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London Olympics 2012: Matt Emmons takes bronze for U.S. despite poor finish

- Associated Press - Monday, August 6, 2012

Matt Emmons' final shot of the Olympic 50-meter three-position rifle competition was terrible. Again. Only this time, he was thrilled.

After seeing gold medals — or any medal, for that matter — slip away with last-bullet debacles in Athens and Beijing, Emmons finally made his way to the Olympic medal stand in the three-position event Monday.

A score of 7.6 on his final shot might be dreadful for someone at the elite level, but good enough for Emmons to win bronze at the Royal Artillery Barracks, the fourth and final medal for USA Shooting at the London Games.

Emmons won a 50-meter prone rifle gold at Athens and silver in the event at Beijing, but he is best-known for his Olympic misfortunes.

He was the leader with one shot left in three-position at Athens in 2004, then somehow managed to shoot at the wrong target. In Beijing, Emmons again led with one shot left. That time, the gun went off before he was aligned with the target.

Boxing: U.S. women clinch medals, redeem team in ring

Flyweight Marlen Esparza and middleweight Claressa Shields clinched the U.S. team's first two boxing medals in London. Esparza patiently outboxed Venezuela's Karlha Magliocco, and the 17-year-old Shields closed furiously in an 18-14 win over Swedish veteran Anna Laurell.

Esparza restored respectability to the American team, which hadn't won a bout inside the ring in eight days. The American men had lost eight consecutive fights before welterweight Errol Spence's apparent loss last week was overturned by amateur boxing's governing body on appeal.

Esparza had little trouble with the wild-swinging Magliocco, battering her with counterpunches and then getting out of the way.

Shields rallied from a second-round deficit against Laurell, who fought at the first women's world championships 11 years ago. The teenager used her superior reach to stay outside for the first two rounds until her legs tired and Shields pounced, unleashing multiple big shots.

Beach Volleyball: Last American men's team knocked out by Latvia

Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal were knocked out of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament Monday night by Latvia.

The Americans won the first set 21-19, then dropped two straight to Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins, 21-18, 15-11.

The other U.S. men's team, Beijing gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, already hadf been eliminated.

The United States is already guaranteed a medal in the women's bracket, with two-time gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor into the semifinals along with April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.

Water Polo: U.S. men stumble into quarterfinals with loss to Hungary

Norbert Hosnyanszky scored three times and defending champion Hungary beat the U.S. 11-6 to close out the preliminary stage.

The defeat — the Americans' second straight in London — exposed a simple problem that has turned urgent for the U.S. with a quarterfinal matchup against undefeated Croatia looming Wednesday.

"Look, it's defense, that's it," captain Tony Azevedo said.

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