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  • Olympic Daily News


    Sports Network
    Aug 15, 2008


    Michael Phelps easily won his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Olympics
    by beating Hungary's Laszlo Cseh and U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte in
    the 200-meter individual medley on Friday morning.

    Then, he got back in the pool and qualified for a chance at No. 7.

    Phelps pulled within two wins of breaking Mark Spitz's 36-year-old
    record for gold medals in one Olympics -- a feat he will try to
    accomplish this weekend -- with another world record swim.

    Already the winningest Olympian ever, Phelps secured his record 12th
    career gold medal by lowering his world record mark in the 200 IM by
    .57 seconds, touching with a time of 1 minute, 54.23 seconds.

    Phelps, who went on to qualify for the 100-meter butterfly final
    about a half- hour later, now has six world records in his six gold
    medal swims at the National Aquatics Center.

    His U.S. teammates had a big day, too.

    Lochte beat fellow American Aaron Peirsol to win the 200-meter
    backstroke event just 15 minutes before swimming against Phelps,
    while Rebecca Soni picked up a third American gold in four Friday
    finals by winning the women's 200-meter breaststroke.

    Natalie Coughlin also took bronze in the 100-meter freestyle, bringing
    the medal haul for U.S. swimmers to six for the day and 26 for these

    Cseh took silver behind Phelps for the third time in Beijing, but was
    never a threat to catch him after the American made the 50-meter turn
    more than a half-second under the world record pace.

    Phelps was .67 seconds under the pace at 150 meters after what is
    supposed to be his weakest stroke, the breaststroke. And then it was
    just him versus his own world record.

    "I just wanted to step on it in the first 50 (meters) a little bit
    and try and get out to an early lead," said Phelps, whose strategy
    was to build a cushion between himself and Lochte.

    "I knew that was a hard double for Ryan. I knew in the first half if
    I got a big enough lead I thought I could hang on, and that's all I
    wanted to do."

    Cseh, after also taking second place in the 200 fly and 400 IM,
    finished more than two seconds back at 1:56.52 for a new European

    Lochte claimed his fourth medal in Beijing at 1:56.53, then was asked
    if he wished Phelps wasn't competing in his events.

    "If he wasn't in this sport and swimming I don't think I'd be as
    good," said Lochte. "He is up there and he makes me become better
    and stronger in training. Without him I wouldn't be standing here
    today. I think I push him as well."

    Phelps has now equaled his gold take from the 2004 Athens Olympics,
    when he finished two away from breaking Spitz's record from the 1972
    Munich Games. Those six wins included the 200 IM.

    Now the "Baltimore Bullet" has just one individual race remaining
    in Beijing: the 100 fly on Saturday against world record holder and
    teammate Ian Crocker, who specializes in the event.

    Phelps -- who will also be a part of the favored U.S. team in the
    400-meter medley relay on Sunday -- beat Crocker for the 100 fly gold
    at the 2004 Athens Olympics and also beat him at the U.S. Olympic

    He shook off the notion that winning his sixth gold medal was a relief,
    citing how hard that final will be on Saturday.

    "For me to be a player in that race, I have to be closer at the 50,"
    said Phelps. "If I'm not, then it will be tough. I was over a body
    length behind at the 50 in the prelims and came up a bit short,
    so I have to be there."

    He qualified with the second-fastest time in the 100 fly behind Milorad
    Cavic of Serbia, turning in on after sitting sixth following the
    initial 50 meters. Crocker tied for third-fastest among the qualifiers.

    In a particularly bizarre example of how busy his schedule is here,
    Phelps went from winning the 200 IM to standing on the podium for the
    medal ceremony to taking pictures with the other medallists to swimming
    in the first heat of the 100 fly in little more than 30 minutes.

    "A hard morning," said Phelps.

    He wasn't the only busy American swimmer Friday morning -- Lochte
    joined him in swimming twice, with both of his races being finals.

    Lochte set a world record while beating Peirsol in the 200 back just
    15 minutes before swimming in the second final. His time lowered
    the record he shared with Peirsol by .38 seconds to 1:53.94, earning
    Lochte his second gold medal in Beijing.

    Peirsol was the defending Olympic champion in the 100 and 200 back. But
    after winning gold in the 100 already, he couldn't fend off his
    burgeoning teammate in the longer distance. He took the silver medal
    .39 seconds behind Lochte at 1:54.33 -- just .01 off their previous
    world record.

    "That's the theme of the meet. You've got to break a world record to
    win," said Peirsol. "I gave it my all, but I had nothing left. Ryan
    handed me a great race and I have no regrets."

    Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin was first after each of the initial three
    laps, but was caught and passed by Lochte and Peirsol in the final
    50 meters. He claimed bronze at 1:54.93.

    Soni smashed the world record in the women's 200 breaststroke for
    her first Olympic gold medal.

    Already a silver medalist in the 100-meter distance, she lowered the
    old mark by .32 seconds with a time of 2:20.22. Soni ran second until
    catching and passing Australia's Leisel Jones at the 150-meter mark.

    "It just flowed," Soni said.

    Jones, the former world record holder, finished nearly two seconds
    back at 2:22.05. She also took silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics
    behind American Amanda Beard.

    Norway's Sara Nordenstam claimed the bronze at 2:23.02.

    Germany's Britta Steffen beat world record holder Lisbeth Trickett
    to win the women's 100 free, while Coughlin claimed bronze for her
    fifth medal of the Beijing Olympics.

    Steffen lowered her own Olympic record by .26 seconds to 53.12 seconds,
    winning by a fingernail over Trickett, who led at the 50-meter mark.

    Trickett, a gold medal winner in the 100 fly, finished just .04
    seconds behind at 53.16 seconds.

    Coughlin touched at 53.39 for the bronze and an American record. She
    won gold in the 100 backstroke, silver as part of the U.S. 400-meter
    freestyle relay team and bronze medals in the 200-meter individual
    medley and 800-meter freestyle relay.

    In other semifinal heats Friday morning, Cesar Cielo Filho set an
    Olympic record in the 50-meter freestyle with a sprint of 21.34
    seconds. France's Alain Bernard, the 100 free gold medalist, joined
    world record holder Eamon Sullivan of Australia and American Ben
    Wildman-Tobriner among the other qualifiers.

    Also, U.S. teammates Elizabeth Beisel and Margaret Hoelzer qualified
    for the final of the 200 back. Hoelzer set the world record at the
    U.S. Swimming trials.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - U.S. swimmer Dara Torres, who
    qualified for her fifth Olympics at the age of 41, posted the
    third-fastest time in preliminaries for the 50-meter freestyle on
    Friday night.

    Torres, who won the first of four career gold medals at the 1984 Los
    Angeles Olympics, touched in 24.58 seconds to qualify among the 16
    semifinalists at the National Aquatics Center.

    She was out-dueled in her own heat by 16-year-old Cate Campbell of
    Australia, who finished as the top qualifier overall at 24.20 seconds
    -- just .07 seconds off the Olympic record.

