Day 8: Phelps’s last race, Pistorius’s first, women’s tennis final

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On Day 8, Michael Phelps swam and won what’s expected to be the last race of his storied Olympic career: the 4×100 medley relay. Double-amputee Oscar Pistorius made Olympic history when he competed in the heats of the 400 meters. Serena Williams won her first individual Olympics medal.

What else should you be watching? Consult today’s viewer guide here.

Miss anything? Read past live blogs: Opening Ceremonies | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

Join in the conversation.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 (DAY 8 )

NBC

9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tennis – women’s singles gold medal match (Live, 9 a.m.)
Trampoline – women’s gold medal final (11 a.m.)
Track and field – men’s 100-meter and 400-meter qualifying, women’s pole vault qualifying (11:15 a.m., 1:30 p.m.)
Men’s volleyball – United States vs. Russia (Live, 11:45 a.m.)
Cycling – track gold medal final (2 p.m.)
Men’s water polo – United States vs. Serbia (Live, 2:40 p.m.)
Rowing – gold medal finals in women’s single sculls, men’s four, men’s and women’s lightweight double sculls (3:45 p.m.)
Track and field – men’s 10,000-meter gold medal final (Live, 4:15 p.m.)
Beach volleyball – a round-of-16 elimination match (Live, 5 p.m.)
8 p.m. – midnight
Swimming – gold medal finals in men’s and women’s 4×100 medley relays, women’s 50-meter freestyle and men’s
1500-meter freestyle
Track and field – gold medal finals in women’s 100-meter dash, women’s heptathlon and men’s long jump
Women’s diving – springboard semifinals; Beach volleyball – a round-of-16 elimination match
12:35 a.m. – 1:35 a.m.
Track and field – women’s discus gold medal final
Cycling – track gold medal final

NBC Sports Network

4 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Women’s Triathlon (Live, 4 a.m.)
Men’s basketball – Russia vs. Spain (Live, 6:15 a.m.)
Beach volleyball – a round-of-16 elimination match (Live, 8 a.m.)
Cycling – Track events (9 a.m.)
Men’s basketball – United States vs. Lithuania (Live, 9:30 a.m.)
Tennis – men’s doubles gold medal match (Live, 11:30 a.m.)
Women’s field hockey – United States vs. New Zealand (Live, 2 p.m.)
Equestrian – jumping qualifying (3:30 p.m.)
Shooting – women’s trap gold medal final (4:30 p.m.);
Men’s volleyball – Brazil vs. Serbia (Live, 5 p.m.)

MSNBC

7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Men’s soccer – Japan vs. Egypt in a quarterfinal match (Live, 7 a.m.)
Men’s water polo – Montenegro vs. Romania (8:45 a.m.)
Men’s soccer – Mexico vs. Senegal in a quarterfinal match (Live, 9:30 a.m.)
Badminton – women’s singles gold medal final (1:45 p.m.)
Men’s soccer – Britain vs. South Korea in a quarterfinal match (Live, 2:30 p.m.)
Weightlifting – men’s 94kg gold medal final (4:15 p.m.)
Track and field – men’s 20k race walk (4:45 p.m.)

CNBC

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Men’s boxing – light flyweight and light welterweight round-of-16 bouts (Live)
3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Men’s boxing – light flyweight, light welterweight and light heavyweight round-of-16 bouts (Live)

Bravo

7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tennis – Men’s and women’s singles and doubles semifinals, mixed doubles quarterfinals (live)

NBC Olympic Basketball Channel

4 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Men’s basketball:
Tunisia vs. France (Live, 4 a.m.)
Russia vs. Spain (Live, 6:15 a.m., Replay 8 a.m.)
United States vs. Lithuania (Live, 9:30 a.m., Replay 1:30 p.m.)
China vs. Brazil (Live, 11:45 a.m.)
Britain vs. Australia (Live, 3 p.m.)
Nigeria vs. Argentina (Live, 5:15 p.m.)

NBC Olympic Soccer Channel

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Men’s soccer quarterfinals:
Japan vs. Egypt (Live, 7 a.m.)
Mexico vs. Senegal (Live, 9:30 a.m.)
Brazil vs. Honduras (Live, noon)
Britain vs. South Korea (Live, 2:30 p.m.)
Replays of the best two games of the day (4:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m.)

Telemundo

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Packaged Spanish-language coverage includes basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, soccer and track and field.

Signing Off

That’s it for me, tonight. Thanks for joining us on The Washington Post live blog of the Olympics. Insomniacs can keep watching at their own peril.

Jerusalem (And did those feet...)

My thanks to Peter Breiner for joining us tonight. If you remember that gorgeous melody from the opening ceremony, “Jerusalem,” sung by the boy soprano, here’s Peter conducting a version of it. It almost makes an American wish we were still part of the old empire.

Sun Yang breaks the record

This was the most exciting and significant race of the night. And a Chinese swimmer won it. I wonder if that explains why it was broadcast so late? Will we hear the Chinese national anthem?

Small Anthems

So Peter Breiner’s take away from listening to the anthems of 2012 is this: Why did the Brits use such a small ensemble to record them? “For an event of this scope, it just sounds a bit thin.” When Breiner orchestrated them for Athens, they used an 80-piece orchestra. But in London, “all they did was use this small group that just can not create a really substantial sound. It’s once in a century – why to waste it?”

Basketball: Lithuania vs. U.S.A.

Finally, but just in passing, NBC acknowledges the exciting (and somewhat shocking) close contest between the U.S.A. men’s basketball team and Team Lithuania. A nail biter. But all we get is a brief notice. And Serena Williams’ crip walking, after taking gold in tennis, is just a foot note. Too bad. Tonight’s prime time coverage is a bit of a bore.

The Star Spangled Banner

Does the national anthem as heard in this year’s medal ceremonies sound a bit thin, a bit fast, a bit boring? Breiner, whose arrangement (for Athens 2004) was criticized for being too free (and I’d argue too interesting), says this: “I can’t help it, but it feels kind of sad. It bears the label “recorded by London Symphony Orchestra” but they did it with a 36-piece band, and it still sounds like some guy banging a synthesizer in his garage. I like to have fun with my arrangements – while writing them and while recording them (I don’t want musicians to get bored). And the same goes for the listeners. However – this 2012 batch is just boring.”

Favorite National Anthem

Reader kacd asks: “For Peter Breiner: Do you have a favorite anthem?” Breiner answers: “No, I do not. Despite the fact that anthems are usually not any little treasures of the music literature, there are a few that are decent, but I can not pick a single one.”

Phelps takes his 22nd

As the announcer says: “It’s just not often in a career that you accomplish every goal…” Indeed.

Beijing and the anthems

A reader asks: “For Peter Breiner: For the Olympics in Beijing, your arrangements of the national anthems were stolen. Did the IOC and the Chinese officials ever admit it?” More on the controversy here. Peter responds: “Chinese never officially did…but the IOC settled with me and the label. Draw your conclusions.” The label would be Peter’s record label.

Olympics Superlatives

The fastest man on earth. The fastest island on the planet. Olympics announcers never tire of the superlatives. But what to make of this comment: “No one has had more fun than this U.S. Olympic swim team”? A hard statement to disprove. Or prove.

The Best Key for the National Anthem

Read Kacd asks, “How terrible is the key they picked for SSB? C Major? Really?” That would be the Star Spangled Banner, the infamously hard-to-sing U.S. national anthem. Peter Breiner responds: “C major is indeed not the best for US anthem,which is hard to sing along anyway. Something around G would work way better. But….they have to take a revenge on colonies, I guess.” Ouch.

 

Millennium Dome seen anew

I love the way we keep seeing the Millennium Dome, with its porcupine supports sticking up above the white roof. The assumption must be (for people who haven’t been to London recently) that this is one of the new venues created for the 2012 games. In fact, it was built as a London-boosting folly to celebrate the turn of the millennium in 2000. And it was hugely controversial thereafter, when its exhibits and attractions proved uninteresting to the public, with financial losses and political consequences for its supporters.

Misty vs. The Dutch

I dislike the way the announcers refer to the American volleyball players on a first-name basis–Misty, Misty, Misty–while the opposing team is simply “the Dutch.” That’s bad form, impolite and reveals the all-too-apparent bias towards Team USA. Do the Dutch have names?

Peter Breiner on Olympic Music

Now that NBC is wasting time on bagpipes and other postcard filler, now is a good time to introduce a guest for tonight’s live coverage. I’ve invited Peter Breiner, the composer and highly accomplished master of orchestration, to join us via email. Peter arranged all the national anthems for the Athens games in 2004. You also heard his arrangements in Beijing, where they were used by the Chinese without permission or compensation, a case that was settled out of court by the IOC, according to Breiner. He’ll give us his take on all things musical, and the Star Spangled Banner, too, if the United States wins anything. Feel free to post questions in the comments, and I’ll forward them to Peter.

Oscar Pistorius advances

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee runner, finishes in second place to move ahead to the next round in the 400 meter. The announcers take note of the controversy about his prosthetic legs, and whether they give him an advantage over other runners. But how would one determine that? He’s obviously an athlete of exceptional talent, and when you’re that exceptionally good at something, it becomes almost impossible to make comparisons. Perhaps his prosthetics actually slow him down compared to how he would run if he had the legs other runners have. What sort of objective test could settle the question?

