A newly assembled United States men's fours boat earned an upset victory in the rowing World Cup circuit in Lucerne, Switzerland, and will enter the Olympics as a medal contender.
The U.S. women's eights, meanwhile, took a second straight World Cup victory Sunday in Lucerne, the last World Cup race before the Athens Olympics.
The men's fours crew of Bryan Volpenhein, Beau Hoopman, Dan Beery and Jason Read, racing together for the first time internationally, surged past favorites Canada and Britain over the final quarter of the 2,000-meter race.
"It was unbelievable. I didn't expect it to happen," Volpenhein said.
The U.S. crew was timed in 6 minutes 2.21 seconds to finish 1.96 seconds ahead of Canada. Britain was third in 6:05.01.
The women's eight took control during the first 500 meters. They finished in 6:11.04, 2.31 seconds ahead of the Netherlands. Romania was third.
The United States also took silver in men's lightweight pairs and bronze in women's quadruple sculls.
The U.S. rowing team will have boats in seven of eight men's events and five of six women's events in Athens.
Greece's public works minister apologized yesterday for the massive traffic jams caused around Athens by the government's last-minute rush to finish delayed road projects.
"I want to ask forgiveness from all those citizens suffering on the national highways and on certain streets in Athens where the works are being carried out," Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said.
Torch Lands in Belgium
The Olympic torch touched down in Europe after ending its tour of North America, kicking off the relay's final leg before it heads back to Greece.
The torch arrived at Brussels International Airport from Montreal, host of the 1976 Summer Olympics. It was then driven to the port city of Antwerp, which hosted the 1920 Games. From there, the torch started a European tour of 17 cities, including all that have hosted the Olympics, including London, Moscow, Stockholm, Rome and Barcelona.
Australian Cyclist Banned
Cyclist Mark French, suspended for two years for drug offenses, was banned for life from representing Australia in the Olympics.