    Campbell was born on May 20, 1992, two months before Torres competed
    in her third Olympics.

    "She's an incredible woman, amazing," said Campbell. "I can tell you
    I don't want to be competing when I'm 40."

    Torres, who has already won a silver medal in Beijing as a member
    of the U.S. 400-meter freestyle relay team, was the oldest American
    swimmer to ever qualify for the Olympics when she made it through
    U.S. trials last month.

    She became the oldest U.S. swimming gold medalist in history when
    she won two relay golds at the 2000 Sydney Games as a 33-year-old,
    and she is the only swimmer to ever compete in five Olympics.

    Which is why, after retiring before the 1996 and 2004 Olympics and
    coming back to swim faster in her 40s than she did in her 30s, Torres
    became the focus of scrutiny.

    She was one of a dozen U.S. athletes to volunteer for a stricter drug
    testing program that requires extra blood and urine samples. Still,
    Torres has been asked questions about doping since she's been in

    "I've answered this question at least a thousand times," she said at
    a press conference last week, "and I think it's getting a little old."

    Sick in the morning but feeling better by race time, Torres said it
    was "fun" having a 16-year-old swimming in the lane next to her. She
    didn't seem phased by all the attention given her age.

    "That was one of the easiest 50s I've ever done," she said.

    Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands qualified second-fastest behind
    Campbell, touching the wall .18 seconds off her pace at 24.38
    seconds. World record holder Lisbeth Trickett of Australia qualified
    fourth at 24.67 seconds.

    American Kara Lynn Joyce also qualified for the semifinals, sneaking
    in with the 14th-fastest time of 25.01 seconds. She was .14 seconds
    away from not qualifying.

    On a night when Michael Phelps got some much-deserved down time after
    claiming his sixth gold medal in the morning -- resting up for his
    showdown against Ian Crocker in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday
    morning -- Crocker was among the U.S. teammates who qualified him
    for his eighth race.

    Crocker, Matt Grevers, Mark Gangloff and Garrett Weber-Gale -- a
    so-called "B" team -- qualified with the fastest time in the 400-meter
    relay, which Phelps will swim on Sunday for his final race here.

    The American foursome completed the eight laps in 3 minutes, 32.75

    Australia finished just .01 seconds behind to set an Oceanian record
    and qualify in the second spot, while Japan and Russia set Asian and
    European records in the third and fourth spots.

    In the women's 400-meter relay preliminaries, the Australians finished
    1.2 seconds ahead of Great Britain to qualify first. The U.S. team
    of Margaret Hoelzer, Megan Jendrick, Elaine Breeden and Kara Lynn
    Joyce qualified third.

    The men's 1,500-meter freestyle preliminaries also were held Friday
    night and world record holder Grant Hackett qualified first in the
    grueling race with a time of 14 minutes, 38.92 seconds.

    American Larsen Jensen grabbed the eighth and final spot in the finals,
    while teammate Peter Vanderkaay missed out.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Nastia Liukin has won the gold medal
    in the women's all-around gymnastics competition at the Olympics,
    while U.S. teammate Shawn Johnson rose above China's Yang Yilin to
    capture the silver.

    Liukin, who comes from a family of medal-winning gymnasts, finished
    with a score of 63.325 to win the gold. Johnson, who won the 2007
    World Championships, ended at 62.725.

    Yang took the bronze with a total of 62.65.

    The floor exercise was the final rotation for the three. Yilin scored a
    15.0, and Liukin was next with a near-perfect effort at 15.525. Johnson
    went last, attaining the same mark, which was tied for first on floor
    among all competitors.

    The 1-2 finish comes on the heels of the USA winning silver in the
    team competition on Wednesday, coming behind China. It also came
    between two close friends on the gymnastics circuit. Johnson beat
    Liukin in the U.S. championships and Olympic trials earlier this year.

    "We both supported each other 100 percent, and we just wanted to go
    out there and give it our all and have fun because this is the Games,"
    said Liukin of her friendship with Johnson. "There is nothing bigger
    or greater than this."

    In addition to sharing the highest score on floor, the two Americans
    posted the highest value in two other events. Liukin's 16.125 on the
    balance beam was tops on that apparatus, while Johnson's 15.875 on
    vault was the best in that event.

    Liukin's father, Valeri, won four gymnastics medals for the Soviets at
    the 1988 Olympics, including two gold, and her mother, Anna Kotchneva,
    was a 1987 rhythmic gymnastics world champion. Valeri's take included
    a silver in the all-around at the Seoul Games.

    "I'm still chasing him for that medal count, but I have three more
    finals to beat him," Nastia said. "A few months ago I made a board
    of pictures and other things that inspired me. My mom hung one of his
    medals on the board, and it gave me the extra motivation and it made
    a difference being empowered to see it every day for those few months."

    The Chinese had gone 3-for-3 in gold medals at these Games until
    Thursday. They won the men's team and Yang Wei captured the men's
    all-around gold on Thursday. But a day later, Liukin broke that streak
    and when the competition ended she hugged her father knowing that
    the family Olympic championship history in gymnastics would continue.

    "I couldn't have been here without my parents," said Liukin. "Both
    of my parents have been a big influence on my life. My dad is in the
    gym with me every day. He's the reason I am an Olympic champion. My
    mom is on my side, providing emotional support. It's an equal effort."

    This was only the third time a nation has had a 1-2 finish in the
    event. Others were in 1960 (Larissa Latynina gold, Sofia Muratova
    silver for the Soviet Union) and 2000 (Simona Amanar gold, Maria
    Olaru silver for Romania). It's also the first time the U.S. has had
    two women's gymnasts on the individual all-around medal podium and
    the first time the Americans have won consecutive golds in the event
    after Carly Patterson captured the top spot four years ago.

    It's the third individual all-round gold medal won by the United
    States in women's gymnastics. Mary Lou Retton won in 1984.

    Incredibly, Liukin was in 10th place after the first apparatus, scoring
    a 15.075 on vault. She moved into the lead after the third rotation.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - American Christian Cantwell won
    silver in the men's shot put and Shalane Flanagan picked up bronze
    in the women's 10,000 meters for the United States as track and field
    events began Friday at the Beijing Olympics.

    American sprinter Tyson Gay also qualified for Saturday's semifinals
    of the 100 meters after running races in both the day and evening
    sessions. The finals of the 100 will also take place on Saturday.

    Flanagan, the American record-holder at the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000
    distances, finished third in the final event of the night, coming
    in behind winner Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Turkey's Elvan

    Dibaba set an Olympic record with a time of 29 minutes, 54.66 seconds
    and Abeylegesse was next, finishing just 1.68 seconds behind. Flanagan
    lowered her American record with a time of 30:22.22, smashing her
    previous mark by over 12 seconds. Linet Chepkwemoi Masai of Kenya
    finished fourth, 4.28 seconds slower than Flanagan.

