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Fast as lightning - The Eagle: Sports

Fast as lightning

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Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2012 12:00 am

Usain Bolt crossed the finish line and kept running. The world's fastest man was ready to celebrate, and the guest list for the party included a delirious crowd at Olympic Stadium.

Bolt pulled away from a group of the world's best sprinters and won the 100-meter dash in 9.63 seconds on Sunday night, joining Carl Lewis as the only men with consecutive gold medals in the marquee track and field event at the Summer Games.

World champion Yohan Blake, Bolt's training partner and Jamaican countryman, won the silver in 9.75 seconds, and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin of the U.S. earned the bronze in 9.79 seconds. Everyone in the final broke 10 seconds except Asafa Powell of Jamaica, who pulled up with a groin injury.

"I executed, and that's the key," Bolt said. "I stopped worrying about the start. The end is what's important."

Bolt celebrated his Olympic-record time with a few high-fives for some front-row fans, a kiss for the track and even a somersault. Thousands in the crowd chanted "Usain! Usain! Usain!"

Also Sunday night, Oscar Pistorius was last in his 400-meter semifinal a day after the double-amputee made his Olympic debut. The South African finished in 46.54 seconds, way slower than his career best of 45.07 and nearly 2 seconds slower than the winner of his heat, world champion Kirani James of Grenada.

James immediately walked over to Pistorius after the race and asked to trade name bibs, to keep as a souvenir. The pair shook hands and hugged.

"He's an inspiration for all of us. What he does ... takes a lot of courage, just a lot of confidence," James said. "He's very special to our sport."

The champions included American Sanya Richards-Ross (women's 400 meters), Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana (women's marathon), Kazakhstan's Olga Rypakova (women's triple jump), Hungary's Krisztian Pars (men's hammer throw) and Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi (men's 3,000-meter steeplechase).

"This has just been the experience of a lifetime," said Richard-Ross, who cried after a disappointing third-place finish in Beijing. "I've dreamt about this moment for 20 years."

Britain picked up two more gold medals after winning six events during a banner Saturday.

Andy Murray cruised past Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the men's singles final at Wimbledon, then added a silver medal in mixed doubles. Ben Ainslie earned another gold in the Finn class to become the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

Murray avenged a loss to Federer in last month's Wimbledon final while becoming the first British man to win the gold in singles since Josiah Ritchie in 1908.

"I've had a lot of tough losses in my career," he said. "This is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I'll never forget it."

After trailing the entire regatta, Ainslie was spot-on with his tactics in the medals race and got a little help from the front of the fleet. He won his fourth straight gold and fifth straight games medal overall, eclipsing Denmark's Paul Elvstrom, who won four straight gold medals from 1948-60.

"That race was certainly one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life, but thankfully I came through," he said.

The Olympics' year of the woman hit another milestone when women's boxing made its debut in the games Sunday. The tournament began with 12 entertaining bouts featuring uppercuts, haymakers and footwork that all measure up nicely to the men's amateur sport.

Russia's Elena Savelyeva won the first fight with a busy jab and strong combinations. U.S. lightweight Queen Underwood lost a close bout with Britain's Natasha Jonas.

The crowd roared for every fighter, clearly enjoying the tight competition and disciplined styles of the world's top female boxers.

McKayla Maroney was all set to add the vault title to her team gymnastics gold with the U.S. when she made a costly mistake. She appeared to land her second vault on the backs of her heels. Her feet slid out from under her, and she plopped on the mat, a look of shock crossing her face.

"I really didn't deserve to win a gold medal if I fall on my butt," Maroney said. "I was still happy with a silver, but it's still just sad."

Sandra Izbasa of Romania won the gold, and Russia's Maria Paseka took the bronze.

Britain's Louis Smith and Hungary's Krisztian Berki finished with identical 16.066 scores on the pommel horse, but Berki got the gold because his execution score of 9.166 was .10 points better. A tiebreaker also cost Smith in Beijing, when he dropped from second to bronze on the same event.

Also, Zou Kai won his fifth career gold medal, defending his title on floor exercise. He already had one gold from China's victory in the men's team competition last week, and has three more from the Beijing Games.

The rest of the Olympic action Sunday:

TENNIS Serena Williams added another Olympic title when she teamed with sister Venus to beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 in the women's doubles final.

Serena also won the women's singles tournament and is tennis' first double gold medalist at an Olympics since Venus won singles and doubles at the 2000 Sydney Games. The sisters also won the doubles gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Third-seeded Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova of Russia took the bronze by beating the top-seeded U.S. pair of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

BASKETBALL Diana Taurasi had 22 points and the U.S. women matched their Olympic scoring record in a 114-66 rout of China.

The Americans' 38th consecutive victory in Olympic play gave them the top seed in the group for the quarterfinals. The U.S. will meet Canada on Tuesday.

Angel McCoughtry scored 16 as the women equaled the 114 points they scored against Spain in 1992, but fell well short of the women's Olympic mark of 128 points set by Brazil in 2004.

France finished undefeated in pool play, beating Russia 65-54, and will play the Czech Republic in the quarters. Turkey meets Russia and Australia faces China in the other matchups in the next round.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor beat Italy in straight sets in the quarterfinals to remain on track for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The Americans earned a berth in the semifinals against Beijing bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi. The Chinese team has beaten the two-time defending Olympic champions the last three times they've met.

The No. 2 U.S. women's team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross also advanced, beating the Czech Republic 25-23, 21-18. The Americans next play reigning world champions Juliana and Larissa of Brazil.

