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Thu, August 19, 2004
Half a medal by marriage?
By BILL LANKHOF -- Toronto Sun

DAY 5

Row, row, row your boat

gently down the stream

merrily, merrily,

life is but a dream

Somebody tell Dave Calder and Chris Jarvis. But, don't forget to duck.

CHASING SILVER LININGS

So, are we having fun, yet? As Olympics go, this has been the team that can't row straight. But, fear not. Our best is yet to come.

Tomorrow there's world champ Karen Cockburn in trampoline, and World Cup kayak champ David Ford. Saturday and Sunday, four rowing teams -- including the men's world champ eight -- have medal potential.

If all else fails, Perdita Felicien begins her quest for a gold medal in the hurdles. That happens Sunday -- or whenever the Greeks can get more fans than ushers to the stadium and officially declare that a crowd has broken out.

In the meantime, we may not have won many medals, but one of our athletes is married to someone who did win a medal. Be still my heart!

Anyway, Canadian cyclist Michael Barry of Toronto, who finished 30th in the road race and is a teammate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal team, is married to Dede Barry -- an American who won silver in the time trials.

"It was kind of embarrassing," Dede said, of her relatives cheering her on. "They had the Greek flag, because I'm part Greek. Then they had the American flag. Then they had the Canadian flag."

Okay, it's a stretch, but right now it's all we've got.

SO THAT'S BASEBALL

And, now for something completely different: Canada's baseball team has been one of our few good-news stories. It is a scrappy lot.

Yesterday the Canadians faced a Greek team of 23 Canadians and Americans, plus a couple of real Greeks who are still trying to figure out which hand to put the glove on.

The Greek uniform makes you think of the Los Angeles Dodgers; the way they play makes you think of the Bad News Bears. So, Canada's 2-0 win wasn't unexpected. But the Canadians' style has been. The other day, for instance, I think I saw a guy thinking about stealing. There are players taking the extra base and, against Italy, manager Ernie Whitt used the bunt four times. It worked on three occasions. What a maniac!

Don't know if they're good enough to win a gold medal but they're already more interesting than Toronto's pro franchise, where management's idea of a rally consists of a guy waiting for a walk, a single, a passed ball ... and everyone pray for Carlos to hit a homer. If that's Moneyball, we want a refund.

GAMES PANORAMA

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post on NBC's Olympic telecasts: "It's more of a TV show than an athletics sporting event. They might as well call it 'Will and Greece.' "

Jim Armstrong, in a column on America Online: "You know, I must be getting old. I remember when the only way to beat the United States basketball team was with a couple of crooked Soviet refs, a friendly home-country clock operator and water bottles under the U.S. bench marked "product of Mexico." Now we've got to bring our 'A' game to beat Holland, whose team wears wooden shoes."

ON THE PRESS BUS

Put an athlete on a bus, make him wait and the bitching, or wise cracks, begin. The media at these Games are no different:

Exhibit A -- American photographer: "I was at the press centre sitting on a bench and these guys tell us to get off, move it 10 feet and screw it into the ground. Were they just told last week that they were hosting the Games?" (Games? There are Games here?)

Exhibit B -- American photographer: "I think the flame looks like a giant doobie." (As a public service, Ricky Williams has volunteered to personally extinguish it.)

Exhibit C --Irish writer: "I don't ever know why we bother to cover this." (Yeah, you'd think the Irish would do better, at least in shooting, considering it's their national pastime.)

SMART 'N' SASSY

Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, to the Melbourne Age, after a soccer game between Paraguay and Ghana drew about 1,000 fans to a 28,000-seat stadium. "With all the interest in Greece winning Euro 2004, I'm surprised there haven't been more people. I saw a rowing event where you could have had time to shake hands with all the spectators."




Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
Yes, it depresses me
No, it's just sports
I'm disappointed, but not worried
We'll get 'em in Turin
Don't care

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