USA softball claims third straight gold

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2004

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - The U.S. softball team won its third straight gold medal with a nearly unblemished romp through the Olympics, capped by a 5-1 victory Monday over an Australian team, that, like the rest of softball's elite, never had a chance.

The Americans zeroed in on a gold medal, and were four outs from a tournament-long shutout before the Aussies scored a run - the first given up by the U.S. pitching staff in 54 2-3 innings.

Lisa Fernandez pitched a four-hitter and Crystl Bustos homered twice in the Americans' best all-around game of the tournament. The U.S. team pounded three home runs off Aussie ace Tanya Harding.

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Bustos homered twice off Harding, and the United States completed a three-game sweep of the silver medal-winning Aussies.

The United States outscored Australia 20-1 at the Olympics and finished the nine-game tournament by outscoring the field 51-1. The run total was just one of more than a dozen Olympic records that fell to the U.S. squad.


Men's Basketball

Spain 88, New Zealand 84

Lithuania 100, Australia 85

United States 89, Angola 53

China 67, Serbia-Montenegro 66

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - The United States routed overmatched Angola in its final game of the preliminary round.

Tim Duncan finished with a team-high 15 points in limited minutes, and the Americans dominated with a 52-17 edge in rebounding as NBA commissioner David Stern watched from a seat 10 rows behind the American bench.

The United States, which had already locked up a berth in the quarterfinals, awaited the results of Monday's late games to learn whether it will play Spain, Argentina or Italy in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Robertas Javtokas scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Ksistof Lavrinovic added 18 as Lithuania remained unbeaten through five games with a 100-85 victory over Australia.

Spain beat New Zealand, knocking the Kiwis out and keeping defending world champion Serbia-Montenegro in medal contention. Carlos Jimenez made two free throws for a four-point lead with 12.4 seconds remaining.

China then clinched the final quarterfinal berth in Group A by upsetting Serbia-Montenegro 67-66 behind 27 points from Yao Ming. Serbia-Montenegro, the two-time defending world champion, has no chance at a medal and will play Angola for 11th place.


Track and Field

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - The United States swept the medals in the men's 400 meters with Jeremy Wariner of Grand Prairie, Texas, leading the way in 44.00 seconds. Otis Harris of Columbia, S.C., was second in 44.16 while Derrick Brew, of Raleigh, N.C., took the bronze in 44.42.

Frangoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon won the gold with a triple jump of 50 feet, 2 1/2 inches (15.30 meters). Chrysopigi Devetzi of Greece won the silver medal. Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia got the bronze.

Kelly Holmes of Britain won the gold medal Monday in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.38. Hasna Benhassi of Morocco won the silver in 1:56.43, while Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia took the bronze with the identical time, 0.08 seconds ahead of Maria Mutola of Mozambique in fourth.

Athanasia Tsoumeleka of Greece won the gold medal in the 20-kilometer walk, holding off Olimpiada Ivanova of Russia in a personal best of 1:29.12. Jane Saville of Australia, disqualified after leading as she approached the stadium in Sydney four years ago, took bronze.

After the first day in the decathlon, Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan leads with 4,689 points, while Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic is second with 4,594. Bryan Clay of Azusa, Calif., is third, followed by Britain's Dean Macey and Tom Pappas of Knoxville, Tenn., the reigning world champion.

Allyson Felix led three American women into the next round of the 200 meters. Teammates Muna Lee and LaShaunte'a Moore also advanced.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Russia's Irina Korzhanenko was stripped of her shot put gold medal, the first athlete of the Athens Games to lose an Olympic title because of doping.

The 30-year-old Korzhanenko was the first woman to win a gold medal at the sacred site of Ancient Olympia but tested positive for the steroid stanozolol after Wednesday's competition. The backup B sample confirmed the initial finding.

The International Olympic Committee executive board expelled Korzhanenko from the games and ordered the Russian Olympic Committee to return the medal.

The gold goes to Cuba's Yumileidi Cumba Jay. Germany's Nadine Kleinert moves up to silver, and Russia's Svetlana Krivelyova to bronze.



SCHINIAS, Greece (AP) - Seven-time kayaking gold medalist Birgit Fischer of Germany - trying to become the first woman to win Olympic medals 24 years apart - had a strong start. Her four-person kayak never trailed in its 500-meter heat.

The American women's K-4 boat finished last in the same five-kayak heat but remains in contention. An Olympic format allows boats finishing outside the top three to enter a semifinal.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Three quick races, about 40 seconds of hard pedaling time, and it was all over for U.S track cyclist Jennie Reed, who was eliminated from the opening rounds of the sprint competition.

She finished second in the consolation race, placing her 10th in a 12-woman field.

Australia easily defeated Britain for the gold medal in the 4,000-meter team pursuit, adding the Olympic title to its three consecutive world championships in the event. Australia finished in 3:58.233 seconds. Britain finished in 4:01.760.

Spain beat defending gold medalist Germany for the bronze.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Alexandre Despatie led the Olympic 3-meter springboard preliminaries, keeping the powerful Chinese out of their customary top spot. Despatie, the first Canadian to win a world title on the 10-meter platform last year, was first with 517.59 points.

Peng Bo of China was second with 495.45. Russia's Alexander Dobroskok was third with 489.75; Japan's Ken Terauchi was fourth with 456.15.

