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Olympic roundup: U.S. stuns Argentina in field hockey — again

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1 2012 12:09 a.m. MDT

The United States' Shannon Taylor, right, is embraced by teammates after scoring the lone goal against Argentina.

Associated Press

LONDON — From the moment the U.S. women's field hockey team earned an Olympic berth with a stunning upset over Argentina in the Pan American Games last year, U.S. coach Lee Bodimeade has worried his team would pay for it here.

The powerhouse Argentine team had not lost a game in the Pan Americans in the past 25 years. To lose to the United States — a squad that had never beaten them in major competition — was considered a humiliation by both the Argentine players and their rabid fan base.

"We've probably smacked the hornets' nest by beating them," Bodimeade said at the beginning of the Olympic tournament.

Those fears, to nearly everyone's surprise, did not come to fruition during an early-round match between the two countries Tuesday at Riverbank Arena.

Instead, the United States stung No. 2-ranked Argentina 1-0, marking the first time the Americans had defeated their longtime rivals in Olympic competition. The win, which came courtesy of a first-half goal from striker Shannon Taylor, also gave the U.S. team a crucial three points in pool play after dropping its first match to Germany on Sunday.

Far from disturbing the hornets' nest, the Pan-Am victory may have given the Americans an immeasurable boost heading into these Olympics.

"I think that gave us a lot of belief. We felt we could now compete at the highest level," Bodimeade said after the game. "We know that we are very fortunate to play against (Argentina). We are privileged to be able to learn from them and fortunate to get such exposure."

The American players tried to downplay the victory's overall significance, describing the game as just one of five in pool play. The team's history, world ranking and Olympic history, however, would suggest otherwise.

Since winning the bronze medal in 1984, the U.S. field hockey team only has qualified for four of the last seven summer Games. They are currently the No. 10 team in the world, a ranking boosted by their performance at the Pan American Games.

Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain and Australia also won. China and Belgium played to a scoreless tie.

The rest of the Olympic action Tuesday:

JUDO: A female judo fighter from Saudi Arabia was cleared to wear a form of headscarf in the Olympics after a compromise was reached that respects the "cultural sensitivity" of the Muslim kingdom.

Judo officials had said they would not let Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani compete in a headscarf because it was against the principles of the sport and raised safety concerns. But an agreement was reached after several days of IOC-brokered talks between the International Judo Federation and the Saudi Olympic Committee, allowing her to compete Friday in the heavyweight division.

"They have a solution that works for both parties, all parties involved," International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said. "The athlete will compete."

SWIMMING: Olympic officials defended Chinese teen swimmer Ye Shiwen against whispers of doping after she won the 400-meter individual medley Saturday in world-record time — and she made her own statement by winning another gold medal in the 200 IM on Tuesday night.

The 16-year-old clocked 2:07.57 to shave 0.18 off her own mark set in Monday's semifinal — good enough for an Olympic record and her second gold medal in London.

Ye had closed the 400 with a lap of 28.93 seconds — faster than the 29.10 Lochte posted in the last 50 of the men's race. Ye's time was 4:28.43, more than a second faster than the previous world record set by Australia's Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games in a now-banned bodysuit.

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