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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Sport-By-Sport Report : VOLLEYBALL

Netherlands Edges Italy for the Gold

August 05, 1996|Times Wire Services

The shot facing Italy's best player was impossible. The Netherlands, frustrated by a string of second-place finishes, held its breath anyway.

The shot hit the net, and the entire Dutch team hit the floor almost as quickly to celebrate its gold medal with a 15-12, 9-15, 16-14, 9-15, 17-15 victory.

The Italians were left stunned by another failure in the only major tournament they haven't won this decade.

The teams' stars, Italy's Andrea Giani and the Netherlands' Bas van de Goor, had a say in the biggest points. Giani spiked the ball off van de Goor's arm to give Italy match point. Van de Goor, an agile, 6-foot-11 middle blocker, responded with a spike down the middle for a 15-15 tie.

Ron Zwerver had a kill to bring up match point for the Dutch. Van de Goor dropped in one of his powerful jump serves to begin the rally, which ended when Samuele Papi shanked a pass, leaving Giani too tight of an angle to clear the net.

Earlier, Yugoslavia returned from Olympic banishment to win its first men's volleyball medal, beating Russia, 15-8, 7-15, 15-8, 15-9, for the bronze.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Medalists / Volleyball

Men

GOLD: Netherlands

SILVER: Italy

BRONZE: Yugoslavia

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