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September 12, 2000
Hoopsters escape Melbourne protest
The U.S. Olympic men's basketball squad made a pre-dawn exit from their hotel on Tuesday after being trapped by a violent protest against a World Economic Forum meeting in the same building.
The gold medal favourites missed practice and were restricted to a work-out in the hotel gym and watching game videotapes because around 1,500 demonstrators packed the streets outside. There were clashes with police, making it difficult for anyone to enter or leave.
To avoid more problems, both U.S. men's and women's basketball teams decided to head to Sydney earlier than planned, said USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller.
"We pushed it up a little just because of the problems getting in and out of here," Miller said.
"At this point so close to the Games, the main issue is just trying to keep a schedule."
The women's squad managed to reach their practice court on Monday after a 75-minute delay.
"I don't think it has really disrupted preparations. It's been more of a distraction for us," Miller said.
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