Former Olympic champion Martin Doktor has a chance to snatch one back.
The Czech won his semifinal heat yesterday in 1,000-meter flatwater canoe (C-1), setting up a showdown with the man who beat him for the gold medal in Sydney.
He'll race a field that includes Germany's Andreas Dittmer, the three-time defending world champion who has dominated over the last four years.
The Americans weren't as fortunate, getting eliminated from the men's single kayak (K-1) 1,000-meter category, the K-2 1,000, the C-2 1,000 and women's K-4 500 meters. No U.S. boat has made the finals yet, but the team still has boats scheduled for semifinal races today.
"We need more years of experience," U.S. Coach Jerzy Dzaidkowiec said. "We can see the boats developing well, but unfortunately we didn't make it today. Our strongest boats will be performing tomorrow."
The Doktor-Dittmer rematch -- perhaps grudge match is a better description -- gives the C-1 some sizzle.
Doktor, 30, became a star in single canoe racing after winning golds in both the 500- and 1,000-meter events in Atlanta in 1996. Dittmer won a gold in canoe pairs in those Games and didn't race in the C-1.
Then Dittmer changed his focus, and everything else changed, too.
Dittmer has won the gold and world titles, leaving Doktor in his wake. Their rivalry has turned nasty at times, with Doktor's father once insinuating that Dittmer must have been on performance-enhancing drugs in order to beat his son. The German team countered by threatening to sue for defamation.
The rivalry has played out again this week, with Dittmer maintaining his advantage.
The defending champion won his preliminary heat Monday and received a bye to the final. Doktor was upset in his preliminary heat, losing to Russian Konstantin Fomichev by 0.33 seconds. That forced him into yesterday's semifinal round, where he had to finish in the top three to advance to Friday's final.
He did so easily, but the extra racing could work against him.
Like Dittmer, Doktor also is in the C-1 500-meter race. Again, he was forced into a semifinal because he finished second to Spaniard David Cal in earlier heats. Dittmer won his 500-meter heat and wasn't even in Schinias for the semifinal round, instead watching his sister Anja compete in the triathlon.
In the other C-1 1,000 semifinal, Canadian Stephen Giles triumphed, followed by Cuban Karel Aguilar Chacon. Canoe is one of Cuba's better Olympic sports, dating from the collaboration in the early 1980s with former communist countries in eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria and East Germany, which traditionally had strong programs.
Giles's win was just one of several Canadian highlights. Adam van Koeverden won his K-1 1,000-meter semifinal, and the men's K-4 1,000 and women's K-4 500 squads advanced with third-place finishes.
Ryan Bayley added the Keirin title to his sprint gold medal to highlight Australia's overwhelming dominance of the sport at these Games.
Bayley is the double individual gold medalist, while teammate Graeme Brown won gold in both the team pursuit and yesterday's Madison.
Brown teamed up with Stuart O'Grady for the Madison and the veteran earned his first gold in a four-medal spree spanning four Games.
Russian veteran Olga Slyusareva controlled the points race from start to finish and finally added an Olympic gold to her impressive list of titles at 35.
German Jens Fiedler was eliminated in the semifinal, ending his quest for a unique fourth gold medal in men's Olympic cycling.
Marty Nothstein failed to get past the opening round of the Keirin competition ending his hopes of becoming the sixth person to win individual cycling medals in three consecutive Olympics.
Men's Water Polo
Revaz Chomakhidze fired three first-half goals as Russia overpowered Germany, 12-5, and set up a semifinal meeting against defending champion Hungary.
The Hungarians won a lopsided final over Russia at Sydney in 2000 and had a 7-6 win here Monday over the Russians to cap an unbeaten run in preliminaries.
Aleksandar Sapic scored three times -- including two in a minute in the last quarter to break a 5-5 deadlock -- to propel Serbia and Montenegro to a 7-5 victory over Spain and into a semifinal against Greece.
Emanuel Rego cradled his gold medal in his hand, looking at it as if peering into the eyes of a child.
The eight-year quest for the Brazilian star, one of the world's most accomplished players, was finally over. All the questions answered, all the pressure from fans in his sports-crazy homeland released.
Rego and Ricardo Santos, the world's top-ranked team, overpowered Spain's Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera, 21-16, 21-15, capturing a gold medal for the nation that has dominated the sport internationally for more than a decade.
"This medal is a symbol of an eight-year battle," Rego said. "I have been waiting for this moment for so long."
So has Brazil. The nation's men failed to win a medal in 1996 and earned a disappointing silver in Sydney when third-seeded Santos and Ze Marco de Melo lost to ninth-seeded Americans Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana.
Rego had never even come that close. He has the most wins on the international FIVB tour -- 47 victories and more than $1.3 million in earnings -- but had flopped twice at the Olympics, finishing ninth twice as the No. 2 seed with different partners.
Earlier, Swiss pair Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel won the bronze by beating Australians Julien Prosser and Mark Williams, 19-21, 21-17, 15-13.
Shane Hamman proved once again that he's the strongest man in America, adding to his legacy by breaking two of his U.S. records.
But he came away from the super heavyweight lifting finals in awe of Iran's Hossein Rezazadeh, who proved once again that he's the strongest man in the world -- by far.
Rezazadeh took the lead on his second lift and was guaranteed gold after his fourth. After his only miss, he came back with a 581-pound (263.5 kg) clean and jerk, setting a world record and matching the record total lift of 1,041.7 pounds (472.5 kg) he set in Sydney.
"He is intimidating to some of the guys," said Hamman, who at 5 feet 9 and nearly 350 pounds doesn't get intimidated often. "You see how easily he stands up with the bar. Even people who aren't lifters can see it."
Silver medalist Viktors Scerbatihs of Latvia was a whopping 38.6 pounds (17.5 kg) behind Rezazadeh. Velichko Cholakov of Bulgaria won the bronze with a total that was closer to Hamman's seventh-place finish than to Rezazadeh.
Although Hamman improved three spots on his 2000 Olympics, he was mildly disappointed because he came in eyeing a medal. Pulling off a clean and jerk of 523.6 pounds (237.5 kg) and a total lift of 948 pounds (430 kg) provided some consolation.
"I think that's cool," Hamman said.