THOSE who like their beach volleyball accompanied by an ocean backdrop and pounding surf may be disappointed by a location switch in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Organizers of the Centennial Games are moving this Olympic newcomer to man-made Atlanta Beach: The new venue is about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, but 250 miles inland from Tybee Island off Georgia's Atlantic coast.
The venue switch was prompted by numerous objections raised by the International Volleyball Federation, including concern that too little housing exists on the island to accommodate Olympic athletes for both beach volleyball and yachting. Closer proximity to the heart of the Games may also help attendance. The Atlanta Beach site will include a 3,000-seat stadium for preliminary matches and one that seats 8,000 for the finals.
Billy Payne, president of Atlanta's Olympic Organizing Committee, has said the Centennial Games will be ``America's Games,'' not just Atlanta's or even Georgia's. Washington, D.C., will host preliminary soccer games, as will cities in Florida and Alabama. And Tennessee is the site for whitewater paddling events. Zorn makes transition from pigskin to paddle
JIM ZORN is enjoying a second life in sports. His first was spent as a pro quarterback, mostly in Seattle, where he once set a franchise-record 20,122 passing yards with the National Football League's Seahawks.
Since retiring in 1987, Zorn has earned his living coaching football, presently as the offensive coordinator at Utah State, but he got his kicks paddling.
He has become an accomplished whitewater canoeist at the urging of Jim Trezise, a national-caliber competitor who recruited Zorn to be his doubles partner. Zorn's only previous paddling experience was for a Disneyland job, when he worked the Davy Crockett Canoes attraction.
Initially, he found staying upright in a canoe for more than 30 seconds a challenge. Now that he's mastered the basic techniques of whitewater paddling, he looks down a slalom course the way he once checked out the defense in football. ``It reminds me of setting up at the line of scrimmage and determining where to send the ball,'' he says.
Touching other bases
* Not that this is the issue in the current National Hockey League labor-management discussions, but the difference in the value of Canadian and American dollars can't help when it comes to salaries. According to Inside Sports, for years the exchange rate and heavier Canadian taxes have created problems for the league. (A Canadian dollar is worth about 75 US cents.)
* Even if Auburn University's football team, a 36-33 winner over top-ranked Florida on Saturday, turns in its second straight undefeated season, the Tigers will not see postseason action.
A two-year bowl ban is part of the penalty meted out by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for various rules violations by the Auburn football program.