Brazilian men's volleyball confirms its supremacy; other Olympic notes
Brazil won the men's volleyball world title, their third consecutive title
N. Korea is banned from gymnastics events for a month for forging birth dates
World Equestrian Games experiments with true test of a rider's horsemanship
The powerful Brazilian men's volleyball team confirmed its supremacy by winning the world championship in Rome on Sunday. Brazil downed the young, eighth-seeded Cubans in the finals 25-22, 25-14, 25-22 to avenge a loss to Cuba in the preliminary round of play. Serbia defeated host Italy to win bronze, three games to one.
Murilo Endres was named tournament MVP for Brazil, which has dominated the men's volleyball scene in recent years, winning world titles in 2002 and 2006 and taking eight of the previous 10 World League titles. The Brazilians won Olympic gold in 2004, but were upset in the gold medal game by the U.S. in 2008.
The U.S. team settled for sixth place after dropping its final classification match to Russia, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19. The Russians set a high wall and out-blocked the Yanks for most of the match, finishing with 45 kills to the U.S.'s 29. American Clay Stanley nailed 23 aces over 33 sets during the two weeks and was voted the tournament's most outstanding server. He also finished as the top U.S. scorer with 150 total points, 23 aces, 18 blocks and 109 kills.
The 24-nation women's world championship will start on Oct. 29 in Tokyo. The U.S. is in a preliminary-round pool with Cuba, Germany, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Croatia.
Forget steroids, gymnastics is being hit with a rash of age manipulation. The International Gymnastics Federation announced recently that North Korea would be banned from international competition for a month -- a period that will include the world championships in Rotterdam that start on Oct. 16 -- for listing three different birth dates for gymnast Hong Su Jong. The team listed Hong's birth date as March 9, 1985 at the 2004 Olympics and 2006 world championships; March 9, 1986 at the 2006 Asian Games and 2007 world championships; and March 9, 1989 before the upcoming worlds in Rotterdam. Had the North Koreans listed the 1989 birth year for Hong's appearance at the Athens Games, she would have been too young to compete. Earlier this year, the FIG awarded the United States a belated bronze medal in the women's competition at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when the federation ruled that Dong Fangxiao, a member of the Chinese team that had finished third was, in fact, underage.
Australia's Chris McCormack and Mirinda Carfrae swam, biked and raced to victories at the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii on Saturday. McCormack, 37, held off Germany's Andreas Raelert to win his second title in eight hours, 10 minutes, 37 seconds, which was 1:40 ahead of Raelert. Carfrae, 29, had an easier time, cruising to an impressive win in 8:58:36, a full 7:24 ahead of runner-up Caroline Steffen of Switzerland.
A special thumbs goes to the finish of Lew Hollander, a former Naval officer and physicist from Bend, Ore. who completed the 2.4-mile swim in 1:50:11, the 112-mile bike ride in 7:14:10 and the 26.2-mile run in 6:34:15 for a total Ironman time of 15:48:40. Why is that a noteworthy performance? Hollander is 80 years old.
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