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Mar 07 World Medalists Ronda Rousey and Brian Olson Look for a Trip to the Olympic Podium on Wednesday

Aug. 12, 2008, 2:04 p.m. (ET)
(Beijing, China) - They each got to Beijing in vastly different manners, but both Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass. / Santa Monica, Calif.) and Brian Olson (Boulder, Colo. / Tallahassee, Fla.) will have the same goal on Wednesday - Olympic gold.

Rousey - the youngest member of Team USA - enters the Games as the reigning World silver medalist and one of the favorites in the 70kg division. Four years after making her Olympic debut as the youngest judo competitor in the entire Games in Athens, Rousey has moved up a weight from 63kg and is now one of the top players in the world with three World Cup titles to her credit.

At 35-years-old, Olson - the Team Captain - is a veteran of four Olympic Teams who won his World bronze medal in 1997 when 10-year-old Rousey hadn't even dreamed of taking up the sport. After he and Rousey both competed in Athens, Olson retired. Last summer, though, he decided to come back with the goal of winning the one thing that has always eluded him - an Olympic medal.

Preliminary competition begins at noon at the Beijing University of Science and Technology Gymnasium. Preliminary rounds will run until completion and the evening finals (including semifinals, repechage finals and gold and bronze medal matches) will begin at 6 p.m.

Rousey's first match is against Nasiba Surkieva (TKM), followed by a second round against Katarzyna Pilocik (POL).

Should Rousey advance, she will face 2005 World Champion Edith Bosch (NED) who she defeated at both the 2007 German Open and, the following month, in the semifinals of the World Championships.

A win against Bosch would move Rousey into the semifinals where she could match up against reigning Olympic Champion Masae Ueno (JPN). The two have fought twice with Masae wining both matches in overtime.

The opposite side of the division is stacked as well, including Anaysi Hernandez (CUB), the former 63kg World medalist who moved up to 70kg for the 2004 Olympic Games. After a brief retirement, Hernandez returned to competition this year where she won three 63kg World Cup medals in less than a month when the Cuban Team went on the European Tour. When Rousey's rival Yalennis Castillo moved up to 78kg in May, Hernandez assumed the 70kg role. Both former 63kg players, Hernandez and two-time Olympic medalist Ylenia Scapin (ITA) could fight in the quarter-finals of Pool C.

Below Hernandez and Scapin's pool is a draw that includes reigning World Champion Gevrise Emane (FRA), who defeated Rousey at the 2007 event, and former World and Olympic medalist Annett Boehm (GER).

Below are past 70kg results

2007 World Championship Results
* Indicates Players Competing in Beijing
1. Gevrise Emane (FRA)*
2. Ronda Rousey (USA)*
3. Ylenia Scapin (ITA)*
3. Anett Meszaros (HUN)*
5. Edith Bosch (NED)*
5. Maryna Pryshchepa (UKR)
7. Leire Iglesias (ESP)*
7. Yalennis Castillo (CUB)

2005 World Championship Results
1. Edith Bosch (NED)*
2. Gevrise Emane (FRA)*
3. Catherine Jacques (BEL)*
3. Rasa Sraka (SLO)
5. Annett Boehm (GER)
5. Maryna Pryshchepa (UKR)
7. Sagat Abikeeva (KAZ)
7. Eun-Hye Bae (KOR)

2004 Olympic Results
1. Masae Ueno (JPN)*
2. Edith Bosch (NED)*
3. Annett Boehm (GER)*
3. Dongya Qin (CHN)
5. Catherine Jacques (BEL)*
5. Catherine Arlove (AUS)
7. Cecilia Blanco (ESP)
7. Ryon Mi Kim (PRK)

Olson begins his day with a first-round match against Diego Rosati (ARG) who advanced to his first Pan Am final in May. Should Olson win, he would fight the winner of a match between 2007 World medalist Ivan Pershin (RUS) and Patrick Trezise (RSA).

Also in Olson's pool is 2005 World Champion Hiroshi Izumi (JPN) who Olson could face in the quarter-finals.

One of the favorites in the division is Ilias Iliadis (GRE), prodigy who became a celebrity in Greece when he won gold at the Athens as a 17-year-old.

Now 21, Iliadis is a two-time World medalist who moved up to 90kg after the 2004 Games. Displaying his versatility, Iliadis won the prestigious Paris Super World Cup at 100kg as well earlier this year.

Below are past 90kg results:

2007 World Championship Results
* Indicates Players Competing in Beijing
1. Irakli Tsirekidze (GEO)*
2. Ilias Iliadis (GRE)*
3. Roberto Meloni (ITA)*
3. Ivan Pershin (RUS)*
5. Mark Huizinga (NED)*
5. Hisham Mesbah (EGY)*
7. Winston Gordon (GBR)*
7. Elkhan Mammadov (AZE)*

2005 World Championship Results
1. Hiroshi Izumi (JPN)*
2. Ilias Iliadis (GRE)*
3. Mark Huizinga (NED)*
3. Andrey Kazusionak (BLR)*
5. Przemyslaw Matyjaszek (POL)
5. Hisham Mesbah (EGY)*
7. Kasambi Taov (RUS)
7. Maxim Rakov (KAZ)

2004 Olympic Games
1. Zurab Zviadauri (GEO)
2. Hiroshi Izumi (JPN)*
3. Mark Huizinga (NED)*
3. Kasambi Taov (RUS)
5. Winston Gordon (GBR)
5. Hee-Tae Hwang (KOR)
7. Eduardo Costa (ARG)
7. Daniel Kelly (AUS)*
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