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Hall defends title in 50 free

8/26/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Gary Hall Jr. of the United States
successfully defended his Olympic title in the 50-meter freestyle
Friday night, edging Duje Draganja of Croatia by one-hundredth of a
second.

Hall won in 21.93 seconds, Draganja took silver in 21.94 and
Roland Schoeman of South Africa earned bronze in 22.02.

Jason Lezak of Irvine, Calif., finished fifth with a time of
22.11.

Hall shared the gold at the Sydney Games with countryman Anthony
Ervin when they tied in 21.98. The 29-year-old from Phoenix was the
silver medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Hall earned a bronze medal in Athens by swimming the
preliminaries of the 400 freestyle relay, but won't match his
four-medal haul from Sydney and Atlanta. U.S. men's coach Eddie
Reese has said he doesn't plan to use Hall in the 400 medley relay
Saturday, the last day of swimming.

Hall joined Alexander Popov of Russia as the only men to win
consecutive 50 free titles. Popov didn't make it out of the
preliminaries in Athens.