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Countdown to Burlingame 

A guide to television coverage of the enhanced drama and athleticism of the 2004 Alternolympics

Wednesday, Aug 4 2004
In one week, the world's most enhanced athletes will converge on sunny Burlingame for the summer's real sports spectacular, the Alternolympics. Some of the biggest names in sports will be there -- names you might find, these days, at the top of a subpoena, or maybe the middle of a leader board: Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones, Kelli White. Not for them the pomp, bloat, suspicion, and urinalysis of the Athens Games. In Burlingame, these athletes have a chance to compete in areas in which they truly excel: running from the media, for instance, or smuggling designer drugs from Eastern Europe. Citius, Altius, Fortius, Falsius -- that's the Alternolympics motto. Make sure to catch all the action on espn7!, the only cable channel that offers wall-to-wall coverage of the Alternolympics: every triumph, every teardrop, every milliliter of Turinabol. You don't want to miss a minute -- and now, with this handy viewer's guide, you don't have to.

TV Highlights

Day 1: Saturday, Aug. 14

9 a.m. Opening Ceremony. The Games get under way with the ceremonial Filling of the Pee Cup. Afterward, the Parade of Nations begins in the BALCO parking lot, winds through the BALCO lobby, and ends in a BALCO bathroom stall. Special guest appearance: IRS agent Jeff Novitzky.

11 a.m. Event: Car Toss.

2:30 p.m. Event: Media Dash. Can Marion Jones continue her dominance and evade the press as craftily as she did last month in Sacramento, where she dodged reporters and sped off in a golf cart? Not if Bob Costas has his say.

5 p.m. Event: Retroactive Medal-Stripping. How far back in time can International Olympic Committee members travel to strip winners of their medals? 1996? 1972? 1896?

7 p.m. Alternolympics Golden Moments, sponsored by GNC. The heartwarming story of Victor Conte, president of BALCO, father of the Alternolympics. Some have compared him to Baron de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, but de Coubertin never played bass for Tower of Power. "D'abord," the Frenchman once said, "la culture physique" -- "First of all, physical culture." "Second of all," Conte adds, "Tetrahydrogestrinone."

Day 2: Sunday, Aug. 15

9 a.m. Morning Dose (with Bob Costas and Jim McKay). A recap of last night's results and a preview of the day's events. Also, an essay by McKay on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

10 a.m. Event: Marathon. Race begins.

10:27 a.m. Event: Marathon. Medal ceremony.

11 a.m. Event: Men's and Women's Buck-Passing. Sprinter Tim Montgomery wowed judges a month ago when he managed to blame the media for his seventh-place finish at the Olympic trials, but look for Jon Drummond to blame both the media and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Will someone up the ante with a Gestapo reference? Among the women, Gail Devers hopes to repeat last month's performance: "You want to know what's wrong with track?" she told reporters. "You're what's wrong with track."

1 p.m. Event: 2x$15 Million Lawsuit Relay. Watch track-star twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, both of whom face doping bans, litigate their way to gold.

2:30 p.m. Event: Clean & Jerk & Tie Off & Inject.

4 p.m. Alternolympics Golden Moments, sponsored by Retrax syringes. A behind-the-scenes look at the Chinese women's swimmers as they prepare for the Games, overcoming obstacles along the way: Breast-stroker Zhang Yi nicks herself while shaving off her beard; freestyler Wang Luna can't find an aerodynamic swimsuit to fit her testicles.

5 p.m. Event: Hand-Wringing. Which International Olympic Committee member can make the biggest show of anxiety while remaining otherwise inert?

Day 3: Monday, Aug. 16

9 a.m. Morning Dose. Recaps, previews, McKay on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

11 a.m. Event: Hectathlon.

1 p.m. Event: Defibrillating. Doctors from the Texas Heart Institute and Bethesda medical center face off in a contest to revive cyclists in full cardiac arrest (best of three).

2 p.m. Event: Bulgaria-to-Gold's-Gym Relay. Eight teams race from Svishtov, Bulgaria, to Los Angeles, each carrying the same cargo in the same nondescript Samsonite suitcase. The first leg should prove decisive: Can anyone get his 50 ampuls of clear, unidentified fluid past Dragomir in customs?

3 p.m. Event: Nonuple Jump.

4 p.m. Event: Equestrian. The Netherlands' Anke VanLeeuwen, 2003 dressage world champion, hopes to rebound from her disastrous performance at the Olympic trials, where her thoroughbred was seriously injured. During a routine triple-jump, the horse fell off VanLeeuwen's back.

5 p.m. Event: Greco-Roman-Brobdingnagian Wrestling.

Day 4: Tuesday, Aug. 17

9 a.m. Morning Dose. Recaps, previews, McKay on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

10 a.m. Event: Grand-Jury-Subpoena Steeplechase. World-class athletes hurdle court summonses and make their way through that tricky obstacle course known as perjury law.

11 a.m. Event: Men's Testifying. Tim Montgomery goes for yet another gold in perhaps his best event, though many fear he peaked with his November 2003 testimony before a federal grand jury, in which he apparently linked both Barry Bonds and himself to BALCO. The performance earned a perfect 10 from the judges thanks to the routine's high degree of difficulty and Montgomery's flawless dismount from the witness chair.

1 p.m. Event: Women's Testifying. Kelli White -- once a tearful denier of steroid use, now a banned sprinter and Anti-Doping Agency collaborator -- attempts her daring trademark move: the flip-flop.

3 p.m. Alternolympics Golden Moments, sponsored by Modafinil. As this look inside the Alternolympic Village reveals, there's much more to the Games than competition. There's also friendship and love, not to mention an eye-opening cultural exchange -- of ideas and customs and 3,500 milligrams of Stanozolol from Kiev. Beneath the needle marks, you'll learn, these athletes really are the same: They all have that drive, that passion, that heart, beating 800 times per minute.

Day 5: Wednesday, Aug. 18

9 a.m. Morning Dose. Recaps, previews, McKay on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

10 a.m. Event: Incriminating-Waste Disposal. When a world-class athlete needs to dispose of a Hefty bag full of empty syringes, he naturally turns to the person most qualified to handle such sensitive and dangerous material: his masseuse. Emma O'Reilly, formerly in the employ of Lance Armstrong, leads a stacked field.

11:30 a.m. Event: Boxing, Bantamweight (300 to 400 pounds).

1 p.m. Alternolympics Golden Moments, sponsored by EZ Vac Penis Pump. Paying tribute to the spiritual forefathers of the Alternolympics and the moments that have made the Games what they are today: the early Olympians eating mushroom extracts and plant seeds; Olympic marathoner Thomas Hicks mixing brandy and strychnine and then collapsing at the finish line in 1904; speed skaters falling ill from amphetamines at the 1952 Winter Olympics; Danish Olympic cyclist Knut Jensen crashing with a stomach full of amphetamines, fracturing his skull, and dying; Dr. Bjorn Ekblom inventing "blood packing" in 1972; East German coaches tricking their swimmers into taking steroids in 1976; sprinter Ben Johnson breasting the tape in 9.79 seconds at the Seoul Olympics; Irish swimmer Michelle Smith spiking her urine sample with alcohol; skier Alain Baxter losing his bronze slalom medal after using a Vicks inhaler. Citius, Altius, Fortius, Falsius, indeed.

2 p.m. Event: Weightlifting. Simulcast with Athens Olympics.

3 p.m. Closing Ceremony. Scheduled to begin on the 19th floor of San Francisco's Phillip Burton Federal Courthouse, the Hon. Judge Susan Illston presiding.

About The Author

Tommy Craggs


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