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Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Ask Audrey - previous questions answered
As BBC Sport's resident Olympic statistician Audrey will do her best to answer everything and anything you want to know.

Audrey has worked for BBC Sport for over 25 years, and has been involved in the BBC coverage of several Olympics.

Here are Audrey's answers to previous questions that have been sent in.

Brian Halliday from the USA asks:

In which Olympics and what event did Thelma Hopkins compete in, and what other sport did she represent her country?

Thelma Hopkins went to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics as a 16-year-old and finished fourth in the women's high jump. In 1954 she was Empire and European champion in the same event, and in 1956 she won the silver medal in the Melbourne Olympics with a clearance of 1.67 metres (5 feet, 5 and three-quarter inches). A fine all-round athlete, Thelma was also a British record-holder in the pentathlon and an outstanding hockey player, winning 40 caps for Ireland as a forward (although born in England, she subsequently lived in Northern Ireland). She also represented Ireland at squash.

Andrew Rankin from England asks:

Audrey, please could you tell me which country the 2004 Olympics are to be held in?

The 2004 Olympics have been awarded to Athens, Greece, which also staged the first Games of the modern era in 1896. Athens will thus become the fourth city to host the Games twice, following Paris, London and Los Angeles.

Lucy Leadbeater from the UK asks:

Has anyone beaten Al Oerter's and Steve Redgrave's record of 4 consecutive Olympic gold medals?

Fencer Aladar Gerevich of Hungary won SIX consecutive gold medals in the team sabre event from 1932 to 1960 (when he was 50 years old). He won a seventh gold in the individual event in 1948. Incidentally, Danish yachtsman Paul Elvstrom (Finn 1948-60) and American sprinter Carl Lewis (Long Jump 1984-1996) also won four consecutive Olympic gold medals.

Siobhan from the UK asks:

How much are British companies spending on competitor sponsorship and company sponsorship at the Sydney Olympic Games?

Companies tend to be coy about their sponsorship commitments, but probably about 10 million. The sponsorship takes various forms. Firstly, the British Olympic Association has various team sponsors, including British Airways (flights to Australia), Marks and Spencer (team uniforms) and Tetley's (suppliers of tea!). Some of the sports have team sponsors - the rowing team, for example, are backed by Lombard. Finally, many of the individual athletes have their own sponsors - often local firms keen to support home-grown competitors.

Peter G Baxter from England asks:

How many participants will compete in the 2000 Olympics?

It's impossible to be precise, but a record 10,310 athletes competed in Atlanta and that total is sure to be exceeded in Sydney.

Matt from England asks:

Who was the first man to break the 10 second barrier for the 100m?

American Jim Hines, the 1968 Olympic champion. Hines recorded the first accredited 9.9 seconds (hand-timed) at the AAU Championships in Sacramento on 20th June 1968, having run a wind-assisted 9.8 seconds during the heats. In the Olympic final in Mexico City, Hines was electronically timed at 9.95 seconds to win the gold medal and claim the world record.

George Whitcombe from England asks:

In the very 1st olympics in Athens who won the 1st gold medal?

It was American James Connolly, who won the Triple Jump (then known as the hop, step and jump), on 6th April 1896.

Astrid Manuel asks:

The true-to-life lead character in "Seven Years in Tibet" is Austrian Olympic medallist Heinrich Harrer. When did he participate in the Olympics and what was his event?

The film "Seven Years in Tibet" is about the experiences of an Austrian mountaineer and adventurer who befriends the Dalai Lama in Tibet. It is based on a book written by Heinrich Harrer, who is played by Brad Pitt in the film. Alas, Harrer never even competed at the Olympics, far less won a medal. Another case of Hollywood not letting the facts get in the way of a good story!

Stefano Blin asks:

When was the last time GB had a clean sweep of medals in an Olympic event?

