a hard one for modern pentathlete Aleksandr Parygin, Paul Daffey writes.

    At Atlanta 1996, when he was 23, Aleksandr Parygin became the youngest competitor to win an Olympic gold medal in the modern pentathlon. In Sydney four years later, unable to compete, he watched from the stands as the Russian competitor who had finished fourth in Atlanta won the event.

    In Athens, Parygin again will aim for gold in the modern pentathlon, but in a different uniform and after a tortuous journey to get there. At Atlanta, he competed for his native Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. In Athens, he will compete for Australia. The intervening years have produced more hardship and uncertainty than sporting achievement."

    Athlete aims to honour adopted nation - Modern Pentathlon

    Posted by Darren at 10:54 AM

    July 30, 2004

    Craig Mottram to take on Ethiopians in 5000m

    "Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson will test their Olympic ambitions in London tonight.

    Mottram will be up against the great Ethiopian pair Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele in the men's 5000, his Olympic distance. It will be Gebrselassie's farewell track race in London.

    Johnson's main Athens objective is the 10,000 metres. She will race over 5000 tonight, measuring the speed with which she is returning to form after a leg injury."

    Read more at Mottram to take mark against Ethiopian duo

    Posted by Darren at 11:24 PM

    Australian Women's Basketball Team Defeats Belgium

    "The Australian women's basketball team has had a nine-point win over Belgium in Spain.

    After a slow start, the Opals trailed by 15 points but closed to within six 23-29 at half-time and went on to win 65-56.

    Veterans Sandy Brondello (15 points), Trish Fallon (14) and Kristi Harrower (9) all played key roles, as the Australians fought their way back into the match.

    Worryingly, the Opals' shooting was poor, recording only 29 per cent from the field. They compensated for this with an intensive effort in defence that put the Belgians under pressure."

    Read more at Veterans shine as Opals down Belgians .

    Posted by Darren at 04:54 PM

    Jobie Dajka kicked off Australian Athens Olympic Team

    Australian cyclist Jobie Dajka has just been told that he will not be going to the Athens Olympics after it is alleged that he lied to an Australian doping enquiry.

    update - The ABC picks up the story and writes:

    ' Cyclist Jobie Dajka has been omitted from the Australian Olympic team after admitting he lied to a doping inquiry.

    Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates announced the decision this afternoon.

    Dajka was questioned today by AOC director of sport Craig Phillips at the cycling team's training camp in Buettgen, Germany, after being accused of lying to the inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court judge Robert Anderson QC.

    The inquiry was established to investigate doping allegations by former world junior champion Mark French who had been suspended from all competition for using a banned drug.'

    Posted by Darren at 03:15 PM

    McEwan Will Compete in Road Race - despite broken Vertebra

    "Australian cyclist Robbie McEwen will compete in the Athens Olympics despite suffering from two broken vertebra.

    McEwen won the green jersey for best sprinter, despite suffering from a sore back since a fall on July 9."

    Source - McEwan will ride on

    Posted by Darren at 11:50 AM

    Everton Supports Tim Cahill's Olympics Campaign

    "New Everton signing Tim Cahill said the English Premier League club has supported his call-up to play football for Australia in the Athens Olympics next month.

    Cahill said Everton's blessing was a major factor in convincing him to sign a four-year contract last week in a move from English Championship club Millwall.

    The 24-year-old midfielder, who gained his first international cap in March, will play for Australia in Friday's Olympic warm-up match against South Korea .

    "There was never a shadow of doubt (of playing in Greece)," Cahill said in a teleconference from England on Thursday.

    "Whatever Premier League club, they've got to deal with it and be happy for you."

    Read more at Yahoo! Sports - Olympics - Everton support Olympic call-up, says Cahill.

    Posted by Darren at 11:49 AM

    July 29, 2004

    Jobie Dajka gets a 'Please Explain' over Doping Allegations

    'The Australian Olympic Committee is to interview cyclist Jobie Dajka after DNA evidence linked him with the doping affair involving team-mate Mark French.

    A report from retired judge Robert Anderson said Dajka's DNA profile had been found on nine articles discovered in a needle waste bin in French's room.'

    Read more at Dajka faces Athens ban.

    Posted by Darren at 10:46 PM

    Oldest Olympic champion dies

    THE world's oldest world's oldest individual track and field Olympic gold medalist has passed away on the Sunshine Coast.

    Bob Tisdall, who won the 400m hurdles for Ireland at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, died peacefully in his sleep at his Nambour home this week, aged 97.

    Mr Tisdall, at 25, became only the second Irishman in history to win gold for his country when he completed the event in 51.7 seconds.

    It was a world record time but was not recognised because he knocked the last hurdle before crossing the line the first.

    Mr Tisdall, a student at Cambridge University, prepared for the Games by hurdling grazing sheep on England's South Downs.

    Source : Oldest Olympic champion dies

    Posted by at 05:38 PM

    Australian PM Worried for Australian Team's Safety

    "Prime Minister John Howard admitted today he was worried about the safety of Australia's Olympic team in Athens and wasn't convinced they would be fully protected.

    With the Athens Games opening on August 13, Mr Howard said the government was constantly monitoring the security situation in Greece, and was currently satisfied everything was being done to keep the athletes safe.

    But the self-confessed sports fanatic also said he still had concerns, and no absolute guarantees could be made about the safety of the 482-strong Australian team.

    "I don't think anybody wants the Australian team not to go, I think that would be dreadful outcome, but equally people worry about the safety of the team," Mr Howard told ABC radio in Perth.

    "I worry about their safety, I do. I cannot honestly say to you that I am certain that they are going to be fully protected. I can't be certain of that."

    "At the moment, we are satisfied but I have to say I can't guarantee that there won't be an incident. It is very awkward situation.""

    Read more at Howard: Aussie Olympic team may be in danger .

    Posted by Darren at 02:03 PM

    Australian Women's Swimming Team - Best Ever?

    "AUSTRALIA's Athens-bound swimmers are capable of matching Sydney's record medal haul in the pool at next month's Olympic Games.

    That was the confident prediction from national head coach Leigh Nugent as the Australian team jetted out for its pre-Olympic camp in Sindelfingen, Germany, yesterday.

    Australia had its most successful result in swimming at the 2000 Olympics, winning five gold and 18 medals overall.

    But in Greece, the team will be competing on foreign soil and in the middle of a European summer, making many hesitant to predict a repeat performance.

    But Nugent said yesterday Sydney's haul was one of Australia's targets in Athens and a feat that was not beyond the 42-strong team.

    "I think so," Nugent said when asked if the team was capable of matching Sydney's result in Athens." Read more at FOX SPORTS: Women's swim team best ever

    Posted by Darren at 01:56 PM

    Ian Thorpe - Australia's Most Bankable Sports Star

    "OLYMPIC swimming sensation Ian Thorpe has a golden future before he even gets wet in Athens.

    He has just been named Australia's most bankable sports star, worth more than $500,000 per sponsor. The news came as Thorpedo and the rest of the swim team set off for Athens.

    Cutting a dash through Sydney Airport, he looked every inch the superstar.

    After kissing his mum Margaret goodbye - and a brief hold-up when he got stuck in a revolving door - he met teammate Elka Graham for the flight.

    Swimmers including Grant Hackett and Geoff Huegill left from Brisbane, while others flew out of Melbourne and Perth.

    Hackett was named fifth in the sport rich list, compiled by Sponsorship Solutions of Melbourne.

    The company evaluates the most valuable sports and athletics sponsorship opportunities.

    Thorpe was top, followed by tennis star Lleyton Hewitt, Mark Webber, Adam Gilchrist, Hackett, Pat Rafter, Cathy Freeman, Greg Norman, Ricky Ponting and another Olympian Jana Pittman, now worth $230,000 per sponsor." Read more at Sponsors bank on Ian.

    Posted by Darren at 01:52 PM

    Ian Thorpe in Trouble over Drug Claims

    "Triple Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe's claim that some of the swimmers he will come up against in Athens next month will have taken drugs has landed him in hot water with the sport's governing body, FINA.

    In an interview with Channel 7 on Tuesday Thorpe asserted: "It would be naive to think that everyone's going to be clean at the Olympic Games.

    "Of course I've swum against doped athletes." The 21-year-old's comments were later echoed by Australian team-mate Grant Hackett.

    Thorpe's remarks provoked a stinging response from FINA which said in a statement that it "regretted" the Australian swimming champion's remarks." Read more at Thorpe scolded over Olympic drugs claims.

    Posted by Darren at 01:46 PM

    Ben Kersten Could go Dutch - Cycling

    "It's D-Day for Olympic hopeful Ben Kersten, but his manager Phill Bates fears another rejection by Cycling Australia (CA) could see the young cyclist quit representing his country.

    Kersten will seek to be reinstated into the Olympic team for Athens when he fronts a three-member CA tribunal in Sydney on Thursday.

