Athens 2004

Commentary & Perspective

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Ian O'Connor

The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News


Biggest winner of 2004 Olympics: Greece

August 29, 2004 | The Summer Games belong here, in the Olympic cradle, and just one pilgrimage to Ancient Olympia would tell you that. Zeus doesn't play Paris or Moscow, London or Times Square. This is the gods' homecourt. It shouldn't go abandoned for the next 108 years.

Men cash checks, women grab gold

August 28, 2004 | They live below the rim, where the pay is commensurate with that of your average middle manager, so American women get their revenge at the Olympics, the one sports stage where it pays to be a vertically-challenged woman rather than a rim-rocking man.

In defeat, Iverson sounds like a winner

August 27, 2004 | Allen Iverson sounded like the ultimate winner in Olympic defeat, smarter and more noble than his old friend, Larry Brown, had sounded across three sorry weeks of basketball.

In Olympic victory, Brown the biggest loser in the house

August 26, 2004 | Larry Brown did what Larry Brown always does when trapped in a corner like a guard who stopped his dribble too soon: He lied. Larry the Liar claimed that the humiliating timeout he called at the end of this victory over Spain was a simple misunderstanding.

Atop the podium where no Israeli had ever stood

August 25, 2004 | With a half-moon rising behind him, and an orange sun plunging beneath the Saronic Gulf before him, Gal Fridman stood where no Israeli man or woman had ever set foot -- on top of an Olympic platform.

El Guerrouj exorcises ghosts in golden moment

August 24, 2004 | Demons? You want demons? Take all of Phil Mickelson's Major-free years, multiply them by John Elway's ring-free years, and add in Dan Jansen's gold-free Olympics for good measure, and you have an approximate measure of the burdens weighing down Hicham El Guerrouj as he headed for home Tuesday night, chased by a Kenyan and a much faster ghost.

Games became sanctuary for grieving coach

August 23, 2004 | It is about them, Mike Candrea forever said. The kids, the players, the young women in his life who pitched, hit and fielded a softball like no team ever had.

After tragedy family is Olympic fans no more

August 23, 2004 | The Slingers were fans of the Olympic Games who now run from them as fast as they can to avoid being reminded that Tammy Crow, American Olympian, is going for the gold eight months after being convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the deaths of her boyfriend, Cody Tatro, and the Slingers' 12-year-old son, Brett.

In missing the point, Hamm may be most hurting himself

August 22, 2004 | One harmless gesture separates him from lionization in America and canonization in South Korea, and yet Paul Hamm is lost in a gymnast's cloud of chalk dust, leaving him too blinded to see the light.

Gold medal helps rower put 9/11 aside, briefly

August 22, 2004 | You don't pull body parts from the ruins of the World Trade Center, hop into your bow seat less than three years later, and simply dump the memories and haunts in a pile of sweat clothes on an Olympic Games dock. “How can you let that go?” Jason Read asked.

Hamm should share the gold

August 21, 2004 | Paul Hamm might deserve a Wheaties box and a million-dollar endorsement deal, but he doesn't deserve sole ownership of the all-around gymnastics medal. That is something he most definitely needs to share.

Phelps shows he's more than a great swimmer

August 20, 2004 | Michael Phelps was more than kind to a teammate and rival who cost him gold.

U.S. teen trumps Russian’s diva routine

August 19, 2004 | She did not have the magnetic power of Mary Lou Retton, or the dizzy charm of Sarah Hughes, but Carly Patterson did have one final dance in front of her, one last chance to prove that her face belonged on those 70 million McDonald's bags and cups after all.

Ancient seemed modern at shot put site

August 18, 2004 | Nothing essential changed over the 2,780 years that separated the first Olympic Games and the shot put competition that Adam Nelson lost Wednesday on the same narrow, 200-meter dirt field where naked Greek men once covered themselves with olive oil and made sport of ripping out each other's small intestines and throats.

Time for Brown to quit whining and coach team he’s got

August 17, 2004 | Larry Brown would’ve made this team better by asking for an NBA shooter rather than a UConn post man, but this is no time to be crying over the process, anyway -- despite all the no-shows, Brown was given the best player in the world (Tim Duncan), and the best athletes in the field.

Official logo of these Games: an empty chair

August 17, 2004 | In Athens, a teeming street festival of culture and sport, of peace and understanding, has given way to an eerie wasteland devoid of people and noise.

Dream On Teamers could take a lesson from women’s team

August 16, 2004 | One day after nearly the entire women’s team attended the absurd loss to Puerto Rico, and one day before the host Greeks would play the United States and threaten to deny it a place in the medal round, no male team member — player or coach — adjusted his practice or social schedule to watch the one American team here that plays basketball the way Red Holzman drew it up.

Phelps, men’s hoops team prove that defeat is relative

August 15, 2004 | Michael Phelps swam the second leg of the 400-meter relay last night, and yet his hopes of breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in one Olympics was already shattered before his head hit the water.

Phelps, men’s hoops team prove that defeat is relative

August 15, 2004 | Michael Phelps swam the second leg of the 400-meter relay last night, and yet his hopes of breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in one Olympics was already shattered before his head hit the water.

Greeks puzzled, betrayed by sprint hero

August 14, 2004 | Under the caldron Sunday, this was a burning issue among many Greeks walking to and from events: Under any circumstances, would American officials have kicked out their biggest star - a Michelle Kwan, for instance - on the first day of the Salt Lake Games?

Phelps closer to Olympic `miracle'

August 14, 2004 | Swimming people said Michael Phelps had the talent to break Mark Spitz' record of seven gold medals in a single Summer Games, but this much was clear: Phelps wasn't going to break that record if he gagged in an event he dominates, the 400 IM - so he didn't gag.

Olympics could tarnish Brown's legacy

August 13, 2004 | Larry Brown spent his entire NBA life searching for the ultimate victory lap, and what did that destruction of the Laker dynasty get him, other than an Olympic burden heavier than the one Michael Phelps will take head-first into the pool?

Iraqi soccer team finds Olympic sanctuary from war

August 12, 2004 | It was 10:23 p.m. when unmitigated joy was found a long way from Baghdad, bloody Baghdad, when the final whistle blew and the young men from Iraq could do so much more than sing and dance, the greatest gift of a forever Olympic soccer match.



11:32 pm | August 29, 2004

Jamaican bobsledders race to find sponsors

11:30 pm | August 29, 2004

NBC Universal's gamble on Olympics pays off

9:32 pm | August 29, 2004

Young Chinese team exerts its strength

7:39 pm | August 29, 2004

Boxer ends drought, earns gold for USA

7:22 pm | August 29, 2004

Security issues fade as Games roll smoothly to close

6:59 pm | August 29, 2004

USA surpasses its medals goal

6:43 pm | August 29, 2004

South Korean gymnast appeals to arbitrator

2:30 pm | August 29, 2004

Athens games heralded as success

1:39 pm | August 29, 2004

Deposed USOC chief feels pride from a distance

12:47 pm | August 29, 2004

Medal try slips away from wrestler Williams


MIKE LOPRESTI | Gannett News Service

Olympics 2004 were games of education, enlightenment

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IAN O'CONNOR | The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News

Biggest winner of 2004 Olympics: Greece

More columns by this writer


Athens scores satisfying win

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DAN BICKLEY | The Arizona Republic

Some U.S. women's teams put on best show in Athens

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LYNN HENNING | The Detroit News

U.S. basketball team has gone from stars to targets

More columns by this writer

BOB KRAVITZ | The Indianapolis Star

It was Black Friday for U.S.

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