Jamaica's Usain Bolt sprinted his way into the Olympic record books Sunday at the London Games, joining Carl Lewis as the only men to defend the title of "World's Fastest Man."
Bolt won his second straight gold in the men's 100 meters, breaking his own Olympic record to defeat countryman Yohan Blake. Bolt's successful defense of gold links him with Lewis, who won the event in 1984 and 1988 for the United States.
The world-record holder finished the race in 9.63 seconds, shaving .06 seconds off his winning time from the 2008 Beijing Games. Blake crossed the finish line .12 seconds later, while Justin Gatlin of the U.S. took bronze with a time of 9.79 seconds.
"It was wonderful," said Bolt. "I knew it was going to be like this. There wasn't a doubt in my mind it was going to be like this."
American Tyson Gay was fourth, just .01 seconds behind Gatlin. The U.S. also held the fifth spot with Ryan Bailey posting a time of 9.88 seconds.
In the months leading up to the games, many wondered if Bolt could beat Blake. After all, Blake won gold at last year's world championships, while Bolt bowed out of the competition due to a disqualification for a false start. The man known as "The Beast" also defeated Bolt in both the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican Olympic Trials.
In the end, the talk of Bolt's downfall was premature. Whether the doubts were rooted in Blake's emergence as a world-class sprinter or Bolt's balky back, clearly track and field's biggest star was not ready to step out of the spotlight just yet.
After the race, the always outspoken Bolt had words of encouragement for Blake, but also threw in some backhanded compliments for good measure.
"He works harder than me, but I knew what I needed to do and I have great talent. He will do better next time because he was a little bit stressed this time," Bolt said.
As is often the case, the 6-foot-5 Bolt began slow out of the gate, but made up the time easily. However, unlike his dominant victory in Beijing, Bolt didn't have a big enough lead to strike a pose while crossing the finish line.
This time he saved the celebration for after the race. Draping himself in the Jamaican flag, Bolt took a victory lap around Olympic Stadium as the crowd rained down chants of "Usain! Usain!"
For the American Gatlin, the bronze medal offers him a bit of redemption. The man who won gold in the 100 eight years ago in Athens missed the Beijing Games due to a doping scandal that led to him serving a four-year ban.
"It feels great to be back after eight years," said Gatlin. "Simply just to come back and use my God-given talent. I went out there and I did the best I could do."
The U.S. picked up a few more medals Sunday at the track, including gold for Sanya Richards-Ross' run in the women's 400 meters. Richards-Ross, the wife of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Aaron Ross, ran the race in 49.55 seconds to beat defending champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain by .15 seconds.
Richards-Ross picked up her first individual Olympic gold medal. She won bronze in the 400 four years ago in Beijing and also has two golds in the 1,600-meter relay.
"This win is impossible to describe," said Richards-Ross. "I worked so hard for that and I prepared for this moment over and over for the last four years."
DeeDee Trotter of the U.S. was just .02 seconds behind Ohuruogu for bronze.
Ohuruogu was trying to become only the second woman to win consecutive 400m golds. Marie-Jose Perec of France won two straight golds at the 1992 and 1996 Summer Games.
Gold was also awarded Sunday evening in three other events: the men's 3,000- meter steeplechase and hammer throw, and the women's triple jump.
Olga Rypakova won the triple jump, beating Colombia's Caterine Ibarguen. Rypakova, who placed fourth in triple jump four years ago in Beijing, claimed gold with a jump of 14.98 meters, edging Ibarguen by .18 meters. Ibarguen fell just short of winning Colombia's first Olympic gold medal.
Olha Saladuha of the Ukraine took bronze with a leap of 14.79 meters, just .01 meters less than Ibarguen.
Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won the steeplechase, giving him his second gold medal in the event. Kemboi, who also won gold eight years ago in Athens, finished the race in 8 minutes, 18.56 seconds. France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, silver medalist in Beijing, was second again with a time of 8:19.08.
Abel Kiprop Mutai of Kenya won the bronze, crossing the finish line at 8:19.73. Americans Evan Jager and Donald Cabral finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
The hammer throw was won by Hungary's Krisztian Pars, who claimed gold with a throw of 80.59 meters. Slovenia's Primoz Kozmus, winner of gold in Beijing, was second with a toss of 79.36 meters and Japan's Koji Murofushi grabbed bronze.
