Olympic Daily News - Thursday, August 2

At this rate, Gabby Douglas may have trouble living up to her "Flying Squirrel" moniker with all the gold she has hanging around her neck.

Douglas became the third straight U.S. women's gymnast to win the Olympic individual all-around competition, holding off Russia's Victoria Komova by less than three-tenths of a point to earn her second gold medal of the London Games.

Russia's Aliya Mustafina and American Aly Raisman ended with the same score of 59.566, but the tie break went to Mustafina, earning her the bronze.

Two days after helping Team USA capture its first team gold medal since 1996, Douglas posted a score of 62.232 to become the fourth American female to win the all-around gold. The 16-year-old joins Mary Lou Retton, who won the first at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, as well as Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin, who claimed the top prize in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

"It just feels amazing to be called Olympic champion. So much effort, hard work, determination and passion in the gym. I'm just so happy," Douglas said.

The U.S. is only the second country to ever win three consecutive women's individual all-around titles at the Olympics, joining the former Soviet Union (1952-60).

It marks the second time in two years that Komova finished behind an American in the individual all-around at a major competition. She earned a silver at the 2011 World Championships, coming in behind Jordyn Wieber.

Just like Tuesday, Douglas and Raisman both started off on the United States' best event, the vault, and set the pace with outstanding scores. Douglas was in front with a 15.966 and Raisman was right behind at 15.900.

Komova and Mustafina were right behind at 3-4, but the duo both made up ground on the next rotation at the uneven bars. Mustafina had the best score of the competition on the apparatus and Komova was second to move each up a spot and knock Raisman to fourth.

It then became a two-horse race between Douglas and Komova after the third rotation due to Mustafina's fall on the balance beam and a few wobbles by Raisman.

Though Douglas nearly went out of bounds at one point on her floor exercise, her mark of 15.033 essentially sealed up her gold even though Komova had yet to go. The 17-year-old Russian managed a solid 15.100, but that still left her .259 behind Douglas and in tears for the second time this week.

"I just wanted to go on the floor and treat it like the trials. Just show it off and perform. You have to learn to enjoy and seize the moment," said Douglas.

Komova and Mustafina both won silver at Tuesday's team competition, one that saw Russia fumble away its chances at gold during the event's final rotation on the floor exercise. Anastasia Grishina failed to complete one of her tumbling passes and Kseniia Afanaseva, Russia's final gymnast in the event, fell to the mat at the conclusion of her routine.

"Yes," Komova replied when asked if she was disappointed with another silver. "I really wanted to achieve gold but unfortunately I didn't manage it. The mood is really that of disappointment."

Raisman, the 18-year-old captain of Team USA, finished behind only Komova in Sunday's qualifier and just ahead of Douglas. That pushed Wieber, who had the fourth-best score, out of the event because rules state that only two gymnasts from one country can compete in the all-around.

Raisman outscored Mustafina by five-tenths of a point on the floor exercise to pull into the tie. The bronze was decided by which gymnast had the three highest scores, with Mustafina holding a 0.567 edge.

"I'm trying to be positive about it. They said that they took out the lowest score and added the rest and she had the highest score. No one told me that, I found out from one of the media people," Raisman noted.

"Of course it's a huge bummer but I'm still fourth in the world so that's something to be proud of. It's also a bummer that they can't just let us both get a bronze medal but I'm happy for the girls that are on the podium."

Douglas, meanwhile, joins Shannon Miller from the '96 team as the only U.S. women to win two Olympic gold medals in the same year. She has a chance to add more gold before she leaves London after also qualifying for both the uneven bars and balance beam final.


London, England (Sports Network) - Anthony Ervin auctioned off his gold medal for winning the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics to aid victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Now, he wants another one.

"Hopefully I can make that happen in the next two swims," he said.

Ervin swam the fourth fastest time in heats for the 50 free Thursday morning and will go again in the evening, when the Aquatics Centre will also host the second head-to-head race between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

Two years after winning gold and silver in Sydney, Ervin retired from swimming at the age of 22 in 2003. The former world record holder in the 50 free went back to college and toured the world, but got back in the pool for a college assignment and came out of retirement to qualify for the event again at U.S. trials.

