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Athens 2004

Olympics News

GANNETT NEWS SERVICE MULTIMEDIA                                                                    Olympics home | E-mail feedback

August 22, 2004 2:10 pm

U.S. women wrestlers advance

By BRYCE MILLER

Gannett News Service

ATHENS, Greece - Every time a member of the U.S. women's freestyle wrestling Olympic team stepped on a mat Sunday at Ano Liossia Olympic Hall, history was being written faster than the ink and sweat could dry.

When Sara McMann beat 2001 world champion Lili Meng of China, America had its first victory.

The win, by fall, was the first pin in U.S. women's Olympic wrestling history.

Tela O'Donnell, down 5-0 to Russia's Olga Smirnova, had America's first Olympic comeback with a dramatic pin.

Win or lose, each moment mattered - because it was the Olympics.

``We get to show what we do to the world,'' said O'Donnell, of Homer, Ala. ``It's so much bigger than me - it's huge.''

The United States pushed two of its four competitors to Monday's semifinals.

Only Patricia Miranda, at 105.5 pounds, made it through the day without a loss. Miranda beat China's Hui Li (8-5), Russia's Lorisa Oorzhak (7-3) and Venezuela's Mayelis Caripa (11-1).

McMann also advanced, splitting her two matches but advancing on classification points, 5-4, over Canada's Viola Yankik - who beat McMann, 5-2.

McMann's pin against Meng - in 4 minutes, 26 seconds at 138.75 pounds - was the difference. Pins are worth four classification points, the tools used to determine pool winners.

``We'd like to have gotten three or even four in there,'' said coach Terry Steiner. ``Now the thing is, we need to get two golds. And we're capable of that in both weight classes.''

The Americans lost O'Donnell at 121 pounds and two-time world silver medalist Toccara Montgomery at 158.5.

Montgomery was paired with five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan in the blind-draw system and fell, 8-4.

``It is painful (to lose two),'' Miranda said. ``We're very close-knit.''

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COMMENTARY AND PERSPECTIVE

MIKE LOPRESTI | Gannett News Service

Olympics 2004 were games of education, enlightenment

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IAN O'CONNOR | The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News

Biggest winner of 2004 Olympics: Greece

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CHRISTINE BRENNAN | USA TODAY

Athens scores satisfying win

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DAN BICKLEY | The Arizona Republic

Some U.S. women's teams put on best show in Athens

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LYNN HENNING | The Detroit News

U.S. basketball team has gone from stars to targets

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BOB KRAVITZ | The Indianapolis Star

It was Black Friday for U.S.

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GNS MULTIMEDIA

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