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Hall Reaches Greco Finals

July 21, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Dennis Hall is one match away from becoming only the third American to win an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling _ and the first to do it in a non-boycott year.

As usual, he worked overtime to get there.

Hall, the only U.S. Greco-Roman world champion in the sport’s history, scored a 1-0 referee’s decision over China’s Sheng Zetian in Sunday morning’s 125 1/2-pound semifinals.

Cheered on by a sign-waving group of fans mostly from his hometown of Stevens Point, Wis., Hall also scored his first two victories Saturday in overtime.

Sunday afternoon’s finals were to match Hall, the reigning world champion, against Yuri Melnichenko, the 1994 world champion from Kazakhstan. Melnichenko was one of four former world champions Hall defeated en route to winning the 1995 world championship.

Hall, a college assistant coach, scored a takedown with 1:12 gone in the five-minute regulation period, then clearly was the aggressor the rest of the match.

The match was decided by referee’s decision because a wrestler must score at least three points to win a match without the officials’ intervention.

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