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Aug. 20, 2004

Everywhere you look in Athens, Greece you see one of two things – a sign that says `Athens 2004′ or a smiling volunteer. Both are here to `welcome home’ the Olympics and USC is working hard to make sure it can be `welcomed home’ with some medals of its own.

Today, USC saw two athletes, Otis Harris and Aleen Bailey, advance to the next round in track and field. Tomorrow morning (Sat., 9 am Athens time) starts off with a bang for the Gamecocks as Lashinda Demus (400m hurdles, USA), Adrian Durant (100m, Virgin Islands) and Tonique Williams (400m, Bahamas) all compete.

“Today started off really well for USC with both Aleen and Otis running well in their rounds. The key here is to advance. I would like to have seen Otis run a little faster at the end to win the race, but he will still get a good lane based on his qualifying time,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye – also an assistant coach with the USA women’s team. “Both have the ability to run faster as they move on. Lashinda is ready for tomorrow. She is a in a good mood and has been practicing well. Her parents are here now and that’s something she was excited about.”

USC alum Aleen Bailey won her heat in the 100m in the morning and then finished second in her heat of the second round with a time of 11.12. She will run in the semi-finals tomorrow.

USC senior Otis Harris was second in his first round heat of the 400m, clocking a 45.11. It was the second fastest time of the day. He will run the semi-finals tomorrow night.

“The race felt good. That’s the fastest time I have ever run in a first round so that’s a good start,” said Harris, a native of Edwards, Miss. “The plan was to execute and make it to the first round. Tonight I will go to sleep and wake up ready to run tomorrow. There isn’t much I can do between now and then.

Was he nervous: “I really had to calm myself down when I first came into the stadium. With the flame, the crowd — everything. It was a bit overwhelming at first. But then I prayed to calm down, told myself I know what to do and just to do it. It felt good tonight.”


Canada’s Brad Snyder, a USC graduate, was 11th in his flight of the shot put with a toss of 19.41. he did not advance to the finals and finished 20th overall.

USC graduate and Venezula captain Maxsy Jimenez saw his pupil, Maria Vento-Kabcahi of Venezula fall to the No. 1 seed, Justine Henin-Hardenne in women’s tennis singles, 6-2, 6-1.