By Dan Shanoff
Page 2

It's all so overwhelming! 10,000 athletes. 30-some sports. Countless more individual events. Griping media on the quadrennial boondoggle and the always-welcome opportunity to flick on the TV at some ungodly hour and be able to catch, say, women's handball.

Helping to sort through all the clutter is the very special, once-in-four-years "What's Hot, What's Not" List for the Summer Olympics. Use it to keep the names straight -- or simply to sound like you know what you're talking about at the water cooler.

WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT: 2004 SUMMER OLYMPICS
Category Hot Not Hot
Biggest of Big Names
Michael Phelps (Swimming)

Ian Thorpe (Swimming)
Worry (Besides The Obvious) Heat! Wrigley-like construction failure
Steroids You mean you're not? Sprinting's little secret
Bring back the nakedness!
Jennie Finch

Carlos Boozer
Full-body unis Swimming Track/Field
Heart-warmer Rulon Gardner (Wrestling) Athens prostitutes' on strike
Maurice Greene "Slo-Mo" "G.O.A.T."
LeBron
Benchwarmer?

King of Greece
Hot spot Olympic Village Hoops Cruise Ship
Wheaties fave Courtney Kupets (Gymnastics) USA Hoops (No gold, no box)
Athalon Decath Triath
Tennis Anything Williams Federer vs. Roddick
That's a sport? Trampoline Table-Tennis
Soccer stars U.S. women (last hurrah?) U.S. men (non-qualifiers)
Must-have accessory Roots parade retro shirt Anything cowboy hat
Swimming's new hottie
Natalie Coughlin

Amanda Beard (So '96)
Most intense to watch Weight Lifting Sailing
Made memorable in "Old School" Rhythmic Gymnastics Rings (Men's gymnastics)
"Next poker" Softball Beach Volleyball
Youngster
15-y.o. Katie Hoff (Swimming)

19-y.o. Carmelo Anthony (Hoops)
Rowing Sculling (Two oars) Sweeping (One oar)
Don't mess with... The judo guys Come on: Any Olympian could whup you.
Next Boxing Champ Jason Estrada (U.S.) Some reality chump
Best Nicknames "Hockeyroos" (Australian Women's Field Hockey) "Dream Team" (Please, can we just stop already?)
Behind Closed Doors Athlete hook-ups Who's doping?
Minutiae to watch for Re-designed gym vault Excessive celebrations
Sentimental track fave Gail Devers (5th Olympics) Disgraced Sydney 4x400 team
Marion Jones
Clouded by controversy

Anything like 2000
Must-see Anytime Phelps gets in the pool U.S. hoops in bronze-medal game
Fave to win most medals U.S. (but not in men's hoops) Russia (this ain't 1976)

And some general predictions for the many sports (not event-specific, just a general bandwagon check):

PAGE 2 MEDAL PICKS
Category What's that anthem? Close...but no
Archery South Korea Italy
Badminton China Denmark
Baseball
Cuba

Well, not the U.S.
Basketball Lithuania U.S.
Boxing Cuba Russia
Canoe/Kayak E. Europe Oz
Cycling
Germany

Where's Lance?
Diving China Uh, anyone?
Equestrian Great Britain Let 'em have one
Fencing France Russia
Field Hockey Australia Uh, U.S. Men? Not.
Gymnastics
U.S.

Russia (it's close)
Judo The Netherlands (?!) Badass Brazil
Pentathalon Hungary Great Britain
Rowing Canada Italy
Sailing Toss-Up Land-locked countries
Shooting Scary Euros There are 2 dozen events!
Soccer
Argentina men

U.S. women
Softball U.S. The other randoms
Swimming U.S. Australia (and they're ticked)
Sych. Swimming Russia "Synch or swim": Get it?
Table Tennis
China

No Gump to save the rest
Tae Kwon Do China Nice variety
Handball Germany France (is this a big rivalry?)
Tennis U.S. Random others
Track and Field U.S. (short) Not U.S. (long)
Triathalon More Oz factor U.S.
Volleyball
Brazil

U.S.
Water Polo Hungary More Hungary: Who knew?
Weight Lifting Turkey E. Europe types
Wrestling Russia/Cuba How 'bout those women?

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.




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THE HOT LIST