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Runners Take Historic Route

ATHENS 2004 | Up Next

August 29, 2004|Helene Elliott; Steve Springer; Alan Abrahamson

Here, in capsule form, are the events that will be highlighted today in Athens:

Track and Field

The track and field program ends with the men's marathon, which will start in Marathon and end at Panathinaiko Stadium. The runners with the top two times in the world this year, Felix Limo and Evans Rutto of Kenya, didn't make the Kenyan team, and Sammy Korir, who had the third-best time, pulled out because of an injury. However, world-record holder Paul Tergat (2:04:55 in Berlin in 2003) is in the field.

Jaouad Gharib of Morocco has the fourth-best time in the world this season and fastest among the entrants, 2:07:02, and Gert Thys of South Africa has the fifth-best time, 2:07:06.

-- Helene Elliott

Boxing

It has been more than half a century since the U.S. went consecutive Olympics without winning a gold medal in boxing. That was in the 1936 and '48 Games, no Olympics held in between because of World War II.

Having been blanked in the 2000 Games, the U.S. can equal that low mark unless 178-pounder Andre Ward, the remaining American fighter, can win his gold-medal match today against Magomed Aripgadjiev of Belarus. Ward has won more than 100 consecutive amateur bouts over the last six years.

-- Steve Springer

Men's Volleyball

Although beaten by Brazil in the semifinals, in a match in which it failed to record an ace, the U.S. has a chance today to win its first volleyball medal in 12 years. The opponent will be Russia in a match for bronze. The last U.S. volleyball medal, earned in Barcelona in 1992, was also bronze.

-- Steve Springer

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony means the end of the 2004 Summer Games but also heralds the next chapters in the Olympic cycle, the Winter Games of 2006 in Turin, Italy, and the Summer Games of 2008 in Beijing.

Along with Greece's send-off, reportedly heavy on music, dancing and food, the ceremony will spotlight China's considerable capabilities as well as its enthusiasm for the 2008 Games. Part of the ceremony is an eight-minute pageant, overseen by movie director Zhang Yimou, designed to link ancient Olympia to the Great Wall of China.

The ceremony will also feature the traditional mingling of the athletes of the world on the infield of Olympic Stadium. By design, the athletes are together at the close, in contrast to the march into the opening ceremony, during which the athletes enter by country.

-- Alan Abrahamson

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