Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Roddick is hoping to avoid a smooch from Aussie girls


Athens Notebook

By Tim Korte
The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece - Andy Roddick doesn't want to get hit by a buss.

The Australian women's water polo team made a wager and took up a $500 collection for the first member to plant a kiss on Roddick. Their commitment to delivering the goods, however, doesn't appear to run too deep.

Roddick and his doubles partner, Mardy Fish, spotted a few members of the Australian team while walking to dinner.

"Those are the first two we've seen so far," Fish said. "Andy kind of kept on going. He didn't stop at all."

Just as the bet was becoming part of the daily conversation at the Olympics, the Aussies clammed up. Team spokesman Graeme Hannon said Tuesday that none of the players will discuss it, insisting he didn't know which athletes were involved.

Hannon felt the whole thing has been sensationalized, "beat up" in Down Under lingo.

"The girls were a bit bored in Croatia or somewhere and it came up, a bit of silly talk really," Hannon said.

A day earlier, after Roddick and Fish lost their opening doubles match, it seemed the U.S. Open champion was taking a defensive approach to the wager.

"I have an inside source that's supposed to be doing research for me to kind of figure out if they're planning an ambush," Roddick said. "I'm thinking it's just going to be a hit-and-run while I'm standing in line for food or something. I found that pretty funny."

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SECURITY BOOST: Athens organizers increased security inside all sports venues after a Canadian spectator managed to dive into a swimming pool. Additional officers will be dressed in organizers' uniforms.

"We are going to put security guys around the field of play," said Marton Simitsek, an Athens 2004 executive.

The man, who wasn't identified by police, was arrested but there was no immediate word on possible charges. Olympic organizers said he apparently wanted to send a love message to his wife by getting on television Monday night.

He had an unusual way of expressing himself. The man wore a T-shirt promoting a Web site, a tutu and extra-large clown shoes.

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SKY HIGH: Gold medalist pole vaulter Stacy Dragila is accustomed to great heights, but nothing like the view she enjoyed Tuesday on her flight to Athens from Crete, where the U.S. track and field team held pre-Olympic training.

The American star had a seat in the cockpit, right behind the pilot and co-pilot for the 45-minute trip.

Riding in the passenger cabin were five-time Olympian Jearl Miles-Clark and her husband-coach, J.J. Clark, and U.S. men's coach George Williams, who took a brief nap before his four-hour drive to Olympia, site of Wednesday's shot put competition.

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OPENING UP: Nikos Doumas is manning a kiosk outside the main Cathedral in Athens. He's the face of an effort by Greece's deeply insular Orthodox Church to open doors and display centuries of heritage and history to Olympic visitors.

"In the beginning, only Greeks came to browse ... but now there are many people, foreigners of Greek origin but also people with no relation to the country," said Doumas, who runs the church Web site.

"They are interested and they show a feeling of respect, not like they are just visiting another museum," he said.

Like many Greeks, clergy at 20 area churches are working nearly around the clock to accommodate Olympic visitors. Dressed in black cassocks and pipe hats, they're keeping church doors and religious monuments open through the end of the games, even on holidays.

Modest dress is required. A sign outside the main Cathedral reads: "Keep body covered. No shorts allowed."




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U.S. team gets another boost as Siler wins
Quicker start pays dividends
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Roddick is hoping to avoid a smooch from Aussie girls
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Paul Daugherty's Athens blog
Latest photos from Athens

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