Olympic Daily News - Sunday, August 12th
LONDON OLYMPICS CLOSE WITH TUNEFUL PARTY
London, England (Sports Network) - 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.
"Let us in let us in!" the British rower Anna Watkins tweeted as the athletes waited to enter the stadium in the first hour.
You could hardly blame the gold medalist.
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.
Athletes entered as a group instead of country by country like in the opening ceremony and the spectacle ran shorter than the one that kicked off London's record-setting third Olympics hosting gig on July 27.
That ceremony played out in the shadow of Beijing's standard-setter four years ago, and stood up just fine. But while it highlighted accomplishments of key British figures and the British people, the closing ceremony paid homage to London and all its quirks.
A day in the life of the city from early-morning rush hour to sunset was dramatized by the physical theater group Stomp playing iconic London landmarks like they were instruments above a set covered in newspaper print.
An actor playing Winston Churchill popped out of Big Ben like a jack-in-the- box and gestured toward the royal box. Queen Elizabeth wasn't in attendance, but Prince Henry sat next to IOC president Jacques Rogge, who presided over his last Olympics.
"You have showed the world the best of British hospitality," Rogge later told the crowd. "These were a happy and glorious games."
The ceremony was a concert.
Davies performed the anthemic Kinks song "Waterloo Sunset" -- an ode to London that proved perfectly wistful.
"Dirty old river, must you keep rolling/Flowing into the night," the song begins. "People so busy, makes me feel dizzy/Taxi light shines so bright."
It goes on: "But I don't need no friends/As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset I am in paradise."
Later, a choir sang John Lennon's "Imagine" as 101 puzzle fragments formed a likeness of the late singer-songwriter on the stadium floor.
A symphony of music celebrating British pop conceived as a love letter to its place as a beacon of innovation and invention began with Michael singing two songs and included a montage of David Bowie songs that bled into a fashion show with models walking a runway.
Lennox rode the bow of ghost galleon, singing, and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason played during a cover of the band's "Wish You Were Here" as a tightrope walker re-created the cover of the album with the same name.
Brand sang "Pure Imagination" atop a psychedelic tour bus and got down for a rendition of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus." The Spice Girls rode London taxis into the stadium, reuniting for a performance to loud cheers, and Monty Python veteran Idle led a singalong to his "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
Gallagher and his new band played the Oasis hit "Wonderwall" and the surviving members of Queen performed after a giant screen showed video of late frontman Freddie Mercury riling up the crowd at a 1986 concert.
"We Will Rock You" was a staple at arenas here, and singer Jessie J sang the song while guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor played along.
"Today sees the closing of a wonderful games in a wonderful city. We lit the flame and we lit up the world," said London organizing chief Sebastian Coe. "For the third time in its history, London was granted the trust of the Olympic movement and once again we have shown ourselves worthy of that trust."
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 Olympic cauldron, which remained controversially inside the stadium throughout the games, was extinguished following a routine by The Royal Ballet.
The Who played their well-known staples "Baba O'Riley," "See Me, Feel Me" and "My Generation" as a finale.
"Can't believe another Olympics has come and gone," the retired U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin tweeted from inside the stadium.
It unfolded like so many others, but was new in some ways.
The United States finished atop the medal standings again with 104 medals, including a games-best 46 gold, beating China in both columns. But the host country also made frequent trips to the medal stand.
Great Britain racked up 29 golds among its 65 medals -- its best Olympics in more than 100 years.
"A massive, huge success for everyone," said the British diver Tom Daley, who won a bronze medal on the platform.
Sprinter Bryshon Nellum, told by doctors four years ago that he would never run competitively again after being shot in both legs, carried the U.S. flag.
Gold medal sailor Ben Ainslie carried the British flag and women's soccer player Christine Sinclair carried Canada's.
