Get ready for a whirlwind day featuring gymnast Gabby Douglas on the uneven bars and Lolo Jones in the 100-meter hurdles. The U.S. women’s soccer team plays Canada in the semifinals and the U.S. men’s basketball team plays Argentina.
What else should you be watching? Consult today’s viewer guide.
MONDAY, AUG. 6 (DAY 10)
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Track and field – qualifying races in women’s 100-meter
hurdles, women’s 1,500 meters and men’s 800 meters (10 a.m., 1:15 p.m.,
Men’s water polo – United States vs. Hungary (Live, 10:30 a.m.)
Canoe – sprint qualifying heats (11:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m.)
Equestrian – team jumping final (noon)
Synchronized swimming – duet qualifying round (12:45 p.m.)
Beach volleyball – Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal take on Latvia in
a men’s quarterfinal match (Live, 2 p.m.)
Men’s volleyball – United States vs. Tunisia (Live, 3 p.m.); Cycling -
men’s sprint track semifinals (4:15 p.m.)
8 p.m. – midnight
Gymnastics – individual event gold medal finals in men’s still rings, men’s
vault and women’s uneven bars
Track and field – gold medal finals in men’s 400 meters, men’s 400-meter
hurdles and women’s pole vault
Beach volleyball – men’s quarterfinal action
Cycling – men’s sprint track gold medal final
Diving – men’s springboard qualifying.
12:35 a.m. – 1:35 a.m.
Track and field – gold medal finals in women’s steeplechase and women’s
Cycling – women’s omnium time trials
NBC Sports Network
4 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Men’s basketball – Australia vs. Russia (Live, 4 a.m.), United States vs.
Argentina (Live, 5:15 p.m.)
Women’s field hockey – United States vs. South Africa (Live, 5:45 a.m.)
Men’s volleyball – Russia vs. Serbia (Live, 7:15 a.m.), Italy vs. Bulgaria
(Live, 9:45 a.m.), Brazil vs. Germany (7:15 p.m.)
Boxing – women’s quarterfinals with flyweight, lightweight and middleweight
bouts (Live, 8:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.)
Shooting – men’s 50-meter three position gold medal final (Live, 11:30
Women’s soccer – semifinals, France vs. Japan (Live, noon), United States
vs. Canada (Live, 2:30 p.m.)
Weightlifting – men’s 105 kg gold medal final (Live, 4:45 p.m.)
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Men’s water polo – Romania vs. Serbia (Live, 9 a.m.)
Table tennis – women’s team semifinal (10:30 a.m.), men’s team semifinal
Wrestling – Greco Roman qualifying matches (11:15 a.m.), Greco Roman gold medal final matches (Live, 2:30 p.m.)
Men’s beach volleyball – quarterfinals, Brazil vs. Poland (Live, 1 p.m.),
Germany vs. Brazil (Live, 5 p.m.)
Shooting – men’s trap final (2 p.m.)
Men’s basketball – Spain vs. Brazil (Live, 3:30 p.m.)
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Boxing – men’s quarterfinals with lightweight, middleweight and super
NBC Olympic Basketball Channel
4 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Australia vs. Russia (Live, 4 a.m., Replay 8 a.m.)
Tunisia vs. Lithuania (Live, 6:15 a.m.)
France vs. Nigeria (Live, 9:30 a.m., Replay 1:30 p.m.)
Britain vs. China (Live, 11:45 a.m.)
Spain vs. Brazil (Live, 3:30 p.m.)
United States vs. Argentina (Live, 5:15 p.m.)
NBC Olympic Soccer Channel
Noon – midnight
Women’s soccer – semifinals
France vs. Japan (Live, noon, Replay 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.)
United States vs. Canada (Live, 2:30 p.m., Replay 6:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.)
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Packaged Spanish-language coverage includes track and field, gymnastics,
men’s diving and men’s boxing.
Via SB Nation, some gifs of uneven bar dismounts. Here’s Gabby Douglas:
And here’s Russian Aliya Mustafina, the gold medalist tonight:
Bummer about Douglas, but she has plenty to be proud of this week.
Eh, gymnastics. Time for me to scoot. Thanks for stopping by, folks. See you on Wednesday.
Reddit user flavorseal has unearthed an old yearbook photo of gymnast McKayla Maroney. Under her photo: “My goal for the future is the be in the Olympics.” She can check that one off of her bucket list.
Normally, I’m no fan of NBC’s patented family-cheers-in-the-stands camera shots. But hurdler Lashinda Demus’ twin boys shouting, “Go, mommy!” as Demus won her semifinal race in the 400-meter hurdles was just beautiful. Another reason to love the Olympics.
There’s been a lot of talk about hair during this Olympics — namely, Gabby Douglas’s — but some of the most luscious locks in these games belong to Sanya Richards-Ross, who has made a beautiful French braid her signature look.
Her hair is so long and pretty — doesn’t it slow her down? Slate says yes, but only slightly.
“Flowing locks increase air resistance insofar as they boost a runner’s surface area. More hair creates more opportunities for friction between the runner and the air, so a full-headed athlete would have to work harder to maintain the same speed as a bald one,” wrote Katy Waldman. But hair is light, so it doesn’t make that much of a difference in Richards-Ross’s time. Keeping hair out of a runner’s face is more important, because it can whip her in the eyes — hence the stylish braid.
My humble attempt to explain how a country of 2.5 million produces so many world-beating sprinters:
How fast do you think Sanya Richards-Ross and Aaron Ross’ children are going to be? The possibilities are amazing…
Did you know that there are cheerleaders at the Olympics? They haven’t gotten much coverage on TV, but four events — beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, basketball and handball — have cheerleaders to rev up the crowd. “The beach volleyball cheerleaders are the kitschiest,” according to Yahoo Sports, throwing beach balls and raising eyebrows with their attire, which includes bikinis.
Some members of the coed cheerleading squads come from American college cheerleading, according to a Varsity Storify. Meet the performers, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Olympics here.
Allyson Felix, who may very well win the 200 meters, finished in a dead heat for the final spot on the U.S. team in the 100 meters. The U.S. was about to stage a run-off between Felix and the other third-place finisher, Jeneba Tarmoh. And then…nothing. Tarmoh just withdrew. What I’d like to know is, what happened? NBC hasn’t bothered to investigate.Did Tarmoh get a payoff to walk away? A deal? What?
There’s no tennis on TV tonight, but nevertheless: Here are Andy Murray’s dogs wearing his medals. Click it, you will not regret it.
No knock on beach volleyball, which is plenty exciting, but it may be the most popular unpopular sport every four years. That is, it gets TONS of primetime coverage during the Olympics, but you never see it outside of the Olympics. Runner-up: Diving. What’s up with that?
NBC’s geography lesson on the Prime Meridian was a chance for history geeks to nerd out to something other than sports. This brief intermission offered a maritime history of latitude and longitude, complete with slow pans over paintings of shipwrecks. It also served up an early example of crowdsourcing: Astronomers weren’t able to calculate longitude at sea, so Parliament offered an award for anyone who could solve the problem. An autodidact genius carpenter came to the rescue. Read more at the Royal Observatory.
