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Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Scandal, injuries hit Games

Bulgarian lifter loses silver; Miller out of 100; Cuba baseball loses

September 20, 2000

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— On the same day a Bulgarian weightlifter kissed his silver medal goodbye in a drug scandal, a hamstring strain forced American sprinter Inger Miller to bid farewell to her 100-meter medal hopes.

But the longest goodbye belonged to the Cuban baseball team. The two-time defending gold medalists said adios to a 21-game Olympic winning streak after a shocking 4-2 loss to the Netherlands today.

The Cuban defeat came amid a day of scandal and injury. Miller confirmed her debilitating leg injury just after the International Olympic Committee stripped weightlifter Ivan Ivanov of his medal in one of the first two doping cases during the Sydney Games.

Ivanov tested positive for a banned drug, as did hammer thrower Vadim Devyatovsky of Belarus. Ivanov, who kissed his barbell after clinching his medal Saturday in the 56-kilogram class, tested positive for a diuretic.

"I'm devastated by this," said Sam Coffa, vice president of the International Weightlifting Federation. "... To do something like this was stupid."

Diuretics, often used to reduce weight by flushing fluid from an athlete's body, are also used to mask the presence of other performance enhancing drugs.

Devyatovsky tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in an out-of-competition test in the athletes' village, IOC executive board member.

Miller out

America's No. 2 sprinter, Inger Miller, confirmed that she is definitely out of the 100 meters and possibly the entire Sydney Games after straining her left hamstring in a pre-Sydney workout.

Miller, who finished second to Marion Jones in the 100 and 200 meters at the U.S. trials, was hopeful that rest would sufficiently heal the injury in time for the 200 on Sept. 27 and the subsequent relays.

"I'm disappointed ... but I've got to go with the flow," she said today. "I'm still young and I've got other chances."

Baseball

Bam. Bam. Just like that, the Cuban baseball team's eight-year Olympic undefeated string is history.

After collecting two golds without a defeat in Barcelona and Atlanta, the Cuban baseball team finally suffered a loss to an unlikely opponent the Dutch, led by ex-New York Yankee Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens.

The U.S. team is still unbeaten at 3-0.

Boxing

Ricardo Williams Jr. became the ninth American fighter to win his opening Olympic match, shellacking Australia's Henry Collins 21-5 in a fight that was stopped in the fourth round.

Men's soccer

The U.S. men's soccer team made it to the Olympic quarterfinals for the first time ever. On the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, the American soccer players notched a historic 3-1 victory Tuesday over Kuwait. The Americans, needing a win to advance, outplayed their opponents to earn one.

A first-half goal by Danny Califf preceded second-half tallies by Chris Albright and Landon Donovan as the Americans won for just the fifth time in 25 Olympic contests dating back to 1924. Two of those wins were against Kuwait.

Women's gymnastics

The Magnificent Seven of Atlanta were replaced by a fourth-place finish in Sydney for the U.S. women's gymnasts the first time since 1988 that the American failed to medal in Olympic team competition.

But though the team did not defend its 1996 gold medal, team officials were encouraged by its showing after a last-place finish in the 1999 world championships. "The girls did what they could," coach Kelli Hill said. "We had nowhere to go but up."

The gold this time went to world champion Romania. R

Tennis

After snatching titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Venus Williams arrived in Sydney as the player to beat for the gold. Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia wasn't up to that task as Williams crushed her in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, in her first Olympic match. The U.S. women completed the first round 3-0 when defending gold medalist Lindsay Davenport defeated Paolo Suarez of Argentina, 6-2, 6-2 today.

Jeff Tarango was the lone American to reach the second round of men's singles. The tempestuous Tarango, who made the team when Pete Sampras opted out of the games, beat Diego Camacho of Bolivia 6-0, 6-1.

No. 16 seed Michael Chang then lost to wildcard Sebastien Lareau of Canada 7-6 (6), 6-3.

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