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Sport by Sport

Sunday, September 10, 2000

A sport-by-sport guide

By The Associated Press, NBC and Seattle Times staff

Dates are converted to U.S. time.

Archery

Where: Sydney International Archery Park, Sydney Olympic Park. When: Sept. 16-22.

Details: Individual and team competition, men and women.

Notable: In the men's competition, the country hosting the Olympics has won every time since sport made its debut in 1988.

Outlook: The men's favorites are France's Lionel Torres and two Italians -- Michele Frangilli and Illario Di Buo. Another strong contender will be South Korea's Jang Yong-Ho, who won the 1999 Olympic test event, and Atlanta bronze medalist Oh Kyo-Moon, who holds three Olympic records.

The women's favorite is South Korean Kim Soo-Nyung, the greatest female archer in modern times who's coming out of retirement.


Badminton

Where: Ross Pavilion, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 16-23.

Details: Men's and women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Has a single-elimination tournament.

Notable: Badminton became an official Olympic sport in 1992. Elite players smash the shuttlecock at speeds approaching 150 mph and can run more than a mile in a match.

Outlook: Asian countries won 14 of the 15 medals four years ago; China and Indonesia have captured 70 percent of all championship events since 1934. The only country that seems to be cracking Asian domination is Denmark. Camilla Martin took Dai Yun of China to the wire to win the women's singles at the 1999 Worlds in Copenhagen, and Peter Gade Christensen has been ranked No. 1 among the men for most of 1999.


Baseball

Where: Baseball Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park; Baseball Centre, Blacktown Olympic Centre.

When: Sept. 17-27.

Notable: After months of speculation surrounding the potentially star-studded makeup of its Olympic team, USA Baseball introduced a collection of largely unknown minor-leaguers as the club Tommy Lasorda will manage in Sydney. Four Tacoma Rainiers made the team.

Outlook: The Cubans won the first two Olympic gold medals in 1992 and '96 and have taken every world championship since 1974. Cuba's toughest challenge may come from Japan, which is sending eight players from its major leagues. Japan and the U.S. face each other the first day of the tournament.

Also playing: Korea, Netherlands, South Africa, Italy and Australia.


Basketball

Where: The Dome and SuperDome, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 16-Oct. 1.

Outlook: The U.S. easily won the men's competition at the past two Olympics with NBA players and should win in Sydney. The Americans have captured the gold medal in every Olympics they have competed except for 1972 and 1988 when the Soviet Union won. You'll see nine NBA players on foreign teams, with three on Canada's squad.

The U.S. women's team spent the past eight months touring the world, compiling a 51-0 record. Russia, Brazil and China are the best of the rest.

Related info: Story


Beach volleyball

Where: Bondi Beach.

When: Sept. 16-26.

Details: Men's and women's two-player team competitions, making its second Olympic appearance after debuting in Atlanta in 1996. Unlike indoor volleyball, points are only scored by serving team.

Outlook: Brazil has provided the early standard in the men's and women's divisions. The U.S. and Australia are top women's contenders, while Argentina and Switzerland join Brazil atop the men's field.


Boxing

Where: Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.

When: Sept. 16-Oct. 1.

Details: Medals awarded in 12 weight classes. Outlook: Cuban heavyweight Felix Savon, a four-time world champion, is trying to become the third three-time Olympic champion. U.S. boxers have not won more than one gold medal since they got three in 1988 in Seoul, and the Cuban coach predicts his team will win 12 gold medals. The U.S. and Cuba are the only countries that will have full 12-boxer teams.


Canoe-Kayak

Where: Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith Lakes. Slalom events to be at the Centre's Penrith Whitewater Stadium.

When: Slalom, Sept. 16-20; Sprint, Sept. 26-Oct. 1.

Details: A total of 16 medals will be awarded, four from slalom and 12 from sprint. Women compete in kayaks; men in canoes and kayaks.

Outlook: Germany's Birgit Fischer, the top women's medal-winner in kayak sprint in Olympic history, is back for more after winning a gold and silver in Atlanta. Norway's Knut Holmann is a favorite in both men's K1 distances. He, too, won a gold and silver in 1996. Top medal contender in the C1 is Slovakia's Michal Martikan, who won gold in the event in Atlanta at age 17 and the world championship the next year. U.S. slalom hopes are pinned to three-time Olympian Scott Shipley.

Related info:
Story
| About Canoe | About Kayak | Event courses


Cycling

Where: Fairfield City Farm, Fairfield (Mountain bike); Road Cycling Course, Centennial Parklands; Dunc Gray Velodrome, Bankstown (Track).

When: Sept. 16-21; 23-24; 26-27; 30.

