Janet Evans carries the Olympic torch in June 2004.
Streeter Lecka  /  Getty Images file
Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Janet Evans carries the torch at Dodger Stadium in June.
By Tom Brokaw Correspondent
NBC News
updated 8/25/2004 4:07:21 PM ET 2004-08-25T20:07:21

At the opening ceremony and on the fields of play and medal ceremonies that follow, American Olympians are doing just what you'd expect: showing their colors, their national pride.

But with anti-Americanism at an all-time high, athletic behavior hasn't been left to chance by the U.S. Olympic Committee. It hired gold medallist Janet Evans as a kind of Miss Manners of the games.

I spoke to her about the job so far.

Tom Brokaw: Have you been telling the athletes that they are going to have to behave somewhat differently?

Janet Evans, former Olympian, USOC consultant: Carry the flag with pride and do what they feel comfortable doing, just remember that we're Americans and Olympians are held to a higher standard.

Brokaw: Don't be in your face, so to speak?

Evans: Yes, I think so.

Brokaw: What was the reaction of the athletes to all of this?

Evans: When we showed the athletes the negative -- the not-so-great images from Sydney, all of them reacted as: I can't believe this happened, and every athlete is so proud to come here and represent America.

Brokaw:  Apparently in some quarters back home, there's discussion about, grab that flag and wave it, and don't be ashamed of who you are, and so on. But it's a very fine line, isn't it?

Evans: There is nothing like swimming and looking up in the stands and just seeing American flags or having them play your national anthem and sing the words to the Star Spangled Banner. But then there are security issues. This is the world we're living in and if I were an athlete, I would be a little more safe. I'd probably wear less, you know, USA clothing -- not to say I wouldn't wear USA athletic clothing -- but I'd just be a little more subdued outside of the village and the Olympic venues.

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