Olympic Daily News - Wednesday, August 8

For most Olympians, winning one silver medal is a source of great pride, but the two that Allyson Felix owned were anything but satisfying.

Not even the gold Felix won in helping the United States take the women's 1,600-meter relay in Beijing was a suitable replacement for what she really wanted.

But, here at the London Games, Felix finally found a way to defeat the one woman who had stood between her and that dream medal.

After finishing second to Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown at the last two Summer Games, Felix did enough Wednesday night to earn the right to stand atop the podium for the women's 200 meters.

"I mean, finally," Felix said. "It's been a long time coming."

Felix had run so smoothly in heats for the event and the performance that won her that elusive gold medal was just as crisp. She took charge of the race around the turn and held onto the lead with a winning time of 21.88 seconds, crossing the finish line .21 seconds faster than anyone else.

For a change, Campbell-Brown posed no real threat to Felix. She finished in fourth place while her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed silver and Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. grabbed bronze.

"To lose twice to the same person, it's been tough," Felix said of her previous losses to Campbell-Brown. "But, it's all paying off."

Meanwhile, Campbell-Brown was denied a choice piece of track and field history. She was trying to become the first woman to win gold in the same event at three straight Olympics.

Still, even when faced with the disappointment of failing to medal in an event she had owned for eight years, Brown had congratulatory words for Felix.

"We've been racing each other for years," Brown remarked. "I'm happy for her. I knew how bad she wanted it."

For Jeter, she won her second medal in as many Olympic finals after finishing second to Fraser-Pryce in the 100 here in London. Meanwhile, fellow American Sanya Richards-Ross, the 400-meter champion in London, placed fifth.

While Felix ended her own personal quest for gold, she also became the first American woman to win the 200 since Gwen Torrence at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

That wasn't the only gold drought that ended for the U.S. on Wednesday. Aries Merritt and Brittney Reese also stopped long dry spells in the men's 110-meter hurdles and women's long jump, respectively.

Reese became the first American woman to win gold in the long jump since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988, while countrywoman Janay DeLoach took bronze. Reese, who placed fifth four years ago in Beijing, won with a leap of 7.12 meters, beating Elena Sokolova of Russia by .05 meters.

DeLoach won bronze at her first Olympics, posting a best jump of 6.89m. A heartbroken Ineta Radevica of Latvia was only .01 meters behind DeLoach.

It marked the first time the U.S. claimed two medals in this event at the same games.

Meanwhile, Merritt earned gold at his first Olympics, taking the men's 110- meter hurdles in convincing fashion. Merritt finished with a time of 12.92 seconds to beat fellow American Jason Richardson by .12 seconds.

It's the 20th time a U.S. hurdler has taken gold in this event, but the first since Allen Johnson at the 1996 Atlanta Games. That was also the last time Americans finished in the gold and silver positions in the 110m hurdles.

Richardson, the reigning world champion, was .08 seconds ahead of Jamaica's Hansle Parchment. Defending Olympic champion and current world-record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba pulled up lame and was disqualified.

Though the U.S. did not take gold in the other medal event of the night, Lashinda Demus did salvage a silver medal for the Stars and Stripes in the women's 400-meter hurdles.

Russia's Natalya Antyukh finished the race in 52.70 seconds for gold, and Demus crossed the line just .07 seconds later. The Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova picked up bronze with a run of 53.38 seconds.

For Antyukh, it was her second individual Olympic medal, following the bronze she won in the 400 meters -- without hurdles -- eight years ago at the Athens Games. She also won silver in Athens with Russia's 1,600-meter relay team.

Americans Georganne Moline and T'Erea Brown finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Another U.S. athlete, Ashton Eaton, is looking good for gold with five of the 10 events in the decathlon complete.

The world record holder in the event, Eaton is leading the field in London with 4,661 points -- 220 more than countryman Trey Hardee. Eaton was 105 points ahead of Hardee after the morning session (100m, long jump and shot put) and more than doubled that cushion by the end of the night, placing second in the high jump and first in the 400 meters.

Damian Warner of Canada is in third place, 275 points behind Eaton.