"It is part of the human experience to push and push what we think is possible," he said Thursday.

Trinidad & Tobago's George Richard Bovell had the fastest 50 heat, 21.77 seconds, while world record holder and reigning Olympic champion Cesar Cielo was .03 ticks slower. Cielo hasn't lost at the distance since winning gold in Beijing four years

American Cullen Jones also made the semis, coming in sixth. He and Ervin will try to bring the U.S. another sprint medal after Nathan Adrian won the men's 100 free Wednesday night.

Lochte and Phelps set themselves up for their second head-to-head race of the London Olympics after both made the final of the men's 200 individual medley.

The world record holder Lochte blew away Hungary's Laszlo Cseh by .61 seconds Wednesday night for the fastest time in the semis. But Phelps is the two-time defending champion at the distance and will be looking to become the first male swimmer to win the same Olympic race three times in a row two days after setting the all-time Olympic medal record. He was .98 seconds slower than Lochte in the semis.

It's their last head-to-head race of the games. Lochte, of course, won the first one -- the 400 IM on Saturday in the first medal race here. Phelps was fourth, the first time he finished off an Olympic medal podium since he was 15.

Americans have 18 swimming medals here so far, and they're evenly split among the men and women: 4 gold, three silver and two bronze for each.

The final of the men's 200 backstroke is also Thursday night, about 30 minutes before the 200 IM. Lochte also qualified for that race Wednesday night with the second best time in the semis behind U.S. teammate Tyler Clary.

Phelps will end his night with semis for the 100 butterfly, which he has also won in the last two Olympics. He had the second fastest time in heats in the morning behind South Africa's Chad le Clos, who beat him in the 200 fly -- Phelps' signature race.

It was the last Olympic preliminary swim for Phelps, who swears he will retire after the games.

"This is my last prelim swim ever so that was pretty fun to be able to do a pretty decent time in it," he said.

Milorad Cavic, the swimmer Phelps beat by .01 seconds in the famous Beijing 100 race, also made the semis.

American Rebecca Soni will defend her Olympic title in the women's 200-meter breaststroke after setting a world record in the semis Wednesday night and Missy Franklin will take aim at her fourth medal here in the women's 100 free.

Franklin, who will be the first American female swimmer to race in seven events at an Olympics, had the fastest heat Wednesday morning in the 200 back ahead of teammate Elizabeth Beisel and world record holder and two-time defending Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe. Franklin already won the 100 back.

Britain's Rebecca Adlington, the world record holder and 2008 gold medalist, swam the fastest heat for the women's 800 free Thursday morning. Denmark's Lotte Friis was second and Katie Ledecky of the U.S. was third.


London, England (Sports Network) - The United States held off a late charge from Canada to win gold in the rowing women's eight on Thursday, successfully defending its medal from Beijing.

Expected to be two-horse race between the countries, the U.S. got off to a quick start and had the fastest time through the first 1,000 meters. Canada began to make up a little bit of the distance, but the American boat finished over a second ahead with a time of 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds.

Canada picked up the silver, besting the bronze-winning time of the Netherlands by over a second as well. Great Britain finished fifth.

The United States remained unbeaten in this event since 2006 and saw five of its rowers pick up their second gold. Mary Whipple, Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Eleanor Logan, Zsuzsanna Francia and Erin Cafaro were all part of the Beijing team.

"The last few hundred (meters) was a little rough, but we just sold it and did what we had to do. There were a couple of little rough spots here and there. But I am in awe of my teammates and what they can endure and what they can handle. They are so committed and I am so proud to be their teammate," said Whipple, who is now set to retire from the sport.

The race that took place shortly before the women's eight was much closer, with South Africa edging Great Britain by just .25 seconds to win gold in the lightweight men's four.

As the only team to log a time under six minutes in the semifinals, Great Britain got off to a slow start and was just fifth after the first 500 meters. South Africa wasn't much quicker, crossing the mark third, and actually sat fourth going into the final 500 meters.