Here we go again. Another cheerful, strictly promotional, timewasting Mary Carillo feature. NBC seems to have poor Mary on as a tour guide/British Chamber of Commerce promoter. Not nearly as bad as Mary’s work promoting the wonders of China during the Beijing Olympics. Still. Please, NBC, stop this silliness.
For all the NBC haters out there, some food for thought (and I’m not sure I agree–if you want it NOW, it’s all available on NBC’s live stream….):
I love seeing high-speed photographs of divers, who have the misfortune of making some seriously ridiculous midair faces of all events. Call it their “game face” — the unself-conscious grimaces of exertion and intensity in the midst of going for gold. While I’m looking for an image of one of tonight’s diving competitors in the throes of game face, check out this gallery of portraits of athletes working their hardest:
Click on the photo above for other portraits of Olympic game face.
Pan the crowd and zoom in on the sprinters’ faces at Olympic Stadium:
Shoutout to the guy who, cheering on British Velodrome cyclist Jason Kenny, displayed a punny banner: “Kenny? Yes he can.” And he did, taking Britain’s fifth gold medal out of a possible seven in track cycling. Welcome to your evening Olympics coverage, helmed by the Style team: Paul Farhi and I will be watching along with you. Paul’s looking forward to the track and field events, and I’m not looking forward to Gabby Douglas’ unfortunate uneven bars meltdown. Talk to us!
GALLERY: Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko gets a hug after competing in the shot put. Click on the image above to see some of the best photos from today.
That’s going to wrap things up for those of us in sports on today’s live blog. We’ll be turning things over to our friends in Style. They’ll be sure to keep you entertained tonight.
Kevin Durant scored 28 points on 9-for-12 shooting to help the U.S. men’s basketball team pull away from Argentina, 126-97, Monday night. Durant made eight of his 10 three-point attempts.
“Those are game breakers,” LeBron James said of Durant’s five three-pointers in the third quarter. “He caught fire, and we needed it.”
The game was the Americans’ last preliminary round game. They finish with a 5-0 record in Group A.
“I’m a scorer, not just a three-point shooter,” Durant said. “But here for this team I have to be a spacer, and I’m loving it.”
James added 18 points and four assists while Chris Paul had 17 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
Manu Ginobili led Argentina with 16 points and six assists.
Five three-point shots by Kevin Durant in the third quarter Monday helped the United States move out to a 102-76 lead over an Argentina squad that had trailed by only one at halftime.
Argentina committed six turnovers to help fuel the U.S. team’s massive offensive surge. LeBron James kicked off the scoring with three straight scores for the United States, and Durant took over from there. Manu Ginobili, who scored 16 first-half points, was held scoreless in the third quarter.
Durant, who led Team USA with 28 points, also hit 3 of 4 from behind the three-point arc in the first half, giving him 8 of 10 for the night.
The U.S. men’s basketball team held a 60-59 lead over Argentina at halftime of Monday’s preliminary round game, struggling to contain the hot-shooting Manu Ginobili and a squad downing shots from all over the floor.
The San Antonio Spurs’ Ginobili led all scorers with 16 points as Argentina hit 19 of its first 34 field goals (56 percent). Juan Gutierrez chipped in 11 and gave the U.S. men fits inside. Chris Paul led the U.S. team with 14 points and Kevin Durant scored 11.
Argentina took a 48-47 lead with 3:37 remaining in the half on three-point play by Gutierrez, then went up again, 57-56, with 45 seconds remaining when Gutierrez put in a pair of free throws. But the United States used back-to-back baskets from Kevin Love and LeBron James to retake the lead.
Argentina gave the United States all it could handle in the first quarter of Monday night’s preliminary round game, taking a 30-29 lead with less than a minute in the period and entering the second quarter trailing by just two, 34-32.
Manu Ginobili led Argentina’s balanced attack, scoring 11 points on 3 of 4 from the field. Argentina hit 11 of 17 (65 percent) of its field goals in the period and 3 of 4 three-point shots. Kevin Durant scored 11 for the United States and Kobe Bryant chipped in seven.
U.S. forward Alex Morgan scored on a header in the 123rd minute — three minutes into injury time at the end of overtime — to send the Americans into the gold medal game of the Olympic women’s soccer tournament after a wild 4-3 victory over Canada at historic Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
The winning goal was set up by reserve Heather O’Reilly, who served a ball from the right wing. Morgan out-leapt several Canadian defenders to get the ball past Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod. And after the match, Morgan — who had not scored since the tournament opener — said after the match that she didn’t even see the ball go in.
Americans have never failed to reach the gold medal game in the five women’s Olympic soccer tournaments.
“I’m still in shock,” Morgan said in a post-match NBC interview. “I was saying the whole time, ‘I don’t care who scores as long as someone friggin’ scores and we win.’”
Read the full story here.
A few pointers when you’re watching Olympic soccer. Don’t forget to breath and don’t cross busy streets while watching a match. Case in point…
Kirani James won the first Olympic medal for the island nation of Grenada with his gold medal run in the men’s 400 meters.
James, who won earned praise after he swapped bibs with Oscar Pistorius following their semifinal heat Sunday, won the race in a time of 43.94 seconds.
Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic finished second in 44.46 and Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon took bronze (44.52).
American Lashawn Merritt was a favorite coming into the competition but pulled up with an injury in his initial heat and failed to qualify.
After winning silver in Beijing, American pole vaulter Jenn Suhr knew there was only one way to really improve on her 2008 Olympic performance. The American record-holder didn’t go as high this time, but still managed to win a gold medal in the women’s pole vault.
In cold and windy conditions, Suhr, 30, was able to clear 15 feet, 7 inches Monday night, two inches less than her silver-medal performance in Beijing.
Cuba’s Yarisley Silva also cleared 15-7 but took silver because she had one more miss than Suhr Monday.
Russia’s Elena Isinbayeva, the world record-holder and two-time Olympic gold medalist, cleared 15-5 to win bronze. Isinbayeva is a five-time world champion and the most accomplished woman to ever compete in the event.
Russia’s Yuliya Zaripova picked a pretty good time to run the race of her life. She won Olympic gold in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase Monday night, crossing the finish line in a personal-best finish of 9 minutes 6.72 seconds.
Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi (9:08.37) won silver, and Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa (9:09.84) took bronze.
American Emma Coburn’s personal-best finish of 9:23.54 was good enough for ninth.
American Bridget Franek was the last one across the finish line, posting a time of 9:45.51.
Could Ilya Zakharov of Russia break the Chinese stranglehold on diving gold? It certainly seemed possible after Monday’s preliminaries at the Aquatics Centre.
Zakharov put together six consistent dives and scored 507.65, easily moving into Tuesday’s semifinals.
Kai Qin was leading after four rounds, but on his fifth attempt he finished poorly, entering the pool with a painful splash that elicited groans from the crowd and low scores from the judges. His 39.90 dropped him to 11th place and allowed countryman Chong He to move into the top spot.
American Troy Dumais dived next and his reverse 2½ somersault in the tuck garnered an 85.75, his best score of the day thus far. That put him into third going into the final round of dives.