    The panel will be headed by solicitor Brian Doyle, former NSW Minister for Sport Gabriel Harrison, and Kevin Nichols, who was member of the 1984 gold medal winning 4000m pursuit team in Los Angeles.

    Bates, who has stepped aside from his role as a CA board member during the case, believes Kersten has a strong case, but acknowledges that Kersten could turn his back on Australian cycling if his appeal is dismissed.

    "I don't know what his Dutch relations are, but I know (Dutch officials) would love to have him in the Dutch team. With (the name) Kersten, there is a Dutch link," Bates said.

    "But Ben's pretty committed, I think he's committed to go on, but hopefully it will start with his selection tomorrow."" Source - Kersten could go Dutch

    Posted by Darren at 12:31 PM

    Grant Hackett Confident about Australian Swimming Team

    "Australian 1,500 metres world record holder Grant Hackett believes Australia is set to challenge the supremacy of the United States in the pool at the Athens Olympics.

    He said both countries had selected strong teams for the Games.

    But Hackett said it was important not to think too far ahead. He said the Australians would simply concentrate on ensuring their preparation was the best it could be.

    "Our team looks really strong as does theirs," he said. "Right now we're just focusing on team bonding and getting together.

    "We've still got two weeks to go so we can't get ahead of ourselves and think about what it's going to be like at the village, or the atmosphere at the Olympic Games."

    Read more at Hackett confident of good showing against US.

    Posted by Darren at 12:29 PM

    NZ - Australian Olympic rivalry Fueled by Rugby

    "Olympic teams from New Zealand and Australia are set for a high noon clash in Athens days before the Games open next month.

    A large television screen is being set up in the athletes village so the fierce trans-Tasman rivals can watch the Tri-Nations rugby test between the All Blacks and Wallabies on August 7.

    "Our Australian colleagues have done that," New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie told NZPA from Athens.

    "We have been invited down to watch...we may have to take them up on that."

    If it can be picked up live, the game will screen just after midday in Athens.

    Currie had no fears of the All Blacks exposing his team to Australian ribbing.

    "I think we'll be fine," he said."

    Read more at Trans-Tasman rivalry at Olympics to start before games open

    Posted by Darren at 12:18 PM

    July 28, 2004

    Jane Saville - Walking

    Sports Illustrated has a good article on Jane Saville who was disqualified in the 20km walk in Sydney just moments before entering into the Olympic Stadium to claim her Gold medal.

    'Descending the tunnel leading on to the track, the 25-year-old was given her third and final warning for failing to make continuous contact with the ground, leading to immediate disqualification.

    The Sydney walker threw her arms up in horror and collapsed in tears. Asked later by reporters what she needed, Saville said: "A gun to shoot myself."

    Disqualified again at the 2001 Edmonton world championships, Saville regrouped to win gold at the following year's Manchester Commonwealth Games.

    In the Olympic team for next month's Athens Games, Saville will compete alongside her sister Natalie in the 20 km walk and says she has drawn positives from her Sydney setback.'

    Posted by Darren at 10:47 PM

    Australian Hockey Teams Head to Warm Up Tournaments

    "The Hockeyroos leave for Spain to round off their Olympic preparations with a four-nations tournament ahead of their gold medal defence at the Athens Games.

    The women's hockey side head to Alcala la Real, where they will meet the host nation as well as world no. 1 Argentina, and the Netherlands.

    But with their opponents all chasing gold in Athens, Hockeyroos coach Dave Bell is expecting their rivals to reveal precious little in the buildup tournament.

    "It's good that we get to play the top teams," Bell said.

    "I think there will be a fair bit of cat and mouse there.

    "There will be very few corners shown and very few structural changes made to the teams."

    Bell said the main reason for the pre-Athens tournament was to acclimatise to Mediterranean conditions." Read more of this article at Source - Hockeyroos expecting a veiled tournament.

    Posted by Darren at 11:04 AM

    July 27, 2004

    Patrick Johnson Loses Appeal

    "Australian sprinter Patrick Johnson has lost his appeal against his non-selection for the 100 metres and 200 metres at the Athens Olympics.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Sydney decided that the selection criteria used to pick his rival, Joshua Ross, was legal and just.

    Johnson will still compete in Athens, having qualified for the 100 metres relay team."

    Source
    Johnson loses Olympic appeal - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport

    Posted by Darren at 11:26 AM

    Patrick Johnson Loses Appeal

    "Australian sprinter Patrick Johnson has lost his appeal against his non-selection for the 100 metres and 200 metres at the Athens Olympics.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Sydney decided that the selection criteria used to pick his rival, Joshua Ross, was legal and just.

    Johnson will still compete in Athens, having qualified for the 100 metres relay team."

    Source
    Johnson loses Olympic appeal - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport

    Posted by Darren at 11:25 AM

    July 26, 2004

    Jana Pittman reveals Olympic Secrets - Ice Baths, Meditation...

    "JANA PITTMAN yesterday lifted the veil of secrecy on a clandestine Olympic preparation designed to peak with a 400m hurdles victory in Athens next month.

    The 2003 world champion revealed ice baths, meditation and sleeping in a skin suit were part of a relentless drive for gold medal glory under coach Phil King, whose wife Debbie Flintoff-King blazed to victory in the 400m hurdles in Seoul in 1988.

    Pittman has also received video of her main rivals taken by an unlikely ally - men's dual 400m hurdle world champion Felix Sanchez - at the US trials two weeks ago.

    Pittman, 21, admitted using Friday night's 400m flat outing at the Golden League meeting - where she finished a strong fourth - merely as a preparation event."

    Read more at FOX SPORTS | Jana reveals Athens secret.

    Posted by Darren at 11:59 AM

    Sean Eadie leaves for Athens

    After an ongoing saga over doping allegations - Australian cyclist Sean Eadie has left for Europe where he will join his Aussie team mates in training for the Olympics.

    "Cyclist Sean Eadie could not leave Australia yesterday without a couple of dramas at Sydney Airport. At least they were nothing to do with customs, his manager Kerry Ruffels joked, referring to its involvement in the doping allegation that Eadie beat last week.

    Before Eadie, 35, took off for the track team's pre-Olympic camp in Buttgen, Germany, he was delayed for almost an hour while it was decided who would pay a $2000 bill for 32 kilograms of excess baggage. Qantas and Cycling Australia came to an arrangement, Ruffels said.

    And then his news conference was brought to an abrupt halt by Ruffels when one question too many was asked about Eadie's rival Ben Kersten.

    Before he was cut off, Eadie scotched any chance of taking part in a "ride off" for his spot, as suggested by the Kersten camp. Kersten was called up as a replacement for Eadie after initially missing selection, only to be dropped again when Eadie was cleared of trying to import banned human growth hormones by mail." Read more at Eadie breezes through customs and off to camp - Athens2004 - www.theage.com.au

    In related news - its not just Sean Eadie who has left the country - but his family also. They are exhausted by the allegations surrounding their son and have decided to get away from the media frenzy surrounding them.

    'Barry and Barbara Eadie are in Sweden with daughter Sherie, 17, the youngest member of the Australian team competing this week at the Global Games, for developmentally delayed athletes.' Source Eadie's Family Flees.

    Posted by Darren at 11:58 AM

    Geoff Huegill - On Olympic Doping

    This interview with Australian swimmer Geoff Huegill gives an interesting insight into how recent doping allegations focused on Australian Cyclists and Weightlifters have impacted the rest of the Australian Olympic Team.

    "Geoff Huegill says the drug controversies surrounding cyclists and weightlifters are unlikely to taint the Australian swimming team's performances at the Athens Olympics.

    Australian Olympic great Dawn Fraser last week predicted Australian athletes would be taunted by their rivals in Athens following the recent drug scandals in cycling and weightlifting.

    But Huegill was unconcerned about the controversies in other sports tarring the Australian swimmers' performances in Greece.

    "You'd like to think that every sport is clean and that everyone is on the same wicket but unfortunately ... it just doesn't happen like that," he said.

    Huegill and Olympic gold medal contender Libby Lenton said the culture in swimming was such that any Australian caught taking performance-enhancing drugs would be ostracised."

    Read more of this article at The Age: Huegill says swimmers will be okay

    Posted by Darren at 11:56 AM

    Bullet Proof Water Polo Suits

    "MUCH thought has gone into ensuring Australia's women water polo players keep their swimsuits on at the Athens Olympics.

    Four years ago in Sydney, water polo players had their swimsuits literally ripped apart, according to Speedo Australia's marketing director, Tim Lees. And it wasn't by accident.

    "They weren't casually being torn," Lees said during the unveiling of the Australian swimsuits for the Athens Olympics today. "It was a strategy of the sport. It was full-on."

    Water polo is considered one of the most violent sports on the Olympic program with players being pulled unconscious from the pool not an overly uncommon sight.