Earlier in the day, Eaton had set an Olympic decathlon-best in the 100 meters, finishing in 10.35 seconds. The previous record of 10.41 was set by American Bill Toomey at the 1968 Mexico Games.

The 24-year-old Portland, Ore., native broke the decathlon world record at U.S. trials this year. He and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic are the only two men to break the 9,000-point barrier. The 37-year-old Sebrle, who still owns the Olympic record, started the competition in London, but bowed out after a poor showing in the 100.

The decathlon concludes Thursday with the final five disciplines: the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters.

Usain Bolt also was on the track Wednesday evening and the Jamaican easily qualified for the final in the men's 200. Bolt appeared to jog through about half of the race and still won his heat with a time of 20.18 seconds. Earlier at these games, Bolt joined Carl Lewis as the only men to win consecutive Olympic titles in the 100m and on Thursday the four-time gold medalist can become the first man to win two golds at the 200-meter distance.

Bolt's countryman and main rival for gold in the 200, Yohan Blake, had the best time of the three heats, running the half-lap in 20.01 seconds.

American sprinter Wallace Spearmon of the U.S. was next after Blake, finishing only .01 seconds behind. Spearmon crossed the finish line third at the Beijing Games, but was later disqualified for stepping out of his lane.

In semifinal heats for the women's 1,500m, Americans Shannon Rowbury and Morgan Uceny qualified for Friday's final. Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi qualified with the fastest time of 4 minutes, 1.03 seconds.

Twelve men also qualified for the final of the javelin throw and Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic posted the best mark with a toss of 88.34 meters.


London, England (Sports Network) - Big Ben loomed nearby as the scene played out like clockwork.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings were gold medalists again, winners of another Olympic beach volleyball tournament without a loss, proven queens of the sport yet again on a temporary beach in the regal heart of London.

"I don't have words," said Walsh Jennings.

But she's got three Olympics gold medals.

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings beat Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in straight sets Wednesday night to capture their third straight Olympic beach volleyball gold, winning the all-American final if not with ease, then certainly with the command of having been there before.

Taking control of the match somewhere near the middle of the first set, May- Treanor and Walsh Jennings went on to win 21-16, 21-16, finishing the last match they will ever play together in 36 minutes.

Ross served long on the second match point and Walsh Jennings fell to her knees in the sand as May-Treanor rushed her for a hug -- a scene reminiscent of the final in Beijing four years ago, when they won gold in a driving rain.

Later, the gold medalists sung the national anthem together atop the podium one last time, with Walsh Jennings fighting back tears.

May-Treanor is retiring from the sport, which she has played with Walsh Jennings since 2001.

"I'm so pleased and so grateful and I'm not articulate right now, I'm so overwhelmed. It's insane," said Walsh Jennings. "It doesn't feel real. I am scared that I might wake up tomorrow and discover that we have to replay that match. It didn't feel like that last time."

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings dropped a set for the first time in Olympic play a week ago, losing it to a pair of Austrian sisters who then couldn't duplicate the accomplishment.

But the champions didn't lose a set once they reached the knockout stage. They made the final by beating the 2008 bronze medalist team from China and went undefeated for the third straight Olympics.

That Kessy and Ross ended up as their opponents was a bit of an upset -- the other Americans had to knock off top Brazilians Juliana and Larissa in the semifinals.

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings were already the only beach volleyball pair with more than one Olympic gold medal. Now they have three after what will be their final tournament together.

May-Treanor, who celebrated a 35th birthday here, is retiring but Walsh Jennings, who will turn 34 next week and has two sons with beach volleyball player Casey Jennings, is not walking away.

"I'm going to celebrate this, then get ready for stage two of my beach volleyball career," said Walsh Jennings. "It'll be very different without Misty there, but she will be a part of it whether as a friend or even as my coach."

Said May-Treanor: "Whether we had finished on top or not, the thing that I'm proud of is us sticking together."

It was the second time in the last three Olympics that U.S. women won two medals. Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs won bronze in 2004, when May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings first captured gold. It was the first time since 1996 that the same country won gold and silver.