The semi-final in this event is tomorrow.

Wind in the stadium

As the men run the 100 meter, the announcers keep talking about the winds inside the stadium. I wish NBC would show us a good view of the full stadium, so we could get a sense of the space. It’s fascinating that there is enough wind at ground level in this structure to  impact the time of the runners.

Tonight's events

Bob Costas has just given us the run down for tonight: Phelps’ last race (maybe), plus Missy Franklin, the fastest women in the world (track), and beach volley ball. He didn’t mention all the grumbling on Twitter (#nbcfail) about not broadcasting Phelps’ race live when it happened earlier today. The grumblers who spent today day in front of the television were not happy to learn that the drama of the race would be reserved for tonight’s telecast.

Phelps' last race, weekly recap

Good evening. This is Philip Kennicott, Washington Post Art and Architecture critic, manning the Post’s Olympics live blog for the evening. You may well ask what is the art guy doing in a sports venue? Good question. Most likely answer: Making an utter fool of himself. But having fun along the way. So don’t expect expert commentary. Think of tonight as a bit like Mystery Science Theater 3000, just not as funny and without the robots. And here we go, with Michael Phelps’ last race a likely highlight of the evening.

Oregon training partners 1-2 in 10,000 meter

Galen Rupp, left, and Mo Farah enjoy a special moment. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

Since 1988, every Olympic medal in the men’s 10,000-meter race has gone to a runner from an African nation, including eight alone to Ethiopians.

That certainly wasn’t the case in Saturday’s final at Olympic Stadium, where Britain’s Mo Farah and American Galen Rupp were the first two across the finish line.

“It’s still a little weird to see Great Britain and United States on the medal stand in a distance race,” said Rupp, 26.  “I’m still on cloud nine. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t believe how the race went.”

Farah, 29, was born in Somalia but moved to the United Kingdom when he was 8 years old. He now trains in Oregon with Rupp.

“To be able to be first and second with my training partner, one of my best friends, I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Rupp said. “Just thankful for the way this race went.”

Farah and Rupp are both coached by Alberto Salazar. Rupp said he’s been talking to Salazar about the Olympics since he was still in high school.

“I’m forever indebted to him,” Rupp said. “He’s been like a father-figure to me. …I’ve been real fortunate to reap the benefits of his training and his philosophies from the start.

“”He said, ‘It’s going to take a long time. We’re not going to take any shortcuts. We’re not gonna do anything to go after short-term rewards. There have definitely been bumps in the road along the way.’”

How close was the women's 100-meter final?

Here’s a great image from the finish line. All eight competitors were separated by only 0.26 of a second. The three medal winners were all within 0.06 of a second of each other.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

 

GALLERY: Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce lunges across the finish line for the gold medal. Click on the image above for more of the best photos from the Olympics.

Rosenthal, Gibb advance in beach volleyball

Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal are into the quarterfinals. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Sean Rosenthal and Jacob Gibb kept the American men in the beach volleyball medal hunt with a 21-14, 22-20 victory at Horse Guards Parade.

One night after 2008 Beijing gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser saw their dreams of defending their title dashed by Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, the “B-team” picked up the mantle for the United States.

They advance to face Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins in Monday’s quarterfinals.

Allyson Felix turns attention to 200

American sprinter Allyson Felix ran a personal-best 10.89 seconds in Saturday’s 100 meter final, and it was still only good enough for fifth place. She’ll now turn her attention to the women’s 200, which begins with first-round heats Monday and concludes with Wednesday’s finale.

Felix hopes her performance in Saturday’s 100 carries over into her next race.

“It makes me a little more confident,” she said, “just that everything is where it needs to be. Now it’s just on me. I need to execute.”

Felix has won silver in the 200 at the past two Olympics.

May-Treanor, Walsh Jennings head to quarterfinals

Misty May-Treanor, right, and Kerri Walsh Jennings are moving forward. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

From the Associated Press:

Two-time gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor beat the Netherlands in straight sets on Saturday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

The Americans beat Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer, 21-13, 21-12.

Read the full account of their win here.

South Korea beats Britain on penalties

Sungryong Jung stood tall with a pair of clutch penalty saves to help South Korea advance. (Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

Not even the magic of hosting an Olympic Games on home soil could end England’s run of rotten luck in penalty shootouts at major soccer tournaments.

The combined Great Britain team – made up primarily of Englishmen – fell to South Korea, 5-4 in a riveting penalty shootout. With the win, the Koreans advance to face Brazil in Tuesday’s semifinals.

The shooters were confident, and the first four attempts from either side punctured the back of the net. But as the pressure mounted, it was the hosts who cracked first.

Forward Daniel Sturridge’s stutter-step didn’t fool Korean goalkeeper Sungryong Jung, who dove to his left to stop Sturridge’s left-footed effort and give his teammates a chance to seal the win. Sungyueng Ki came through with a solid strike that sent South Korea through and silenced the crowd in Cardiff.

But Sturridge’s miss wasn’t Britain’s only failed conversion from the penalty spot. Mere moments after his successful penalty knotted the score at 1 in the 36th minute, Welshman Aaron Ramsey was stoned by Jung to keep the score level. It remained that way through two periods of extra time, forcing the first penalty shootout at the Olympics in 12 years.

The second semifinal features Japan and Mexico – two nations that have not reached the semifinal round since the 1968 Games in Mexico City. Japan beat Mexico 2-0 to win bronze.

Fraser-Pryce edges Jeter in women's 100

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, left, crosses the line just ahead of American Carmelita Jeter (5). (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the gold medal in the women’s 100 meters, finishing in 10.75 seconds. American Carmelita Jeter earned silver, finishing .03 of a second behind Fraser-Pryce.

“I left my heart and soul on that track,” Jeter said. “And when you do that, you definitely can’t be upset. I know I worked hard and I pushed myself all year. When you cross the finish line and you know that you went from start to finish, you can’t be upset at all.”

In 2008, Jeter didn’t even make the finals at the U.S. Olympic trials. Four years later, she finds herself wearing silver.

“I took track and field as a profession instead of just playing around with it,” Jeter said. “I got more serious with it. I got more devoted with it. It wasn’t just, I go to practice and I was done. I definitely made it a lifestyle.”

Fraser-Pryce is just the third woman to defend her gold medal in the 100 meter and the first since Gail Devers at the 1992 and ’96 Summer Games to win in back-to-back Olympics.

“I’m honored to be part of the club. …It feels good to be in that category,” she said.

Four years ago in Beijing, Usain Bolt won his 100-meter gold before the women’s final took place at the Bird’s Nest. In London, the women’s final was staged one night before the men’s.

“Now a woman is in charge,” Fraser-Pryce said. “And I’m happy I’m the woman who did it.”

Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica received the bronze medal with a time of 10.81 while Americans Tianna Madison and Allyson Felix were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Six of the eight runners finished in under 11 seconds. In the 2008 Olympic Games only the top three runners broke the 11-second barrier.

Britain, S. Korea headed to PKs

The final men’s soccer quarterfinal will be decided by penalty kicks.

After 120 minutes on the pitch in Cardiff, Great Britain and South Korea are still knotted at 1 – in part because of the host country’s success and failure from the penalty spot in the first half.

Hometown hero Aaron Ramsey converted a penalty to equalize way back in the 36th minute but moments later missed from the same spot as Korean keeper Sungryong Jung stymied his shot toward the lower right corner.

Brazil awaits the winner. And here we go…

Farah wins men's 10,000, American gets silver

Mo Farah, right, and Galen Rupp react after the race. (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)

Britain’s Mo Farah triumphed in in the 10,000 meters in 27 minutes 30.42 seconds. American Galen Rupp took the silver medal with a time of 27:30.90. Winning the bronze was Tariku Bekele in a time of 27:31.43.

Farah, who was born in Somali, trains with Rupp.

Will Claye wins bronze in long jump

Will Claye competes in the long jump. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

American Will Claye flew 26 feet, 8 inches in the long jump Saturday to capture a bronze medal.

Britain’s Greg Rutherford won gold in the event with his jump of 27 feet, 3 inches, and Australia’s Mitchell Watt took silver by jumping 26 feet, 9 inches.

Claye, a 21-year old student at the University of Florida, is also scheduled to compete in the triple jump here next week.

U.S. men's water polo team falls to Serbia

Serbia's players enjoy their win. (Laszlo Balogh/Reuters)

From the Associated Press:

Vanja Udovicic scored three goals and Filip Filipovic chipped in with two more for Serbia to hand the U.S. men’s water polo team its first loss of the London Olympics, 11-6.

In a dominant display from the gold medal-favorites, Serbia scored the game’s first three goals to seize control and then opened up an 8-3 lead by doing the same to open the second half.

Read the full account here.

Britain's Ennis captures heptathlon gold

Britain's Jessica Ennis is smiling after landing a jump. (Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)

As Olympic Stadium shook, British star Jessica Ennis collapsed to the ground in tears, winning the heptathlon and sending tens of thousands of hoarse Brits home with a night they won’t soon forget.

In the day’s final event, the 800 meter, Ennis chased down the pack in the final 100 meters with most in the stadium on their feet cheering. She won the heat, finishing with event’s top time (2:08.65).