However, the team of James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu roared past the Brits, Denmark and Australia to win their first ever medal in this event.

"I kept my head down in the boat, we kept ourselves for the big sprint. They say that big sprinters finish second - not today," said Smith.

It was also just the second overall in rowing for South Africa, joining a silver won in men's pair at the 2004 Athens Games.

Denmark ended third to take the bronze.

The first final of the day saw New Zealand's Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan grab gold in the men's double sculls. Italy's Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti nabbed the silver and the bronze went to Luka Spik and Iztok Cop of Slovenia.

"Disbelief really. I thought that we were capable of doing it but still, unbelievable," noted Cohen.

Semifinals were held in the women's single sculls, with the United States' Genevra Stone failing to move into the medal final. However, both the U.S. and Great Britain won their respective heats in the men's four semis to set up a potential showdown in that final.

Hosting Great Britain also advanced boats into the final of both the women's and men's lightweight double sculls on Thursday.


London, England (Sports Network) - Kayla Harrison made history on Thursday, becoming the first American ever to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.

Harrison, the 2010 world champion, won the women's 78-kilogram division by beating Great Britain's Gemma Gibbons, who herself made a surprise run to the final.

"I was surprised at who I was against in the final, but she deserved to be there. She was tough to beat, all the competitors were strong," said Harrison.

It was only the second medal ever by a U.S. female in judo, joining the bronze won by Ronda Rousey at the 2008 Beijing Games.

After winning all of her previous matches by ippon, including one over world No. 1 Mayra Aguiar of Brazil, Harrison scored a pair of yuko points against Gibbons, getting one in the first minute and another in the last for the historic medal.

The 22-year-old, who was once a victim of sexual abuse by a former coach, may have now put the sport on the map in the U.S.

"I hope a million little kids sign up for judo in the United States. I hope we have seven Olympic champions in 2016," she said.

Gibbons, who finished 17th at the 2010 World Championships, had to knock off reigning world champion Audrey Tcheumeo of France to reach the final. Tcheumeo won a bronze Thursday, as Aguiar.

In the men's 100kg, 2011 world champion Tagir Khaibulaev of Russia scored a victory over Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia to win the gold, besting the 2008 gold medalist by ippon.

"The final was easy somehow, maybe it just seems to me this way. I threw him quickly," Khaibulaev said. "I left all my emotions on the tatami."

Bronze medals in the weight class went to German Dimitri Peters and Henk Grol of the Netherlands.


Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) - Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray moved into the semifinals at the Olympic Games tennis event at the All England Club.

The reigning No. 1 Federer snuck past 10th-seeded 6-foot-9 American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) on the famed Centre Court, where the super Swiss captured a men's-record-tying seventh Wimbledon title last month.

The match ended in 1 hour, 25 minutes and Federer recorded the only break of the affair to grab a 5-4 lead in the opening set. The match came to an end when a Federer backhand return clipped the net cord and trickled over for a winner.

Federer avenged a stunning February Davis Cup setback in his native Switzerland at the hands of Isner and is now 4-1 lifetime against the towering American.

The 30-year-old Federer owns a men's-record 17 Grand Slam titles, but needs a victory this week to secure the career "Golden Slam."

Federer's semifinal opponent will be eighth-seeded Argentine slugger Juan Martin del Potro, who stunned the Swiss great in the 2009 U.S. Open final in New York.

The second-seeded Djokovic, who captured a bronze medal in Beijing four years ago, handled fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 7-5 in a quarterfinal on Centre Court.

Djokovic tallied 22 winners and topped Tsonga in 1 hour, 20 minutes by breaking the Frenchman four times, compared to only one break for Tsonga. The Serb broke the Frenchman for a 6-5 edge in the second set and then closed out the quality match on his serve.

The powerful Djokovic is the reigning Australian and U.S. Open champion who coughed up the No. 1 ranking to Federer last month.