    Lees said athletes during the Sydney 2000 Games sometimes had their zips pulled down by an opponent but great effort had gone into designing a "bullet-proof" suit for the Australian team which will seek to match the gold medal feat of the Sydney 2000 side.

    "We've made the zip so it actually locks in and then we've put velcro over the top of that," Lees said." Read more at FOX SPORTS | Athens Olympics | Aussie, Aussie, Aussie | 'Bullet proof' water polo suits (July 25, 2004).

    Posted by Darren at 11:56 AM

    Australian defeats Japan - Men's Football

    "SUBSTITUTE striker Brett Holman netted the sole goal to give Australia victory over Japan in their preparation match for Athens.

    The decisive goal came only 11 minutes after Holman replaced Ahmad Elrich in the 68th minute. He had a earlier attempt on the Japanese goal after beating three defenders to fire a close-range shot, which hit keeper Takaya Kurokawa to go out." Read more at FOX SPORTS | Holman hits Olyroos winner .

    Posted by Darren at 11:55 AM

    July 25, 2004

    Australian Gold Medal Winners to Feature on Stamps

    "Australias 2004 Olympic gold medallists will become members of an exclusive group of Australians to feature on Australia Post stamps.

    Australia Post will produce 50c stamps featuring the images of Australias gold medal moments from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games (13 29 August 2004). This follows the success of the world-first Australian Gold Medallists Stamps program in 2000.

    The stamp sheetlets are expected to be available in metropolitan Australia Post outlets within 48 hours of Australian gold medal presentations in Athens, thanks to a special design and technology team with experience from the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

    The Australian Gold Medallists Stamps provide an opportunity for all Australians to share in the success of our Olympic athletes, said Amber McDougall, Group Manager Philatelic, Australia Post." Source - Australia Post puts winners on stamps again

    Posted by Darren at 04:46 PM

    Aussies - As Good as Gold?

    "IN the imagination of Australia's sporting public, Ian Thorpe will win a chestful of gold medals and Jana Pittman will do what Cathy did.

    Michael Diamond will shoot straight for the third Olympic Games in a row, Andrew Hoy and his mates will ride to a fourth title in the three-day event and the remains of the Oarsome Foursome will be recycled as a golden pair.

    Grant Hackett is a certainty in the 1500m and Leisel Jones could win a breaststroke gold medal.

    Throw in a few surprises and Australia should come away from Athens with a large bag of medals.

    Or perhaps not. Realities have a way of materialising at an Olympics - and a few of them have already emerged." Read More at FOX SPORTS | Aussies as good as gold (July 25, 2004):
    .

    Posted by Darren at 04:24 PM

    Freeman Gives Jana Pittman some Advice

    "Athletics great Cathy Freeman has a message for her Olympic heir apparent, Jana Pittman: forget everything you think you know about pressure because you haven't experienced anything yet.

    Freeman said she would talk to Pittman when she entered the athletes' village in Athens in her mentoring role next month.

    Much of the pressure that was heaped on Freeman in Sydney now sits on the shoulders of the 400 metres hurdler, given that she is regarded as Australia's best athletics gold medal hope. Freeman said she was keen to help Pitman deal with it.

    "She's about to experience real Olympic pressure," Freeman said. "It's not like anything she will have experienced before. It's not like world championship pressure or the same pressure from any other major meet. It's completely different; it has a feel all of its own." Read more at Jana under pump: Freeman - Athens2004 - www.theage.com.au.

    Posted by Darren at 03:35 PM

    Investigation into Australian Bailed Boxer

    "SOUTH Australia Premier Mike Rann yesterday ordered an investigation into why an alleged violent home invader was bailed so he could box for Australia at the 2004 Olympics.

    Mr Rann said he learned Athens-bound Elizabeth Grove boxer Peter Wakefield faced criminal charges only when it was revealed by The Advertiser yesterday.

    He has asked the Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, for a report on the case, declining to comment further "until I know the facts".

    Wakefield, 26, who is training for the Olympic Games in central France with eight teammates, refused to comment on the charges yesterday." Source - FOX SPORTS | Boxer will fight on .

    Posted by Darren at 10:42 AM

    Jana Pittman Set for Athens

    "Jana Pittman was happy to hide outside the placings as her intense training winds down and her Olympic countdown builds up.

    Pittman finished fourth in the 400 metres at the Golden League athletics meeting in Paris on Friday night at the end of what she described as the hardest training period of her life.

    In that three-week training block, Australia's 400 metres hurdles world champion has not competed in her pet event, but, according to coach Phil King, is in much better shape than she was before she won the world title last August." Read More at Pittman in top shape - Athens2004 - www.theage.com.au

    Posted by Darren at 10:38 AM

    Australian Women's Hockey team turn up the Heat

    The Australian Women's Hockey team is turning up the heat in their training regime in preparation for the sweltering temperatures in Athens.

    "The Hockeyroos have been using the heat chamber at the WAIS for the past three weeks as part of an intense build-up to next month's Olympics.

    A series of recent matches in the relative heat of Townsville and Darwin began the process, which will be completed with another tournament in Spain.

    Temperatures in Athens have been forecast to reach as high as 40C and while the Hockeyroos have been scheduled morning and evening matches, the heat issue has been dealt with intensely." Source - FOX SPORTS | Hockey women turn up heat

    Posted by Darren at 10:36 AM

    July 24, 2004

    Tim Cuddihy - Teen Eyes Olympics Gold Medal

    Australian teenager Tim Cuddihy warmed up for the Athens Olympics by taking gold at the World Junior Archery Championships at Lilleshall.

    The 17-year-old star beat Luxembourg's Gilles Decker in the final of the junior men's recurve championship.

    "I'm having a great year and now can't wait to go out to Athens next month," said Cuddihy.

    "But as for winning a gold medal, well, it's an aspiration, but the competition will be really intense."

    Cuddihy is one of two teenagers in Australia's three-man archery squad for Athens, along with 18-year-old David Barnes, who is also tipped for great things. Source - Wonderboy eyes Athens gold

    Posted by Darren at 01:03 PM

    July 23, 2004

    Andrew Inglis and Mr Burns Appeal Olympic Decision

    '"Showjumper Mr Burns faces a tough battle at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday, when the appeal against his omission from Australia's Olympic squad is heard. But Mr Burns is all too familiar with battles.

    Having been trucked to the knackery several years ago, seemingly destined to be processed into pet food, the now 13-year-old has leapt within sight of an Athens berth, pending the outcome of rider Andrew Inglis's appeal.

    Mr Burns and Inglis claimed first place at a three-star competition in Vichy, France, last weekend, raising hopes they might displace incumbent rider Tim Amitrano and showjumper Mr Innocent at a CAS hearing, starting on Monday."'

    Read More at Appealing story of battling Mr Burns - Athens2004 - www.theage.com.au

    Posted by Darren at 04:18 PM

    Jana Pittman Runs Prepares by Removing Hurdles

    '"JANA PITTMAN will stare down the track tonight and there won't be a hurdle in sight.

    Australia's great hope will begin her final pre-Olympic competition phase by taking on world leader Tonique Williams-Darling over 400m without the barriers at the Golden League meeting in Paris.

    The flat race is designed to springboard Pittman into her last two 400m hurdles races before she goes to Athens intent on turning her world title last year into a gold medal."' Source - The Australian: Pittman goes flat out to find her stride [July 23, 2004]

    Posted by Darren at 04:13 PM

    Australia may send Armed Guards to Athens

    Australia is considering sending armed guards to Athens to protect its Olympic team despite officials in Athens disallowing teams to have armed security.

    'Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Thursday his government is considering whether its team needs protection in Athens.

    According to a New York Times report, US, Israeli and possibly British security guards would be allowed to carry weapons to protect their athletes at the Olympics, to be held Aug 13-29.

    Greece has otherwise insisted it will not let foreign guards carry weapons to protect athletes at the event. The Australian government earlier said it would not send armed guards with its athletes.
    '

    Source - Olympics 2004, Athens > Armed guards likely for Australian team in Athens

    Posted by Darren at 11:44 AM

    July 22, 2004

    US defeates Australia in Women's Soccer

    'Mia Hamm has a knack for scoring timely goals. Her latest unloaded a burden just in time for the Olympics.

    Hamm scored her 150th career goal on Wednesday as the United States defeated Australia 3-1 in a pre-Olympic warmup before a sellout crowd of 10,276 at the National Sports Center.

    "It meant a lot," Hamm said of scoring No. 150 before next month's Olympic Games. "Now I don't have to worry about it or answer any of those questions in Athens. I can get that off my shoulders and focus on what I need to do and the team needs to do to be successful at the Olympics."' Read more at Hamm's 150th goal rallies U.S. past Australia.

    Posted by Darren at 05:40 PM

    Australian Boxer Will Compete While on Bail

    'The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has cleared boxer Peter Wakefield to compete at next month's Athens Olympics despite being on bail over an alleged assault charge.

