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Kayak Victories Don't Get Old for Fischer at 42

August 28, 2004|From Times Wire Services

German kayaker Birgit Fischer won her eighth gold medal, becoming the first woman to win Olympic medals 24 years apart.

Fischer, 42, was part of the four-person kayak team that rallied in the second half of the 500-meter final Friday, winning by two-tenths of a second over Hungary, with Ukraine taking bronze.

"You never know if it's going to be the last medal you win, so in that sense, it has a higher meaning," Fischer said.

Fischer won her first gold at 18 in Moscow, becoming the youngest woman to win an Olympic kayaking event. She now has 11 medals and will be a strong contender for another today when she races in the pairs kayak final.

No U.S. boats made the canoe and kayak finals.

In the men's 1,000-meter single canoe event, Spain's David Cal surged ahead of Germany's Andreas Dittmer, the defending gold medalist, to win. Attila Vajda of Hungary finished third.

In the men's single kayak 1,000-meter event, Eirik Veraas Larsen of Norway won gold, Ben Fouhy of New Zealand took silver and Adam van Koeverden of Canada held on for bronze.



Dahle Dominates

Norway's Gunn-Rita Dahle dominated the women's cross-country field for her 15th consecutive victory in an internationally sanctioned race.

Since May 2003, Dahle -- whose time was 1 hour 56 minutes 51 seconds -- has won 28 of 32 races she has entered.

Mary McConneloug of Fairfax, Calif., the lone American in the Olympic women's field, placed ninth.

Canada's Marie-Helene Premont took silver, and reigning world champion Sabine Spitz of Germany got bronze.



Americans Shut Out

Caesar Garcia and Kyle Prandi failed to advance out of the 10-meter platform preliminaries, meaning that U.S. divers would suffer their first Olympic shutout in 92 years.

Garcia, from Baton Rouge, La., finished 23rd with 388.77 points and Prandi, from Strongsville, Ohio, wound up 29th out of 33 divers with 346.53 points. Mathew Helm of Australia was the top qualifier with 513.06 points.

Alexandre Despatie of Canada, silver medalist in the three-meter springboard, was second with 500.55.

The United States was once the world's diving superpower, winning 41 of the 62 gold medals available between 1904 and 1976.

The balance of power began to shift in the 1980s, despite the brilliance of Greg Louganis, and this year's team joined the 1912 squad as the only ones that failed to win at least one Olympic medal.



Kappler Takes Bronze

Chris Kappler, from Pittstown, N.J., took bronze in show jumping and was relieved to learn his horse, which broke down on the course, was not seriously hurt.

Kappler's horse, Royal Kaliber, was taken from the Olympic arena in a trailer and examined at the on-site veterinarian clinic. It suffered a strained front leg tendon during a timed jumpoff.

Ireland's Cian O'Connor won the gold, riding Waterford Crystal. Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa won silver by default after Kappler pulled up.



Aussies Win in Overtime

Jamie Dwyer's goal in the eighth minute of overtime gave the Australian men's team a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands and its first gold medal.

The Aussies had settled for silver in three previous Olympics. Their only other major title came at the World Cup in 1986. The Netherlands was trying to join India as the only teams to win three consecutive golds.

In the bronze-medal game, Bjoern Michel scored in overtime to give Germany a 4-3 victory over Spain.



Hungarian Wins Gold

Hungary's Zsuzsanna Voros scored 5,448 points to win the women's gold medal, adding the Olympic title to her three world championships.

Voros, 27, cruised to victory in the concluding 3,000-meter cross-country run, finishing 17 seconds ahead of silver medalist Jelena Rublevska of Latvia. Georgina Harland of Britain collected bronze after starting the final leg in 14th position.



Sanders Fails to Advance

Mary Sanders, the only U.S. representative, did not make it out of qualifying, finishing 15th of 24 gymnasts. Only the top 10 advanced to the all-around final on Sunday.

Defending world champion Alina Kabaeva of Russia was first with 105.875 points. Fellow Russian Irina Tchachina finished second and Anna Bessonova of Ukraine was third.

Though Sanders was ninth at last year's world championships, she had little chance of making the final after a controversial score on the first day of qualifying in the hoop routine.

The Americans protested, but it was rejected by the International Gymnastics Federation. That left Sanders in 18th place after half of qualifying, too far down to make any kind of meaningful move.



U.S. Team Takes Bronze

The Russians, overcoming a glitch in their music that forced them to start over, completed a sweep of the sport's gold medals with a team performance that received perfect 10s across the board in artistic impression. Japan won silver and the U.S. took bronze.

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