Meanwhile, cheered on by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Kate, the third-seeded Murray blew past 11th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-1 on Court 1.

The rout was over in 59 minutes, as a dazzling Murray clubbed 15 aces and was not broken on Day 6 of this nine-day tournament. The Brit smacked 23 more winners (29-6) than the overmatched Almagro, who battled a sore right shoulder in the setback.

Murray lost to Federer in his first career Wimbledon final last month in this London suburb.

The four-time Grand Slam runner-up Murray will meet Djokovic for a 14th time, with the Serb leading their all-time series, 8-5, including a 2-1 record this year. The 25-year-old good friends have never met on grass.

The aforementioned 6-foot-7 del Potro stopped 15th-seeded rising Japanese Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) on Court 1.

Del Potro will face Federer for a 15th time, seeking only a third win (2-12). Federer is already 5-0 versus the Argentine this year and has won six straight against the tall South American.


London, England (Sports Network) - Chris Hoy provided a storybook ending to the men's team sprint Thursday during the first day of track cycling competition.

He rode the final lap to secure the gold medal for Great Britain with a world record time, and earned his fifth Olympic title to match Sir Steve Redgrave.

"It's just great to win here in the UK, in front of this crowd, it's phenomenal," Hoy said. "You cannot overstate what this means to us. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

But if Hoy's story was a dream, the women's team sprint was a nightmare of ruling and relegations. In the first year this competition has been part of the Olympic program, teams from Great Britain and China were relegated, resulting in a silver medal for the Chinese rather than gold.

All the drama was nearly enough to make another world record performance, this one by Great Britain's team pursuit squad in qualifying, an afterthought.

The men's team sprint competition didn't get off to the best start for the host British. Philip Hindes, the lead rider, wobbled after coming out of the starting gate because of an apparent steering problem, then fell down.

But a restart was ordered, and the British team set an Olympic record while qualifying with the fastest time ahead of France and Australia, which was the reigning world champion.

The British women's team had also been successful in qualifying, setting the world record moments before China broke it again.

However, disaster struck for Great Britain's Jessica Varnish and Victoria Pendleton in the next round.

They easily defeated the Ukraine in their heat, but in the minutes following that result, it was determined that Pendleton passed Varnish too early during the race -- which is two laps compared to three for men.

Pendleton rode the fastest second lap of that round, but the ruling meant that she and Varnish weren't going to contest for a medal.

China then qualified for the final with another world record, this time in 32.422 seconds.

The Chinese duo of Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang edged Germany's Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel -- the reigning world titlists -- in the gold medal race. But again, race officials determined there was an illegal exchange.

As the decision made its way around the arena and the news soaked in, signs of disbelief spread across the faces of the Germans and Chinese -- only for different reasons.

"We really could not believe it when we saw it on the screen that we were Olympic champions," Vogel said. "It's amazing. It's weird and amazing."

As a result, the Germans took the top step of the podium and China earned silver. Australia had defeated the Ukraine, which replaced Great Britain, for the bronze.

By contrast, Hoy and his teammates were dominant and left little question as to which team was strongest. They had set a world record to move into the gold medal race against France, then broke it again with a time of 42.600.

The French were only .005 seconds behind the British after the first lap, but Jason Kenny widened the margin with a strong second lap. Hoy's final lap extended the gap to .413 seconds.

Germany defeated Australia for the bronze.

It's been quite a successful Olympics for Hoy, who carried Great Britain's flag at the opening ceremony. Now, he is tied with Redgrave for most gold medals in the country's history, and can move past that mark with a win in the keirin. He also equaled the all-time record for total medals in track cycling.


London, England (Sports Network) - After sweeping the women's individual foil competition earlier at the London Games, Italy dominated its way to gold in the team competition on Thursday.

Elisa Di Francisca, Arianna Errigo and Valentina Vezzali won gold, silver and bronze, respectively, in Saturday's individual foil event and Ilaria Salvatori joined the trio to secure the team win at ExCeL Exhibition Centre.

"We are a team and as a team of four people we all really wanted this gold medal," said Vezzali. "We gave all our best to do it and we all fenced with heart and soul."

