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August 21, 2008|John Cherwa | Orlando Sentinel

Baseball: The U.S. moved itself into better position in the medal round with a 4-2 victory over Japan on Wednesday. It plays Cuba in the semifinals Friday. In other games, Cuba crushed China, 17-1; South Korea shut out the Netherlands, 10-0, and Taiwan beat Canada, 6-5.

Basketball: It was Kobe (Bryant) time as he scored 25 points in a rousing 116-85 win for the U.S. over Australia. In the other games, Spain beat Croatia, 72-59; Lithuania beat China, 94-68, and Argentina got past Greece, 80-78. On Friday, Spain plays Lithuania and the U.S. plays Argentina.

Boxing: Competition continued without any U.S. participants. In the flyweight semifinals Friday, Andris Laffita Hernandez of Cuba will fight Georgy Balakshin of Russia, and Vincenzo Picardi of Italy will face Somjit Jongjohor of Thailand. In the middleweight class, Darren John Sutherland of Ireland will box James Degale of Britain. In the other semifinal, Emilio Correa Bayeaux of Cuba faces Vijender Kumar of India.

Canoe/Kayak: Rami Zur, the lone U.S. participant still alive, was eliminated in the men's single kayak 1,000 meters when he finished seventh. Zur still has a chance in the single kayak 500 meters, which runs its semifinal races today.

Diving: In the 10-meter platform, U.S. diver Laura Wilkinson can at least see the medals from her fifth-place position after preliminaries. Leading is Chen Ruolin of China followed by teammate Wang Xin and Emilie Heymans in third. The finals are today.

Field Hockey: At the end of women's pool competition, the U.S., a team not used to being here, can take solace in an eighth-place finish. It lost a classification game to Spain, 3-2. South Korea beat Japan, 2-1, to claim ninth. In semifinal games, China beat Germany, 3-2, and the Netherlands stopped Argentina, 5-2.

Handball: In the quarterfinals of the men's tournament, Spain defeated South Korea, 29-24; Iceland beat Poland, 32-30; France beat Russia, 27-24, and Croatia stopped Denmark, 26-24.

Sailing: Yin Jian of China won the country's first-ever gold medal in sailing in the women's RS:X (windsurfing) class. The top American was Nancy Rios in 26th. The men's windsurfing competition was won by Tom Ashley of New Zealand. Ben Barger was the only U.S. competitor, finishing 26th.

Softball: At least the U.S. will be rested for the gold medal game, as opposed to its opponent in the final. The U.S. beat Japan, 4-1, in a game that will be remembered for Crystl Bustos' three-run home run in the ninth to give the U.S. the cushion it needed. After Australia's 5-3 victory over Canada came an epic game between Japan and Australia for the right to play the U.S. Japan needed 12 innings to beat Australia, 4-3. Australia gets the bronze, and the gold medal will be decided today.

Swimming: In the 10-kilometer open-water marathon, one of the most painful events to watch, Larisa Ilchenko of Russia took the gold in just under two hours. The lone U.S. swimmer, Chloe Sutton, finished 22nd.

Synchronized Swimming: Christina Jones and Andrea Nott of the U.S. finished fifth in the duet competition. Defending Olympic champions Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia repeated as gold winners.

Table Tennis: It was a pretty good day for the U.S. Both Chen Wang and Jun Gao, Chinese expatriates who claim U.S. citizenship, advanced to the fourth round of the women's tournament.

Taekwondo: Two medals were awarded without much notice by the U.S. In the men's 58-kg division, the winner was Guillermo Perez of Mexico, who beat Yulis Gabriel Mercedes of the Dominican Republic. One of the bronze medals went to Rohullah Nikpai of Afghanistan, the first Olympic medal of any type for an athlete from that country. In the women's 49 kg, Wu Jingyu of China picked up the gold by beating Buttree Puedpong of Thailand.

Track and Field: By winning the 200 meters in a world record 19.30 seconds, Usain Bolt of Jamaica made history by setting world records in both the 200 and 100 at these Games. In the women's 400-meter hurdles, the gold went to Melaine Walker of Jamaica. Aksana Miankova of Belarus won the women's hammer throw.

Volleyball: In another heart-stopping game to the end, the U.S. men beat Serbia, three sets to two, to advance to the semifinals against Russia, which beat Bulgaria, 3-1. Italy, a 3-2 winner over Poland, will play Brazil, which beat China in three sets.

Water Polo: The U.S. men got to sit back and watch because they drew a bye into the semifinal round. But in the quarterfinals, Serbia beat Spain to earn the right to play the U.S. on Friday. Montenegro upset Croatia, 7-6, and will play Hungary. In classification games, Italy beat Canada, 13-11, and Greece beat China, 13-8.

Wrestling: Buvaysa Saytiev of Russia won his third Olympic gold medal in the 74-kg group with a tough win over Soslan Tigiev of Uzbekistan. The lone American, Ben Askren, lost to Ivan Fundora of Cuba then was not eligible for the wrestlebacks. In the 66-kg class, Ramazan Sahin of Turkey beat Andriy Stadnik of Ukraine. Doug Schwab of the U.S. lost to Stadnik in his first match then lost to Kumar in the wrestlebacks.

-- John Cherwa

Orlando Sentinel

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