Ennis finished the competition with 6,955 points, a new national record for Great Britain, winning gold by more than 300 points. In addition to winning the 800, Ennis took first in the 100-meter hurdles, second in the 200 meter, second in the long jump and fifth in the high jump.

Russia’s Tatyana Chernova took silver (6,628 points) and Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Yosypenko (6,618) won bronze.

Sharon Day was the top American finisher, concluding her Olympics with 6,232 points, good enough for 15th place.

U.S. women miss chance for field hockey medal

Claire Laubach of the United States enjoys a moment after her goal. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

The United States lost a crucial match to New Zealand, 3-2, Saturday at Riverbank Arena, putting them out of the medal chase with one game remaining in pool play.

Katie O’Donnell (University of Maryland) and Claire Laubach (Centreville) scored for the United States, which desperately needed a win – and the three points in the standings that would come with it.

Instead, Clarissa Eshuis’s goal with less than eight minutes remaining dashed the Americans’ hopes. They pulled their goaltender and pulled out all the stops, but they could not score a second-half goal against New Zealand.

The Americans are 1-3 with one game remaining Monday against South Africa. Even a win wouldn’t be enough to catch pool leaders Australia and New Zealand, both 3-1. Germany and Argentina, who play later Saturday, are 2-1.

The top two teams in each pool qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games playing for gold and the losers for bronze.

The United States will be relegated to a placement game once pool play is complete.

Croatia's Perkovic wins discus gold

Sandra Perkovic of Croatia took the gold. (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic won Olympic gold in the women’s discus with a throw of 224 feet in Saturday’s final. Russian Darya Pishchalnikova’s throw of 222 feet was good enough for silver and China’s Yanfeng Li took bronze with a throw of 221 feet.

The top American finisher was Stephanie Brown Trafton, who finished in eighth with a throw that measured 207 feet.

Phelps's career finishes with one final gold

Michael Phelps, facing camera, talks with teammates Matthew Grevers, Brendan Hansen, and Nathan Adrian after the race. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Michael Phelps’s unprecedented Olympic career ended Saturday night with one last medal, a gold in the medley relay that left the crowd at the Aquatics Center on its feet, and Phelps with 22 medals for his career — including 18 gold.

“I’ve been able to do everything I’ve wanted. I’ve been able to put my mind to the goals that I wanted to achieve. … If you can say that about your career, there’s no need to move forward,” Phelps said after the race.

Phelps dove into the water for his butterfly leg, the third in the race, with the U.S. team trailing by 0.21 of a second. At the 50-meter mark of his swim, the Americans trailed by 0.26 of a second. But Phelps completely turned that around with a stunning second half of his race, destroying Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda and handing anchor Nathan Adrian a lead of 0.26 of a second.

Adrian easily brought the race home, with the U.S. winning handily in a time of 3 minutes 29.35 seconds. Japan took silver, and Australia — whose men had a disappointing meet — won bronze.

The U.S. men’s relay team was heavily favored because it featured not only Phelps — who won one of his gold medals in the 100 butterfly on Friday — but gold-medal winners Matt Grevers, who led off the race in the backstroke, and Adrian, who finished it in the freestyle. Brendan Hansen has represented the U.S. on the breaststroke leg in each of the past three Olympics, and he won bronze in the 100 breast earlier in the meet.

Phelps’s meet here started poorly, with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter individual medley, the first time he had failed to medal in an event since he made his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old at the 2000 Sydney Games. But he finished with six medals in his remaining six events, including four golds in his final four races — the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, the 200 backstroke butterfly, the 100 butterfly and the medley relay.

Men's soccer: Britain, South Korea tied at half

Dongwon Ji gave South Korea the lead but it didn't last long. (Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain and South Korea are knotted at 1-1 in the final men’s soccer quarterfinal with the second half set to get underway at Millenium Stadium.

Dongwon Ji gave the Koreans the lead in the 29th minute, but it was short-lived.

A handball in the box led to Aaron Ramsey’s penalty to tie the score and barely one minute later the referee whistled South Korea for another foul in its own box. But Ramsey’s strike was far less confident and Sungryong Jung dove to his left for the save.

The winner of this match will face Brazil – a 3-2 winner over Honduras – in Tuesday’s semifinals.

All three American women qualify for 400 final

Sanya Richards-Ross posted the fourth-fastest time of the 400-meter semifinals. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Americans will account for three of the eight participants in the women’s 400-meter final Sunday at Olympic Stadium.

Sanya Richards-Ross posted the top time in Saturday’s first heat, finishing in 50.07 seconds, her third-best 400 time of the year. In the day’s second heat, Francena McCorory’s 50.19 was good enough for second place. And DeeDee Trotter’s 49.87 was the second-best time in the third heat. It was also Trotter’s best time of the year.

Rounding out the 400 field Sunday are: Russia’s Antonina Krivoshapka (49.81 in the semis), Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills (49.91), Botswana’s Amantle Montsho (50.15), Britain’s Christine Ohuruogo (50.22) and Jamaica’s Rosemary Whyte (50.98).

Field set for women's 100-meter final

Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Trinidad and Tobago's Kelly-Ann Baptiste and American Allyson Felix compete in the semifinals of the 100 meters. (AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS)

Saturday’s final in the women’s 100-meter race is shaping up to be historically fast.

Four years ago, only the top three sprinters in the Olympic final broke the 11-second barrier. This year six of the eight were under 11 in the semifinal heats — and the other two were within one-hundredth of a second of the mark.

With two hours to rest between the semis and the final race (scheduled for 4:55 p.m. ET), the fast track at Olympic Stadium should lend itself to a memorable race for gold.

All three American sprinters and two Jamaicans reached the final, led by Carmelita Jeter, who won her semifinal heat in 10.83 seconds, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the defending gold medalist who won her heat in 10.85.

Fraser-Pryce’s 10.7-second finish at the Jamaican trials is the year’s fastest 100 time. She won gold at the Beijing Games with a 10.78. The world record is still Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49, set in 1988.

Rounding out the field in Saturday’s final are: Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.89 in the semis), Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (10.92), American Tianna Madison (10.92), American Allyson Felix (10.94), Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.0) and Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast (11.01).

A final gold -- and world record -- for U.S. women

Dana Vollmer, Rebecca Soni and Missy Franklin enjoy their win. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s swimming team finished off a dominant meet with a sublime performance, setting a world record in the 4×100 medley relay, in which it had no competition.

The team — Missy Franklin in the backstroke, Rebecca Soni in the breaststroke, Dana Vollmer in the butterfly and Allison Schmitt in the freestyle — was made up of four swimmers who had each won individual gold medals at these Games. Three of them set world records, with Schmitt the only exception.

Their time of 3 minutes 52.05 beat the old world record, set by China at the 2009 World Championships, by 0.14 of a second.

The Australians, though, were a clear threat, because only Vollmer won her gold at the distance she swam Saturday. But they finished second by more than two seconds. Japan took bronze.

Williams sisters advance to gold medal match in doubles

Serena (left) and Venus Williams celebrate a point during their women's doubles semifinal. (AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI)

With help from her sister Venus as dusk settled in Saturday, Serena Williams put herself in position to leave London with two Olympic gold medals, defeating Russia’s Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko, 7-5, 6-4, to advance to Sunday’s women’s doubles final.

The match began just three hours after Serena had throttled Russia’s Maria Sharapova, 6-0, 6-1, on Centre Court of the All England Club to win her first singles gold medal — something she confessed afterward that she had desperately wanted to add to an already sterling resume.

Kirilenko and Petrova put up an impressive fight, dropping their serves only once in each set. But that was all the sisters needed to compile a victory, and they shared a warm embrace upon clinching it.

The final game offered riveting tennis, with the Russians fending off five match points before Venus closed with a forehand winner.

The Williams sisters will face the Czech tandem of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in Sunday’s gold-medal match at 7 a.m. ET.

Serbia water polo leads U.S. at half

The United States water polo team cut into Serbia’s lead in the second quarter but still trails 5-3 at the half.

Jeff Powers and Ryan Bailey scored for the Americans who trailed 3-0 early in the first quarter. The U.S. will have to pick things up defensively in the third to keep its perfect record intact Group B.

Sun crushes his world record, wins gold in 1,500

China's Sun Yang reacts after his victory. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s Sun Yang obliterated the world record he set last year in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle final Saturday night, dominating from start to finish in a race he won in 14 minutes 31.02 seconds.

At last year’s world championships, Sun broke the 10-year-old world record of Grant Hackett in the event, winning the gold in 14:34.14.

When he finished Saturday, he pounded the water with his fists and broke down in tears. Canadian Ryan Cochrane got the silver in 14:39.63 and Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli got the bronze in 14:40.31.

Tianna Madison also reaches 100 final

A third U.S. sprinter has earned her way into the women’s 100-meter final. Tianna Madison led for most of Saturday’s third semifinal heat but was caught by Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare at the end.

Both Madison and Okagbare officially finished in 10.92, though the Nigerian nipped Madison at the finish line.

With all three semifinal heats now finished, two more runners are added to the start list for the final by virtue of their finish time: Kelly-Ann Baptiste, of Trinidad and Tobago (11.0) and Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure (11.01)

American Carmelita Jeter, the reigning world champion, had the fastest qualifying time (10.83) and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the defending gold medalist, had the second-fastest (10.85).

The final is scheduled for 4:55 p.m. ET.