Italy, which salvaged bronze four years ago in Beijing, has won four of the last five golds in this event. Russia, the gold medalist in 2008, faced the Italians in the gold medal match on Thursday and was dealt a 45-31 loss. That was the closest match of the day for the winners, who routed Great Britain (42-14) and France (45-22) before defeating the Russians for gold.

South Korea defeated France, 45-32, in the third-place match to earn its first medal in team fencing.

Vezzali now has nine Olympic medals (6 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze), giving her the most golds and total medals in the history of women's fencing. The 38- year-old had won the previous three Olympic individual events before coming up short in London.

The United States lost in the quarterfinal round to South Korea and finished in sixth place.


London, England (Sports Network) - South Korean Ki Bo Bae defeated Mexican Aida Roman in a shoot-off to win gold in the women's individual archery competition at the London Olympics.

The two were tied at five set points apiece after regulation, but Ki was closest to the middle after the eighth arrow. Ki earned her second gold of these games, having already helped South Korea to the team title.

The United States' Khatuna Lorig placed fourth after losing the bronze medal match to Mexico's Mariana Avitia.

She defeated world No. 6 Cheng Ming in the 1/8 elimination round and made it through the quarterfinals to reach the semis, where she lost to Ki. The Georgia-born Lorig was looking for her second medal in her fifth Olympic Games. She earned bronze with the Unified Team in 1992.


London, England (Sports Network) - British teams claimed gold and silver in the men's canoe double Thursday at the London Games, while France's Emilie Fer won gold in the women's kayak single.

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott won the event with a total time of 106.41 seconds, becoming the first Brits to win Olympic gold in canoe/kayak slalom. Countrymen David Florence and Richard Hounslow finished just 0.36 seconds behind for the silver medal.

Florence earned his second Olympic medal, having also won silver in the canoe single four years ago in Beijing.

Slovakian twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner, who had won the previous three gold medals in this event, finished 1.87 seconds behind Baillie and Stott for bronze.

Fer earned her first Olympic medal with a time of 105.90 seconds, finishing 0.61 seconds ahead of Australia's Jessica Fox. Maialen Chourraut of Spain earned bronze with a time of 106.87.

Stepanka Hilgertova of the Czech Republic finished 3.26 seconds behind Fer in fourth place. The 44-year-old Hilgertova, a two-time gold medalist in this event, beat Fox's mother -- bronze medalist Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi -- in the kayak single at the 1996 Atlanta Games.


London, England (Sports Network) - Top-seeded Zhang Jike beat No. 2 seed Wang Hao on Thursday to give the Chinese two more table tennis medals at the London Olympics.

Zhang knocked off his countryman 4-1 in under an hour for his first Olympic medal.

It was China's fourth medal at these games -- two gold and two silver. On Wednesday, Li Xiaoxia beat No. 1 seed Ding Ning to win the women's table tennis tournament.

Wang won his fourth Olympic table tennis medal and third silver in men's singles.

Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat Taiwan's Chuang Chih-Yuan 4-2 in the bronze medal match.

Ovtcharov was bidding to become the first European since Sweden's Jan-Ove Waldner in 1992 to win an Olympic gold medal in table tennis but lost to Zhang 4-1 in the morning semifinals. Wang beat Chuang by the same score in the other semi.


London, England (Sports Network) - Australian rower Josh Booth was arrested early Thursday morning for an alleged incident involving alcohol and damage to a shop front.

Australian Olympic Committee chef de mission Nick Green said that he received a phone call around 3:30 a.m. London time that Booth had been detained and taken to a police station. Green said Booth also had to be taken to the hospital after fainting at the station and hitting his head.

"He has been released from the hospital this morning and is now back at the rowing accommodation and the doctor and section manager are present," said Green. "No charges have been laid but he has to go back to the police station tomorrow (Friday) where the police will investigate the matter. We understand there was alcohol involved."

The 21-year-old Booth was part of the Australian men's eight team that finished sixth in Wednesday's final.


