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Sport-by-sport capsules (A-H)
Where: Panathinaiko Stadium.
When: Aug. 12-21.
Top U.S. performers: Butch Johnson, Vic Wunderle, Janet Dykman.
U.S. chances: The U.S. men are well-seasoned at the elite level, winning team medals in three of the last four Olympics. U.S. women have won only one medal since 1976a team bronze at the '88 Summer Games.
Little-known fact: Competition will be in a narrow marble stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. The current arena is built on top of the ancient stadium, which dates from 329 B.C.
You'll remember: Korean men's and women's teams. They've combined to win 21 Olympic medals, eight more than the second-place U.S. The Koreans are disciplined, experienced and very deep.
Where: Goudi Olympic Complex.
When: Aug. 14-21.
Top U.S. performers: The doubles team of Howard Bach and Kevin Han, the only U.S. players to qualify.
U.S. chances: No U.S. Olympian has advanced beyond the second round since badminton joined the Games in 1992. That is unlikely to change.
Little-known fact: The world's top players can hit a shuttlecock, the best of which are made from the feathers of the left wing of a goose, more than 200 m.p.h.
You'll remember: China's Lin Dan, a flamboyant 20-year-old lefty who likes to rip off his shirt after matches and hurl it into the crowd. He is the world's top-ranked player.
Where: Olympic Baseball Center.
When: Aug. 15-25.
Top U.S. performers: The Greeks. Greece's team is stocked with Americans of Greek ancestry.
U.S. chances: None. It failed to qualify.
Little-known fact: Greek coach Dimitris Goussios threatened to quit in protest of the inclusion of only two players from Greece on his roster. Greece's baseball league is only five years old. The rest of the players are Americans and Canadians of Greek heritage.
You'll remember: Cuban pitcher Norge Luis Vera, who has been compared to countrymen Jose Contreras of the White Sox and Orlando Hernandez of the Yankees. Vera, a 6-foot-3-inch right-hander, throws a variety of pitches at different speeds and arm angles and had a 1.23 ERA in Sydney.
Where: Hellinko Indoor Arena and Olympic Indoor Hall.
When: Aug. 14-28.
Top U.S. performers: Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Richard Jefferson; Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson.
U.S. chances: Both teams are favored for gold, though neither will be as dominant as in years past.
Little-known fact: The U.S. women really do have a coach on the floor in guard Dawn Staley. She was Atlantic 10 coach of the year last season, leading Temple to a 21-10 mark, the conference title and the NCAA tournament.
You'll remember: Lisa Leslie and Lauren Jackson. Leslie, the veteran U.S. center, and her Australian nemesis engaged in a memorable game in the 2000 final. Jackson outplayed Leslie and yanked off her hair extensions, but the U.S. won.
Where: Olympic Beach Volleyball Center.
When: Aug. 14-25.
Top U.S. performers: Dain Blanton, Jeff Nygaard, Misty May, Kerri Walsh, Holly McPeak, Elaine Youngs.
U.S. chances: The women stand an excellent chance. May and Walsh are the top-ranked team in the world and are gold-medal favorites. McPeak and Youngs are ranked No. 4 in the world. Blanton and Nygaard are No. 7 in the world among men.
Little-known fact: This is the first year the sport will be played under rally-scoring rules, meaning the non-serving team can score and games are played to 21 instead of 12.
You'll remember: May and Walsh. They already have begun to make an impact in the mainstream with TV commercials, talk-show appearances and magazine covers.
Where: Peristeri Olympic Boxing Hall.
When: Aug. 14-29.
Top U.S. performers: Middleweight Andre Dirrell, light-heavyweight Andre Ward, super-heavyweight Jason Estrada.
U.S. chances: Once a power, the U.S. now lags far behind Cuba and Russia. In Sydney in 2000, the U.S. failed to win a gold for the first time in 52 years. This 2004 team is young and inexperienced and has qualifiers in only nine of 11 weight classes, but it does have realistic medal hopes in Dirrell, Ward and Estrada.
Little-known fact: Thailand has won only nine Olympic medals in history, and eight have come in boxing. Flyweight Somjit Jongjohor is expected to build on that tradition.
You'll remember: Dirrell. In the last three years he has jumped from boxing at 125 pounds to 165.
Where: Schinias Rowing and Canoeing Center.
When: Aug. 17-28.
Top U.S. performers: Rami Zur, Kathy Colin and Carrie Johnson.