    The Adelaide Advertiser newspaper reported Thursday that the 26-year-old Wakefield had been scheduled to stand trial this month with two co-accused but the court case had been postponed until June 2005.' Read More at - Australian Olympic Boxer to Compete While on Bail.

    Posted by Darren at 01:37 PM

    Australian Olympic Team Announced

    'The Australian Olympic Committee today announced the full Team for the Athens Games which begin on August 13. 481 athletes, the biggest Team the AOC has ever sent overseas, will compete in 27 of the 28 sports on the Athens program. This compares with 424 athletes sent to the Atlanta Games in 1996 and 290 athletes in Barcelona in 1992.' Source - Record Number Heading for Athens Games

    FULL TEAM LIST

    Archery
    David Barnes; Deonne Bridger; Tim Cuddihy; Simon Fairweather; Jo-Ann Galbraith; Melissa Jennison.

    Athletics
    Luke Adams; Justin Anlezark; Adam Basil; Sisay Bezabeh (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Paul Burgess; Christie Dawes; Nathan Deakes (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Paul Di Bella (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Patrick Dwyer; Oliver Dziubak; Bronwyn Eagles; Kurt Fearnley; David Geddes (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); William Hamlyn-Harris; Nicholas Harrison; Clinton Hill; Lauren Hewitt; Steven Hooker; Kym Howe; Benita Johnson; Sarah Jamieson; Patrick Johnson (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Brooke Krueger; Tamsyn Lewis; Dmitri Markov; Kerryn McCann; Kristopher McCarthy; Haley McGregor; Andrew McManus (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Adam Miller (for relay position subject to IAAF confirmation); Craig Mottram; Andrew Murphy; Peter Nowill; Mark Ormrod (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Jana Pittman; Petrina Price; Stuart Rendell; Joshua Ross (subject to outcome of appeal by Patrick Johnson in CAS for 100m. For relay position subject to IAAF confirmation); Jane Saville; Natalie Saville; Louise Sauvage; Deborah Sosimenko; Eliza Stankovic; John Steffensen (subject to IAAF confirmation of relay positions); Bronwyn Thompson; Lee Troop; Casey Vincent (for relay position subject to IAAF confirmation); Cheryl Webb; Kylie Wheeler.

    Badminton
    Ashley Brehaut; Stuart Brehaut; Jane Crabtree; Travis Denney; Lenny Permana; Kate Wilson-Smith.

    Baseball
    Craig Anderson; Thomas Brice; Adrian Burnside; Trent Durrington; Gavin Fingleson; Paul Gonzalez; Justin Huber; Nick Kimpton; Brendan Kingman; Craig Lewis; Graeme Lloyd; David Nilsson; Trent Oeltjen; Wayne Ough; Chris Oxspring; Brett Roneberg; Ryan Rowland Smith; John Stephens; Phillip Stockman; Brett Tamburrino; Richard Thompson; Rodney van Buizen; Glenn Williams; Jeff Williams.

    Basketball
    Men: David Andersen; Andrew Bogut; Calvin Bruton; Martin Cattalini; Shane Heal; Brett Maher; Matthew Nielsen; John Rillie; Paul Rogers; Anthony Ronaldson; Glen Saville; Jason Smith.
    Women: Suzy Batkovic; Sandra Brondello; Trish Fallon; Kristi Harrower; Lauren Jackson; Natalie Porter; Alicia Poto; Belinda Snell; Rachael Sporn; Laura Summerton; Penelope Taylor; Allison Tranquilli.

    Boxing
    Joel Brunker; Adam Forsyth; Bradley Hore; Ryan Langham; Anthony Little; Anoushirvan Nourian; Gerard O'Mahony; Jamie Pittman; Peter Wakefield.

    Canoeing
    Nathan Baggaley; Kate Barclay; Robin Bell; Mark Bellofiore; Daniel Collins; Warwick Draper; Martin Marinov; Chantal Meek (K2 500m subject to appeal against decision of ICF in the CAS); Lachlan Milne; Louise Natoli; Lisa Oldenhof; Amanda Rankin (K2 500m subject to appeal against decision of ICF in the CAS); David Rhodes; Clint Robinson.

    Cycling
    Mountain bike: Joshua Fleming (selected team member. Subject to outcome of reported likely appeal by Chris Jongewaard in CAS); Lisa Mathison; Sidney Taberlay.
    Road: Sara Carrigan; Baden Cooke; Olivia Gollan; Robert McEwen; Stuart O'Grady; Michael Rogers; Matthew White; Oenone Wood.
    Track: Katherine Bates; Graeme Brown; Peter Dawson; Brett Lancaster; Kate Mactier; Bradley McGee; Anna Meares; Mark Renshaw; Luke Roberts; Stephen Wooldridge; Ryan Bayley; Jobie Dajka (held for consideration pending conclusion of Justice Andersons investigation of this cyclist. If not by IOC deadline on 21 July, Jobie Dajka will be selected and entered subject to Andersons inverstigation.); Sean Eadie (subject to outcome of appeal by Ben Kersten in the CAS); Shane Kelly.

    Diving
    Steven Barnett; Lynda Dackiw; Lynda Folauhola; Mathew Helm; Irina Lashko; Chantelle Michell; Robert Newbery; Loudy Tourky.

    Equestrian
    Tim Amitrano (subject to outcome of appeal by Andrew Inglis in CAS); Olivia Bunn; Phillip Dutton; Mary Hanna; Andrew Hoy; Phillip Dutton; Erica MacMillan; Stuart Tinney; Rebel Morrow; Olivia Bunn.

    Fencing
    Frank Bartolillo; Evelyn Halls; Seamus Robinson.

    Football
    Men: John Aloisi; Alex Brosque; Tim Cahill; Shane Cansdell-Sherriff; Anthony Danze; Spase Dilevski; Ahmad Elrich; Eugen Galekovic; Ryan Griffiths; Brett Holman; Bradley Jones; Adrian Madaschi; Jonathan McKain; Craig Moore; Jade North; David Tarka; Carl Valeri; Luke Wilkshire.
    Women: Dianne Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Rhian Davies, Lisa De Vanna, Gillian Foster, Heather Garriock, Tal Karp, Cassandra Kell, Selin Kuralay, Kylie Ledbrook, Joanne Peters, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury (c), Sally Shipard, Thea Slatyer, Danielle Small, Sacha Wainwright, Sarah Walsh.

    Gymnastics
    Artistic women: Danielle Kelly; Stephanie Moorhouse; Melissa Munro; Karen Nguyen (reserve); Monette Russo; Lisa Skinner; Allana Slater.
    Artistic men: Philippe Rizzo.
    Rhythmic: Penelope Blackmore.
    Trampolining: Lesley Daly.

    Hockey
    Men: Michael Brennan; Travis Brooks; Dean Butler; Liam De Young; Jamie Dwyer; Nathan Eglington; Troy Elder; Bevan George; Robert Hammond; Mark Hickman; Mark Knowles; Brent Livermore; Michael McCann; Stephan Mowlan; Grant Schubert; Matthew Wells.
    Women: Katie Allen; Carmel Bakurski; Toni Cronk; Louise Dobson; Suzanne Faulkner; Peta Gallagher; Emily Halliday; Nikki Hudson; Rachel Imison; Bianca Netzler; Katrina Powell (c); Angie Skirving; Karen Smith; Sarah Taylor; Julie Towers; Melanie Twitt.

    Judo
    Catherine Arlove; Sonya Chervonsky; Andrew Collett; Carly Dixon; Morgan Endicott-Davies; Daniel Kelly; Martin Kelly; Jessica Malone; Maria Pekli; Semir Pepic; Heath Young.

    Modern pentathlon
    Eszter Hortobagyi; Alex Parygin.

    Rowing
    Men's eight: Bo Hanson, Michael McKay, Stuart Reside, Geoffrey Stewart, James Stewart, Stephen Stewart, Stefan Szczurowski, Michael Toon (cox).
    Men's coxless four: Stuart Welch; David Dennis, Robert Jahrling, Tom Laurich, David McGowan.
    Men's coxless pair: Drew Ginn, James Tomkins.
    Men's quad scull: Scott Brennan, Shaun Coulton, David Crawshay, Duncan Free.
    Men's double scull: Peter Hardcastle, Brendan Long.
    Men's single scull: Craig Jones.
    Men's lightweight coxless four: Simon Burgess, Ben Cureton, Anthony Edwards, Glen Loftus.
    Men's lightweight double scull: George Jelbart, Cameron Wurf.
    Women's eight: Kyeema Doyle, Katie Foulkes (cox), Monique Heinke, Catriona Oliver, Sarah Outhwaite, Victoria Roberts, Sally Robbins, Julia Wilson, Jodi Winter.
    Women's quad/double squad: Amber Bradley, Kerry Hore, Dana Faletic, Donna Martin, Jane Robinson, Rebecca Sattin.
    Women's lightweight double scull: Amber Halliday, Sally Newmarch.

    Sailing
    Jennifer Armstrong; Colin Beashel; Nicky Bethwaite; Michael Blackburn; Sarah Blanck; Gary Boyd; Darren Bundock; Jessica Crisp; John Forbes; David Giles; Karyn Gojnich; Lars Kleppich; Kristin Kosmala; Christopher Nicholson; Anthony Nossiter; Malcolm Page; Belinda Stowell; Nathan Wilmot.

    Shooting
    Suzanne Balogh; George Barton; Michael Diamond; Kim Frazer; Stephen Haberman; Matthew Inabinet; Timothy Lowndes; Lauryn Mark; Susan McCready; David Moore; Warren Potent; Bruce Quick; Paul Rahman; Daniel Repacholi; Linda Ryan; Susan Trindall; Tom Turner; Adam Vella; Bryan Wilson; Annette Woodward; Lalita Yauhleuskaya.

    Softball
    Sandra Allen; Marissa Carpadios; Fiona Crawford; Amanda Doman; Peta Edebone; Tanya Harding; Natalie Hodgskin; Simmone Morrow; Tracey Mosley; Stacey Porter; Melanie Roche; Natalie Titcume; Natalie Ward; Brooke Wilkins; Kerry Wyborn.

    Swimming
    Men: Ashley Callus; Grant Hackett; Regan Harrison; Brett Hawke; Geoff Huegill; Michael Klim; Adam Lucas; Antony Matkovich; Patrick Murphy; Travis Nederpelt; Justin Norris; Todd Pearson; Adam Pine; Jim Piper; Nicholas Sprenger; Craig Stevens; Eamon Sullivan; Ian Thorpe; Jonathan Van Hazel; Josh Watson; Matthew Welsh.
    Women: Frances Adcock;Lara Carroll; Michelle Engelsman; Felicity Galvez; Elka Graham; Marieke Guehrer; Brooke Hanson; Leisel Jones; Jodie Henry; Lisbeth Lenton; Linda MacKenzie; Alice Mills; Melissa Mitchell; Melissa Morgan; Sarah Paton; Shayne Reese; Jennifer Reilly; Giaan Rooney; Sarah Ryan; Jessicah Schipper; Petria Thomas.

    Synchronised Swimming
    Amanda Laird; Leonie Nichols.

    Table tennis
    Men: Trevor Brown; William Henzell; Russell Lavale; David Zalcberg.
    Women: Miao Miao; Jian Fang Lay.

    Taekwondo
    Men: Caroline Bartasek; Daniel Trenton.
    Women: Caroline Massimino; Tina Morgan.

    Tennis
    Men: Wayne Arthurs; Mark Philippoussis; Todd Woodbridge.
    Women: Alicia Molik; Nicole Pratt; Samantha Stosur; Rennae Stubbs.

    Triathlon
    Men: Greg Bennett; Peter Robertson; Simon Thompson.
    Women: Loretta Harrop; Rina Hill; Maxine Seear.

    Volleyball
    Men: Brett Alderman; David Beard; Luke Campbell; Zane Christensen; Andrew Earl; David Ferguson; Benjamin Hardy; Daniel Howard; Travis Moran; Grant Sorensen; Hidde Van Beest; Matthew Young.

    Beach volleyball men: Julien Prosser; Andrew Schacht; Joshua Slack; Mark Williams.
    Beach volleyball women: Natalie Cook; Summer Lochowicz; Kerri-Ann Pottharst; Nicole Sanderson.

    Water polo
    Men: Pietro Figlioli; Trent Franklin; Toby Jenkins; Sam McGregor; Craig Miller; Timothy Neesham; Aleksandr Osadchuk; Dean Semmens; James Stanton; Rafael Sterk; Nathan Thomas; Thomas Whalan; Gavin Woods.
    Women: Belinda Brooks; Jemma Brownlow; Naomi Castle; Nikita Cuffe; Joanne Fox; Kate Gynther; Kelly Heuchan; Emma Knox; Elise Norwood; Melissa Rippon; Rebecca Rippon; Bronwyn Smith; Jodie Stuhmcke.

    Weighlifting
    Sergo Chakhoyan; Deborah Lovely (subject to outcome of appeal by Caroline Pileggi in the Federal Court).

    Wrestling
    Ali Abdo.

    Note: The four wheelchair athletics athletes will compete in "exhibition events" at the Olympic Games. Any medals won in these events are not included in the official Olympic Team medal tally. The AOC considers these athletes full members of the Australian Olympic Team and they are therefore included in the athletes numbers above.

    Posted by Darren at 09:57 AM

    Cathy Freeman - Unsure Aussie Team is Clean

    'Cathy Freeman said she could not be certain Australia's Olympic team was drug-free, short of "standing face-to-face with them, looking them in the eye and have them explain to me about what the hell's going on".

    The retired Australian sprinter also expressed concern for the well-being of close friend Marion Jones, whom she fears may be suffering emotionally after the BALCO drug scandal in the US.

    Speaking at Telstra Stadium yesterday, where her Olympic 400 metres triumph in 2000 was nominated as the venue's greatest moment, Freeman said she feared that in the present drug-tainted sports climate doubts would be raised over her achievements.' Read More at Freeman not sure team is clean.

    Posted by Darren at 09:57 AM

    July 20, 2004

    Jana Pittman Driven by Destiny

    'Jumping obstacles at full speed is not everyone's idea of fun but for Australia's Jana Pittman it has fast become an obsession.

    Pittman started out as a runner who had no interest in circling a track trying to skim the top of hurdles.

    But she was persuaded by a former coach to try the event when she was still a teenager and, although she fell flat on her face the first time, she was hooked straight away.

    With her long legs and slender build, Pittman proved to be perfectly built for hurdling and her progress in the event has been astounding.

    She became world junior champion, won the Commonwealth Games title as a teenager then won the senior title last year at her first attempt. Now, at 21, she is the favourite to win the women's 400 metres hurdles at the Athens Olympics next month.' Read More at Hurdler Pittman driven by her destiny

    Posted by Darren at 11:28 PM

    Sean Eadie Cleared for Athens

    Australian Olympic Cyclist Sean Eadie has been cleared of drug charges and will be allowed to compete in Athens.

    'Sean Eadie, a cycling bronze medalist at the Sydney Games, won his appeal Monday after contesting a 5-year-old doping accusation and was expected to be placed on Australia's Olympic team.

    The former world champion had been dropped from the team last week when the Australian Olympic Committee told Cycling Australia it would not allow him to compete in Athens.

    "I'm very happy," Eadie said. "I'm looking forward to a relaxing night's sleep, which I haven't had in quite a while."' Read More at Star Aussie cyclist wins appeal.

    Posted by Darren at 10:51 AM

    July 19, 2004

    Kristy Oatley-Nist Withdraws from Equestrian

    Kristy Oatley-Nist has withdrawn from the Athens Olympics after fitness problems with her horse.

    'Europe-based Kristy Oatley-Nist became the first Australian to make it into the final round of the individual dressage competition in Sydney, where she finished ninth.

    But a disappointing result at a recent tournament and concerns about the fitness of her Quando-Quando after a gruelling year prompted her to withdraw from the same event in Athens.

    She will be replaced by Mary Hanna on Limbo, who rode for Australia in Atlanta and Sydney.' Aussie rider pulls out of Olympics

    Posted by Darren at 08:40 PM

    July 18, 2004

    Bronwyn Thompson Wins Long Jump in Athens Preparation

    'Australian Bronwyn Thompson proved her Olympic preparations were back on track when she leapt a season-best 6.8 metres to win the long jump at the IAAF Madrid Super Grand Prix.

    Thompson's effort was almost 20 centimetres ahead of her closest rival, second-placed Anju George of India who jumped 6.62m.

    Thompson scraped into the Olympic team when she recorded a qualifying jump of 6.72m in Melbourne in February which was just enough to secure her a ticket to Athens.' Read More at Australian wins long jump title.

    Posted by Darren at 12:24 PM

    July 17, 2004

    Australian Men's Hockey Team Defeat Kiwis...Again

    The Australian Men's Hockey team, the Kookaburras, have defeated the New Zealand team in an Olympic lead up series in Cairns with its latest win a 3-1 margin.

    'The victory saw the Kookaburras clinch the series 2-0 and brought their unbeaten run against the Kiwis to 13 matches.

    Bevan George, Jamie Dwyer and Nathan Eglington each scored for Australia, while Bevan Hari grabbed a consolation goal for the visitors.

    It was Australia's final competitive match before the Olympic Games in Athens.

    And despite the victory, Kookaburras coach Barry Dancer said he was looking for more consistency with the Athens Games less than one month away.'

