June 18, 2004
(Atlanta-AP) -- Jim Gruenwald stepped into the center of the wrestling mat, and the referee rubbed his hands over his tights and his shoulders. Suddenly, a cheer went up from the crowd, causing Gruenwald to look up quickly to see what the fuss was about.
No, the applause wasn't for him -- or the referee. In the boxing ring about ten feet away, a punch from Rau'shee Warren caught Korean Moo-Won Hong flush in the face.
Welcome to the Titan Games.
Wrestler Rulon Gardner, who easily won his match tonight as the games got started in earnest, said "You getting ready, and you hear, 'So-and-so from Korea needs to knock him out.' It's kind of weird." The event held by the U-S Olympic Committee brings U-S athletes together against various countries.
It gives exposure to the so-called combative sports -- including wrestling, boxing, judo, fencing and taekwondo -- by holding four of them at the same time. Four different areas of competition, going on simultaneously, with an announcer trying to help the fans follow the action.
The slogan for the event is "Not all the Olympic sports. Just the most painful."
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