China's Li Du sets Olympic record in 10-meter air rifle

Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2004

ATHENS, Greece Li Du of China won the Summer Games' first gold medal Saturday, setting an Olympic record in the women's 10-meter air rifle.

Li scored 10.6 on her final shot, surpassing Lioubov Galkina of Russia. Galkina had led throughout the round, but got only 9.7 on her final shot her lowest mark. Katerina Kurkova from the Czech Republic won the bronze.

Li's overall score of 502 points set an Olympic record. Galkina, who set an Olympic record in the qualifying round, finished at 501.5 points.

Women's Basketball

ATHENS, Greece The U.S. women's basketball team routed New Zealand 99-47 in its Olympic opener. Five Americans scored in double figures, turning it on after a slow start.

Favored to win its third straight gold medal, the United States extended its Olympic winning streak to 18. Swin Cash, playing her first game in the Olympics, led with 19 points. Angela Marino led New Zealand with 13 points.

The U.S. team won without starting guard Katie Smith, who was sidelined by a bruised right knee. She hasn't practiced since the WNBA season ended July 31 and it's uncertain when she'll play.

Brazil set the women's Olympic basketball record for points and tied the mark for margin of victory with its 128-62 win over Japan. Alessandra Oliveira had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead Brazil in its opening game.

The record for points was held by Japan, which beat Canada 121-89 in 1976. The other 66-point win was the Soviet Union's 119-53 victory over Italy in 1980.

Lauren Jackson, the WNBA's MVP last season with Seattle, scored 27 points to lead Australia, which won the silver medal in 2000. Chen Nan scored 17 points for China. Russia topped the host country behind 16 points from WNBA player Elena Baranova. Spain hit a late 3-pointer to send its game against the Czach Republic into overtime, and went on to win in the extra session.


ATHENS, Greece Jennie Finch didn't allow a hit in three innings, and the Americans began their run toward a third straight gold medal with a shortened 7-0 victory over Italy.

Natasha Watley went 4-for-4, hitting a two-run triple in the fifth inning to put the United States up by seven runs, invoking the mercy rule that ended the game. Three-time Olympian Lisa Fernandez had an RBI single as the U.S. team extended its winning streak to 71 straight games since July 2003.

Tanya Harding bailed out Australia by pitching 6 1-3 innings of no-hit relief, and Natalie Titcume hit a two-run homer. Harding came off the bench in the first inning to replace starter Brooke Wilkins, who walked five to force in two runs for Japan. Harding, a three-time Olympian, shut down the defending silver medalists the rest of the way, retiring 19 of the 20 batters she faced.


ATHENS, Greece Italy's Paolo Bettini pulled away in the final 100 meters to win the men's cycling road race, while one of the deepest groups of American riders in an Olympics failed to reach the medals stand.

Bettini made a desperate surge past Portugal's Sergio Paulinho, who led much of the final lap around the 8.2-mile circuit

Bettini, a former world champion who built his training for the year solely around this one race, finished the 139.4-mile test in 5 hours, 41 minutes, 44 seconds. Paulinho was one second back; Belgium's Axel Merckx was another seven seconds back in third.

The U.S. men's road squad, with four accomplished international riders on the five-man roster, was paced by Tyler Hamilton's 18th-place finish.

Temperatures reached 104 degrees on sunny sections of the course, and several riders could not finish.

Women's Volleyball

ATHENS, Greece Angelina Grun had 20 points, including 14 kills, to help Germany rally for a five-set upset of three-time defending gold medalist Cuba in the preliminary round.

Grun, the German captain, served an ace on match point to seal the victory in the first Pool B match of the day. Zoila Barros Fernandez had 12 kills to lead the Cubans.

Paced by the power of outside Hao Yang, the Chinese team beat the Americans in four sets. China's best middle blocker, the 6-foot-5 Zhao Ruirui, limped off the court after reaggravating an injury to her right leg, but the U.S. team was unable to capitalize.