Earlier Wednesday, Brazilians Juliana and Larissa won the bronze medal match in three sets over China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi.

In the final, neither team found much breathing room in the score early on -- a 3-1 lead by Kessy and Ross was about as much distance as either saw. Kessy blocked May- Treanor and Walsh Jennings in succession to make it 11-10.

But the reigning champions started to pull away

Walsh Jennings made it 17-14 on a strong serve that couldn't be handled and they won their second set point on May-Treanor's spike.

In the second set, May-Treanor's tap into the front court made it 19-15 and Walsh Jennings blocked Ross to set up the first match point. Kessy and Ross saved it, but Ross drilled her serve long moments later to end the match.

Beach volleyball has come a long way at the Olympics since its debut at Atlanta in 1996 and May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings have been there for its emergence as a must-see sport.

The crowds have grown increasingly raucous since they won their first medal in Athens eight years ago.

"We set our expectations really high as a team, as people and as players. We want this game to grow and we set the bar very high and we extended that bar and set it even higher," said May-Treanor.

In London, the sport was played in a temporary arena at Horse Guards Parade, almost literally on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's office and residence, and not far from Buckingham Palace where the queen lives. It had views of Big Ben and the London Eye ferris wheel.


London, England (Sports Network) - Germany was the big winner in canoe sprint events on Wednesday with four medals, including a gold in the men's 1,000- meter canoe single.

Sebastian Brendel edged past Spain's David Cal Figueroa with a winning time of 3 minutes, 47.176 seconds. That was 0.877 ticks ahead of Cal Figueroa, the silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games and gold-medal winner in 2004, and gave the German his first Olympic medal.

"Yes, it was really perfect," Brendel said of his race. "I did my own race. I held my stroke rate like in training."

Mark Oldershaw of Canada took the bronze, finishing 1.326 seconds behind the winning pace.

Germany also grabbed a silver in the women's 500m kayak four, finishing a mere 0.471 seconds behind Hungary, which took gold in the race for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games thanks to a time of 1:30.827. Belarus grabbed bronze in the event.

Hungary also claimed gold in the men's 1000m double kayak race, with the duo of Rudolf Dombi and Roland Kokeny using a fast start to cross the finish line at 3:09.646. They narrowly edged Poland's Fernando Pimenta and Emanuel Silva by just 0.053 seconds.

Germany's Martin Hollstein and Andreas Ihle earned bronze, finishing 0.471 seconds behind the leaders as they failed to defend their Beijing gold medal.

Norway's Eirik Veras Larsen won the men's 1000m single kayak race, overtaking Canada's Adam van Koeverden, the 2011 world champion, to post a winning time of 3:26.462. Taking silver was van Koeverden, who finished 0.708 seconds behind Larsen.

Larsen regained the gold he had won at the 2004 Athens Games before getting a silver four years ago in Beijing.

"It was an amazing race, I started harder than normal and relaxed through the big middle section. I knew I had a good finish. This is a great result, it was a flashback to the '04 race," said Larsen.

Max Hoff of Germany earned the bronze, coming back from fifth place and posting the fastest time over the final 250 meters to notch a time of 3:27.759.


London, England (Sports Network) - The United States will meet Argentina in the semifinals of the men's Olympic basketball tournament for the third straight Olympics after taking down Australia, 119-86, on Wednesday.

LeBron James had a triple-double with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for the Americans, who will do battle with the Argentines on Friday. Argentina won gold in 2004 at Athens, but the U.S. avenged that loss four years ago in Beijing while winning gold.

Kobe Bryant ended with 20 points for the United States, which finished a perfect 5-0 in Group A during the preliminary round, including a 29-point win over Argentina in the finale.

Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony donated 18 and 17 points, respectively, for the Americans, who improved to 16-0 all-time in Olympic quarterfinal action. Kevin Durant finished with 14 points.


London, England (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots that helped Spain's fourth-quarter rally in a 66-59 win over France in the men's basketball quarterfinals.

Marc Gasol led Spain with 14 points and added eight rebounds, while Juan Carlos Navarro chipped in 12 points. The Spaniards held France to just six points in the fourth quarter and earned a semifinal meeting with Russia, which advanced earlier Wednesday with an 83-74 victory over Lithuania.

