A total of 18 gold medals are up for grabs Wednesday in Athens, on Day 12 of the 2004 Summer Games. The early results brought several firsts.
An Austrian tri-athlete won the first gold medal awarded Wednesday at the Athens Games, while Israel earned its first-ever Olympic gold.
Austria's Kate Allen passed Loretta Harrop of Australia just 150 meters from the finish line of the closing 10-kilometer run to win the grueling triathlon.
Allen was a distant 40th after the opening swim, and was still in 28th place after cycling portion of the event. But the Austrian exploded through the field in the run to give her country its first gold medal in Athens.
Windsurfer Gal Fridman won the men's Mistral sailing competition to give Israel its first-ever Olympic gold medal. The 28-year-old's second-place finish in the final race was enough to clinch the overall victory. The silver medal went to Nikolaos Kaklamanakis of Greece, while Nick Dempsey of Britain won the bronze.
In the women's Mistral competition, France's Faustine Merret won the gold, with Yin Jian of China taking the silver and Italy's Alessandra Sensini winning the bronze.
Russia's Olga Slyusareva won the gold medal in the women's cycling points race. Belem Guerrero Mendez of Mexico finished with the silver medal, while Maria Calle Williams of Colombia took the bronze. For both Mexico and Colombia, it was their second medal of the Athens games.
In men's cycling, Ryan Bayley of Australia won the gold medal in the Keirin event, with silver going to Jose Escuredo of Spain and the bronze to Rene Wolff of Germany.
Australia won the gold medal in the men's Madison race with a total of 22 points. Switzerland had 15 points to win the silver medal while Britain got the bronze with 12 points.
Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands won the equestrian gold medal in individual dressage. Ulla Salzgeber of Germany won the silver with Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain earning the bronze.
In Greco-Roman wrestling, Istvan Majoros of Hungary beat Russia's Gueidar Mamedaliev 3-1 in overtime to win the 55-kilogram class gold medal. Artiom Kiouregkian of Greece won the bronze.
Farid Mansurov of Azerbaijan beat Seref Eroglu of Turkey 4-3 to capture the gold medal in the 66-kilo class. Mkkhitar Manukyan of Kazakhstan won the bronze.
In non-medal action, U.S. heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner lost his bid to repeat as Olympic champion, after suffering a semi-final upset loss in overtime to Georgiy Tsurtsumia of Kazakhstan.
Tsurtsumia faces reigning world champion Khasan Baroev of Russia Wednesday in the 120-kilogram finals, while Gardner tries for a bronze medal in a match against Iranian Sajad Barzi.
Japan's baseball team blasted Canada 11-2 to win the bronze medal, softening the blow of its shocking 1-0 loss to Australia in the semi-finals. Cuba plays Australia in the gold medal match.
The United States women's basketball team continued its quest for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal with a dominating 102-72 quarterfinal victory over host-country Greece.
Shannon Johnson scored 21 points for the Americans Wednesday, while Tina Thompson added 20. Anastasia Kostaki led Greece with 26 points.
In the semifinals Friday, the U.S. plays Russia, a 70-49 winner over the Czech Republic. In other quarterfinals Wednesday, Spain takes on Brazil while New Zealand challenges Australia.