London, England (Sports Network) - Great Britain's Anthony Ogogo scored a big upset Thursday, when he took out Ukraine's Ievgen Khytrov, the top seed in the middleweight draw.

Khytrov is the reigning world champion, but Ogogo fought him to a draw on points. He won on a judge's decision following a countback.

"I will sleep like a baby tonight," Ogogo said.

Through to the quarterfinals, he will next fight German Stefan Hartel on Monday.

In other middleweight action Thursday, second-seeded Ryota Murata of Japan and No. 4 seed Esquiva Falcao Florentino of Brazil advanced. Romanian Bogdan Juratoni, the third seed, lost.

Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, the featherweight gold medalist in 2008, moved on to the quarterfinals of the lightweight competition. He routed Colombian Eduar Marriaga Campo by a 15-3 margin.

Two Americans, middleweight Terrell Gausha and lightweight Jose Ramirez, both lost.


London, England (Sports Network) - Referees Ishanguly Meretnyyazov and Frank Scharmach have received punishments from amateur boxing's governing body for their involvement in separate incidents during the men's boxing tournament at the Olympics.

The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) levied the harsher sanction against Meretnyyazov, who has been expelled from the London Games for his role in Wednesday's controversial bout between bantamweights Satoshi Shimizu and Magomed Abdulhamidov.

Japan's Shimizu lost a 22-17 decision to Abdulhamidov on Wednesday despite knocking the Azerbaijani to the canvas several times in the third round. The decision was overturned on Thursday after a protest was logged on behalf of Shimizu.

A statement released Thursday by the AIBA said Abdulhamidov fell down six times in the final round of his fight against Shimizu. By the AIBA's count, Meretnyyazov should have counted for at least three of those falls, which would've led to a stoppage and a victory for Shimizu.

"I was shocked about the final scores," Shimizu said shortly after Wednesday's fight. "He fell down so many times. Why didn't I win? I don't understand."

As a result of the AIBA's findings, Shimizu has been reinstated to the tournament and will next face Mohamed Amine Ouadahi of Algeria in the quarterfinal round on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Scharmach has been suspended from officiating matches at the London Games until Aug. 6. He was the referee when Ali Mazaheri of Iran was disqualified for persistent holding while fighting Cuba's Jose Larduet Gomez. That decision was not overturned and Gomez will fight Clemente Russo of Italy in a heavyweight quarterfinal bout on Sunday.

"I deeply regret that we had to take these decisions," said AIBA president Dr. Wu Ching-Kuo. "Our main concern has been and will always be the protection of the integrity and fair-play of our competitions. I will take all possible steps to reinforce this."

This scandal comes just one day after eight women's badminton players were expelled from the London Games after being accused of throwing matches in the tournament.


London, England (Sports Network) - Peter Wilson won the men's double trap event Thursday at the London Games, giving Great Britain its first shooting gold in 12 years.

Wilson led the event after the qualification round with a score of 143 and then hit 45-of-50 targets in the finals to win the competition with a total score of 188 -- 10 less than his world record mark of 198. Sweden's Hakan Dahlby won silver, hitting 49 out of 50 shots in the final round after qualifying with a score of 137.

"All these years during my preparation nothing else mattered - world cup, world competitions - more than the Olympic Games," said Wilson. "Nothing compares to winning in London."

The last gold for Great Britain in shooting came when Richard Faulds also won the double trap event at the 2000 Sydney Games. Faulds competed in this event at Royal Artillery Barracks on Thursday, but placed 12th after failing to qualify for the finals.

Vasily Mosin of Russia claimed bronze after defeating Kuwait's Fehaid Aldeehani in a shoot-off. Both shooters finished the final round with scores of 185.

American shooters Joshua Richmond and Walton Eller placed 16th and 22nd, respectively.


London, England (Sports Network) - The Olympic badminton tournament continued to move past its match-throwing scandal on Thursday and China has put itself in excellent position for a big medal haul.