Tony Parker and Boris Diaw each scored 15 points for France, which had won four straight games after a loss to the United States in its Olympic opener. The French finished second to the Americans in Group A with their 4-1 mark, but couldn't hold a fourth-quarter advantage on Wednesday.

France led by as many as eight in the first half and held a 57-54 edge with just under seven minutes remaining in the contest, but went ice cold. The French missed their next 11 field goal tries and Spain took advantage with 12 straight points.

Serge Ibaka started the comeback with a bucket inside and came up with the rebound of a blocked shot by Pau Gasol at the other end, starting a break that led to the go-ahead basket from Sergio Llull.

After four scoreless minutes that featured a number of empty trips, Rudy Fernandez sank two from the line with just over 90 seconds left for a 60-57 lead.

Fernandez and Pau Gasol came up with blocks on France's next possession and Marc Gasol's basket made it a five-point game with 45 seconds to play.

Things soon after turned testy, as Ronny Turiaf and Nicolas Batum were each whistled for unsportsmanlike fouls, leading to a made free throw apiece from Jose Calderon and Navarro. Batum's hard foul led to a mild skirmish between the teams, but the officials quickly stepped in to prevent any further incidents.

Pau Gasol added two from the line for a 66-57 game before Mickael Gelabale's insignificant basket in the closing seconds ended the French drought and accounted for the final margin.

Batum had a tough day for France, making just 3-of-12 shots for nine points.

After Navarro started the game for Spain with a three, France scored 14 of the next 20 points and opened a 22-17 edge after 10 minutes. It was 29-21 three minutes into the second quarter and the French managed a slim 37-34 margin at the break. Neither team led by more than four during a tight third quarter.


London, England (Sports Network) - Luis Scola had 17 points and Argentina held off Brazil, 82-77, in the men's basketball quarterfinals.

Carlos Delfino and Manu Ginobili added 16 points apiece for Argentina, which finished third in Group A during the preliminary round and will face the United States in Friday's semifinals.

Marcelinho Huertas and Leandro Barbosa each had 22 points to lead Brazil, which went 4-1 in Group B during the preliminary round. Alex Garcia donated 10 points.

Argentina took control of the game after falling behind by three, 26-23, after one quarter.

In the second stanza, Argentina outscored Brazil by a 23-14 margin to take a 46-40 lead into the half.

Argentina used a 14-2 run during the middle stages of the third period to create some distance. Juan Gutierrez capped the surge with a jumper to give Argentina a 61-46 edge with 2:36 left.

Brazil trailed by 10, 64-54, after three quarters, but used a 9-0 spurt late in the fourth to get within two. Garcia's slam cut the gap to 70-68 with 4:21 remaining.

But Pablo Prigioni responded with a jumper for Argentina, and after Garcia turned the ball over, Andres Nocioni made a layup to make it a 74-68 contest.

Argentina went 8-of-12 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the victory.


London, England (Sports Network) - Andrei Kirilenko scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading Russia to an 83-74 victory over Lithuania in the men's basketball quarterfinals.

Timofey Mozgov added 17 points and Victor Khryapa chipped in 12 for Russia, which finished first in Group B during the preliminary round and will face Spain in Friday's semifinals. The Spaniards advanced with a 66-59 win over France.

Rimantas Kaukenas scored 19 points and Darius Songaila contributed 15 for Lithuania, which was fourth in Group A.

The Russians opened a 46-32 cushion midway through the third quarter and held a 12-point margin with just under two minutes to play in the period, but Lithuania scored the final eight points and opened the fourth with a three from Kaukenas to pull within 54-53.

Khryapa quickly answered with a shot from beyond the arc and the Russians soon after ran off seven straight to open a 64-55 edge with 5:46 remaining. Kaukenas responded with a triple, but Lithuania never got closer than five.

A three-point play by Songaila made it a 77-72 game with 1:35 left, but Lithuania failed to trim the deficit further on its next two possessions and Vitaliy Fridzon hit two from the line to extend the Russia lead to seven with 32 seconds to play.

