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READERS COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Comment: I call this the cut-and-paste Olympics. We don't see anything in its entirety, and we don't see any of the minor sports. I'm terribly disappointed. Also, John Tesh and the other gymnastics commentators can't pronounce a single foreign athlete's name. How many months did they have to get ready for this?

Carolyn S. Grimes, Palm Harbor

Comment: How come we're spending time going into the history of athletes instead of spending that time covering some of the less popular events, like volleyball, soccer and judo? It's really ridiculous and insulting.

Pamela Donnelly, Largo

Comment: We would like to see a lot more of the medal ceremonies and a lot less of television commentators. That's what is important to us.

Laura Shaw, Clearwater

Comment: If somebody wants to learn about history, let them watch the History Channel. I don't think it belongs in the coverage of a sports event.

Jim Martin, Clearwater

Comment: I thought Jim Gray was very unprofessional in asking Michelle Smith, after she won her second gold, about steroids and whether she should have been allowed to compete in the event. Jim Gray never would ask that question of an American who had won two medals.

Calvin Boaz, Clearwater

Q. When did professionals start competing in the Olympics?

Margo Beyer, Clearwater

A: In 1990, the year Atlanta was selected to host the 1996 Games, the International Olympic Committee officially deleted the word "amateur" from the Olympic charter. The trend actually began in 1975, when former IOC President Avery Brundage, a staunch defender of the amateur ideal, died. Current IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch notes that Olympic athletes from many countries were really professionals anyway, and that the Olympics' goal is to have the world's best athletes. The IOC allows each international athletic federation to decide whether professionals may participate.

Q. Why do they make all Olympic announcements in French and English?

Myron Graff, Clearwater

A: French is the official language of the International Olympic Committee.

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