Scherr wants to avoid repeat of '00 relay team display

Updated: August 10, 2004, 2:46 PM ET
Associated Press

POLITIA, Greece -- The USOC vowed Tuesday that there won't be a repeat of the flag-waving display that embarrassed American officials four years ago in Sydney.

During the 2000 Games in Australia, bare-chested members of the winning men's 400-meter relay team wrapped themselves in the flag and clowned on the victory stand during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." U.S. officials cringed, worried that it sent the wrong message to a global television audience.

USOC chief executive Jim Scherr said that American athletes have been warned not to repeat such a scene in Athens, though he was quick to say there was nothing wrong with U.S. athletes waving the flag or celebrating in more appropriate ways.

In Sydney, Maurice Greene and other members of the relay squad even annoyed some teammates by preening and flexing their muscles during a victory lap and then posturing on the medal stand. Greene, who later apologized, stuck his tongue out at cameras after getting his gold.

"That is an example of improper and egregious error. We are determined not to let that happen again," Scherr said.

Greene apologized again on Tuesday for the display, but said such performances aren't planned in advance.

The daily dope
In the first doping case of the Athens Olympics, a Kenyan boxer was disqualified and barred from the games Tuesday after failing an out-of-competition drug test in the athletes' village.

Bantamweight David Munyasia, 24, tested positive for the banned stimulant cathine, the International Olympic Committee said.

All athletes have been subject to random doping tests since the opening of the Olympic village on July 30.

During the games, the IOC plans to conduct about 2,600 urine tests and 400 checks for the blood-boosting hormone EPO -- a 25 percent increase over the number of tests in Sydney four years ago. Already, 224 tests have been conducted.

IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said Munyasia arrived in Athens on Aug. 6 and was tested the same day. Both the A and B samples were positive, and the boxer had "no explanation" for the result, Schamasch said.

IOC officials said cathine is a common drug in east Africa and is found in khat, a leaf that is chewed for its amphetamine-like high.

The IOC referred Munyasia's case to the International Boxing Association for possible sanctions. Under international rules, a positive test for cathine warrants a two-year ban.

Floating delegation
Former President Bush arrived Tuesday for the Olympics and boarded a luxury yacht in the northern port of Kavala.

The U.S. delegation is said to include Barbara Bush and President Bush's twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.

The yacht, owned by the family of Greek billionaire Spyros Latsis, was expected to dock in Athens' port of Piraeus. Security has been very tight at the port, where at least eight cruise ships will serve as hotels during the Athens Games.

The U.S. delegation also includes tennis star Chris Evert; Thomas Miller, the U.S. ambassador to Greece; and Alex Spanos, the owner of the San Diego Chargers who has helped raise millions of dollars for the president.

Show of unity
In a show of reconciliation between two old foes, the South and North Korean Olympic teams will march together again at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.

The two teams will enter the Olympic Stadium on Friday under the same flag -- a blue image of the Korean Peninsula on a white background.

The official name of the teams during the march will be "Korea," although the North and South will compete separately for medals.

The two Koreas have entered under the same "unification flag" in four previous international sporting events, including the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

There has been tension over North Korea's suspected efforts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as the North's strong criticism following the mass defection of hundreds of North Koreans to the South two weeks ago.

Last week, North Korea failed to show up in Seoul for planned Cabinet-level talks, and South Korean analysts speculated that the cancellation was due to the North's objections over the mass defection. The North had accused the South of kidnapping the North Koreans, and called it an act of "terrorism."

Somalian gets kicked
The head of Somalia's Olympic Committee was declared persona non grata at the Olympic Games amid allegations he embezzled money from a national football federation, the IOC's ethics commission said Tuesday.

The IOC withdrew Farah W. Addo's accreditation for the Athens Games after a complaint from world soccer's governing body, FIFA.

FIFA last month banned Addo from soccer for 10 years for embezzling funds from the Somali Football Federation while he was its president.

Addo was found guilty of misappropriating money allocated to the SFF by FIFA's Financial Assistance Program and of using some of it for his own interests.

Select city
The selection of the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be made in Guatemala City in July 2007, the IOC reported Tuesday.

Guatemala City was picked over bids from Durban, South Africa, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Guatemala City received 57 votes, while Durban got 40 and Copenhagen 13.

The IOC always chooses host cities seven years in advance.

Cities that have declared interest in bidding for the 2014 Games include: Tromsoe, Norway; Zurich, Switzerland; Sofia, Bulgaria; and Muju and Pyeongchang, South Korea.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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