Postcard from Athens

Athens 2004

August 29, 2004|By CANDUS THOMSON

The most coveted trinket at these Olympics isn't a Jell-O pin or a Roots beter or even a Grecian urn.

Based on an informal survey of local volunteers and grim-faced security guards, the most popular item is a handmade version of that Saturday Night Live icon, Mr. Bill.

Two graphic artists working for NBC began making mini-Bills at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a stress reliever for colleagues. Do damage to the 3-inch-tall Play-Doh figure rather than co-workers was the reasoning.

The versatile Bill moved onto the Winter Games in 2002, and now he's here, 400 or so strong, wrapped in clear packing tape with a convenient lanyard hold in the top to wear with your security credential.

Volunteers point and laugh. Even men in uniform with nasty-looking guns smile. They've never seen the show, but they're beginning to like the character thye call Meester Beel.

Oooh, noooo.

What's ahead today

The last track event of the Games - with the medal awarded as part of the closing ceremony - is the men's marathon.

American Andre Ward fights for gold in the light heavyweight boxing final against Belarus' Magomed Aripgadjiev.

At the closing ceremony, the Olympic flag is passed to representatives of the 2008 host city, Beijing.

Today's TV schedule


10 a.m.-6 p.m.: track and field*, men's water polo, boxing, gymnastics, team handball

7 p.m.-11 p.m.: closing ceremony

11:35 p.m.-3:30 a.m.: prime-time replay


3 a.m.-noon: wrestling, men's volleyball*, water polo*, team handball*, taekwondo*


2 p.m.-6 p.m.: boxing

Tomorrow's early TV schedule


1:30 a.m.-3:30 a.m.: boxing


For breaking news and results from the Summer Games, go to

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