NOTEBOOK | From Athens



Tremor felt: An earthquake rattled Olympic venues today in and around Athens. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 4.5 and occurred at 3:38 p.m. local time. It was centered about 42 miles northeast of Athens, 12 miles beneath the Aegean Sea. "There is no reason to panic. It was a very small quake," said Giorgos Stavrakakis, a seismologist with the Geodynamic Institute. "It is a very active area and we often have quakes there." The head of the Greek Civil Defense Agency, Panagitiotis Fourlas, said there were no reports of injuries or damage from the quake, felt throughout the greater Athens area. Earthquakes are common in Greece, one of the most seismically active countries in Europe. In 1999, a 5.9-magnitude quake near Athens killed 143 people, injured about 2,000 and left thousands more homeless. Venues including the Olympic Village and the 9,000-seat Ano Liossia Olympic Hall for wrestling and judo were built near the fault line and designed to withstand a potentially massive quake. An earthquake also hit Nagano, Japan, during the 1998 Winter Games, jolting athletes and spectators but causing no major damage.
Katie Smith out: Katie Smith, expected to be a key player for the U.S. basketball team, will miss the rest of the Olympics because of torn cartilage in her right knee. Smith injured the knee Sunday night in the team's final preliminary game, a 100-62 victory over China. She had bruised that same knee in a WNBA game in late July, causing her to miss the first game in Athens. The tear showed up in an MRI late Monday. Dr. Sheldon Burns, the team's physician, confirmed the diagnosis Tuesday. "Katie Smith is out for the medal round," coach Van Chancellor said. "She will not play." The United States, seeking its third straight Olympic gold medal, will play Greece in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Chancellor said Diana Taurasi will pick up the minutes that Smith would have played. The former Connecticut standout and WNBA rookie is coming off a 19-point performance against China, her best game of the Olympics by far. "The way she practiced today, she's ready," Chancellor said. "She had a great game the other night. She's rolling right now." A four-time WNBA all-star with the Minnesota Lynx, Smith helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and at the 2002 world championships. She shot 60 percent from 3-point range in Sydney. Smith will remain in Athens through the rest of the Olympics, then is expected to have surgery when she returns to the United States. The WNBA will play the rest of its season in September and it's not known how long Smith might be out.
Associated Press
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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