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Argentines Celebrate First Olympic Gold in Half Century - 2004-08-28

Argentina has won its first Olympic gold medal in more than 50 years in Athens, and in Buenos Aires, people are in the streets celebrating the Argentine men's football team's 1-0 victory over Paraguay.

Buenos Aires is bouncing Saturday. The men's football team brought home its first-ever Olympic gold medal in the sport and the first gold for Argentina during the Summer Games in Athens.

Argentina had twice been runner-up in men's Olympic football. The team vowed to make up for Argentina's embarrassing first-round exit from the 2002 World Cup.

The gold medal match started at 4 a.m. Buenos Aires time, so many of the notoriously-nocturnal Argentines just stayed up all night to watch the match in bars, cafes and nightclubs.

Thousands of football fanatics flocked to the city's landmark Obelisco Saturday morning to celebrate the victory.

"I think that after 52 years, [this] is a very happy thing for us, a very great thing," said one of the fans. "The best. We are very proud of our country. This country needed this because of the actual situation, it is not very good economically, socially."

"Yes, we need some, some happiness," said another.

Adding to the happiness is Argentina's men's basketball team. It defeated the U.S. "Dream Team" on Friday, and plays Italy for the Gold Medal on Saturday, giving Argentina a chance to grab two golds in one day. Argentina won its last Olympic gold medal in 1952 at the Helsinki Games in rowing. It won silver in football in 1928 and 1996.