U.S. chances: Zur has the best medal shot.
Where: Helliniko Olympic Canoe/Kayak Center.
When: Aug. 17-20.
Top U.S. performers: Joe Jacobi, Matt Taylor and Rebecca Giddens.
U.S. chances: Jacobi could duplicate his 1992 gold-medal performance, but with a new partner in Taylor. Giddens has a shot in kayak singles.
Little-known fact: Jamie McEwan, then 19, won the first U.S. whitewater Olympic medal with a bronze in 1972.
You'll remember: Jacobi, the only American to win gold, with former partner Scott Strausbaugh.
Where: Kotzia Square (road race); Vouliagmeni Olympic Center (time trial); Olympic Velodrome at Athens Olympic Sports Complex (track); Parnitha Olympic Mountain Bike Course (mountain bike).
When: Aug. 14-28.
Top U.S. performers: Marty Nothstein, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Dede Barry, Jennie Reed.
U.S. chances: Not much better than in 2000, when the U.S. won just three medals. Nothstein is the lone returning medalist.
Little-known fact: The American is called the Madison in the U.S., named after Madison Square Garden, where the race was contested at the start of the 20th Century.
You'll remember: Any Australian who medals and fails a drug test. Drugs are ripping at Aussie cycling the way it is at track and field in the U.S.
Where: Olympic Aquatic Center.
When: Aug. 14-28.
Top U.S. performers: Laura Wilkinson (10-meter platform), Sara Hildebrand (3-meter platform), Troy Dumais (3-meter springboard) and Mark Ruiz, Kyle Prandi (10-meter synchronized platform).
U.S. chances: Don't expect much. The U.S. won only one medal in Sydney, a stunning win by Wilkinson on the platform.
Little-known fact: Despite their recent struggles, the U.S. team has won 128 medals49 percent of the available totalsince this event became part of the Olympic program a century ago.
You'll remember: The tandem jumps in synchronized diving, when competitors try to execute their movements with perfect coordination in takeoff, speed of rotation, plunge and angle of entry.
Where: Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Center.
When: Aug. 15-27.
Top U.S. performers: Debbie McDonald, Darren Chiacchia, Beezie Madden.
U.S. chances: McDonald is favored to win a U.S. dressage medal for the first time since 1932, and the U.S. dressage team will be disappointed if it doesn't medal.
Little-known fact: Doping happens in equestrian toowith the horses. McDonald won her World Cup title last year after originally finishing second to Germany's Ulla Salzgeber until Salzgeber's horse was disqualified for testing positive for an illegal substance.
You'll remember: McDonald. She was a champion show-jumping rider until a horse fell on her nearly a decade ago, causing severe internal injuries.
Where: Fencing Hall.
When: Aug. 14-22.
Top U.S. performers: Sada Jacobson, 21, is the top-ranked women's saber fencer in the world. Keeth Smart was the first American to be top-ranked in any discipline when he rose to No. 1 in men's saber last year.
U.S. chances: Both the men's and women's teams look to be the nation's strongest ever, which has won only two medals, both bronze, since 1932. Jacobson will be a medal favorite in women's saber.
Little-known fact: The last U.S. fencer to win an Olympic medal was Peter Westbrook, who took the bronze in saber in 1984.
You'll remember: Valentina Vezzali. The 30-year-old Italian was born on Valentine's Day and just might be the best women's foil fencer ever. She owns four Olympic medals, including two golds.
Where: Olympic Hockey Center.
When: Aug. 14-27.
U.S. chances: U.S. teams did not qualify.
Outlook: The Australian women and the Netherlands men are looking for three-peats. Both teams won the 2003 championships.
Little-known fact: Field hockey is the oldest known ball-and-stick game and is believed to date from the earliest civilizations. The Arabs, Greeks, Persians and Romans each had their own versions of field hockey. Traces of a stick game played by the Aztec Indians of South America also have been unearthed among ancient ruins.
You'll remember: India and Pakistan. They'll renew an old rivalry as they try to re-establish themselves as true Olympic powers.
Where: Olympic Indoor Hall.
When: Aug. 14-24.
Top U.S. performers: Paul Hamm, Morgan Hamm, Brett McClure and Jason Gatson.
U.S. chances: China is the team to beat, but the U.S. should contend for a medal for the first time since 1984.
Team: China and Russia are familiar faces on the podium. That shouldn't change.
