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Finally, Finishing the Job


• No one tried to sugarcoat it: Bronze wasn't the medal the U.S. women's water polo team had come for. "We had some emotional moments," captain Heather Moody said of the day off between the team's heartbreaking 6-5 semifinal loss to eventual champion Italy and its third-place match against Australia. "We'd set our hearts so much on getting to the championship game."

The world champion Americans were undone by a sudden inability to play with the lead. After jumping ahead of Canada 5-1 early in the tournament, they fell apart and lost 6--5. Italy, a team they'd dominated for the past year, came back from a 4-2 deficit and won on a goal with 2.2 seconds remaining. Against Australia, the U.S. blew a 5--1 lead before Ellen Estes scored her third goal of the game with 2:20 left to give the Americans a 6-5 victory. "It's nice to win bronze," said goaltender Jackie Frank (inset). "But it's not gold."

--E.M. Swift