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Thu, August 26, 2004
Don't blame the media
By -- Toronto Sun

Day 12: It was a good day.

Nobody tripped and hurt themselves. Everything else is details.

REALITY CHECK

CBC Newsworld yesterday, on a phone-in program, asked viewers: "Do Canadians put too much pressure on our athletes?"

Several callers blamed Felicien's Folly on the media. As I understand it, when the media put athletes in the spotlight, they get blamed for putting too much pressure on them. On the other hand, when the media don't cover them, they get blamed for ignoring them.

Go figure.

Bottom line: When athletes move into the elite category they attract publicity, get fame and honours. In return, they lose privacy and have to learn to deal with the attentions of media and the public's expectations.

It's a rule. Deal with it.

AT WHITT'S END

Canada's baseball team allowed 19 runs in its last two games. Manager Ernie Whitt ran out of pitching and it cost the team a medal.

Meanwhile, Jeff Francis, who the Colorado Rockies said was too important to release, spent virtually the entire Olympic tournament in the minors. Go figure. Evidently, living in high altitude may have left Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd with a few brain cells that are oxygen deprived.

Francis, who made his major-league debut last night, has been absolutely lights out this season, posting a 16-3 record with a 2.27 earned-run average and 196 strikeouts in 154 2/3 innings during stops in double-A Tulsa and triple-A Colorado Springs. How good would that have looked against Cuba or Japan?

Too bad they can't invite O'Dowd to the team party. You know, so they could play pin the tail on the donkey.

CONSPIRACY THEORY

Weightlifter Leonidas Sabanis, stripped of bronze for doping, says he was passed a spiked drink at a party, but can't prove it.

Maybe it was the same guy who blew smoke in Ross Rebagliatti's face. Still checking.

CRACKING BRAZIL NUTS

Brazilian fans, seeing their beach volleyball team struggling, decided to up the tempo in the stands. When they attempted to start a conga, the constabulary told them to take their seats.

Evidently the SkyDome fun police are moonlighting.

OLYMPIC BRAIN CRAMPS

Dutch rower Diederik Simon left the silver medal he won in the rowing eight in a taxi. Luckily, the cabbie returned the bauble after Games organizers put out an emergency call.

Nicolas Massu, Chile's gold winner in tennis singles and doubles, forgot his medals in his athletes' village bedroom when he flew to Miami. Chile's swimming coach, who was sharing a room with him, told Las Ultimas Noticias: "I called him ... to avoid the fright that an unthinkable situation like that would bring."

Strong like bull; smart like ... well, we won't go there.

NAME GAME

Misty May. American gold-medal beach volleyball player. Or, star performer at a gentlemen's club near you. Your choice.

GOLD-MEDAL ENTRANCE

Holland's water nymph, Inge de Bruijn, isn't putting in the eye-popping performances she once did in the water but, if there was a contest for looking good, she'd be a gold medal favourite.

The swimmer celebrated her 31st birthday at a beach party in Athens with a grand entrance worthy of a pop star. While Amanda Beard and Michael Phelps barely raised an eyebrow, de Bruijn arrived in a cherry-red stretch mini. She popped through the open sun-roof wearing skimpy white hot-pants, like Marilyn Monroe popping out of her birthday suit ... I mean, cake.

GAMES PANORAMA

"Former Iraqi information director Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf took to the airwaves yesterday," SportsPickle.com says, "defiantly declaring that the Iraqi soccer team did not lose to Paraguay in the Olympic men's soccer semi-finals."

Roy Masters, Sydney Morning Herald, noting some Olympic sports should be dropped: "The modern pentathlon ... is an arcane sport. Running across a battlefield, sword-fighting and firing pistol shots at the enemy, swimming a flooded river and galloping away on a horse is something out of a Phantom comic book."

Gavin McDougald of www.couchmaster.ca, after a Russian shot putter was stripped of gold for failing a drug test: "This is a double disaster, because the last thing anyone wants to see is Irina Korzhanenko stripped."




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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