Details: Mountain -- There will be 50 riders in the men's, 30 in the women's. Men race between 40 and 50 kilometers, women 30-40. Exact distances are decided the night before the race, determined by weather. Road -- Men race 239km, women 120. In time trials, men race 46.8km, women 31.2.

Outlook: France tops the field, challenged by the U.S., Germany and Australia. Professional riders, such as Lance Armstrong, two-time Tour de France champion, will compete. Armstrong finished a disappointing 14th in the road race in Barcelona before turning pro.


Diving

Where: Sydney International Aquatic Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 22-30.

Details: Men and women compete in springboard, platform, synchronized springboard and synchronized platform.

Notable: Synchronized diving makes its Olympic debut. Eight pairs compete.

Outlook: The U.S. has dominated Olympic diving, winning 125 of the 225 medals, including 46 of 75 gold medals. Chinese divers won three of the four golds in Atlanta. U.S. top diver is Mark Ruiz, who failed to qualify in 1996, but won both springboard and platform at trials in Federal Way.

Related info: About Diving


Equestrian

Where: Sydney International Equestrian Centre, Horsley Park.

When: Sept. 16-22; 25-30.

Details: Individual and team dressage; individual and team jumping; and three-day event combining dressage, cross-country and showjumping.

Outlook: Germany won team and individual dressage events at the past four Olympics as well as the team and individual jumping competitions four years ago in Atlanta. European and U.S. riders have dominated the three-day event, but Australia and New Zealand have come out on top recently.


Fencing

Where: Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.

When: Sept. 16-24.

Details: Men will compete as individuals and teams in the foil, sabre and epee. Women will compete as individuals and teams in foil and epee.

Outlook: Russian men won five of the six events, including four gold, two silver and a bronze, in Atlanta. Each competition has a single-elimination format. Teams consist of three fencers, and each duels each member of the opposing team.


Field hockey

Where: State Hockey Center.

When: Sept. 16-30.

Details: Men's and women's team.

Outlook: Australia won women's gold medals in 1988 and 1996. South Korea, Argentina, the Netherlands and Germany are expected to challenge. Australia is also a top contender in the 12-team men's field.


Gymnastics

Where: Sydney SuperDome, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 16-26, 28-30, Oct. 1.

Details: Men compete in all-around, high bar, parallel bars, vault, pommel horse, rings, floor exercise, team and trampoline. Women compete in all-around, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise, team, rhythmic all-around, rhythmic team and trampoline.

Outlook: Trampoline makes its Olympic debut. Just three years after the Magnificent Seven won the United States' first women's Olympic all-around title, the Americans finished last in the medals round at the world championships. Bela Karolyi handpicked this women's team and believes it's a medal contender. The U.S. men' team has a golden oldie, John Roethlisberger, 30, a veteran of two Olympic teams.

Related info: Story | About Competitions


Handball

Where: Pavilion 2, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 16-Oct. 1.

Details: Men's and women's team competition.

Notable: The women's division, which started in 1976, expands to 10 teams. There are 12 teams in the men's field, which began play in 1972.

Outlook: Underdog Denmark won the 1996 women's event over South Korea, the 1988 and '92 champion, in overtime.


Judo

Where: Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.

When: Sept. 16-22.

Details: Men and women each compete in seven weight classes. There is a single-elimination tournament after a draw divides the competitors into two pools. Two bronze medals will be awarded.

Outlook: Germany, Belgium and France lead in the men's field. Cuba tops the women's field.


Modern Pentathlon

Where: Pavilion 2 (shooting, fencing), Aquatic Centre (swimming), Baseball Stadium (show jumping, running).

When: Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Details: Individual medals for men and women.

Notable: Women will take part for the first time.

Outlook: Sweden dominated the event that incorporates shooting, fencing, swimming, showjumping and a 3,000-meter run until the 1960s, when Hungary and Russia began to dominate. Aleksandr Parygin of Kazakstan won the gold in Atlanta.


Rowing

Where: Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith Lakes.

When: Sept. 17-24.

Details: Men and women each compete in single, double and quadruple sculls, lightweight double scull, the eight and coxless pair. Men also race in coxless four and lightweight coxless four. Crews are split into groups and race over four days. Top finishers in each heat advance to semifinals or the six-boat final; other boats race again in a repechage (second chance) to make the finals.

Outlook: While a record 51 countries qualified for Sydney, the U.S. is the only one to send a full contingent of 14 boats and 48 athletes. Australia and Germany each are sending 10 boats. U.S. hopes for gold are highest in the men's eight, an event Americans dominated from 1900-56 but haven't won since 1964. U.S. crews have won the last three world championships. Britain's Steve Redgrave, who won gold at the last four Olympics, is switching from coxless pairs to the coxless four, an event won in 1992 and '96 by the crew known as Australia's Oarsome Foursome.