The semifinals of the men's 400m were also held on Sunday and double amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa was eliminated from medal contention after finishing last in his heat. The 25-year-old Pistorius is the first man to compete in both the Summer and Paralympic Games. He still has a shot at medaling in London, as he's expected to run in the men's 1,600-meter relay later in the week.
Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago had the fastest time of the 400 semis, completing the race in 44.58 seconds. No Americans qualified for the final race.
In the first round of heats for the women's 400m hurdles, the U.S. saw all three of its entrants advance to Monday's semifinal round, including Lashinda Demus, last year's world champion, who had the fifth-fastest time with a run of 54.60 seconds.
Teammate Georganne Moline was .29 seconds ahead of Demus in fourth, just .41 seconds behind top qualifier Natalya Antyukh of Russia. T'Erea Brown of the U.S. qualified in seventh place.
In the men's 1,500m semifinals, both Matthew Centrowitz and Leonel Manzano of the U.S. qualified for Tuesday's final.
The U.S. also had three high jumpers -- Erik Kynard, Jesse Williams and Jamie Nieto -- move past the qualification round. Canada's Derek Drouin and Michael Mason also earned places in Tuesday's finals.
ETHIOPIA'S GELANA SETS OR IN WOMEN'S MARATHON
London, England (Sports Network) - With a little more than a kilometer to go in a rainy women's marathon, Ethiopian Tiki Gelana powered away from an elite lead group Sunday to earn the gold medal and set an Olympic record.
Gelana had been part of a four-woman group that also included Kenyans Priscah Jeptoo and Mary Jepkosgei Keitany and Russian Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova.
They were running together with 5 km to go, but as the race approached the final kilometer, Gelana pushed the pace and Keitany -- who has won the last two London Marathons and was a favorite heading into the race -- was the first to fall back.
Then, Arkhipova dropped off and Jeptoo was visibly struggling. Gelana, on the other hand, held her pace and crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 7 seconds. That shaved seven seconds off the previous Olympic mark, set by Japan's Naoko Takahashi in 2000.
Jeptoo finished five seconds behind Gelana to take silver, while Arkhipova held on for bronze in 2:23:29.
Gelana's achievement was all the more remarkable because Sunday's race was conducted on wet roads and in frequent rain.
"As soon as the rain started, I said to myself, 'Thank God.' I love running in the rain," Gelana said. "I have been doing that since I was a small child. I slipped in the middle of the race and my elbow is still injured. But I didn't feel any pain during the race."
The 24-year-old, who won the Rotterdam marathon this year, became the first Ethiopian to win the women's Olympic marathon since Fatuma Roba in 1996.
"Fatuma is my hero," Gelana said. "I am extremely happy to share history with her. This gold medal is a gift for all Ethiopians."
Shalane Flanagan was the top American in Sunday's race, finishing 10th with a time of 2:25:51. Her training partner, Kara Goucher, was 11th. The third U.S. runner in the field, Desiree Davila, pulled out of the race because of an injury she has been struggling with recently.
"I could tell early on that it's not going to happen today," Davila, 29, said. "I will regroup and I am relatively young. I have a long career ahead of me. I don't want to compromise that."
The race began fairly slowly, with a half-marathon time of 1:13:13. That allowed a large lead pack to stay together.
But the shape of the marathon soon changed. Kenya's Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat pushed the pace, taking Gelana, Keitany, Jeptoo, and Ethiopians Mare Dibaba and Aselefech Mergia with her.
That forced Flanagan and Goucher to chase. Flanagan latched back on, but only for a short time before falling behind again.
"The turns and the ups and downs were really, really hard," Flanagan said.
Arkhipova eventually bridged up to the leaders, while Dibaba couldn't stay with them.
NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY: MARONEY GUILTY OF FIRST U.S. SLIP-UP
London, England (Sports Network) - It was bound to happen, someone on the U.S. women's gymnastics team finally committing that costly error. They couldn't stay flawless forever.
Heck, prior to Sunday's vault final, the only real drama the team had to deal with was the fact that reigning all-around world champion Jordyn Wieber did not qualify for the final of that event.
But even that was through no fault of her own. Wieber finished with the fourth-best score in qualifying, but did not advance into the competition simply due to a rule that states no country can have more than two gymnasts compete in the event.