Water polo: Serbia leads U.S. after 1st quarter

Serbia is out to a 4-1 lead on the United States after the opening quarter.

Vanja Udovicic has two goals for the Serbians, who scored the first three goals of the match before Tony Azevedo finally got the Americans on the board.

The U.S. is the lone unbeaten team in Pool B and is coming off a 13-7 rout of Britain after a pair of close wins to start the London campaign. The Americans won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games while Serbia took bronze.

Russia rallies past U.S. men in five sets

American Matthew Anderson, right, controls the ball as Sean Rooney looks on. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

Down two sets to none, the Russian men’s volleyball team fought their way back to take a 3-2 victory over the United States Saturday at Earls Court.

The previously unbeaten Americans had the game well in hand, taking the Russians to match point in the third set, before the Russians came storming back. Russia’s 27-29, 19-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-8 decision drops the Americans to 3-1 in Pool B. Russia has the same record. Fellow Pool B power Brazil is 2-1 with a game against Serbia later Saturday.

The United States, gold medalists four years ago in Beijing, faces winless Tunisia in its final Pool B game. Brazil faces Germany and Russia will take on Serbia.

A team must score 25 to win a set until the fifth set, when it must score 15. A team must also win by two points.

Allyson Felix joins Jeter in 100 final

American sprinter Allyson Felix finished second in the second of three 100-meter semifinals, which earned her a spot in night’s final.

Felix finished with a time of 10.94 seconds, her second-best mark of the year.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce moved a step closer to defending her 2008 Olympic gold in the 100. She eased up at the finish but still won the second heat with a time of 10.85, which was also her second-best mark of the year.

Felix finished tied for third at the U.S. trials with a time of 11.07 seconds but earned her way to London when her training partner Jeneba Tarmoh declined to compete in a run-off.

Kromowidjojo gets second gold in 50 free

Ranomi Kromowidjojo, facing the camera, celebrates with countryman Marleen Veldhuis, who won bronze. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

Dutch swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo won a gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle Saturday night at the Aquatic Center, setting an Olympic record with her finish in 24.05 seconds. Kromowidjojo, who also won the 100 free, beat Belarussian Aliaksandra Herasimenia, who got the silver in 24.28, and Netherlands’ Marleen Veldhuis, who claimed bronze in 24.39.

Carmelita Jeter advances to 100 final

Carmelita Jeter reacts after winning her semifinal heat of the women's 100 meters. (AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN)

Carmelita Jeter won the first heat of the women’s 100-meter semifinals with an impressive 10.83-second finish. It’s Jeter’s second-fastest time of the year.

Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown was second to Jeter but also advanced the final with her 10.89 mark.

Hardy places seventh in women's 50 free

American Jessica Hardy finished the women’s 50 freestyle in 24.62 seconds, taking seventh place. The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo won gold in 24.05, an Olympic record.

Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus took silver in 24.28 and Marleen Veldhuis earned bronze in 24.39. We’ll have more shortly.

U.S. runners reach men's 400 hurdles final

Britain's David Greene (left) and American Kerron Clement (right) advanced to the finals of the men's 400-meter hurdles. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

All three Americans advanced to Monday’s final of the 400-meter hurdles.

Michael Tinsley, who won the U.S. trials last month, won his heat with a time of 48.18 seconds, his best time of the year.

Angelo Taylor’s 47.95-second finish was second in his heat, only two-hundredths of a second behind Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, who’s run the two fastest times the world has seen this year.

Kerron Clement finished third in the first heat (48.12) but advanced to Monday’s final by virtue of his finishing time.

Williams sisters take opening set of doubles semifinal

Venus Williams awaits the ball during the women's doubles semifinal. (AFP PHOTO / LUIS ACOSTA)

After steamrolling Maria Sharapova for Olympic gold in women’s singles, Serena Williams has got her hands full against another pair of Russians who are mounting an impressive fight for a place in the women’s doubles gold-medal match. Luckily sister Venus, with whom she has won two doubles golds, is her partner. The sisters won the first set, 7-5.

Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko are not to be taken lightly. Petrova, 30, reached No. 3 in the world in 2006. And Kirilenko, 25, has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the world in doubles.

So far, they’re handling the Williams’s sisters big serves well. And, unlike Sharapova, they’ve done a great job holding their own serve.

But in a must-hold game, serving at 5-6 in the first set, the Russians were finally broken on a blistering crosscourt forehand. Credit Serena with the winner.

So we move on to the second set, with the Williams sisters one set away from advancing to Sunday’s gold-medal final.

Watkins advances in men's sprint

Jimmy Watkins won his head-to-head race with Pavel Kelemen of the Czech Republic in the round of eight sprint races Saturday at the Velodrome.

Watkins will advance to the quarterfinals on Sunday.

American Bobby Lea is in 11th place after two phases of the men’s Omnium.

Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark leads with six points; Lea has 22 points.

The Omnium consists of six events. In each, the winner gets a point, the second-place finisher gets two, and so on. At the end, the rider with the lowest score wins.

Saturday’s events were the flying lap — a race against the clock – and a points race.

U.S. women's epee team wins bronze by one touch

Courtney Hurley (right) squares off against Russia's Lyubov Shutova in the bronze medal match in women's team epee. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The U.S. women’s epee team won the bronze medal Saturday at ExCeL South with a 31-30 victory over Russia.

In team competition, each of three fencers faces each of her opponent’s fencers, for a total of nine bouts.

Russia had built a 15-11 lead when Kelley Hurley met Anna Sivkova in the fifth match. Hurley outscored Sivkova, 4-1, to cut the gap to 1.

Entering the eighth match, between Maya Lawrence and Lyubov Shutova, the score was tied at 23. Lawrence outscored Shutova, 4-2, to give the United States a 27-25 lead. In the final match, Sivkova outscored Kelley’s sister, Courtney Hurley, 5-4, but it wasn’t enough to take the match from the Americans.

Brazil edges short-handed Honduras

Roger Espinoza and Honduras came up short in their upset bid. (Chris Clark/AP)

Brazil advanced to the men’s soccer semifinals with a 3-2 win over Honduras – but not without a fight.

Mario Martinez gave the Honduras a stunning opener just 12 minutes in and after Brazil equalized, Roger Espinoza’s left-footed strike in the 48th minute put his team on top once again.

But Neymar answered for the heavy favorites with a converted penalty kick and Leandro Damiao’s second goal of the match provided the final margin.

Honduras was forced to plan with 10 men from the 33rd minute on after Wilmer Cristano earned a pair of yellow cards in as many minutes. And with the game all but decided in the 90th minute, Espinoza joined him in the locker room with his second yellow — but not before the Sporting Kansas City player received a standing ovation from the Newcastle United-based crowd at St. James’ Park crowd.

It was a spirited effort from the Hondurans, who reached the quarterfinals with a 1-0 upset of Spain in group play.

Brazil advances to face the winner of Britain and North Korea, which gets underway shortly at Millennium Stadium. Mexico and Japan both advanced earlier in the day and will meet in one semifinal on Tuesday in London.

U.S. women win pursuit silver, Britain sets world record

Britain wins the gold medal and break the world record in the women's team pursuit track cycling finals. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The U.S. trio of Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Jennie Reed nabbed a silver medal in the team pursuit Saturday at the Velodrome. Britain’s team of Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell won the gold in world-record time, 3 minutes 14.051 seconds. The U.S. finished in 3:19.727.

The United States defeated Australia in a head-to-head competition and Britain defeated Canada to advance to the gold medal final. Canada finished with bronze.

Sir Paul McCartney, who memorably helped close the Opening Ceremonies, was in the crowd at the Velodrome. Orla Chennaoui, an Olympics correspondent for Sky Sports, tweeted, “GB girls hugging each other, their families and high fiving crowds, with Sir Paul and Stella cheering on. Fans on their feet.” She added, “Now Paul McCartney’s conducting the crowd with his flag as everyone sings Hey Jude. This is bonkers. Brilliant.”

Serena Williams and the All England Club crip walk

Serena came. She conquered. And then she crip walked. (Victor R. Caivano/AP)

Serena Williams crushed Maria Sharapova to win the women’s singles gold and complete a rare career ‘Golden Slam.’

It was a masterful performance that took all of 63 minutes. Fortunately for the crowd on hand at Centre Court, Williams provided a bonus with something likely never before seen on the hallowed grounds of the All England Club: the crip walk. Seriously. Watch it here.

Americans jump cleanly, except Madden

Rich Fellers and McLain Ward had clear rounds and Reed Kessler had just one time fault, sending the U.S. equestrian team into Sunday’s team competition in good shape.

Teammate Beezie Madden, who won bronze in this event in Beijing, fell out of the running in the individual event when her horse, Via Volo, refused to complete a combination jump.

Madden is not eliminated from the team competition, however; Saturday’s scores are used only to determine the order of the draw for the team event. The United States has won the last two golds in the team competition.

Meanwhile, Canadian rider Ian Millar made history when he competed in his 10th Olympics – the most of any athlete. The 65-year-old first competed in the 1972 Games in Munich and since has only missed one Olympics – the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.

“I am better now than I was then in knowledge and experience,” he said. “The age of the top riders tends to be older because it takes a lot of time to be consistent.”

