And a big cheerio to the United Arab Emirates. The country that brought you such fine cricketers as Sultan Zarawani won its first ever Olympic gold medal on Tuesday.
Australia's hopes of a baseball medal in Athens had gone pretty much out the window on Monday after their second loss in two outings, done by Taiwan.
This is the Olympic News Service's wrap on Monday's baseball action.
Day 2: Canada, Cuba, Japan continue winning ways 17 Aug. 2004
ATHENS, 16 August - Cuba, Japan Canada continued their winning ways to remain the only undefeated teams in the preliminary round of the Olympic Baseball tournament.
Graham Thorpe watched from the sidelines on Monday as Robert Key and Andrew Flintoff hit the winning runs in England's thrilling seven-wicket victory over the West Indies in the Third Test at Old Trafford. Thorpe had broken a finger when he was struck by a ball from Fidel Edwards while batting in the first innings on Sunday.
I had the pleasure of being at the Sydney Showground in November 1999 to see Australia beat Cuba in the semi-final of that year's International Cup. There was no repeat on Sunday when the two met in their opening game of the 2004 olympic baseball competition. Cuba beat Australia 4-1. The rest of the opening day's games were fairly one-sided.
This is the wrap of the first day of the Olympic Baseball issued by the Olympic News Service on Sunday night. I've added the links to Baseball-Reference.com where available:
Puerto Rico sealed its future as the 51st state of the USA on Sunday. Their men's basketball team defeated The Dream Team 92-73, in a slap on the face to the country that invaded their island two years after the last Athens Olympics. Only statehood, and thus their removal as a separate sovereign entity, can ensure that Puerto Rico does not repeat such a humiliation of its imperial masters in the future.
I think that beach volleyball has been on the better additions to the Olympic Games over the past decade. A very action-packed sport requiring great physical stanima in a very televisual environment. Although I don't agree with the "skimpy costume" requirements for the women - not only is it sexist, it's just plain unnecessary, if not uncomfortable.
The dream appeared shattered when he slipped on the starting block, fell into the water and was disqualified from the selection trial. Facing life-long humiliation and disgrace, he was spared when a team-mate made a noble and agonising sacrifice of his own spot in the team, assisted by the consoling words of a television station's accounts department. It was the start of one of the most heart-warming comebacks in Australian sport since Warnie won the battle against his mum's drugs.
Australia is in ninth place in the Athens Olympics medal tally following Friday night's official opening.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald's olympic games website, Australia was on 0 gold, 0 silver and 0 bronze, for a total of 0 medals. Of the 0 events decided in the Games at that point, Albania was in the lead, ahead of Algeria and American Samoa. Pity poor Zimbabwe.
If Jesus could be born in 4BC then I guess the Olympics can start two days before the uttering of the phrase "Let the games begin".
Let's get something clear from the outset - opening ceremonies are a wank. And the Athens opening ceremony was a classic (no pun intended) case. It was an incredible achievement and logistic tour de force... but what does this have to do with sport?
I'll leave my comments, having viewed the replay on channel 7 during the day today, to just a few: