- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 28, 2004

USA Basketball

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We’re talking about the women’s team.

Argentina

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Too bad its economy is still in the toilet.

Marion Jones

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Sydney was a long time ago.

POSTCARD FROM ATHENS

• The search is over: Team rhythmic gymnastics is officially the silliest Olympic sport — and not simply because the contestants wear sequins.

Your Correspondent was mesmerized, not in a good way, by Bulgaria’s floor routine. From what YC can tell, the sport consists of twirling ribbons, tossing hoops and prancing around. Followed by more prancing around. The athletes never run, never tumble, never even do a freakin’ backflip. Even the wrestlers do backflips. Where, pray tell, is the gymnastic element? Hmmm.

Bulgaria’s routine ended when a girl on her stomach caught a ball in the small of her back. An impressive bit of contortion, but too little, too late. YC’s verdict: Rhythmic gymnastics is like synchronized swimming, only without the water.

• Your Correspondent didn’t think he would see a harder wipeout than the poor British gymnast who fell chest-first onto the balance beam. How wrong YC was. During last night’s pole vault final, Russia’s Pavel Gerasimov went up and over the bar — only to miss the padded landing zone entirely. Instead, Gerasimov crashed into a metal storage crate, back first, leaving a sizable dent (in the crate, not his back). Remarkably, Gerasimov stood up, shook it off and continued with the competition. Talk about tough. YC will never complain about his springy dorm mattress again.

—Patrick Hruby

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