China's Chen Ding wins men's 20-kilometer race walk

Competitors start the 20-kilometer race walk. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

China’s Chen Ding, 19, won the men’s 20-kilometer race walk, setting an Olympic record with his time of 1 hour, 18 minutes 46 seconds. China, which had never before won a medal in men’s race walking, took  three of the top four spots: Wang Zhen won the bronze medal in 1:19.25, and Cai Zelin was fourth in 1:19.44.

Errick Barrondo of Guatemala won the silver medal in 1:18.57; it was the first Olympic medal of any kind for his country.

Saturday, spectators lined the race-walking course, which is a two-kilometer loop that goes past Buckingham Palace, around the Victoria Memorial and up Constitution Hill toward Hyde Park Corner.

The men’s 50-kilometer race walk and  women’s 20-kilometer race walk are August 11.

American boxer gets a second chance

India's Krishan Vikas, left, fights Errol Spence. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Errol Spence thought he was out of the Olympics Friday night after a loss to Krishan Vikas of India. But roughly five hours after he left the ExCeL London Exhibition Centre Friday evening, officials overturned his loss following a protest by the Americans. Officials determined Vikas had committed nine holding fouls in the third round, but was given only one caution.

Now Spence will face Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

“I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win,” Spence told the Associated Press.

Read the full account here.

Williams sisters face Russian pair in semifinals

Three hours after utterly eviscerating Maria Sharpova for the Olympic singles gold medal, Serena Williams returned to Centre Court Saturday to team with her elder sister Venus for a place in Sunday’s women’s doubles final.

The Williams sisters are two-time Olympic champions in women’s doubles, having teamed up for gold at the 2000 Sydney Games and in Beijing in 2008. With her singles gold medal Saturday, Serena matched the Olympic achievements of her sister, whose single gold came in 2000.

And if Serena keeps playing the way she has been since the 2012 Olympic Games began, each sister should leave London with a fourth gold medal.

It’s impossible to imagine a more favorable setting for the Williams sisters’ assault on a third Olympic women’s doubles title than the grass of the All England Club’s Centre Court, where they have each won five Wimbledon championships. Serena captured her fifth, which was the 14th major title of her career, just four weeks ago.

They’ll face Russians Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova for the right to advance to Sunday’s final. Earlier in the day, Kirilenko lost the bronze-medal singles match to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who’ll keep her No. 1 world ranking following her 6-3, 6-4 victory.

The victor will face the Czech tandem of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the gold-medal match.

Honduras, Brazil tied at 2

We’ve got a wild one going at St. James’ Park.

Roger Espinoza scored just three minutes into the second half, tucking a low, left-footed shot inside the left post to give Honduras a stunning 2-1 lead on heavy favorites Brazil.

But just as they did in the first half, the Brazilians struck back. Leandro Damiao drew a penalty and Neymar blasted home the free kick to knot the score at 2.

Espinoza’s tally was all the more surprising considering the Hondurans are down to 10 men after Wilmer Crisanto saw two yellow cards one minute apart in the opening half with his team leading 1-0.

Leandro Damiao pulled Brazil level going into the half with a goal in the 38th minute.

Honduras has already been handed five yellow cards, and if they somehow find away to advance, they’d be without multiple players for a potential semifinal matchup with the winner of South Korea and Great Britain.

Not surprisingly, the Brazilians – Neymar in particular – are taking every opportunity to embellish contact and draw cards. But playing with only 10 men for the entire half, it’ll be difficult for Honduras – which beat Spain in pool play – to pull the monumental upset.

Italy's Rossi takes trap gold medal

Jessica Rossi of Italy enjoys her win. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Jessica Rossi of Italy won gold in trap shooting Saturday at Royal Artillery Barracks, scoring a final world record of 99 while missing only one shot. According to the Associated Press, the former Olympic record was a 91 set by Satu Makela-Nummela of Finland in 2008.

Zuzana Stefecekova of Slovakia won silver and Delphine Reau bronze.

LaShawn Merritt hasn't ruled out relay

LaShawn Merritt talks to a volunteer before applying ice on his leg after pulling up in the men's 400 meter heats. (AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN)

Struggling with a hamstring injury, LaShawn Merritt is apparently not ready to pull out of the 4×400 relay. But he says his left leg will need to improve if he’s to run again in these Olympics.

“I can move it,” Merritt said after pulling up in Saturday’s 400-meter first-round heat. “It’s not dead.”

Merritt said he aggravated the injury in Monaco two weeks ago and had been receiving treatment since he arrived here. He was disappointed it prevented him from defending his Olympic gold medal in the 400.

“This was my life’s race. …When you want it so bad, you do what it takes,” he said “But I did not want it to end my career.”

Merritt is not retiring and wants to compete at next year’s world championships and maybe even the 2016 Games. He hasn’t ruled out competing in the relay next week. The first round of the 4×400 relays are scheduled for next Thursday with the finals the next day.

“I have some more time before the relay,” he said. “If I still feel it, I will let someone else run.”

Bryan brothers earn gold in men's doubles

Mike Bryan, left, and twin brother Bob celebrate a point. (Martin Bernett/AFP/Getty Images)

Bob and Mike Bryan claimed their first Olympic gold medal, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra of France, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2). The Bryans finished the match with only two unforced errors while Tsonga and Llodra had 15. The French duo had the edge in winners, 31-24.

“We have always dreamed about standing on the podium, seeing the flag go up,” said Mike Bryan, who has won nearly every other doubles title of significance with his brother. “It feels kind of surreal. We could end tomorrow, and we’re going to be happy for the rest of our lives.”

Added Bob: “There’s no bigger match we’d rather win than that one. Centre Court, Wimbledon, for our country, for each other. We’re 34 years old, and we’ve played tennis since two years old. That’s a lot of balls going across the net, and this is it! This is the top of the mountain.”

France took the bronze medal as Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau defeated Spain’s David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

Honduras strikes first vs. Brazil

Surprise quarterfinalists Honduras have stunned Brazil with an early opening goal on a brilliant volley from Mario Martinez.

Martinez blasted a airborne ball in the box with his right foot and it curled over Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel and into the top right corner to get the heavy underdogs on the board in the 12th minute.

Honduras finished second in Group D and reached the knockout stages on the strength of a stunning 1-0 upset of Spain.

But Brazil has been here before. Belarus struck first in their second Group C match but the Brazilians stormed back to win 3-1.

There’s a long way to go in this one.

Li takes gold in women's badminton

China's Li Xuerui celebrates her win. (Andres Leighton/Associated Press)

China’s Li Xuerui claimed gold in the women’s singles, defeating countryman and world champion Wang Yihan, 21-15, 21-23, 21-17. Li emerged this year after winning 30 straight matches from February to June.

Saina Nehwal secured bronze after Wang Xin retired in their match. Nehwal is only the second woman from India to win a medal in the Olympics. Read the full account from the Associated Press here.

Mexico beats Senegal to reach soccer semis

Hector Herrera and Mexico are through to the semifinals. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Mexico survived a furious late rally from Senegal and took advantage of some seriously sloppy defending in extra time to advance to the men’s soccer semifinals with a 4-2 win at Wembley Stadium.

Jorge Enriquez got the Mexicans on the board early with a 10th minute tally and Javier Aquino doubled their advantage midway through the second half.

But Senegal, which advanced to quarterfinals thanks to a late draw against host Britain, stormed back when Moussa Konate and Ibrahima Balde struck seven minutes apart to equalize.

In overtime, however, Senegal suffered a pair of disastrous defensive lapses. The first gave Giovani dos Santos an easy goal in the first of two additional periods, and the second sealed Senegal’s fate. A poor header back toward the Senegalese box gave Mexico a two-man breakaway on Senegal goalkeeper Ousmane Mane, who made the initial deflection but was helpless as Hector Herrera headed home the final marker.

Mexico advances to face Japan, a 3-0 winner against Egypt, in Tuesday’s semifinals. The rest of Saturday’s quarterfinal slate features Brazil vs. Honduras and Britain vs. South Korea.

Bryan brothers take first set

Americans Bob and Mike Bryan won the first set in the men’s doubles gold-medal match on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, 6-4, over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra of France.

The twin brothers won bronze at Beijing in 2008. They have won 11 Grand Slam titles, but are seeking their first Olympic gold medal.

Mexico leads Senegal 3-2 in extra time

Giovani dos Santos scored in the 98th minute to give Mexico a 3-2 lead heading into the second of two extra time periods in the men’s soccer quarterfinals.

It’s been a wild one at Wembley Stadium with Mexico taking a 2-0 lead in the 62nd minute on Javier Aquino’s goal and Senegal coming right back with a pair of goals in a seven-minute span to equalize.

The match has already seen five yellow cards. The winner moves on to face Japan in the semifinals, which easily advanced past Egypt, 3-0.

LeBron James helps U.S. hold off Lithuania -- barely

LeBron James goes up for a shot with Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas in his face. (AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

So much is made, during the NBA season, of LeBron James’s abilities as a closer. Saturday afternoon, when the U.S. men’s basketball team needed someone to close out its hotly contested game against Lithuania, James did just that.

James scored nine of his 20 points with less than four points remaining, finishing off Lithuania in a 99-94 U.S. victory that kept the Americans perfect at 4-0 in Group A — but barely.

Carmelo Anthony also scored 20 for the U.S. Linas Kleiza, who starred at Montrose Christian, led all scorers with 25 for Lithuania, which fell to 1-3.

