NEW YORK (AP) _ Fewer people tuned in for the start of track and field competition than for the opening ceremony at the Sydney Olympics.

Friday night's taped telecast, which included Marion Jones winning a 100-meter quarterfinal, drew a 15.0 national rating with a 26 share for NBC.

That's up from Thursday's 14.9 rating and Wednesday's 14.6.

The previous Friday, when NBC aired just the opening ceremony, drew a 16.1 rating and 29 share, the highest numbers of the Sydney Games so far.

During the 1996 Atlanta Games, the opening ceremony wound up with the fourth-highest rating. No night rated lower than the opening ceremony during the 1992 Barcelona Games, and only one did during the 1988 Seoul Games.

The eight-day cumulative average for Sydney rose a 10th of a point, to 14.7. That is 35 percent lower than Atlanta's to-date average (22.7), and 16 percent lower than the 17.5 for Seoul _ the last time the Summer Games were this late in the year.

The cumulative rating improves to 15.9 when measured only from 8-11 p.m.

Friday's show peaked with a 16.8 rating from 10-11 p.m., when swimming and track and field were aired.

NBC Sports estimates that 153 million people have tuned in to the Sydney Games so far.

On cable, meanwhile, both CNBC and MSNBC drew a 0.7 rating Wednesday, the most recent day for which figures are available. CNBC's rating went up a 10th of a point for the second straight day, while MSNBC dropped a 10th of a point.

Each rating point represents a little more than 1 million TV homes for NBC, 760,000 for CNBC, and 650,000 for MSNBC. The share is the percentage of in-use TVs tuned to a given program.