The social media Olympics saw its fair share of online scandal, including two athletes who were banned for racists tweets. A South Korean soccer player had his bronze medal withheld for displaying a political message on a flag and the games didn't pass without its share of failed doping tests, a given.
A cyclist was killed in a collision with an Olympics shuttle carrying members of the media just outside the gates of the park, but the games passed without any serious security issues despite the threat of terrorism that comes with modern-day events of this magnitude.
"We did it right," said Coe.
U.S. OUTLASTS SPAIN FOR ANOTHER MEN'S BASKETBALL GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - Make it back-to-back Olympic gold medals for the U.S. men's basketball team.
Four years after beating Spain for the title at the Beijing Olympics, the Americans repeated the feat with a 107-100 victory over the Spaniards to claim gold at the London Games.
It did not come easy.
Spain was within one at halftime and it was the same margin after three quarters, but the Americans used a 12-3 spurt early in the fourth to gain some breathing room and held off one last Spanish run to win it.
Kevin Durant drilled a three-pointer during the decisive burst 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.
"We knew we could have been beaten in this tournament, Argentina was good enough and Spain could have beaten us tonight," said Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who also guided the U.S. team in the 2008 Olympics and likely coached his last game for the U.S. national team. "Without the respect that my players had for these teams we could have been beaten."
Pau Gasol scored 24 points for Spain, which earned a silver medal for the third time.
"It's tough losing a final, but at the same time we have to appreciate the fact that we got an Olympic silver medal," said Gasol. "The United States are an amazing team. We were close at times, but we couldn't play the perfect game we needed to beat them."
The Spaniards gave the Americans all they could handle through three quarters and trailed just 83-82 entering the final period. After a trade of baskets to start the fourth, Chris Paul's three ignited a U.S. surge that finally created some distance.
Paul added a basket on the next U.S. trip to make it 90-84 and James went out with his fourth foul soon after. Marc Gasol, who sat out the entire third quarter with four fouls, countered with a bucket for Spain, but Durant followed with a big three and Kobe Bryant drained a pair from the line.
Pau Gasol's free throw briefly interrupted the U.S. run, but Bryant's tough shot in the lane with 4 1/2 minutes left gave the Americans a 97-87 advantage.
Spain came back with four straight before James checked back into the game, and the NBA's MVP made his presence felt with a dunk and a three -- surrounding Marc Gasol's dunk -- to give the U.S. a 102-93 cushion with just under two minutes to play. Paul's basket a minute later extended the margin to 11 and the Americans made just enough free throws to keep Spain at bay.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," said James. "We know Spain is a great team; they match up well with us, and we match up well with them. They tested us more than any team. We felt like that was going to happen again tonight. This is a great team and they wanted redemption. We are just happy that we were able to make enough plays, get enough defensive stops and come through for our team."
Paul finished with 11 points and Bryant, in what he says is his last Olympics, contributed 17 in the victory.
"The closer the game got, the more focused we got, the more intense we got," noted Bryant.
Juan Carlos Navarro scored 19 of his 21 points in a hot-shooting first half for the Spaniards. Marc Gasol added 17 points, while Rudy Fernandez chipped in 14. Pau Gasol also had eight rebounds and seven assists in an all-around stellar performance.
Spain came out hot. A four-point play and another triple by Navarro helped the Spaniards open a 12-7 lead. The Americans, though, responded with an 18-4 run. Carmelo Anthony's three capped the burst and gave the U.S. a 25-16 advantage.
The Americans carried a 35-27 lead into the second, but Spain scored the first seven points of the period to pull within one and took a 39-37 lead soon after on a three by Sergio Rodriguez. The lead changed hands a few times over the next several minutes, but a 7-0 run gave the U.S. a 50-44 edge midway through the second.
Navarro answered with another three to keep Spain close, but it was still a seven-point U.S. margin in the final two minutes. The Spaniards, however, closed the half with a 7-1 run to make it a 59-58 difference at the break.
