Olympic Daily News - Thursday, August 9th

Published August 09, 2012

| Sports Network

Usain Bolt became the first Olympian to win consecutive gold medals in both short sprints, winning the 200 meters Thursday at the London Games.

Earlier at these games, the Jamaican joined Carl Lewis of the United States as the only men to win golds at consecutive Olympics in the 100m. On Thursday, Bolt became the only man to claim two Olympic titles in the 200.

Bolt ran the race in 19.32 seconds -- .02 seconds off his Olympic record run four years ago in Beijing -- to lead a sweep of gold, silver and bronze by Jamaica.

The last time a nation swept all three medals in the men's 200 was at the 2004 Athens Games when Shawn Crawford, Bernard Williams and Justin Gatlin claimed gold, silver and bronze, respectively.

Yohan Blake, the man who created a stir by beating Bolt in both the 100 and 200 earlier this summer at the country's Olympic trials, was .12 seconds behind for silver. Blake also finished second to Bolt in the 100 here in London.

Warren Weir grabbed bronze with a run of 19.84 seconds, beating American sprinter Wallace Spearmon for the medal by .06 seconds.

Spearmon crossed the finish line third at the Beijing Games, but was later disqualified for stepping out of his lane.

RUDISHA BREAKS WORLD RECORD TO WIN 800

London, England (Sports Network) - Kenya's David Rudisha broke his own world record in the men's 800 meters to easily win gold Thursday at the London Games.

The overwhelming favorite in this event, Rudisha took the lead within 200 meters of the start and never relinquished it. He ran the two-lap race with a time of 1 minutes, 40.91 seconds, shaving .10 seconds off his own mark.

"Today the weather was beautiful -- I decided to go for it (the world record)," Rudisha said.

Rudisha's time crushed the Olympic record of 1:42.58 that was set by Norway's Vebjorn Rodal at 1996 Atlanta Games.

Rudisha, who missed the 2008 Beijing Games due to injury, beat Nijel Amos of Botswana by .82 seconds. The 18-year-old Amos did set a world junior record with his time of 1:41.73.

Timothy Kitum of Kenya took bronze with a time of 1:42.53. Duane Solomon of the United States was .29 seconds back in fourth place, while teammate Nick Symmonds finished fifth with a run of 1:42.95. Both American runners registered personal bests.

"I was honoured to run in a race like that in the same race as him," said Symmonds. "I had a front row seat."

Kenya has claimed the last two gold medals in the men's 800. Wilfred Bungei won four years ago in Beijing, but has since retired.

U.S., JAMAICA QUALIFY FOR 400-METER RELAY FINAL

London, England (Sports Network) - The United States and Jamaica have moved onto the final of the women's 400-meter relay, setting up an anticipated showdown for gold at the London Games.

The U.S. posted the fastest time of the two heats Thursday, finishing the lap in 41.64 seconds. Jamaica placed second in its heat with a time of 42.37 seconds, just .01 seconds in back of the Ukraine's team.

Trinidad and Tobago finished second overall, crossing the finish line .67 seconds after the Americans did in the first heat.

The final is set for Friday night at Olympic Stadium.

Heats were also held Thursday in the women's 800 meters and Caster Semenya of South Africa qualified for the final race with of 1 minute, 57.67 seconds.

Semenya is the athlete who won the 800m at the 2009 World Championships, but was later subjected to gender testing to prove she was a woman. After that title in 2009, she was not allowed to compete again until July of 2010, when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officially cleared her for competition.

Elena Arzhakova of Russia had the second-best qualifying time in Thursday's heats and was .46 seconds behind Semenya. Alysia Johnson Montano of the U.S. was fourth with a time of 1:58.42.

The final of the women's 800 is scheduled for Saturday.

USA'S EATON WINS DECATHLON IN DOMINATING FASHION

London, England (Sports Network) - World record holder Ashton Eaton of the United States won gold in the decathlon, while American teammate Trey Hardee picked up the silver.

Eaton led from start to finish, earning first-place finishes in the first two disciplines -- the 100 meters and long jump -- and holding onto his advantage through the remainder of the grueling two-day, 10-event competition.

He finished with 8,869 points, 198 more than Hardee and only 24 points behind the Olympic record set by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic at the 2004 Athens Games. Cuba's Leonel Suarez claimed bronze and was 346 points behind Eaton.

This is the second straight decathlon gold for the U.S. after Bryan Clay won the event four years ago in Beijing. This marks the first time Americans have placed 1-2 in the event since 1956, when Milt Campbell won gold and Rafer Johnson placed second.

Eaton built up a 222-point lead over Hardee by the end of Thursday's day session and had to do very little to complete gold on the second night of the competition.

