American Steven Lopez had to overcome a hostile crowd and Bahri Tanrikulu of Turkey to win a gold medal in taekwondo yesterday, the second title of his Olympic career.
Lopez backed Tanrikulu into a corner and kicked him in the gut to take the lead for good in the second of three rounds in the under-176-pound (80kg) final. He went on to win 3-0.
American Steven Lopez, left, overcomes a hostile crowd and Bahri Tanrikulu of Turkey to win a gold medal in taekwondo Saturday.
(Kim Kyung-Hoon - Reuters)
The Texas native won gold in the 2000 Olympics in the 150-pound (68kg) division. He has since moved up in weight classes and had no trouble making the adjustment, winning the 2003 world championship and rolling through the competition at the Athens Games.
Yossef Karami of Iran took the bronze.
In the women's under-148-pound (67kg) event, Luo Wei of China beat Elisavet Mystakidou of Greece, disappointing the raucous home crowd. Hwang Kyung Sun of South Korea took the bronze.
Lopez had to deal with tough crowds throughout the tournament. The crowd was subdued for most of the first-round matches, but when Lopez and first-round opponent Raid Rasheed of Iraq were introduced, the Iraqi received a loud ovation. Lopez presented Rasheed with a U.S. taekwondo T-shirt, but the gesture didn't help him win friends in the crowd, which repeatedly booed Lopez and chanted "Iraq!" throughout his 12-0 win.
"I want to thank the crowd for their appreciation and support," Rasheed said.
"I think that was expected," Lopez said. "Too bad you can't keep politics outside of the Olympics."
In yesterday's final, American cheers were frequently met with boos and whistles.
"The United States is the best country," Lopez said. "It's the strongest country, the most powerful country -- and everyone's envious. It doesn't matter if it's the Olympics, World Cup, world championships. Everyone always wants the United States to lose."
Argentina won its first Olympic gold medal in soccer, beating Paraguay, 1-0, on Carlos Tevez's eighth goal of the tournament. Despite the loss, Paraguay captured its first medal in any sport.
In a game the Argentines controlled from the beginning, Mauro Rosales helped set up the winning goal in the 18th minute with a cross from the right side. Tevez ran between Paraguay defenders Julio Manzur and Carlos Gamarra and shot the ball into the net from about 20 feet.
Already an underdog, Paraguay finished the game with just nine men. Emilio Martinez was ejected for elbowing Andrea D'Alessandro in the face in the 67th minute, and Diego Figueredo received his second yellow card with six minutes left.
Birgit Fischer settled for silver, leaving the 42-year-old Olympian with two medals in two days. The two-woman crew from Hungary overtook Fischer and her German partner in the second half of the 500-meter kayak race, ending her quest for a ninth gold medal. Natasa Janics and Katalin Kovacs won the gold. Poland got the bronze.
It was a remarkable performance by Janics, who won the 500-meter single kayak race only 70 minutes earlier. Janics, 22, wasn't even born when Fischer won the first of her eight gold medals in Moscow in 1980. Fischer got her fourth silver since she started competing.
In single kayak, Janics beat Josefa Idem of Italy, who finished second, and Caroline Brunet of Canada, who finished third.
Germany's Andreas Dittmer beat Spaniard David Cal by .34 of a second to win the 500-meter canoe event, while Russia's Maxim Opalev took bronze.
Canadian single kayaker Adam van Koeverden took his second medal of the Games -- this one a gold in the 500-meter final. He beat Australia's Nathan Baggaley by .55 of a second, with Britain's Ian Wynne taking bronze.
In the 500-meter pairs kayak, Germany's Ronald Rauhe and Tim Wieskoetter won handily. Australia ended up with the silver, .07 of a second ahead of Belarus, which took the bronze.
The Chinese canoe pair of Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun delivered a surprise victory in a race where five canoes crossed the line in a photo finish.
Julien Absalon, whose focus had been on Athens since failing to make France's Olympic team four years ago, pulled away in the second half and eased to victory in 2 hours 15 minutes 2 seconds. Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain finished second, exactly a minute behind Absalon. Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands, the world's top-ranked rider and 1996 Olympic champion, took the bronze.
It was the final cycling event of the Athens Games. Australia, with 10 medals, dominated the overall standings; Germany, with six medals, finished second; the United States won three medals, all in the road time trials on Aug. 18.
Russia, the defending champion, won another group gold, scoring 51.100 points to edge Italy and Bulgaria.
Eight teams of five women each vied for the championship. Each had two turns on the mat -- one with five ribbons, the other with three hoops and two balls.
The Russians also won a bronze in 1996, the year group rhythmic was added to the Games. Italy won its first Olympic medal in the sport. Bulgaria, which won silver at the Atlanta Olympics, returned to the medal stand after being shut out in 2000.
Hu Jia overtook teammate Tian Liang on his next-to-last dive to win the 10-meter platform title, giving China a record sixth Olympic diving gold medal.
Hu totaled 748.08 points to upset defending champion Tian. Mathew Helm of Australia edged Tian for silver by 0.90 of a point, finishing with 730.56 to Tian's 729.66. World champion Alexandre Despatie of Canada was fourth with 707.46.
Hu got out of water and threw his arms in the air, realizing he had clinched the gold. He had earned platform silver behind Tian at the Sydney Games.
Zhang Ping led a determined rally past Russia with 25 points to help China win the gold medal, 28-30, 25-27, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12.
After dropping the first two sets, China came back to tie -- staying a step ahead of the Russians in the final set. Zhang Yuehong ended it with a spike from the left side.
China's players began hugging and crying with joy on their side of the court, while a stunned Russian team sat on its bench in tears. This was China's first medal since a silver at Atlanta in 1996.
Cuba, which had its streak of three straight golds stopped with a loss to China in the semifinals, beat Brazil for the bronze.
The moment was almost too much for Thai boxer Manus Boonjumnong. He had just won a gold medal, and now his country's king was on the phone to congratulate him.
Boonjumnong sobbed as he held the cell phone in one hand and a picture of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the other. He listened for a few minutes, so emotional that he was able to only give one-word answers to his king.
"I fought for my king, who urged me to be strong in my final bout," Boonjumnong said. "I dedicate the gold medal to my family and to all the people of Thailand. And, of course, to the king of Thailand."
Boonjumnong pulled the biggest upset of yesterday's five gold medal bouts, using ring movement and speed to beat Yudel Johnson of Cuba, 17-11, in a light welterweight bout. Two other Cubans, heavyweight Odlanier Solis Fonte and flyweight Yuriorkis Gamboa Toledano, both won their gold medal bouts.
Two Russians also won golds. Alexei Tichtchenko beat Kim Song Guk of North Korea, 39-17, at featherweight, while Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov beat Gennadiy Golovkin of Kazakhstan, 28-18, in a middleweight bout.