    Read More at ABC - Kookaburras complete series win over Kiwis

    Posted by Darren at 10:25 PM

    July 16, 2004

    Melissa Jennison Shoots into Australian Archery Team

    Melissa Jennison has been selected at the last minute to compete in Australia's Archery team in Athens after Jade Betty withdrew from the team due to injury. Read the full story at The Age

    Posted by Darren at 12:05 PM

    Australian Table Tennis Team Announced

    Australia has selected it's Olympic Table Tennis Team.

    The Team is:

    Men:
    Russell Lavale
    William Henzell
    Trevor Brown
    David Zalcberg

    Women:
    Miao Miao
    Jian Fang Lay

    Source - Olympic Table Tennis team selected

    Posted by Darren at 10:04 AM

    July 15, 2004

    Jana Pittman Inspired by Sheena Johnson's Fast Time

    Australia's Jana Pittman is not concerned by the fast time of Sheena Johnson in the 400m hurdles at the US Olympic Trials - rather she is using it as an inspiration to push harder in her own hurdling.

    'Johnson's 400 metres hurdles time of 52.95 seconds this week was more than a quarter of a second faster than world champion Pittman's best time of 53.22 and ahead of her season-best 53.52 set in Greece earlier this month.

    But rather than doubting her own claims to the event's Olympic gold medal in Athens, Pittman has welcomed the challenge presented by Johnson. "We're training for the Olympics and we need someone to come out and run fast and it's probably a good thing, it gives you a kick up the backside to make sure that you're on the right track," Pittman said from her base in Switzerland.' Read More at Pittman welcomes Johnson's challenge

    Posted by Darren at 11:09 AM

    July 13, 2004

    Australia suspends Olympic selection

    The International Herald Tribune reports that Sean Eadie may be stripped of a Sydney 2000 bronze medal and thrown off the Athens cycling team following allegations that he trafficked in human growth hormones 5 years ago.

    'Eadie, 35, a former world sprint and Olympic team sprint champion, was identified Monday as having been served an infraction notice over a package of human growth hormone mailed to him in January 1999.'

    Source

    Posted by at 10:41 AM

    July 12, 2004

    Australian Men's Basketball Team Beat New Zealand

    The Australian Men's Basketball team have continued their Olympics warm up with a win against New Zealand's team 90-79. This brings the series against New Zealand to a close with Australia winning 2-1.

    'With just over four weeks left until the Boomers open the Olympic tournament with a showdown against host-nation Greece, Brian Goorjian's new-look team proved too strong for the Tall Blacks in a physical series in New Zealand.' Source - Boomers claim series win against NZ

    Posted by Darren at 12:01 PM

    July 11, 2004

    Australian Reputation Tarnished with Drug Scandals

    'Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said Saturday doping scandals involving track cyclists and a weightlifter had tarnished Australia's reputation on drugs.

    Weightlifter Caroline Pileggi was thrown out of the Athens team on Friday after refusing a drugs test, and former world champion track cyclist Jobie Dajka has had his place put on hold pending two investigations.' Read more at Coates: Scandals tarnish Aussie reputation

    Posted by Darren at 03:11 PM

    July 10, 2004

    Petria Thomas Swimming Well in Butterfly

    Petria Thomas is swimming fast. Yesterday in Brisbane she clocked a 58.80sec time in a 100m butterfly heat.

    'Her effort, logged during a week of heavy training, was only a smidgen slower than Rachel Komisarz's winning time of 58.77sec at the US trials and faster than American Olympic great Jenny Thompson, who was second at the Californian meet in 58.98sec.'

    Source - Petria primed for gold

    Posted by Darren at 10:33 AM

    Leisel Jones is Relaxed and Ready for Athens

    Leisel Jones this week swam a second best in the world time in Brisbane in the 200 meters breaststroke suggesting that she will be in contention for a Gold medal at the Athens Olympics.

    'The prodigiously talented Queenslander, who will be competing in her second Olympics before even having celebrated her 18th birthday, dominated the 200m final with a 2min 24.88sec swim that duplicated to the last decimal point her performance at the Australian championships in March.

    However, this swim was constructed without the benefit of a rest or taper, with Jones having just last week logged the 10,000th training kilometre of her career.' Read More at - Relaxed Jones firing fluently

    Posted by Darren at 10:28 AM

    Australian Women's Basketball Team Returns to Form

    Australia's women's basketball team, the Opals, returned to winning form yesterday in China where they beat Serbia Montenegro 86 - 57.

    '"This game saw the Opals recapture their form from both the World Challenge in North Queensland and the series against China in Sydney last month," said coach Jan Stirling.

    "The selection of our team for Athens simply becomes more difficult as each of these players prove themselves as serious contenders."

    Suzy Batkovic continued to impress and was again the Opals' top scorer with 15 points and eight rebounds.'

    Source - Opals recapture best form

    Posted by Darren at 10:17 AM

    July 09, 2004

    Australian Olympic Athletics Team Announced

    Australia has announced their Track and Field (Athletics) team for the Athens Olympics. The team will number 37-50 depending upon qualification for relay events.

    The Australian Track and Field Athletes are:

    Men
    Joshua Ross (100m/4x100m relay), Adam Miller (200m), Clinton
    Hill (400m/4x400m relay), Casey Vincent (400m/4x400m relay), Kris McCarthy (800m), Craig Mottram (5000m), Peter Nowill (3000m steeplechase), Luke Adams (20km walk), Nathan Deakes (20/50km walk), Sisay Bezabeh,�Nick Harrison, Lee Troop (marathon). Adam Basil, Paul Di Bella, Patrick Johnson, Andrew McManus, Adam Miller, Joshua Ross (4x100 relay), Patrick Dwyer, David Geddes, Mark Ormrod, John Steffensen (4x400m relay), Paul Burgess, Steve Hooker, Dmitri Markov (pole vault), Andrew Murphy (triple jump), Justin Anlezark (shot Put),�Stuart Rendell (hammer throw), Oliver Dziubak, William Hamlyn-Harris (javelin).

    Women
    Lauren Hewitt (200m), Tamsyn Lewis (800m), Sarah Jamieson
    (1500m), Benita Johnson, Haley McGregor (10000m), Jana Pittman (400m hurdles/4x400m relay)), Jane Saville, Natalie Saville, Cheryl Webb (20km walk), Kerryn McCann (marathon), Katerina Dressler, Rosemary Hayward, Rebecca Irwin, Renee Robson, Annabelle Smith (4x400m relay), Petrina Price (high jump), Kym Howe (pole vault), Bronwyn Thompson (long jump), Bronwyn Eagles, Brooke Krueger, Debbie Sosimenko (hammer throw), Kylie Wheeler (heptathlon).�

    Get more details at - IAAF - Australian Olympic team announced

    Posted by Darren at 12:57 PM

    July 08, 2004

    Australian Cycling Drug Report to be Released

    The report into a drug investigation into Australian Cycling will be released as soon as possible says Australian Sports Minister Rod Kemp.

    'Retired West Australian Supreme Court Judge Robert Anderson has completed an inquiry into allegations made by cyclist Mark French, who was banned for life from representing Australia after he was found guilty of two charges involving trafficking of glucocorticosteroid.

    In secret evidence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, French implicated five other Olympic cyclists of injecting substances at the Australian Institute of Sport's Del Monte cycling headquarters in Adelaide.

    Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp said lawyers were reviewing privacy and legal issues, but he expected the report would be publicly released before the Olympic Games started in Athens next month.' From - Cycling drugs report to be released

    Posted by Darren at 08:04 PM

    Australia criticized for Drug Report Secrecy

    Australia has been heavily criticized by Dick Pound, World Anti-Doping president and an IOC committee member, for keeping the report from an investigation into drug allegations in Australian Cycling secret.

    'Pound said keeping the results of investigations secret is not conducive to public confidence in the process or the sport.

    And WADA is threatening to write to federal sports minister Rod Kemp in a bid to force the release of the investigation into alleged drug use by Australian cyclists.' Source - Drugs secrecy warning

    Posted by Darren at 12:42 PM

    July 07, 2004

    Australian Men's Hockey Team Ready for Athens Olympics

    'The Australian men's hockey coach, Barry Dancer, says his players are well prepared for the sweltering conditions in Athens and are the fittest they have ever been.

    Dancer says he is using the four-Test series against South Korea in Darwin to fine-tune the Kookaburras' passing game.

    Australia holds a 2-0 series lead over Korea after scoring a 4-1 win over the visitors in the second Test in Darwin on Tuesday afternoon.

    The Kookaburras won the opening Test 2-1.' Read More at Kookaburras turn the heat up on Olympic preparations

    Posted by Darren at 02:48 PM

    July 06, 2004

    Annette Woodward Shooting for Gold

    56 year old, Annette Woodward is aiming for Gold in her pistol shooting event at the Athens Olympics in August.

