When the Rocky/Apollo fight ended in the original Rocky, announcer Stu Nahan called the fight, "the greatest exhibition of stamina and guts ever in the history of sports." Two years later the rematch in Rocky II put the first bout to shame. To shame! It's with this knowledge that we should all hold out hope for a Federer/Nadal duel in the Olympic gold medal match that exceeds the drama of their epic Wimbledon Final.
The draw was released this morning for the men's Oympic tennis tournament and, as expected, the world's top two tennis players on are opposite ends and would face each other in the gold medal match on August 17. NBC, which will air the match live on its USA Network, will be as eager as anyone for Federer/Nadal II.
An Olympic tournament doesn't hold the cachet of Wimbledon, or even the Australian Open, for that matter. If you can name the man who won Olympic gold in Athens, you're either Chilean or Nicolas Massu's mother. Since it's return to the Olympic slate in 1988, only one major star has won Olympic gold; Andre Agassi in 1996. Stefan Edberg is the only other well-known tennis player to even medal (unless you count Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and the mere fact that I had to look at his name three times as I was spelling it indicates that I should not).
This year might be different though. The three top-ranked men's players in the world will play in Beijing, as will other big-names like James Blake, Lleyton Hewitt and Ivo Carlovic. Federer will be looking for his first medal in three Olympics. He lost the bronze medal match in 2000 and went out in the second round four years ago. This will be the first Olympics for Nadal.
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