Zakharov, who already has a silver at these Games in the synchronized springboard event, performed a forward 4½ somersault in the tuck on his final dive with incredible height and a flawless entry to score 91.20.
He, who won gold in this event four years ago in Beijing, performed a forward 2 ½ somersault with three twists drew an 83.85 from the judges and he moved to second with 500.90.
Dumais, diving near the end of the order, scored an 81.60 with a forward 2 ½ somersault with two twists in the pike position. That was good enough to keep him in third place with 486.60.
American Chris Colwill also advanced to the final, finishing seventh overall with 461.35.
Qin’s miscue was surprising; he won bronze in Beijing in this event and gold in the synchronized event both four years ago and here in London.
The top 18 from Monday’s field of 29 advanced to the semifinals. The field will be whittled yet again, to 12, before the final, also to be held Tuesday.
A wild second half ended in a 3-3 tie for the U.S. team and Canada in a women’s soccer semifinal at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. The teams will play two 15-minute periods of extra time, and if they’re still tied, the winner will be determined by penalty kicks.
Christine Sinclair has all three of Canada’s goals. Megan Rapinoe scored twice for the U.S., and Abby Wambach tied it at 3-3 with a penalty kick in the 80th minute.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo fended off Canada’s last, best chance in the 89th minute when Sophie Schmidt broke through the American defense. This is the most goals the U.S. has allowed in a game since May 2008 — before the last Olympics.
Two days after suffering a frustrating five-set loss to Russia, the United States men’s volleyball team finished off its group schedule with a confident straight-set win against Tunisia, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19.
The win moves the Americans, who won silver in Beijing, atop Group B heading into the knockout stages.
David McKenzie led the way with 14 kills, Matthew Anderson added 9 and Russell Holmes chipped in five blocks for the U.S., which dropped only four sets in five matches.
Abby Wambach scored on a penalty kick after a controversial hand ball call on Canada in an increasingly wild game at Old Trafford. As boos rained down from the crowd, the Americans tied Canada 3-3 in the 80th minute.
Wambach’s goal came after Megan Rapinoe, off a set piece inside the penalty area, rifled a shot into Canada’s Marie-Eve Nault. Nault blocked the shot, and the referee ruled she did so with her hand.
The goal was the fifth in the second half. Three times, the U.S. team has trailed, and each time they have scored the next goal.
Canadian forward Christine Sinclair scored her third goal of the night as a back-and-forth women’s semifinal soccer game turned wild. In the 73rd minute, Sinclair’s header off a corner kick put Canada up 3-2 over the U.S. in Manchester, England.
Sinclair’s goal, which sent U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo into something of a fit, was the fourth in 20 minutes after Canada had taken a 1-0 halftime lead. On the play, Sinclair headed the ball to the near post, and Solo didn’t go into an all-out dive because American defender Amy LePeilbet was in the way.
In the 76th minute, U.S. coach Pia Sundhage replaced le Peilbet with Sydney Leroux, who scored as a substitute in the Americans’ quarterfinal win against New Zealand.
Canadian forward Christine Sinclair put a head ball past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo for her second goal of the night, giving Canada a 2-1 lead over the Americans in their Olympic semifinal at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
But the Americans responded with Megan Rapinoe’s rocket of a shot off the far post in the 71st minute to tie the game 2-2.
Sinclair, who had staked Canada to a 1-0 halftime lead, took a pass from Melissa Tancredi from the left wing and rose to knock the ball toward the near post and past Solo’s dive right at the 67-minute mark. Tancredi also set up Sinclair’s first-half goal.
Moments later, Rapinoe settled the ball right at the 18-yard mark, then rifled a shot across the penalty area. It hit the goalpost and bounced past Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
Michael Tinsley had never before broken the 48-second barrier but knew he’d need to turn in a career-performance to medal in the men’s 400-meter hurdles in London. The 28-year old Tinsley turned in such a performance Monday night, running a career-best 47.91 seconds to win silver.
Felix Sanchez, a USC product who runs for the Dominican Republic but calls California home, won his second career Olympic with his time of 47.63, his best of the year. The 34-year old Sanchez also won the 400 hurdles at the Athens Games, also with a 47.63 finish.
Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson crossed the finish line in 48.10 seconds to win bronze.
Americans Angelo Taylor (48.25) and Kerron Clement (49.15) took fifth and eighth, respectively.
Megan Rapinoe scored on a corner kick in the 54th minute to pull the U.S. women’s soccer team back into a tie with Canada in their Olympic semifinal match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
Rapinoe, who takes almost every corner for the Americans, lined up a ball from the left side and curved it. Canadians Christine Sinclair and Lauren Sesselmann converged near the post, but neither protected it. As U.S. defender Rachel Buehler put pressure on Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod, Rapinoe’s spinning ball snuck past the post.
LaShinda Demus posted the third-best time in the semifinals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles Monday night, as all three Americans advanced to Wednesday’s final.
Demus won her heat with a time of 54.08 seconds, her second-best time of the year.
T’Erea Brown finished third in her heat, but advanced to the final because of her time in the first semifinal race, 54.21, a new personal best.
Georganne Moline also advanced, finishing second in her race with a time of 54.74.
Belarus’s Nadzeya Ostapchuk won bronze in the women’s shot put at the Beijing Games but after taking the world title in 2010, she was poised for a strong showing in London. On Monday night at Olympic Stadium, she did not disappoint.
Ostapchuk won gold with her throw of 70 feet, 1 inch. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams won silver (67-11) and Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko (67-2) took bronze.
Michelle Carter was the lone American in the finals. She finished sixth with a throw that flew 63-8 1/2.
The U.S. women’s soccer team trails Canada 1-0 at the half and faces a serious threat as it seeks a third straight Olympic gold medal.
The Americans, which entered the semifinal match at Old Trafford in Manchester perfect at 4-0 in the Olympics, carried play early. But Canada’s Christine Sinclair scored midway through the half, and the Americans have been unable to respond.
The best U.S. chances late in the first half came on a pair of headers. On the first, in the 31st minute, Megan Rapinoe launched a direct kick into the penalty area, but Alex Morgan’s header went wide. The second came on a cross from Morgan to Abby Wambach, who lunged low to head the ball. But it, too, scooted wide, and Sinclair’s goal held up.
Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia ousted Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, 19-21, 21-18, 15-11, in a quarterfinal match in sporadic rain at Horse Guards Parade Monday.
The loss leaves the United States without a men’s pair in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Plavins and Smedins won Pool E, going undefeated and dropping just a single set along the way. Gibb and Rosenthal also won their pool, but lost a match.
The other U.S. team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser were eliminated from the knockout round on Friday.
All three American sprinters advanced to the semifinals in the women’s 200 meter, led by Sanya Richards-Ross, who posted the top time of any runner in the first round heats.
Less than 24 hours after winning gold in the women’s 400, Richards-Ross was back on the track Monday night, winning her heat in an impressive 22.48 seconds, despite very little sleep the night before.
