SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- American sprinters, in the pool and on the track, dominated the Olympic landscape Friday.
Gary Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin tied for the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle, each swimming 21.98 seconds and beating double gold-medalist Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands.
Hoogenband, better known as the Flying Dutchman, took the bronze. Two-time defending champ Alexander Popov of Russia, who defeated Hall in Atlanta, wound up sixth.
Hall and Ervin, just 19, train together in Arizona. They whooped it up together as they walked to collect their medals.
"I don't mind sharing the gold medal podium," Hall said.
At Olympic Stadium, Marion Jones and Michael Johnson looked like a couple of shiny new sports cars -- sleek and strong -- as they began their drives for history with flashes of chrome and gold.
The chrome covered the custom-made shoes Jones wore while cruising to victory in two heats of the women's 100 meters. The 100 is the first of five events in which Jones will try to win gold -- a feat never before accomplished by a woman at a Summer Games.
"I'm having a ball. I'm 24 years old, I'm in Sydney, I'm running great," she said.
Johnson, trying to become the first man to win the 400 at consecutive Olympics, strolled once around the track in gold racers -- the same color he wore in Atlanta four years ago. He had no trouble in his heat, winning in 45.25 and advancing to Saturday's second round.
The woman who lighted the Olympic flame, aboriginal Australian Cathy Freeman, slowed up down the home stretch and still won her heat of the women's 400.
The United States stayed on top of the medal count Friday, finishing the day with 40 (16 gold, 10 silver, 14 bronze). China moved into second place with 30 medals (14-7-9), overtaking Australia, which has 28 (8-11-9).
In Softball, voodoo, group therapy -- whatever it takes.
After three straight extra-inning losses, the U.S. team held a "cleansing ritual" to get rid of the curse that seemed to be dogging them, then held a team meeting. On Friday, Jennifer Brundage made some luck for the Americans, going 3-for-3 with a homer to help them beat New Zealand 2-0.
One loss in the ring and another on the scales for the U.S. boxers. Brahim Aslouf of France upset 106-pound world champion Brian Viloria 6-4 and David Jackson was disqualified for being three pounds too heavy when he weighed in for his 132-pound bout. Heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield visited Jeff Lacy before his fight to give the 165-pounder some inspiration. It worked. Lacy beat Poland's Pawel Kakietek and advanced to the quarterfinals.
The U.S. women's team emptied its bench in a 93-42 rout of New Zealand. Katie Smith led the Americans with 14 points.
David O'Connor ended a 16-year gold medal-drought for the United States in equestrian competition by winning the individual three-day event. O'Connor rode Custom Made to victory.
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