US takes beach volleyball gold

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{image-beach volley ball_22082008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Beijing, Aug 22: United States won the Olympic men's beach volleyball gold medal Friday to add to their 2007 world title.

The Americans beat Brazil's Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes 23-21, 17-21, 15-4 in a tense, tight final with bronze going to the 2004 champions Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego of Brazil. The win by Dalhausser, 28, and 34-year-old Rogers marked a return to the top step of the podium for the United States who won gold at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, but saw their domination halted at Athens in 2004.

'I'm on cloud nine," said Dalhauser. "It's the best feeling I have ever had in my life.'

Rogers added: "I have now won just about every tournament I could hope to win but this was always the one which eluded me.

"Phil and I are great on and off the court. We were down 6-1 in the first set but came back. That's a testament to the way we are and the way we play as a team."

Rogers added that his partner's blocking skills were crucial to victory.

"He got in the zone and that's what great blockers do. It's an intuitive thing. You couldn't explain it to a layman. He blocks and I just keep clapping and smiling and cheering."

Brazil were ahead at 6-1 in the first set before the Americans trimmed the deficit and the two sides were never more than two points apart during the remainder of the opener.

But the Americans proved the more composed when it mattered most.

Brazil saved two set points but Dalhausser's imposing presence at the net proved crucial with the set-winning attack.

In the set second, Dalhausser blocked to earn his team a 9-8 lead, which was extended through a dink spike by Rogers.

Dalhausser's heavy spike changed the score to 13-10.

But fine blocks by Magalhaes restored confidence and they eventually stretched into a decisive lead.

The US dominated the decider and after opening up a 6-1 lead they raced to victory with the impressive Dalhausser securing gold with another critical block.

Dalhausser and Rogers had a tough start to the Olympics, losing their first match against Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs of Latvia, but they quickly recovered and won all their other matches. Their win on Friday also overturned the form book. Araujo and Magalhaes had won five of their previous seven meetings.

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