Erki Nool is looking to repeat his gold-medal performance in the decathlon, and to do so he spent a couple of months in Dallas earlier this year trying to improve his discus throw. Many feel that Nool, who is ranked fourth this year on the world decathlon list, should not have won the gold in Sydney.
At the time the judge disqualified his third disc throw, but after an appeal by Nool it was considered valid. "I'm an optimist and think constantly about how to bring a medal home from Athens," he recently told reporters after finishing fourth earlier this summer in Gotzis, Austria. "It's not impossible."
Estonian swimmers Danil Haustov and Aleksandr Baldin performed below par at the Olympics, failing to break their own personal records. Haustov took 36th in the men's 100-meter freestyle, at 51.02 seconds, though even his home record of 50.42 would not have allowed him to finish among the 16 semifinalists. Baldin, meanwhile, finished 49th in the men's 100-meter backstroke.
The Estonian government announced that it would give 600,000 kroons (38,300 euros) to any gold-medal athlete, 400,000 kroons to silver-medal winners and 200,000 kroons to those who bring home a bronze, Culture Minister Urmas Paet said. (In comparison, the reward to gold, silver and bronze winners at world championships is 300,000, 200,000 and 100,000 kroons.)
Lithuanian cyclist Diana Ziliute left the Olympic Games after coach Valerijus Konovalovas pulled her from the road race in favor of twin sisters Rasa and Jolanta Polikeviciute and Edita Pucinskaite. The Italian media speculated that Ziliute, one of the competition's favorites, was expelled from the team by Konovalovas because of a conflict with the Polikeviciute sisters. During Sunday's road care, Pucinskaite finished ninth, while the Polikeviciute twins -Rasa and Jolanta - ended the race in 29th and 31st positions, respectively. Ziliute left for Italy, where she lives.
Latvia's national soccer team began warming up for the World Cup 2006 this week with a friendly game against Wales in Riga, which will be followed by a match against Portugal on Sept. 4. "We'll try to win every game," coach Alexander Starkov said, "but at the same time we have to be realistic. In the last playoff round we were lucky - we jumped over our own heads. We'll have 10 matches in a year, and in most of them we will not be the favorites."