Olympic Update

Several Olympians with West Virginia University ties are in action in Beijing during the games of the 29th Olympiad.

West Virginia University Rifle Coach Jon Hammond finished 34th in the 50m rifle prone qualifier with 589 points. Hammond, competing for Great Britain, battled poor wind conditions throughout the match. He followed his first string of 99 with a break, only to return 25 minutes later to even stronger wind gusts. After second- and third-round scores of 97 and 96, respectively, Hammond rebounded and closed out the match with strings of 98, 99 and 100.

Despite a few rough middle strings, Hammond was both satisfied and optimistic about his performance and thankful for his experiences thus far.

"Unfortunately, today didn't go as I had hoped, but I cannot be too disappointed," Hammond said. "Conditions were extremely difficult, and ultimately I didn't shoot well enough in the wind. To be honest, I don't feel that I fired any bad shots; I just had trouble negotiating the conditions. "I'll have 3-Position training tomorrow and move on to the next match. I still feel that I am performing well and hopefully that will show through on Sunday with a better result."

Hammond returns to the Beijing Shooting Range Hall on Aug. 17 for the men's 50m rifle 3-Position qualifier. The event is set to begin at 9 a.m. Beijing-time.

Additionally, Mike Anti, a four-time Olympian and 1987 WVU graduate, just missed qualifying for the final round and finished ninth with 594 points. The four-time All-American will also compete in the 3-Position qualifier on Aug. 17. Anti won the event's silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

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Former WVU pitcher Jeremy Cummings made his first appearance last night for USA Baseball.

The Charleston, W.Va., native gave up one run on two hits in three innings pitched in Team USA's 5-4 extra-inning loss to defending Olympic champion Cuba. Cummings also recorded a strikeout in a game that began on Friday, August 15, at 11:30 a.m. Beijing time.

The former Mountaineer entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with the scored tied 2-2. His only blemish came in the bottom of the eighth when he gave up a solo home run to designated hitter Alfredo Despaigne, which tied the game at 3-3.

Cummings provided three quality innings for Team USA in relief. The United States took a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 11th until relinquishing it to Cuba, who took full advantage of the International Baseball Federation's extra-inning rule that puts base runners on first and second base with no outs starting in the 11th inning. The rule also allows for a team to start the inning anywhere in its batting order.

The United States is now 1-2 in Olympic play but remains eligible to reach the medal round. Its next game begins tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET against Canada.

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Finally, former women's basketball center Yelena Leuchanka has battled back from several knee injuries to post impressive performances for Belarus.

Through four games, Leuchanka is averaging a double-double, with a team-best 15 points and ten rebounds per game while playing almost 30 minutes per outing.

Belarus, 2-2 in pool play, needs only to defeat winless Brazil to advance to the medal round.

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