Martynas Pocius missed two from the line for Lithuania and Kirilenko drilled a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to seal it.

Russia closed the first quarter with an 11-1 run to build a 17-10 lead and led by as many as nine in the second before taking a 32-27 advantage to the break.


London, England (Sports Network) - China swept the table tennis gold medals at the London Olympics after winning the men's team competition Wednesday.

China shut out South Korea 3-0 in the gold medal match behind singles wins by individual gold medalist Zhang Jike and Ma Long, and a doubles victory by Zhang and individual silver medalist Wang Hao.

It was the second straight Olympics that China swept the table tennis events.

In addition to the men's team and Zhang, the Chinese also got gold medals from women's singles champion Li Xiaoxia and the women's team.

China's medal haul for the sport here was six. Only two other countries won more than one medal -- Germany and Singapore, with two bronzes apiece.

The Germans beat Hong Kong 3-1 in the bronze medal match Wednesday behind two wins from Timo Boll and one by Dimitrij Ovtcharov.


London, England (Sports Network) - American boxer Claressa Shields earned a spot in the gold medal bout of the women's middleweight tournament with a strong showing Wednesday at the London Games.

Shields recorded a 29-15 victory over Kazakhstan's Marina Volnova in the semifinals and will fight 2011 world champion Nadezda Torlopova of Russia for gold on Thursday.

Shields and Torlopova will both get a shot at becoming one of the first Olympic champions in women's boxing, as this marks the first time the sport has been part of the games' program.

"I cannot believe I am here because this is my dream and tomorrow I am going to fight my heart out," said Shields.

Torlopova, the second seed in the middleweight draw, earned a 12-10 win over China's Li Jinzi to set up the battle with Shields. Volnova and Li both earned bronze medals after their semifinals losses.

Marlen Esparza of the U.S. had to settle for bronze after losing her semifinal bout against Ren Cancan of China. Ren won a 10-8 decision and will fight Great Britain's Nicola Adams for flyweight gold.

India's Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, a five-time world champion, will also get a bronze after losing her semifinal match against Adams.

In the lightweight competition, Ireland's Katie Taylor and Russia's Sofya Ochigava won their semifinal matches to set up the gold medal bout. The top- seeded Taylor defeated Tajikistan's Mavzuna Chorieva by a 17-9 score, while Ochigava logged a 17-11 decision against Brazil's Adriana Araujo.


London, England (Sports Network) - Steve Guerdat won the individual jumping competition Wednesday, the Swiss rider's second Olympic medal and first gold.

Gerco Schroder of the Netherlands beat Ireland's Cian O'Connor in a jump-off for the silver.

Guerdat made it through both final rounds Thursday without a penalty, clearing each fence and completing the course in the allotted time. He won a team bronze with Switzerland in 2008.

Schroder and O'Connor both had 1 time penalty through the two finals and took to the course for a third time Wednesday to decide the other two medals.

After Schroder made it through cleanly, O'Connor clipped the last fence for 4 penalties and settled for third place. Schroder also won a team jumping silver here with the Netherlands.

O'Connor was back at the Olympics for the first time since winning the jumping gold at the 2004 Athens Games, only to have it stripped months later when a test on his horse came back positive for a banned substance.

Great Britain was in line for a potential fourth equestrian medal at its home Olympics, but Nick Skelton knocked down the third-to-last rail in his second ride and finished tied for fifth place. A clean ride would have put Skelton in a jump-off for gold.

"A bit unlucky. Everyone thought it was going well. I did too, but I just touched the pole at the wrong time and that was it," said Skelton. "I feel sorry for the people that came today. We expected to win and it wasn't to be."

Canadian Eric Lamaze, the 2008 gold medalist, was eliminated after the first final. Countryman Ian Millar tied for ninth while American Rich Fellers came in eighth.

Fences on the Greenwich Park course included one made to look like a red double-decker bus, another that paid homage to the Beatles album Abbey Road and one resembling two medieval jousters.


London, England (Sports Network) - Japan claimed gold medals in the 48- and 63-kilogram division on Wednesday, the first day of women's freestyle wrestling at the London Games.

