Was there actually a curse upon the 2012 Olympic flag-bearers?
The U.S. men's basketball team faces Spain in a rematch of the 2008 gold medal game and the London Olympics wrap up with the Closing Ceremonies.
Twenty-year-old Elena Lashmanova took a dramatic victory in the women’s 20-kilometer race walk on The Mall, passing countrywoman and pace setter Olga Kaniskina just yards from the finish line to become the youngest gold medalist in the event. And she did it in a world record time of 1 hour 25.02 seconds.
Kaniskina, the gold medalist from the Beijing Games and current world champion, had to settle for silver after leading for almost the entire race.
Shenjie Qieyang won the bronze.
Russia took three of the top five spots in the race. Anisya Kirdyapkina, wife of the gold medalist in the men’s 50k event earlier in the day, finished fifth.
Sergey Kirdyapkin of Russia won the country’s first gold in the men’s 50-kilometer race walk since the breakup of the Soviet Union, finishing in an Olympic-record time of 3 hours 35.59 seconds.
Jared Tallent of Australia, a silver medalist four years ago in Beijing, repeated that performance, finishing in 3:36.53, also under the Olympic record of 3:37.09.
Si Tianfeng of China was grinding by the final lap but determined to finish with a medal after having such a large lead for part of the race. Si, who was 17th four years ago in Beijing, gave China its first medal in this event.
Kirdyapkin, a police officer when he’s not competing, won the world race walking championship at this distance this year and won this event at the world track and field championships a year ago. Four years ago in Beijing, he was unable to finish this event.
Robert Heffernan of Ireland, who made a late charge on the leaders, outsprinted – so to speak – Igor Erochkin at the line to finish fourth, to the delight of the many Irish fans in the crowd that lined the course on the Mall.
Si Tianfeng of China built a large lead in the men’s 50-kilometer race walk, then came the Russians, three of them.
Only Sergey Kirdyapkin managed to pass Si and stay in front, leading after 40 kilometers. Russians Sergey Bakulin and Igor Erohkin fell back with Si, along with Jared Tallent of Australia.
By the 45-kilometer point, Si and Tallent had passed the Russians and were side by side in second place.
Britain’s Nathan Deakes and Sergey Bakulin of Russia were tied for the lead at the timed halfway point of the men’s 50-meter race walk.
There’s a long way to go.
The four-time defending champ U.S. women's basketball team takes on France in the final and eight gold medals are up for grabs in track & field on a busy Day 15 of the London Olympics.
The U.S. men's basketball team faces Argentina in the semifinals and a slew of gold medals are up for grabs in track & field on another busy day of competition at the London Olympics.
Ashton Eaton maintained his lead in the decathlon Wednesday morning despite placing 11th in the shot put with a throw of 14.66 meters (48 feet 1 1/4 inches).
Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Karpov put the shot 16.03 meters (52 feet 7 1/4 inches), winning the event, moving him from 12th to sixth in the competition.
Eaton, who won both the 100-meter run and the long jump, now has 2,848 points. American Trey Hardee closed the gap some, finishing fifth in the shot put at 15.28 meters (50 feet 1 3/4 inches) on his final toss. That gives him 2,743 points, a deficit of 105 points with seven events to go.
Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov sits third, 184 points behind Eaton, the world-record holder from Oregon.
The first day of the decathlon concludes with two more events at Olympic Stadium tonight — the high jump and the 400 meters.
Ashton Eaton, the world-record holder in the decathlon, won the long jump competition Wednesday morning to increase his lead after the first two of 10 events.
Eaton, the Oregonian who is among the favorites here, jumped 8.03 meters (26 feet 4 1/4 inches) on his final jump, good for 1,068 points. That was nearly .4 meters further than the next long jumper, Belgium’s Hans Van Alphen.
American Trey Hardee, the world champion, posted the fifth-longest jump at 7.53 meters.
After the first two events — the 100 meters and long jump — Eaton, who won both events, has a commanding lead with 2,079 points. Hardee is second, 143 points back, with Canada’s Damian Warner in third, trailing by 154.
The shot put is the next decathlon event, scheduled for 8:10 a.m. ET.