The United States had mixed results in an event that Americans have won 15 out of 17 Olympics from 1920 to 1992.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, moved into contention for an individual dressage medal with an energetic, fault-free round on Brentina that scored 74.840 percent. She moved to fourth overall, with a two-day average of 74.067 percent.

The United States hasn't won a medal in individual dressage since 1932.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - American sailors John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree held onto their lead in the Tornado catamaran class and Paul Cayard jumped up three spots in the Star class on another bizarre afternoon on the Saronic Gulf.

A northerly Meltemi - the wind that whips through the hills around Athens - was predicted to bring at least 13 knots of breeze onto the gulf, but it never developed.

While the Tornados got in their two scheduled races, the Stars got in just one before the breeze died. The boats drifted under the brutally hot sun for about three hours before attempts to start the second race were abandoned.

--- Table Tennis

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Ryu Seung-min beat China's Wang Hao in six games, becoming the first South Korean to win the men's table tennis gold medal since the sport was added at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Ryu, ranked third in the world, won 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9, ending China's long run of men's singles titles. Wang Liqin of China won the bronze.


Men's Water Polo

Germany 6, Australia 6, tie

Croatia 5, Kazakhstan 4

Spain 12, Egypt 4

Hungary 7, Russia 6

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Hungary finished preliminaries unbeaten and secured an automatic semifinal place in Olympic water polo by edging Russia in a rematch of the Sydney 2000 decider.

Gergely Kiss scored twice within 35 seconds in the third period to set up a 6-3 lead.

Russia can finish either second or third in Group A, depending on the outcome of Monday's later match between Serbia-Montenegro and the United States.

Marc Torsten Politze and Heiko Nossek scored two goals apiece, and Germany rallied for a tie with Australia to secure a place in the quarterfinals from Group B.

Spain kept its chance of advancing alive, if Greece beats No. 2-ranked Italy in a later match. Salvador Gomez and Gabriel Hernandez scored three times each against Egypt.

Mile Smodlaka scored two goals, and Croatia held off a late comeback against Kazakhstan for its first win of the tournament.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Catalina Ponor of Romania won the gold medal on the balance beam with a score of 9.787. American Carly Patterson won the silver with 9.775. Alexandra Georgiana Eremia of Romania got the bronze with 9.70.

Gervasio Deferr of Spain won the men's vault title, giving Spain its second Olympic gold medal in men's gymnastics.

Deferr finished with 9.737 points. Evgeni Sapronenko of Latvia won the silver with 9.706 points, while former world champion Marian Dragulescu of Romania took the bronze with 9.612 points.

No Americans qualified for the vault final.



ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Sara McMann couldn't hold an early lead in her 138 1/2 pounds (63kg) gold medal match with world champion Kaori Icho of Japan and lost 3-2, meaning the United States exited the debut of Olympic women's wrestling without any golds.

The Americans, who had four world silver medalists last year, came away with only two medals: McMann's silver and Patricia Miranda's bronze at 105 1/2 pounds (48kg).

Irini Merleni of Ukraine beat Chiharu Icho of Japan to win the gold medal in the women's 105 1/2-pound (48 kg) class. Miranda took the bronze by beating France's Angelique Berthenet.

Saori Yoshida of Japan shut out Tonya Verbeek of Canada to win the gold in the 121-pound (55 kg) class. Anna Gomis of France took the bronze.

Lise Legrand of France won the bronze in the 138 1/2-pound (63 kg) class, defeating Stavroula Zygouri of Greece.

Wang Xu of China beat Gouzel Maniourova of Russia to win the gold the 158 1/2-pound (72 kg) class. Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan took the bronze.


Men's Field Hockey

New Zealand 4, South Africa 1

Spain 3, Egypt 0

Netherlands 2, Australia 1

Germany 2, South Korea 2, tie

Pakistan 8, Britain 2

India 2, Argentina 2, tie

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Teake Taekema scored twice for the Netherlands, which went undefeated in preliminary round play and will face Germany in the semifinals. Klaas Veering saved a penalty corner in the final moments to preserve the win. Australia placed second in Group B and will face Spain, which topped Group A.

Germany needed only a tie to advance to the next round, but trailed late in the second half until Bjoern Emmerling scored in the 66th minute to make it 2-2 against South Korea.

Spain advanced to the semifinals with a win over Egypt behind two goals by Eduardo Tubau. Hayden Shaw scored twice for New Zealand, which beat South Africa to clinch third place in Group B.

Pakistan routed Britain to finish with three wins. Pakistan will advance to 5th through 8th place classification rounds, while the best Britain can place is ninth. Matias Vila scored on a penalty corner in the final minute to lift Argentina into a tie with India.


Women's Team Handball

South Korea 30, France 23

China 28, Brazil 23

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - South Korea surprised world champion France (2-2). Kim O-Kyeung scored eight goals for the South Korean women (3-1). Isabelle Wendling scored eight for France which will finish third in Group B. It also lost to two-time Olympic champion Denmark. France and South Korea both advance to the quarterfinals.

In Group A, China defeated Brazil, putting both teams at 2-2 - enough to advance to the quarterfinals. Greece is last at 0-4 and was eliminated.

China's Zhai Chou, selected as the best player in the world last year, scored four goals in a row early in the second half and put China ahead for good.