The 24-year-old Eaton placed ninth in the javelin competition and eased his way to a time of 4 minutes, 33.59 seconds in the 1,500 meters.

"I'm young and it's super hard to grasp but when I'm older I'll look back at this," Eaton said.

Along the way to his first Olympic title, Eaton set a new decathlon mark in the 100 meters, running the sprint in 10.35 seconds. He placed first in three disciplines and second in two more.

"I want 10 perfect events," Eaton declafed. "I know that's pretty much impossible but that's the decathlon. I'd need that to be considered the world's greatest all-round athlete."

Eaton broke the decathlon world record with a score of 9,039 at U.S. trials this year. He and Sebrle are the only two men to break the 9,000-point barrier. The 37-year-old Sebrle started the competition in London, but bowed out after a poor showing in the 100 meters.

TAYLOR GETS GOLD AS U.S. GOES 1-2 IN TRIPLE JUMP

London, England (Sports Network) - Christian Taylor of the United States won the men's triple jump Thursday at the London Games, while teammate Will Claye grabbed silver.

Taylor, the reigning world champion, posted a winning jump of 17.81 meters, beating his countryman by .19 meters for gold. It's the first gold for the U.S. in men's triple jump since Kenny Harrison won the event at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Both Americans were competing at their first Olympics and they gave the U.S. gold and silver in this event for the first time since 1992 when Mike Conley beat Charlie Simpkins in Barcelona.

Fabrizio Donato of Italy won bronze with a jump of 17.48m. The 35-year-old is at his fourth Olympics, but this marked the first time he made it out of qualifying.

Defending Olympic champion Nelson Evora of Portugal was not able to compete at the London Games due to injury.

SPOTAKOVA RETAINS OLYMPIC JAVELIN CROWN

London, England (Sports Network) - Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic won her second straight gold medal in women's javelin, finishing ahead of Germans Christina Obergfoll and Linda Stahl at the London Games.

Spotakova became only the second woman to win consecutive Olympic titles in this event, joining East Germany's Ruth Fuchs, who achieved the double at the 1972 and '76 Summer Games.

The Czech's winning throw of 69.55 meters -- a season best -- easily eclipsed Obergfoll's best mark of 65.16m. Stahl was .25 meters behind her fellow German.

It was the second medal in this event for Obergfoll, who took bronze four years ago in Beijing.

Russia's Mariya Abakumova, the silver medalist in Beijing, beat Spotakova at last year's world championships, but finished 10th on Thursday.

AFTER APPEAL, PISTORIUS AND SOUTH AFRICA REACH RELAY FINAL

London, England (Sports Network) - Oscar Pistorius will get the chance to run again at the London Olympics, after all.

A collision during the second leg of a preliminary heat for the men's 1,600- meter relay prevented his South Africa team from completing the race, during which Pistorius was slated to run third.

But an appeal of the incident was successful. Because the team was obstructed, it was advanced to the final on Friday, according to a tweet from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

Pistorius, a double amputee who runs with the help of carbon fiber artificial limbs, became the first man to compete in both the Summer and Paralympic Games when he ran the 400m earlier at these games. He qualified for the semifinals with a season-best time, but didn't move on to the final.

The relay represented another medal chance for the 25-year-old, and at least another chance to compete.

But the baton didn't even reach Pistorius during the first heat Thursday. Kenya's Vincent Mumo Kiilu collided with Pistorius' teammate Ofentse Mogawane, running second for South Africa.

"He spiked me," Kiilu said. "I was in front and he spiked me from behind. When you are in front you can't see behind. I was coming across, but he was aware."

South Africa didn't finish, and Kenya was disqualified. Mogawane dislocated his shoulder.

Initially, it looked as though Pistorius wasn't going to have another chance to run. South Africa took silver in the event at the 2011 world championships, and had medal aspirations heading into the event.

"I can't tell you how disappointed I feel. Eleven of 10 if I could give it a number," Pistorius said.

But then he learned the protest was successful and South Africa was moving on."

"IT'S ON!! We in the FINAL," Pistorius said in a tweet.

U.S. EDGES JAPAN TO WIN GOLD IN WOMEN'S SOCCER

London, England (Sports Network) - Carli Lloyd still has the golden touch.

Lloyd scored twice in the gold medal game of women's Olympic soccer at Wembley Stadium on Thursday as the United States avenged its 2011 World Cup final loss to Japan, 2-1.

Four years after Lloyd scored in extra time to lift the United States to a 1-0 win over Brazil in the Olympic final, she scored two more golden goals to give the Americans their third straight gold.