Related info: Story | About Rowing


Sailing

Where: Sailing Marina, Rushcutters Bay, with racing on Sydney Harbour.

When: Sept. 16-30.

Details: There are 11 sailing events incorporating nine classes of boats: 49er, 470, Europe, Finn, Laser, Mistral, Soling, Star and Tornado. Outlook: The 49er, a high-performance skiff that was designed in Australia, makes its Olympics debut with Seattle sailors Charlie and Jonathan McKee competing.

American sailors attempt to make up for their embarrassing performance in their home waters in 1996, when they won only two bronze medals. The American with the strongest chance for a gold is Mark Reynolds, 44, of San Diego, who heads into his fourth Olympics after winning the Star class world championship.

Nine gold medalists return, including Soling skipper Jochen Schumann, who's won three golds dating to 1976, and Brazil's Torben Grael, the tactician for Italy in the recent America's Cup. Rod Davis, who will represent New Zealand in the Soling, has won Olympic medals for the U.S. and New Zealand.


Shooting

Where: Sydney International Shooting Centre, Cecil Park.

When: Sept. 16-23.

Details: Men compete in air pistol, air rifle, free pistol, rifle 3 positions, rifle prone, rapid-fire pistol, running target, skeet, trap and double trap. Women take part in air pistol, air rifle, sport pistol, rifle 3 positions, skeet, trap and double trap.

Outlook: Germany's Ralf Schumann won gold in 1992 and '96 and will attempt to win an unprecedented third straight gold in the men's 25-meter rapid-fire pistol event. China's Shan Zhan, who won the gold in Barcelona in the open skeet, couldn't defend her title in Atlanta as the skeet was an event for men only. She will try to win the women's event in Sydney.


Soccer

Where: Various locations. Men's final at Olympic Stadium; women's final at Sydney Football Stadium.

When: Sept. 13-14, 16-17, 19-20, 23-24, 26, 28-30.

Details: Men's and women's team competition. The men's field consists of 16 teams. There are eight women's teams. Notable: While professionals are allowed in the men's tournament, rules restrict teams to players under 23, except for three exemptions. The women's tournament is open to players who are at least 16.

Outlook: Nigeria, the 1996 champion, along with Brazil, Argentina and Germany head the men's field. The U.S., which won the first women's gold medal four years ago in Atlanta, is again the favorite.


Softball

Where: Softball Centre, Blacktown.

When: Sept. 17-23, 25-26.

Details: Women's team competition.

Notable: Softball, which debuted in Atlanta in 1996, returns with an eight-team field.

Outlook: The U.S., which won the inaugural gold medal, is a heavy favorite to repeat. Lisa Fernandez, who lost a perfect game and the game itself to Australia in the 10th inning of the 1996 opening round, pitched five consecutive perfect games in the U.S. team's Olympic prep tour.


Swimming

Where: Sydney International Aquatic Centre.

When: Sept. 16-23.

Details: Men compete in 50 meter, 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m and 400m individual medley, 400m and 800m freestyle relay and 400m medley relay. Women compete in 50 meter, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle, 100 and 200m backstroke, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m and 400m individual medley, 400m and 800m freestyle relay and 400m medley relay.

Notable: Bodysuits have revolutionized the sport, with world records falling every week. In the past two years, 14 world records were set in this Olympic pool, designed for speed. U.S. strengths are men's 400 IM, 100 back, 200 back, 200 IM, and 50 free; women are tops in 800 free, 100 fly, 400 free, 100 free and 50 free.

Related info: Story | About Swimming


Synchronized swimming

Where: Sydney International Aquatic Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 22-29.

Details: Women's duet and team.

Outlook: The U.S. and Canada won every gold and silver medal in the first four Olympic competitions, but their leading swimmers retired after Atlanta. Russia and Japan emerged as new leaders at the world championships two years ago.


Table tennis

Where: State Sports Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 16-25.

Details: Men's and women's singles and doubles.

Notable: Matches are best-of-five games. The top 16 singles seeds are in the main draw as another 48 players compete in a qualification round. Of that group, 16 more advance to make up the 32-player field. The doubles format is similar but consists of 32 teams overall. China has dominated the past three Olympics, as the women won all six gold medals and the men captured four.

Outlook: The top U.S. male is Cheng Yinghua who, despite being one of China's top players for the past two decades, never was chosen for his native country's Olympic team. Out of frustration, Cheng moved to the U.S. and became a citizen in 1999.


Taekwondo

Where: State Sports Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 27-30.