“I didn’t go to bed until about 2 in the morning. I couldn’t get to sleep,” she said. “I was so excited.”
Allyson Felix, who finished fifth in the 100-meter race on Saturday, won her heat, too, posting a time of 22.71. And Carmelita Jeter, the silver medalist in the 100, also finished first in her race in a time of 22.65.
“The objective is always to advance to the next round. I achieved that, so it’s good,” Jeter said.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won gold in the 100 two days earlier, also won her heat, crossing the finish line in 22.71.
The semifinal races are scheduled for Tuesday with the final on Wednesday.
Algerian runner Taoufik Makhloufi was reinstated in the Olympics Games Monday, just hours after being thrown out for not trying hard enough in his 800-meter heat.
Makhloufi stopped running in the first lap of his 800 and walked off the track. The race referee said Makhloufi was guilty of “failure to compete honestly with bona fide effort,” according to the Associated Press. An IAAF spokesman told a South African Web site that he was forced to run the 800-meter race after his team didn’t withdrawl him by Sunday’s deadline.
The decision to kick Makhloufi out of the Games was overturned after evidence was reviewed regarding Makhloufi’s knee. Now Makhloufi will be able to compete in Tuesday’s 1,500-meter final, where he is a favorite. Read more from the AP here.
Was the right decision made? Let us know what you think.
The U.S. women’s soccer team hasn’t trailed in the Olympic tournament since the first few minutes of its opening game — until now.
Canada’s Christine Sinclair put a shot past U.S. goalie Hope Solo in the 22nd minute of their semifinal match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. The play was beautifully set up on a through ball from defender Marie-Eve Nault to Melissa Tancredi, who then touched it to Sinclair inside the 18-yard mark.
The Americans had scored 10 straight goals after opening the tournament by allowing an early pair to France.
From almost the opening moment, it was apparent these teams don’t like each other. The U.S. drew two fouls on Canada in the first minute when Canada’s Melissa Tancredi and Sinclair — their most dangerous offensive weapons — hauled down Lauren Cheney and Alex Morgan, respectively.
The Americans dominated the time of possession, particularly in the first 15 minutes, though they managed no serious challenges for Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod. Canada’s first real chance came on a set piece from the left of the box, but Canadian forward Jonelle Filigno couldn’t get her foot on the ball.
UPDATE 3:29 p.m. ET: Schwazer responds
“I wanted to be stronger for this Olympics, I made a mistake. My career is finished”
Italian race walker Alex Schwazer has failed a doping test and will be barred from competing in Saturday’s 50km competition, according to Italian state news agency. Reuters:
RAI said they confirmed the excluded athlete was Schwazer after speaking to his coach Michele Didoni. The Italian Olympic Committee and Schwazer’s public relations managers did not immediately respond to calls seeking confirmations.
Schwazer won the men’s 50km race walking competition at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and set the Olympic record.
The unbeaten U.S. women’s soccer team will face Canada, a chief rival, in a semifinal of the soccer tournament at 2:45 p.m. Eastern time at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. The winner will face Japan, a 2-1 winner over France in the other semifinal on Monday, in Thursday’s gold-medal match at Wembley Stadium in London.
The match features some of the best offensive players in the women’s international game. U.S. forward Abby Wambach has four goals in four games here, and now has 142 international goals — approaching Mia Hamm’s record of 158. Canada’s Christine Sinclair is right behind her with 140 international goals in her career, and she has three goals at the Olympics. Melissa Tancredi leads Canada with four goals in the tournament.
The U.S. beat Canada 2-1 in the 2008 Olympic quarterfinals in Beijing, the only time they have faced each other in the Olympics. Canada advanced to the knockout phase of the tournament by finishing 1-1-1 in Group F, then beat Great Britain 2-0 to reach the semis. The U.S. allowed two goals to start its Olympics opener against France, but has since scored 10 straight in coming back against the French, then beating Colombia, North Korea and New Zealand, the last match in the quarterfinals.
Britain’s Laura Trott won two of the first three races in the Omnium at the Velodrome to take the lead at the midpoint.
Trott won the flying race and the elimination race and was 10th in the points race.
American Sarah Hammer is second after three of the six events in the Omnium, which will conclude Tuesday with an individual pursuit, a scratch race and a time trial. Riders earn points for their finishes and the lowest scores win.
It was a wild final few minutes, but Japan is through to the women’s soccer final with a 2-1 win against France.
The defending World Cup champions led 2-0 midway through the second half but nearly lost the lead in a frantic six-minute stretch.
Moments after Eugenie le Sommer finally got the French on the board with a right-footed volley in the box, Elise Bussaglia stepped to the penalty spot with a chance to knot the game at 2.
Japanese goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto dove left, but Bussaglia pushed her shot past the right post.
France continued to push forward and threatened for the final few minutes of regulation and all five minutes of extra time, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Despite out-shooting Japan 26-4 (11-3 on target) on the day, indecision and poor final touches kept France off the board until the 76th minute.
Japan – which had shutout its opponents for 380 consecutive minutes before Le Sommer’s goal – will now await the winner of the U.S. and Canada. And in Thursday’s final, they’ll be aiming to make history: no team has ever won a women’s World Cup and Olympic gold back to back.
Kieron Achara scored 16 points and Britain sent the home fans into a frenzy by winning its first men’s basketball game at the Olympics since the 1948 London Games, beating China 90-58 on Monday.
Nate Reinking added 12 points for Britain in the last game of the tournament for both teams.
Britain (1-4) had not qualified for the Olympics since 1948, but received a berth as the host this year.
Defending gold medalist Victoria Pendleton of Britain advanced to the semifinals of the sprint cycling Monday at the Velodrome.
Also advancing in best-of-three heats were Anna Meares of Australia, Shuang Guo of China and Kristina Vogel of Germany.
The semifinals and final will be held Tuesday.
With a prime opportunity to bring her team all the way back from an 0-2 hole, France’s Elise Bussaglia pushed a penalty kick wide of the right post.
The French earned the penalty only moments after Eugenie Le Sommer slammed home an Elodie Thomis cross to cut the deficit to a single goal. The tally snapped a string of 380 consecutive minutes without a goal allowed by the Japanese.
Now down 2-1, France is still pushing for an equalizer at Wembley Stadium and things are getting frantic. Tune in for the final few minutes on NBC Sports Network.
Jason Kenny of Britain won sprint gold Monday at the Velodrome, beating Gregory Bauge of France in two races in the best-of-three format.
Kenny won the silver in this event four years ago in Bejing, where Britain also claimed the sprint team gold.
Australia’s Shane Perkins defeated Nijsane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago in two races for the bronze.
Poland cost itself the top spot in Pool A Monday with its 3-1 loss to Australia at Earls Court – and likely affected the quarterfinal pairing for the U.S. men’s team.
Poland’s loss to Australia, which had won just one game in group play before Monday, suddenly put the spotlight on the Italy-Bulgaria game. Both teams were 3-1 and the winner would likely win the group outright, getting the better draw in the quarterfinals.