    "I was so focused during the race. I wanted to make sure I got enough
    laps," said Flanagan. "I had no idea I was third. If I knew, I might
    freak out."

    Tomasz Majewski of Poland won the gold in the shot put, turning in a
    personal- best throw of 21.51 meters. Cantwell's silver-medal toss of
    21.09 meters came on his final attempt, pulling him ahead of Belarus'
    Andrei Mikhnevich, who took the bronze with a throw of 21.05 meters.

    "Any time you sneak in on your last throw, and squeak out a medal,
    it's special," said Cantwell. "I didn't win, but I moved from sixth
    to second and that's something."

    U.S. thrower Adam Nelson, the silver medalist in the shot put at the
    last two Olympics, had a dreadful final round, finishing dead last
    after fouling on his first three attempts. Nelson had the second-best
    throw in the morning qualifying round. Fellow American Reese Hoffa
    finished seventh with a best throw of 20.53 meters.

    "I had some big throws and big fouls. Unfortunately they didn't
    count," said Nelson. "There is not much good to take out of this. I
    was just throwing down the left sector line and I don't really do
    that often. It's inexcusable."

    Gay, the defending world champion at both the 100- and 200-meter
    distances, ran the opening round in 10.22 seconds to win his morning
    heat and placed second in his night race, finishing with a time of
    10.09 seconds

    He was tied for the ninth-fastest time overall in the second round.

    "I felt good and relaxed," said Gay. "I just wanted to make it

    The 26-year-old Gay said last week that he was "fully recovered"
    from a hamstring injury suffered last month at the U.S. Track and
    Field trials and that appeared to be the case on Friday. Gay had
    injured his left leg in the quarterfinals of the 200 at the trials,
    keeping him from qualifying for that event in Beijing.

    The American sprinter is expected to have some serious competition
    for gold in the 100 at the Summer Games from Jamaicans Asafa Powell
    and Usain Bolt. Powell held the world record in the event for three
    years before Bolt broke the mark with a blazing 9.72 run to defeat Gay
    in New York City on May 31. Bolt ran the fastest time Friday, winning
    his second-round heat in 9.92 seconds. Powell was the fourth-fastest
    runner in the night session, coming in at 10.02 seconds.

    Americans Darvis Patton and Walter Dix also qualified for the
    semifinals, which will decide who gets to race for gold in Saturday
    evening's final round.

    Hyleas Fountain of the U.S. is leading the women's heptathlon
    after four events, as she has amassed a total of 4060 points after
    finishing first in three of the segments. Fountain was the best out
    of 42 competitors in the 100 hurdles, high jump, and the 200 meters,
    and 19th in the shot put.

    Ukraine's Nataliia Dobrynska is second to Fountain with 3996
    points. The heptathlon will conclude with the remaining three events
    Saturday, as the women battle in the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.

    The U.S. placed three runners in the semifinals of the men's 400m
    hurdles. Jamaica's Markino Buckley had the fastest time with a run of
    48.65 seconds and Angelo Taylor of the U.S. was just two-hundreths of
    a second slower. Fellow Americans Bershawn Jackson and Kerron Clement
    came in ninth and 11th place, respectively.

    Qualifying in the men's 1,500 meters began Friday and Rashid Ramzi
    of Bahrain turned in the best time with a run of 3 minutes, 32.89
    seconds. Leonel Manzano and Lopez Lomong of the United States both
    made it to Sunday's semifinals.

    Lomong, the former Sudanese refugee turned American citizen, was the
    flag- bearer for the U.S. at the opening ceremonies, but barely made
    it to the next round, qualifying with the 18th of 19 spots after a
    run of 3:36.70

    Americans Anna Willard and Jennifer Barringer moved to the final round
    of the women's 3,000m steeplechase, which will take place Sunday
    at the Bird's Nest. Russia's Gulnara Galkina-Samitova was tops in
    qualifying with a time of 9:15.17. Willard and Barringer turned in
    times of 9:28.52 and 9:29.20, respectively.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Four games and four Olympic routs.

    Tina Thompson scored 17 points to lead a balanced attack as the
    United States women's basketball team pulled away in the second half
    to smash Spain, 93-55, on Friday.

    Lisa Leslie contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Candace Parker
    scored 13 and Diana Taurasi 12 for the Americans, who moved to 4-0 in
    Group B play and have already made it to the medal round quarterfinals.

    Sylvia Fowles tallied 10 points for the U.S., which stretched its
    Olympic winning streak to 29 games. The U.S. women, gunning for a
    fourth straight gold medal, haven't failed to reach the podium for a
    medal since the sport was first contested at the Olympics in Montreal
    in 1976.

    Incredibly, the 38-point victory was the lowest margin thus far for
    Anne Donovan's team at the Beijing Games. The U.S. struggled in the
    first half and finished the night with 19 turnovers, its most in
    these Olympics.

    "We're definitely not a cocky team," said Thompson. "We play really
    hard and our goal here is to win a gold medal. That's the only reason
    why we're here. We want to do that. We want to end up in the gold medal
    game repeating for that gold medal at the end of this tournament."

    Amaya Valdemoro had 17 points, while Nuria Martinez and Anna Montanana
    each added 10 for Spain, which was outscored 54-21 in the second half.

    The Americans will finish preliminary round play Sunday versus New

    Thompson had nine of her points during a big third quarter for the
    U.S., which surged to a 19-4 lead early, only to watch Spain rally
    to as close as three in the final minute of the half.

    Parker's bucket extended the U.S. to a 39-34 lead at the break and the
    Americans made it 11 straight points as the game progressed in the
    third. Thompson had five points during the crucial push, including
    an inside basket that moved the cushion to 48-34 with 7:11 left in
    the third. Thompson was also sent to the foul line for three shots
    after a hard foul from Montanana.

    Spain never got the deficit under double digits after that, and the
    Americans widened the mark to 59-39 following a Tamika Catchings

    It was 62-44 going into the fourth, and a 13-0 run early in the final
    period made it a rout.

    "I think tonight was a very tough challenge for us, offensively and
    defensively," said USA player Seimone Augustus. "I think we got our
    focus. We played against a very tough team in Spain. This is lessons
    learned and hopefully we take from this and move on to the next game."

    In another Group B game Friday, Hana Machova had 23 points to pace
    the Czech Republic to a 90-59 win over New Zealand, and Miao Lijie
    poured in 25 points in China's 69-48 win over Mali.

    Lauren Jackson had 30 points in Australia's 96-73 blowout of Latvia
    in Group A play, while Russia earned a 74-64 triumph over Brazil. The
    Aussies and Russians, each 4-0, will have a showdown on Sunday for
    the top spot in their group.

    In the final game of the night, Belarus came back from an 11-point
    first- quarter deficit to stifle Korea, 63-53, in Group A play.


    Shanghai, China (Sports Network) - Natasha Kai scored in overtime to
    help the United States edge Canada, 2-1, on Friday in the quarterfinals
    of the women's Olympic soccer tournament at rainy Shanghai Stadium.