Not since 1908, when Britain had a clean sweep in various events in the archery, boxing, polo, rackets, shooting, tennis, tug of war, walking and wrestling programmes. Perhaps it should be pointed out that the Games were staged in London, and in some events all the competitors were British! Unsurprisingly, Britain finished top of the medals table for the first and only time in with 56 gold medals, 51 silvers and 39 bronzes.

Linda Nelson asks:

Help! I'd like to share the 2000 Olympic experience with my first grade class... how can I find school related information so my children can share in the joy of the Olympics?

I'm no teacher, and I'm not aware of any Olympic information specifically designed for schools. But I should have thought the Olympics offered all manner of potential learning experiences: the geographical spread of the competitors (197 countries were represented in Atlanta), the history of the Olympic movement and its origins in Ancient Greece, the mathematics of some of the scoring, paintings of the competitors and so on. Perhaps the children could organise their own pentathlon competition? I'm sure the possibilities are endless.

Glenda Richards asks:

Has netball ever been a featured sport at the Olympics?

Netball has never been included in the Olympics, and there are no plans to add it in the foreseeable future, though it is now a Commonwealth Games sport. Other team sports that have featured briefly in the Olympics but are now long gone include cricket, lacrosse, rugby union and 'Tug of War'.

Grant McCahon from the UK asks:

The time difference is going to be very significant during these games. What time (UK time) will the opening ceremony be screened and at what time does the main action start each day?

Sydney is ten hours ahead of UK time. The Olympic day in Sydney will run from about 2200 to 1300 UK time, with heats and qualifying during the night and most of the major swimming and athletics finals in the morning. The Opening Ceremony starts at 0900 on Friday, 15 September and will be covered in full on BBC1 and Radio 5 Live.

Clarke Rice from Northern Ireland asks:

Why is it a GB team and not a UK team?

For historical reasons - Great Britain has been represented at every Games since 1896, when the term "United Kingdom" had not been introduced. The British team included athletes from the whole of Ireland until 1924, when the Republic began entering a separate team. Since then, British teams have included many competitors from Northern Ireland, most notably the 1972 pentathlon gold medallist Mary Peters.

Pete Roberts from South Africa asks:

When did drug testing rear its ugly head at the Olympics?

The use of performance-enhancing drugs by competitors is nothing new at the Olympics. For example, many of the early distance runners used strychnine - indeed the 1904 marathon winner, Thomas Hicks of the United States, actually took the stimulant during the race. Drug testing for all sports was introduced in Mexico in 1968 and has since become a highly-sophisticated operation, with many sports now conducting random, out of competition tests as well as testing at all major events. The most notorious drugs scandal at the Games was in Seoul in 1988, when the 100m winner, Ben Johnson of Canada, was disqualified for taking the anabolic steroid stanozolol.

Richie Endacott from Britain asks:

Are there any 'new' sports making their full Olympic debuts this year?

Triathlon, Taekwondo and Synchronised Diving - all for both men and women - are taking their bow this year. In addition, women are competing for the first time in the Modern Pentathlon, Weightlifting and Water Polo.

Josephine Berry from Britain asks:

What happens to the Olympic flame after each Olympics, and does it ever go out?

The Olympic flame burns for the duration of each Olympics and is extinguished during the closing ceremony. The Flame is rekindled at Olympia for each Games.

Ken Turner from Edinburgh asks:

How many countries have taken part in every Summer Games since 1896?

Only five - Australia, France, Great Britain, Greece and Switzerland.

Andrea Degidi from Italy asks:

Who are the favourites for the hockey medals?

Men's Olympic hockey was dominated by the Indian subcontinent from 1928 to 1984, but since then European teams have been in the ascendancy. The favourites this time include Holland, the defending champions, Germany and Australia. Australia are the defending champions in the women's event and should again do well on home ground.

Angela Leigh from England asks:

We send three competitors to each field event. Do other countries have a limit of three or does it depend on the size of your country and do all countries have the same qualifying times?

Every country is entitled to enter one competitor per athletics event provided the athlete has achieved the "B" standard laid down by the IAAF. In order to send the maximum of three competitors, all three athletes must have achieved the "A" standard.

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