Bulgaria responded, beating Italy in three straight sets and earning three points. That gave them the top spot in Pool A and left Italy with eight points. (A team is awarded three points in the pool standings if it wins its match by a score of 3-0 or 3-1. A 3-2 win is worth two points — and the losing team gets a point.)
Then came Argentina’s straight-sets victory over winless Britain in the final Pool A game. That vaulted Argentina past Italy with nine points and left the Italians in fourth place in Pool A and with a quarterfinal date with the Pool B winner.
Barring an upset loss to Tunisia Monday afternoon (3 p.m. Eastern time), that team will be the United States.
Quarterfinals – no matter who plays whom – begin Wednesday.
Usain Bolt isn’t just the fastest man in the world. He might also be one of the most talked about.
According to Twitter, chatter hit a new high yesterday during the men’s 100-meter final — the race in which Bolt defended his Olympic gold medal.
— Twitter Comms (@twittercomms) August 6, 2012
The social media network has been tracking the peaks in Olympics conversation since the games began.
Other big moments, according to Twitter, include Gabby Douglas’s gold-medal victory and the Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte showdown in the men’s 200 meter IM. Shocker.
Agora sim com o Verdadeiro!@ London 2012 Olympic Park instagr.am/p/N_lKbIDkfW/
— Fernanda Queiroz (@FernandaQzz) August 6, 2012
Back in April, the National Zoo welcomed a pair of cheetah cubs, born at the zoo’s facility in Front Royal. But until this week, they did not have names.
Now, with the completion of the men’s and women’s 100-meter races at the Olympics, they do: Carmelita and Justin. The female cub is named after Carmelita Jeter, the American who won silver in the women’s 100 on Saturday night in London. The male cub is named after Justin Gatlin, the former Olympic champion who took bronze in the same event Sunday night.
From the zoo’s release, “The decision to name the cubs after the fastest Americans is part of a broader National Zoo Games campaign to celebrate the finest animal athletes.”
Japan is 45 minutes away from a possible women’s World Cup final rematch with the United States. They lead France 1-0 at the half despite being largely out-played for much of the opening half.
Yuki Ogimi made France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi pay for a major blunder to give the Japanese the lead in the 32nd minute. And while they’ve been out-shot 8-1 on the day, Japan’s defense has held up.
Japan, which beat the U.S. to win last summer’s World Cup in Germany, has not conceded a goal since its first pool play match against Canada – a span of 350 minutes.
Croatia’s Giovanni Cernogoraz defeated Italian Massimo Fabbrizi in a dramatic shoot-off Monday to earn gold at Royal Artillery Barracks.
After 150 targets both men were tied at 146. Fabbrizi, the world champion, missed on his sixth target in the shoot-off and had to settle for silver.
Kuwait’s Fehaid Aldeehani received bronze as he defeated Michael Diamond of Australia in a shoot-off.
Americans Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva advanced to the final in the duet event Monday after the second day of qualifying left them 10th in the field of 24 pairs.
The top 12 pairs will compete in Tuesday’s final at the Aquatics Center.
Killman and Koroleva were 10th after Monday’s technical routine as well, and they retained their ranking.
So did Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia, who have the top score after two days of 198.800. Xuechen Huang and Ou Liu of China are second with 192.810 points.
Killman and Koroleva were well back at 176.170.
In the final, duets perform a different free routine than that presented in Monday’s qualifying. The final ranking is determined by combining the preliminary technical routine score and the final routine score.
Defending women’s World Cup champion Japan is first on the board in its semifinal against France after scoring on its first shot of the match on a disastrous goalkeeping blunder.
France keeper Sarah Bouhaddi came out to grab a lofted free kick into the box, but the ball slipped through her gloves and into the path of a charging Yuki Ogimi, who slid it into the net.
France had been the aggressor for the opening 30 minutes, putting four of six shots on target, but Ogimi’s 32nd-minute goal will force Les Blues to push forward even more to get an equalizer.
The United States faces Canada in today’s second semifinal.
Three members of Britain’s four-man show-jumping team — Nick Skelton, Ben Maher and Peter Charles — had perfect rounds in the jump-off as Britain defeated the Netherlands for the show-jumping gold medal.
Saudi Arabia took bronze, while the United States tied for sixth after all four of its riders knocked down fences.
Chicago Bulls assistant Ed Pinckney talks about the U.S. men’s basketball team’s performance so far in the Olympics.
With Monday’s 11-6 loss to Hungary, the U.S. men’s water polo team carries a two-game losing streak into the quarterfinals.
The Americans concluded group play with a 3-2 record but had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals, which begin Wednesday. Still, Monday’s match was certainly not the kind of showing the U.S. team wanted against the squad that beat them in the gold-medal match four years ago.
Hungary scored the game’s first four goals and held the Americans scoreless for the first 12 minutes. Leading the way was Norbert Hosnyanszky with three goals. Six different Americans notched goals Monday.
Seeding for the quarterfinals will be determined after all of the day’s matches have concluded. That round of games will be played Wednesday, followed by the semifinals on Friday.
Middleweight Claressa Shields rallied with a strong fourth round to defeat Anna Laurell of Sweden, 18-14, and advance to the semifinals in the women’s tournament.
Shields fell behind early, trailing 4-2 after the first round, and the bout was tied as 12 after the third round before Shields went on the offensive and outscored Laurell, 6-2.
The women fight four two-minute rounds instead of the three three-minute rounds fought by the men.
Shields will face Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan in a semifinal Wednesday (9:30 a.m. Eastern time).
The U.S. men’s water polo team entered the fourth quarter needing to make up a huge seven-goal deficit in order to win its final game of group play. Hungary added four more goals in the third to extend its lead to 10-3.
Tamas Kasas scored Hungary’s seventh goal just 90 seconds into the third quarter, but two minutes later American Jeff Powers’s score again made it a four-goal game.
Hungary extended its lead on Norbert Hosnyanszky scored his second goal of the game, Gergely Kiss shopped in one and then Hoznyanszky scored again, in the quarter’s final minute.
American gymnast Sam Mikulak stuck his second vault with the power of a jack-hammer and earned a glowing execution mark (9.400 out of a perfect 10) from the judges, but it wasn’t enough to keep in medal contention Monday when the Olympics men’s vault final was held.
Mikulak finished the eight-man competition with a score of 16.050 for his two vaults, earning fifth place.
The gold medal went to Yang Hak Seon of Korea, who scored 16.533 for his two vaults. Judges average the scores of the two vaults the men must perform to arrive at the final score.
Russia’s Denis Ablyazin claimed silver (16.399) and Igor Radivilov of Ukraine took silver (16.316).
National Geographic has video of a cheetah finishing the 100 meters in a record 5.95 seconds.
Gabby Douglas started the uneven bars competition at a considerable disadvantage, given that her routine had the lowest difficulty score among the eight finalists. The difficulty score makes up roughly half the gymnast’s total score; an execution score accounts for the rest.
Douglas’s difficulty score was 6.300, while China’s He Kexin, the silver medalist, performed a routine with 7.100 difficulty marks.
