Ex U swimmer wins bronze

Former Gophers Can Ergenekan and Bengt Zikarsky and incoming freshman Alexandre Massura all saw Olympic action Tuesday in men’s swimming. Massura, competing for Brazil, and Zikarsky of Germany both swam well for their countries’ 4×100-meter freestyle relay teams. But Zikarsky also netted some hardware for his performance. He won a bronze medal as Germany (3:17.2) took third behind first-place United States (3:16.41) and second-place Russia. Brazil finished just more than one second behind Germany for fourth (3:18.3).
Ergenekan, competing for Turkey, did not get past the 400-meter freestyle preliminaries Tuesday morning. He also swam Monday in the 200-meter butterfly, but did not qualify for the finals. Ergenekan will finish out his Olympic bid today when he competes in the 100-meter butterfly.
Zikarsky’s last event is the 50-meter freestyle on Thursday. Massura, a prized Gophers recruit, is not scheduled for any more events. He will attend the University in the fall and compete in freestyle and backstroke events for Minnesota.
Gophers junior Olga Splichalova placed seventh Monday in her preliminary heat of the women’s 400-meter freestyle with a time of four minutes, 20.04 seconds. The Czech Republic native did not qualify for the 400 final, but will compete Thursday for her country’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team.
— Nick Doty
Former Gophers gymnast John Roethlisberger’s dream of an Olympic medal is in danger after Monday’s team competition, where the U.S. men’s team finished fifth.
With a final score of 570.618 points, the American team finished just .923 points away from Ukraine, which won the bronze medal. Roethlisberger, however, still has a chance to win a medal in the individual competition, which begins today.
His marks Monday placed him fifth among individuals, but his scores will not carry over to the individual all-around competition.
The team’s problems began on the pommel horse, where Roethlisberger and teammate Mihai Bagui both fell. Roethlisberger misplaced his hands while trying to perform a highly difficult maneuver he had never tried before in competition.
After the meet, Roethlisberger blamed himself. He broke into tears as he told reporters about meeting a young fan after the competition.
“She was telling me how proud she was of us,” Roethlisberger said, “and we’re not champions, we’re not even in third place — and she’s telling me she’s really proud of me.”
Roethlisberger’s hunt for a medal will continue at 3:15 p.m. today in the men’s individual all-around competition.
— Aaron Kirscht
Former Gophers wrestlers Gordy Morgan and Dave Zuniga won their first-round matches. But they lost the next two bouts, which ended their Olympic dreams Monday.
Morgan, who wrestles at 163 pounds, won a convincing 10-0 decision over Mexico’s Rudolfo Hernandez in the first round. He then lost 10-1 to Cuba’s Feliberto Aguilera and 3-2 to Korea’s Jim-Soo Kim.
Zuniga, who competes at 136.5 pounds, won by a 3-2 margin over Ainsley Robinson of Canada in his first-round match. He lost 3-1 in his second contest against Bulgaria’s Ivan Ivanov. Zuniga then lost his final bout after ending the tiebreaker period in a 6-6 tie with Sergei Martinov. The referee declared Martinov the winner because Zuniga made too many technical errors during the contest.
— Matthew Cross