- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2008

From combined dispatches

Playing for a gold medal in men’s water polo, the United States came up just short, losing 14-10 to Hungary, which became the first country to win three straight gold medals in the sport since Britain in 1920.

The U.S. team, which entered the Olympics ranked ninth in the world, kept it close early and tied the game 9-9 in the third quarter. But Hungary pulled away down the stretch, scoring five unanswered goals and turning a close match into a blowout.

Nonetheless, the Americans (5-2) were content with returning to the medal stand for the first time since 1988. Not bad for a program that gets little national attention because the sport is so geographically confined to California and really was trying to regroup after going through four coaches in the last four years.

“We’ve come a long way,” coach Terry Schroeder said.



The below-the-surface brawling that makes this sport exciting apparently spilled onto dry land for the Serbians, with their leading scorer and starting goaltender missing the bronze medal match because of injuries reportedly sustained in a fight following a semifinal loss to the Americans.

Aleksandar Sapic, a four-time Olympian considered the best player in the world, was home in Belgrade having surgery for a knee injury, and goalkeeper Denis Sefik was at the athletes’ village with a broken hand.

It didn’t matter. Serbia won the bronze anyway, beating Montenegro in a battle between countries that used to be one. Serbia and Montenegro won silver at the 2004 Athens Games, two years before they split.

BOXING

Zou Shiming won China’s first gold medal in boxing. Then Zhang Xiaoping made it two.

Zou, a two-time world champion whose bronze medal in Athens was China’s first in a sport long banned by Mao Zedong, won the light flyweight title when Mongolia’s Serdamba Purevdorj retired early in the second round with an apparent shoulder injury.

Zhang, a light heavyweight, upset two medal favorites on his way to the title bout, then beat Kenny Egan of Ireland 11-7.

MEN’S MARATHON

Samuel Wansiru pulled away over the final few miles to become the first Kenyan in the storied running history of that nation to win an Olympic marathon.

The 21-year-old negotiated the 26.2-mile (42.15-kilometer) course through the Beijing streets in bright morning sunshine in an Olympic record of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds.

It was just the third marathon for Wansiru, also known as Wanjiru, who twice broke the world half-marathon record last year.

MEN’S HANDBALL

The 302nd and last gold medal went to France, which beat Iceland 28-23 to deny the small country its first gold in an Olympic event.

Iceland’s silver is still its best showing in any event since 1956. Iceland has won four medals in its history, two silver and two bronze.

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