Even if executed to perfection, Douglas’s routine, then, would almost certainly have ranked no higher than fourth overall. Still, she was capable of performing it better than she did Monday. Her most glaring mistake was an over-amped handstand that wasn’t perpendicular. And she suggested that physical and emotional fatigue played a part in her eighth-place finish.
“Coming into the bar final is definitely a big challenge for me,” said Douglas, who cited the superior technical rigor of Beth Tweddle’s bronze medal-winning routine and the impeccable lines of Aliya Mustafina’s gold medal performance.
“I made a little mistake, but I’m human. And when you get toward the end of the Olympics, you’re kind of physically drained and tired.”
Read the full story here.
After a tight first quarter, Hungary opened the second with a flurry of scoring and took a 6-2 lead into the break.
Hungary found the goal twice in the quarter’s first 1:15, on goals by Adam Steinmetz and Norbert Hosnyanszki, the two goals coming just 40 seconds apart. Just one minute later, Tamas Varga snuck a long-distance shot into the U.S. goal.
Following a Hungary penalty, Tony Azevedo finally put the U.S. team on the board at the 4:40 mark, firing in a penalty shot. It took Hungary all of 30 seconds to respond with Marton Szivos’s goal, which put the Hungarians up 5-1.
With 1:30 remaining, John Mann tapped in Layne Beaubein’s pass for an extra-man score. Hungary responded at the 1:13 mark with Peter Brios’s successful penalty score.
The U.S. men’s water polo squad was held scoreless in the opening quarter against Hungary, the four-time defending Olympic champions. Hungary scored the game’s lone goal in the opening minutes but neither squad could find the back of the net after that.
U.S. goalkeeper Merrill Moses came up with a big block early in the match, but Hungary retained possession and scored when Norbert Hosnyanszki fired a shot past Moses at the 6:25 mark.
The U.S. missed all five of its shots in the first.
Even the world’s fastest man can’t catch a break when it comes to the rigid security regulations at the London Games.
Last night, before Bolt once again delivered a show-stopping, gold-medal-winning, record-setting run in the men’s 100 meters, he had to wait his turn to get into Olympic Stadium. As the Associated Press reported.
“I was in the line, we were waiting to run and the guy was telling me to line up straight,” Bolt told reporters early Monday. “I was like, ‘Really? We’re about to run and they are going to make me stand in a straight line?’ There are just some weird rules here.
Such as not being allowed to get skipping ropes past security.
“They said I can’t bring it in, and I asked, ‘Why?’” Bolt recalled. “They just said, ‘It is the rules.’ So if I have a rubber band that I need to stretch, I can’t take it in. And when I asked why, they say, ‘It’s just the rules.’
“It’s just some weird small rules that don’t make any sense to me, personally.”
London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said he would investigate Bolt’s complaints about the Olympic Stadium security, but noted that the restrictions “didn’t seem to slow him up too much.”
Read the full story here.
American Dremiel Byers lost, 3-0, to Riza Kayaalp of Turkey in a semifinal in the 120kg Greco-Roman division Monday at ExCel North Arena.
Charles Betts lost his round-of-eight match, 3-0, to Pablo Enrique Shorey Hernandez of Cuba in the 84kg division.
Neither wrestler is necessarily finished. It’s a single-elimination tournament for gold and silver, but any wrestler who loses to one of the two eventual finalists moves into one of two repechage groups. The repechage group winners will square off for the two bronze medals awarded in this sport.
Australia’s Tom Slingsby won the men’s Laser at Weymouth and Portland, with Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus taking the silver and Rasmus Myrgen of Sweden the bronze.
Competitors in the Laser sail in 10 races, accumulating points for each finish. The worst finish of the 10 is thrown out and then total is used to determine the top 10 sailors, who compete in one medals race. Points from that race are doubled, added to the points from the previous races, and the winner determined.
Though both teams are already guaranteed spots in the men’s water polo quarterfinals, the U.S. team still has something to play for when it faces Hungary today in the final match of group play.
Hungary has won four straight Olympic titles and topped the Americans in the gold medal match fours year ago in Beijing.
The United States has defeated Hungary just once in the past decade, a 12-9 win in a friendly last month in California.
The United States has won three of its four Olympic games in group play, while Hungary has split its four. Hungary is second to only Croatia in goals in these Summer Games (54) and has a tournament-high 26 extra-man goals.
At 5-0, Croatia is the only team with a perfect record.
American gymnast Gabby Douglas fell short of winning a third Olympic medal, finishing eighth out of eight in the women’s uneven bars final at North Greenwich Arena.
The gold went to Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, who impressed both technically and artistically to earn a score of 16.133 for a routine that was capped by a one-and-a-half twisting double-tuck dismount.
China’s He Kexin, the gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, took silver (15.933). Hers was the most technically complex routine, earning a difficulty score of 7.100.
Britain’s Beth Tweddle, 27, competing in her final Olympics, held nothing back on the execution of her routine and drew enormous cheers upon landing. Judges gave her a 15.916, marking her down for a step off the primary landing mat on her dismount. She finished with the bronze.
Douglas went last among the field of eight and had a few wobbles, earning a 14.900 for her effort.
Read the full story here.
Xu Lijia of China won gold in the women’s Laser Radial at Weymouth and Portland.
Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands won silver and Evi Van Acker of Belgium took the bronze.
American Paige Rainey was eighth out of 10 sailors in the medal race.
Competitors in the Laser Radial sail in 10 races, accumulating points for each finish. The worst finish of the 10 is thrown out and then total is used to determine the top 10 sailors, who compete in one race for the medals.
American Gabby Douglas will likely have to stage the uneven-bars performance of her life a few minutes from now to overtake specialists from China and Russia for what would be her third Olympic medal.
Eight female gymnasts qualified for today’s uneven-bars final. Douglas, 16, is the lone American among them, posting the sixth-highest score to earn the privilege. She’ll go last, which should help her gauge precisely what she needs to do.
We’re nearly midway through the final.
Up first was China’s He Kexin, who won gold on the apparatus at the 2008 Olympic Games. She scored a 15.933 for a technically difficult routine.
She was followed by Russia’s Viktoria Komova, 17, the reigning world uneven-bars champion. Komova, bitterly disappointed after finishing second to Douglas in the individual all-around, scored 15.666. It was shy of her 15.833 in qualifying, and she was consoled by her coach.
China’s Yao Jinnan, 17, scored a 15.766 and sits in second place. Britain’s Beth Tweddle, 27, the top qualifier who was greeted with deafening cheers when the gymnasts strode out, is still to perform. This will be the final event of her Olympic career.
Uneven bars routines are judged on multiple elements — swings, handstands, the amplitude of release moves and the ease with which gymnasts fly from one bar to the other. Douglas is known for getting exceptional height on her daring release moves, soaring as she performs splits above the top bar, and dismounts with an eye-popping double layout.
Arthur Zanetti of Brazil scored a 15.900 to earn the gold medal in men’s rings on Monday, stunning defending Olympic champion Chen Yibing of China, who took silver with a 15.800. Chen has won all but one of the last five world championships in the event, as well.
Matteo Morandi (15.733) of Italy won bronze.
No Americans qualified for the men’s rings final.