With just under seven minutes remaining, Kleiza finished off a 10-0 Lithuania run by burying a three-pointer from the left wing that provided an 82-80 lead. Though Kevin Durant came back with a dunk, the U.S. had itself more than a game. It had a near-crisis.

But in the key moments, James delivered. He hit a 3-pointer with just under four minutes remaining, then followed with a fast-break dunk off a Lithuania turnover to put the U.S. up 92-86. Then, with 2:10 left, he abused his defender on a spin move, finishing with his left hand and forcing a timeout by Lithuania, which was suddenly down nine.

Krug, Loukas dive into Sunday's 3m springboard finals

Cassidy Krug competes in the women's 3m springboard diving semifinal. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Americans Cassidy Krug and Christina Loukas qualified for the final in women’s 3-meter springboard, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, in Saturday’s semifinals.

China’s Wu Minxia, who won gold earlier in the synchronized event, had the top score – 394.40 – after five rounds of diving in the semifinals. Wu won bronze in Beijing four years ago in this event.

Wu is so dominant that the next diver, Tania Cagnotto of Italy, was more than 30 points behind her, at 362.10.

Wu’s countrywoman, He Zi, was third with 354.50.

The top 12 divers in the semifinals advanced to Sunday’s final.

U.S. men trailed in third quarter, lead narrowly

Deron Williams pulls up for a shot against Lithuania. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If the U.S. men’s basketball team thought it needed to be pushed to prepare for the medal round, today is the day. The Americans take a 78-72 lead over Lithuania into the fourth quarter, when they will be pressed later than they have in three other games in this Olympic tournament.

Less than a minute into the second half, Sarunas Jasikevicius, the former Maryland Terrapin, buried a three-pointer that gave Lithuania a 56-55 lead. When the Americans responded with two LeBron James drives sandwiched around a Kevin Durant three-pointer, order seemed restored.

But Lithuania was persistent. With less than three minutes left in the quarter, Renaldas Seibutis hit two free throws to tie the game at 69. The Americans, who have shot poorly throughout, closed the quarter on a 9-3 run, punctuated by Deron Williams’s drive at the buzzer.

Maclennan bounces to gold in trampoline

Roasannagh Maclennan performs during the women's trampoline competition. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Rosannagh Maclennan of Canada won the women’s trampoline gold medal Saturday with a score of 57.305, edging two Chinese gymnasts who led after qualifying.

Maclennan was fourth in qualifying but her degree of difficulty — 15.400 – was the highest among the eight finalists, meaning that if she executed her routine, she could finish in the medals.

China’s Shanshan Huang and Wenna He won silver and bronze, respectively.

American Savannah Vinsant, 19, finished sixth.

In the final, the eight athletes with the top qualifying marks perform one routine with 10 required skills.

Vinsant makes trampoline final

American Savannah Vinsant, 19, finished seventh in trampoline qualifying and advances to the final (10:30 a.m. ET).

Vinsant ranked just 11th after her first routine, but a higher degree of difficulty helped her move up in her second routine.

In qualifying, athletes perform two routines. The first focuses on execution and simplicity; the second has no limitation on difficulty – the higher the degree of difficulty of the moves, the higher the score. The eight athletes with the highest combined score from qualifying advance to the final, where they perform one routine.

China’s Wenna He and Shanshan Huang had the top qualifying marks.

Serena Williams wins Olympic tennis gold

Serena Williams of the United States reacts to a shot during the gold medal match. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Serena Williams became only the fourth player in tennis history to complete a career “Golden Slam” by winning Olympic singles gold Saturday at the All England Club, crushing Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1, in 63 minutes to claim the one title that has eluded her.

Williams joins Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal as the only players in tennis history to win all four of the sport’s majors and the Olympic gold medal in singles.

“It’s too much. I just never expected gold in singles. I was so happy with my doubles,” said Williams, referring to her gold medals in doubles from the 2000 Sydney and 2008 Beijing Games.

“I have my gold medal [in singles], and now I have everything, literally. I have singles, doubles — actually everything there is to win in tennis. Where do I go from here?”

Saturday’s match was a reprise of the 2004 Wimbledon final, in which Sharapova, then just 17, did what seemed impossible by toppling the defending champion to win her first major. This time, the Russian didn’t have a chance, with a gusty wind vexing her already shaky serve and Williams simply playing out of her mind.

“I never played better,” Williams said. “Playing against someone like Maria, you have to be at your best. I know that, so it was like I had nothing to lose.”

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Suhr vaults into finals

Olympic silver medalist Jenn Suhr needed only one jump of 14 feet 11 inches to tie for first and advance to the finals in the pole vault.

Seven women in Group A, including Suhr, cleared the height and moved on to Monday’s finals, including Yarisley Silva of Cuba.

American Becky Holliday didn’t clear the bar until her third try, but finally made 14-11 as well to take 4th in group B. Teammate Lacy Janson failed to advance to the finals.

U.S. men's basketball in a tight game at halftime

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The U.S. men’s basketball team hasn’t won a game by fewer than 27 points at the London Olympics. But at halftime of their Pool A game against Lithuania, the Americans are being pushed, leading only 55-51.

Linas Kleiza dominated the U.S. underneath with 16 points to lead all scorers, and the Americans haven’t shot nearly as well as they did against Nigeria, when they made 29 of 46 three-pointers. Carmelo Anthony leads the U.S. with 14 points, while Kevin Durant has nine.

The U.S. used a James Harden three-point play to take a 12-point advantage early in the quarter. But Lithuania closed the half on a 7-2 run to keep things competitive. As American fans chanted “USA! USA!” late in the second half, several fans at the sold-out arena booed or whistled, showing support for the underdog Lithuanians.

Sharapova finally wins a game

Maria Sharapova returns a shot in the women's singles final at the Olympics. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Russia’s Maria Sharapova has finally won a game against Serena Williams in the women’s tennis singles final. Williams won the first nine games of the gold medal match and leads, 6-0, 3-1.

Krug, Loukas in good position after two semifinal dives

After two of five dives, Americans Cassidy Krug and Christina Loukas were in fourth and fifth places, respectively, in the women’s springboard semifinals.

The top 12 divers will advance to Sunday’s final.

China’s Wu Minxia, who won gold earlier in the synchronized event, was in the lead. Wu won bronze in Beijing four years ago in this event.

Oscar Pistorius inspires fellow competitors

Oscar Pistorius (right) shakes hands with the Dominican Republic's Luguelin Santos after their men's 400 meter heat. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

One by one, the 400-meter runners met with reporters, facing more questions about Oscar Pistorius’s historic day than their own races. There was no expressed outrage or chatter of any competitive advantage; most, in fact, praised the South African runner, who Saturday became the first athlete to compete in the Olympics with prosthetic legs.

“I felt inspiration to see him – emotion and inspiration,” said Dominican sprinter Luguelin Santos.

“It takes a lot of courage,” said Kirani James, of Grenada.

”A lot of people when they don’t have legs, they give up. They don’t continue to work for their dream.” That last quote was from American Bryshon Nellum and needless to say, he won’t soon take his own legs for granted.

Nearly four years ago, Nellum, a 23-year old Los Angeles native, was leaving a Halloween party when admitted gang members opened fire, mistaking Nellum for a rival. Gunfire hit both of Nellum’s legs and he required surgery on both.

He couldn’t get on his feet for three weeks, slowly graduating from wheelchair to crutches, then from walking to jogging.

“I wasn’t able to compete,” he said, “but I knew how it felt not to be able to use your legs.”

The assailants pleaded no contest to attempted murder and were sentenced to 15 years in state prison. As for Nellum, his legs healed and he again became an elite competitive runner. His 45.29-finish in Saturday’s 400 heat qualified him for the Sunday’s semifinals. He’ll run in the third heat Sunday, one race after Pistorius.

“I have my legs, so I can’t really relate to it,” Nellum said. “Like I said, he’s out here running the same distance we’re running. We’re all human.”

“I’m definitely inspired,” he added.

Serena Williams takes 6-0, 3-0 lead for tennis gold

Following the rules of tennis, the chair umpire called for new balls after the first seven games of today’s Olympic women’s singles final.

But the change didn’t alter the dynamic of the match a bit.

It remains a display of utter dominance by Serena Williams, who raced through the first set against a misfiring Maria Sharapova, 6-0, and proceeded to take a 3-0 lead in the second.

Williams is so dominant that it’s hard to believe that Sharapova trounced her, 6-1, 6-4, on this same hallowed court to win Wimbledon’s 2004 title. It’s also hard to believe that Sharapova has won all four majors and was within reach of reclaiming the world No. 1 today.

She is being steamrolled. And Williams, as is a champions right, is utterly unapologetic. After ripping a forehand winner down the line to break Sharapova yet again and take a 2-0 lead in the second set, Williams shrieked, “C’mon!” with a clenched right fist.

U.S. men lead Lithuania after first quarter

The U.S. men’s basketball team, scarcely tested in this tournament, hasn’t yet pulled away from Lithuania in Saturday’s preliminary round game, taking a 33-25 after the first quarter, which ended when Carmelo Anthony poured in a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Linas Kleiza kept the Lithuanians close throughout, leading all scorers with 13 points. Former Maryland guard Sarunas Jasikevicius, a regular in the Lithaunian lineup, hit one jumper that cut the Americans’ lead to 24-20, and former Wake Forest and Washington Wizards forward Darius Songaila added three points.