Spain then went inside in the third quarter, as Pau Gasol scored the team's first 13 points of the period and finished the stanza with 15. His basket gave Spain a 67-64 edge, but the Americans eventually opened a 77-72 lead on a pair of Bryant free throws with 3 1/2 minutes left in third. Spain, however, kept it close and still trailed by one entering the fourth.
RUSSIA EDGES ARGENTINA FOR MEN'S BASKETBALL BRONZE
London, England (Sports Network) - Alexey Shved scored 25 points and hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute to lift Russia to an 81-77 victory over Argentina for the men's basketball bronze medal at the London Olympics.
Andrei Kirilenko, who will return to the NBA this fall with the Minnesota Timberwolves, contributed 20 points and eight rebounds for the Russians, who captured a men's basketball medal for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Manu Ginobili led Argentina with 21 points.
Ginobili's tough layup with 43 seconds remaining gave Argentina a 77-76 lead, but Shved drilled a three at the other end just six seconds later to put Russia in front for good.
Argentina worked the ball to the right corner for Andres Nocioni, whose shot from beyond the arc went halfway down and rattled out with 15 seconds to play. Ginobili quickly stole the ball after Russia had grabbed the rebound, but Shved took it away from Carlos Delfino and fed Vitaliy Fridzon for an uncontested layup with five seconds left to seal the contest.
The Argentines were unhappy with the lack of a foul call in the closing seconds.
Shved, also headed to the NBA this season with Minnesota, made 6-of-11 shots from three-point range and led Russia with seven assists. Fridzon chipped in 19 points in the victory.
Nocioni scored 16 and hauled in seven rebounds, while Delfino contributed 15 points in defeat. Argentina, after a 26-point loss to the United States in the semifinals, was trying for a third straight Olympic medal. The Argentines won bronze four years ago in Beijing after capturing gold at the 2004 Games in Athens.
Russia opened a 10-4 lead early, but Argentina followed with 10 of the next 12 to move in front and held a 20-19 edge after 10 minutes. The Argentines built a six-point margin early in the second quarter, but Russia stormed back with a 12-0 run. Shved started the burst with a three and Kirilenko finished it with the last four points to give the Russians a 33-27 advantage midway with four minutes left in the half.
Another Shved triple sent Russia to the break with a 40-38 lead and a Sergey Monya bucket off the break late in the third made it 61-50. The Argentines battled back with the final seven points of the period and went to the fourth down just four.
Shved scored four straight points midway through the final quarter to give Russia a 71-66 lead, but Nocioni and Ginobili answered with threes to put Argentina ahead and it stayed tight for the final 2 1/2 minutes.
KIPROTICH WINS MARATHON FOR UGANDA
London, England (Sports Network) - 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, winner of the London Marathon earlier this year, claimed bronze with a time of 2:09:37.
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. The African nation's last medal of any kind was a bronze in the men's 400 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
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.
Kipsang held a lead of about 16 seconds halfway through the race, but Kirui and Kiprotich caught up with him shortly after the 25km mark.
All three men ran together until the Ugandan began to fall back at 35km. At first it appeared the two Kenyans would battle each other for gold the rest of the way, but Kiprotich had plenty left for a counter and began to pull away from Kipsang and Kirui with a little more than five kilometers left.
The Kenyans never recovered after that and Kiprotich built his lead to 19 seconds over two-time reigning world champion Kirui with a little more than 2km left in the race.
Just before the finish line, Kiprotich grabbed a Ugandan flag from a spectator and threw it around his shoulders before officially winning gold.
The race began and finished on the Mall, not far from Buckingham Palace. During the grueling event, runners passed by other famous landmarks like Big Ben, the Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral.
Kenya's team was running in memory of Samuel Wanjiru, who won the event four years ago in Beijing, but died last year after falling from a balcony. He was only 24 years old.
