Aug 06 Olympics Notebook

Aug. 06, 2008, 10:18 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING(AP) South and North Korea could be given until the last minute to negotiate a joint march into Friday's opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Athletes from the two Koreas have marched together in the same uniform under the blue and white ``unification flag'' at several major international sports events, including the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and have used the traditional song ``Arirang'' in place of individual anthems in a show of their reconciliation efforts.

But the prospect of a joint march at Beijing has dimmed, as reconciliation talks have been suspended since South Korea's conservative new president Lee Myung-bak assumed office in February with a harder-line stance on Pyongyang.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Olympic Games executive director, told a news conference Wednesday that the Koreas would be given as much time as needed for the negotiations.

``When it's for good - the deadline can be short,'' Felli said of the timeframe for which the Koreas would have to notify the IOC and Beijing organizers if the joint march was to go ahead. In the ``last minute, there could be a decision because it's for the good of the athletes.''

Officials from the South reported this week that they had done everything possible to facilitate another joint march but had nothing had been agreed.

The two Koreas had earlier discussed forming a unified team, but the negotiations fell apart due to differences on how to select athletes. The South has insisted they be selected based on performance, while the North demanded equal representation.

The two Koreas fought the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the sides still technically at war.

---=

WRESTLING WITH SUCCESS: Pint-sized Kyla Bremner, a 31-year-old resident doctor, is making her Olympic debut as a wrestler for Australia.

The 1.58-meter (5-foot-2) Bremner was born in Powell River, British Columbia, and has an Australian mother and Canadian father. She didn't take up the sport until she was 17 while attending a Canadian university, and moved to Australia two years later.

Bremner, who competes in the 48-kilogram division, will take up a medical residency at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney after the Olympics.

``Wrestling isn't for everyone,'' Bremner said Wednesday at an Australian team media conference. ``It's a six-minute match where it's all go, and good if you enjoy that contact stuff.''

She often attempts to hide her Olympic pursuit, particularly if she's in a pub.

``To be honest, I try to not tell people,'' Bremner said, smiling. ``You get the standard responses: 'I thought wrestlers were bigger, you don't look like a wrestler.' Or some of the guys say, 'Hey would you wrestle with me' ... a lot of jokes.''

After the media conference ended, she posed with Australian Olympic tennis player Lleyton Hewitt. Bremner did a fine job of putting the two-time Grand Slam champion into a reverse arm lock - all for the cameras.

---=

AWAITING TRANSPLANT: Olympic swimmer Dara Torres' cancer-stricken coach is waiting to learn whether his sister might be a match for a bone marrow transplant.

``Right now, they're trying to figure out why his body rejects transfusions,'' Torres said Wednesday. ``I think that's the next step they're to figure out. They're also trying to figure out if his sister is a bone marrow match. So, I'm just kind of taking it day by day.''

Michael Lohberg has aplastic anemia, in which the bone marrow doesn't produce enough new cells, leading to fatigue, increased risk of infection and uncontrolled bleeding. Treatment can involve blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant.

The 58-year-old Lohberg had hoped to be in Beijing to see his 41-year-old pupil compete in her record fifth Olympics, but was diagnosed with a rare, serious form of cancer just a few weeks after trials.

``He's doing a little bit better,'' Torres said. ``It's nice to be able to talk to him. About four days during his treatment, I couldn't speak to him. He had real bad side effects ... It feels good to be able to talk to him on the phone and hear his voice and hear him a little peppier than he was a few weeks ago.''

Lohberg also coaches seven other Olympians from five countries.

---=

LONELY RIDE FOR CANCELLARA: Swiss time-trial world champion Fabian Cancellara will have to ride the cycling road race on his own after his only teammate's Olympics came to a sudden end.

Michael Albasini fell during training in Beijing and suffered multiple fractures of his left collarbone, the Swiss Olympic team announced.

Albasini, 27, was to be flown back to Switzerland for an operation, the Olympic committee said. It said it would not name a replacement because there was not time for a rider to acclimatize before Saturday's race.

Cancellara is scheduled to compete in the road race on the first day of Olympic competition, but he is expected to be a bigger challenger in the individual time-trial on Wednesday.

Comments