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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | VOLLEYBALL

China to Play Cuba in Women's Final

August 02, 1996|Times Wire Services

Cuba and China will meet for the women's gold medal Saturday after earning hard-fought semifinal victories.

Cuba defeated Brazil, 5-15, 15-8, 10-15, 15-13, 15-12, to advance to the final match, while China moved to within one victory of claiming its second Olympic women's volleyball gold medal in the United States by beating Russia, 12-15, 15-5, 15-8, 15-12.

China's victory ended Russia's remarkable run of never finishing worse than second in the Olympics. It won four gold and two silver medals as the Soviet Union between 1964 and 1988, missing only the 1984 Los Angeles Games because of its boycott. The Unified Team won the silver in 1992.

The U.S. women's team beat Germany, 17-16, 15-6, 5-15, 15-6, to finish seventh. Had the U.S. team lost, it would have finished eighth and matched its worst-ever Olympic showing, recorded at the 1968 Games.

"We knew we were a better team than what's taken place in the last couple of days," said Caren Kemner, who was playing in her third Olympics. "It's torture to have to play off for a lower spot.

"I thought we did pretty good by hanging in there and working through the emotions and playing one more time."

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Brazil, the 1992 gold medalist, defeated rival Argentina, 15-10, 15-3, 13-15, 15-9, and has a shot at finishing fifth in the men's tournament.

Cuba beat Bulgaria, 15-4, 15-12, 16-17, 15-12, in another consolation game and will play Brazil for fifth place today.

Argentina will play Bulgaria for seventh place.

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