RUSSIA STUNS BRAZIL IN MEN'S VOLLEYBALL FINAL
London, England (Sports Network) - Russia twice fought off match point to extend its battle with Brazil in the men's volleyball final on Sunday.
When it was the Russians' turn to put things away, they didn't let the opportunity go to waste.
Russia rallied from two sets down to record a five-set victory over world No. 1 Brazil and capture its first Olympic gold medal.
Russia's stunning 19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9 win 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 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.
"The first three sets were good. We could have won the match but the fourth set went away. We didn't manage to follow the rhythm, it could have been different. We've lacked tranquility, now we have to think about 2016," said Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende.
A successful spike by Brazil's Lucas Saatkamp put his team up 24-23 in the third set, but Russia's Maxim Mikhaylov countered with a spike of his own. The Brazilians then went up again by a point thanks to Wallace de Souza's spike, but Sidnei dos Santos Junior couldn't cleanly block Mikhaylov's spike attempt and the game was again even.
Russia then failed to convert on two set-point chances before a Dmitriy Muserskiy spike and a kill block by Alexander Volkov gave the squad the needed set.
"(The) Brazilians started pushing us from the first serve and it is psychologically very difficult, but as the match goes they get tired and they lose pressure. This is what happened in the third set. They tried to play back, but without luck," said Muserskiy, who had a game-high 31 points.
Mikhaylov added 17 for the world No. 2 team.
After nearly blowing a seven-point lead in the fourth set, Russia rattled off three straight points in the fifth set to go up 9-4. After Muserskiy's spike gave Russia a 14-7 advantage, Brazil got points from Murilo Endres and de Souza before Muserskiy's spike ended the match.
Russia's previous best finish was a silver medal won in 2000. The Russians captured their second bronze medal in Beijing with a win over Italy.
"A lot of things didn't work for us today, but I think that it's a victory of the entire team because we played together and showed responsibility together," said Muserskiy.
The Brazilian squad was paced by 27 points from de Souza, while Endres had 18. However, Brazil will now head into the 2016 Rio Games looking for redemption.
Italy took the bronze medal earlier in the day with a 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory over Bulgaria.
ITALY DOWNS BULGARIA FOR VOLLEYBALL BRONZE
London, England (Sports Network) - After falling short in its bid for a medal four years ago, Italy grabbed third place in the men's volleyball tournament at the London Games with a 3-1 victory over Bulgaria.
Italy earned its first medal since a silver at the 2004 Athens Games, notching a 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory on Sunday. The Italians were bested in the bronze medal match by Russia at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
Cristian Savani led Italy with 23 points, recording seven of his team's 11 points off serves. Michal Lasko added 18 points in the win.
"Today we served well. It's been really tough, but now we have the bronze," said Savani.
Bulgaria used a balanced attack that saw four players reach double figures in points, including 12 each from Vladimir Nikolov and Todor Aleksiev. However, it was denied its second volleyball medal behind only a silver showing at the 1980 Moscow Games. Bulgaria finished in a tie for fifth in Beijing.
A block by Savani capped five straight points for the Italians in the first set, giving them a 17-9 advantage. Bulgaria would pull to within four at 20-16, but a Lasko spike ended the set in favor of Italy.
The second set went to Bulgaria, which logged a 7-2 run at one point to take an 11-7 edge. Though Italy tied the set at 13 and actually went up 23-22, three straight faults by the Italians cost them the set.
Bulgaria then jumped out to a 5-1 edge in the third set, but Lasko helped Italy even things up with two aces. A block by Italy's Luigi Mastrangelo evened the set at 14-14 and a serving Lasko helped his team take an 18-15 advantage and eventually the set.
A spike and two aces by Savani put Italy up 13-9 in the fourth set, though Bulgaria battled back to even things at 16-16. The Italians did not let the set get away, however, taking a 23-19 lead on a Savani ace before an Emanuele Birarelli point finished off the match.
