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READERS COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

COMMENT: I think the TV coverage is quite fine. I don't want to know about athletes (from other countries). I want to know about the Americans and I'm tired of people bashing the coverage. We're supposed to be Americans, so let's cheer for our own team.

Mike Fintac, St. Petersburg

COMMENT: Merlene Ottey, who won the silver in the women's 100 meters, was neither shown after the race nor even in the coverage of the medal ceremonies. All you could see were the two Americans.

Pito Marchand, Palm Harbor

COMMENT: I was disappointed (that) Gail Devers and Gwen Torrence, the gold and bronze winners, were shown receiving their medals, but not Jamaican silver medalist and five-time Olympian Merlene Ottey. Small countries that are unable to afford their own coverage may only get NBC. Too bad. They may never see their athletes perform in Atlanta or receive their medals.

Janet Williams, Seminole

COMMENT: Very poor coverage of the equestrian events. We've been riding horses since the beginning of time. How long have we been playing beach volleyball?

Tyler Buell, Safety Harbor

Q: I read that they didn't need Kerri Strug's last vault to win the gold medal, that they already had it won. But I also keep hearing that she won it. Just wondering.

Jerry Baxter, St. Petersburg

A: When Strug lined up for her second vault, there were two Russian gymnasts who had not competed on the floor. Since there was no way to know how high the Russians would score, it was thought that Strug needed to score well on the second vault. As it turned out, the score from her first vault was enough to clinch the gold. But nobody knew that at the time.

Q: During the women's platform diving, Becky Ruehl was in third position and Mary Ellen Clark was in 12th position. Five minutes later, they had Clark in third place, and they said it was because of the preliminary scores. I don't understand it.

Larry Kendrick, St. Petersburg

A: It is confusing. You were watching the semifinal. Up to that point, Ruehl had dived very well, but Clark had missed two dives in the preliminary round, so her score was lower. Scores from the preliminary and semifinal are totaled to determine the top 12 finalists. Once the semifinal is over, however, only the semifinal scores count toward the final total _ scores from the preliminaries are dropped. Ruehl's semifinal was not as good as Clark's so Clark jumped to third place, and Ruehl fell to eighth.

Q: Divers always have a towel with them. They wipe themselves down and throw it down, and have it when they get out of the water. What is the purpose behind the towel?

Pat Trent, Clearwater

A: The towel is a synthetic chamoislike cloth that divers use to dry themselves between dives. It especially helps before a dive in the tuck position, as the divers' hands can slip off their legs mid-dive. For many divers it also serves as almost a security blanket.

_ Compiled by Sharon Ginn.

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