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Frazier smokin' about choice of Ali to light flame

Muhammad Ali's lighting of the Olympic flame fanned Joe Frazier's fire.

"I thought it was a slap in the face for fighters everywhere," the former heavyweight boxing champion said of his archrival's selection for Friday's Opening Ceremonies. "I thought it was a slap at boxing.

"You think he represents the Olympics, or America? He hates whites. He didn't want to go into the service and defend this country. Come on now."

Frazier, like Ali, is an Olympic gold medalist. Frazier never has forgiven Ali for refusing induction into the military during the Vietnam War.

"They wanted a boxer to light the flame, why not Evander Holyfield?" Frazier asked. "Did you see the way that guy (Ali) was walking out there?"

Frazier pantomimed a shaky, shuffling gait.

"I'm the one who was supposed to have taken all the whuppins, right?" said Frazier, who fought 44 rounds in three bouts with Ali, the last two of them defeats. "They said I was the one who got beat up by him, but look at me compared to him."

KEEP MOVING: Officials said logistical problems are under control.

"Things are not falling apart," said Billy Payne, chairman of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. "Early snafus affected the media mostly and were overblown."

Mortimer Downey, deputy secretary of the federal Department of Transportation, spent most of Tuesday observing the transportation network. "We are clearly seeing growing pains," he said.

On Wednesday, 25 creaky buses were removed from the fleet, synchronization of traffic signals was improved, and military drivers were assigned to some buses, Downey said. Drivers were given consistent routes.

"We're trying to manage a transportation system that's 3{ times the normal size of the Atlanta Transportation System," Payne said.

IT'S A (FAKE) BOMB! Officials confirmed that the fake bomb delivered Friday to the Georgia World Congress Center, site of six sports, was part of a security test by the United Parcel Service, an Olympic sponsor.

The package containing a wired device got past the UPS checkpoint but was detected by Olympic guards, who evacuated part of the building. The FBI investigated. "It caused a lot of unnecessary anxiety," ACOG spokeswoman Lyn May said.

ME AND THE PREZ: President Clinton called Kerri Strug after watching a videotape of her gutsy performance as he flew from California to Washington. His daughter, Chelsea, was at Tuesday's event.

"I told him that on (Aug. 7), all of us Olympians are invited to the White House, so I told him I wanted to see him and get a picture," Strug said.

QUIET, GUNS: Olympic shooters said they were forced to contend with cellular phones ringing in the crowd, aircraft noise and heat during competition.

"It's all highly illegal," Australia's Russell Mark said after winning the men's double trap event. "I've never seen anything like it at any venue in the world."

A SONG FROM OUR SPONSOR: Why did Roberta Flack sing Georgia on My Mind in the Opening Ceremonies instead of Ray Charles, known for that tune? Bloomberg News Service reported that Coca-Cola Co., the most prominent of all Olympic sponsors, did not want Charles, a spokesman for Pepsi, to perform in front of the world audience.

_ TIMES WIRES

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