All-around: Last year Paul Hamm became the first American to win a world championship in this event. He could give the U.S. its first Olympic gold medal but must hold off China's Yang Wei.
Floor exercise: The Hamm twins are capable of winning medals.
High bar: Reigning world champ Takehiro Kashima of Japan is favored, but don't count out Hamm or 2000 Olympic gold medalist Alexei Nemov of Russia.
Parallel bars: Li Xiaopeng of China won gold in Sydney and at the 2003 worlds.
Pommel horse: China's Teng Haibin and Kashima shared gold at the worlds.
Still rings: Greece's Dimosthenis Tampakos, a silver medalist in 2000 and current world gold medalist with Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev, will have a heavy following.
Vault: China's Li is the current world champion.
Top U.S. performers: Courtney Kupets, Courtney McCool, Carly Patterson.
U.S. chances: Excellent. The women, reigning world champs, are favored for gold.
Team: It should be the United States, making the Americans the stars of television.
All-around: Russia's Svetlana Khorkina, 25, won last year's world championship, but teens Kupets, McCool and Patterson have been solid. McCool won this year's Athens test event. Kupets and Patterson are co-national champs.
Balance beam: 2003 world champion Fan Ye of China won gold at the test event. Patterson has one of the most difficult routines in the world but struggled at the trials.
Floor exercise: Brazil's Daiane Dos Santos became South America's first world-champion gymnast last year.
Uneven bars: 2003 world co-champions Hollie Vise and Chellsie Memmel didn't make the Olympic team, opening the door for 2000 champ Khorkina.
Vault: Oksana Chusovitina, 29, could become the oldest champion since 1968.
Little-known fact: The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta marked the first time in 100 years that each men's individual event was won by a different gymnast. It also was the first time each individual gold went to different countries.
You'll remember: Blaine Wilson of the U.S., who defied odds with his selection to his third and final Olympic team. Wilson tore his left biceps in late February but rallied for a spectacular comeback. On the U.S. women's side, Mohini Bhardwaj, 25, had training and doctors' bills piling up until actress Pamela Anderson began sponsoring her in the spring.
Where: Galatsi Olympic Hall.
When: Aug. 26-29.
Top U.S. performer: Mary Sanders.
U.S. chances: Sanders, who finished ninth in the Athens test event, is the country's only hope for a medal. She is the only U.S. competitor.
Group: Russia won gold in the 2000 Olympics and the 2003 world meet.
All-around: Russia's Alina Kabaeva, 2000 bronze medalist, will contend for gold with teammate Irina Tchachina and Ukraine's Anna Bessonova.
Little-known fact: Sanders, a citizen of the U.S. and Canada, was ninth in 2003 world championships, best finish ever by a U.S. rhythmic gymnast.
You'll remember: Bulgarian Simona Peycheva, 19, who is making a comeback after serving a 10-month suspension for allegedly using a banned diuretic. Kabaeva and Tchachina were given one-year bans in 2001 for the same reason.
Where: Olympic Indoor Hall.
When: Aug. 20-21.
Top U.S. performer: Jennifer Parilla is the only women's representative. The U.S. did not qualify on the men's side.
U.S. chances: Slim, though Parilla will try to improve on her ninth-place finish in the 2000 Games.
Women: Karen Cockburn of Canada won bronze in 2000 and last year took home the world title. 2000 Olympic champ Irina Karavayeva of Russia also returns.
Men: Defending gold medalist Alexander Moskalenko of Russia, bronze medalist Mathieu Turgeon of Canada and current world champ Henrik Stehlik of Germany will vie for gold.
Little-known fact: Though Europeans have dominated, the modern trampoline was invented by an American, George Nissen in 1936.
You'll remember: Moskalenko, a five-time world champion who owns a world scoring record.
Where: Faliro Sports Pavilion.
When: Aug. 14-29.
Top U.S. performers: Neither the U.S. men nor the U.S. women qualified. The German men are favored, with Croatia, France, Spain and Russia lurking.
Little-known fact: This is a seven-on-seven sport that requires passing and throwing, the ability to jump and withstand physical contact, and it is played on a field very much like an indoor soccer pitch.
You'll remember: Stefan Kretzschmar of Germany. He is a cross between Dennis Rodman and David Beckham. He sports seven body piercings and has reached double digits in tattoos, and his relationship with German swimmer Franziska van Almsick has them tabbed "the Golden Couple" in the German press.