Kaori Icho picked up her third straight gold in the 63kg class, downing China's Jing Ruixue.

Icho came into the games riding a 68-match win streak since a forfeited match in 2007 and hasn't lost a bout in which she actually took part in since 2003.

"I feel I have big responsibility in fighting at the Olympic Games. This is one of the biggest differences from (competing in) the world championships," noted Icho.

Jing lost for the fifth time to Icho, but nabbed a silver in her Olympic debut.

Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia took bronze, as did Russian Lubov Volosova.

Japan's Hitomi Obara and Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan resumed their rivalry in the final of the women's 48-kilogram class, with Obara duplicating her 2011 World Championship victory over Stadnyk.

Obara grabbed gold in her first Olympic Games, which came following a return from retirement in 2008. Prior to that, the 31-year-old had won six world championships at the 51kg category and won consecutive titles in 2010 and '11 at the worlds in her current class.

"I had decided that this would be the last Olympic Games for me, so I am so happy," said Obara.

The 23-year-old Stadnyk, meanwhile, bettered the bronze she won at the 2008 Beijing Games and also won a world title in 2009 before taking a year off from the sport.

One of the bronze medals on Wednesday went to American Clarissa Chun, who has dealt with injury since winning the 2008 world championship. Canada's Carol Huynh also won bronze, a step back from the gold she won in this category in Beijing.


London, England (Sports Network) - Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen cruised to the gold medal in the men's 49er sailing competition Wednesday.

The two finished fourth in the medal race, but had already secured the victory thanks to a strong showing in the 15-race opening series. Outteridge and Jensen accrued 48 points during that stage of the competition, based on the ascending point system -- 1 for first, 2 for second and so on.

Points are doubled for the medal race, but the Australian duo had a large enough cushion and couldn't have been overtaken.

In fact, the silver medal was also already assured to New Zealand's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

The only medal decided Wednesday was bronze. Denmark's Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang grabbed it thanks to a third-place finish in the medal race.

In other sailing action, quarterfinals of the women's Elliott 6m match racing competition were completed.

Each match is comprised of five races and the winner is the first crew to reach five points. Wednesday was the second day of the quarterfinals, and Spain quickly moved on by beating France to gain a 3-0 edge.

The United States' boat -- skippered by Anna Tunnicliffe, a 2008 gold medalist in another class -- won Wednesday's first race. But the Finns won the next to clinch a 3-1 victory and a spot in the semis.

Finland's semifinal opponent will be Australia, which won twice Wednesday to defeat the Netherlands by a 3-1 margin.

The quarterfinal between Great Britain and Russia came down to the fifth and final race, which Russia won to advance. Semifinals begin Friday.

The women's 470 (two-person dinghy) class held its final two opening series races, and boats from New Zealand and Great Britain will head into the medal race tied for first place.


London, England (Sports Network) - China's Wu Jingyu and Spain's Joel Gonzalez Bonilla captured taekwondo gold medals in their respective weight classes Wednesday.

For Wu, the victory in the 49-kilogram category was never given but not a surprise. She won gold four years ago in Beijing and is a two-time world champion, and didn't have much trouble advancing through the bracket this time around.

Two of her victories came by way of point gap, and she defeated Spain's Brigitte Yague Enrique by an 8-1 margin in the gold medal match.

Thailand's Chanatip Sonkham and Croatia's Lucija Zaninovic took the bronze medals in the weight class.

Like Wu, Bonilla was the top seed in his draw, the men's 58kg. The two-time world champion beat South Korea's Lee Daehoon, 17-8, in the gold medal match.

Russia's Alexey Denisenko and Colombian Oscar Munoz Oviedo claimed the bronzes.


London, England (Sports Network) - The United States suffered just its second loss of the London Games on Wednesday, but it is one that will prevent it from defending its gold in the men's volleyball tournament.

The U.S. dropped its quarterfinal match to Italy after losing only once in pool play, a five-set defeat at the hands of Russia. However, the Americans didn't win a set versus Italy, falling 28-26, 25-20, 25-20.

