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Goliath cries about David

BEIJING - Here's how the Olympic tally sheet for the U.S. read Thursday afternoon: 27 gold medals, 83 overall medals, 140,000 new enemies.

BEIJING - Here's how the Olympic tally sheet for the U.S. read Thursday afternoon: 27 gold medals, 83 overall medals, 140,000 new enemies.

The entire populace of the tiny Caribbean island of Netherlands Antilles apparently is angry with America. They think we're tattle-tales who cost them their one chance for a medal at these Summer Olympics.

"I didn't get any sleep," said Imro Van Wilgen, general secretary of the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee (NAOC), said during a news conference yesterday. "My phone rang all night."

The reason for that island ire and Van Wilgen's phone calls was the post-race disqualification of Churandy Martina Wednesday for stepping into an adjacent lane.

One of just three athletes from the Netherlands Antilles here (a swimmer and pistol-shooter are the others), Martina finished second behind Usain Bolt in the men's 200. He completed a victory lap and did a round of interviews before discovering the silver medal would not be his.

"Churandy Martina Wins The Americans On The Track, But Got Beat On Paper," read the headline on an NAOC news release issued yesterday.

While acknowledging that Martina likely committed the violation, the islanders felt that the DQ came too late and implied that it might have been the result of the U.S. throwing its weight around.

That's because the race judges who blew the whistle on Wallace Spearmon didn't notice Martina's misstep - until the Americans, protesting their runner's disqualification, pointed it out.

"As we were studying the video for Wallace, it was brought to our attention that there may have been a violation in lane 6," said U.S. coach Bubba Thornton, without saying who raised the issue first. "We saw the violation and appealed that result. We then went through the rules process. We wanted to make sure that the results of the race were fair."

The fact that two other Americans - Shawn Crawford and Walter Dix - were moved up into the two vacated medal positions added to the suspicion in the Netherlands Antilles.

"Will you call the White House and talk of this with Mr. Bush?" a Netherlands Antilles journalist asked Omayra Leefland, the nation's minister of sport who indicated that, no, she would not.

Leefland must have calmed dwon from the previous night when she charged that the Americans had violated the Olympic spirit.

"A small country like ours, we did not come here as victims," she said then. "I think it's a pity for a big country like the United States to make such a small statement."

What no one in the Netherlands Antilles could understand was why their runner's violation hadn't been spotted at the same time as Spearmon's.

"How is it possible that officials didn't know there had been a technical mistake?," asked Caroline Feith, Martina's manager. "The U.S. have the right to protest. But, why when officials disqualified Spearmon, did they not notice Churandy's violation?"

At one point during the news conference, Martina admitted stepping on the line, but later appeared to deny it.

"I have white spikes," he said. "They can't see [if he stepped on or over a white line]. I don't understand it. If I stood on the line then why did the jury not disqualify me at the same time as Spearmon? It was at least 90 minutes before they told me I was disqualified."