Aug. 19, 2008
Women's Water Polo
UCLA's Natalie Golda scored one goal and added one assist to help lift the U.S. women's water polo team past Australia, 9-8, and into the gold medal match against the Netherlands, slated to take place Thursday, Aug. 21 at 3:20 a.m. PT. Team USA led 8-5 after three quarters before Australia tied the contest, 8-8, with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Brenda Villa scored the game-winning goal on a 6-on-5 opportunity with exactly one minute to, and the Americans held Australia scoreless through the game's final seconds to preserve the win. Former UCLA goalkeeper Jaime Hipp did not play. The U.S. team is led by former UCLA head coach Guy Baker.
Since the inception of women's water polo as an Olympic sport in 2000 (Sydney, Australia), the U.S. women's water polo team has advanced to the medal round each year - Team USA earned a silver medal in 2000, took home the bronze in 2004 (Athens, Greece) and assured itself of at least a silver-medal finish in 2008.
Track & Field
Dawn Harper raced to the gold medal in the 100m hurdles final in a lifetime-best time of 12.54. Running out of lane five, Harper ran away to victory, defeating her nearest competitor by .10 seconds. Lolo Jones, the gold medal favorite, hit the ninth hurdle and stumbled to a seventh-place finish. Damu Cherry, the other American in the final, placed fourth overall.
Harper had looked incredibly strong and fast in the first and semifinal rounds and was on pace for a medal in today's final. With today's win, Harper joins Joanna Hayes (2004), and Gail Devers (1996) as Bruin Olympic gold medalists in the high hurdles. The win also marks the second straight Olympic Games in which a Bruin has won the gold medal in the hurdles.
"In the beginning, I did feel a little more jitters than I did in the first round," said Harper. "I had to kind of shake them off. I knew I needed to react to the gun, just focus on me and be quick and attack each hurdle."
In long jump action, Rhonda Watkins finished 37th with a mark of 19-3.5 (5.88).
View photos from Dawn Harper's gold medal moment, plus photos from the U.S. women's water polo semifinal against Australia HERE.
Gold - 2 (Dawn Harper, track & field, 100m hurdles; Mark Hunter, rowing, lightweight double sculls)
Bronze - 1 (Kim Vandenberg, swimming, 4x200m free relay)