    Angela Hucles also scored for the U.S., which weathered a delay
    of nearly two hours and a pesky Canadian club to advance to the
    semifinals. The United States will play Japan in the semifinals Monday.

    After Hucles gave the United States an early lead, Canada's Christine
    Sinclair tied the match in less than 10 minutes when play resumed.

    Kai, who entered as a substitute late in the match, eventually helped
    the top- ranked United States advance when she headed home a cross
    from Shannon Boxx in the 101st minute.

    Earlier Friday, Brazil defeated Norway 2-1 to win its quarterfinal
    in Tianjin. Brazil will play Germany in a rematch of the 2007 World
    Cup final in Monday's semifinals.

    Later Friday, Germany squeezed into the semifinals with a 2-0 overtime
    win over Sweden in Shenyang and Japan beat China 2-0 in Qinhuangdao.

    Hucles helped the United States get off to another quick start -
    it scored just 41 seconds into Tuesday's 4-0 win over New Zealand -
    with her second goal in as many games in the 12th minute.

    Amy Rodriguez helped set up Hucles' goal with a cross from the right
    to Heather O'Reilly, who was a few steps past the far post. O'Reilly
    headed the ball down and back toward the right post and Hucles directed
    the ball into the net from a few feet out.

    Hucles had a great chance to put the U.S. up two goals a few minutes
    later, but Canadian defender Emily Zurrer made a sliding tackle to
    knock the ball off her feet deep inside the penalty area.

    In addition to falling behind early, Canada goalie Erin McLeod injured
    her knee on the Americans' early goal and eventually left in the 19th
    minute. Veteran Karina LeBlanc came into to replace McLeod.

    Two minutes later, Canada caught a break when the match was stopped
    because of lightning during a heavy downpour. The game resumed after
    a delay of 1 hour, 39 minutes and the rejuvenated Canadians quickly
    tied the match.

    The United States' Heather Mitts lost the ball deep inside her own
    end and the ball found Canada's best striker, Sinclair.

    Sinclair drilled a shot from just outside the area - just before
    U.S. defender could get to the ball - and found the upper-right corner
    past goalie Hope Solo in the 30th minute.

    Hucles continued to be the best option for the U.S. as it looked for
    its second goal and she just missed a chance in the 34th minute. Hucles
    was in one-on-one with LeBlanc but fired well wide of the left post.

    Rodriguez set up Hucles' next scoring chance in the 71st minute when
    she found her with a long pass behind Canada's defense. Hucles had
    another chance against just LeBlanc, but the back-up made a nice save
    from close range.

    Solo made her best save for the U.S. in the 78th minute on Sinclair's
    shot from well outside the area. She dove to her left and just barely
    got a piece of the ball with her left hand to knock it away.

    The U.S. had two more scoring chances in regulation, but Carli Lloyd
    shot wide from 12 yards in the 86th minute and Rodriguez was denied
    in the 94th on a nice diving save by LeBlanc.

    The United States didn't waste much time in the first of two 15-minute
    overtime periods, pressuring Canada before Kai scored the game winner.

    Boxx delivered a cross from outside the top-left corner of the box
    perfectly to Kai, who was running in on the opposite side. Kai met
    the ball five yards from the goal and headed it into the left side
    past a helpless LeBlanc.

    LeBlanc, who played well, made a save on Kai a few minutes later to
    keep Canada in the match, but the Canadians couldn't take advantage
    of Solo's only mistake in the closing minutes and the U.S. held on.

    Solo failed to secure a cross and spilled the ball in front of her
    own goal but a teammate cleared it out of danger. Otherwise, Canada
    failed to threaten in overtime and was eliminated with the loss.

    In Tianjin, Daniela opened the scoring late in the opening half and
    Marta, the reigning two-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year,
    scored her second goal of the Olympics in the 57th minute.

    Daniela's goal in the 44th minute was on a beautiful dipping shot
    from 25 yards out that sailed just over Norway goalie Erika Skarbo
    and under the crossbar.

    Marta took advantage of one of her few chances 12 minutes into the
    second half when she chipped the ball over Skarbo.

    Siri Nordby scored Norway's lone goal in the 83rd minute on a penalty
    kick. It was the only time Norway threatened Brazil goalie Barbara,
    who was starting in place of injured Andreia.

    Solveig Gulbrandsen wasted Norway's last scoring chance when she
    headed high in the 90th minute. Norway, which defeated the United
    States 2-0 in its first game of the Olympics, was eliminated.

    In Shenyang, Kerstin Garefrekes scored in the 104th minute and Simone
    Laudehr sealed the win with a goal in the 115th as Germany defeated
    Sweden. Germany has just two goals in regulation in the tournament,
    winning its two previous games in the group stage 1-0.

    Germany and Brazil also met in the first game of the group stage,
    but the teams played to a 0-0 tie. Germany, which defeated Brazil
    2-0 in the World Cup final, didn't allow a goal in the 2007 Cup and
    hasn't allowed a goal in the Olympics.

    In Qinhuangdao, Homare Sawa and Yuki Nagasato scored to lift Japan over
    China and set up a rematch with the U.S. The United States edged Japan,
    1-0, when the teams met in the group stage. China was eliminated.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - American Matt Emmons barely missed
    out on his second straight gold medal in the men's 50m prone rifle
    competition at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall Friday morning.

    Emmons entered the 10-shot final round trailing Artur Ayvazian of
    the Ukraine by two points. Emmons was able to cut the gap in half,
    but Ayvazian consistently scored between 10.0 and 10.8 to hold off
    the American's challenge.

    Ayvazian won the gold by scoring 702.7 to Emmons' 701.7. The bronze
    medal was won by Warren Potent of Australia, whose 105.5 was the high
    score of the final round, giving him a 700.5 that boosted him over
    Norway's Vebjoern Berg.

    "It was my lucky day, I simply got lucky," said Ayvazian. "I knew
    yesterday I was going for it and that no one was going to take it
    away from me."

    The 27-year-old Emmons is the husband of Czech shooter Katerina Emmons,
    who has won two medals at these Games, a gold in the 10m air rifle
    and a silver in the 50-meter 3-positions event.

    Matt Emmons will also compete in the 50-meter 3-positions on Sunday.

    "The past few days have been a roller coaster ride, but not a bad one
    because I like roller coasters," said Emmons. "It's been challenging
    to keep my head on straight for my own events."

    Potent went into the competition as the world No.1, returning to the
    sport in 1997 after a six-year absence. He was trying for his first
    Olympic medal after finishing 42nd in Athens.

    American Vincent Hancock led the qualification in the men's
    skeet competition, while Leonid Ekimov was ahead after the first
    qualification round in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol. Keith Sanderson
    of the U.S. was third in that qualifier. The finals for both events
    are Saturday.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Chilean Fernando Gonzalez saved three
    consecutive match points and beat an angry American James Blake in a
    marathon three-set semifinal tennis showdown at the Olympics on Friday.