    'A pistol-packing grandmother is set to become Australia's oldest Olympian in 28 years after earning selection in the shooting team for the Athens Games.

    At an age when many of her contemporaries are starting to slow down, 56-year-old Annette Woodward has her finger on the trigger and her sights set on Olympic gold.

    "I think it just shows what self-belief can do," Woodward told Reuters. "Because of my age I didn't really think I could make the team so I'm pretty pleased with what I've done."' Source - Granny gets her gun and heads for the Olympics

    Posted by Darren at 02:23 PM

    July 05, 2004

    Lee Troop Aims for Top 5 in Athens Olympics

    Australian Marathon runner Lee Troop is hoping for a top 5 position in the Athens Olympics marathon.

    'LEADING Australian men's marathon runner Lee Troop has set his sights on a top-five finish at the Athens Olympics after cruising to victory yesterday in the Gold Coast half-marathon.

    In his last race before leaving for Switzerland to prepare for the Games, Troop led from beginning to end to finish in a quick 1hr02min54sec - barely two minutes off his personal best.

    Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist Kerryn McCann won the women's half in 1:11.08 and said she was confident of a top-10 finish in Athens.

    Australia's other men's marathon hope for Athens, Nick Harrison, turned in a disappointing time of 1:10.13 to finish a distant 21st.'

    Source - Troop aims high for Athens

    Posted by Darren at 12:30 PM

    Matt White Crashes in Athens Lead up

    Austratlian Cyclist, Matt White, is still confident of competing at the Athens Olympics despite his crash in the warm up just before starting the Tour de France. White broke his arm in the crash.

    'White's Tour ended before it began on Saturday when he crashed heavily while warming up for the 6.1km prologue time trial. He had four stitches in his face and broke his right collarbone.

    "I have six weeks and am in perfect condition," said the NSW rider.

    White said he would pull out of the Australian team if he felt his recovery was not succeeding and his form in races was sub-standard.

    "If I am not ready I won't go to the Olympics," said White who competed in the Sydney Olympics.

    "We have the [Olympic] reserves here on the Tour who know what they would have to do to help the team were one to take my place."' Source - Crash ends Tour dream

    Posted by Darren at 12:30 PM

    Australian Women's Basketball Team Beaten by Chinese

    Australian's women's basketball team, the Opals, have suffered another defeat to the Chinese in their lead up to the Athens Olympic Games. The score was 79 - 60.

    'The convincing winning margin was due largely to a strong second-half by the Chinese, who outscored the Opals 41-26 after the halftime break.

    Suzy Batkovic was on fire for the Opals with a top score of 17, but early foul trouble left the team with limited options inside the key as China outmuscled the Australians forcing poor shot selection.

    This enabled the Asian champions to generate their offensive transition game for which they are renowned.

    China's superior shooting percentage (62 per cent from the field) in addition to 20 of 24 foul shots compared to the Opals seven of eight, always meant that the Australians were in catch-up mode.

    A crowd of some 4000 spurred the Chinese team on midway through the last quarter when Sydney's silver medallists reduced the deficit to less than 10 points.'

    Source - Batkovic best as Opals crash

    Posted by Darren at 12:30 PM

    Australian Gymnastics Trials

    The Australian Gymnastics Trials for the Athens Olympics are today being held in Canberra.

    'Only national all-around champion Allana Slater, outstanding 15-year-old Monette Russo and fellow 2003 World Championship bronze medallist Stephanie Moorhouse can expect to be named on the six-strong women's artistic team after regularly impressing on the international stage over the past two years.

    While Slater, Russo and Moorhouse dominated last night's opening session of a tense, two-part final trial, none of the 12 Athens hopefuls were able to post scores high enough to be on track for automatic inclusion in the Olympic team.

    An aggregate score of at least 74 out of 80 was the requirement and Slater (37.650) was the only competitor halfway towards achieving the tough task.' Source - Last chance for gymnasts

    Posted by Darren at 12:30 PM

    Shirvington, Johnson and Grigorieva Miss Boat to Athens

    This year's Australian Olympic Athletics team will look different to normal with some of it's biggest names absent from competition.

    'At the top of the list could be out-of-form sprinters Matt Shirvington and Patrick Johnson. Joshua Ross is the only 100m runner in the country with a chance of running in the Olympics' blue riband event.

    At best, Shirvington and Johnson can only run in the relay in Athens, but Australia's 4x100m team is not yet qualified.

    Also likely to miss will be pole-vaulting glamour couple Tatiana Grigorieva and Viktor Chistiakov.

    Grigorieva, the silver medallist from Sydney four years ago, had her last chance to qualify in Spain at the weekend but failed to clear 4.15 metres in three attempts. She needed to post a 4.40m clearing to join Kym Howe in the event in Athens.

    Grigorieva's absence means none of the three Australian medallists in Sydney will compete in Athens with Cathy Freeman and Jai Taurima retired.' Source - Shirvo, Johnson will miss team

    Posted by Darren at 10:45 AM

    July 04, 2004

    Australian Cyclists Still under Suspicion

    Suspicion continues to hang over the Australian cycling track team in the lead up to the Athens Olympics after parts of the latest drug enquiry were made public.

    'Disgraced cyclist Mark French told Channel Nine's 60 Minutes that former world champions Sean Eadie and Shane Kelly had introduced him to banned substance Testicom in Germany last year.

    The 19-year-old former junior world champion also named Eadie as the teammate who'd introduced him to injecting legal vitamins at the Australian Institute of Sport base in Adelaide.

    But the most potentially damaging information to emerge from the 60 Minutes story on the French affair involved Olympic gold medal hope Jobie Dajka.

    60 Minutes revealed sections of former West Australian Supreme Court judge Robert Anderson's report on his investigation into claims made by French against nominated Olympic team riders Kelly, Eadie, Dajka, Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster.' Source - Fresh cloud over cyclists

    Posted by Darren at 09:14 PM

    July 03, 2004

    5 Cleared Cyclists Speak Out

    The five Australia cyclists caught up in the drug controversy after testimony by Mark French have spoken out after being cleared of all charges in an independent enquiry.

    'Shane Kelly, Sean Eadie and Jobie Dajka, three of the five riders under investigations after disgraced cyclist French said they injected legal vitamins, spoke out for the first time in Rockhampton today with all three claiming they were clean and were ready to put the controversy behind them.

    Reading a statement on behalf of the cycling sprint team Shane Kelly, who will contest his fourth Olympics in Athens, said they were all upset with what had gone on over the past couple of weeks with the accusations and allegations very hard to deal with.' Source - Olympic cyclists back on track

    Posted by Darren at 11:09 PM

    Jana Pittman Wins in Lead up Race

    Australian Jana Pittman has won an important lead up race to the Athens Olympics against rival Yuliya Pechonkina.

    'WORLD champion Jana Pittman has taken first blood in her pre-Olympic battle with arch rival Yuliya Pechonkina, winning the 400m hurdles at the Golden League athletics meeting in Rome overnight.' - Source - Pittman takes first blood

    Posted by Darren at 10:38 PM

    Australian Athens Medal Tally Predictions

    Experts are predicting that Australia will win 14 Gold Medals, 18 Silver Medals and 14 Bronze Medals at this year's Athens Olympic Games in August.

    'If the team live up to expectations, they will deliver a total of 46 medals from 16 different sports, 12 down on the 58 won at Sydney 2000 from 20 sports.

    The projections place Australia in the top five nations in the overall and gold medal tally....

    swimmers are expected to win the bulk of medals (18), followed by cycling (six).' Source - Top five medal tally on cards

    Posted by Darren at 09:10 PM

    Australian Cyclists Cleared

    News has just been released that the five cyclists accused by fellow team member Mark French of drug use will be cleared.

    'The investigation into allegations made by suspended track sprinter, Mark French, that five other cyclists at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) used his room for injecting a range of unidentified substances has cleared the riders and is said to be "absolutely damning" of the teenage rider's earlier testimony.

    A source close to the investigation told Cyclingnews that the report "Places a very large question-mark over his (French) evidence".

    It appears there is nothing to support the exclusion of any of the riders nominated today by Cycling Australia to represent the country at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.'Source - Anderson report clears named riders

    Posted by Darren at 05:05 PM

    July 02, 2004

    Australian Cycling Team Announced

    Australia has names a strong Cycling squad of 25 members for the Athens Olympic Games. However up to 5 of this squad are still waiting to hear if they will be cleared from drug investigations.

    'Former world champions Graeme Brown, Sean Eadie, Jobie Dajka, Shane Kelly and Brett Lancaster were named by banned cyclist Mark French during his drugs hearing.

    French said they had injected themselves with what he believed to be legal substances in his room at the track cycling headquarters in Adelaide.

    The nominations were announced today just as retired judge Robert Anderson QC was handing his report on French's allegations to various peak sporting bodies in Canberra.'

