Track and field action provided the highlights at the Summer Games in Greece Monday.
The United States pulled even with China in the gold medal count at 23 each, but is at the top of the standings with 65 overall medals. China has a total of 50. Japan is currently third with 15 gold and 31 overall.
On the track, the U.S. runners swept the medals in the men's 400-meter event with Jeremy Wariner winning gold in 44 seconds flat. He was followed by teammates Otis Harris (44.16) and Derrick Brew (44.42).
Kelly Holmes of Britain won the gold medal in the women's 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.38. Hasna Benhassi of Morocco won the silver (1:56.43). Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia took the bronze. Ethiopian Meseret Defar won the gold medal in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 14:45.65. Isabella Ochichi of Kenya won the silver (14:48.19). Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia took the bronze (14:51.83).
Francoise Mbango Etone became the first woman from Cameroon ever to win an Olympic Games gold medal, winning with a triple jump of 15.30 meters. The only other Olympic gold ever won by Cameroon was by their Indomitable Lions football team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Hrysopiyi Devetzi delighted the home fans, giving Greece a silver medal (15.25). Russian veteran Tatyana Lebedeva finished third (15.14).
The classic pose of a discus thrower symbolizes the ancient Greek games. Robert Fazekas of Hungary brought the image to life with an Olympic record gold medal throw of 70.93 meters. Defending champion Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania settled for the silver (69.89). Zoltan Kovago of Hungary took the bronze (67.04).
Athanasia Tsoumeleka of Greece pulled off a surprising victory in the women's 20-kilometer walk. Tsoumeleka held off Olimpiada Ivanova of Russia to win in a personal best 1:29.12. Ivanova, the 2001 world champion and former world record holder, finished four seconds behind to earn the silver medal. Jane Saville of Australia took the bronze (1:29.25).
The United States won the gold medal at the Helliniko Olympic softball stadium, beating Australia 5-1 in the final. The U.S. women comprise perhaps the most dominant team at the Athens games. They finished the tournament undefeated and did not allow a run until the championship game, outscoring all opponents 51-1. Japan won the bronze medal in a loss to Australia on Sunday.
World champion Kaori Icho of Japan beat American Sara McMann, 3-2, for the gold medal in the 63-kilogram class of Olympic women's wrestling. Lise Legrand of France took the bronze. Icho's sister, Chiharo, had to settle for silver in the 48-kilogram division. Irini Merleni of Ukraine won gold in the event. Patricia Miranda of the United States took bronze.
Another Japanese world champion, Saori Yoshida, took the gold in the 55-kilogram division by beating Tonya Verbeek of Canada, 6-0. Anna Gomis of France took the bronze. Wang Xu of China beat Gouzel Maniourova of Russia to win the gold medal in the women's 72-kilogram class. Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan took the bronze.
Australia won the gold medal in the men's team pursuit in track cycling at the Olympic velodrome. Britain took silver and Spain bronze.
Gymnast Catalina Ponor of Romania won the gold medal on the beam with a score of 9.787. American Carly Patterson, the all-around gold medalist, won the silver (9.775). Alexandra Georgiana Eremia of Romania got the bronze (9.70).
Ponor won a second gold in the floor exercise with a score of 9.750 points. Nicoleta Daniela Sofronie of Romania won the silver (9.562). Spaniard Patricia Moreno got the bronze (9.487).
Spaniard Gervasio Deferr of Spain flew and twisted to gold in the men's vault final with a score of 9.737. Evgeni Sapronenko of Latvia won the silver (9.706). Marian Dragulescu of Romania got the bronze (9.612).
The men's parallel bars gold medal goes to Valeri Goncharov of Ukraine. His winning score of 9.787 topped Hiroyuki Tomita of Japan (9.775) and Li Xiaopeng of China (9.762). Weightlifter Milen Dobrev of Bulgaria won the gold medal in the 94-kilogram class by hoisting 407.5 kilograms. Russians followed with Khadjimourad Akkaev winning the silver (405.0) and Alexey Petrov taking the bronze (397.5).
South Korean Ryu Seung-Min denied China a third straight sweep of Olympic table tennis gold with a triumph in the men's singles final. Ryu, ranked third in the world, outlasted fourth-ranked Wang Hao, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9. His win prevented China from repeating its achievements in Atlanta and Sydney of winning all the table tennis gold medals in both men's and women's singles and doubles.
Elsewhere, reigning men's Olympic basketball champion United States routed Angola, 89-53, in their final Olympic preliminary round game. Tim Duncan led the U.S. collection of National Basketball Association players with 15 points while LeBron James and Carlos Boozer added 11 points each. Despite losing to Group B winner Lithuania and Puerto Rico in round robin games and finishing with a 3-2 record, the U.S. men could be the group's second seed thanks to the Olympics using a point-differential tie-breaker rather than head-to-head records.
The U.S. women's soccer team had a tough semifinal hurdle to overcome in its quest for gold. Germany scored a late goal to tie the contest at 1-1. In overtime, Heather O'Reilly flicked in the game winner on a pass from Mia Hamm. The United States will play for gold Thursday against Brazil, a 1-0 winner over Sweden. Germany and Sweden play for the bronze medal Thursday in a rematch of the World Cup final last year.
In other news, The U.S. Olympic Committee says it will consider supporting South Korea's bid to pursue a duplicate gold medal for one of its gymnasts to make up for the scoring error that gave American Paul Hamm the all-around title. Hamm won the gold medal Wednesday after judges incorrectly scored Yang Tae-young's parallel bars routine, failing to give him enough points for the level of difficulty. Yang ended up with the bronze.