U.S. Gymnast Asked To Return Gold

Gold medal winner Paul Hamm, of the United States, left, and bronze medal winner Yang Tae Young, of Korea, celebrate together during the medal ceremony for the men's gymnastics individual all-around final at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2004.
Gymnastics officials asked Paul Hamm to give up his gold medal as the ultimate show of sportsmanship, but the U.S. Olympic Committee told them to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

In a dispute over scores that has turned into a political squabble, the head of the International Gymnastics Federation wrote a letter to Hamm that suggested giving the all-around gold medal to South Korea's Yang Tae-young "would be recognized as the ultimate demonstration of fair play by the whole world."

FIG president Bruno Grandi tried to have the letter sent to Hamm through the USOC, but the USOC refused to deliver it.

In a letter back to Grandi, USOC secretary general Jim Scherr called the request "a blatant and inappropriate attempt on the part of (FIG) to once again shift responsibility for its own mistakes and instead pressure Mr. Hamm into resolving what has become an embarrassing situation for your federation."

Yang, the bronze medalist, was wrongly docked a tenth of a point on his parallel bars routine. If he had received the proper score, he would have won gold and Hamm would have won silver. Three judges were suspended.

Women's soccer

Abby Wambach scored in the 112th minute with a powerful 10-yard header off a corner kick from Kristine Lilly to give the United States a 2-1 overtime victory over Brazil for the soccer gold medal.

The game marked the final competitive appearance together for the remaining players from the first World Cup championship team in 1991. The five helped bring their sport to national prominence and captured the country's imagination by winning the World Cup in 1999.

Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett are retiring from the national team — although they might play in some farewell exhibitions this fall — leaving Lilly and Brandi Chastain as the last of the old guard.

Men's basketball

Stephon Marbury broke a U.S. Olympic record with 31 points, leading the Americans to a 102-94 victory over Spain in the Olympic quarterfinals Thursday.

Marbury made six of his team's 12 3-pointers and helped push the previously undefeated Spaniards out of medal contention.

In the U.S. team's first five games, Marbury scored just 21 points, missing 24 of 30 shots. The Americans lost two of those games: an embarrassing blowout against Puerto Rico and a last-minute loss to against Lithuania.

The Lithuanians remained unbeaten with a 95-75 victory over China, setting up a semifinal game against Italy, which beat Puerto Rico 83-70. Lithuania has settled for bronze in the last three Olympics.

In the late game, Argentina earned a semifinal matchup against the United States by defeating Greece 69-64.

Track and Field

Shawn Crawford and two teammates capped a big night for Americans at the track, sweeping the 200-meter medals despite a rowdy crowd that booed loudest when the U.S. sprinters were announced before the race.

In a race missing disgraced Greek hero and defending Olympic champion Kostas Kenteris, Crawford ran a personal-best 19.79 seconds. That was just good enough to edge Bernard Williams, who tied his personal best of 20.01 seconds for silver. Justin Gatlin, the 100 champion, won bronze in 20.03.

Dwight Phillips led a 1-2 American finish in the men's long jump, with NCAA champion John Moffitt taking the silver.

The start of the 200 was delayed for four minutes because spectators were booing, whistling in derision and chanting Kenteris' name and "Hellas, Hellas" — the Greek word for Greece. The whistles were loudest when the three U.S. sprinters were announced.

Felix Sanchez gave the Dominican Republic its first Olympic gold medal when he won the men's 400-meter hurdles in 47.63 seconds.

Marion Jones helped the U.S. 400-meter relay team to a time of 41.67, matching the mark it set earlier this month that is best in the world this year.


The U.S. diving team is staring at its first medals shutout in 92 years after Rachelle Kunkel finished ninth in the 3-meter springboard, far behind a 1-2 finish by the powerful Chinese.

Guo Jingjing easily won her country's fifth diving gold of the Athens Games, while teammate Wu Minxia edged out Russia's Yulia Pakhalina for the silver.

Women's Water Polo

Melania Grego's lob goal with 2:04 remaining in the second overtime gave Italy a come-from-behind victory over Greece for the Olympic water polo gold medal.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Upset with marks given to American Mary Sanders in qualifying, the U.S. team filed an inquiry with the International Gymnastics Federation seeking a review of her hoop routine.

Sanders finished 18th out of 24 gymnasts in the first of two qualifying rounds. The top 10 gymnasts after Friday's second round advance. Sanders received a technical score — the measure of difficulty — of 4.6 in hoop.

Synchronized Swimming

Russia, Japan and the United States were 1-2-3 after the Olympic team technical event, the same places they finished in the duet competition a day earlier.

Men's Triathlon

Hamish Carter pulled away from Bevan Docherty on the final lap of the triathlon, giving New Zealand a 1-2 finish in the endurance race. Sven Riederer of Switzerland got the bronze after fading from the leaders down the stretch.