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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

U.S. swimmers set records; table tennis team in trouble

Although much attention in Hanover has been focused on shot-putter Adam Nelson '97, the U.S. contingent on the whole has so far fared quite successfully in Athens as well. Here's a brief update:

BASKETBALL

The U.S. men's basketball team to a small degree bounced back from their embarrassing loss to Puerto Rico with a narrow 77-71 win over host Greece on Tuesday. Once again, the team shot abysmally from beyond the three-point line, hitting only four of their 21 attempts. Allen Iverson played through a broken thumb incurred in the Puerto Rico debacle, notching 21 points, with three three-point field goals.

Greece was buoyed by an intense home crowd, who played with a passion that the U.S. squad has yet to show. Despite the narrow margin of victory, the U.S. team has said that any victory is important after their humiliating loss.

The men's team perhaps could take a page from the American women, who steam-rolled South Korea in a 80-57 victory. Despite the final score, though, the team had to change strategy mid-way through the game after failing to shoot over the Koreans' zone. The team instead forced the ball down-low into the larger trapezoidal paint, to cash in on their height and strength advantage. Lisa Leslie was the primary beneficiary of the attention down-low, and she finished with 25 points.

SWIMMING

The U.S. women's four by 200-meter freestyle relay team broke the oldest world record, a 17 year old mark set towards the end of the Cold War. Their 7:53.42 time bested a German team rumored to have used performance-enhancing substances.

Phenom Michael Phelps, although failing in his quest to match Mark Spitz's record seven medals, won the 200-meter butterfly Tuesday, and took a rest from medal races on Wednesday.

GYMNASTICS

Paul Hamm made history when he beat out two South Koreans for the gold in the men's all-around, becoming the first U.S. male to medal in the all-around since the 1984 Olympics, and the first ever gold medalist. Hamm needed a brilliant 9.837 score on both the high bar and the parallel bars to overcome a step deficit in the standings after a disappointing vault, that had dropped him from first to 12th.

The U.S. women's team lost out to the powerhouse Romanians in the women's team finals on Tuesday. While the men's team was ecstatic after winning a silver, the women were slightly disappointed considering they were considered to be formidable challengers to the defending champion Romanians.

TABLE TENNIS

In a sport that surely attracts extra attention at Dartmouth, the U.S. team is faring poorly. In fact, the U.S. team has never won a medal in the sport, and all but one competitor -- female Gao Jun -- has been ousted from the Olympics already. And she has yet to play a match, as 10th-seeded Jun received a bye to the third round of women's singles.

Badminton, handball, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and triathlon are the only others sports in which the U.S. has never medaled.