That debate came to a respite when Wieber and the rest of the team put together an outstanding performance to win the team gold, the first for the U.S. since 1996.
After Gabby Douglas won the all-around gold a few days ago, it created a surge of momentum that made it an almost forgone conclusion that McKayla Maroney would follow suit in Sunday's vault final.
The vault proved to be one of USA's biggest strengths on its march to team gold and Maroney, the reigning world champion on the apparatus, had been a major part in that. She had the top qualifying score in the event at 15.800 and notched a 16.233 in the team event on Tuesday.
Amanar or Yurchenko, it didn't matter. The 16-year-old was sticking all of them.
Maroney pulled off the difficult Amanar -- two-and-a-half twists with a back somersault -- with grace and little difficulty, only committing a slight hop on the landing for a score of 15.866. That had her in the driver's seat, but the steady teen saw a literal slip-up on her second vault.
After finishing off her Yurchenko, Maroney hit the mat on her heels and fell backwards. Her inability to stick the landing cost her, earning her a score of 14.300 on that attempt and a total of 15.083.
"I'm really disappointed with myself. I fell on the second vault and I don't think I've ever even fallen in warmup here at all. It's a big shock and it's really sad. All I can look forward to is the next competition coming up and I just have to accept that I have a silver medal and that's not too bad," said Maroney, who competed in only the vault during the team final.
Romania's Sandra Raluca Izbasa took her turn as the final gymnast of the event and stuck two solid vaults for a score of 15.191, 0.108 better than Maroney.
Russian Maria Paseka, the runner up to Izbasa at the 2012 European vault championships, grabbed bronze with a score of 15.050, while 37-year-old German and 2008 Beijing Games vault silver medalist Oksana Chusovitina finished fifth.
Though Maroney failed to become the first American to win the gold in the Olympic vault competition, she did join Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Annia Hatch (2004) as silver medalists.
"My coach immediately said, 'There goes your gold medal,' so I kind of knew it was gone," added Maroney, who competed in the London Games despite aggravating a previous toe fracture. "It was just kind of hard to accept even though I knew it was gone."
Great Britain's Louis Smith probably had trouble accepting his results in Sunday's pommel horse event after missing out on gold because of a tiebreaker.
The Brit had posted the best qualifying score and on Sunday logged a mark of 16.066. That was even with Krisztian Berki, but the Hungarian and reigning world champion took gold due to a 0.100 higher reward in execution.
"Gymnastics will remain like this for a long time and you have to take it with a pinch of salt," said Smith of losing out despite the tie. "If you watch it back on slow motion, you'll usually see the best athlete won. But it's been great to have Great Britain second and third on the podium."
Smith's teammate Max Whitlock was a distant third, besting Italian Alberto Busnari by 0.200 to take the bronze.
Berki and Smith both attempted the most difficult routines on the pommel horse, making it a two-gymnast race. In the end, Berki became Hungary's fifth Olympic gold medal winner in this event, matching a record set by the Soviet Union.
He is the first Hungarian to win gold in this event since 1988.
Smith, a bronze medalist in this event at the 2008 Beijing Games, was aiming to become Great Britain's first Olympic gold winner at any artistic gymnastics event. But he and his teammates won't walk away disappointed, not after Smith's second-place finish on Sunday and Great Britain grabbing its first medal -- a bronze -- in the team event since 1912.
"Our sport is different to other sports. If we needed to feed off the crowd to go faster, it'd be different. But I'm being judged and to be judged worthy of a silver medal at the Olympic Games is fantastic," said Smith. "Coming so close to gold is hard, but I like to look at the positives, and it's been historic for gymnastics in both Great Britain and Hungary. It's been a great day for the sport."
China contributed to the milestones when Zou Kai became only the second athlete to win the men's Olympic floor exercise twice after successfully defending his title on Sunday.
Zou won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games in this event and came in with the top qualifying score of 15.833. He bettered that mark to win the gold, nailing a 9.033 execution score while posting the second-highest difficulty score. He totaled 15.933, topping Japan's Kohei Uchimura, the reigning world champ, by 0.133.
Only the Soviet Union's Nikolai Andrianov had won this event twice before Zou, doing so in 1972 and '76. Zou also gave China its fourth gold in this event, matching the Soviet Union's record.
