IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has "confirmed" that China is "seriously considering bidding" for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, according to Mike Dodd of USA TODAY. Samaranch visited China last weekend and said that either Beijing, which lost a "close election" to Sydney for the 2000 Games, or Shanghai, would be the candidate. Dodd added that a Chinese entry "could change the complexion of the next two elections for the Summer Games" because a successful bid by front-runner Toronto would "cripple" the U.S.' chances for hosting the 2012 Games. The IOC is "unlikely" to award two successive Olympics to North American cities (Mike Dodd, USA TODAY, 9/17). GREEK PASTIME?: In other Olympic news, Dodd reports that organizers for the 2004 Athens Games have "a major education project ahead," as they need to "familiarize their country with baseball and softball." Athens Organizing Committee Managing Dir Costas Bakouris: "Nobody has a clue who Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa is." Bakouris is "counting on" Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, who is of Greek descent, to "help organizers introduce the game to the country." He says Angelos "is willing to bring the Orioles to Greece for a postseason tour in 1999 or 2000, though he didn't commit the entire major league squad" (USA TODAY, 9/17).