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U.S. soccer finds much to like in tie

The U.S. soccer team never backed off against a favored opponent, which bodes well for the Americans in the Olympic men's tournament.

A 2-2 game against the Czech Republic actually was accompanied by a tinge of disappointment for the U.S. under-23 squad.

"We showed we're a solid team and created a lot of opportunities for ourselves," said Josh Wolff, who set up a goal and scored another Wednesday. "I think we matched them from the get-go and got in as hard on them as they did on us. We could have won, so we're a little disappointed."

Still, the tie put the Americans in a solid position to advance out of the first round for the first time. They next play Cameroon, which beat Kuwait 3-2 but looked sloppy.

Italy beat Australia 1-0 and Nigeria and Honduras tied at 3.

Among the women, Germany beat Australia 3-0 and Brazil defeated Sweden 2-0. The U.S. women play Norway today.

The American men led twice, including 2-1 at halftime on goals by Chris Albright and Wolff. But the Czechs tied it on Lukas Dosek's penalty kick seven minutes into the second half.

The United States got more opportunities as the match pro-gressed, but goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny frustrated the young Americans.

Not that it got the U.S. players down.

"This shows the rest of our pool we are able to play going into the Cameroon match (Saturday)," Wolff said.

COACH ISSUED SUMMONS: An Uzbekistan coach stopped at the airport last week with 15 vials of suspected performance-enhancing drugs in his baggage was served a summons in the Olympic Village by Australian customs officers.

"Customs will be alleging that the substance is human growth hormone, which is a prohibited import," a statement on the customs service's Web site said.

The president of the Uzbek national Olympic committee said track and field coach Sergei Voynov, 45, brought the HGH into Australia for personal use as part of treatment for a skin disorder.

FOUR FAIL TESTS: Three athletes and a coach have been barred from the Games after positive drug tests. Taiwan, already hurt by two drug cases, ordered weightlifter Chen Po-pu and coach Tsai Wen-yee home, Taiwan officials said. Also barred were Bulgarian triple and long jumper Iva Prandzheva and Kazakstan swimmer Evguenia Yermakova.

BUS DRIVERS QUIT: Transport problems intensified when dozens of drivers quit the Olympic bus service, saying they were angry about working conditions and poor organization of timetables. The Australian Associated Press reported that up to 50 drivers failed to turn up to work, claiming the stress of providing the service was not worth the effort.

POLITICAL PROTESTS: The head of security has vowed not to let anti-capitalism protesters shut down Sydney. After watching violent confrontations disrupt an economic conference in Melbourne, New South Wales police commissioner Peter Ryan said police will come down hard on any group that marches on venues or tries to impede traffic.

OPENING CEREMONY: After 104 years, athletes and team officials will walk together when the U.S. team marches into the Olympics. Ending a tradition that started with the first modern Games in 1896, the U.S. Olympic Committee said it was doing away with the line of officials that usually comes between the American flag and the athletes in the Opening Ceremony march Friday. Muhammad Ali, who lighted the cauldron to open the Atlanta Olympics four years ago, will be at the ceremonies. "Right now, I haven't got any planned role _ I'm only there to be a spectator," the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion said...Cliff Meidl, who survived a 30,000-volt jolt of electricity in a construction accident and became one of America's top sprint kayakers, was picked to carry the U.S. flag. Boxer Victor Ramos, who hid in the hills from marauding militia after East Timor's independence vote from Indonesia, will carry the Olympic flag in front of his nation's refugee team.

DIVING: Arturo Miranda is 0-for-2 in trying to compete, but has another chance. A three-member panel of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport asked the International Olympic Committee to review a decision prohibiting the Cuba-born diver from representing Canada. The court of arbitration also asked the IOC to review a rule that says if an athlete changes citizenship, his home country can veto participation for his new one for three years.

TRACK: Germany's Charles Friedek, the triple jump world champion, said he will attempt to compete despite a partly torn knee ligament. Although Friedek isn't completely healed, he will fly into Sydney on Saturday and hopes to be ready for the Sept. 23 qualifications.

ELIGIBILITY DEBATES: A three-member panel of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport asked the International Olympic Committee to review a decision prohibiting Cuba-born Arturo Miranda from representing Canada. The court of arbitration also asked the IOC to review a rule that says if an athlete changes citizenship, his home country can veto participation for his new one for three years.

Meanwhile, three arbitrators ruled that Angel Perez was not eligible to race for the U.S. team. Perez, an Olympian for Cuba in 1992, defected to Miami in 1993 and became a U.S. citizen in 1999.

GYMNASTICS: The U.S. women's team got a scare when Jamie Dantzscher rolled her right ankle during training. Dantzscher continued practicing after getting her ankle taped and said the injury isn't serious.

SWIMMING: The governing body took a major step toward approving men for synchronized events, meaning American Bill May likely will be able to compete at the 2004 Olympics. FINA approved a U.S.-backed proposal to allow mixed pairs competition, beginning with the 2002 World Championships in Zurich, Switzerland.

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