Anthony led the U.S. with 10 points. Kevin Durant, the Suitland, Md., native and Oklahoma City forward, hit a pair of three-pointers.

Williams blitzes Sharapova, 6-0, to take opening set

Serena Williams returns the ball to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their Olympic women's singles gold medal match. (AFP PHOTO / LUIS ACOSTA)

It took just 30 minutes for Serena Williams to take the opening set, 6-0, against Russia’s Maria Sharapova in their quest for Olympic singles gold today.

Trailing 0-4 and facing three break points, Sharapova blasted a backhand winner down the line. But it only briefly staved off what appears increasingly inevitable. Serena Williams held serve yet again — and may not be broken today — despite gusty conditions on Centre Court.

That gave Williams a 5-0 lead in the battle for the 2012 Olympics women’s singles gold — a title that neither Williams nor Sharapova possesses.

Staring at a 5-0 deficit, the Russian finally mustered a 40-love lead on her serve. Then the yips returned. She double-faulted, then looked on helplessly as Williams ripped a second-serve return past for a winner. On her fourth game point, she hit a first serve out by a yard and a second serve wide by five feet. The crowd fell silent with empathy and embarrassment, then started clapping to urge the Russian on. But after squandering so many opportunities, she botched one more.

U.S. epee team loses semifinal, will fight for bronze

The U.S. women’s epee team lost its semifinal match to Korea, 45-36, and will play for the bronze medal against Russia (3 p.m. ET).

The Americans — Susie Scanlan, Courtney Hurley and Maya Lawrence – had beaten Italy in the quarterfinals.

Korea will face China for the gold medal.

In the team competition, each of three fencers faces her three opponents and the scores accumulate.

Britain's Ennis leads heptathlon after six events

Britain's Jessica Ennis competes in the javelin during the heptathlon competition. (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jessica Ennis of Britain extended her lead to 188 points in the heptathlon Saturday after two of the final three events Saturday.

The heptathlon will end with the 800-meter run (3:35 p.m. ET) before 80,000 partisan fans at Olympic Stadium.

Austra Skujyte of Lithuania was second and Lyudmyla Yosypenko of Ukraine third, 270 points behind. Skujyte won the silver in this event in Athens in 2004.

Although this is Ennis’s first Olympics, she won the world championship in 2009 and finished second in 2011.

Sharon Day is the top American, 685 off the lead in 17th place.

 

Serena Williams races to 4-0 lead

Serena Williams has gotten off to a blistering start in her gold-medal final against Maria Sharapova at the All England Club this afternoon, bolting to a 4-0 lead in a match that so far is bedeviled by gusting winds.

Williams, seeking the only title to elude her, raced to a 2-0 lead without allowing Sharapova a single point.

Williams blasted three aces in the opening game, while Sharapova double-faulted to open her first service game.

Clearly the whipping wind is going to be a huge factor. And Williams, who boasts the best serve in women’s tennis, is smart about lowering her toss when competing in such conditions. And she can do so without losing its effectiveness.

Sharapova, at 6-2, can only lower her unusually high toss so much. And her serve is a liability to start with, so things could get ugly.

The crowd seems decidedly behind Sharapova, who announced herself to the tennis world by stunning Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, 6-1, 6-4, when only 17.

Williams has exacted revenge, winning all seven of their matches since. And she looks formidable so far, playing tremendous defense on points in which Sharapova can stay in a rally. But so far, most of the action is being decided by serves — whether aces, service winners or double faults.

Men's 100 final should be unusually fast race

Reigning world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica, left, competes in a men's 100-meter heat. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

There were no surprises in the men’s 100-meter first-round races Saturday morning at Olympic Stadium, but the finishing times seemed to confirm one thing: Sunday’s final should be one of the fastest races ever.

In the seven first-round heats, Americans Ryan Bailey (9.88 seconds) and Justin Gatlin (9.97) both broke the 10-second barrier and posted the day’s top times. Eight of the 24 sprinters who advanced to the semifinal round posted faster times than Jamaican Usain Bolt (10.09).

Worth remembering: Bolt ran a 10.2 in his first race in Beijing, lowering to 9.92 and 9.85 in the later rounds, winning all three heats. He won gold with a record-setting time of 9.69.

“It’s gonna take a dominating race,” Gatlin said of Sunday’s final. “You have to dominate from the beginning.”

Bailey posted the fastest first-round time of any sprinter, as all three American sprinters advanced to Sunday’s semifinal heats. All three Jamaicans also cruised through their initial races. Though it has little bearing on tomorrow’s races, Bolt’s time was actually the slowest of the three Jamaicans. Yohan Blake, the defending world champion won his heat (10.00), as did Asafa Powell (10.04).

But all eyes at Olympic Park were focused on the 2008 gold medalist, who was a slow out of the blocks but was still able to cruise for the final 20 meters or so.

“I can’t complain. I’ve been doing a lot of work on that,” Bolt said of his start. “But we have come to the conclusion we shouldn’t worry about the start we should just focus on the rest of the race, which we always do. So I am working the last 50 meter, that is my strong point. That is what I am focusing on.”

Bailey, 23, placed third at the U.S. trials in Eugene, Ore., with a 9.93. His time Saturday marked his new personal best in the 100.

“There’s no pressure on me whatsoever,” he said. “If I go out there and fail, nobody was expecting me to medal anyways. I figure if I go out there and medal, steal a medal for somebody, it’s good for me.”

Both the semifinal and final rounds are held Sunday.

U.S. men's basketball takes on Lithuania

The only drama for the American men’s basketball team after three games of the Olympic tournament has surrounded the particulars of their victories. How much would they lead by? How much would they win by? The U.S. is 3-0 in Pool A, beating France, Tunisia and Nigeria by an average of 55.7 points.

Today, the men face Lithuania, which is 1-2 after beating Nigeria and losing to France and Argentina. The Lithuanians are led by forward Linas Kleiza, their only double-figure scorer at 16.7 points per game. Kleiza was the 2003 All-Met Player of the Year at Montrose Christian.

Carmelo Anthony leads the U.S. with 20.7 points per game, needing to average all of 14 minutes of playing time to do it. Kevin Durant leads the Americans in playing time, averaging more than 22 minutes, just ahead of point guard Chris Paul. Team USA should be able to use its whole bench again.

The U.S. concludes group play Monday with what’s likely to be its toughest test before the medal round, Argentina.

Two U.S. women make steeplechase final

Americans Emma Coburn and Bridget Franek advanced to the final of the 3000-meter steeplechase Saturday.

Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia had the fastest time in three first-round heats, 9 minutes 24.01 seconds. The final will be Monday.

Coburn was third in her heat in 9:27.51. Franek qualified in 9:29.86.

American Shalaya Kipp did not qualify for the final.

Russia clips Spain in men's basketball

Russia continued its dominating and surprising run through Group B Saturday with a 77-74 victory over perennial power Spain.

The game wasn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter after Russia charged back from an 18-point deficit. A dunk with 18 seconds left by Russian’s Timofey Mozgo broke a tie, and Vitaliy Fridzon hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds to clinch the victory. Fridzon led Russia with 24 points.

Pau Gasol had 20 points for Spain.

Spain jumped to a 28-11 start after one quarter, but Russia quickly fought back, trailing by eight at halftime and outscoring the Spaniards 24-13 in the third quarter before the back-and-fourth fourth quarter.

Russia is 4-0 in Group B, putting it in position to avoid meeting the United States — if both teams win their groups and remain unbeaten — until the gold medal game. The Americans are expected to win Group A.

Serena Williams faces Maria Sharapova for Olympic gold

Serena Williams is trying to add an Olympic gold medal to her career grand slam. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

If desire and high stakes determine the competitiveness of a match, expect a thrilling battle for Olympic gold today on Centre Court at the All England Club, where Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will reprise their 2004 Wimbledon final.

But if recent history dictates the ebb and flow, it will be Williams in a romp.

Williams has beaten Sharapova all seven times they’ve met since the the 17-year-old Russian upstart won their 2004 Wimbledon final. In fact, Williams hasn’t allowed Sharapova a single set in the last four years.

Without doubt, they’re the two fiercest competitors in women’s tennis. And Olympic singles gold is a prize both particularly covet because it would complete a rare “Golden Slam.”

Only three players in history have won all four of the sport’s majors and Olympic gold in singles: Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal.

Switzerland’s Roger Federer could join their ranks Sunday, when he takes on overwhelming home-court favorite Andy Murray for gold in a reprise of their Wimbledon final just four weeks ago.

Federer, 30, teamed with Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka at the 2008 Beijing Games for doubles gold, but the Olympic singles gold is the one prize to elude him in a brilliant career.

Following today’s women’s gold-medal match, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan take on Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau of France for what would be their first Olympic men’s doubles gold.

And Serena will return to the court to team with her sister Venus to complete their women’s doubles semifinal that was scheduled for Friday. They face Russians Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova.

In short: A very busy day at the All England Club, where the morning’s rain has given way to glorious sunshine and whipping winds.

Gray gets rifle gold for United States

Jamie Lynn Gray (left) shakes hands with silver medal winner Ivana Maksimovic after the women's 50m rifle. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Jamie Lynn Gray won the gold medal in the 50m rifle three positions event Saturday at the Royal Artillery Barracks, setting an Olympic record for the finals of 691.9 points.

