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Aussies Turn to Olympic Betting

14 August 2000

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—Aug. 14, 2000 – As reported The Associated Press: "…Newly hung banners and flags finally are giving Sydney the feel of an Olympic city. So, with a month left before the 2000 Games, Australians are turning to their favorite pastime -- gambling.

"In a nation devoted to wagering, newspapers already are running betting lines on Olympic events ranging from track and field to synchronized swimming.

"Want to bet on who will light the flame? One newspaper makes Dawn Fraser, a swimmer who won four Olympic gold medals and four silvers for Australia in the 1950s and '60s, the even-money favorite.

"…Sydneysiders have been relatively laid-back about the imminent arrival of the games. It has been more than 2,500 days since Sydney won the bid back in 1993 to play host, and some people are tired of hearing about the Olympics.

"Yet those attitudes may soon change.

"Rod McGeoch, who led Sydney's successful bid for the 2000 Games and was a torch carrier Monday, said the city does not realize how much excitement the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 Olympics will generate.

"…More than 2.1 million tickets remained for sale as of early August. Airport and train problems in recent weeks are causing concern about how the public transport system will handle a crowd expected to include 111,000 international visitors.

"…But Harry Gordon, an Olympic historian who has been covering the games since Australia's last Olympics in 1956 at Melbourne, said all those problems will melt away as Sydneysiders get caught up in the atmosphere.

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