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Olympic numbers game seems to favor China

CHICAGO — Forget the pollution in Beijing. That won't slow the U.S. Olympic team.

And the issues with food quality are silly. That won't bother the Americans either.

No, U.S. Olympians have nothing to fear in China. Other than, you know, the Chinese team.

"We have a good team, we have a strong team," U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Jim Scherr said. "And we have no illusions that we believe the Chinese have the strongest team entering these Games."

USOC officials said China's strength is a math equation.

"They have 1.3-billion people," USOC chief of sport performance Steve Roush said. "It's all a numbers game. They have infused a large amount of money behind their programs … our numbers pale in comparison in the amount of money we can afford to provide our athletes."

WINDY CITY OR HOT AIR?: Chicago is taking advantage of the U.S. Olympic media summit to push its bid for the 2016 Summer Games.

USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said Chicago better push harder.

A year ago, Ueberroth said Chicago was probably third or fourth on the list of seven contenders. He was not as specific when asked Tuesday, but he was also not encouraging.

"Not anywhere near first," Ueberroth said.

The vote for the 2016 Games is expected next year.

WHOO HOO 29: You already know not to expect major-league players on the U.S. Olympic baseball team. General manager Bob Watson said you probably shouldn't expect many elite prospects either.

The problem with the Olympics being in August is some big-league clubs might be looking toward the farm system for help with pennant races heating up.

"I know from sitting in that GM's chair myself, it's going to be a very delicate spot for him to be in to let the U.S. have his top (minor-league) pitcher. The guy who is going to be called up if somebody goes down," Watson said. "We're not taking anybody off the (major-league) 25-man roster and, instead of looking at players 26, 27, 28 we're probably looking at player 29.

"But I still think our player 29 is as good or better than anybody in the world."

Olympic numbers game seems to favor China 04/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 10:12pm]
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