Ivana Maksmovic of Serbia won silver (687.5) and Adela Sykorova of the Czech Republic took the bronze with 683.

Gray set up her win earlier in the day, setting an Olympic qualifying record of 592. That record, added to her score of 99.9 in the finals, was good for gold.

Gray was fifth in this event four years ago in Beijing, where she also finished fourth in the 10m air rifle competition.

Yohan Blake posts 10.00 in men's 100 qualifying

Jamaican Yohan Blake, the reigning world champion, also took it easy during his first round heat of the men’s 100 meters, cruising to the finish in 10.00 seconds.Teammate Asafa Powell won his heat in 10.04.

 

U.S. women miss target in trap shooting qualifying

Americans Kim Rhode and Corey Cogdell were eliminated in qualifying in women’s trap Saturday at Royal Artillery Barracks.

Jessica Rossi of Italy had the top score in qualifying, followed by Zuzana Stefecekova of Slovakia.

Rhode, who won gold last weekend in skeet shooting, was ninth and Cogdell 11th; only the top six shooters advance to the final.

Usain Bolt runs a 10.09 in 100 meter qualifying

Jamaica's Usain Bolt, left, and Britain's James Dasaolu react after competing in a men's 100-meter heat. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the defending gold medal winner and one of the biggest stars of the London Games, was greeted with huge cheers when he finally took the track in the men’s 100 meter qualifying. He easily won his preliminary heat in 10.09, easing up in the final meters and coasting to the finish line.

Czech wins final rowing gold

Miroslava Knapkova of the Czech Republic won the gold in single sculls, the final rowing event at Eton Dorney.

Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark won the silver and Kim Crow of Australia added a bronze to the silver she won in double sculls.

American Genevra Stone finished first in Final B, giving her a seventh place finish.

Ryan Bailey surpasses Gatlin with 9.88 in 100 qualifying

Ryan Bailey competes in the preliminary round of the men's 100 meters. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

One heat after Justin Gatlin ran the fastest time first-round time ever in the men’s 100 at the Olympics, fellow American Ryan Bailey surpassed him with a time of 9.88 to win his preliminary heat.

Gatlin ran a 9.97 to win heat 2, and then Bailey followed by equaling his personal-best time to win heat 3.

The three Jamaican stars are still to come: Usain Bolt in heat 4, Asafa Powell in heat 5 and Yohan Blake scheduled to run in heat 6.

Rowing: British add silver to medal haul

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter added to Britain’s rowing medal haul Saturday morning on the final day of racing at Eton Dorney, winning silver in the lightweight double sculls.

Purchase and Hunter settled for silver by a narrow margin, finishing six-tenths of a second behind Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark. Storm Uru and Peter Taylor of New Zealand took the bronze.

Britain earlier won gold in women’s lightweight double sculls and men’s four. Overall, the host country won nine rowing medals, including four golds.

Justin Gatlin runs 9.97 in men's 100 qualifying

Rondel Sorrillo of Trinidad and Tobago, Justin Gatlin of the U.S. and Barakat Mubarak Al-Harthi of Oman compete in the preliminary heats of the men's 100 meters. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

As the Olympic Stadium track and field crowd awaited the London debut of Usain Bolt in the men’s 100 meters, it watched Tyson Gay win his preliminary heat in 10.08 seconds and then saw Justin Gaitlin run away from his competition with a 9.97 in his preliminary heat.

Gatlin’s time was the fastest first-round 100 in the history of the Olympic Games. The next closest finisher in his heat was Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas with a 10.22.

U.S. men's four wins bronze

The U.S. men’s four crew won bronze Saturday at Eton Dorney, finishing behind Britain and Australia.

The American quarter of Glenn Ochal, Henrik Rummel, Charlie Cole, Scott Gault posted a time of 6 minutes 7.20 seconds, well behind the 6:03.97 posted by the winning British team.

Sculls pair gives Britain yet another gold

The British did it again, this time winning gold in the women’s lightweight double sculls Saturday on the final day of competition at Eton Dorney.

Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking won in seven minutes 9.30 seconds, ahead of Dongxiang Xu and Wenyi Huang of China (7:11.93) and Christina Giazitzdou and Alexandra Tsiavou of Greece (7:12.09).

Americans Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols finished fifth in  Final B, putting them in 11th place overall.

Oscar Pistorius: 'To be here is a dream come true'

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius walks on the track prior to his 400 meter heat. (REUTERS/David Gray)

With the crowd at Olympic Stadium cheering him on, Oscar Pistorius crouched in the starting blocks Saturday and couldn’t help but smile.

“The experience to be here is a dream come true,” said the South African sprinter. “I’ve worked for six years to try and make the 400 standard, and to come out today is just an unbelievable experience.”

Pistorius became the first athlete to compete in an Olympic track race on a pair of prosthetic blades and was a crowd favorite from the moment he stepped onto the track Saturday morniing. While he knew gold in the 400-meter here wasn’t likely, he still wasn’t content to simply show up in London.

“It’s one thing being here and another thing performing here… My goal was to make the semifinal tomorrow,” he said.

And he did that, finishing second in Saturday’s qualifying heat. Pistorius had no problem advancing, finishing in 45.44 seconds, his second-best mark of the year.

“It’s very difficult to separate the occasion from the race. …Just being here is a tremendous experience,” he said. “You draw enough from the crowd and the occasion.”

U.S. women's epee team reaches semis

The U.S. women’s epee team defeated Italy, 45-35, in the quarterfinals Saturdayat ExCeL South.

Susie Scanlan, Courtney Hurley and Maya Lawrence advance to the semifinals, where they will face Korea, 45-38 winners over Romania. That match will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET.

In the team competition, each of three fencers faces her three opponents and the scores accumulate.

LaShawn Merritt out with injury

LaShawn Merritt walks with an injured hamstring following his heat of the men's 400 meters. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

LaShawn Merritt will not be defending his Olympic gold at these London Games.

Merritt pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury in his first 400-meter heat Saturday morning and was unable to finish the race.

In Beijing, Merritt won the 400 with a time of 43.75 and was a favorite here in London. At the U.S. trials in Eugene, Ore., Merritt posted the year’s fastest time and was the top American qualifier with his 44.12-second finish.

It was not immediately clear whether Merritt would be available for the 4×400 relay next week.

The other two U.S. runners both qualified for Sunday’s semifinals. Tony McQuay finished second in his heat with a 44.58-second time. Bryshon Nellum was also second, posting a 45.29-second finish.

100 prelims expand the field

Ten athletes qualified for the first round of the men’s 100 meters by posting top times in the preliminaries Saturday morning at the Olympic Stadium.

Gerard Kobeane of Burkina Faso had the fastest time — 10.42 seconds. None of the runners from the prelims has a chance at a medal, but there’s something about seeing athletes from non-sporting powers get their shot at glory that’s nice.

Runners from Bolivia, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Suriname, Indonesia, Central African Republic, Singapore, Maldives and Mauritius all advanced. The prelims — a mini-Parade of Nations.

American makes rifle final

Jamie Lynn Gray was the top qualifier in the 50m rifle three positions event Saturday at Royal Artillery Barracks.

Gray scored an Olympic record 592, just ahead of Ivana Maksmovic of Serbia (590) and Daria Vdovina of Russia (585).

Gray advanced to the final, which begins about 7:45 ET.

American Amanda Furrer (581) did not make the final.

Pistorius advances in 400

Oscar Pistorius competes during round one of the men's 400 meter heats. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius finished second in his first-round heat of the 400 meters Saturday at Olympic Stadium to advance to the next round. He ran a season’s best 45.44 second in the first of seven heats in the 400.

American Bryshon Nellum also advanced, running in Heat 4.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, is known as the Blade Runner because he wears blade-shaped prosthetics. He has competed in the Paralympics but fought for years to be included in the Olympics. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the blades do not give him an advantage over other runners. (Curious as to how Pistorius runs? Check out this graphic.)

Pistorius was coming to London to help as one of the runners in the pool for the 4×400 relay, but at the last minute the South African Olympic Committee named him to the 400 individual roster as well. Pistorius will also compete in the Paralympics in London, which immediately follow the Olympics.

 

Nicola Spirig takes women's triathlon gold in photo finish

Lisa Norden of Sweden (left) and Nicola Spirig of Switzerland finish the women's triathlon at Hyde Park . (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Nicola Spirig of Switzerland won the gold medal in a photo finish, edging Lisa Norden of Sweden at the tape at the finish of the third phase, the run, in Hyde Park.

Both triathletes were credited with times of 1 hour 59.48 seconds.

Erin Densham of Australia took the bronze, just two-hundredths of a second behind.

American Sarah Groff put the heat on the lead group until near the end of the race but finished fourth in 2:00.00. Teammate Laura Bennett was 17th and Gwen Jorgensen was 38th.

It took officials several minutes to review shots of the finish before declaring Spirig the winner.

The triathlon started with a swim of nine-tenths of a mile, followed by a bike race of about 25 miles and finished with the run of about 6.2 miles.

This photo provided by Omega shows the photo finish of the women's triathlon, with Nicola Spirig (top) winning gold. The time stamp at the bottom shows the timing. (AP Photo/Omega)