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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

They Won The Weigh-in

A look at the day that was and at what lies ahead at the Summer Games

July 22, 1996|TIM KAWAKAMI

Though he's the youngest member of the U.S. team, Fernando Vargas' peppery personality is having an impact.

At the first official weigh-in Friday, the American team arrived early, then saw several other later-arriving teams--not the Cubans, who were one of the first teams to get there--try to move their way to the front of the line.

"Fernando took it upon himself to be the spokesman," said U.S. assistant coach Jesse Ravelo of the Oxnard-based welterweight. "He said, 'Nobody's getting in front of us. No one.' Some words were exchanged in Spanish and English. He's a terrific kid."

On Sunday, Ravelo and Vargas pointed to that moment as a sign that the American team is prepared to stand its ground throughout this tournament.

"We got a little mad," Vargas said. "At this point, everybody's edgy, and we weren't going to let anybody push us around--especially here in the U.S. We weren't going to take that."

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