The Chinese boast three of the four finalists in the women's doubles and mixed doubles events. They also have placed six of the 12 semifinalists in the remaining tournaments (men's and women's singles, and men's doubles).

In women's doubles, the tournament that has created so much controversy here at the London Games, China's Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei earned a spot in Saturday's final against Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of Japan.

On Wednesday, four teams in the women's doubles badminton draw were kicked out of the London Olympics. One of those teams was the top-ranked Chinese duo of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang. Tian and Zhao are ranked No. 2 in the world.

The expelled teams, which also include two pairs from South Korea and one from Indonesia, were suspected of trying to manipulate the draw of the knockout stages in their favor.

The mixed doubles final will be held on Friday and pits China's Zhang Nan and Zhao against compatriots Xu Chen and Ma Jin.

Wang Xin and Li Xuerui of China will also battle each other in one women's single semifinal, while countrywoman Wang Yihan will face Indonesia's Saina Nehwal in the other match.

Further evidence of China's dominance can be seen in the men's singles semifinal draw, where Chen Long and Lin Dan will face Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and South Korea's Lee Hyun Il, respectively.

Surprisingly, China has just one team left in the men's doubles draw after as Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng moved into the semis with a win over teammates Chai Biao and Guo Zhendong. Cai and Fu will face Malaysia's Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong in one semifinals, while the other will feature Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen against South Korea's Chung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae.


London, England (Sports Network) - The United States men's volleyball team may have dropped its first set of the London Games, but still remained undefeated in the preliminary round with a victory over Brazil.

Coming off a pair of straight-set wins over Serbia and Germany, the U.S. dropped its first game to Brazil 25-23, but then posted winning marks of 27-25, 25-19, and 25-17 to roll to the victory.

The United States leads Pool B with a 3-0 record, while Brazil and Russia sit 2-1. The Russians notched a straight-set victory over Tunisia, which is 0-3.

Germany, meanwhile, recorded a five-set triumph over Serbia.

In Pool A play, in which Bulgaria leads with a 3-0 mark after knocking off Australia on Thursday, Poland bested Argentina and Great Britain was topped in straight sets by Italy to fall to 0-3.


London, England (Sports Network) - The United States women's field hockey team failed to secure a needed win on Thursday, falling 1-0 to Australia in Pool B play.

The only goal of the match came in the first half at the 33rd-minute mark by Australia's Anna Flanagan, and the U.S. failed to get any of its seven shots by goalkeeper Toni Cronk.

USA sits in a fifth place, three points back of four other teams.

Three teams had a chance to keep perfect records in tact, and all but one were able to pull off the feat.

The Netherlands were the first to go to 3-0 with a a 1-0 win vs. China in a rematch of the 2008 Beijing Games gold medal match, won by the Dutch. Great Britain kept pace with a 3-0 triumph over Belgium and those wins have the clubs atop Pool A with nine points.

Crista Cullen, Laura Bartlett and Ashleigh Ball all scored for the Brits.

The other Pool B play on Thursday saw South Korea hand Japan a 1-0 loss.

New Zealand, however, failed to grab the outright lead in Pool B following a 2-1 loss to Argentina, which got both of its goals from Carla Rebecchi.

New Zealand, Australia, Germany (which beat South Africa 2-0) and Argentina all have six points in the standings.


London, England (Sports Network) - Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes won two races Thursday in the men's 49er sailing competition, highlighting a good day on the waters for Great Britain.

Following the victories, Morrison and Rhodes sit in second in the class, also known as men's skiff, behind Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.

In the Finn (men's one-person heavyweight dinghy), Ben Ainslie finished first and third in the day's two races and still trails Denmark's Jonas Hogh- Christensen. But with just two preliminary races remaining in that class, Ainslie looks like a safe bet to be among the 10 boats moving on.

On the bubble is U.S. sailor Zach Railey, the 2008 silver medalist. He is currently 12th, five points out of 10th place.

Great Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson lead the Star (men's keelboat) after recording finishes of first and second Thursday. They have finished in the top three seven times.

The men's 470 (two-person dinghy) competition began Thursday, and the British pair of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell grabbed the lead with a win and a runner-up finish.

