From The Sports Network
As of 8:00 p.m. (ET)
The London Olympics closed with a tuneful and star-studded celebration Sunday night that highlighted the city and its people, music and culture. Sixteen days after the queen (not really) leapt from a helicopter over Olympic Stadium and Paul McCartney led the crowd in a singalong to open the games, the party was back on in front of 80,000 people. The Who headlined the ceremony, but weren't the only big-name talent in the building. Sharing the bill were The Kinks' Ray Davies, Annie Lennox, the Pet Shop Boys, surviving members of Queen, the Spice Girls, George Michael, Fatboy Slim and Liam Gallagher's band Beady Eye. The comedians Russell Brand and Eric Idle had parts. All the hallmarks of a closing ceremony were there, including set pieces and pyrotechnics and a Summer Games handoff to the first South American city ever to host an Olympics, Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic flag was handed off from London mayor Boris Johnson to Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes as his city readies itself to host the 2016 Summer Games. The Brazilian flag was raised as the country's anthem played. The handover was followed by a Carnival parade capped by an appearance by the soccer legend Pele.
The U.S. men's basketball team won its second consecutive gold Sunday as it held on for a 107-100 win over Spain in a rematch of the title game from the 2008 Beijing Games. Kevin Durant drilled a three-pointer during a decisive 12-3 burst in the fourth quarter on Sunday and finished with 30 points for the Americans, while LeBron James chipped in 19 and added two key baskets in the closing minutes to help seal the 14th Olympic title for the United States. The Americans have won five of the six gold medals since NBA stars began Olympic play at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Pau Gasol scored 24 points for Spain, which earned a silver medal for the third time. Earlier on Sunday, Russia beat Argentina for bronze.
Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich outdueled a pair of Kenyan runners to win gold in the men's marathon on the final day of the London Games. Kiprotich finished the race in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 1 second, and Kenya's Abel Kirui was 26 seconds behind. Kirui's countryman Wilson Kipsang claimed bronze with a time of 2:09:37. American runner Meb Keflezighi, silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Games, placed fourth, finishing 1:29 after Kipsang. Ryan Hall and Abdihakem Abdirahman of the United States failed to complete the race. It's just the second gold for Uganda and the first since John Akii-Bua won the men's 400- meter hurdles at the 1972 Munich Games. Uganda's last medal of any kind was a bronze in the men's 400 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Jake Varner of the United States won gold in the men's 96-kilogram weight class Sunday at the London Games, defeating Valerii Andriitsev of the Ukraine in the final bout. After mounting a comeback in the semifinals to defeat George Gogshelidze of Georgia, Varner beat his Ukrainian opponent, 1-0, 1-0, for gold. Varner, a former two-time NCAA champion at Iowa State, became the first wrestler from the U.S. to win gold in the freestyle 96kg since Kurt Angle at the 1996 Atlanta Games. He is also the first American to win this event at an Olympic Games outside the U.S. since Harry Dwight Steele claimed gold at the 1924 Paris Games. Gogshelidze grabbed one bronze with his win over Uzbekistan's Kurban Kurbanov. Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan won the other bronze, but didn't have to wrestle Iran's Reza Mohammad Ali Yazdani, who left his semifinal bout against Andriitsev due to injury.
Also on Sunday, Japan's Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu beat Sushil Kumar of India for gold in the men's freestyle 66kg. It marks the first gold medal in men's wrestling for Japan since 1988. Akzhurek Tanatarov of Kazakhstan and Livan Lopez Azcuy earned bronze medals.
Russia won its first gold in men's volleyball Sunday, rallying from two sets down to beat Brazil. The Russians twice fought off match point to extend its battle with the favorites and earned a stunning 19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9 victory. The comeback prevented Brazil from a volleyball sweep at the London Games. Brazil's women's team defeated the U.S. in Saturday's final for its second straight gold. The Brazilian men's team settled for consecutive silvers despite being one point away from its third ever gold medal. Brazil lost to the U.S. in the final at the 2008 Beijing Games. Italy took the bronze medal earlier in the day with a 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory over Bulgaria.
Croatia topped Italy 8-6 Sunday afternoon to win the gold medal in men's water polo at the London Olympics. Croatia made it through the tournament unbeaten, winning the country's second Olympic medal in men's water polo. Its last was a silver at the 1996 Atlanta games. Italy was trying for a fourth Olympic gold in the sport, but gave up a 2-1 lead after the first period. The silver was Italy's seventh medal in men's water polo. Also Sunday, Serbia beat Montenegro 12-11 to win a wild bronze medal match between the countries that split in 2006. Both of Serbia's lead coaches were ejected from the pool deck in the final minute.
France defended its gold medal in men's handball Sunday, beating Sweden 22-21 in a tight final. Michael Guigou scored five times for France, which defeated Iceland in the gold medal match four years ago in Beijing. It is the first team to repeat as Olympic men's handball champion. Niclas Ekberg had six goals as Sweden was again left with a silver medal. The Swedes finished as the runner-up in the 1992, '96 and 2000 Olympic Games. Croatia nabbed its third ever men's handball medal and denied Hungary its first with a 33-26 victory on in the bronze medal match. Ivan Cupic had eight goals to help Croatia rebound from its fourth- place finish at the 2008 Beijing Games. Sweden will play France for the gold medal on Sunday.
The Czech Republic's Jaroslav Kulhavy edged Switzerland's Nino Schurter to win gold in the men's mountain bike race Sunday at the London Olympics. Kulhavy finished in 1 hour, 29 minutes and 7 seconds, while Schurter was one second behind for silver. The Swiss rider won bronze four years ago in Beijing. Fontana held on to take bronze, crossing the line only four seconds before Spain's Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos. Canada's Geoff Kabush finished eighth, while the top U.S. finish came from Todd Wells in 10th. France's Julien Absalon, the two-time defending champion, did not finish.
Behind a pair of top-scoring routines, Russia won its fourth straight Olympic gold medal in the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around event. Russia has medaled in all five games since the team portion of rhythmic gymnastics became an Olympic sport at the 1996 Atlanta Games. It took a silver that year and has recorded all gold finishes since. Russia's Evgeniya Kanaeva made history on Saturday by becoming the first rhythmic gymnast to win two gold medals in the individual all-around. Belarus won silver in the team event and Italy grabbed bronze.
Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite used a strong performance in the combined running and shooting competition to win gold in the women's modern pentathlon Sunday, the final event to end at the London Olympics. Asadauskaite finished with 5,408 points to set an Olympic record, while Great Britain's Samantha Murray took silver in the event, finishing 52 points behind. Her silver gave the host country a 65th and final medal. The British finished with the third- most gold medals (29), and the fourth-most overall. Brazil's Yane Marques earned the bronze, while the United States' Margaux Isaksen was fourth.
08/12 19:58:24 ET