"Maybe for my third Olympic final I'm going to have to score a hat trick," Lloyd said.

The United States has won four of the five Olympic tournaments ever contested. The Americans also won gold in 1996, 2004 and 2008. They won silver in 2000.

Japan defeated the United States in the World Cup last year on penalties, 3-1, after a 2-2 tie that saw both countries score in extra time. The Japanese were denied the first World Cup-Olympics double in history.

Before 80,203 fans - a record for a women's Olympic soccer game - could settle into their seats, Lloyd notched her third goal of this Olympics to kick start a wild first half.

The first 45 minutes also included three balls off the woodwork - one tipped off the crossbar by U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo - and a missed penalty for a handball.

Alex Morgan set up the early goal when she lifted a pass from the left side of the penalty area to the far post toward Abby Wambach. Lloyd stole the ball off the foot of Wambach, as she sneaked in to head home from just a few yards out.

"My heart goes out to Carli. She stepped up when she needed to step up. She is a big-time player who steps up when she needs to," said Solo.

The Americans were ahead, but their backs were against the wall for almost all of the final 35 minutes of the first half.

Yuki Ogimi forced Solo to make saves in the 17th and 18th, and the second was tipped just enough to go off the crossbar. Japan then had a penalty appeal for a handball denied on Tobin Heath, who clearly played the ball with her arm.

Japan nearly gifted the United States a second goal just before the half-hour, as defender Azusa Iwashimizu sent a cross off her own post. The Japanese were then within inches on the other end, as Aya Miyama hit the bar in the 33rd.

The United States survived the wild half with a one-goal lead and Lloyd added her second goal less than 10 minutes into the second half.

Lloyd made a brilliant run down the middle of the field to the edge of the box and shot across her body back to the left, curling a shot just inside the post and into the side netting.

"What I do best is dribbling and making shots from distance. It opened up and I just kept going and just unleashed it. I didn't think too much and it went in the back of the net," said Lloyd.

But Japan was back within a goal less than 10 minutes later.

Ogimi pulled a goal back for Japan in the 63rd as she was able to convert from just a couple yards out following a scrum inside the 6-yard box. The Americans initially cleared a chance off the line, but the ball later fell to Ogimi near the left post and she easily slotted home.

"Of course, I felt we could come back. But, unfortunately, we could not get the result in the end," stated Ogimi.

Japan goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto made her biggest save on Rachel Buehler in the 69th, and Solo was saved by teammate Amy LePeilbet on the opposite end in the 73rd as the chances continued for both countries.

Solo made another huge save with seven minutes left in normal time, as she was able to dive to her left to push a breakaway shot from Mana Iwabuchi away from the right side on the last good scoring chance of the match.

"You can't win a major tournament without some great goalkeeping. The Japan goalkeeper also made some good saves," noted Solo. "It's a team effort, but I'm proud to contribute finally."

A tense ending, including two minutes of stoppage time, followed as the United States held on for another gold medal.

CANADA SCORES LATE TO WIN BRONZE IN WOMEN'S SOCCER

Coventry, England (Sports Network) - Diana Matheson scored two minutes into stoppage time as Canada edged France, 1-0, on Thursday to win the bronze medal in women's Olympic soccer.

Three days after a dramatic overtime loss to the United States, Canada escaped with its highest finish in World Cup or Olympic play when Matheson converted a deflected shot inside the right post with just seconds remaining.

France hit the post and crossbar in the second half and controlled most of the bronze medal game at City of Coventry Stadium, but Matheson capitalized on one of just a few chances for Canada to secure the bronze at the death.

"The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. That was hard losing against the US. And we knew it was going to be a real test (Thursday)," Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod said. "I'm so proud of everyone and how they fought for the result."

Canada had its previous best finish in World Cup or Olympic play in 2003, when it was fourth at the World Cup. Host of the 2015 World Cup, Canada proved at the Olympics it could be a factor in three years on home soil.

France finished fourth in the World Cup last year and settled for fourth place in its first Olympic appearance.

Canadian star Christine Sinclair, who scored a hat trick in a 4-3 loss against the United States, had just one chance in the first half but fired off target, and Elodie Thomis had the lone shot on goal in the first half for either squad for France.

France was much better in the second half, as Louisa Necib forced a save from McLeod in the 48th, Gaetane Thiney hit the left post in the 62nd, and Elodie Thomis hit the crossbar in the 63rd.

Canada survived the scares and when a shot deflected off France defender Sonia Bompastor into space on the right side of the area to Matheson, she picked out the bottom-right corner to score the match-winner for Canada.

"At the beginning of the tournament, we played well but I think we've raised the bar as we've gone through," McLeod said. "We've got better as we went on. I'm so proud of the way we've played."

