I was there on the steps of the Oprah House that day. You must have been watching a different race to me Dolphy. Waldo got out of the water first, but with a dozen guys on his feat. Miles got out of the water about 20 seconds down in the 2nd pack. Waldo puit some huges bombs in on the bike but couldn't break apart the lead pack. Other than marking Waldo no one esle was doing any work and by the end of the second lap the 2nd pack had caught the first. Robbo got out of the water a full minute behind Waldo and drove the third pack by himself until it all came together on the last lap. By the middle of the bike leg 3 athletes were allowed to get away and they put abou a minute onto the peleton (essentially the whole field) by T2. None of the breakaways lasted more than 5 km in the run leg. The last (reigning WC Olivier Marceau?) stayed in front until the second time around farm cove when he was swallowed up by the lead runners. Waldo and Robbo's races were run by T2 - waldo cause he couldn't get away on the bike and robbo becuase of all the energy he had expended on the bike. Miles was the highest Aussie finisher - a close 6th place.
If only the Australian team had raced like this in 2000! Waldo went off the front, but Stewart and Robbo didn't go with him! Imagine if they had - HUGE chance that Robbo could have run faster that Whitfield (and the other two nobodies who came 2nd and 3rd)!
Shame Bill Davron didn't think about getting the team to work as a team! Lets hope they can get it right this time!!!!
Interestingly, the 'controversy' in the male selection process surrounded the discretionary selection of Stewart who missed both qualifying races. Ironically, he returned the selectors faith with a very competitive race.
Although Robbo was a dissappointment at the Olympics he had won the Sydney WC qualifier by a country mile and backed this up a fortnight later with a close 2nd at the World's in Perth. Although Robbo had another 'failure' in Athens it is hard to seriously argue that he was not a big race performer - he ended his career with three world titles, two 2nd places and a 6th place from six starts. He also snaged a bronze at the Commonwealth Games.
Waldo's slection was also somewhat controversial. He won his spot by coming 3rd at World's in Perth, but controversially Waldo's selection for World's was made by CAS and not the TA slection panel after he challenged his exclusion from the team on the basis that he was the highest 2nd placed Aussie finisher at the Sydney World Cup. Frankly, that was hardly a telling argument - he finished about 40th in Sydney after everybody else pulled out to save their legs for Perth. His successful CAS challenge saw the then World No.1 ranked triathlete Chris Hill miss his spot in Perth, dashing any hope he had for Olympic selection. IMHO, Waldo's selection for Sydney was a mistake. Although he had a reputation a an "Uber Biker", and the hilly parcours in Sydney was supposed to reward someone who had the courage and ability to go au bloc on the bike in all of the warm up WC Sydney races over the years Waldo never had a good result there. I suspect it was becuase the bike course was very narrow and technical and Waldo was never much of a technical rider (I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw him come off the bike when trying to go hard through the technical parts of a bike leg over the years). Interestingly Robbo's then 'coach' (Martin Vinnicombe) made some public statements to the same effect (he also said that Waldo was too heavy and miles was fat) in an interview appearing in the SMH. The interview was very stupid - all it acheived was to have Vinnicombe and Robbo's real coach of the time (Mark Newton) kicked out of the olympics. Robbo raced without any on the ground support and I suspect that this had a major detrimental effect on his performance on the day.
For all the 'controversy' surrounding the selection of the men's team I'm not sure any of it mattered. The fact remains that the 'alternative' selection options, Bennett and Macca, had poor selection races. Indeed TGE had seriously underperformed for more than 2 years since he won the WC title in late 1997 - his non selection seemed to serve as a spur for him to pull his finger out and go and race in America - his purple patch of form only started after he missed out on the team. Similiarly, Bennett's purple patch of form was really from 2002 onwards. IMO the guy that was unluckiest was Chris Hill. I suspect he would have gone well in the Perth World Championship race, and if selected for Sydney he may likley have had a very good race there as well...