Bellingham gets one more chance to paddle for gold


BARCELONA, Spain -- Beaten by a former training partner yesterday, Norman Bellingham, of Bethesda, Md., will try to win another medal this morning in the K-2 flat-water canoe-kayak finals at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

In yesterday's single kayak 500-meter final, Bellingham finished fourth. The gold went to Finland's Mikko Kolehmainen, who trained with Bellingham last winter.

In this morning's two-man kayak 1,000-meter medal race, Bellingham and his partner, Greg Barton, will attempt to become the first team in Olympic history to successfully defend the gold TTC medal in the event.

Yesterday, Kolehmainen won in one minute, 40.34 seconds. Gyulay Zsolt of Hungary was three-tenths of a second back. Knut Holmann of Norway took the bronze in 1:40.71. Bellingham's time was 1:40.84.

"Mikko had a strong finish," Bellingham said. "I've raced against Mikko about a thousand times this year and every now and then he gets me. I used to get him more often than he got me, but he got me on the day that it counted."

Bellingham drew Lane 1 for the K-1 final on the Olympic Speed Canal in Castelldefels. He trailed at 250 meters, and didn't have the closing sprint to gain a medal.

"It was my dream to line up in the single 500-meter race and see if I could be there in the midst of this group, with the best in the world," he said. "I did that. It just didn't turn out as beautifully as it might have been in some of my dreams. I'm awfully happy to know that I can bang out a race with some of the best in the world."

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