Originally created 07/21/98

Belarus' Ivankov takes men's gold



UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- This time, Ivan Ivankov's Achilles' tendon held up just fine.

The reigning world champion from Belarus rallied with a brilliant performance on the last two exercises to win the gold medal in the men's all-around competition at the Goodwill Games on Monday night.

Ivankov, who missed a chance to compete at the Atlanta Olympics when his Achilles' tendon snapped as he left a doctor's office, started slowly, moving up from third place to second and then first after the three rotations.

But when his momentum on the vault -- his fourth apparatus -- forced him into an extra step, his score of 9.450 dropped him back to third place behind Alexei Bondarenko of Russia and American Blaine Wilson.

Ivankov recovered with a 9.775 on the parallel bars to regain the lead, then clinched the gold with a 9.575 on the horizontal bar before a crowd of just 2,278 at the Nassau Coliseum.

The 23-year-old from Minsk finished with 57.500. The silver went to Bondarenko with 56.700 and the bronze to Wilson with 56.575.

Bondarenko was attempting to keep his country's perfect gold-medal record in the Goodwill men's all-around intact. Of the nine medals awarded in the event at the first three Goodwill Games, only one had been claimed by a non-Russian or Soviet Union athlete. That was the bronze won by Lance Ringnald of the United States in 1990.

Bondarenko seized the lead on the fourth rotation of the night with a 9.775 on the parallel bars, holding his balance on a difficult landing. Then he scored a 9.475 on the horizontal bar, yielding the lead to Ivankov.

Bondarenko's performance made up for a disappointing night by countryman Alexei Nemov, who finished seventh.

Nemov, the defending Goodwill Games champion, was attempting to become the first gymnast to successfully defend an all-around title in these games. After taking the early lead with a 9.450 in the floor exercises, he dropped off the pommel horse halfway through his routine.

DARKNESS AT NOON:

Just as the referee was about to toss the ball for overtime in Monday's Argentina-Lithuania basketball game at the Goodwill Games, something strange happened.

The scoreboards at Madison Square Garden went blank.

A faulty control box knocked out the score and game clocks on the big boards at either end of the arena, as well as the game and shot clocks over each basket.

The arena lights and the giant scoreboard hanging over the middle of the floor remained on, and the two teams shot baskets while technicians worked. Repairs took about 10 minutes, and Lithuania went on to win 81-77.