Another Potential Medal Winner Out Of The Beijing Olympics, As U.S Bantamweight Gary Russell Junior Collapses!

By James Slater: As is the case with British lightweight boxer Frankie Gavin, American bantamweight Gary Russell Jnr will unfortunately be missing out on the chance of winning a medal at the 2008 Olympics. In similar circumstances to those of Gavin's plight, Russell was unable to make weight - 54 KG being the bantamweight limit the fighter could not get down to.

It was not for lack of trying, however. Russell struggled so much to get his weight down he actually collapsed in his hotel room in the early hours of Friday morning. He was discovered, severely dehydrated and unconscious, by his room-mate, Luis Yanez, who boxes as a light-flyweight. Medical personnel revived Russell, but his Olympic dream was over.

U.S.A boxing coach Dan Campbell spoke about the unfortunate news.

"We became alarmed a couple of days ago when he [Russell] wasn't sweating like he should," Campbell said. "When these kids try to make weight, sometimes they cut corners. What we believe is he did not increase his fluid intake after we told him to."

As with U.K boxer Gavin, Russell was a favourite to win a medal in Beijing, very possibly gold. His departure will almost certainly affect team U.S.A's overall success at the games. Now having just eight boxers left - America's smallest boxing team since way back in 1948 - the pressure will be on.

Coach Campbell also spoke about the remaining eight boxers' chances of capturing medals.

"We thought he [Russell] was a very good shot at a medal," Campbell said. "We try to tell the team when we have these types of adversities, we still have eight guys in there, and we're going to try to concentrate on what we've got."

Team U.S.A still has a good team, for sure. With talented boxers Shawn Estrada, Rau'shee Warren and Demetrius Andrade, to name just three of the eight man squad, being very much capable of winning a medal. It has to be admitted, though, that things will not be the same without Russell, generally thought to be the team's most exciting fighter to watch perform.
Russell, who like Gavin, will be massively disappointed, spoke of what the winning of an Olympic gold medal would mean to him a month ago.

"I've just always thought winning a gold medal would mean more than being a world champion, or winning all that money, or anything," Russell told The Associated Press. "There's just something about it."

What a shame he will not now be getting his big chance.

Article posted on 09.08.2008

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