U.S. WOMEN RALLY PAST AUSTRALIA TO REACH GOLD MEDAL GAME

London, England (Sports Network) - The U.S. women's basketball team had no answer for Liz Cambage in the first half, but shut down the Australian center the rest of the way and earned an 86-73 victory to reach the gold medal game of the London Olympics.

Cambage scored 19 points in the first half and Australia shot 61 percent to open a 47-43 lead, but the Americans came out of the break with a stellar defensive effort. Cambage failed to score in the second half and the U.S. handed the Australians another crushing Olympic defeat.

The last three Olympics ended with the United States beating Australia in the gold medal game. The Americans extended their Olympic winning streak to 40 games and will try for a fifth straight gold medal on Saturday against France.

"We knew coming into the tournament that at some point if you want to win the Olympic gold medal that you have to beat Australia," USA coach Geno Auriemma said. "We knew that and whether you have to beat them in the semifinals or the final, it doesn't matter you still have to beat them. The gold medal game is Saturday night. Hopefully our players don't think this was the gold medal game because it was the semifinal game."

Tina Charles helped keep Cambage under wraps in the second half and finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the victory. Diana Taurasi also scored 14, while Sue Bird kept the Americans in the game early with 10 first-half points and wound up with 13.

Lindsay Whalen scored just six points for the U.S., but they came at a critical juncture of the third quarter. She went on a personal 6-0 run to turn a 56-55 deficit into a five-point U.S. lead with 90 seconds left in the third.

The Americans went into the fourth with a 65-59 edge and opened the final period with an 11-5 burst. Bird's three from the left wing -- her lone bucket of the second half -- capped the surge and gave the U.S. a 76-64 lead with just over five minutes remaining.

Australia never got within single digits again.

Lauren Jackson contributed 14 points and 17 rebounds for Australia, which will play for bronze on Saturday. The Aussies have been eliminated by the U.S. in each of the last five Olympics. In addition to the previous three gold medal defeats, the Americans knocked them out in the semifinals of the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Cambage, who was 8-for-12 shooting in the first half, missed her lone field goal attempt in the second half. She added seven rebounds and committed seven of Australia's 20 turnovers.

The Americans scored the game's first four points, but Australia was undeterred and quickly tied it at 6-6. The Aussies led by as many as four in the first quarter before taking a 22-20 edge after 10 minutes. A 7-0 run gave Australia a 39-32 lead midway through the second and the U.S. managed to trim the deficit to four at the break.

FRANCE TOPS RUSSIA TO REACH GOLD MEDAL GAME

London, England (Sports Network) - Edwige Lawson-Wade tallied 18 points and five assists and Emilie Gomis added 15 points, as France advanced to the gold medal game of the women's Olympic basketball tournament with an 81-64 victory over Russia on Thursday.

Sandrine Gruda recorded 11 points and eight rebounds, Celine Dumerc had 11 points and Isabelle Yacoubou and Endene Miyem chipped in with 10 points apiece for France, which outscored Russia 22-13 in the fourth quarter to pull away.

The French will face the United States in the gold medal game on Saturday. The U.S. defeated Australia earlier on Thursday.

Becky Hammon and Alena Danilochkina poured in 13 points each to lead Russia, which will play Australia for the bronze medal, also on Saturday.

The French shot 50 percent from field, made 8-of-14 from beyond the arc and were 17-of-19 from the free-throw line.

U.S. WOMEN CLAIM FIRST WATER POLO GOLD

London, England (Sports Network) - There is no doubt which one of the four Olympic medals Brenda Villa and Heather Petri will have the fondest memory of.

Behind five goals from Maggie Steffens and one each by Villa and Petri, the United States knocked off Spain 8-5 to win the final of the women's water polo tournament on Thursday.

It had been a long time coming for Villa and Petri, who had previously won a pair of silver medals sandwiched around a bronze at the 2004 Athens Games. The victory finally added a gold medal to a U.S. resume that includes world championships, a world cup and world league title.

"I am speechless, it still hasn't sunk in. We played great defense today and that is what won us the medal. There are no words to explain how I'm feeling, but to go through the last four years with the players who were in Beijing and the new players here, like Maggie, it means the world to me, I can't describe it. It's the end of a journey and I got my fairytale ending," said Villa.

Steffens played a big part in the success at London, scoring 21 goals. Four of those came in the initial three periods and her final tally of the game pushed the American's lead to 8-2 less than a minute into the fourth period.

Spain followed with three tallies, getting the last two from Anni Espar Llaquet, but couldn't completely close the gap.

