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Olympic Notebook: Sucker Punch Does Not Stop Soccer Team

Colombia won the fight – with a sucker punch – but the U.S. won its first woman’s soccer game of the London Olympics, moving on to the quarterfinals.

Team USA took a 3-0 victory, but much of the discussion afterward was about the black eye Abby Wambach received when she was socked by Lady Andrade at the 39th minute.

Wambach went down and play went on, but the blow was not forgotten. Before that, her goal in the second half put her atop the all-time Olympic scoring list. Megan Rapinoe scored in the first half and celebrated by wishing injured teammate Ali Krieger a happy birthday, and Carli Lloyd had a late goal in her return to the starting lineup to wrap of the scoring.

But back to the cheap shot. It was part of a game that had 30 fouls called, nothing more blatant and ugly than Andrade’s shot.

“I’m running toward the goal to get position, and I got sucker-punched,” said Wambach, sporting a black semicircle under her swollen right eye after the game. “It’s clear. We have it on film, so it’s up to the Olympic committee and FIFA to decide what to do.”

Wambach said Andrade kept on taunting in the second half and attempted another blow to the face — but missed and hit Wambach’s neck instead. When Wambach scored in the 74th minute to make the score 2-0, the achievement felt particularly sweet.

“Absolutely. It’s interesting — you think about yourself and what you would do on the street if somebody were to sucker-punch you,” Wambach said. “And you have all of the lists of things that you would probably do to retaliate, but this is Olympics and I can’t risk getting a red card, I can’t risk getting a yellow card. We like to call it ‘ice’ — stay ice cold. They’re trying to get me to retaliate, and I’m proud of myself for not doing that.”

Andrade called the play an accident.

“Nothing happened,” she said through an interpreter. “It was just a normal part of the game. We were both running, she ran across me and we collided. I had my hands in the air. It was an accident.”

Swimming: Loche Quailfies For 200

Ryan Lochte of the United States was back in the pool on Sunday and finished second in qualifying for the 200-meter freestyle – literally hours after dominating Michael Phelps to win gold in the 400 individual medley.

“I didn’t get to bed until like 2 a.m. so I’m a little tired, but it was a prelims swim, so I’m not too worried about it,” said Lochte, who was out celebrating with his family.

Lochte thrashed Phelps by more than 4 seconds in their first showdown of the London Games. “It’s just really frustrating to start off on a bad note like this,” Phelps said.

Lochte did not believe Phelps was done. “The next race that he’s in, he’s going to light it up,” Lochte said.

Men’s Basketball: Hornets Aminu Leads Nigeria

Al-Farouq Aminu of the New Orleans Hornets had 15 points to help Nigeria hold off a second-half rally by Tunisia in the first game of the men’s Olympic basketball tournament Sunday with a 60-56 victory.

Nigeria held Tunisia to 15 points in the first half and held a 16-point halftime lead. They led by as many as 19 and seemed in control of the game.

Tunisia, however, began the second half with a 10-2 run and closed the gap to two points late in the game.

But Aminu, who went to high school in metro Atlanta and starred at Wake Forest, made of one of two free throws to seal the victory with 11 seconds remaining.

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