    Gonzalez, the 12th seed, rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 victory, with
    the final set lasting 1 hour, 20 minutes. All told, it approached
    three hours before Gonzalez closed it out on his fifth match point,
    finally ending the encounter when Blake hit a return into the net.

    Second-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal, due to become the No.1 ranked
    player in the world next week, then topped third-seeded Serbian Novak
    Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

    Gonzalez moved to 6-3 all-time against Blake and guaranteed himself
    a second consecutive Olympic medal after winning bronze four years
    ago. He will become the first men's tennis player to win back-to-back
    Olympic medals since Charles Winslow, who won gold in 1912 and then
    bronze in 1920.

    The loss by Blake came one night after he upset top-seeded Roger
    Federer, beating the Super Swiss for the first time in nine career
    matchups. The American will have to settle for a try at a bronze medal.

    Blake was ahead 40-0 in the 12th game of the final set, but gave away
    three straight match points and Gonzalez forced the extra play before
    breaking serve in the 19th game of the third set.

    The American was then ahead 9-8 and on the first point of the ensuing
    game and hit a return with the ball clipping Gonzalez's racquet before
    going by the Chilean. Instead, chair umpire Carlos Bernardes ruled
    Blake's backhand return went long, and Gonzalez went on to win the
    final three games.

    "Playing in the Olympics, in what's supposed to be gentleman's sport,
    that's a time to call it on yourself," said Blake. "Fernando looked
    me square in the eye and didn't call it."

    Blake continued his rant against Gonzalez.

    "I've tried to play this game for as long as I can," said Blake. "I
    make mistakes, but I try to do it with integrity, so my parents
    would be proud of the way I played. If that happened the other way,
    I never would have finished the match because my father would have
    pulled me off the court if I had acted that way.

    "He's too good of a player to do something like that and to act like
    that. They's why it's disappointing, because he is a great player. I
    can't take anything away from the fact he won the match."

    Gonzalez didn't readily admit the ball hit his racquet.

    "Nobody asked me anything," he said. "We were on the court like 2
    1/2 hours. I was really tired. I didn't feel anything."

    Nadal booked his spot in the final on his second match point when
    Djokovic sent an overhand smash barely wide.

    Looking ahead, Nadal is 3-3 all-time against Gonzalez, but he's won
    the last two encounters, both in 2007 in Masters Series events. Nadal
    is also trying to give Spain its first gold medal in Olympic tennis

    The final women's singles quarterfinal was contested Friday with
    sixth-seeded Russian Dinara Safina defeating second seed Jelena
    Jankovic of Serbia, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

    The victory assured Russia of at least two medals in women's
    singles. Safina won her 14th consecutive match and will take on Li
    Na of China in the semifinals Saturday. In the other semi. Elena
    Dementiva battles Vera Zvonareva in an all-Russian affair.

    It was the start of a very long night for Safina. She teamed with
    Svetlana Kuznetsova in doubles, but the top seeds lost an epic
    doubles match to the Chinese tandem of Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, 6-3, 5-7,
    10-8. The match ended after 3:30 a.m. The Russians blew a 5-2 lead
    in the final set, and all told the match lasted nearly three hours.

    Federer is actually still alive for a gold medal in Beijing. He teamed
    with Stanislas Wawrinka to beat the doubles team of Mahesh Bhupathi
    and Leander Paes of India, 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Then,
    Federer and Wawrinka got into the gold medal match by knocking off
    top seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

    In the gold medal match, Federer and Wawrinka will take on the duo
    of Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden. The Bryans will play
    Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra of France for bronze.

    In women's doubles play, Serena and Venus Williams won twice to advance
    to the semifinals. They first topped Japan's Ai Sugiyama and Ayumi
    Morita, 7-5, 6-2. and then pulled out a 6-4, 6-0 win over Zvonareva
    and Elena Vesnina. Both Williams sisters were eliminated from singles
    play on Thursday, but they'll continue playing in the doubles semis
    on Saturday versus Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - There were two more positive drug
    tests at the Olympics on Friday, as North Korean pistol shooter Kim
    Jong Su and Vietnamese gymnast Thi Ngan Thuong Do being the guilty

    Kim tested positive for propanolol, a betablocker that limits
    trembling. His silver medal was taken away from the 50m pistol. Because
    of the doping test, China's Tan Zongliang was elevated to the silver
    and Russia's Vladimir Isakov moved up to grab the bronze. Kim's bronze
    in the 10-meter air pistol was also taken away and was given to the
    fourth place finisher, American Jason Turner.

    Do, who was in last place in the women's floor exercise qualifying,
    tested positive for the diuretic furosemide.

    Friday's announcement brings the total to three athletes who have
    tested positive at these Games. The International Olympic Committee
    released a report Friday saying to date there have been 2,203 tests,
    and that included 483 blood tests. Out of those 2,203, 1,250 have
    been conducted before the Olympics.

    "The cheats are not way ahead," said Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of
    the IOC medical commission. "We are on the heels of those who try to
    cheat. That has been the case over the last five or six years."


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - France picked up a fencing gold
    medal Friday at the Beijing Olympics, defeating Poland in the final
    round of the men's team epee competition.

    The French team, which consists of brothers Fabrice and Jerome
    Jeannet as well as Ulrich Robeiri, posted a convincing 45-29 win
    over the Polish squad of Tomasz Motyka, Robert Andrzejuk and Radoslaw

    Fabrice Jeannet earned his second medal of the Games, having already
    won a silver in the individual epee.

    "This is the last time I will be competing with my brother (Fabrice)
    so it is very special," said Jerome Jeannet. "I am happy, superbly,
    superbly happy."

    Italy picked up the bronze medal with a 45-35 win over the host
    Chinese. The Italians were led by Matteo Tagliariol, who won gold in
    the individual epee in Beijing.

    Hungary was considered to be one of the gold medal favorites
    coming into this event, but were defeated by China, 45-43, in the
    quarterfinals. The Hungarians finished in fifth place.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - China's Tong Wen and Satoshi Ishii
    of Japan earned gold medals Friday in the final day of judo competition
    at the Beijing Olympics.

    Medals were awarded in the heavyweight classification for the men
    (+100kg) and women (+78kg).

    Tong won the women's event, defeating Japan's Maki Tsukada, the gold
    medal winner four years ago in Athens. Slovenia's Lucija Polavder
    and Idalys Ortiz of Cuba won their respective bronze medal matches
    and will share the award.

    "I had a belief that I must win this match," said Tong. "I am not
    only representing myself, I have a responsibility to fight for my
    country. Japan's judo is the most fantastic, but I was fighting for
    China's glory."

    Ishii defeated Abdullo Tangriev of Uzbekistan in the men's gold medal
    match. This was the first Olympic Games for the 21-year-old Ishii,
    who has never even competed in the world championships.

