Friday, August 27, 2004
U.S. wins bronze vs. Australia
Women avenge 2000 defeat in water polo
The Associated Press
ATHENS - The United States won the bronze medal in women's water polo, edging defending champion Australia 6-5 Thursday.
Ellen Estes scored three goals, including the tiebreaker in the final period after Australia rallied from a four-goal deficit.
Australia won the women's water polo gold medal in Sydney by edging the Americans 4-3.
The United States scored four goals in the second period and took a 4-0 lead into halftime. Natalie Golda opened the scoring, converting on a 6-on-5 advantage. Estes, Robin Beauregard and Amber Stachowski scored within two minutes for the 4-0 lead.
Estes scored again in the third period, but Australia closed the gap to 5-3 on a shot by Elise Norwood and goals from Kate Gynther and Belinda Brooks.
Joanne Fox scored 32 seconds into the final quarter, and Brooks made a long shot to tie it with 5:30 left.
In the gold-medal match, Italy defeated Greece 10-9 in two overtimes.
The U.S. team is staring at its first medals shutout in 92 years after Rachelle Kunkel finished ninth in the 3-meter springboard, far behind a 1-2 finish by the powerful Chinese.
Guo Jingjing easily won her country's fifth diving gold of the Athens Games, while teammate Wu Minxia edged out Russia's Yulia Pakhalina for the silver.
Russia, Japan and the United States were 1-2-3 after the team technical event, the same places they finished in the duet competition a day earlier.
Russia was first with 49.667 points and Japan second with 49.167.
The Americans were third with 48.584, giving them a chance for their first team medal since they claimed the first Olympic gold in team competition in 1996.
Upset with marks given to American Mary Sanders in qualifying, the U.S. team filed an inquiry with the International Gymnastics Federation seeking a review of her hoop routine.
Sanders finished 18th out of 24 gymnasts in the first of two qualifying rounds. The top 10 gymnasts after today's second round advance. Sanders received a technical score - the measure of difficulty - of 4.6 in hoop.
The 4.6 was lower than anyone else in the field except for competitors from Australia, South Africa and Cape Verde.
Frenchman Babak Amir Tahmasseb edged U.S. kayaker Rami Zur at the finish, ending the American team's best hope for a medal.
With a last desperate stroke, Tahmasseb launched his boat so violently that he fell into the water, but managed to take third in the 500-meter single kayak race. Zur failed to advance to the finals.
Hamish Carter pulled away from Bevan Docherty on the final lap of the triathlon, giving New Zealand a 1-2 finish in the endurance race. Sven Riederer of Switzerland got the bronze after fading from the leaders down the stretch.
Hunter Kemper, the top American, finished ninth.
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