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Olympics Notebook

August 3, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Even the chief of the Atlanta Games can have an Olympic moment. Actually, Billy Payne said Saturday, he has three.

One came Tuesday, when the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and the city rededicated Centennial Olympic Park, following the fatal pipe bomb explosion three days before.

``Even with a heavy heart, we, too, expressed the spirit of the community,″ Payne said.

A second was the crowd’s reaction at the opening ceremony as Muhammad Ali appeared to light the Olympic flame.

``The audible gasp in the stadium was arresting,″ he said. ``You could hear in that gasp the wonderment and delight of the crowd.″

The third came on the track _ Michael Johnson’s world-record sprint in the 200 meters to complete a double-gold sweep of the 200 and 400.

Payne said he had attended just about every sport and was having fun. One downer _ the avid golfer hasn’t been to the first tee since April.


DECISION MADE: An arbitration panel reached a verdict Saturday on Russia’s appeal against the doping expulsions of two medal-winning athletes but postponed an announcement until Sunday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport came to a decision on the cases of swimmer Andrei Korneyev and Greco-Roman wrestler Zafar Gulyov, who were stripped of bronze medals after testing positive for the stimulant bromantan.

The three-member panel was writing its final report and would submit the findings Sunday, CAS secretary general Jean-Philipe Rochat said.

``It’s quite a complicated case,″ he said. ``The panel didn’t want to give only the decision but the whole decision with all the reasons. That’s why it won’t be announced until tomorrow.″

Korneyev was stripped of his bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke and Gulyov lost his bronze in the 105 1/2-pound weight class.


NEWT’S VIEWS: House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he is optimistic the July 27th bombing at Centennial Olympic Park that killed one woman won’t permanently scar memories of the Atlanta games.

``I think for most people Atlanta’s going to be remembered a lot more for Carl Lewis and Kerri Strug and the exciting, wonderful things that happened than it is for what may turn out to be the act of one individual, deranged person,″ Gingrich told reporters Saturday during an appearance in his home district north of Atlanta.


SOCCER THEFT: Someone stole cash, clothing and jewelry from the motel rooms of eight members of Argentina’s men’s soccer team, a spokesman for the team said Saturday.

The burglar took $40,000 from the Argentine Football Association in the theft Friday afternoon at the Howard Johnson lodge in Athens, Ga., said spokesman Eduardo Bongiovanni.

One of the players lost a ``very valuable″ watch in the burglary, Bongiovanni said. The burglar stole clothing from the other players, he said.

The motel manager declined to comment.


FREE ENTERPRISE: Victor Partnoi of Romania didn’t win a medal Saturday in the 1,000-meter canoe finals, but he will go home with a profit.

Partnoi, who finished sixth, set up a cardboard box behind the spectator stands and sold his own Olympic souvenirs. He brought hand-carved miniature kayaks and canoes complete with paddles and the block canoeists use to rest their knees while racing.

Partnoi estimated he has sold $1,000 worth of the boats. Each boat, carved from mahogany, took him about three days to complete.


WHERE’S HOME?: Kurt Angle’s Olympic wrestling victory has made him a hometown hero to residents of Mount Lebanon, Pa.

But his fame has neighboring Scott Township feeling left out.

Since his victory Wednesday at 220 pounds, Angle has been identified as a resident of Mount Lebanon, a suburb south of Pittsburgh.

But Scott Township, which borders Mount Lebanon to the northwest, says Angle is theirs because the condominium he shares with his mother is within its boundaries.

To further complicate things, Angle’s Olympic bio lists his residence as Pittsburgh.


TV TRIBUTE: NBC will air a 45-minute tribute Sunday to five American Olympians who won gold medals at the 1960 Rome Games.

Produced by Lisa Lax, the documentary will focus on Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Rafer Johnson, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, using an anecdotal format to portray their lives before and up to the Rome Games.

``We were trying to focus on pulling together a few American athletes born in and around the South. And as we were going through all the Olympiads, we came across these five from Rome,″ said Lax, NBC Sports senior producer and head of the network’s features division in Atlanta.

``One of the reasons we focused on Rome was because it was kind of the last totally pure games, it was kind of a time of innocence,″ she said.


NO BAN: A district attorney says there were no violations of Georgia’s animal humanity laws during the three-day equestrian event.

The Humane Society of the United States tried for several years to have the endurance competition banned. The society cited the anticipated heat and humidity.

Cheryl Fisher Custer, district attorney for the Rockdale Judicial Circuit, said there were no violations of Georgia’s Humane Care for Equines Act. Conyers, where the equestrian events were held, is in Custer’s district.

Kitty Block of the Humane Society showed tapes of the event’s endurance phases July 23-25 to Custer, who reviewed the tapes and talked to the Olympic veterinary staff.

Olympic officials altered conditions for the event and provided special cooling stations throughout the venue and endurance course.

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