Saturday, September 30|
Russia beats Sweden to win gold
SYDNEY, Australia -- Russia won the Olympic men's
handball title on Saturday for the fourth time, beating Sweden
28-26 in the gold medal match.
The Russians, who won gold in 1976 and 1988 as the Soviet
Union and in 1992 as the Unified Team, upset the world and
European champions to win their third Olympic crown in 12
The Swedes were left clutching silver for the third time in
a row after they were beaten by the Unified Team in the 1992
Olympic final then by Croatia in the 1996 final.
With the king and queen of Sweden watching from the stands,
the Scandinavians opened the scoring in the first minute
through their captain Stefan Loevgren and held on to lead 14-13
But the Russians took control in the second half,
establishing a five-goal lead midway through and holding on for
a narrow victory thanks to a series of brilliant saves by their
captain and goalkeeper Andrei Lavrov.
Lavrov, 38, became the first man to win three Olympic golds
in handball. He was given the honor of carrying the Russian
flag at the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Games two weeks
Earlier, Spain beat Yugoslavia 26-22 in the third-place
playoff to defend the bronze they won in Atlanta four years ago
The Spaniards led 12-9 at halftime and extended their lead
to four goals by the end of a torrid encounter.
Yugoslav back Ivan Lapcevic was taken to a nearby hospital
with a suspected broken nose after colliding with a Spanish
defender in the first half while the Danish referees were kept
busy, handing out 14 two-minute suspensions and six yellow