washingtonpost.com  > Sports > Leagues and Sports > Olympics > 2004 > Sport-by-Sport > Wrestling

Gardner One Win From Wrestling Finals

Wednesday, August 25, 2004; Page D12

Rulon Gardner escaped any surprises on the mat, but there was one waiting for him in the stands.

Alexander Karelin, the man who lost to Gardner in wrestling's greatest upset, is in Athens to see if Gardner can win another Olympic gold.

Rulon Gardner wins two pool matches, his first in the Olympics since his gold-medal upset of Russia's Alexander Karelin in Sydney, to move within one victory of reaching the Greco-Roman semifinals at 264 1/2 pounds (120kg). (Hasan Sarbakhshian - AP)

_____ Day 12 _____
The Iraqi soccer team's run ends in the semifinals.
The day's events in track and field bring ups and downs.
Misty May and Kerri Walsh win gold in beach volleyball.
Andre Ward upsets two-time world champion Yevgeny Makarenko in the ring.
Bryan Clay takes silver in the decathlon, while Tom Pappas withdraws due to injury.
Shawn Crawford leads two U.S. teammates into the semifinals of the men's 200 meters.
American wrestler Rulon Gardner wins his first two matches.
The U.S. women's water polo team is upset by Italy.
American Troy Dumais fails to medal in the men's 3-meter springboard final.
America's Cup star Paul Cayard is still in medal contention.
In the cycling men's points race, Russia's Ignatyev is the winner.
In the cycling sprints, Australia's Bayley and Canada's Muenzer win gold.
U.S. basketball player Katie Smith has torn cartilage in her right knee.

_____ More From The Post _____
Michael Wilbon: Andre Ward is America's best chance for a boxing medal.
Sally Jenkins: Whether the Iraqi soccer team gets a medal, or not, they've already won almost everything, with almost nothing.
Scoring controversy has marred the gymnastics competition.
If you are a marketer, Michael Phelps is a dream come true.

_____ On Our Site _____
Athens Snippets: Irini station is a thriving tribute to capitalism.
Graphic: Some youngsters are stepping up on the U.S. track and field team.

___ Tuesday's Medals Results ___
Men's 1,500
Men's 3000 steeplechase
Men's decathlon
Women's 400
Women's 100 hurdles
Women's pole vault
Beach Volleyball
Cycling (Track)
Men's points race
Men's sprint
Women's sprint
Men's 3-meter springboard
Team jumping
Men's 105Kg

_____ Multimedia _____
Audio: Sprinter Jeremy Wariner excited by win.
Audio: Hamm comments on medal controversy.

_____ Photos _____
Day 12
Photo galleries page

_____Free E-mail Newsletters_____
• Redskins
• News Headlines
• News Alert

Three matches and three wins into his second Olympics, Gardner is showing Karelin that maybe his upset wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.

Gardner, far more experienced than he was in Sydney, was patient, technically sound and just aggressive enough to hold off three successive upset attempts and reach the semifinals. If he can beat Kazakhstan's Georgi Tsurtsumia today, he will go for another super heavyweight gold later in the day, with a chance to become the first U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to win two golds.

"Nothing against the group in Sydney, but these [early] matches were more difficult than those," Gardner said. "There's more experience here now, and today was tougher."

Gardner opened a busy day in the 264 1/2-pound (120-kg) competition with a 3-0 victory over Lithuania's Mindaugas Mizgaitis, followed it with a tiebreaking decision over 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Sergei Moreyko of Bulgaria and, about five hours later, a 3-0 decision over Poland's Marek Mikulski.

"He was very smart, very calm, very relaxed and very patient," U.S. Coach Steve Fraser said. "He was a very smart wrestler."

© 2004 The Washington Post Company