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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | OTHER SPORTS

Cuban Boxer Wins Third Gold

September 30, 2000|From Associated Press

Felix Savon of Cuba won his third consecutive Olympic heavyweight gold medal today in Sydney, Australia, equaling the achievement of compatriot Teofilo Stevenson after surviving a late injury scare.

Savon, 33, defeated Sultanahmed Ibzagimov of Russia, 21-13, in what was probably his last Olympic appearance.

There was a heart-stopping moment for Savon in the fourth round as he led, 21-13, with 14 seconds remaining.

Savon had been cut under his left eye in the semifinals and the wound opened again, a big gash forcing the Australian referee to stop the fight to wipe the Cuban's face.

A stoppage due to a cut so close to the final bell would have been a sad finish but the referee returned to the center and ordered the fight to continue.

Savon ducked and danced his way to the gold.

Stevenson won the gold in 1972, 1976 and 1980 and Savon has now done it in 1992, 1996 and in Sydney.

They are the only two boxers ever to twice defend an Olympic title in the same division. Hungarian Laszlo Papp won gold in 1948, 1952 and 1956, but not all at the same weight.

Earlier, Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba scored an 18-12 decision over Raimkoul Malakhbekov of Russia at 119 pounds.

Middleweight Jorge Gutierrez of Cuba threw two winning punches in the final minute to defeat Gaidarbek Gaidarbekov of Russia, 17-15.

Oleg Saitov of Russia became the first boxer to retain an Olympic welterweight title when he beat Sergey Dotsenko of Ukraine, 24-16.

Mario Kindelan of Cuba defeated Andriy Kotelnyk of Ukraine, 14-4, at 132 pounds.

The first boxing gold medal of the Games was won today by Brahim Asloum of France, who won the 106-pound title on a 23-10 decision over 30-year-old Rafael Lozano, of Spain, a bronze medalist in 1996 appearing in his third Olympics.

Asloum is France's first Olympic boxing champion in 64 years. The last French Olympic champions in boxing were middleweight Jean Despeaux and light-heavyweight Roger Michelot in the 1936 Berlin Games.

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SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: The United States' reign as the world's first synchronized swimming superpower ended Friday as the Americans failed to win a medal for the first time since the sport joined the Olympics in 1984.

Russia won the team competition at Sydney with a witch-themed routine, adding to the gold medal it picked up in duet three days earlier.

The Russians scored 99.146 out of a possible 100 points. They earned two perfect 10s for technical marks and two 10s for artistic impression, with a variety of pattern changes, lifts and throws.

"We wanted to make it very visual, including the swimsuits and hairstyles," said Maria Kisseleva, who, along with Olga Brusnikina, won the duet gold. "I believe it was a masterpiece.

"If it was not a masterpiece, we would not have won gold."

Japan took silver with 98.860. Canada was third at 97.357.

"The Japanese were breathing down our necks," Kisseleva said. "We were a little uncertain, but it did not affect our performance, and now our emotions are overflowing."

The Americans, who came in as defending champions, finished fifth at 96.104. France was fourth at 96.467.

"I know we did the best job we could," said Kristina Lum of Santa Clara, Calif. "What else can we do?"

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EQUESTRIAN: The Olympic gold and silver medalists from Atlanta in individual dressage changed places this time around after a spirited competition.

Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands rode an energetic Grand Prix freestyle test on Bonfire to beat defending Olympic champion Isabell Werth of Germany on Gigolo.

Van Grunsven scored 86.05% today, for a combined score of 239.18 from the three days of competition. Gigolo's freestyle was not as fluid and he earned 82.2% for a combined 234.19.

Ulla Salzgeber of Germany won bronze on Rusty.

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