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Strug draws cheers at gymnastics gala

Kerri Strug, hero of the home fans after sustaining a sprained ankle as the United States worked toward a team gold in women's gymnastics, again stopped the show at an Olympic Gala Tuesday at the Georgia Dome.

She came out with her teammates for the final act of the two-hour event and took her place with them on the floor.

Wearing a soft cast to protect her ankle and the torn ligaments surrounding it, Strug, who also announced she would pass up a scholarship to UCLA in favor of a pro career, trod warily and limited herself to handstands, back bends and back walkovers.

But it was enough to delight her fans.

The gold-winning Russian men's team then came out to join the Americans and presented them with flowers.

Top Russian Alexei Nemov hoisted tiny 14-year-old Dominique Moceanu high in the air to roars from the 31,000-strong crowd and the party was on.

ARCHERY

2 Americans shoot ahead

Butch Johnson and Justin Huish, two Americans with 20 years difference in age, advanced to the third round in men's individual archery with two victories each at Stone Mountain, Ga. A third American, Rod White, won in the first round before being eliminated in the afternoon round. Johnson, 41, of Woodstock, Conn., capped his day with a 164-157 victory over Australia's Matthew Gray. Johnson earlier mastered a slight wind and Slovenia's Matevz Krumpstar to win 158-140. In both of his matches, Huish, 21, of Fountain Valley, Calif., took the lead for good after three arrows. He beat Kazakstan's Sergei Martynov 166-157 in the first round, and followed that with a 166-155 victory over England's Gary Hardinges. In other action, the world's No.

1 archer eliminated the 1992 gold medalist. Norway's Martinus Grove won 161-158 over France's Sebastien Flute, who won the gold at Barcelona. The match was tied at the halfway point before Grove built a seven-point lead with three shots to go.

BADMINTON

Defending champ loses

Defending champion Susi Susanti was beaten in her semifinal by South Korea's Bang Soo-Hyun. Top-seeded Susanti, whose form going into the tournament made her a favorite to retain her crown, lost 11-9, 11-8 to the opponent she defeated in the final at Barcelona four years ago. But Susanti's compatriot, 16-year-old Mia Audina, made sure that Indonesia, backed by a group of noisy, singing fans, would have one finalist when she overcame another South Korean, Kim Ji Hyan, 11-6, 9-11, 11-1. In women's doubles, Yiyuan Qin and Yongshu Tang of China won the bronze. Gold and silver will be decided today. In the men's singles, world No.

1 Dong Jiong and Denmark's Paul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen advanced to the final. S Antonius and Denny Kantono of Indonesia won the bronze medal in men's doubles with gold and silver decided today.

FIELD HOCKEY

S. Korea nears gold

Chang Eun-Jung's goal four minutes before halftime gave South Korea a 1-0 victory over Germany and put the Koreans into the gold-medal game against Australia. Jane Sixsmith had three goals and Mandy Nicholls two as Britain warmed up for the bronze match with a 5-0 victory over Argentina. Outscored 5-1 in its past two outings and eliminated from medal contention, the United States used goals by Marcia Pankrantz and Liz Tchou to defeat Spain 2-0 and take fifth place.

MODERN PENTATHLON

Kazakstani wins gold

Alexander Parygin of Kazakstan won the gold medal with 5,551 points. Eduard Zenovka of Russia took the silver medal with 5,530, and Janos Martinek of Hungary won the bronze, 5,501. Michael Gostigian of Newtown Square, Pa., the only U.S. entry, finished in 16th place with 5,306 points. The decision to condense the event into one day of competition could help keep the sport in the Olympics, Gostigian said. "It's gone from being the most boring event in the Olympics to the best value," he said. International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch gave the sport's leaders an ultimatum after the Games in Barcelona _ attract more fans and make the sport better suited for television, or face being booted out of the Olympics.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING

U.S. flirts with perfection

The U.S. team moved into the lead with an almost flawless routine during the technical round of competition. The Americans, using a medley centered around When the Saints Go Marching In, scored three perfect 10s, two for technical merit and one for artistic impression. Those were the only 10s awarded. The technical round counts for 35 percent of the total score. The five-minute freestyle programs, which count for the rest, will be held Friday.

TABLE TENNIS

Kong, Liu win all-China final

Kong Linghui and Liu Guoliang of China won the gold medal in men's doubles, defeating defending champions Lu Lin and Wang Tao of China 21-8, 18-21, 21-19, 21-17. After the match, Wang and Lu, partners since 1989 and world champions in 1993 and '95, announced they were ending their partnership. China's Qiao Hong, the world No. 2, was upset in the women's semifinals, setting the stage for a first Olympic final between China and Taiwan. Chen Jing, a former Chinese star and 1988 gold medalist who left to play for Taiwan under its Olympic name Chinese Taipei, crushed Qiao 3-0 and faces another former teammate, world No. 1 Deng Yaping, in today's final.

WRESTLING

Angle beats world champ

American Kurt Angle, the 220-pound world champion, won three matches to reach the semifinals. Angle was joined in the semifinals by teammates and returning Olympians Kendall Cross at 125{ pounds and Townsend Saunders at 149{. Out of the gold-medal chase were Les Gutches at 180{ pounds and Rob Eiter at 105{. Both are alive for bronze medals.

_ TIMES WIRES

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