U.S. judoka Nick Delpopolo was disqualified from competing at the London Games by the International Olympic Committee today after he failed an in-competition drug test. Delpopolo tested positive for THC, but in a statement claimed he was unaware he had ingested it.
“My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games. I apologize to U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake. I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will re-dedicate myself to being the best judo athlete I can be.”
Delpopolo reached the quarterfinals of the men’s 73 kg competition but lost to South Korea’s Wang Ki-Chun – the world’s top ranked judoka at his weight class – by judges decision. He will not be permitted to participate in the Closing Ceremonies.
Michael Diamond of Australia retained his lead Monday after the final qualifying rounds in men’s trap and moved into the final with 125 points.
Fehaid Aldeehani of Kuwait is just one point behind Diamond.
The top six shooters after two days of qualifying compete in the final (11 a.m.), which will wrap up the shooting competition at Royal Artillery Barracks.
Flyweight Marlen Esparza won her quarterfinal bout, 24-16, over Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela.
Esparza won all four rounds. (The women fight four two-minute rounds instead of the three three-minute rounds fought by the men.)
Esparza will fight Cancan Ren of China in a semifinal bout on Wednesday.
American Dremiel Byers took a 3-0 victory over Muminjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals of the 120kg division in Greco-Roman Monday at ExCel North Arena.
He’ll face Riza Kayaalp of Turkey in a semifinal at about 10 a.m. ET.
Matthew Emmons dropped from silver to bronze on his final shot in the 50m rifle three position Monday at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Niccolo Campriani finished with 1,278.5 points, an Olympic record, to take gold. Kim Jonghyun of South Korea took advantage of Emmons’s mistake to grab the silver with 1,272.5.
Emmons, who finished fourth in this event in Beijing, finished with 1,271.3 points.
With two gold medals already, Gabby Douglas will surely command the most attention when she steps up to the uneven bars today at North Greenwich Arena, seeking to add to her medal haul.
But she’s not the only American gymnast competing in an apparatus final on Monday. Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif., who attends Michigan, will compete in the men’s vault final soon afterward.
The session gets underway shortly with the men’s rings. No Americans earned a spot in the final.
That’s followed by uneven bars at 9:54 a.m. Douglas will compete last among the eight women to qualify, so she’ll know the precise score she needs to earn gold, silver or bronze.
Uneven bars are a traditional weakness of the U.S. women, although Nastia Liukin won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Douglas is the best uneven-bars performer on the 2012 U.S. team but not considered a virtuoso like Russia’s Viktoria Komova, who burst into tears when Douglas edged her for the individual all-around but is the reigning world champion on uneven bars.
The men’s vault will follow at 10:47 a.m. ET. Mikulak will go sixth among the field of eight.
The men’s 100-meter sprinters said Sunday night that they were unaffected by a bottle thrown from the stands.
Along the way to winning two gold medals and untold hearts at the London Games, American Gabby Douglas has caught the eye of former champion Olga Korbut, who revolutionized gymnastics with her performance at the 1972 Olympics.
“She is something! I keep eye on her right away,” Korbut said in an interview this morning at North Greenwich Arena, where Douglas will compete in the uneven bars final. “She has a character, confidence. It’s very important.”
Unlike many of her rivals, Douglas performs with a joy and exuberance that’s reminiscent of Korbut, who became the darling of the 1972 Games with her dazzling and daring routines. She came away with three gold medals as part of the powerful Russian team and on balance beam and floor.
Korbut, 57, acknowledged that she sees those rare qualities in Douglas and wished more gymnasts shared them.
“This is why I first – I just keep eye on her because she is not like everybody else,” Korbut said of Douglas. “She is different. This is what I would like to see in gymnasts. Personality. Smile. Joy. Beauty. Grace.”
Douglas, of Virginia Beach, led the U.S. women’s gymnastics squad to the team gold on July 29. Two days later, she won the individual all-around gold. Today she goes for her a gold when the uneven bars final is held (9:54 a.m. ET).
It’s the first of two apparatus finals Douglas will contest. She also qualified for Tuesday’s balance beam final, which will bring her 2012 Olympics to an end.
Douglas will face tough competition to win a medal today, having qualified sixth among the eight gymnasts to earn a spot in the uneven bars final.
Britain’s Beth Tweddle, 27, competing in her final Olympics, posted the highest qualifying score (16.133) for a technically difficult and inspired routine. Tweddle finished fourth on the apparatus at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Also among the field: 2008 uneven bars champion He Kexin of China, who qualified second (15.999) and reigning uneven bars world champion Viktoria Komova of Russia (15.833).
Douglas’s qualifying score (15.333) was best among Americans but well back of the standard set by the top specialists.
For the second Olympics in a row, the United States won’t have a representative taking part in the finals of the men’s discus. All three American throwers failed to advance out of the qualifying round Monday morning.
Jason Young had the best throw of the trio, measuring 204 feet. It was still 4 1/2 feet short of qualifying. Lance Brooks best throw traveled 200 feet 8 inches, Jarred Rome threw 196-9.
Charles Betts beat Keitani Graham of Micronesia, 3-0, in his qualifying match in the 84kg division of Greco-Roman wrestling Monday at ExCeL North Arena.
Betts advanced to the round of eight against Pablo Enrique Shorey Hernandez of Cuba later this morning.
His teammate, Ellis Coleman, was eliminated 3-1, by Ivo Angelov of Bulgaria in the 60kg division.
A third American, Dremiel Byers, takes on Muminjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals of the 120kg division (8:54 a.m. ET).
All three Americans advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 1,500 meter race Monday morning.
Shannon Rowbury finished seventh in her heat, and her time of 4 minutes 6.03 seconds was good enough to punch her ticket into Wednesday’s semifinals. Morgan Uceny finished second in her heat with a time of 4:06.87. Running in the slower third heat, Jennifer Simpson needed a late push to place sixth with a time of 4:13.81.
Simpson ran at the tail end of a physical group but left herself in bad position to make up needed ground over the final 200 meters.
“My pace at the end was a miracle,” said Simpson, the defending world champion. “Technically, I had to make decisions. I was running really comfortably, but I really underestimated. It was a dumb thing to do.”
Ethiopa’s Abeba Aregawi had the morning’s best time, winning her heat in 4:04.55.
When the track and field events got underway last Friday here in London, middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds hopped on Twitter and posted: “Hoping for cold, rainy, windy conditions for my races in London. You know, OREGON conditions!”
It was a tweet rooted in logic. Bad weather probably represents Symmonds best chance at overtaking perhaps the most dominant middle-distance runner the world has ever seen. In the men’s 800 meters, there’s Kenya’s David Rudisha, and then there’s everybody else. The race is considered the closest these Olympics has to a sure thing in track. If Rudisha runs his race and gets favorable conditions, he’s a big favorite to win gold.
“He’s lost two races in the past three years, I believe. Both have been on cold, rainy nights,” Symmonds said. “That’s why I’ve been tweeting up a storm: pray for cold, rainy Oregon weather, please.”