    Oscar Brayson of Cuba and France's Teddy Riner will take home bronze
    medals in the men's heavyweight.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - American featherweight Raynell
    Williams was eliminated from the boxing competition at the Beijing
    Olympics with Friday's loss to France's Khedafi Djelkhir.

    Djelkhir posted a 9-7 decision over the American in the round of 16
    bout at Workers' Gymnasium. The Frenchman built up a 4-1 lead after
    two rounds and held on for the win despite Williams posting a 6-5
    advantage over the final two rounds.

    Williams finished fifth in the world championships last year in
    Chicago, while Djelkhir came in 33rd.

    "It's a disappointment," said Williams. "I wanted to bring home the
    gold medal, but I guess not."

    Djelkhir moves on to the quarterfinals where he will face Mexico's
    Arturo Reyes Santos, who pounded Alaa Shili of Algeria, 14-2,
    on Friday.

    There was an upset in the bantamweight division Friday, as world
    champion Sergey Vodopyanov of Russia was defeated in the round of 16
    by India's Akhil Kumar. The score was tied at 9-9 after four rounds
    and the five judges then decided on Kumar as the winner.

    "Today is India's Independence Day. I have given a gift to the nation
    in the shape of this victory," said Kumar.

    In lightweight action on Friday, Russia's Alexey Tischenko, the
    featherweight gold medalist in Athens, notched an 11-3 win over
    Australia's Anthony Little to advance to the quarterfinals.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Cao Lei and Lu Yong gave China
    another two gold medals in weightlifting Friday at the Olympics.

    Cao established three Olympic records -- in the snatch (128kg),
    clean & jerk (154kg) and total (282kg) for the competition -- to win
    the women's 75kg class, while Lu captured the men's 85kg division to
    give the host country its eighth weightlifting gold medal.

    The 24-year-old Cao has a superb international record with gold medals
    from World Championships in 2006 and '07.

    "For the gold medal, I dedicate it first of all to my motherland
    and all the people of my country," said Cao. "But most importantly,
    I want to dedicate this medal to my dear mother who has passed away
    not long ago."

    Alla Vazhehina of Kazakhstan was second with a total of 266kg, while
    Nadezda Evstyukhina of Russia earned bronze with 264kg.

    In the men's event, Lu and Andrei Rybakou of Belarus lifted a total of
    394kg, but Lu got the gold thanks to a lower body weight. The 394kg
    total is a world record, but under weightlifting rules it's now held
    by Rybakou, since he set the mark first. That didn't matter to Lu
    because he got the gold medal.

    Tigran Varban Martirosyan of Armenia won the bronze by lifting a
    total of 380kg. Vladimir Sedov also had 380kg, but lost the bronze
    due to a higher body weight.

    American Kendrick Farris was eighth with a lift of 362kg.

    It was a stirring end to the competition. Rybakou first broke the
    world record. Lu then had his first attempt in the clean & jerk to tie
    the Belarus native cleared by the judges, but only a minute later the
    mark was reversed by the jury. Under pressure, Lu performed a clean
    lift with the 214kg to win the gold medal.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The traditionally dominant Chinese
    won badminton gold in women's doubles Friday at the Beijing Olympics.

    Du Jing and Yu Yang made it four consecutive Olympic gold medals
    for China in the event with a 21-15, 21-13 victory over Korea's Lee
    Hyojung and Lee Kyungwon in the final.

    The Lees held an advantage heading into the match after beating Du
    and Yu in a three-set thriller at the All-England Championship in
    March. But the Chinese had some history on their side as well.

    A Chinese team has won every gold medal in women's badminton doubles
    since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics -- where, ironically, these two
    countries last met in a final.

    China's Ge Fei and Gu Jun won that match.

    The Chinese also won the bronze medal Friday when Wei Yili and Zhang
    Yawen defeated Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna of Japan 21-17, 21-10.

    Earlier in the day, the final was set for the men's doubles competition
    when Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia and China's Cai
    Yun and Fu Haifeng won their semifinal matches.

    Both sides of the badminton singles draws will have all-Chinese finals.

    On the women's side top-seeded Xie Xingfang and teammate Zhang Ning
    won their semifinals Friday. On the men's side, Lin Dan and Cai Yun
    were winners.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Ukraine's Viktor Ruban won the gold
    medal in men's archery at the Olympics on Friday, beating Korean Park
    Kyung-Mo in the final.

    The 27-year-old Ruban, who finished in 13th place in 2004, won by a
    scant 113-112 count.

    "I deserve the medal because I've trained for 14 years," said Ruban. "I
    give thanks to the support of my nation, my people and my family. The
    good environment and weather at the venue really helped me."

    Bair Badenov of Russia won the bronze with a 115-110 victory over
    Juan Rene Serrano of Mexico.

    U.S. archer Vic Wunderle closed out his third Olympic Games experience
    with a 113-106 loss at the hands of the top-seeded Serrano in the

    "It's an honor and privilege to participate in the Olympics," said
    Wunderle. "I've been to the Olympics three straight times and every
    time I have finished in the top eight. I know I was the only person
    from both Athens and Sydney to do that."


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The Slovakian team of twin brothers
    Pavol and Peter Hochschorner won a gold medal in the canoe double
    competition Friday at the Beijing Olympics, earning their third
    straight Olympic gold in the event.

    Slovakia also earned a gold medal in the women's kayak single, as
    Elena Kaliska dominated the field on the final day of action in the
    slalom category of canoe/kayak. Events in the flatwater division will
    take place next week.

    "It's a happy time for my country," said Kaliska.

    The Hochschorners finished with a combined time of 190.82 seconds after
    their semifinal and final runs. The men's semifinals were completed on
    Thursday before the events were postponed due to inclement weather. The
    Slovakians were second after Thursday's round, but would have been
    first if not for a two- second penalty.

    The Czech duo of Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek took silver,
    finishing 2.07 seconds behind the Hochschorners. Russian's Mikhail
    Kuznetsov and Dmitry Larionov earned bronze with a time of 197.37.

    Kaliska, who also won this event in Athens, completed her semifinal and
    final runs with a total time of 192.64 seconds. Australia's Jacqueline
    Lawrence took the silver, but finished 14.30 seconds behind Kaliska.

    Violetta Oblinger Peters of Austria earned the bronze with a time
    of 214.77.

    Heather Corrie of the United States placed eighth out of 10 finalists
    with a time of 270.88.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Great Britain won the first gold
    medal awarded in track cycling at the Beijing Olympics, clinching
    gold in the men's team sprint on Friday.

    The trio of Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff won with a combined
    time of 43.128 seconds. Against France in the final, each Briton won
    his lap around Laoshan Velodrome.

    That left the three-time defending world champion French with a silver
    medal at 43.651 seconds. Germany, the 2004 gold medalist, earned
    bronze by beating Australia in the race for third and fourth place.

    The Germans finished at 44.014 seconds, ahead of Australia's 44.022.

    The United States trio of Michael Blatchford, Adam Duvendeck and
    Giddeon Massie was the eighth and final team to make it through
    qualifying to the first round, where the Americans lost against
    Great Britain.