Zou earned his second gold of these Summer Games after China also won the men's team competition. The 24-year-old also grabbed three golds in Beijing and cited his experience in the sport as a reason for his success.
"I started gymnastics when I was four. Between four and nine years, I only did it recreational. I started with full time gymnastics when I was nine," he noted.
Russia's Denis Ablyazin took bronze despite matching Uchimura's score. Uchimura, who won the all-around gold medal at the London Games, earned the tiebreaker with a higher execution score over Ablyazin, posting a 9.100 mark to the Russian's 8.700.
It marked the third medal of these games for Uchimura, the first Japanese gymnast of either sex to accomplish that feat since 1984.
The United States' Jacob Dalton finished fifth with a score of 15.333.
CHINA COMPLETES EPIC BADMINTON SWEEP
London, England (Sports Network) - China wrapped up a badminton gold-medal sweep at the London Games on Sunday, earning titles in the men's singles and doubles tournaments.
No other country went to the top of the medal podium after nine scandal-marred days of badminton. China picked up a gold medal Friday in the mixed doubles, then claimed the top prize on Saturday in women's singles and doubles, the latter tournament plagued by four pairs being expelled from the bracket for trying to fix the draw by throwing matches.
That included the top-seeded Chinese duo of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, who lost on purpose to try and ensure they wouldn't meet countrywomen Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei -- the eventual champs -- until the final.
China notched its fourth gold when Lin Dan defeated Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the singles final, 15-21, 21-10, 21-19. It marked Lin's second straight Olympic gold in this event and he is the first to win this discipline twice at the games.
"This gold again confirmed my hard work over the years, because I knew to get this again I'd have to work even harder. I had to sacrifice quite a lot after (Beijing) 2008 because I want to retain the title. A lot of good athletes want to have this medal. Today it's a positive for me, for my efforts and for my sacrifice," said Lin, who hopes that the sport does not leave the London Games with too much of a black eye.
"I really hope badminton isn't affected by the disqualifications in this tournament. This medal is a confirmation of the sport. I hope that my performance and Lee's performance today is evidence of that," he said.
The sweep was then finished off by the duo of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, giving China its first gold in men's doubles since it became in Olympic sport in 1992. Cai and Fu had won silver in the 2008 Beijing Games.
The top seeds got past Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, 21-16, 21-15.
"Of course, we were very nervous but we thought we played very well. We're very proud of all five medals," Fu said.
Doubles bronze went to South Korea's Chung Jae Sung and Lee Young Dae, who downed Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia, while China added one more bronze medal in singles thanks to Chen Long's win over South Korean Lee Hyun Il.
CHINA'S WU WINS 6TH DIVING MEDAL, A GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - China's Wu Minxia captured her record-tying sixth Olympic diving medal Sunday, a gold in the women's 3-meter springboard.
Wu's victory over Chinese teammate He Zi moved her into a tie for the all-time medal lead with former partner Guo Jingjing. She finished with 414 points.
He, who teamed with Wu to win the synchronized springboard competition here, was 34.80 points back for the silver.
Mexico's Laura Sanchez Soto finished third, her second springboard bronze in London.
Canada's Jennifer Abel was sixth and Americans Cassidy Krug and Christina Loukas ended seventh and eighth in that order.
China has won all five diving events so far in London after going 7-for-8 in Beijing four years ago.
Wu won her first gold medal in the 3-meter springboard individual event. She has four career Olympic golds, one silver and one bronze. She won two of the golds with Guo in the synchro springboard the last two Summer Games.
That experience didn't keep her from breaking down after she won.
"I was emotional because today every single action was quite perfect and besides I got a gold medal," said Wu. "I worked for so many years it is really not easy."
She scored 84 points or above on each of her last three dives while no one else in the 12-diver field reached that mark even once.
SOUTH KOREA'S JIN GRABS SECOND LONDON SHOOTING GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - South Korea's Jin Jongoh grabbed his second gold medal of these London Games, hitting a clutch last shot to defeat countryman Choi Young Rae in the final of the men's 50-meter pistol.
Jin, who also won this event at the 2008 Beijing Games, claimed gold earlier in the men's 10m air pistol but put himself in an early hole in this event by finishing fifth in qualifying. Choi came out in top in the early round, followed by China's Wang Zhiwei and Andrija Zlatic of Serbia.
