Olympics 2000 Notebook

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Mike Neill's two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning gave the US a 4-2 victory over Japan in its tournament opener, the longest baseball game in Olympics history.

The defending gold medalist United States women's gymnastics squad squeaked into the team final by placing among the top six teams in the qualifications. Russia, led by graceful European champion Svetlana Khornika, took the team lead. US national champion Elise Ray and two-time Olympian Amy Chow turned in the top US performances in the preliminary round.

Lori Harrigan pitched the first solo no-hitter in Olympic softball history to open the Americans' gold-medal defense,

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6-0 over Canada. Harrigan retired 20 consecutive batters after first baseman Shelia Douty committed an error in the first inning. The Americans have won 110 consecutive games dating to the 1998 world championships.

Two more world records fell Sunday, led by a pumped-up Tom Dolan of the US. Dolan broke his own six-year-old world record in the 400-meter individual medley, winning his second consecutive Olympic gold in the event with a dominating performance. He clipped more than a half-second off his mark with 4 minutes, 11.76 seconds. Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands set a record in the 100M fly at 56.61, slicing .03 off the mark she set in Seattle in July. American Jenny Thompson was fifth, still seeking her first individual gold medal after six relay golds. Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands broke Ian Thorpe's world record in the 200M free semifinals. Van den Hoogenband swam 1:45.35.

A large amount of cash has been handed in to the lost-property office at the Olympic Village earning Olympic athletes a gold medal for honesty, officials said Sunday. A find of $650 in cash, tickets worth more than $700 for the wrestling competition, and a Bible in Spanish are among the items.

Thompson and Amy van Dyken were two of the four US swimmers (Dara Torres and Courtney Shealy were the others) who set a world record (3:36.61) over the weekend in the 4x100 freestyle relay. For Thompson, it was her sixth Olympic gold medal in her starry career, moving her past speedskater Bonnie Blair for most medals won by an American woman.

Belt and Suspenders Award: There has been mounting concern for shark attacks during the swimming phase of the Olympic triathlon, so much so that a demonstration was given of the antishark scheme. (Straps are put on an accompanying diver that emit an electrical release and repel the sharks.) The triathlon was contested over the weekend, and, surprise, no shark attacks. Best finisher for the US women was Joanna Zeiger, fourth, while Hunter Kemper was the best US male at 17th.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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