Women's Soccer

THESSALONIKI, Greece Abby Wambach scored her 16th goal in 17 games to help the United States beat Brazil 2-0. Wambach made a brilliant run in the 77th minute after Mia Hamm opened the scoring in the 58th minute on a penalty kick.

The U.S. team became the first side to earn a berth in the quarterfinals. The Americans can clinch their group with a win or a tie against Australia in their final first-round match Tuesday.

Men's Soccer

THESSALONIKI, Greece Mali upset Greece 2-0 to put the host in danger of exiting the Olympic soccer tournament in the first round.

First-half goals by Mamadi Berthe and Tenema Ndiaye put the Africans in control while Greece squandered chances to get back in the game and even missed a penalty kick in injury time.

The win gave Mali four points in two games. Greece has one point and must beat Mexico in its final game to have any chance of advancing.


ATHENS, Greece Eight teams advanced to the finals after men's preliminaries, including the United States, Japan and reigning world and Olympic champion China.

Most top athletes competed without issue, although a few had a tougher time.

Blaine Wilson, the top American gymnast of the past decade, banged his head on the mat after missing a move on the high bar. He needed smelling salts to finish the meet. Russia's Anton Golotsutskov got hung up on the parallel bars and dislocated his finger. Spain's Victor Cano fell off the high bar and straight onto his coach.

European champion Romania, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea and Germany also qualified for the final. The U.S. team placed second, but its rank matters little because preliminary round scores will not count in Monday's final.


ATHENS, Greece China won both synchronized diving events. Wu Minxia and Guo Jingjing took the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard title by beating defending champions Vera Ilina and Julia Pakhalina of Russia.

Irina Lashko and Chantelle Newbery of Australia won the bronze. Lashkoa competed in the 1988 games for the Soviet Union, won a world gold for Russia in 1998 and a silver medal for Australia in 2001.

Tian Liang and Yang Jinghui of China won in men's synchronized 10-meter platform diving. Britain's Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor took the silver and Australia's Mathew Helm and Robert Newbery the bronze.


ATHENS, Greece (AP) Middleweight Andre Dirrell got the U.S. boxing team off to a strong start, beating China's Ha Dabateer 25-18.

A left-hander from Flint, Mich., Dirrell counterpunched his way to an easy victory in the second fight of the day at Peristeri Olympic Boxing Hall as the other eight members of the U.S. team cheered him on.

In the first bout of the Olympics, Algeria's Nabil Kassel beat Glaucelio Abreu of Brazil 41-36.

The light heavyweights also got started, but U.S. hopeful Andre Ward received a first-round bye. Ward and Dirrell generally are considered the Americans' top gold medal prospects.

Beach Volleyball

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Americans Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs, seeded No. 4, cruised past 21st-seeded Norwegians Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide 21-14, 21-14 under the lights at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.

Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard, the top American men's team, were not nearly as sharp in a 21-16, 21-14 loss to 17th-seeded Australians Julien Prosser and Mark Williams in the last match of the night.

Canadians Guylaine Dumont and Ann Martin upset the ninth-seeded Swiss pair Simone Kuhn and Nicole Schnyder-Benoit 21-16, 21-13.


NIKAIA, Greece (AP) Turkey's Nurcan Taylan pulled off a surprise, turning a world-record lift into an upset of heavily favored Li Zhuo of China in the 105 1/2-pound weight class.

The loss was a stunning start for China's women's weightlifting powerhouse, whose assistant coach had predicted a sweep of all four events it could enter. China was 4-for-4 in the sport's debut in Sydney.

Defending gold medalist Tara Cunningham of the United States wasn't a factor, dropping the bar on her left leg on her second lift en route to finishing 11th of 14. Thailand's Aree Wiratthaworn won the bronze.

Taylan broke Li's 2003 world snatch record of 205 1/2 pounds by slightly less than nine pounds or almost one-tenth her own weight.

Taylan followed that with a lift of 248 pounds in the clean and jerk.

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