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Friday, August 27, 2004
Things to watch: Saturday, Day 14 news services

It's Super Saturday in Greece, an Olympic extravaganza with 34 gold medals awarded across 14 frantic hours. None of 'em will hang around the necks of the U.S. men's basketball team.

Allen Iverson and his millionaire friends will instead play for the bronze Saturday, half of an American basketball doubleheader that will see the U.S. women go for their third straight gold medal. It's the first time since 1988 -- and the first time with NBA players -- that the American men won't take the gold.

The busiest action is at the Olympic Stadium, where eight track and field medals are up for grabs. The U.S. team looks for gold in one of its traditionally strongest races, the men's 400-meter relay, while two of the world's great runners -- Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia -- go head to head in the 5,000 meters.

The track and field dominates with the eight gold medal events but there are also gold medal events in wrestling, canoeing and men's platform diving.

Don't look for any Americans in that last event, because none qualified in a disastrous Olympic showing. This becomes the first U.S. diving team since 1912 that failed to capture at least one Olympic medal.

(All times ET; event times below might vary from TV times. Many events will be taped and broadcast later.)

What Why

While the women can capture gold, the erratic men were doomed to the bronze medal game after their 89-81 loss to Argentina in the semifinals -- their third loss of the tournament.

Another defeat will send the collection of NBA stars home with no medal at all. Iverson, Stephon Marbury and Tim Duncan make their last Olympic stand at 1 p.m.

The women's basketball team, which hasn't lost in the Summer Games since a 1992 defeat to the old Unified Team in Barcelona, already is assured of a silver medal. But they're heading into the Olympic championship game against Australia with higher hopes.

"We've got 12 players who can play,'' said guard Shannon Johnson. "We're going to go out and get our gold medal.''

The American women struggled through their closest game of the Olympics against longtime rival Russia, but pulled out a 66-62 victory to make the gold medal game. They were rescued in the fourth quarter by veteran Sheryl Swoopes, who scored two key baskets and deflected a shot in the game's last four minutes.

U.S. star Lisa Leslie isn't disappointed that it all comes down to Australia.

"That's who we want to play, and they want to play us," said Leslie, who scored 11 points in the semifinal and may be playing her last Olympic contest. The game was set for the USA Network at 9:15 a.m.

When: Women's gold medal game: United States vs. Australia, 9:15 a.m. Will air live on the USA Network.

Track and field
The busy track schedule features the 5,000-meter race with favorites El Guerrouj and Bekele, both already gold medal winners in Athens. A victory by Bekele would make the Ethiopian the first man to sweep the 5,000 and the 10,000 at the same games since 1980, when countryman Miruts Yifter turned the trick.

El Guerrouj, who took his first gold in his third Olympics, faces an even more daunting task: The only person to win a 5,000 and a 1,500 in the same games was Paavo Nurmi -- the "Flying Finn'' -- in 1924.

This is track and field's marquee night. Gold medal winners Justin Gatlin, Shawn Crawford and Jeremy Wariner lead the U.S. in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, while Beaux Greer is a contender in the javelin.

"The only way we lose the 4x100 is if we drop the stick or don't get it around," says Greene.

Amy Acuff carries U.S. hopes in the women's high jump while Monique Hennagan anchors the women's 4x400 relay.

The U.S. has not won a medal in women's high jump since Louise Ritter's gold at the 1988 Seoul Games.

When: Women's high jump, 1 p.m.; Women's 1,500, 1:30 p.m.; men's javelin throw, 1:40 p.m.; men's 800, 1:50 p.m.; men's 5,000, 2:05 p.m.; men's 4x100 relay, 2:45 p.m.; Women's 4x400 relay, 3 p.m.; men's 4x400 relay, 3:25 p.m. Track and field events will air during NBC's prime-time window, from 8 p.m. to midnight ET.

Information from The Associated Press and Scripps Howard News Service was included in this report.