Betsey Armstrong logged eight saves for the U.S.

"It's awesome, I can't believe it - I'm so proud of the team," Petri said.

The Spaniards did manage to pick up a silver medal in their Olympic debut and received three goals from Jennifer Pareja. However, goalie Laura Ester Ramos managed to stop just two of the 10 shots fired her way.

The gold medal match had a bit less drama than the earlier meeting between Hungary and Australia for third place. Hungary nearly stole itself a bronze medal after forcing extra time in incredible fashion, but Australia rebounded for a 13-11 win.

Australian goalkeeper Alicia McCormack was attempting to run off the final seconds of the fourth period, but didn't see Dora Antal sneak up on her underwater. Antal than stole the ball and managed to score a tying marker as time expired.

The Aussies didn't let things slip away in extra time, getting a pair of goals from Gemma Beadsworth while McCormack kept Hungary out of the net.

Beadsworth tallied four goals for Australia, which duplicated its win over Hungary in the 2008 Beijing Games bronze medal match. The Aussies won that contest 12-11 in a penalty shootout.

In classification action, China edged Russia for fifth place, while Italy topped Great Britain in a battle for seventh place.

USA'S SHIELDS WINS HISTORIC BOXING GOLD

London, England (Sports Network) - Claressa Shields of the United States was one of three fighters to claim historic gold medals, as the inaugural Olympic women's boxing competition came to a close Thursday at the London Games.

Shields, Great Britain's Nicola Adams and Ireland's Katie Taylor won the first three titles, winning the middleweight, flyweight and lightweight divisions, respectively.

The 17-year-old American simply outclassed second-seeded Nadezda Torlopova of Russia, posting a 19-12 decision over her 33-year-old opponent. Shields displayed superior quickness in winning the final three rounds after the boxers fought to a 3-3 tie in Round 1.

At 17 years, 145 days olds, Shields is the youngest Olympic boxing gold medalist since American John Fields won the men's featherweight title as a 16- year-old at 1924 Paris Games.

Overall, the U.S. women claimed two medals in boxing with Marlen Esparza also taking a bronze in the flyweight class. This comes after the American men failed to win a single boxing medal at a Summer Games for the first time in their history.

Adams was the first woman to put her name in the history books as an Olympic boxing champion, dominating China's Ren Cancan to take the flyweight division in the first bout of the day. Adams lost to Ren at this year's world championships, but she battered her Chinese opponent Thursday at the ExCel Exhibition Centre.

The 29-year-old Adams knocked the top-seeded Ren to the canvas in the second round en route to a 16-7 victory.

Meanwhile, Taylor, the four-time defending world champion in the lightweight division, claimed gold for Ireland in the final bout, earning a close 10-8 decision over Bulgarian Sofya Ochigava. Taylor was trailing 4-3 after two rounds, but took control of the fight by earning four of the five points awarded in Round 3.

Taylor's medal is the second of the London Games for Ireland, following a bronze won Wednesday in equestrian.

GERMANY WINS 2 MORE CANOE SPRINT GOLDS

London, England (Sports Network) - Germany captured two more gold medals Thursday morning in canoe sprint events at the London Olympics, while wins also came for Hungary and Australia.

Germans Peter Kretschmer and Kurt Kuschela beat defending Olympic champions Andrei and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich of Belarus to win the men's 1,000-meter C2, finishing in 3 minutes, 33.804 seconds.

Kretschmer and Kuschela rallied from third place after the first 750 meters, crossing 1.402 seconds ahead of the brothers. Russia's Alexey Korovashkov and Ilya Pervukhin took bronze.

Germans Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze won the women's 500-meter K2 kayak event in 1:42.213. Hungary's Katalin Kovacs and Natasa Douchev-Janics were second and Poland's Karolina Naja and Beata Mikolajczyk finished third.

Australians Tate Smith, Dave Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear won the men's 1,000-meter K4 kayak race in 2:55.085 after leading at each 250-meter mark.

Hungary's Zoltan Kammerer, David Toth, Tamas Kulifai and Daniel Pauman came in second and Czechs Daniel Havel, Lukas Trefil, Josef Dostal and Jan Sterba won bronze.

Hungary's Danuta Kozak won gold in the women's 500-meter K1 in 1:51.456 with Ukranian Inna Osypenko-Radomska finishing second and South Africa's Bridgitte Hartley coming in third.

Germany has six medals so far in canoe sprint, including three golds. Hungary has five medals and three golds.

JAPAN'S YOSHIDA EARNS 3RD STRAIGHT FREESTYLE GOLD

London, England (Sports Network) - Japan's Saori Yoshida earned the third gold medal of her Olympic career, winning a decision by points against Canada's Tonya Lynn Verbeek in the 55-kilogram freestyle wrestling division on Thursday.

