August 19, 2004
U.S. women's
4x200 free relay

Anytime you can say, "Yeah, but we toppled the 17-year-old East German world record," it's a great day. Congrats to the super-fast women.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

More LeBron is the solution to what's ailing U.S. Hoops.

The 89-79 win over Australia (coming from 12 points behind) was notable for the dominant 24-12 fourth quarter. On the floor for the entire period? LeBron.

Turns out he's a pretty stellar international player -- because the entire Olympic trick is passing and he does that better than anyone else on the roster. The U.S. played better precisely because LeBron was in there.

"Playing freshmen" might be anathema to Larry Brown's sensibilities, but it's time for him to build on his decision to play LeBron for the entire fourth.

If LeBron leads the U.S. in minutes played, it will win the gold and quash the critics. If Brown overthinks and limits LeBron's minutes -- because he's young, because he likes to celebrate after baskets, whatever -- the U.S. will have no one to blame but the guy doling out the PT.

Hamm Wins Gold
Move over, Michael Phelps: In taking the first gold in men's all-around gymnastics in U.S. history, Paul Hamm vaults himself into bonafide superstardom.

If Mary Lou Retton was a guy: Moving from 12th place after the vault to near-perfection in the high bar at the end, Hamm provided the most exciting comeback (not to mention the closest finish -- 12 one-thousandths of a point) in Olympic men's gymnastics history.

So what next? Endorsement deals with lunchmeats? (Even though his name rhymes with Tom.) Perhaps the Wheaties box? Maybe, like the fans who watched, he can enjoy the achievement simply for the unparalleled success it was.

Johan Santana: Best P since ASB (6-0, 1.82 ERA) stifles NY
Rangers: Win 6th in row, ice used-to-be-hot Cleveland
Olympia: Best. Venue. Ever. "OLY Old School" was must-see
Andy Roddick and Venus Williams: No Olympic gold; bounced
Andy Pettitte: Out for year (elbow); an ex-Yankees curse?
AZ Cards: Hard-luck camp gets harder; lose DT Kenny King
Wheaties Watch
Per the preceding item, we have a new leader ...

1. Paul Hamm
Unprecedented gold sure helps
2. Michael Phelps
But 200IM gold on deck today
3. USA softball
Wow: 5 shutouts in 5 games
4. U.S. women swimmers
4x200 awesome; Coughlin next?
5. Adam Nelson
Shot-putter gracious in defeat

Phelps on Demand
Thursday: 200 IM finals (no WR in qualifiers, but watch for it with gold at stake), plus 100 fly qualifying -- with the 100 fly finals showdown with master Ian Crocker on radar for Friday. That's medals No. 6 and 7 for those doing the calculus.

Bowa on Hot Seat
"He's the manager." With that ringing non-endorsement, perhaps Phillies GM Ed Wade would like to enter the Quickie office pool on when manager Larry Bowa gets canned. The current target date: Irony-laden Labor Day. How about an early heads-up, Ed?

Eli's gonna get a look at the NFC's best front four, and it might be from his backside. Whether it lasts a quarter or just a series, Manning will quickly realize the difference between playing the 2nd quarter vs. some scrubs and starting vs. nasty vets with a taste for No. 1 overall draft picks.

ND's New Sked
"What They Said, What They Meant," Back to School Edition, featuring Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, on the team's interest in changing its future football schedules:

What he said: "More clarity and sanity."

What he meant: "More cupcakes."

Esteban Loaiza:
Este-banned: Is the mighty Loiaza Era already over in New York? The NY Post is reporting that the Yankees want to pawn him off on the Rangers.
Today on
Page 2: Neel on baseball: Pujols is MVP
College football: Power 16
Stark on Expos' situation
Must-see OLY today
Women's gymnastics
All-around final
Men's 200 IM final
More records for Phelps?
Women's 200 breast
Amanda Beard in her event
Women's 100 free
Nat Coughlin challenged
Men's 200 back
A. Peirsol: More hardware?

No decision on Expos relocation, MLB says: Is Vegas making a late push, or is the O's Angelos still flexing about the DC area? ...

Another Eric Gagne blown save (that's 2!) lends validity to concerns he's arm-weary (or maybe just that the Marlins are stirring) ...

As if losing Pettitte wasn't enough, the Astros list Clemens as day-to-day after straining his calf running to 1B ...

Bonds Watch: Hit No. 692 (34th this season) in second game of a Wednesday doubleheader ...

Deion Update: Not unexpectedly, he's on his own timetable, undermining everything that control-freak NFL coaches stand for ...

Why does it feel like the Braves are involved in every big "playoff-preview"-ish series these days? Next up: 4 vs. the Dodgers ...

More OLY must-see: Natalie Coughlin in the women's 100 free, coming off her semi where the Aussie one lane over set a new WR ...

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