Symmonds advanced to the semifinals, winning his heat in 1 minute 45.91 seconds Monday morning. Rudisha won his heat in 1:45.90, setting a slower pace and still crossing the finish line more than a half-second before anyone else.
Rudisha has posted the 10 fastest 800-meter times the world has seen in the past four years, including five of the top seven times in history. He set the world record (1:41.01) two years ago.
Symmonds said he doesn’t think Rudisha will surpass his record in London.
“This is a fast track, but given the conditions, the humidity, the rain, everything else, running through three rounds, it would surprise me if he ran a world record,” Symmonds said. “Also, this is championship running. There’s not a rabbit. We’re not going after world records, we’re trying to win medals.
“Provided I can make the finals, I’ll do everything I can to stop him.”
Check out this Post graphic on Rudisha’s superiority on the track.
Poland set a world best in the women’s kayak four 500 meters Monday in the semifinals at Eton Dorney.
Marta Walczykiewicz, Aneta Koniecna, Karolina Naja and Beata Mikolajczyk finished in 1 minute 30.338 seconds. They had finished last in their heat before setting the mark.
Earlier, Hungary and Germany both advanced to the final by winning their respective heats.
Adam van Koeverden of Canada had the top time in winning his semifinal heat in the single kayak 1,000 meters.
Van Koeverden won in 3:28.209. Max Hoff of Germany won the other semifinal heat in 3:29.294.
Martin Hollstein and Ihle Andreas of Germany and Rudolf Dombi and Roland Kokeny of Hungary won their opening heats in the kayak double 1,000 meters and advanced automatically to the final.
Peter Gelle and Erik Vlcek of Slovakia had the fastest time in the semifinals and advanced as well.
In single canoe 1000-meter semifinals, Mathieu Goubel of France had the fastest time, 3:51.811. Sebastian Brendel of Germany clocked a 3:52.111.
No Americans competed in any of the four disciplines Monday. The finals in all four events will be held Wednesday.
For three days, the U.S. hurdlers had to wait patiently, hearing their teammates rave about the conditions at Olympic Stadium. The track is fast, they were repeatedly told, the weather is ideal, the crowd is electric — a formula for incredible times in London.
“I was like, ‘Can I know this feeling?’ ” said Dawn Harper, who’s trying to defend her 2008 Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles here.
Now that the semifinal field is set, Harper and her fellow U.S. hurdlers Lolo Jones and Kellie Wells have had their instincts confirmed: the Olympic field will be incredibly talented. The first round generally features slower times, but Australian Sally Pearson put up a 12.57-second finish Monday that would’ve been good enough for silver in Beijing four years ago.
“It’s completely stacked. …I think we have some dogs out there, is what I call it,” Harper said.
Said Jones, who advanced to the semifinals with a season-best 12.68, the second-best mark in the morning heats, “I’m ready to go on to the next round and make my country, my family, my coach, everybody proud.”
The entire field will be taking aim at Pearson, who has lost just twice in the past two years. But the Americans know it’s possible. Wells beat Pearson last month here in London, finishing in 12.54 seconds. (Worth noting that Pearson was not 100 percent and one week earlier, she ran 12.4 seconds in Paris.)
“A win is a win no matter who you get it against,” Wells said. “The hurdle field is tough, as you can see. It’s just going to be who comes out and executes and does it right.”
A look at the medals that will be handed out on Monday at the Olympics.
8 a.m.: Sailing, women’s Laser radial (8 a.m.); men’s Laser (9 a.m.).
8:45 a.m.: Shooting, men’s 50m rifle three positions (8:45 a.m.), men’s trap (11 a.m.).
9 a.m.: Gymnastics, men’s rings (9 a.m.), women’s uneven bars (9:50 a.m.), men’s vault (10:41 a.m.).
9 a.m.: Equestrian, team jumping.
12:43 p.m.: Cycling, men’s sprint.
1:46 p.m: Wrestling, men’s Greco-Roman 60kg (1:46 p.m.); men’s Greco-Roman 84kg (2:21 p.m.); men’s Greco-Roman 120kg (2:56 p.m.).
2 p.m.: Track and field, women’s pole vault (2 p.m.); women’s shot put (2:15 p.m.); men’s 400 hurdles (3:45 p.m.); women’s steeplechase (4:05 p.m.); men’s 400 (4:30 p.m.).
2 p.m.: Weightlifting, men’s 105kg/231lbs.
Matthew Emmons was in second place after two rounds of qualifying in the 50m rifle three positions Monday at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Niccolo Campriani scored 1,180, eight points ahead of Emmons. Three shooters were just one point behind him.
Emmons was fourth in this event four years ago in Beijing, where he won the gold medal in 50m rifle prone.
American Jason Parker failed to qualify for the final (8:45 ET).
The U.S. women’s field hockey team, already eliminated from medal play, was embarrassed by South Africa in its final game, 7-0.
The South Africans had scored only two goals in their first four games but had little trouble finding the net against the Americans.
Because goal differential is used as a tiebreaker when determining seeding for the placement games, the drubbing dropped the Americans into Wednesday’s game to determine the 11th- and 12th-place teams in the 12-team tournament.
Symmonds won the morning’s fourth heat, crossing the finishing line in 1 minute 45.91 seconds. Solomon won his heat with a time of 1:46.05.
American Khadevis Robinson failed to advance, finishing his heat in fifth place with a time of 1:47.17.
The race favorite, Kenya’s David Rudisha, won his heat easily in 1:45.90. Rudisha has posted the world’s four fastest times this year. His best mark, in fact, is a full 1.17 seconds better than the world’s next-fastest runner.
The semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday and the finals on Thursday at Olympic Stadium.
Trying to improve on her 15th-place finish at the Beijing Games, Michelle Carter moved a step closer Monday, qualifying for the finals with a throw measuring 61 feet 1 1/2 inches. The throw was good enough for eighth place in the qualifying round. Only the top 12 advanced.
The other two Americans did not fare as well and will not appear in the night’s final round. Jillian Camarena-Williams had been the top U.S. shot-putter entering the Olympics, with the six top American finishes of the year. But her best throw in Monday’s qualifying round was 59-9 1/2, placing her 16th overall.
Tia Brooks finished in 20th place, with a top throw of 58-1 1/2.
Lolo Jones posted her best time of the year in the 100-meter hurdles, as all three Americans advanced Monday to the Olympic semifinals.
The biggest surprise of the morning heats came in the final race when Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hylton, the second-faster hurdler of the year and a four-time Olympian, hit the fifth hurdle with her trail leg and failed to advance. Foster-Hylton, the 37-year old former world champion in the event, was in tears for several minutes following the race, upset her trip to London was cut short.
Running in the same first-round heat, Jones crossed the finish line in 12.68 seconds, the second-fastest time of 24 hurdlers who advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals.
Fellow American Kellie Wells won her race, finishing in 12.69 seconds, and Dawn Harper posted a 12.75 to also advance.
The day’s top time came from Australia’s Sally Pearson, the favorite here who has posted the world’s three fastest times of the year. She finished her first-round heat in 12.57 seconds.
Both the semifinals and finals are scheduled for Tuesday at Olympic Stadium.