The British boat won its race in the women's Elliott 6m match racing event, which Australia still leads with round robin matches nearly completed.

In women's and men's RS:X (windsurfer) competitions, Spain's Marina Alabau Neira and the Netherlands' Dorian van Rijsselberge continue to lead.


London, England (Sports Network) - United States captain Tony Azevedo paced an early attack and kept his men's team unbeaten so far in Group B play with a 13-7 win over Great Britain.

Azevedo scored three of his four goals Thursday in the game's first four minutes as the U.S. built a 7-0 edge at one point. Ryan Bailey added three goals.

The United States improved to 3-0, keeping it the lone unbeaten team in Group B play. Serbia is second at 2-0-1 following Thursday's tie with Montenegro.

Rob Parker scored three times and Ciaran James had two for the Brits, who have been outscored by 29 goals while going winless so far.

Serbia received five goals from Andrija Prlainovic, but Montenegro got three from Aleksandar Ivovic and another two by Mladan Janovic to match the fellow medal contender.

Serbia will play the U.S. on Saturday, while Montenegro, which is 1-1-1, draws Romania.

Hungary handed Romania a 17-15 defeat on Thursday. The defending Olympic gold medalist, Hungary had lost its first two games of the pool play.

Croatia won for the third time in as many games in London, knocking off Italy to stay atop Group A.

Spain, playing for the first time since a referee ruled that Ivan Perez's shot in the final seconds of a loss versus Croatia did not cross the line in time, rebounded for a 13-9 win over Australia, while Greece rolled past Kazakhstan 11-4.


London, England (Sports Network) - France and Iceland won in men's handball on Thursday to remain unbeaten in preliminary action at the London Olympics.

France posted a 25-19 win over Tunisia, while Iceland edged Sweden by a 33-32 score. The 3-0 teams will face each other Saturday in a key Group A showdown that is also a rematch of the gold medal game from four years ago in Beijing, which France won for its first Olympic handball title.

Argentina also defeated Great Britain, 32-21, in the other Group A contest.

Croatia and Denmark have also compiled 3-0 records in Group B. The Croatians, who won gold at the 1996 and 2004 Summer Games, notched a 26-19 win over Hungary, while Denmark clipped Serbia, 26-25.

Spain posted a 33-29 win over South Korea and is 2-1 in Group B.


London, England (Sports Network) - The United States team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser finished their Pool B schedule with a victory Thursday in men's beach volleyball.

The gold medalists from four years ago in Beijing, Rogers and Dalhauser defeated the Czech team of Premysl Kubala and Petr Benes, 21-13 and 21-15. The U.S. duo won Pool B and will move onto the second round.

Also winning on Thursday was the U.S. women's team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, who posted a 21-19, 19-21, 19-17 victory over Spain's Liliana Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo.

Kessy and Ross will face Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland in the Round of 16 on Friday.


London, England (Sports Network) - Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer had the top two scores in dressage Thursday to help Great Britain take the lead in the team competition.

Hester and his horse Uthopia had a top score of 77.720, while Bechtolsheimer is right behind after recording at 76.839 aboard Mistral Hojris.

That helped the British to an average score of 77.280, which leads the team standings in front of Denmark and Spain. Great Britain has never won a dressage medal at the Olympics.

However, some teams -- like Germany, which has won seven gold medals in a row (the first two as West Germany) -- do not yet have average team scores because only one rider performed Thursday.

In dressage, team and individual competitions run concurrently. Individual marks count toward the team scores. Day 2 of the preliminary Grand Prix competition is Friday, while the final team competition takes place next Tuesday. Individual dressage medals will be awarded a week from now.

Also performing Thursday was Rafalca, the horse partly owned by Ann Romney, the wife of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt. With American Jan Ebeling aboard, they recorded a score of 70.243 and sit in 13th place.

Additionally, 87 horses were inspected Thursday for the jumping competition, which starts Saturday. All but two passed immediately, and one needs to be re- inspected Friday morning.