By MITCH ALBOM
SYDNEY, Australia - The Olympics ended Sunday. The final medals were decided. But here are my own winners and losers of the last few weeks. By the way, I am a purist. Only gold and tin.
Gold: To out-of-retirement swimmers Jenny Thomson and Dara Torres. They came. They saw. They delivered.
Tin: To French track diva Marie-Jose Perec. She came. She saw. She ran away.
New Olympic Event
Gold: Triathlon. Every time you watch it, you think "grueling."
Tin: Trampoline. Every time you watch it, you think "gym class."
Gold: Beach volleyball. No one's watching the ball.
Tin: Table tennis. No one can see the ball.
Gold: Marion Jones. Every company in America would have her.
Tin: C.J. Hunter. Even the doughnut shop doesn't want him.
Gold: Aussie boxer Bradley Hore, 18, who couldn't make weight because he'd grown two inches since qualifying.
Tin: The Kazakstan coach, nabbed with 15 vials of human growth hormone. He said it was for his baldness.
Gold: The Italian medalist who said before his drug test, "Cut me open. All you'll find is pasta and marinara sauce."
Tin: The Aussie walker who was disqualified 200 meters from winning her 20-kilometer race. When asked what she needed, she said, "A gun to shoot myself."
Gold: When Rulon Gardner, the unheralded Wyoming farm boy, beat the unbeatable "Siberian Bear," Alexandre Karelin, in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Tin: Finding out that they eat kangaroos down here - with barbecue sauce.
Gold: To taikwondo's Esther Kim, who sacrificed her spot so her best friend, Kay Poe, could go to these Olympics.
Tin: U.S. swimmer Amy Van Dyken. She spits in the lane of the opponent next to her. Yuck.
Gold: Aguida Agalar, the marathoner from war-torn East Timor. Finished third-from-last - and still kissed the ground.
Tin: U.S. men's basketball team. Will finish first - and still lose interest.
Olympic State of Denial
Gold: C.J. Hunter
Most Photogenic Aussie
Gold: Pole vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva. Think Heather Locklear.
Tin: Long jumper Jai Taurima. Think Weird Al Yankovic.
Olympic Water Story
Gold: Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea. He gave new meaning to the words "swim slow."
Tin: The sharks in Sydney Harbor. They gave new meaning to the words "swim fast."
Home Team Performance
Gold: Cathy Freeman, the 400 meters gold medalist, who helped unite her nation, black and white.
Tin: Whoever set the vault five centimeters too low. No wonder the gymnasts were black and blue.
Gold: To USA Track & Field, which hides its drug testing results better than Los Alamos hides its nuclear secrets.
Tin: NBC's delayed TV broadcast. I'll let you in on something: The Olympics actually ended last week. They just haven't been televised yet.
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