Yoshida defended her title from the 2004 Athens Games and Beijing four years ago. With the addition of her nine world titles, she matched the record of 12 world-level championships held by Russian Alexander Karelin, a three-time Olympic gold winner in greco-roman wrestling.

"I have taken 12 gold medals and every single medal is important to me. But the medal I got at London 2012 is very important," said Yoshida.

Verbeek, meanwhile, earned a medal in her third straight Olympics, having previously won silver in Athens and a bronze at Beijing.

Bronze medals in the weight class went to Azerbaijan's Yuliya Ratkevich and Colombian Jackeline Renteria Castillo, who won her country's first Olympic Games medal in wrestling with a bronze in 2008.

Russia's Natalia Vorobieva defeated former-five time world champion Stanka Zlateva Hristova of Bulgaria in the final of the 72kg division by fall. Vorobieva gained the gold after previously winning three junior championships.

"My coach told me that I have nothing to lose. He said that I already have the silver medal," noted Vorobieva. "We did not prepare a special strategy or tactics for that match. I just went out to fight."

Hristova, meanwhile, fell short of gold in her third Olympics. She was 12th in Athens and improved enough in four years to take silver at the 2008 Games.

Bronze medals in the 72kg went to Kazakhstan's Guzel Manyurova, a silver medalist in the 2004 Athens Games for Russia, and Spain's Maider Unda.

TAZEGUL, JONES WIN TAEKWONDO GOLDS

London, England (Sports Network) - Servet Tazegul of Turkey and Great Britain's Jade Jones won gold medals in taekwondo Thursday at the London Games.

Tazegul, a bronze medalist four years ago in Beijing, claimed Turkey's first ever gold in taekwondo by beating Iran's Mohammad Bagheri Motamed, 6-5, for the men's 68-kilogram title. It's also Turkey's first gold medal of the London Games.

Terrence Jennings of the United States and Afghanistan's Rohullah Nikpah earned bronze medals in the weight class.

Jones claimed gold for the host nation in the women's 57kg division, beating Hou Yuzhuo, 6-4, in the final bout.

France's Marlene Harnois and Tseng Li-Cheng of Chinese Taipei each earned bronze medals

American Diana Lopez, a member of the Lopez taekwondo family, lost both of her matches in the women's 57kg and finished the competition in seventh place.

GERMANY WINS 1ST BEACH VOLLEYBALL GOLD

London, England (Sports Network) - Germany's Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann won Europe's first ever Olympic beach volleyball gold medal Thursday, beating Brazil in the men's final.

Brink and Reckermann edged Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego in three sets 23-21, 16-21, 16-14. They recovered after a late rally that saw the Brazilians score three straight points to draw even at 14-14 in the third set.

"We were worried," said Brink. "We would have been very sad if it had gone the other way and we had lost."

The only other German medal in Olympic beach volleyball was Jorg Ahmann and Axel Hager's bronze in 2000.

Earlier, Latvia's Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins came back to beat Reinder Nummerdor and Rich Schuil of the Netherlands in the bronze medal match after losing the first set.

Plavins and Smedins won their country's first Olympic beach volleyball medal 19-21, 21-19, 15-11. It was Latvia's first medal of the London Games.

HUNGARY'S RISZTOV EDGES AMERICAN ANDERSON IN 10KM SWIM

London, England (Sports Network) - Hungary's Eva Risztov won gold in the women's 10-kilometer open water swimming marathon Thursday, holding off American Haley Anderson by less than a second.

Risztov led for a majority of the race and held a one-second edge over Italian Martina Grimaldi going into the final lap on Hyde Park's Serpentine lake.

The leaders pushed the pace, and Anderson chased Risztov heading toward the line, gaining ground.

The Hungarian slapped the timing board -- which is above water, as opposed to under at the wall in pool events -- just before the American. Risztov touched in 1 hour, 57 minutes and 38.2 seconds. Anderson was just 0.4 seconds behind.

Grimaldi took bronze with a time of 1:57:41.8, while Great Britain's Keri-anne Payne was fourth. Payne was the silver medalist four years ago in Beijing, the first time the event was part of the Olympic swimming program.

BRITAIN WINS GOLD, BRONZE IN DRESSAGE

London, England (Sports Network) - Charlotte Dujardin landed Great Britain's third equestrian gold medal at the London Olympics, winning the individual dressage competition with a record score on the sport's last day here.

Dujardin, riding her gelding Valegro to music that included the theme from "The Great Escape," went last in the grand prix freestyle finale and garnered a score of 90.089 from the seven-member ground jury.

