BEIJING Bantamweight Gary Russell Jr. is out of the boxing competition after collapsing Thursday night during a workout in a last-ditch effort to make the 119-pound weight limit ahead of today's seeding draw.
Russell, 20, of Capitol Heights, Md., is a two-time national champion and was considered a likely contender for gold in Beijing. He lost consciousness in his dorm room after becoming dehydrated.
A replacement athlete for that weight class cannot be named, according to the rules of the International Amateur Boxing Federation (AIBA).
“I'm extremely disappointed,” Russell said in a statement. “Competing in the Olympic Games has always been one of my dreams.”
All 286 boxers competing here were required to make weight Friday morning in order to be entered into the draw.
Iraqis excited, disappointed about Olympic Games
Iraqis powered their generators and gathered with friends as excitement grew over the Olympics. But many were disappointed that their national team was represented by only four athletes after a dispute with the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC suspended the Iraqi team in May over alleged government interference in Iraq's national committee.
The decision was reversed last month, allowing four – two rowers and two track and field athletes – of the original seven qualified athletes to compete. The three others missed deadlines for their sports because of the dispute.
Protesters seize on Olympics to push their causes
As a massive fireworks display heralded the start of the Beijing Olympics, protesters as far away as California tried to redirect the spotlight to the lack of religious freedom in China and human rights abuses in Tibet.
Buddhist monks holding up the Tibetan flag and chanting a Sanskrit mantra for love and compassion led between 200 and 300 protesters bearing banners across the Golden Gate Bridge. The crowd, clad in yellow, drew honks and the occasional “Free Tibet” cheers from passing tourists.
“The Olympics for China is a giant spectacle, a game, but for us it's much more than that – it's a chance to call attention to what is happening in Tibet,” said Tsering Gyurmey of San Francisco, who is a member of the Tibetan Association of Northern California.
While Tibetans insist they were an independent nation before the Chinese communist invasion in 1950, China holds they've controlled the Himalayan region for centuries.