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Queens Chronicle

Charles, Bird close in on Olympic gold

U.S. women’s basketball mauls Canada to reach London semifinals

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Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:40 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

Australia is all that stands between two former Christ the King standouts and the right to play for an Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball.

Tina Charles, born in Jamaica, and Sue Bird were scheduled to square off in their semifinal game against Australia on Thursday, Aug. 9. The winner takes on the winner of the Russia vs. France contest for the gold on Saturday, Aug. 11. The losers play for the bronze medal earlier on Saturday.

The team reached the semis with a 91-48 win over Canada to improve to 6-0. Charles, a center, has 66 points in the six games. Her 47 rebounds are the most in the tournament, and her 7.8 per game average was third-best in the Olympics.

While Charles is seeking her first Olympic medal, Bird already has a pair of golds from Beijing and Athens.

Bird is second among all women with 31 assists and a 5.2 per game average. She has 25 points including five three-pointers.

Other Team USA members who have ties to Queens include borough native Alysia Montano, who on Wednesday qualified for Saturday’s finals in the women’s 800- meter run.

Brittany Viola, daughter of former New York Mets and St. John’s University pitching star Frank Viola, was scheduled to compete in 10-meter platform diving Wednesday evening.

In men’s fencing, Daryl Homer of St. John’s University, who last week finished eighth in the individual men’s saber event, also finished eighth in the team event on Aug. 3. St. John’s Fencing Coach Yury Gelman coached the U.S. squad.

A university press release stated that the gold medal Russian team featured a fencer whom Homer had dismissed in the individual round.

Queens native Kara Goucher, who moved to Minnesota as a child, finished 11th out of 119 runners in the women’s marathon on Aug. 5. She came in three minutes behind gold medalist Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia, and 16 seconds behind fellow American Shalane Flanagan.

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