Details: Competition in four weight classes for men and women. A single-elimination tournament determines the gold and silver medals. Those beaten by the finalists go to a second bracket to compete for the bronze. Sport that has existed for 2,000 years debuts as a medal event in Sydney after being a demonstration sport in 1992 and '96. Korea won the men's and women's titles at last year's world championships.

Related info: About Taekwondo


Tennis

Where: Tennis Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 19-28.

Details: There are 64 players in the men's and women's draws and 32 pairs in men's and women's doubles.

Outlook: Olympic participation by top stars tends to be spotty. Missing from Sydney will be Pete Sampras, Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis and Nathalie Tauziat, all in the top 10.

With a strong American team, this year's tennis could be the best yet since the sport returned to full-medal status in 1988. Wimbledon champion Venus Williams has a chance at two gold medals because she's playing doubles with her sister, Serena, and singles. Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport will try to duplicate their gold-medal performances in Atlanta.


Track and field

Where: Olympic Stadium.

When: Sept. 22-Oct. 1.

Details: The track events include sprints (100 meters, 200m, 400m), middle-distance running (800m and 1500m) and long-distance running (5000m and 10,000m), hurdling (100m and 400m for women, 110m and 400m for men), relays (400m and 1,600m) and the men's 3000m steeplechase.

Field events, for men and women, include the long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin and hammer. The women's pole vault and hammer debut.

Road events are the men's and women's marathons, the men's 20km and 50km race walks and the women's 10km race walk. Men compete in the decathlon and women in the heptathlon.

Outlook: U.S. sprinters get the spotlight. Marion Jones will attempt to win an unprecedented five gold medals (100m, 200m, 400m and 1,600m relays, and the long jump). Michael Johnson, who won the 200 and 400 at the Atlanta Games, goes for an unprecedented second 400-meter title. Maurice Greene will attempt to solidify his status as the world's fastest human in the 100. Romania's Gabriela Szabo of Romania will try for a never-achieved women's 1,500-5,000 double.

Related info:
Story
| About Track & Field | Athletes to watch


Triathlon

Where: Farm Cove, Royal Botanic Garden, The Domain, Macquarie Street.

When: Sept. 16-17.

Details: Men's and women's competition. The Olympics' youngest sport has existed since 1974. Continuous event consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, followed by a bicycle ride of 40 kilometers and a 10-kilometer run around the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. Australia is the top nation in the men's and women's competitions.

Related info: About Triathlon


Volleyball

Where: Olympic Stadium.

Where: Sydney Entertainment Centre; Buring Pavilion, Sydney Olympic Park.

When: Sept. 16-Oct. 1.

Details: Men's and women's team competition.

Notable: Rule changes abound. For the first time, the defense can score. Previously, teams could only score on their own serve. The first four sets are now played to 25 points, while the final set goes to the traditional 15. Libero is the new name in the game. Libero is a specialist role designed to produce longer rallies and spectacular defensive play. The player will wear a different color from the rest of the team and can substitute anywhere in the backcourt, but cannot serve, spike or rotate into the front zone.

Outlook: Cuba, two-time defending Olympic champion, again is the team to beat in the women's field. Cuba, along with Italy and the Netherlands, should contend for men's gold.


Water polo

Where: Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre, Sydney International Aquatic Centre.

When: Sept. 16-Oct. 1.

Details: Men's and women's team competition.

Outlook: Women's water polo debuts at the Olympics with the U.S. one of the favorites in the six-team field. In July, the U.S. went 6-0 at the Holiday Cup, which featured Olympic qualifiers Canada, Australia, Russia, Kazakstan and the Netherlands, the defending world champion.

The U.S. men will have a more difficult time. Their side of the draw includes Hungary, which has won six golds, as well as medal favorites Yugoslavia and Croatia. Australia and Italy are among the powers in the other half of the 12-team tournament.


Weightlifting

Where: Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

When: Sept. 16-20, 24-26.

Details: Men will compete in eight weight classes. Women will compete in seven.

Notable: The women's competition makes its Olympics debut. Men's weightlifting was part of the 1896 Games in Athens and became a full member sport in 1920.

Outlook: Turkey's 4-foot-11 Naim Suleymanoglu, known as Pocket Hercules, retired after winning his third gold in the Atlanta Games, only to unexpectedly announce that at age 38 he would try for an unprecedented fourth gold medal at 137. pounds (62kg).


Wrestling

Where: Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.

When: Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

Details: Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling consists of eight weight classes.

Notable: The competition format has changed from double-elimination to pools, and the IOC ordered wrestling to pare its weight classes from 10 to eight. The U.S. has 99 Olympic medals in wrestling, 44 gold, almost twice as many as any other country.

Outlook: Jeff Blatnick, former Greco-Roman gold medalist, predicts as many as seven U.S. medals in freestyle.


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