Billie Jean King, an icon in women's sports and tennis in particular (71 career singles titles, including 12 victories in Grand Slam events), was named this week as coach of the US women's Olympic tennis team. She may need every bit of her star appeal and experience to deal with coming events, including how to foster happiness when only four players can go to Sydney, and just three of those can play singles. Prime candidates include Lindsay Davenport, who won gold in Atlanta in 1996; the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena; and Monica Seles. All but Seles are fighting injuries.
Perhaps for this reason, King seems to be reducing expectations, saying the Olympic experience and the involvement with athletes from other lands are the central attractions for the players. Even the male players are "starting to realize relationships are more important than just winning tennis matches," King says.
There will be 3,952 women participating in this year's Olympics, 38 percent of the total, up 4 percent from Atlanta.
Soccer and the Sydney Olympics don't seem quite in sync. Soccer competition starts Sept. 13, two days before the Opening Ceremony in Sydney, and 38 of the 48 matches will be played in towns other than Sydney, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, and Melbourne.
The Ancient Greeks Never Would Have Believed This Dept.: A Closter, N.J., cybersquatter, Syed Hussain, registered the Internet domain name www.usolympicstore.com and tried to sell it to the US Olympic Committee for $1,000. On reflection, he withdrew his offer, saying it was worth "anywhere from $10,000 to $3 million." The case was heard by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which promptly ordered the name transferred to the USOC - for free. Reason: Hussain acted in bad faith.
Greek philosopher Aristotle harbored strong admiration for pentathlon athletes. (The pentathlon is composed of five events: shooting, fencing, swimming, horseback riding, and running.) He wrote, "The most perfect sportsmen are the pentathletes because their body, strength, and speed are combined in beautiful harmony."
Steve Young, the premier NFL quarterback who retired recently, has found life after football. He will be an ambassador-at-large for the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Job description: host.
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