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Japanese Runner Wins Women's Marathon on Legendary Greek Route - 2004-08-22

Another full day of events at the Olympics has produced several more gold medalists. The highlights Sunday included a long run over a legendary Greek route that gave the marathon event its name.

Very hot temperatures and the hills of the ancient marathon course were no match for Mizuki Noguchi, who was the fastest over the 42-kilometer distance Sunday to keep the women's gold medal with Japan for the second straight Olympics. Noguchi's time from the port city of Marathon to Athens was two hours, 26 minutes, 20 seconds, which put her 12 seconds ahead of 2003 world champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya (2:26.32).

American Deena Kastor made a strong push late in the race to earn bronze (2:27.20). But to the shock of British spectators, world record holder Paula Radcliffe dropped out of the marathon after 35 kilometers from what appeared to be a leg injury.

On the track, Justin Gatlin of United States claimed the coveted Olympic 100-meter sprint title with a time of 9.85 seconds. Francis Obikwelu of Portugal won the silver medal (9.86). World record holder and defending Olympic champion Maurice Greene of the United States settled for bronze (9.87).

Stefan Holm of Sweden took the men's high jump gold medal after being the only man to clear 2.36 meters. American Matt Hemingway took the silver medal (2.34) while Jaroslav Baba of the Czech Republic took the bronze medal (2.34 - same as silver).

Another Swede, Christian Olsson, won the triple jump. Olsson soared 17.79 meters in the second round. The distance held up for the rest of the event. Marian Oprea of Romania took the silver (17.55). Danila Burkenya of Russia got the bronze (17.48).

Adrian Annus of Hungary won gold with a hammer throw of 83.19 meters. Koji Murofushi of Japa placed second (82.91). Ivan Tikhon of Belarus was third (79.81). Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand set a stunning world record in track cycling, adding Olympic gold to her world title in the three-kilometer pursuit. Ulmer slashed almost two seconds off the previous best at three minutes, 24.537 seconds. Katie Mactier of Australia won the silver medal (3:27.650). Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel of the Netherlands took the bronze medal race (3:27.037) in her last Olympic appearance, retiring from the games as the most successful cyclist in history with four gold, one silver and a bronze. In fencing, France won the gold medal in men's team epee, beating Hungary, 43-32, in the final. Germany won the bronze medal.

Off the high 10-meter platform, diver Chantelle Newbery of Australia won the gold medal with a score of 590.31. Lao Lishi of China took the silver (576.30). Loudy Tourky of Australia won the bronze (561.66).

Kyle Shewfelt of Canada stepped to the top of the podium after leading the field in the gymnastics men's floor exercise final. Shewfelt collected 9.787 points from the judges, while Marian Dragulescu of Romania took silver (9.787 - same score) and Bulgarian Jordan Jovtchev earned bronze (9.775).

Teng Haibin of China won the gold medal on the pommel horse with a score of 9.837. Marius Daniel Urzica of Romania won the silver medal (9.825). Takehiro Kashima of Japan won the bronze (9.787).

Dimosthenis Tampakos gave the Greek fans a thrill by winning the rings gymnastics gold medal a score of 9.862. Jordan Jovtchev of Bulgaria took the silver medal (9.850). Italian Yuri Chechi took the bronze (9.812).

Monica Rosu of Romania won the women's vault gold medal with an overall score of 9.656. She finished ahead of Annia Hatch of the United States (9.481) and Russian Anna Pavlova (9.475). Emilie Lepennec of France found gold on the women's uneven bars, impressing the judges and earning a 9.687 score. Terin Humphrey of the United States took silver (9.662) while compatriot Courtney Kupets won bronze (9.637).

American Matt Emmons made a rare mistake that cost him the 50-meter rifle three positions gold medal. Emmons had a commanding lead when he fired at the wrong target. The zero score for his final shot dropped him to eighth place. Jia Zhanbo of China took the gold with 1,264.5 points. American Michael Anti claimed silver at (1,263.1) while Austrian Christian Planer won bronze (1,262.8).

Andrea Benelli of Italy won the gold medal in skeet shooting. He beat Marko Kemppainen of Finland in a shoot-off for first place. Juan Miguel Rodriguez of Cuba won a three-way shoot-off with Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar and Shawn Dulohery of the United States for the bronze medal.

Nicolas Massu of Chile won the men's tennis singles gold medal. He beat Mardy Fish of the United States, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Fernando Gonzalez of Chile won the bronze.

China picked up tennis gold in the women's doubles final. Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian defeated Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain, 6-3, 6-3. More gold for China came in table tennis when Zhang Yining won her second gold of the Athens Games. She topped Kim Hyang Mi of North Korea, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-2, in the women's singles final. South Korean Kim Kyung-ah won the bronze, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8, over Jia Wei Li of Singapore.

On the water, Siren Sundby of Norway won the gold medal in the women's Europe class in Olympic sailing competition. Lenka Smidova of the Czech Republic took the silver and Signe Livbjerg of Denmark the bronze. Among the men, Robert Scheidt of Brazil won gold in the Laser class. Andreas Geritzer of Austria took the silver and Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia the bronze.

On the rowing course, the United States ended 40 years of Olympic frustration by winning the men's eight. Elisabeta Lipa-Oleniuc collected a record fifth gold medal as Romania successfully defended its women's title in the same event. German women led from start to finish to collect their fifth straight title in the quadruple sculls, marking Kathrin Boron's fourth career gold medal. No one could match the defending Olympic champions in the men's lightweight double sculls - Poland's Tomasz Kucharski and Robert Sycz pulled out an early lead and held off France. Vasileios Plymeros and Nikolaos Skiathitis gave Greece its first ever Olympic rowing medal, springing past Denmark in the closing stages for the historic bronze.

In other Olympic news, the International Olympic Committee confirmed Russian women's shot put gold medallist Irina Korzhanenko had failed a drug test. She is the 14th athlete at the Athens Games to be caught in a zero-tolerance anti-doping drive. Another shot putter, Uzbekistan's Olga Shchukina, had already failed a doping test following last week's competition. Nine weightlifters, two Greek baseball players and a Kenyan boxer have failed drug tests since the IOC began its drugs sweep on July 30th. Two more athletes, Greek sprint stars Kostadinos Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou pulled out of the games after failing to be tested on the eve of the Olympics.

The very busy day ended with China back on top of the medal standings with 22 gold and 46 overall. The United States has 21 gold and 56 overall while Japan is third with 26 overall, including 13 gold.