A 10.2 on his first shot got Jin going and he eventually pulled to within 1.6 of Choi going into the final shot. The defending champ then fired a 10.2 for a total score of 662.0 and Choi's score of 8.1 on his concluding shot dropped him into the silver, 0.5 behind his countryman.
Jin said he wasn't expecting gold, hoping simply for a bronze. That may have helped keep him focused as he said he didn't do much score watching.
"After the fifth round I was in second place. I was happy with that, so after that I did not look (at the score)," said Jin.
Wang claimed the bronze thanks to a 10.6 on his last shot.
World no. 1 Damir Mikec of Serbia, 2008 bronze medal winner Vladimir Isakov of Russia and expected challenger Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan all failed to qualify for the final.
The first day of men's trap qualification was also held, with Australia's Michael Diamond the only shooter to hit on all 75 attempts. Several others hit on 74 attempts, including world No. 2 Italian Massimo Fabbrizi and German Karsten Bindrich.
World no. 1 Alexey Alipov of Russia scored a 71, while Great Britain's Edward Ling scored a 72.
Qualification continues on Monday before the finals take place later in the day.
DENMARK'S HANSEN WINS TRACK CYCLING OMNIUM
London, England (Sports Network) - Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen used three strong performances Sunday to rally from behind and win the men's omnium event at the Olympic Velodrome.
The two-day event is new to the Olympic track cycling program, and consists of six events that test riders' all-around strength.
Sunday, Hansen won the individual pursuit, placed sixth in the scratch race despite crashing, and placed second in the 1,000-meter time trial. With points being awarded on an ascending basis -- 1 for first, 2 for second and so on -- the Dane finished with 27 points to earn gold.
He had won bronze in the omnium at this year's world championships.
France's Bryan Coquard was leading the event after the first day, but a 12th- place finish in the individual pursuit left him with the silver medal. Great Britain's Edward Clancy won bronze.
Hansen won the individual pursuit, a 4km race in which riders line up on opposite sides of the track and attempt to catch each other, with a time of 4 minutes, 20.674 seconds. Clancy was second in that event, only 0.179 seconds slower.
In the scratch race, a straightforward 15km race where points are awarded by order of finish, Hansen crashed after he clipped the back wheel of another rider while coming down the track. With his skinsuit torn, the Dane climbed aboard a different bike and completed the event in sixth place. Canada's Zachary Bell won that race.
After those events, he was tied with Coquard and Italy's Elia Viviani for first. But neither could match his speed in the kilometer test. He rode it in 1:02.314, which was more than a second slower than Clancy but still good enough for second. Coquard was fourth, while Viviani finished ninth.
American Bobby Lea ended the competition in 12th place.
There was also action in the men's and women's sprint events Sunday.
France's Gregory Bauge, a three-time world champion in the sprint, won his quarterfinal matchup to move into Monday's semifinals. He will face Australian Shane Perkins, who defeated U.S. sprinter Jimmy Watkins in the quarters.
Also moving on was Great Britain's Jason Kenny, the 2011 world champion and 2008 silver medalist. He will match up against Njisane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago.
Additionally, Victoria Pendleton and Anna Meares were among those who advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's sprint. Pendleton set an Olympic record in qualifying before winning her 1/8 match.
The British Pendleton is likely the favorite for the event. She is in form, having won gold in the keirin Friday, and has taken six of the last eight world titles in the discipline. She also earned the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. The Australian Meares won the world championship in 2011.
The women's sprint final rounds take place Tuesday.
AINSLIE TAKES GOLD, MAKES OLYMPIC SAILING HISTORY
London, England (Sports Network) - Ben Ainslie edged Denmark's Jonas Hogh- Christensen in the Finn class medal race Sunday, a result that gave him the gold medal and made him the most successful sailor in Olympic history.
Ainslie earned his fourth consecutive gold medal and fifth overall. He had taken silver at the 1996 Atlanta Games before going on his run of titles.
Sunday's victory moved him past Dane Paul Elvstrom, who won four straight golds from 1948-60.
Ainslie was second to Hogh-Christensen after the opening series of 10 races, by just two points. It was a tight margin, especially because points in the medal race are doubled -- 2 for first place, 4 for second place and so on -- then added to the total from the opening series. The sailor with the fewest amount of points wins.
Ainslie needed to finish ahead of Hogh-Christensen on Sunday and did so despite finishing ninth. The Dane came in 10th, last in the field. Both had 46 points, but Ainslie got the gold because he had a better finish in the medal round.
