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WORTH CHECKING OUT

WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS: Even though Kerri Strug will be a spectator tonight, the individual all-around finals could be just as dramatic as the heroic vault by Strug that completed the United States' run to the team gold medal.

The top 36 women from the team competition qualify (no more than three per country), and all 36 will start from zero. The all-around will feature only optional exercises. Shannon Miller, the most decorated American gymnast in history, will go for her seventh medal. She placed second in the team all-around, behind Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine.

For the most part, Miller has been a picture of calm amid the 36,000 screaming fans in the Georgia Dome. The veteran will need another steady performance to beat out Podkopayeva for the gold. Despite an off performance in the team competition, China's Mo Huilan cannot be counted out.

American Dominique Dawes was sixth in the team all-around and has the dynamics to take home a medal. Filling in for Strug, who placed seventh, will be Dominique Moceanu. The 14-year-old Moceanu may have placed higher had she not missed both her vaults in the optional competition.

SWIMMING: While many in Tampa will turn their attention to Brooke Bennett's 800-meter freestyle pursuit, the rest of the nation will find interest in the women's 200-meter backstroke. Beth Botsford and Whitney Hedgepeth, who were first and second in the 100-meter backstroke, will try to duplicate that feat. They will be challenged by world record holder Kristina Egerszegi and Germany's Dagmar Hase.

Gary Hall will go for his third medal in the 50-meter freestyle, and the women's 200-meter backstroke, men's 200-meter individual medley and women's 800-meter freestyle relay also will be contested.

CYCLING: Italian cyclist Andrea Collinelli broke the world 4,000-meter pursuit record twice in three hours Wednesday. Today he hopes to power to the gold medal. Highlights will air during NBC's daytime broadcast (10 a.m.-1 p.m.).

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The U.S. team moves from tiny Morehouse College (capacity 4,869) to the cavernous Georgia Dome (35,500) for its game against Zaire. It will be one of the largest crowds to ever watch women's basketball in this country, and the team should get an emotional boost. Portions of the game will be aired during the late-night broadcast.

_ ERNEST HOOPER

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