    In men's and women's individual pursuit qualifying Friday, Americans
    Taylor Phinney and Sarah Hammer both moved on with seventh- and
    fifth-place finishes, respectively.

    Britons did well in that discipline, as well, with Bradley Wiggins
    leading the men's qualifying and Wendy Houvenaghel topping the women's.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Michel Enriquez lined the go-ahead
    two-run single in the 11th inning, and Cuba beat the United States,
    5-4, in a hotly- contested baseball game at the Olympics.

    Jayson Nix belted a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning
    to force extra innings, but was hit in the left eye by a fouled bunt
    attempt in the bottom of the 11th inning and was sent to a hospital
    with an eye injury.

    Terry Tiffee went 2-4 with a run and an RBI to lead the U.S. offense,
    but the Americans fell to 1-2 with a game upcoming against Canada
    on Saturday.

    Alfredo Despaigne hit a solo homer for Cuba, which has lost only
    three games in Olympic baseball history.

    The U.S. gave the Cubans a run for their money though on Friday,
    but both teams had to adjust to a new rule for international
    play. Beginning in the 11th inning both teams start with runners at
    first and second base, something that didn't sit well with Tiffee.

    "The whole extra inning thing is bogus," said Tiffee.

    Cuba used a sacrifice bunt to put both of its runners into scoring
    position before Enriquez came through against Jeff Stevens.

    Then in the bottom half, Nix left the field with a bloody eye after
    fouling off a ball. He was replaced by Brian Barden, who sacrificed
    the runners over before Tiffee lofted a sacrifice fly. But Matt Brown
    fouled out behind the plate to end the game.

    "The only thing is that I'm not confident with how the game ended,"
    said USA manager Davey Johnson. "I lost my second baseman when the
    pitcher (Pedro Luis Lazo) threw the ball at his head. I don't see any
    place for that in baseball. I respect the way Cuba plays baseball,
    but I don't like losing players."

    The outcome aside, several players weren't happy with the extra-inning

    "It takes all the work out of baseball because all you need is a
    base hit and you've got a good shot to win," said USA shortstop Jason
    Donald. "Normally you get a guy on first and battle to get home. It
    was strange running out to second from the dugout. I've never done
    that in my life and probably never will again."

    As for Nix, he's out the remainder of the Games. He sustained a
    laceration to the upper left eyebrow. The cut was repaired and he
    was treated with eyedrops.

    The extra-inning rule also applied to China's 8-7 upset of Taiwan
    in 12 innings. The Chinese scored five times in their last at-bat to
    shot their opponent.

    The visitors tied the game in the ninth inning with a ground-rule
    double to left-center field and then scored four times in the
    12th. However, China loaded the bases in the bottom half before
    Wang Chao singled in a run. A walk with the bases loaded forced in
    another run. Hou Fenglian then singled, and when right fielder Chang
    Chien-Ming misplayed the ball, Sun Lingfeng charged toward home plate
    to score the winning run for China.

    Also Friday, Japan beat the Netherlands, 6-0, and Korea edged Canada,


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Jessica Mendoza had two of an
    Olympic softball-record four home runs hit by the United States in
    a 7-0 win Friday over Japan.

    Crystl Bustos and Natasha Watley also homered for the Americans,
    who had nine hits in just 25 at bats. Bustos' solo shot in the fourth
    inning gave the U.S. its 7-0 lead.

    The game was stopped after five innings by the mercy rule.

    Monica Abbott pitched a one-hit shutout following back-to-back
    U.S. no-hitters thrown by teammates Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman.

    Abbott had started a game against Canada that was postponed because of
    rain on Thursday and picked up following the Japan game on Friday. She
    didn't allow a hit through three innings of the game against Canada,
    though she was called for a couple of illegal pitches.

    Canada took a 1-0 lead before the postponement, helped by an error, but
    the U.S. bounced back for an 8-1 victory by scoring four runs apiece
    in the sixth and seventh innings after the game resumed on Friday.

    Japan's Ayumi Karino led off the first inning of the opening game with
    a single, stopping the no-hit streak for the U.S. But Abbott set down
    the next 15 batters in order, striking out five without issuing a walk.

    "There is a quote," said Abbott, "'Your best defense is a good

    Osterman finished the last four innings against Canada, giving up
    just one hit while striking out eight batters. Andrea Duran drove in
    two runs to lead four Americans who drove in runs.

    The U.S. women moved to 4-0 following their two wins Friday. Winners
    of their last 18 straight Olympic games dating back to the 2000 Sydney
    Olympics, outscored their opponents 29-1 in Beijing.

    "The most important influence was the psychological aspect," Japan
    shortstop Rei Nishiyama said of playing the Americans. "We couldn't
    deal with today's competition."

    Also on Friday, Canada edged China 1-0 to improve to 3-1 in
    competition, Australia topped Chinese Taipei to even its record to
    2-2 and Venezuela rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Netherlands for
    its first win in four games.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Both U.S. teams in women's beach
    volleyball made it to the quarterfinals on Friday at the Olympics,
    a day that started with Kerri Walsh celebrating her 30th birthday in
    a big way.

    Walsh and teammate Misty May-Treanor continued their Olympic winning
    streak by defeating Liesbet van Breedam and Liesbeth Mouha of Belgium,
    24-22, 21-10 as round of 16 action began Friday morning at Chaoyang
    Park Beach Volleyball Ground.

    The defending gold medalists have never lost a match at the
    Olympics. They advanced to the quarterfinals, which begin on Sunday. In
    addition to being undefeated, May-Treanor and Walsh have yet to drop
    a set in Beijing.

    "It's a great way to celebrate my birthday," said Walsh. "I felt
    really good, but this is just the first half. The second half will
    be after the gold medal match."

    The other U.S. team, consisting of Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs,
    won their round of 16 match Friday against Tamara Larrea and Dalixia
    Fernandez of Cuba, 21-15, 21-13, to make it to the quarterfinals.

    Next up for Branagh/Youngs in the quarterfinals will be the Chinese
    duo of Xue Chen and Zhang Xi. The team of Walsh/May-Treanor will
    battle Brazil's Ana Paula Conelly and Larissa Franca.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The U.S. women's volleyball team
    squeaked out a five-set victory over China on Friday night, qualifying
    for the quarterfinals at the Beijing Olympics.

    Playing for head coach Jenny Lang Ping, the former star player and
    head coach for China, the Americans rallied back from a 2-1 deficit
    in sets to earn a 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11 win.

    It moved the U.S. to 3-2 record in Pool A play and a guaranteed spot
    in the quarterfinals.

    "We are absolutely thrilled," said U.S. setter Lindsey Berg. "We knew
    it was going to be tough playing China at their home. All we wanted
    to do was fight."

    China, meanwhile, dropped another tough match after suffering a 3-2
    setback to Cuba on Wednesday.

    Both teams entered the match with 2-1 records. China's loss came in
    front of president Hu Jintao.

