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Russian Stops Gardner

October 04, 2003|From Associated Press

CRETEIL, France — Olympic wrestling champion Rulon Gardner of the United States was knocked out of the Greco-Roman World Championships in the first elimination round, losing to Russia's Khassan Baroev, 3-0.

Gardner must now progress through a qualifying tournament in Kazakhstan in February to qualify for next summer's Athens Olympics.

"It's my fault," he said. "I didn't fight to the best of my abilities."

Gardner is the third U.S. wrestler eliminated. Brandon Paulson was beaten in the 121-pound class and Kevin Bracken lost in the 145 1/2-pound division.

Gardner won the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics by stunning Russian great Alexander Karelin and won the world title in 2001. Last year, he needed to have a toe amputated after he was stranded in subfreezing temperatures for 18 hours while snowmobiling.

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