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Thursday, July 26, 2012 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.
American women rally past France in Games opener
By Seattle Times news services
GLASGOW, Scotland — Falling behind by two goals after just 14 minutes wasn't exactly the script Alex Morgan had written for her Olympic soccer debut. But it's the one she found herself acting out Wednesday.
"Once I stepped on that field and the whistle blew, I was considered an Olympian. That was an amazing feeling for me," said Morgan, who played for the Sounders Women this season. "And then we were hit with two goals. It was a quick turnaround."
So Morgan, 23, the youngest U.S. player on the field, turned to Abby Wambach, the second oldest, and came up with a plan.
"Me and Abby looked at each other and we were like, 'All right, a goal each,' " said Morgan, who went that one better, scoring a goal in each half to lead the U.S. to a 4-2 victory over France on the first day of group play in the London Games.
Wambach also had a first-half goal and Carli Lloyd came off the bench to get the go-ahead score for the U.S. just after halftime. Both of those goals, as well as one of Morgan's, were set up by midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who joked afterward that the early deficit simply served to make the game more exciting.
"There's a lot of other sports going on," said Rapinoe, another member of the Sounders Women. "So we have to catch the attention early."
Still, falling behind early, then rallying late has become a well-worn game plan for the defending champion U.S. women, who needed a goal in overtime stoppage play to get past Brazil in the quarterfinals of last summer's World Cup. And four years ago, in the opener of the Beijing Olympics, the U.S. gave up two goals to Norway in the first four minutes.
"After 2-0, I thought about China," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage admitted. "We've been here before and we came back. This team is better than 2008."
Largely because it has Morgan, who has scored 19 goals in 16 games.
"She's proven that she's not only fast, she's strong. And she has balance," Sundhage said. "She is a good finisher."
Fencer to be U.S. flag bearer
LONDON — Two-time Olympic fencing champion Mariel Zagunis will carry the U.S. flag in the opening ceremony of the London Games.
The U.S. Olympic Committee said Zagunis won a vote of the 529-strong team ahead of Friday's ceremony.
Zagunis said she is "extremely humbled by this incredible privilege."
She was the first American to win a fencing gold in 100 years at the 2004 Athens Games.
Nine track athletes suspended
MONACO — Nine track athletes were suspended ahead of the London Olympics for doping, including three who were caught in retests of samples from last year's world championships, the IAAF said.
Among those suspended was Ukraine's Nataliya Tobias, who won a bronze medal in the 1,500 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In the six biological passport cases, the highest-profile athlete is Moroccan marathon runner Abderrahim Goumri, who has been a runner-up at the Chicago, London and New York marathons.
Greek athlete banned for tweet
LONDON — A triple-jump athlete was removed from Greece's Olympic team for posting a comment on Twitter that was disparaging of African immigrants in Greece.
Voula Papachristou, 23, was not considered a medal contender in the triple jump, which is scheduled to start next week. The comment, posted in Greek on July 22, was retweeted over 100 times, immediately drawing angry reactions.
When it was announced she had been kicked off the team, she posted an apology on her Facebook page.
• Brazil forward Cristiane became the top women's soccer scorer at the Olympics after netting her 11th goal in Brazil's 5-0 rout of Cameroon in Cardiff, Wales. Cristiane surpassed retired German star Birgit Prinz.
• Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka are seeded No. 1 for the Olympic singles tennis tournaments at Wimbledon.
• Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling on the International Olympic Committee to reverse its decision not to hold a moment of silence to mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Games.
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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