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ATHLETES BUGGED BY GIANT MOTHS

Olympic Stadium has some unexpected -- and very annoying -- visitors: giant moths.

Thousands of bogong moths, migrating from dry areas of Queensland to the cool Snowy Mountains, have detoured to Sydney and been drawn to the lights at the 110,000-seat stadium.

"Moths will flock to such a light and at this time of year, you're just asking for it," entomologist Sharon Cory told The Australian newspaper.

The moths, with a wingspan about the size of that of a sparrow, have swarmed around the towering floodlights but also have swooped down to the track, getting into the faces of some athletes as they compete.

Scientists say the moths are harmless.

NBC's TV ratings for the Sydney Olympics did not get a big boost from the women's all-around gymnastics competition.

Thursday night's program, from 8 p.m. to midnight, scored a national rating of 14.9 with a 26 share, slightly higher than the previous night's 14. 6/2 5.

But it was much lower than the equivalent day drew in the past three Summer Games -- 44 percent lower than Atlanta in 1996, 33 percent lower than Barcelona in 1992, and 26 percent lower than Seoul in 1988.

Gymnastics is widely considered one of the biggest TV draws during an Olympics.

NBC's cumulative rating through seven nights of telecasts from the Summer Games remained at 14.6, well below what the network expected and promised advertisers.

Bitter memories of the Atlanta Games have spurred the world record-holder in the mile and the 1,500 meters to train "like a soldier" for the Sydney Olympics.

In the 1,500-meter final four years ago, Moroccan Hicham el Guerrouj clipped the heels of eventual gold medalist Noureddine Morceli and wound up in a heap on the track. He finished last.

"Atlanta was a big shock to me," he said through a translator Friday.

El Guerrouj, 26, said he's conditioned himself "like a soldier" leading up to his chance at redemption and is ready "to fight for the title and to have every young person remember my name."

The 1,500-meter final is next Friday.

The Norwegian Olympic Committee says tests support weightlifter Stian Grimseth's claim that he unwittingly ingested nandrolone in a food supplement he began using in August. He is still barred from the Sydney Games.

Grimseth has said he checked with Norwegian team doctors and read them the ingredients list, which show no banned substances, before trying the product.

A test of the product, called Ribose, at the doping laboratory in Cologne, Germany, showed it contained two substances -- nandrostenedion and norandrostenediol -- that break down into nandrolone in the human body but were not listed on the contents.

"This means that Stian is not a cheater," said Bjoerge Stensboel, a leading official of the Norwegian sports program Olympiatoppen.

John Dantzcsher, father of U.S. women's gymnast Jamie Dantzscher, underwent neurosurgery Friday for injuries suffered in an auto accident.

John and another daughter, 21-year-old Jennifer, were riding in a taxicab when it collided with a bus. Jennifer sustained minor injuries, but John Dantzscher needed surgery to relieve pressure on the brain.

While Jennifer was to be released from the hospital on Saturday, her father is expected to remain hospitalized for at least two weeks.

Jamie Dantzcher's gymnastics competition concluded on Sept. 19.

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