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Date: 8/24/2008

NOR - RUS 34:27 (18:13)
Following two silver medals (1988, 1992) and one bronze medal (2000) Norway's women finally made it to gain their first Olympic gold at the Beijing Games! When the final whistle of the Olympic final against Russia was blown at 17.06, Norway burst into endless cheer. The European champions made light work of the World champions in a one-sided match. The basis for their success was their fabulous opening. After 15 minutes played the Northern Europeans had already run into a 13:3 lead. Every ball the Russians lost found its way into the Russian goal through quick and ice-cold Norwegian counter-attacks. Russia got left behind completely and allowed Norway to score just as they like it. Coach Trefilow's team time-out did not help much at first. Only when they managed to reduce their mistakes in attack to spoil some of Norway's counter-attacks, they reduced the margin and left the court with five goals behind at half-time. In the second half the Norwegians continued their outstanding performance. Goalkeeper Katrine Lunde Haraldsen in excellent shape again kept the Norwegian defence in fine form while the Russian play seemed rigid and without any idea against the agile defence of the European champions. When All-Star member Else-Marthe Soerlie-Lybekk raised the score to 27:19 (‘48) Russia's hope faded away. With five minutes from the end the margin was ten goals. Long before the final whistle the Norwegian bench was celebrating and cheering. Another reason to celebrate for Norway's Soerlie and keeper Lunde Haraldsen: Both of them earned a place in the tournament's All-Star Team. Russia's spirits sank towards the end of the match. Their defence, which normally is quite solid, revealed gaps, while they were lacking concentration in attack. Two Russian players were also elected to the All-Star Team but Liudmila Postnova (3 goals) and Irina Bliznova (6 goal) but could not do anything to make the match turn upside down.

Final Ranking of the Women's Olympic Tournament

Gold: Norway
Silver: Russia
Bronze: Korea

4. Hungary
5. France
6. China
7. Romania
8. Sweden
9. Brazil
10. Kazakhstan
11. Germany
12. Angola