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Kazuhiro Nogi, Getty Images
The U.S.'s Kai Wen Tan shows off his strength as he freezes in a difficult stall on the rings in the men's qualifications of the artistic gymnastics event in Beijing.

BEIJING — The quick hug told it all. Raj Bhavsar and Sasha Artemev stood next to each other on the medal podium Tuesday, bronze medals hanging from their necks. They reached an arm around the other and stood still as cameras flashed.

What an electric moment for these two members of the U.S. men's gymnastics team. They proved how important alternates can be, one going in the leadoff position and the other in cleanup role. Both failed to make the Olympic team at trials in June. Bhavsar replaced the injured Paul Hamm on July 28. Artemev only had two days' notice when Morgan Hamm pulled out Thursday.

"We never doubted ourselves," said teammate Justin Spring. "But we had to go out and hit, and that is hard to do sometimes. We were able to group together as a team. "

China won the competition with 286.125 points. The USA challenged for silver until the fifth event, but struggled on floor and pommel horse. Japan took silver (278.875) ahead of the USA (275.850).

Getting a medal without the Hamms had seemed a long shot. Since the Hamms retired after the team's silver medal performance at the 2004 Games, its best finish was fourth at the 2007 world championships.

Artemev had the toughest task Tuesday. In the new format, each team puts up three men on each event. The other three sit when it's not their turn. For Artemev, there was plenty of sitting. He was chosen for only the last of the six events, and he was the last team member competing.

"That was really hard to do," teammate Jonathan Horton said. "To enter the arena and not compete until the end and pull off what he did was amazing."

Boxing

Rau'Shee Warren worked four years to become the first two-time American boxing Olympian in 30 years. Then, in his first match, he made the huge mistake of spending the last 35 seconds trying to protect a lead when he actually was behind and needed to go on the attack. He lost 9-8 and left the ring in tears.

"I don't even know what happened," he said.

France's Jerome Thomas, a two-time flyweight medalist, lost. Meanwhile, bantamweight Gu Yu extended China's great start with a 17-7 victory that left Britain's Joe Murray crying about judges being too partial toward the home country. China's relatively inexperienced team won four other first-round bouts.

Shooting

Glenn Eller is a member of the U.S. Army. He's also the new double-trap champion, having set an Olympic record with his score. So it's no surprise that his spot in the military is being part of the Army Marksmanship Unit. Fourth went to Jeff Holguin, another Army marksman.

"I don't know how to better represent them than to sit here with a gold medal in my hand," Eller said.

South Korea's Jin Jong-oh edged North Korea's Kim Jong Su to win the men's 50-meter pistol despite a poor final shot.

Diving

Teenagers Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin won the women's 10-meter synchronized platform title, making the hosts 3-for-3 in diving thus far with five events left.

Individual platform is theirs to lose. The 15-year-old Chen and Wang, who turned 16 on Monday, are ranked 1-2.

Americans Mary Beth Dunnichay and Haley Ishimatsu, a pair of 15-year-olds, were fifth among eight teams.

Beach volleyball

Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor keep looking good in their bid for a second straight gold, improving to 2-0 with a straight sets victory over Cuba that virtually assures them of a spot in the medal round. It was their 103rd consecutive victory.

Wrestling

There were surprise winners of the first two Greco-Roman golds and both were Russians: 19-year-old Islam-Beka Albiev in the 60-kilogram division and 21-year-old Nazyr Mankiev in the 55-kg field.

Albiev is believed to be the second-youngest wrestling gold medalist. Mankiev beat the three-time defending world champion from Iran in the quarterfinals.

Soccer

Heather O'Reilly scored 40 seconds into the match, leading the U.S. past New Zealand 4-0 and into the quarterfinals. Better yet, they won their group, avoiding a match with title contender Brazil.

Here's the quarterfinals slate: United States vs. Canada; Brazil vs. Norway; Sweden vs. Germany; and China vs. Japan. The winners of the first two games, and the last two games, will meet in the semis.

Equestrian

American Gina Miles, riding McKinlaigh, won the individual silver medal in eventing. Gold went to German Hinrich Romeike, riding Marius.

Germany won the gold in team eventing in an exciting showdown with Australia that went down to the final two riders.

Fencing

China's Zhong Man won men's saber fencing, making him the second fencing winner ever from his country. American Keeth Smart lost in the round of eight.

Sailing

American favorite Anna Tunnicliffe topped the rankings in Laser Radial sailing after two opening races, while Australia maintained its lead in both the men's and women's 470 dinghy classes.

China's 2004 windsurfing silver medalist Yin Jian remained on top in her quest for the host country's first-ever sailing gold, as did Israeli Shahar Zubari in his bid for his nation's second Olympic gold ever.

Archery

American Jennifer Nichols tied an Olympic record in the first round, then was ousted in the second round. Teammate Khatuna Lorig moved on, as did South Korea's top-seeded trio.

Canoe-Kayak

Slovakia's Michal Martikan won the single canoe slalom, just like he did 12 years ago in Atlanta. He's taken silver at the last two Olympics. American Benn Fraker finished sixth.

Germany's Alexander Grimm won the single kayak slalom. Togo won its first-ever medal in any Summer Olympics when Benjamin Boukpeti took bronze. He also became the first black man to ever medal in a slalom event, according to the International Canoe Federation.

Marathon

There will be a new women's marathon champ. Japan's Mizuki Noguchi pulled out because of injuries to her left thigh and groin.

Paula Radcliffe, the world record-holder from Britain, told the BBC she'll be racing despite a nagging thigh problem.

"Of course, I could do with a bit more time, but I'll just go in and give it a go," Radcliffe said.

Weightlifting

China's Liao Hui won the men's 69-kg category, making the hosts 5-for-5 in events it has participated in.

North Korea's Pak Hyon Suk won the women's 63-kg division. American Natalie Woolfolk finished fourth in the B-competition and Carissa Gump was sixth.

Team handball

Three men's games were decided in the final 2 minutes: Russia over Egypt, South Korea over Denmark and Spain over Poland. Other winners were Croatia, France and Iceland.