Hogh-Christensen took silver, while France's Jonathan Lobert earned bronze after winning the medal race.
"It's a risky game, but it paid off for Ben," said Hogh-Christensen.
While Ainslie again pulled out the gold in the heavyweight dinghy class, the British men's Star (keelboat) duo of Andrew Simpson and Iain Percy didn't capitalize on a strong chance to win their class.
They held an eight-point lead heading into the medal race, but finished eighth.
That tacked 16 points onto their overall score, for a total of 34. It also provided enough of a window of opportunity for Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen to grab the gold medal. They won Sunday's race and finished with 32 points.
Percy and Simpson ended with silver, while Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada took bronze.
"You are never guaranteed anything with the wind being so puffy," Simpson said. "We are very frustrated right now, but proud."
The U.S. tandem of Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih finished seventh.
In non-medal sailing events Sunday, Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen won twice to stay in first in the men's 49er (skiff) competition. There are two opening-series races remaining in that class.
Spain's Marina Alabau Neira placed in the top-six twice in women's RS:X (windsurfer), and holds first place heading into the medal race.
The Netherlands' Dorian van Rijsselberge did not finish one of Sunday's races in men's RS:X, but because the worst performance is discarded in the opening series of fleet racing, he stayed in first moving into the medal competition. He has finished in the top three in every other race.
Both RS:X medal races are Tuesday.
In women's 470 (two-person dinghy), Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark lead after six races.
ZHOU WINS CHINA'S 5TH WEIGHTLIFTING GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - Zhou Lulu set a world record in the super heavyweight class Sunday for China's fifth weightlifting gold medal of the London Olympics.
Zhou's 333-kilogram total beat by one kg the world record Russia's Tatiana Kashirina had just set. Kashirina walked away with a silver medal and the snatch world record, which she set three times during the day.
In fact, Zhou and Kashirina combined to set nine world records Sunday in a race to see who could lift the most in the +75-kg class.
Zhou ended with the world record in the clean & jerk at 187 kg and lifted 146 in the snatch. Kashirina upped the snatch record to 151 and lifted 181 in the clean & jerk for Russia's fifth weightlifting silver medal here without a win.
Hripsime Khurshudyan won Armenia's first medal in London, a bronze, while 2008 gold medalist Jang Mi-ran of South Korea finished fourth.
Sarah Robles was seventh, the top American, while teammate Holley Mangold ended 10th. Mangold is the sister of New York Jets center Nick Mangold.
ITALY WINS MEN'S FENCING GOLD; U.S. FINISHES 4TH
London, England (Sports Network) - Italians may have come up empty in the individual men's foil tournament, but they made up for it Sunday by winning team gold.
Italy features three foil fencers ranked in the world top 10, but Andrea Cassara, Andrea Baldini and Valerio Aspromonte all failed to win individual medals here. They won't go home empty handed after the Italians scored a 45-39 victory over a surprising Japan in team competition.
It extended the Summer Games success for Italy, which saw its women's foil team sweep the individual medals while winning team gold and became the first country to win back-to-back men's team foil golds since the Soviet Union in 1960 and '64.
"Today my teammates fenced very well, we didn't expect at all the Japanese team to be so consistent," said Aspromonte. "But hit after hit, taking it slow and easy, we finally managed to take home the gold. We really waited until the end of the final bout to win it, but that is what counts the most. Winning."
Japan, meanwhile, got the best of second-seeded China and Germany, seeded third, before falling to Italy. The Japanese, who narrowly got by the Germans 41-40 in the semifinals, won their first ever team fencing medal. It was also just their second overall following Yuki Ota's silver in the 2008 Beijing Games' men's individual foil.
Italy had routed the United States in the semifinals by a 45-24 margin and things didn't go much better for the Americans in their bronze medal match with Germany.
Race Imboden was outtouched 5-2 in the first round and the Germans had built a 20-5 advantage by the end of four rounds. Germany easily cruised to a 45-27 win to finish third.
"We are a really young team and we were the underdogs. We wanted to get out there with as much energy as we could. It is hard to claw back," pointed out American Gerek Meinhardt.