FRANCE EDGES SWEDEN, REPEATS GOLD IN MEN'S HANDBALL
London, England (Sports Network) - France defended its gold medal in men's handball Sunday, beating Sweden by one 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.
France trailed midway through the first half, but made a key run late. Guigou had back-to-back goals, and Xavier Barachet followed up with another to make it a 10-7 game.
The French were up by two at halftime, then led throughout the second half -- albeit not by much. Sweden got within 21-20 in the 59th minute, after Ekberg tallied the second straight goal for his team. But Luc Abalo followed with a goal for France, a crucial score considering Kim Ekdahl du Rietz followed with one for Sweden.
But France and goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer made sure the Swedes didn't pull even, holding on as time ran out.
CROATIA CLAIMS BRONZE IN MEN'S HANDBALL
London, England (Sports Network) - Croatia nabbed its third ever men's handball medal and denied Hungary its first with a 33-26 victory on Sunday in the bronze medal match at the London Games.
Ivan Cupic had eight goals, Blazenko Lackovic scored on all seven of his shots and Domagoj Duvnjak added six markers on eight shots as Croatia rebounded from a fourth-place finish at the 2008 Beijing Games. It added to its Olympic medal total that includes a pair of golds in 1996 and 2004.
Marko Kopljar was also perfect on the day, scoring three times on three shots.
"We could have done better but we showed our character in this game. We were a team and we deserved the medal," said Cupic.
Hungary was paced by seven goals from Gergely Harsanyi and also got six from Laszlo Nagy. The Hungarians matched their best finish in Olympic history with fourth place, done four times prior and most recently at the 2004 Athens Games.
Croatia, which beat Hungary 26-19 during the preliminary round, started to pull away late in the first half with three straight goals as Cupic's tally at the 27th-minute mark made it an 18-12 game.
Four goals by Hungary -- two each from Gergo Ivancsik and Mate Lekai -- early in the second half pulled it to within 23-20, but Croatia put the match away by scoring seven goals over a 10-minute span soon after.
CROATIA TOPS ITALY FOR WATER POLO GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - 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.
Earlier, Australia beat the United States 10-9 to earn seventh place and Hungary routed Spain 14-8 for fifth -- a disappointing finish for the three- time defending Olympic gold medalist.
BRITAIN'S JOSHUA IS OLYMPIC SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
London, England (Sports Network) - Great Britain's Anthony Joshua won the super heavyweight final Sunday for his country's fifth boxing medal of the London Olympics, and third gold.
Joshua won the bout by countback after rallying for an 8-5 score in the third round to tie reigning Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy at 18-18.
It was Britain's second gold medal at the weight, the first country to do that. It was the host country's 29th gold medal of the London Games.
Cammarelle, after losing by the tiebreaker, thought the judges got it wrong.
"I feel I've lost even though I got a silver medal to go along with the gold in Beijing and the bronze in Athens," he said.
Earlier, Kazakhstan's Serik Sapiyev beat Britain's Freddie Evans to win the welterweight division.
Also Sunday, Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana topped Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar in the flyweight final, Ukranian Vasyl Lomachenko routed South Korea's Han Soon-chul to win the lightweight gold and Russia's Egor Mekhontcev beat Kazakhstan's Adilbek Niyazymbetov in a countback in the light heavyweight final
RUSSIA CONTINUES DOMINANCE OF RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS
London, England (Sports Network) - 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.
Entering Sunday's final as the top qualifying team, Russia notched a 28.700 on the five balls routine, then followed up with a 28.300 in the three ribbons and two hoops. The total score of 57.000 was 1.500 points better than second- place Belarus, which took a surprise silver over Italy.
"We are simply very happy. We are over the moon. It was a long time with hard work, and we can't believe we won the gold now. We are grateful to everyone. We are very proud to represent Russia and it's an unforgettable experience to hear the national anthem. It's an amazing feeling," said Russia's Uliana Donskova.
