SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMERS FLAWLESS IN WINNING GOLD.
The U.S. synchronized swimming team knew what it would take to win the gold medal: a near-perfect score.
The team topped that.
Swimming eighth and last in the free-routine competition Friday night, the eight-swimmer U.S. team received a score of 10 from nine of the 10 judges to post the first perfect 100 in national and international synchronized-swimming competition.
Thus, the Americans extended their dominance, winning the gold medal in the sport's first team competition at the Olympics.
The score of 100, combined with the 99.200 the team posted Tuesday in the technical routine, gave the U.S. a final count of 99.720, more than a point ahead of second-place Canada (98.367) and third-place Japan (97.753).
Redemption achieved: American Bruce Baumgartner avenged his second-round loss to Andrei Shumilin by beating the Russian, and settled for the bronze at 286 pounds - his record fourth Olympic wrestling medal.
The win came on a judges' decision assured only by Baumgartner's one-point takedown with 16 seconds remaining in the eight-minute match.
Baumgartner also became the most decorated wrestler in history. His 13th world or Olympic medal gave him one more than famed Soviet Alexander Medved, and Bulgaria's Valentin Jordanov, who won gold earlier in the day.
Also for the U.S., Tom Brands beat Jang Jae-sung of South Korea 7-0 at 136-1/2 pounds, becoming the third U.S. wrestler to win gold in these games. Two-time Olympic gold-medalist Kenny Monday (163) finished sixth. Melvin Douglas (198), the '93 world champion, finished seventh.
Predictable outcome: Omar Linares hit three homers, one to each field, as Cuba beat Japan 13-9 and left no question it deserved what it got: another gold medal.
Linares hit the first, the biggest and the last of his team's eight homers, as Cuba won its second straight Olympic championship in the sport.
Final showdown: Italy joined the Netherlands in the men's volleyball gold-medal match, with each team in reach of a defining victory.
Top-ranked Italy, which has won every major championship this decade except the Olympics, struggled early before beating surprising Yugoslavia 15-12, 8-15, 15-6, 15-7 in one semifinal. In the other, the No. 2 Netherlands, a frustrated runner-up in the last three majors - including the '92 Games - beat Russia in three sets.
Swamped: The Americans sent five boats into the semifinals and all five failed to qualify for the finals.
Not even John Mooney and Stein Jorgensen, world champions in the 200-meter kayak, could make the 500-meter final, finishing ninth overall. Italy sent five boats to the flatwater events and each will race in the finals.
Floris Jan Bovelander, playing in his final international game, scored two goals as the Netherlands rallied to beat Spain 3-1 for the gold medal in men's field hockey. . . . Sweden reached the men's gold-medal match in team handball, beating Spain 25-20. Sweden will play for the title Sunday against either world-champion France or Croatia. . . . Brazil restored some of its battered pride with a 5-0 victory over Portugal to win the bronze medal in men's soccer. Bebeto scored three goals. . . . Toni Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls had 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in leading Croatia to a 99-85 victory over China for seventh place in the men's basketball tournament. . . . In yachting, the German Soling crew of Jochen Schuemann, Thomas Flach and Bernd Jaekel swept Russia in three races - none of them close - to capture gold medal for the second time. The U.S. won the bronze, beating Britain 3-1.