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Brazil captures gold in men's volleyball

Associated Press

Athens — Brazil backed up its No. 1 world ranking with a near-perfect Olympics, beating rival Italy to win the gold medal in men's volleyball on Sunday.

Gilberto Godoy Filho had 20 points to lead the Brazilians to a 25-16, 24-26, 25-20, 25-22 victory.

Brazil has been a dominant force in international competition over the past decade — but this was its first medal since a gold in 1992.

The Italians have been just as good, but they've had to settle for silver, bronze and silver at the past three Olympics.

Earlier, Alexey Kuleshov had 16 points Sunday to lead the Russians to an easy sweep over the United States in the bronze medal match, 25-22, 27-25, 25-16.

The Americans played from behind almost the whole time, making poor hitting decisions that left them unable to get any of their spikes around the towering Russian triple block.

Alexander Kosarev ended it with a spike that glanced off Riley Salmon's arms.

The U.S. team's frustration from its recent struggles was evident during this match: When veteran outside hitter Kevin Barnett had a spike blocked in the third set, he picked up the bouncing ball, turned around and threw it about 50 metres into the first row of seats behind the court.

Russia won the silver medal in 2000.

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