The Italians were expected to challenge for gold after winning each of the past three world titles, but finished 0.05 points back of Belarus. A two- tenths of a point penalty deduction on the three ribbons and two hoops event was the difference.
Russia's Evgeniya Kanaeva made history on Saturday by becoming the first rhythmic gymnast to win two gold medals in the individual all-around.
USA'S VARNER WINS WRESTLING GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - 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.
"It's awesome, I came here to win a gold medal and that's what I've done," said Varner. "I played more defense than I wanted to, but it's awesome for the United States."
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.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said U.S. coach Cael Sanderson, who was a gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Games. "He's Olympic champion, that's what he wanted. Awesome."
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.
"I heard that my opponent was injured, I guess this was my easiest match today," said Gazyumov.
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.
LITHUANIAN WINS WOMEN'S MODERN PENTATHLON, FINAL GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - 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.
Asadauskaite, ranked No. 1 in the world, won 23 of her 35 fencing matches to earn the third-highest score after one part of the competition. Latvia's Elena Rublevska had the highest mark in fencing, but turned in the 32nd-best time in the next event, the 200-meter freestyle swim.
Asadauskaite was 17th in that event after posting a time of 2 minutes, 18.67 seconds. Hungary's Sarolta Kovacs set a modern pentathlon Olympic record by swimming 2:08.11, but was already far down on the results table because of a poor fencing performance.
The competition then moved to Greenwich Park for the final events -- show jumping, and the running/shooting combined.
Competitors aren't familiar with their horses until shortly before the show jumping begins, and Asadauskaite did well aboard All Rise. She had the second- most amount of points and, after that event, was tied for the lead with Marques -- who had gotten top-10 scores in the first three competitions.
They began first in the running/shooting combined, when start times are staggered based on the standings to produce an exciting finish. The first athlete to cross the line wins.
Asadauskaite wasn't the quickest through the shooting portions, taking 56.09 seconds to complete the three shooting portions, which were each followed by a 1,000-meter run.
But the Lithuanian was a much faster runner than Marques, taking 10:59.55 to complete the 3km, compared to 11:32.20 for the Brazilian.
Asadauskaite finished 17 seconds ahead of Marques, who was then passed by Murray for second place.
Great Britain's Mhairi Spence, the reigning world champion, finished 21st.
CZECH KULHAVY WINS MEN'S MOUNTAIN BIKE GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - 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.
In the final cycling event of these games, Kulhavy, Schurter and Italy's Marco Aurelio Fontana rode the final few laps of the Hadleigh Farm course together, ahead of the rest of the field.
Fontana was dropped on the final lap, when his seatpost snapped off, leaving him without a saddle.
Kulhavy, the reigning world champion in cross-country mountain biking, then passed Schurter on a short climb shortly before the finish. After the two crested the climb, they descended down a small series of chicanes leading into the home stretch.
Kulhavy led on the way down, then held off a sprint from Schurter to cross the line first. It is the Czech Republic's first medal in any Olympic cycling event.
"It was really hard, because we went full-gas the whole time," Kulhavy said. "I was amazingly strong. I gave everything for this race."
He 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.
COLOMBIAN RUNNER'S POSITIVE DRUG TEST CONFIRMED
London, England (Sports Network) - The International Olympic Committee announced Sunday that Colombian runner Diego Palomeque Echavarria's positive drug test has been confirmed.
After testing positive for testosterone, Echavarria was provisionally suspended on Aug. 4, preventing him from running that morning in heats for the men's 400 meters. The suspension became official after analysis of the "B" sample confirmed the initial test.
The IOC said in statement Sunday that they also requested the Colombian Olympic Committee to "investigate the matter of the injections administered to the athlete by his coach, Raul Diaz Quejada, and to take any appropriate sanctions or measures within its own competence."
The statement also said that, "the IOC reserves its right to consider possible further sanctions or measures in relation to this matter."
08/12 19:53:04 ET