She was the first person to win the event in front of a home crowd since 1972.

Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands scored an 88.196 for the silver and Great Britain's Laura Bechtolsheimer earned bronze. Bechtolsheimer's score of 84.339 was just .036 ahead of Germany's Helen Langehanenberg.

Dujardin and Bechtolsheimer's medals were the first ever for Britain in the event. They were already a part of Great Britain's team dressage gold medal win. The host nation finished with five medals in the sport -- one more than Germany and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the United States went without a medal in equestrian for the first time since 1956. Steffen Peters placed 17th out of the 18 riders who made the grand prix freestyle finale.

The Ann Romney-owned horse Rafalca, ridden by Jan Ebeling, had previously been eliminated.

CHINA'S CHEN SWEEPS PLATFORM EVENTS AGAIN

London, England (Sports Network) - Chinese diver Chen Ruolin swept the women's platform events for the second straight Olympics after winning the 10-meter individual Thursday.

Chen totaled 422.30 points on her five dives in the final, 55.80 more than silver medalist Brittany Broben from Australia. Malaysia's Pamg Pandelela Rinong was 63.10 points back for the bronze.

Chen led after each session, including Wednesday's preliminaries and Thursday morning's semifinals. She had already won synchronized platform gold with Wang Hao and entered the Olympics as the overwhelming favorite in the individual event as well.

Her win marked China's 200th Summer Olympics gold medal.

"I knew this before the competition," she said, "but it didn't put too much pressure on me."

China has now won gold in six of the seven diving events in London 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."

Two Canadian divers who made the final finished well back. Roseline Filion ended 10th and Meaghan Benfeito was 11th.

U.S. diver Brittany Viola, the daughter of 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola, was eliminated in the semifinals.

CHEN TOPS PLATFORM QUALIFIER; VIOLA OUT

London, England (Sports Network) - Reigning Olympic champion Chen Ruolin was the top qualifier Thursday morning in the women's 10-meter platform event.

Two Canadian divers also made the evening final, while Brittany Viola and her United States teammate Katie Bell were both eliminated.

Chen, who is looking to sweep the platform events for the second Olympics in a row, totaled 407.25 points on her five semifinal dives. She was also the top diver in Wednesday's preliminaries.

Canadian Meaghan Benfeito was second, 47.35 points behind Chen, and Australian Brittany Broben was third. Canadian Roseline Filion qualified eighth out of the 12 divers who made the final.

Viola, the daughter of 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola, finished 15th -- more than 15 points out of a qualifying spot. Bell was 16th.

Chen, who already won synchronized platform gold with Wang Hao, entered the Olympics as the overwhelming favorite and is looking to extend China's diving dominance.

The country has won gold in five of the six diving events in London 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."

U.S., BRAZIL TO PLAY FOR WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL GOLD

London, England (Sports Network) - The United States and Brazil won women's volleyball semifinals Thursday, setting up a rematch of the gold medal contest from four years ago in Beijing.

The U.S. claimed a 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 victory over South Korea in its semifinal, getting 24 points -- including 21 spikes -- from Destinee Hooker. Jordan Larson added 14 points in the straight-sets victory.

Brazil then downed Japan in dominant fashion, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18. Fabiana Claudino and Sheilla Castro both had 13 points in the win.

The results mean that the U.S. and Brazil will again square off for the gold medal, which the Brazilians won in 2008. The Americans will try for their first women's volleyball championship at the Olympics in Saturday's final.

Japan and South Korea play the same day for bronze.

RUSSIA CHASING ANOTHER SYNCH SWIMMING SWEEP

London, England (Sports Network) - Russia is chasing its fourth straight gold medal sweep of the Olympic synchronized swimming events after taking the team lead.

The Russians scored 98.1 points in the technical routine Thursday afternoon to lead China by 1.1 points heading into the free routine on Friday.

Points from both routines will be combined to determine the medal winners.

Spain was 1.9 points back in third place and Canada finished fourth, 3.7 points off the pace.

The United States was represented here by Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva, who finished 11th in the duets competition. But the U.S. did not qualify a synchronized swimming team for the first time ever at the Olympics.

Russia has swept the sport in the last three games by winning every gold in the team and duets competition since 2000. Russian favorites Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina won gold in duets on Tuesday. Silver and bronze went to Spain and China in that order.

RUSSIA LEADING THE PACK IN RHYTHMIC QUALIFIERS

London, England (Sports Network) - Russia closed out the first day of rhythmic gymnastics group and all-around qualification on Thursday holding the top spot in each event.