IRAN'S SORYAN REIHANPOUR CAPTURES GRECO-ROMAN GOLD
London, England (Sports Network) - Hamid Mohammad Soryan Reihanpour got his gold medal Sunday, winning the 55-kilogram greco-roman wrestling competition.
The Iranian has won five world championships in the weight class, but missed out on a medal four years ago in Beijing. But Sunday he defeated Azerbaijan's Rovshan Bayramov in the final to capture his first Olympic medal.
Bayramov came away with silver for the second consecutive Olympic games, but became the seventh person to earn two medals in the weight class.
Hungary's Peter Modos and Russia's Mingiyan Semenov earned the bronze medals.
In the 74kg weight class, world champion Roman Vlasov of Russia defeated Armenian Arsen Julfalakyan for the gold medal.
Lithuanian Aleksandr Kazakevic and Azerbaijan's Emin Ahmadov took the bronzes.
MISTY, KERRI EASE INTO OLYMPIC SEMIFINALS
London, England (Sports Network) - Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament with a straight-set win Sunday.
American teammates April Ross and Jennifer Kessy also moved on without losing a set at Horse Guards Parade.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, the two-time reigning Olympic champions, used power and touch to knock off the Italians Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti 21-13, 21-13 in 33 minutes.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings remained undefeated at the Olympics and will face 2008 bronze medalists Zhang Xi and Xue Chen in the semis.
"We have fine-tuned our play, our sonars are working," said Walsh Jennings, "but every day the competition will get tougher."
Ross and Kessy's match stretched to 49 minutes after Czechs Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova won four straight points to narrow the second-set score to 18-15.
Slukova and Kolocova fought off two set points at 20-18 before Ross' spike ended the match and gave the Americans a 25-23, 21-18 win.
They moved on to face Brazilians Juliana Silva and Larissa Franca, who beat Germans Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller 21-10, 21-19 in the nightcap.
Zhang and Xue won 21-18, 21-11 over Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger, the Austrian sisters who were the first team ever to win an Olympic set off May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings earlier this week.
WOMEN'S BOXING MAKES OLYMPIC DEBUT
London, England (Sports Network) - Great Britain's Natasha Jonas topped American Quanitta Underwood in a lightweight bout Sunday, when women's boxing made its formal debut at the Olympics.
This is the first games at which women's boxing has been part of the program, and all three classes got underway.
Jonas, a bronze medalist at the world championships, earned a 21-13 decision against Underwood. Next up for Jonas is a quarterfinal bout against top-seeded Katie Taylor of Ireland. Taylor received a bye into the quarterfinal round.
Underwood was the lone U.S. women's boxer to fight Sunday. Flyweight Marlen Esparza and middleweight Claressa Shields both received byes to Monday's quarterfinal rounds.
There was also quarterfinal action in the men's bantamweight and heavyweight draws Sunday.
Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez Estrada, the top bantamweight seed, defeated Brazil's Robenilson Vieira de Jesus by a 16-11 margin. He will fight fifth-seeded John Joe Nevin of Ireland.
Great Britain's Luke Campbell, the No. 3 seed, also advanced to the semis with a 16-15 decision against No. 6 seed Detelin Dalakliev of Bulgaria. He will fight Japan's Satoshi Shimizu.
In heavyweight bouts, the top three seeds -- including No. 1 Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine -- moved into the semis.
U.S. AND BRAZIL ADVANCE IN WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
London, England (Sports Network) - The United States wrapped up women's volleyball Pool B play with another straight-set victory, while Brazil turned in a solid outing on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals.
The U.S. won three of its five games in just three sets, including a 27-25, 25-16, 25-19 win over Turkey. Destinee Hooker paced the victory with 17 points, while Foluke Akinradewo added 15.
Brazil officially knocked Turkey out of contention with its win over Serbia. The 2008 Olympic champions picked up a much-needed straight-set victory, 25-10, 25-22, 25-16 over the Serbs and grabbed the fourth spot in the pool.
Also advancing out of Pool B were China and South Korea. The Koreans had one fewer win than Brazil, but both of their wins came in four sets or less, while Brazil won two of its matches in five sets.
Turkey and Serbia failed to advance, as did Pool A residents Great Britain and Algeria.
Russia survived for a five-set win over Italy to win Pool A with a 5-0 record. Italy was second at 4-1.
The Dominican Republic also advanced thanks to its win over Algeria, while Japan also moved on.
