Olympic Notes 

British have new boxing sensation

Compiled by Adam Daff

The British have unearthed another boxing sensation in 17-year-old Amir Khan. Khan outclassed Greek favourite Marios Kaperonis Monday to underline his tag as a title contender in the flyweight division and sound a warning to the defending champion, 33-year-old Mario Kindelan, from Cuba. Khan boxes like Naseem Hamed, who is also of Middle Eastern heritage, and Hamed went on to have a short, but very entertaining professional career.

The drama surrounding two of Greece’s best sprinters has ended in complete disgrace.

Kostas Kederis won a gold medal in Sydney and was scheduled to light the flame at the opening ceremony. But Kederis and his girlfriend, and fellow sprinter, Ekaterini Thanou missed the opening ceremony when they were in a mysterious motorbike accident after failing to show for drug tests. At their hearing with the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday both sprinters withdrew from the Games and will now face a drugs tribunal with the International Association of Athletics Federations.

At 47 the seemingly unstoppable Martina Navratilova became the oldest tennis player to compete in the Olympics this week when she and Lisa Raymond posted a 6-0, 6-2 win over wild-card doubles entries Yulia Beygelzimer and Tetyana Perebiynis of Ukraine.

In a performance that makes many of the male competitors seem rather inferior, Russia’s Irina Korzhanenko won the women’s shot put with a throw of 21.06 metres. Ukrainian Yuriy Bilonog won the men’s final over Adam Nelson of the U.S with a throw of 21.15 m. Canadian Brad Snyder of Windsor, Ont., finished 11th in Group B of the men’s qualifying round and 20th overall on Wednesday with a distance of 19.46m.

After a lacklustre performance from the Canadian swim team, 100-metre hurdler Perdita Felicien has emerged as Team Canada’s great hope. Felicien is the world champion, but to win at the Olympics she will have to beat legendary U.S. sprinter Gail Devers.

Svetlana Khorkina, one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, is back and competing for the Russian team. She is thinner than she was in Sydney but Khorkina is a five-time world champion and has been so dominant on the uneven bars she has a move named after her. She will be competing in the individual finals.

The U.S. Baseball team failed to qualify for the Olympics and last Monday the U.S. basketball "dream team", which included players such as Allen Iverson and Lebron James, lost their first game to Puerto Rico. The U.S. were stunted but they still won their second game against Greece.

On Monday Australia’s Ian Thorpe won an event billed as the "swimming race of the century". Thorpe beat Dutch superstar Pieter van den Hoogenband, U.S. sensation Michael Phelps and teammate Grant Hackett in an Olympic record time in the 200m freestyle final. In the women’s event the U.S. 4x200m freestyle relay team broke the oldest world record in swimming on Wednesday, clocking seven minutes, 53.42 seconds, demolishing the competition and the world record of 7:55.47, set by East Germany in 1987.

In soccer the Australian women’s team drew 1-1 with the gold-medal favourite U.S. side Tuesday. The finals will be held this week. The quarter-finals of the men’s tournament start Saturday with Mali against Italy, Iraq taking on Australia, favourites Argentina facing Costa Rica while South Korea meet Paraguay.

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