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Olympics roundup

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2000

U.S. softball advances to medal round BLACKTOWN, Australia -- The U.S. softball players almost forgot what this felt like. But by the time they trotted off the field after a 6-0 win over Italy, the signs were unmistakable: a short game, a big score and a place in the medal round. They were back on a roll.

"It feels like things are starting to turn around," second baseman Dot Richardson said. "That's the beauty of it now. We're on a win streak, and this is the way it's got to be. The three teams that beat us, we have to beat them now to win the gold, and that's what we're going to do from here on out."

The Americans needed to win Saturday to get into the medal round, which begins tonight -- and to bolster a once-unshakable confidence that has flagged considerably over the past week. After starting the tournament in blockbuster fashion when Lori Harrigan pitched the first solo no-hitter in Olympic history, they lost three straight.

With Saturday's win, the United States is back on solid footing, if not even ground. Seeded No. 4 in the medal round, it must win its next three games, starting with China, to take the gold. The top two finishers in the preliminary round, Japan and Australia, need to win two games to get the gold medal.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: In an all-American quarterfinal, ninth-seeded Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana overpowered "lucky losers" Rob Heidger and Kevin Wong, the seventh seeds, 15-3 to advance to the semifinals and a certain medal match.

Next up for Blanton and Fonoimoana was a match against Portugal's Luis Maia and Joao Brenha, who upset fourth-seeded Swiss brothers Martin and Paul Laciga with a 15-11 comeback victory. The winner proceeds to the gold-medal match Tuesday.

BOXING: American Rocky Juarez helped set up a quarterfinal match between featherweight champions with a narrow victory in a second-round bout. Juarez, the world 125-pound champion, Wednesday will box Somluck Kamsing of Thailand, the 125-pound champion at the 1996 Olympics. Jermain Taylor was the fifth American to reach the round of eight, pounding out a 23-9 decision over Canada's Scott McIntosh at 156 pounds. Super heavyweight Calvin Brock was the fourth American to lose. His fight with Italy's Paolo Vidoz was stopped in the fourth round on the 15-point rule (21-5).

DIVING: Xue Sang and Na Li gave the powerful Chinese a dominating hold on the top of the women's 10-meter platform standings. Sang, 15, led with 570.90 points, followed closely by Li, 16, at 562.89. Anne Montminy of Canada was a distant third at 525.81. American Laura Wilkinson was fifth. American Sara Reiling was 16th after the preliminaries. The top 12 advanced to the final.

FENCING: The U.S. foil team, bidding to become the first women's squad to win a fencing medal, lost a thrilling bronze medal match 45-42 to Germany. The final point was awarded when Ann Marsh was penalized for covering her target on the last touch by Germany's Rita Koenig. World champion Italy, which beat the United States 45-38 in the semifinals, knocked off Poland 45-36 to win the gold.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Shrugging off their lackluster nine-point win against Lithuania two days earlier, the United States routed New Zealand 102-56. Shooting one of its highest percentages of the Olympics and asserting its superiority from the outset, the U.S. team beat up on the weakest opponent in its bracket. The Americans were without Alonzo Mourning, in Miami for the Friday birth of his daughter, Myka Sydney. ROWING: Four-time world champion Christine Collins, in her first Olympics, and Sarah Garner of the United States took an early lead in the lightweight double sculls, but they sagged to third midway through and remained there for a bronze. Romania won the gold and Germany the silver.

When the final day of competition ended, the United States -- the only team to qualify in all 14 events -- had two bronze and a silver, its worst finish since 1972.

SAILING: The Finnish crew of Thomas Johanson and Jyrki Jarvi clinched the first gold medal in the 49er class with a practically perfect showing. They had finishes of third, first and second to earn the gold with one fleet race to sail. Brothers Jonathan and Charlie McKee of the United States, in first after 11 races, had their worst day of the regatta, with finishes of seventh, sixth and 11th.

"It was a little trickier and a little more random out there today," skipper Jonathan McKee said. "The Finnish guys ... were brilliant at every turn."

The other medals will be decided Monday.

Australia's Darren Bundock and John Forbes clinched the silver medal in the Tornado class a day after Austria's Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher clinched the gold.

SHOOTING: Todd Graves won the bronze medal in men's skeet to join Nancy Johnson as the only Americans to win shooting medals. Slovenia's Rajmond Debevec had an Olympic-record 1,275.1 to win the men's 50-meter rifle three-position. Mykola Milchev of Ukraine won the skeet gold medal, tying the world record with a perfect score of 150. TENNIS: American Monica Seles beat Dominique Van Roost of Belgium 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the semifinal. American sisters Venus and Serena Williams beat Elena Likhovtseva and Anastasia Myskina of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the doubles quarterfinals.

TRAMPOLINE: Alexander Moskalenko of Russia won the men's gold. VOLLEYBALL: Once again making too many blunders, giving up too many easy points and making a lesser team look great, the U.S. men's team lost its fourth straight match to be eliminated from contention by South Korea.

WEIGHTLIFTING: Pyrros Dimas of Greece won his third gold medal at 187 pounds. He joins Naim Suleymanoglu, the "Pocket Hercules," as the sport's only three-time gold medalists. Dimas, silver medalist Marc Huster of Germany and bronze medalist George Asanidze had identical lifts of 8593/4 pounds, but Dimas had the lowest body weight.

WINDSURFING: Alessandra Sensini of Italy won gold in women's windsurfing. Amelie Lux of Germany won the silver and Barbara Kendall of New Zealand the bronze.

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