All The Sports

Athens 2004

August 13, 2004

Archery

When: Aug. 18-21.

Top U.S. performers: Butch Johnson, Vic Wunderle, Janet Dykman.

U.S. chances: U.S. men are well-seasoned at the elite level, winning team medals in three of the past four Olympics. U.S. women have won only one medal since 1976.

Outlook: South Korea's men and women dominate the competition.

- Hartford Courant

Badminton

When: Aug. 14-21.

Top U.S. performers: The doubles team of Howard Bach and Kevin Han, the only U.S. players to qualify for Athens.

U.S. chances: No U.S. Olympian has advanced beyond the second round since badminton joined the Games in 1992. That is not likely to change this year.

Outlook: Asian players have won 42 of the 46 medals since badminton's Olympic debut in 1992. --

Newsday

Baseball

When: Aug. 15-25.

Top U.S. performers: The Greeks (Greece's team is stocked with Americans of Greek ancestry).

U.S. chances: None, it failed to qualify.

Outlook: With the defending champion U.S. unable to qualify for Athens, 1992 and 1996 champion Cuba once again is the favorite for the gold medal.

- Newsday

Basketball

When: Aug. 14-28.

Top U.S. performers: Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Richard Jefferson; Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson.

U.S. chances: Both U.S. teams are favored for gold medals, though neither will be as dominant as in years past.

Outlook: The U.S. men lost their mantle of invincibility by finishing sixth at the 2002 world championships, then lost a core of seasoned players who withdrew for a variety of reasons this spring. Australia and Brazil have closed the gap between themselves and the U.S. women, and Russia also is improving rapidly. But no team plays defense like the U.S.

- Newsday

Beach volleyball

When: Aug. 14-25.

Top U.S. performers: Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard; Stein Metzger and Dax Holdren; Misty May and Kerri Walsh; Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs.

U.S. chances: The women stand an excellent chance. May and Walsh are the top-ranked team in the world and are gold-medal favorites. McPeak and Youngs are ranked No. 4 in the world and have a good chance at a medal.

Outlook: Neither male U.S. team enters the Olympics with much momentum. Among the women, May and Walsh won a record 15 consecutive tournaments between July 2003 and June 2004.

- Los Angeles Times

Boxing

When: Aug. 14-29.

Top U.S. performers: Middleweight Andre Dirrell, light heavyweight Andre Ward, super heavyweight Jason Estrada.

U.S. chances: Once a dominant power in this sport, the U.S. now lags far behind Cuba and Russia. In Sydney in 2000, it failed to win a gold for the first time in 52 years. This 2004 team is young and inexperienced and has qualifiers in only nine of 11 weight classes, but it does have realistic medal hopes in Dirrell, Ward and Estrada.

Outlook: In flyweight, American Ron Siler put off turning pro for another shot at Olympic glory. The Russian-Cuban stranglehold could be broken by German featherweight Vitaly Tajbert. In welterweight, Russia's Oleg Saitov goes for his third straight gold, but will be challenged by Cuba's Lorenzo Aragon.

- Chicago Tribune

Canoe/kayak

When: Aug. 17-28.

Top U.S. performers: Among men flatwater competitors, Rami Zur, who represented Israel in 2000, specializes in 500-meter single kayak. Women flatwater racers include Kathy Colin and Carrie Johnson. Marylander Joe Jacobi and Matt Taylor compete in double canoe.

U.S. chances: Zur has the country's best shot at a medal in flatwater. Jacobi could duplicate his 1992 gold-medal performance, but with a new partner in Taylor.

Outlook: In the men's 1,000 double kayak, two-time Olympic gold medalist Antonio Rossi of Italy will join Beniamino Bonomi, but the duo could struggle against 2003 world champions Markus Oscarson and Henrik Nilsson of Sweden. Europeans generally rule this competition, but Canada's Caroline Brunet could win gold in the women's single kayak.

-- Chicago Tribune

Cycling

When: Aug 14-15, 18, 20-25, 27-28.

Top U.S. performers: Marty Nothstein, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Dede Barry, Jenny Reed.

U.S. chances: Not much better than how the team fared during the 2000 Olympics when the U.S. picked up just three medals. Nothstein is the lone returning medal winner (match sprint) but will ride in a different event.

Outlook: Viacheslav Ekimov, who rides with Lance Armstrong for the U.S. Postal team, won in 2000, but look for Hincapie to make the podium in the men's road race. Germany's Jan Ullrich is the favorite in the men's time trial. American women's time trial racer Christine Thorburn had a meteoric rise this year. Nothstein is the lone American hopeful in the motor-paced keirin event.

- Allentown Morning Call

Diving

When: Aug. 14, 16, 20-28.

Top U.S. performers: Laura Wilkinson (10-meter platform); Sara (Reiling) Hildebrand (3-meter platform); Troy Dumais (3-meter springboard) and Mark Ruiz, Kyle Prandi (10-meter synchronized platform).

U.S. chances: Don't expect much.

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