Russia had the best score after one event in the team competition, posting a 28.375 in the five-ball routine. It had the highest artistic score of any team at 9.625.

Russia has won gold at the past three Olympics and finished 0.275 points up on second-place Italy, which has won each of the last three world titles.

Belarus is third in the group all-round standings, while Great Britain and Canada sit 11th and 12th, respectively.

Russia also saw two of its gymnasts grab the top spots in the individual all- around in Daria Dmitrieva and Evgeniya Kanaeva. Dmitrieva had the top score in the hoop event (29.000) and the best total score of 57.800, while Kanaeva's 29.525 mark in the ball led the event and helped her to a second-place overall total of 57.625.

Kanaeva, a three-time world champion, is trying to become the first rhythmic gymnast to win two Olympic gold medals in the all-around after also taking the title at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Belarus' Liubou Charkashyna is third with a 56.450 score.

Great Britain's Francesca Jones is 21st out of the 24 gymnasts, just ahead of American Julie Zetlin.

On Friday, the individual gymnasts will perform the clubs and ribbons routines, while the groups perform their second of two routines with three ribbons and two hoops. The top 10 individual athletes, as well as the eight highest-scoring teams, advance to the final, to be held this weekend.

NORWAY TO DEFEND WOMEN'S HANDBALL TITLE VS. MONTENEGRO

London, England (Sports Network) - Norway moved a step closer toward defending its Olympic gold medal in women's handball Thursday, when it defeated South Korea in the semifinals.

Heidi Loke scored eight goals and Kristine Lunde-Borgersen added six in the 31-25 victory, which put Norway into Saturday's gold medal match. It will face Montenegro, which held off Spain by a 27-26 margin on Thursday.

Norway had some trouble getting into the knockout stage, going 2-2-1 and finishing fourth in Group B. But the defending champions and reigning world titlists appear to be back on track.

Montenegro earned a chance to play for gold, but only after holding off a late charge.

Milena Knezevic's goal in the 58th minute put Montenegro ahead 27-23, but Spain tallied three quick goals -- including two from Elisabeth Pinedo Saenz. However, Pinedo Saenz's team ran out of time.

The loss put Spain in Saturday's bronze medal match against South Korea.

USA'S FIELDS MOVES INTO BMX SEMIFINALS

London, England (Sports Network) - American Connor Fields, Australian Sam Willoughby and defending gold medalist Maris Strombergs were among the riders to move into the semifinals of the men's BMX competition Thursday.

Fields clocked the fastest time in the first three (of five) runs during his heat to automatically qualify for Friday's semifinals.

The quarterfinals were comprised of four heats of eight riders, and only four riders advanced from each.

Like Fields, the Netherlands' Raymon van der Biezen placed first in the opening three runs of Heat 1 to get into the semis. Van der Biezen was the fastest rider during seeding runs Wednesday.

Willoughby, who won the world championship in May, and Strombergs were two of the riders to advance out of Heat 4. The Latvian Strombergs captured the first men's Olympic BMX gold four years ago in Beijing.

The United States' David Herman advanced out of Heat 3, though fellow American Nicholas Long did not.

GERMANY, NETHERLANDS ADVANCE TO MEN'S FIELD HOCKEY FINAL

London, England (Sports Network) - Germany and the Netherlands will battle for men's field hockey gold after both teams were semifinal winners on Thursday at the London Games.

Germany gets a chance to defend its 2008 Beijing Olympics title after downing Australia 4-2. Three of those goals by the Germans came in the second half, including the winner by Timo Wess at the 59-minute mark.

Germany beat Spain in the Beijing final.

The Netherlands are in the gold medal match for the second time in three Olympics after pounding Great Britain 9-2. Billy Bakker and Roderick Weusthof scored three goals each in the victory.

After previously grabbing gold in 1996 and 2000, the Netherlands had to settle for silver at the 2004 Athens Games and came in fourth four years ago in Beijing.

In earlier matches, Pakistan rallied to beat South Korea to finish in seventh place, while New Zealand downed Argentina to end in ninth.

LIGHT WINDS THWART SAILING EVENTS

London, England (Sports Network) - Light winds prompted officials to postpone the men's 470 sailing medal race Thursday.

Additionally, officials cancelled the scheduled matches that were to decide places 5 through 8 in the women's Elliott 6m match racing competition.

Light winds at the beginning of the afternoon postponed the medal race in men's 470, where Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have a four-point advantage over Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. The fleet was kept waiting, but never raced.

That medal race was bumped back to Friday, joining the women's 470 medal race and Elliott 6m semifinals on the schedule. However, light winds are in the forecast then, as well.

The lower-place Elliott 6m matches were cancelled entirely.

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