VOLLEYBALL The undefeated U.S. women's team lost captain and three-time Olympian Lindsey Berg to a left ankle injury during a straight-set victory over Turkey.

The Americans breezed through the second set and took a 9-5 lead in the third before Berg limped off the court. The setter removed her shoe, and a trainer wrapped the ankle in ice.

Berg said she didn't think the injury was serious and she should be ready to play in Tuesday's quarterfinal.

Destinee Hooker scored 19 points in the 27-25, 25-16, 25-19 victory for the U.S., which had clinched the top seed in its pool.

China and Russia each posted five-set victories. Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Japan also won.

WATER POLO The United States will face Australia in a matchup of gold-medal contenders in the semifinals of the women's tournament.

The Americans beat European champion Italy 9-6 to reach the last four, and Australia moved on with a dramatic 20-18 win over China.

Melissa Seidemann scored three goals and captain Brenda Villa added two more as the U.S. recovered from a 2-0 deficit.

Hungary plays Spain in the other semifinal on Tuesday.

DIVING China's Wu Minxia won the women's 3-meter springboard for her first individual gold and record-tying sixth career medal.

Wu led all but one round of the five-dive final, totaling 414.00 points. She tied retired countrywoman Guo Jingjing with six medals. Wu and partner He Zi also won the 3-meter synchronized title in London.

He took the silver with 379.20, giving China its sixth diving medal of the games, including five gold after sweeping the synchro events.

Laura Sanchez Soto of Mexico earned the bronze at 362.40.

CYCLING Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark won the gold medal in the men's omnium following a crash in one of the six races of the event.

Hansen hit the wooden boards in a curve after connecting with the rear wheel of Briton Edward Clancy in the scratch race but was uninjured and got back on the track.

He managed to rejoin the peloton after regaining a lap and finished sixth at the line. Hansen then produced a big effort in the 1-kilometer time trial to win the inaugural Olympic title in the multidiscipline event with a total of 27 points.

Bryan Coquard of France took the silver medal and Clancy was third.

BADMINTON Lin Dan led the way as China swept all five badminton gold medals at the Olympics, defending his title by beating Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 in men's singles.

When Chong Wei's final shot landed long, Lin sprinted around Wembley Arena until he was tackled by his coaches.

A short time later, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng won the men's doubles final to complete China's golden sweep. They defeated Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 21-16, 21-15.

EQUESTRIAN Saudi Arabia leads the standings at the equestrian team show jumping competition after a first day dominated by a veterinarian's decision to disqualify a Canadian horse.

The Saudis had just one penalty point and were followed closely by the Netherlands, Britain, Sweden and Switzerland, all with four penalty points and tied for second.

Canadian horse Victor, ridden by Tiffany Foster, was disqualified by competition veterinarians for hypersensitivity in the left front leg. This left Canada without a drop score in the competition where the best three scores out of four riders count.

WRESTLING - GRECO-ROMAN Hamid Soryan is the first Iranian to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling, taking the men's 55-kilogram division.

The five-time world champion beat Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan 2-0, 1-0 in the final. Peter Modos of Hungary and Mingiyan Semenov of Russia won bronze medals.

Russia's Roman Vlasov, who hails from the same Siberian town that produced wrestling great Aleksandr Karelin, beat Armenia's Arsen Julfalakyan 1-0, 1-0 in the final of the men's 74-kilogram category.

Lithuania's Aleksandr Kazakevic and Azerbaijan's Emin Ahmadov won bronze medals.

FIELD HOCKEY Teun de Nooijer marked his 450th match for the Netherlands by scoring in the 36th minute to help the Dutch men's team to a 3-1 win over Germany.

Bob de Voogd and Mink van der Weerden scored the other Dutch goals as the Netherlands became the first team to qualify for the medal round.

Britain staged a thrilling comeback to draw 3-3 with No. 1 Australia, scoring three second-half goals. Belgium and New Zealand drew 1-1, meaning neither team will advance to the knockout round.

Pakistan beat South Africa 5-4, and South Korea defeated India 4-1 with three late goals.

HANDBALL Montenegro squeezed into the quarterfinals of the women's handball tournament when it tied Russia 25-25.

Katarina Bulatovic scored seven goals for Montenegro, which advanced thanks to Angola's 29-26 loss to Brazil.

Brazil had already secured a spot in the quarterfinals from Group A, while Angola was eliminated.

Croatia defeated host Britain 37-14, and Ryu Eun-hee scored 10 goals for South Korea in its 32-28 victory over Sweden. Britain finished the tournament without a victory.

Spain and France also won. ELSEWHERE IN LONDON

Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen of Sweden upset defending champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson of Britain to win the venerable Star class in the sailing regatta. ... Italy topped Japan in men's team foil for its third fencing title of the games. Germany took bronze with a 45-27 win over the United States. ... Defending champion Jin Jong-oh of South Korea won his second gold medal in London, overtaking countryman Choi Young-rae by 0.5 point on his last shot in the 50-meter pistol final. Jin also won the 10-meter air pistol event July 28. ... The weightlifting gold medal in the women's super heavyweight class went to China's Zhou Lulu, who won a terrific duel with Russia's Tatiana Kashirina. Americans Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold were seventh and 10th, respectively. ... Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia had the leading score in the synchronized swimming duet technical routine. ... China, Germany, South Korea and Hong Kong reached the men's team table tennis semifinals.

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