JAPAN CLINCHES 1ST OLYMPIC TABLE TENNIS MEDAL
London, England (Sports Network) - Japan clinched its first ever Olympic table tennis medal Sunday after the women's team beat Singapore 3-0 in a semifinal match.
Japan will play the winner of Monday's match between favored China and South Korea. The women's final is scheduled for Tuesday.
Four matches Sunday sussed out the semifinalists on the men's side.
Top-seeded China rolled past Singapore 3-0 to set up a meeting on Monday with Germany, which beat Austria 3-0. Hong Kong defeated Japan 3-2 and will face No. 2 seed South Korea, which knocked off Portugal 3-2.
NETHERLANDS PUNCHES TICKET TO FIELD HOCKEY SEMIFINALS
London, England (Sports Network) - The Netherlands used a second-half surge to secure its spot in the men's field hockey semifinals, staying undefeated with a 3-1 victory over Germany on Sunday.
The Netherlands scored twice in the second half, with Teun de Nooijer snapping a 1-1 deadlock at the 36-minute mark and Mink van der Weerden adding an insurance tally. It was the 450th international cap for de Nooijer.
At 4-0 and on top of Pool B, the Netherlands advanced into the semis. Germany, now 3-1, needs only one point in its matchup with New Zealand on Tuesday to move on.
New Zealand will be coming off a 1-1 draw with Belgium, which eliminated both countries from advancing.
South Korea, meanwhile, kept its chances at a semifinal spot alive with a 4-1 win over India in Pool B play. On the strength of three goals from penalty corners, the Koreans moved to 2-2-0 and three points behind the Germans. However, they face the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Pool A remains tight between four teams, with Australia and Great Britain tied atop the standings with eight points each. However, they are both just a point up on Pakistan and Spain, while Argentina and South Africa are 0-3-1 and out of contention.
Great Britain and Australia failed to pull away from each other after battling to a 3-3 draw on Sunday. The Aussies were in prime position after netting the first three scores, including two from Russell Ford, however, the Brits battled back with three second-half goals. They got the tying score from James Tindall at the 66-minute mark.
Pakistan and Spain gained ground with wins over South Africa and Argentina, respectively.
SAUDI ARABIA LEADS AFTER 1ST ROUND OF TEAM JUMPING
London, England (Sports Network) - Saudi Arabia had a three-point lead on four countries Sunday after the first round of team jumping at the London Olympics.
Meanwhile, another United States rider was eliminated in the individual jumping competition.
Three Saudi riders out of four finished with one combined time penalty at Greenwich Park heading into the second and final day of team jumping Monday.
Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland were tied for second with four penalties apiece.
Canada, led by reigning individual Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, was sixth with five points and the U.S. had eight points to share seventh place with Brazil.
American Rich Fellers was one of 12 riders without a jumping or time penalty after the second qualifier. Lamaze was tied for 13th place with one time penalty and Canadian Ian Millar and American McLain Ward shared 17th with four total penalties.
Reed Kessler was the second U.S. rider to be knocked out of the competition after getting eight jumping penalties Sunday. Beezie Madden, the 2008 bronze medalist, was eliminated on the first day of competition Saturday.
Kessler's score was dropped from the four-rider U.S. team's total. Ward and Madden both had four penalties. Madden said her ride on Via Volo was "much better" than the day before, when the horse refused two jumps.
Team competition runs through Monday and individual jumping continues through Wednesday.
RUSSIAN PAIR LEAD AFTER TECHNICAL ROUTINE
London, England (Sports Network) - Russians Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina took the lead in synchronized swimming duets after the technical routine Sunday.
Ishchenko and Romashina, trying to land their country's fourth straight Olympic gold in the discipline, had 98.2 points to lead China's Huang Xuechen and Liu Ou by 2.1.
Spain's Ona Carbonell Ballestero and Andrea Fuentes Fache were third and Canada's Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon and Elise Marcotte stood fourth.
The duets free routine preliminaries are Monday. Scores will be added from the first two sessions and the top 12 teams will make the final Tuesday.
The team competition starts Thursday.
The United States failed to qualify a synchronized swimming team for the Olympics for the first time ever, but Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva are representing the U.S. in duets. They were ninth Sunday with 87.9 points.
Russia has swept the synchronized swimming program in the last three Olympics, winning every gold in the team and duets competition since 2000.