Clayton Stanley, among those rested in the final game before the knockout round, led the U.S. with 16 points, but the front line had no answer for Italy's Cristian Savani, who racked up 14 of his team-leading 19 points on spikes.

"We weren't as crisp as we were throughout the pool. We've got a lot of work to do, this is a growing experience. A lot of players have got experience. I look forward to playing some more," said Stanley, the team's captain.

Ivan Zaytsev added 16 points for Italy, which went 3-2 in pool play and is coming off a fourth-place finish at the 2008 Beijing Games after winning silver four years earlier.

Next up for Italy in the semifinals on Friday will be Brazil, which bested Argentina in straight sets earlier in the day to advance.

Brazil, which finished second in Pool B, notched a 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 victory, getting 14 points from Murilo Endres. The Brazilians rolled despite leading scorer Leandro Vissotto Neves exiting in the first set with a right leg injury.

Without the 6-foot-11 Vissotto Neves, Sidnei dos Santos Junior chipped in with 12 points, nine on spikes.

Brazil is aiming to medal in its third straight Olympic Games, taking gold eight years ago in Athens prior to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, where it lost in the final to the U.S.

The other semifinal match will pit Russia against Bulgaria.

Russia, which has won a bronze medal in each of the last two Olympic Games, downed Poland in straight sets, 25-17, 25-23, 25-21.

Bulgaria also did not lose a set in advancing. It bested Germany 25-20, 25-16, 25-14 in the final game of the night.

Bulgaria is looking to medal at the Summer Olympics for the first time since a silver in 1980.


London, England (Sports Network) - The Netherlands' Raymon van der Biezen and Australia's Caroline Buchanan recorded the fastest times in BMX seeding runs Wednesday.

The time trials, one lap around the Olympic BMX track, determine seeding and gate selection for bracket competition. The field of 32 men starts with quarterfinals on Thursday, while 16 women go directly to semifinals Friday.

Van der Biezen set the fastest time among men, clocking a lap of 37.779 seconds. His countryman, Twan van Gendt, was 0.560 seconds behind in third and American Connor Fields was fourth.

Van Gendt will be in a quarterfinal heat with Australia's Sam Willoughby, who won the world championship in May and had the sixth-fastest time Wednesday. Also in that heat is Latvia's Maris Strombergs, who won the first men's Olympic BMX gold four years ago in Beijing.

The United States' Nicholas Long had the seventh-best time Wednesday.

Buchanan's lap of 38.434 was quickest in the women's seeding runs. She will be in a semifinal heat with France's Laetitia Le Corguille, the 2008 silver medalist who was fourth-fastest Wednesday.

Also in that heat will be two Americans. Alise Post was eighth-quickest while Brooke Crain came in last after crashing.

Reigning world champion Magalie Pottier, also from France, had the seventh- best time.


London, England (Sports Network) - After surviving the first penalty shootout game in Olympic field hockey history, the Netherlands advanced to the final, setting up a meeting with Argentina.

The Netherlands went back-and-forth with opponent New Zealand and found the semifinal matchup even at 2-2 following the completion of regulation. The deadlock wasn't broken after extra time, but the Netherlands posted a 3-1 advantage in the shootout.

Ellen Hoog scored the deciding tally that put her team into the final for a third straight Olympics. The Netherlands won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"I wasn't nervous at all, as I have practiced and practiced and practiced so many times. Usually, I am a the nervous type, but I had a good feeling out there today. I knew I could do it," said Hoog.

Argentina secured its first trip to the final since 2000 with a 2-1 victory over Great Britain. Noel Barrionuevo and Carla Rebecchi scored first-half goals for the victors, while Alex Danson scored the lone goal for the Brits at the 65-minute mark.

Earlier in the day, Germany downed South Korea to win seventh place in the tournament, while Japan finished ninth with a victory over South Africa.


London, England (Sports Network) - Hungary beat Iceland in extra time and France edged Spain on Wednesday during tight quarterfinal play in the men's handball tournament.

Iceland, the silver medalist four years ago in Beijing, was the top team in its group but found itself in a close match against Hungary -- which reached the knockout stage only after winning its final group match.