    "Although we lost the match, every player played their best," said
    Liu Yanan. "It's important we find our problems in the preliminaries
    and find ways to solve them."


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The United States women's water
    polo team picked up a win in group play Friday, defeating Russia,
    12-7, at the Beijing Olympics.

    Natalie Golda scored three goals to lead the Americans, who were up
    5-0 after the first quarter and never trailed. Alison Gregorka and
    Brenda Villa each added two goals to help the U.S. finish with a
    2-0-1 record, which was good enough to win Group A.

    Overall, the Americans scored their 12 goals on just 23 shots for
    a solid 52 percent clip. Russia's seven goals came on 33 attempts
    (21 percent).

    "This was an easy game," said U.S. team member Brittany Hayes. "We
    treat every game seriously. It is a great opportunity for us to play
    another game."

    Italy, which defeated China, 10-9, on Friday, finished tied with
    the U.S. atop the group with five points, but the Americans were
    awarded first place as a result of a better goal differential than
    the Italians. That means the U.S. gets a bye to the semifinals, where
    it will await the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal match between China
    and Australia.

    Italy will face the Netherlands in Sunday's other quarterfinal matchup
    for the right to face Hungary, who received a bye as the winner of
    Group B.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The U.S. men's quadruple sculls
    team qualified for the final round in rowing action Friday at the
    Beijing Olympics.

    Friday's semifinal races were originally scheduled for Thursday,
    but were postponed due to rain and lightning.

    The American team of Matthew Hughes, Sam Stitt, Jamie Schroeder and
    Scott Gault completed the race in 5 minutes, 52.81 seconds, finishing
    second behind Italy, which finished in 5:51.20. Poland won the first
    semifinal heat with a time of 5:51.29.

    Australia, Germany, and France also qualified teams for Sunday's final.

    In the lightweight women's double sculls, teams from the Netherlands,
    Finland, Germany, Canada, China and Greece moved on to Sunday's
    final. The American duo of Jen Goldsack and Renee Hykel barely missed
    a spot in the final round, as they finished fourth in their heat,
    just 0.16 seconds behind Greece. Goldsack and Hykel will race in the
    B final, which is used for placing teams in spots seven through 12.

    The Americans also failed to qualify for the A final in the lightweight
    men's four, as they finished last in their heat. Denmark, France, Great
    Britain, Poland, Canada and the Netherlands moved on to the final race.

    The U.S. didn't have a team in the lightweight men's double sculls
    semifinals, which featured heat wins by British and Greek teams. Italy,
    Cuba, Denmark and China also placed teams in Sunday's final.


    Hong Kong, China (Sports Network) - The United States is proving
    to be a force again in equestrian, as the group of Bezzie Madden,
    Will Simpson, Laura Kraut and McLain Ward finished first after the
    show jumping qualifier at the Olympics.

    The U.S. was the only nation with three double clear rounds. Ward
    was in the ring first with mare Sapphire. The 13-year-old Belgian
    Warmblood powered around the course in her usual fashion jumping one
    of 13 double clear rounds.

    "My horse made it look easy," said Ward. "She's such a pro. She has
    had really bad heat rash - she has really sensitive skin so I could
    use no leg on her because she wasn't 100 percent comfortable. I have
    a great team behind me to help her out and she amazes me with what
    a great competitor she is."

    Kraut, with her horse, Cedric, a 10-year-old Dutch gelding, also had
    a solid performance. Simpson's horse, Carlsson vom Dach, had a clear
    round. Madden rounded out the group with another reliable performance
    aboard Authentic.

    Switzerland is second in the team standings, followed by Brazil
    and Canada.

    The show jumpers return to the ring on Sunday evening for the first
    leg of the team competition. They will jump in reverse order by team
    based on the standings of the top three riders from each team in
    Friday's competition.

    Dressage returns Saturday night for the first round of the individual
    portion of the competition.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Set to retire, she says, after these
    Beijing Olympics, China's Guo Jingjing finished as the top qualifier
    in the women's 3- meter springboard preliminaries Friday.

    Guo finished the prelim with 373.90 points to lead 18 divers into
    the semifinals, which will take place at the National Aquatics Center
    on Saturday.

    The reigning Olympic gold medalist and four-time reigning world
    champion, the 26-year-old Guo was expected to win this competition
    in what she says will be her last.

    Before winning the gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, she claimed
    silver at the 2000 Sydney Games.

    Behind Guo in the standings were a pair of familiar faces: Julia
    Pakhalina of Russia, the 2004 bronze medalist, finished 15.75 points
    behind Guo in second place with 358.15; while reigning silver medalist
    Wu Minxia of China stood fourth with 349.45.

    The 22-year-old Wu is expected to fill Guo's shoes if her teammate
    does in fact retire.

    Canada's Blythe Hartley posted 350.60 points to finish the
    preliminary in third place, while American Christina Loukas was
    eighth. U.S. teammate Nancilea Foster qualified 11th.

    China has won all four diving medals awarded thus far. Only the
    United States has ever swept the diving competition in the Olympics,
    with the Americans doing it five times between 1928-52 when there
    were fewer events.

    The finals will be on Sunday.


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Defending gold medalist Australia
    moved closer to the semifinals with a 3-1 win over Pakistan in men's
    field hockey on Friday at the Olympics.

    Pakistan picked up three yellow card suspensions during a
    hotly-contested match.

    Elsewhere, Spain squeezed past China by a 2-1 score, the Netherlands
    doubled up Canada 4-2, New Zealand upended Belarus 4-2, Korea and
    Germany played to a 3-3 tie and Great Britain shut out South Africa


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The No.1-seeded Chinese team of
    Zhang Yining, Guo Yue and Wang Nan moved into the final of women's
    table tennis with a three-set victory over the third-seeded team from
    Hong Kong.

    Next up for China will be a match against Singapore, which took out
    Korea in a titanic five-set battle that lasted nearly 4 1/2 hours.

    Zhang, the reigning Olympic singles champion, beat Tie Yana, while
    Guo Yue topped Lin Ling.

    By advancing to the final, Singapore is guaranteed a medal, its first
    at the Olympics since a silver for weightlifting in 1960.

    The U.S. has advanced its furthest ever in the competition and will
    take on South Korea in the bronze medal round. Hong Kong will meet


    Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Kazakhstan got the win it needed
    against China to stay in the hunt for a berth in the quarterfinals
    of the women's handball tournament at the Beijing Olympics

    Kazakhstan defeated the host Chinese 29-26 after losing to all three
    strong European teams -- Norway, France and Romania.

    Also on Friday, Brazil squeezed out a 33-32 win over Korea with a
    goal in the 60th minute; Sweden defeated Germany 27-26 with a tally
    in the 59th minute; Romania upended Angola 28-23; Norway rolled to
    a 34-24 win over France; and Russia beat Hungary 33-24.

    The preliminaries continue Sunday, followed by the quarterfinals
    beginning on Tuesday.