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Finals for Weightlifting, Track Cycling Highlight Tuesday Olympic Action


Twenty scheduled medal events on Tuesday are the final stop for many athletes in their quest for Olympic gold in Beijing. In this preview, VOA's Jim Stevenson reports, the hard work and seemingly endless hours of preparation will result in precious metal prizes for the few who top the field in China.

Olympic weightlifting comes to its conclusion Tuesday with the finals of the men's over-105 kilogram category. The Olympic final has already generated controversy.

American Casey Burgener was to have lifted in the super-heavyweight category on the final day of men's weightlifting. But when the Olympics began last week, the International Weightlifting Federation shuffled the world rankings of nations after a string of doping scandals.

Even though the U.S. team has not had a weightlifting doping violation in 15 years, the Americans slipped in the revised rankings, and lost their slots in the Olympic final. Earlier this year, Burgener knew his chances to win a medal were slim.

"Medals are not really a likely prospect," said Casey Burgener. "But you never know. There have been a lot of times - like Tara Nott probably did not expect to get a gold medal in 2000, and she did. So, you never know what is going to happen. China and Russia, in terms of teams. In my weight class, the guy from Iran, Hossein Hazazeh, he will probably be the winner this year for the Olympics, in my weight class at least."

Track cycling also rolls to an end, with finals in the men's sprint, Madison and women's sprint events. Men's Triathlon will showcase athletes mastering swimming, cycling and running.

Diving continues at the National Aquatics Center, with the men's three-meter springboard final, while synchronized swimming is highlighted by the duet free routine final. Individual dressage awards medals Tuesday in Hong Kong.

Crossing the finish line on the open water at Qingdao International Marina will be the winners of the men's one-person dingy-laser and women's one-person dingy-radial races.

Two tournaments will feature quarter-final action Tuesday. The U.S. women's volleyball team faces Italy. Nicole Davis does not want to look past this game. But she says there is a clear favorite.

"China is the reigning gold medalist from the last quadrennial," said Nicole Davis. "So, they are going to be a very difficult team, obviously, being the host country."

The U.S. women's basketball team is aiming for another gold medal. U.S. Women's National Basketball Association superstar Lisa Leslie says the competition has grown tighter, as the Americans next face South Korea.

"In women's basketball, it has continued to evolve," said Lisa Leslie. "Australia, who won the world championship. And then we have Russia, who knocked us out of the world championship, as well as Cuba. So, it is going to be tough. But, we are going to take it one game at a time. And the goal is to win gold."

Four gymnastics champions will be crowned in Beijing's National Indoor Stadium in men's parallel bars, horizontal bars, trampoline and women's beam finals.

The widely followed athletic competition on the track puts the spotlight on the women's 400-meter race. The men will battle for gold in the long 1,500 - meter final, discus and high jump.

Wrestling hands out medals for the strength, agility and strategy in the men's 55 and 65-kilogram weight divisions.