After Iceland netted three consecutive goals late in regulation to move in front, Hungary's Mate Lekai scored in the 60th minute to even the contest.

Both teams scored three times in the first portion of extra time, but back-to- back goals by Laszlo Nagy put Hungary up by two in the 75th minute. That was enough of an edge, and the Hungarians held on for a 34-33 upset to move into the semifinals.

There, they will face Sweden, which defeated Denmark by a 24-22 margin Wednesday.

On the other side of the bracket, France still has a chance to defend its gold medal after barely getting into the semis.

Victor Tomas Gonzalez pulled Spain even with two late tallies, but William Accambray responded in the 60th minute to give France a 23-22 triumph.

It will face Croatia, which defeated Tunisia 25-23, in Friday's semifinal round.


London, England (Sports Network) - There won't be a rematch of the 2008 Beijing Games final in men's water polo after defending champion Hungary and runner-up United States lost in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The U.S. finished fourth in Group B with a 3-0-2 record, but was handed an 8-2 defeat by the winner of the other pool, Croatia.

Croatia was powered by two goals each from Damir Buric, Miho Boskovic and Paulo Obradovic, while Americans Peter Varellas and Ryan Bailey scored in the loss.

"The Olympics is a pretty amazing thing, happening once every four years and you have to be at your peak for those two weeks. For whatever reason, we started out well and we were strong against Montenegro, but after that we seemed to be a little bit up and down. We never found our rhythm and probably the belief in ourselves either," said USA head coach Terry Schroeder.

Montenegro will be Croatia's next opponent after besting Spain 11-9 in its quarterfinal matchup.

Meanwhile, 2011 world champion Italy got the best of Hungary, 11-9. The Italians saw Pietro Figlioli, Maurizio and Christian Presciutti all score three times.

Italy will face Serbia in the semifinals. The Serbians trailed by three goals on three occasions against Australia before rallying for an 11-8 triumph.


London, England (Sports Network) - Brazilian boxer Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino upset the top seed in the men's light heavyweight class Wednesday at the London Games.

Falcao Florentino won an 18-15 decision over Cuba's Julio la Cruz Peraza in the quarterfinals. That set up a semifinal matchup between the Brazilian and Egor Mekhontcev of Russia. Mekhontcev defeated Uzbekistan's Elshod Rasulov on Wednesday.

The other light heavyweight semifinal bout will pit Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan against the Ukraine's Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

Zou Shiming of China and Cuba's Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo also earned trips to the semifinals in their respective weight classes.

Zou, the top seed in the light flyweight division, won a 13-10 decision over Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan to reach the semis, where he'll face Paddy Barnes of Ireland. Barnes posted a 23-18 win over India's Devendro Singh Laishram.

David Ayrapetyan of Russia and Thailand's Kaeo Pongprayoon will meet in the other flyweight semifinal. The Russian beat Turkey's Ferhat Pehlivan, while Pongprayoon ousted Bulgarian Aleksandar Aleksandrov.

Iglesias Sotolongo defeated Uzbekistan's Uktamjon Rahmonov and will face Vincenzo Mangiacapre of Italy in the semifinals of the light welterweight division. Also, Mongolia's Munk-Erdene Uranchimeg will take on second-seeded Denys Berinchyk of the Ukraine in the next round.


London, England (Sports Network) - Reigning Olympic champion Chen Ruolin topped the preliminary round Wednesday in the women's 10-meter platform event.

Chen had 392.35 points, 43.35 more than Malaysia's Pamg Pandelela Rinong with Germany's Christin Steuer in third.

Chen already captured synchronized platform gold with Wang Hao in London and is the world champion in both platform events. She won both events at the 2008 Olympics.

Brittany Viola, the daughter of 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola, was among the 18 divers who qualified for the semifinals on Thursday morning. The final is Thursday night.

China has won gold in five of the six diving events at the London Olympics after going 7-for-8 in Beijing four years ago.

Russia's Ilya Zakharov was the first non-Chinese diver to win gold here when he beat Qin Kai and He Chong to win the men's 3-meter springboard on Tuesday, saying afterward he was pleased "that I managed to take a medal away from China."