    The Australian Olympic Cycling Team heading to the Athens Games is:

    'Mountain bike cross-country � men: Chris Jongewaard, Sid Taberlay; women: Lisa Mathison.

    Road � men: Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Michael Rogers, Matthew White; women: Sara Carrigan, Olivia Gollan, Oenone Wood.

    Track � men: Ryan Bayley, Graeme Brown, Jobie Dajka, Peter Dawson, Sean Eadie, Shane Kelly, Brett Lancaster, Bradley McGee, Mark Renshaw, Luke Roberts, Stephen Wooldridge; women: Kate Bates, Katie Mactier, Anna Meares.' Source - Infamous five named for Athens

    Posted by Darren at 10:36 PM

    Australian Women's Soccer Team Needs to Improve

    'THE Australian women's soccer team will need to improve if it hopes to be successful in Athens, despite winning its two-game series against China in Beijing last night, coach Adrian Santrac said.

    The Matildas hung on for a one-all draw in last night's match after winning the first game of the series 2-0 on Tuesday.' Source - Matildas win series despite draw

    Posted by Darren at 10:28 PM

    July 01, 2004

    Australian Olympic Team - Athens

    Fox Sports has a list of the Australian Olympic Team. It will be updated (classified by sport) as Australian Athens Olympic Team members are selected.

    The Australian Olympic Team for Athens will be smaller than the team selected for the Sydney Olympics Games.

    Posted by Darren at 08:29 PM

    Australian Equestrian Team Strong

    The Australian Equestrian Team is so strong that they are able to leave previous Gold Medal Winner, Matt Ryan, on the reserve list.

    'The Equestrian Federation of Australia yesterday nominated a five-member team to the Australian Olympic Committee which includes three of the four "Boys from the Bush" who triumphed in Sydney.

    The fourth, Ryan, has been to Poland and back in the last week, undertaking a tortuous journey over land and sea from England in a mission to qualify his leading horse, Bonza Puzzle, for selection at the last event in Europe before the team was named.

    He succeeded, but still finds himself behind the top five.

    Team leader Andrew Hoy, riding Mr Pracatan, will attempt to out-do Dawn Fraser and win his fourth consecutive gold medal in Athens.'

    Also in the team is:

    • Philip Dutton riding 'Nova Top'
    • Stuart Tinney riding 'Jeepster'
    • Olivia Bunn riding 'GV Top of the Line' (also known as Carlo)
    • Rebel Morrow riding 'Oaklea Groover'

    Source - Selectors had Bonza Puzzle

    Posted by Darren at 08:25 PM

    US beats Australia in Men's Water Polo

    The US Men's Water Polo Team beat Australia 10-7 in a match in the lead up to the Athens Olympic Games.

    'Despite winning the final quarter 4-2 the Aussie Sharks were unable to come back after poor shooting cost them the second and third quarters in front of 1624 spectators.'

    Australia has a follow up game against the US later this week and also will play Hungary and Serbia & Montenegro later in the tournament.

    Source - US defeat Aussies in water polo

    Posted by Darren at 08:11 PM

    June 28, 2004

    Australian Boomers In Form

    Australian Mens Basketball team, the Boomers, will head to Athens in reasonable form after a 3-2 win/loss ratio in a European Tour. In their last match, played in Italy, Australia beat Croatia 82 - 73.

    'It was the Boomers' second win over Croatia and they also achieved a 31-point thrashing of Olympic silver medallist France (90-59) earlier in the tournament.

    The major disappointments for the new-look Boomers were the two tight losses to Italy � both by under six points. ' Source - Nielsen Boomers' best

    Posted by Darren at 11:00 PM

    Australian Sailors Win 4 Medals

    Australian Sailors have won four medals at the final grade one regatta in the lead up to the Athens Olympic Games.

    'The sailors finished the Kiel Week competition in Germany with one gold, two silvers and a bronze as they put the finishing touches to training ahead of the August 13-29 Games.

    Sydney 2000 Olympic champions Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell finished the final day of racing with a 7th and 9th to win the 470 title as they prepare to defend their title in Athens.' Source - Sailors win four medals

    Posted by Darren at 10:56 PM

    Michael Diamond confirmed on Olympic team

    'Dual gold medallist Michael Diamond can breathe a sigh of relief on Monday after his Olympic nomination was finally rubber-stamped by the Australian Olympic Committee.

    After surviving a personal court case, missing the Olympic trials, travelling around the world to qualify and then fending off a legal appeal, Diamond is now officially a member of the 2004 Olympic team.' Source - Diamond confirmed on Olympic team

    Posted by Darren at 10:16 PM

    June 27, 2004

    Australian Women's Waterpolo Team Suffers Third Loss

    The Australian Women's Waterpolo Team has suffered their third consecutive loss in the lead up to the Athens Olympic games yesterday. They were beaten by Hungary 5 - 4 in a tournament in California.

    'Australian captain Naomi Castle felt the team was on the right track toward the Athens Olympics despite the loss to the highly-rated Europeans.

    "I'm really happy with the way the team's going," Castle said.

    "Twelve months ago it was a completely different team. I would like another month but we are on track for Athens."'

    Source - Aussies lose third straight match

    Posted by Darren at 04:23 PM

    June 26, 2004

    Tatiana Grigorieva Tries to Qualify One More Time

    Tatiana Grigorieva, Sydney Olympics Silver medalist, will make one last attempt at making the Australian team for the Athens Olympics in her event - the Pole Vault.

    'Time is fast running out for the glamour girl of pole vaulting to clear the required 4.40 metres to qualify for the Athens Games so she will give it another shot at the British Grand Prix in Gateshead, north of London, on Sunday.

    Grigorieva's best attempt has been 4.30m set in February, which only rates as a B qualifying standard and means she cannot be selected in the Australian team unless she adds 10 centimetres to that height.'

    Source - Tatiana gives it one more go (June 26, 2004)

    Posted by Darren at 07:05 PM

    Jana Pittman Withdraws from Olympic Opening

    'JANA Pittman has pulled out of the Olympic opening ceremony in her single-minded pursuit of gold. The 400m hurdles world champion said she would love to experience the ceremony but fears it could disrupt her campaign.'Source - Pittman pulls out of Olympic opening

    Posted by Darren at 06:59 PM

    June 25, 2004

    Hackett calls for Smarter Drug Testing

    Grant Hackett, Australian Olympic 1500m freestyle champion, has called for
    better and more cunning drug tests in the lead up to the Athens Olympics.

    'The Olympic 1500m freestyle champion, one of Australia's best hopes for a gold medal in Athens, wants drug testers to become more cunning in their tactics to catch cheats in the lead-up to the Games.

    "I think testers have got to be a little bit sly and hide behind the curtain when it comes to drug testing," Hackett said at the opening of a Wall of Fame at Bond University, on the Gold Coast.

    "If they tell what is out there then people are going to go off and use something else.

    "I think things have got to be done a little bit more strategically when it comes to drug testing so they can start catching things out like they are."' Source - Hackett wants better drug tests

    Posted by Darren at 04:21 PM

    Australian Mens Basketball Team Wins First Game

    The Australian National Mens Basketball Team (the boomers) have won their first game in the lead up to the Athens Olympics. Last night they beat Croatia 90-56 when they played in Italy last night.

    'Coach Brian Goorjian has assembled a vastly different team from the one that finished fourth in Sydney and is giving all players a chance to show their worth before the final Olympic squad is announced next month.'

    Posted by Darren at 04:04 PM

    June 24, 2004

    Investigators Detain Top Cyclist

    'WORLD time trial champion and Olympic hopeful David Millar of Britain has been detained in Biarritz, France on a warrant issued by a Paris examining magistrate investigating doping in cycling.

    The 27-year-old Scot was taken into custody on Tuesday night while he was dining at a Biarritz restaurant. He was still being questioned tonight, the police source said.

    He was being treated as a witness and not a suspect.'

    Investigators detain top cyclist

    Posted by Darren at 09:38 PM

    Australian Cycling Team Drug Enquiry

    The Australian government today announced an independent inquiry into doping allegations in the Australian Cycling team in the lead up to this year's Athen's Olympics.

    'Australia's build-up to the Athens Olympics in August has been overshadowed by allegations that a group of elite cyclists used a room at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) as a "shooting gallery" to inject themselves with performance-enhancing drugs. Cycling Australia has said there was no evidence to substantiate the claims but agreed to co-operate with an investigation.'

    Source - Aussies take action over doping

    Posted by Darren at 07:38 PM

    June 23, 2004

    Australian Athletes Pose Nude

    Australian Olympic Athletes are posing Nude in the lead up to the Athens Olympics.

    'Swimmer Michael Klim and basketball player Lauren Jackson were among 35 Australian Olympic athletes who posed nude for a calendar released on Tuesday.'

    Check out pictures of some of the Aussie Athletes

    Posted by Darren at 01:50 PM

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