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Years of Training Culminate in Gold Medals for US Swimmers at Beijing Games


Another 13 gold medals are up for grabs as the Beijing Olympics continue. Events in the swimming pool continue to take the spotlight with finals in four events. VOA's Jim Stevenson has this preview of the action from China.

Following grueling training sessions over a period of years, a handful of athletes will see their hard work pay off Monday in the form of an Olympic medal. The marquee events are again in the swimming pool, where the women's 100-meter butterfly and 400-meter freestyle finals will take place. The men will splash and dash in the 100-meter breaststroke and 4x100 meter finals.

While American great Michael Phelps chases history following his first win in the 400-meter individual medley on Sunday, he says his philosophy in the pool is simple.

"For me, being an Olympian was always a big dream of mine as a kid, just to be able to got to the Olympic games and represent my country," said Michael Phelps. "That is what this year is really about."

Also at the National Aquatics Center is the final of men's synchronized 10-meter platform diving. Not far away, on the Olympic Green, the arrows will fly toward victory in the men's team archery final.

Gold, silver and bronze will also be won in fencing at the conclusion of the women's individual foil event. On the water, men begin paddling canoes. But American Ashley Nee will climb into her kayak, because it is currently her only option.

"No women can compete in canoeing right now," said Ashley Nee. "It is not in the rules. It is a men's sport only, which is pretty rare in the Olympic scene."

Early tennis action continues. While several top players have skipped or withdrawn from the Olympics, either because of injury or personal reasons, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic came to Beijing anticipating the experience.

"You stay in the Olympic village with all other athletes from your country," said Tomas Berdych. "So, this is quite a bit different [than playing on the ATP Tour]. So yea, I am looking forward to go there. I like to be there. I have some great memories from my last Athens Olympic games. So it is going to be a nice week."

Athletes will climb the podium in judo after the winners are determined in the women's 57-kilogram and men's 73-kilogram categories. Also taking aim at an Olympic title are competitors in men's 10-meter air rifle and women's trap shooting. Wrestling gold will come from the mats in the women's 58-kilogram and men's 62-kilogram classes.

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