Rudisha and Bolt light up the Olympic Stadium
It was an evening to savour at the Olympic Stadium. At 20h00, the starting gun sounded for the final of the men’s 800m – the cue for David Rudisha to claim centre stage. The Kenyan produced one of the most spectacular performances of the entire Games, leading from the start, then turning on the pace from the second lap, before sprinting into the finish to win gold in a new world record time of 1.40.91, an achievement that saw the stadium erupt into peals of thunderous applause from an appreciative crowd. Botswana’s Nigel Amos crossed the line in second place in 1:41.73, a new junior world record, while Rudisha’s team-mate Timothy Kitum claimed bronze in 1:42.53.
Rudisha was always going to be a hard act to follow, but if there was one man who was guaranteed to raise the decibel levels further still it was Usain Bolt. At 20h55 the Jamaican became the first sprinter in history to repeat the 100m-200m double at two editions of the Games. His time of 19.32 matched the one that Michael Johnson ran at Atlanta 1996 to set what was then a new record. And to complete a proud night for Jamaica, Bolt was joined on the podium by his two compatriots Yohan Blake (19.44) and Warren Weir (19.84) for a unique one-two-three.
In the women’s javelin, the Czech Republic’s Barbora Spotakova managed to retain her title thanks to a magnificent throw of 69.55m with her fourth attempt. She was flanked on the podium by German pair Christina Obergföll (65.16m) and Linda Stahl (64.91m).
There was an American one-two in the men’s triple jump, as Christian Taylor produced a leap of 17.81m with his third attempt to take the gold, and was joined on the podium by compatriot Will Claye who also produced his best distance.17.62m, with his fourth effort. Italy’s Fabrizio Donato took the bronze with a leap of 17.38m.
And there was another US one-two in the decathlon, which ended much as it had begun, with Ashton Eaton in the driving seat. Having put in superb displays in the 100m and long jump the previous day, the American won the final event, the 1,500m to take the gold with an overall total score of 8,869 points, ahead of his compatriot Trey Hardee (8,671 pts) and Cuba’s Leonel Suarez (8,523 pts)
American women score hat-trick of football titles…
Beaten in a penalty shoot-out by Japan in the final of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, the USA women’s team exacted their revenge in the Olympic final, to take a third consecutive title, and the fourth in all. Carli Lloyd scored early in each half to hand the defending champions a 2-1 victory, with Japan’s consolation goal coming from Yuki Ogimi just after the hour mark. That meant that the USA’s women have won all but one of the titles since women’s football was first introduced at Atlanta 1996... In the third-place match, Canada’s Diana Matheson scored in the last minute of normal time to defeat France 1-0 and secure the bronze.
...and a maiden gold in the water polo
The US women’s water polo team followed the lead of their footballing team-mates to claim a first ever gold, defeating Spain 8-5 thanks to five goals from Maggie Steffens and a superb performance from keeper Betsey Armstrong. Meanwhile, Australia eventually overcame Hungary 13-11 after extra time to clinch the bronze.
Nicola Adams makes history in the ring
Great Britain’s Nicola Adams will forever be remembered as women boxing’s first Olympic champion. The flyweight (-51kg) contested the first of the three women’s finals at the ExCeL, against China’s Ren Cancan, securing a resounding 16-7 points victory. Next up, it was the turn of the lightweight category (-60kg), in which Ireland’s Katie Taylor edged a tight contest with Sofya Ochigava of Russia by a score of 10-8.. Finally, in the middleweight category (-75kg), the 17-year old American Claressa Shields defeated an opponent almost twice her age, 33-year old Russian Nadezhda Torlopova, by an impressive 19-12 scoreline.
Second dressage gold for Charlotte Dujardin
Having already contributed to gold for the host nation in the team dressage, Charlotte Dujardin, on her mount Valegro, turned on the style once again to wow the Greenwich Park public with her Grand Prix Freestyle routine which helped her clinch the individual title. The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen (on Parzival) secured the silver, while Dujardin’s team-mate, Laura Bechtolsheimer (on Mistral Hojris) added a bronze to the gold she had won in the team event.
‘Headhunter’ Jones blazes gold trail in taekwondo
Jade Jones made history by winning Great Britain’s first ever taekwondo gold in the final of the women’s 49-57kg competition. Nicknamed “the Headhunter” due to her penchant for delivering high kicks at her opponents, the Briton was too strong for China’s Hou Yuzhou, earning a 6-4 victory to top the podium. She was joined by France’s Marlène Harnois (silver) and Tseng Li-Cheng of Chinese Taipei (bronze). In the men’s competition, Turkey’s Servet Tazegül outfought Iran’s Mohammed Bagheri Motamed 6-5 in the final of the 58-68kg weight category, leaving American Terrence Jennings and Afghanistan’s Rohullah Nikpai to share the third step of the podium. Nikpai, who also won bronze at Beijing 2008, retained his status as the only Afghan medallist at the Olympic Games.
Double diving double for Chen Ruolin
Just as she did as a 15-year old Olympic debutant at Beijing 2008, where she won both the synchronised high board (with Wang Xin) and the women’s individual event, China’s Chen Ruolin secured double diving gold in London. Having partnered Wang Hao to glory in the synchronised event, she then defended her title in the individual 10m platform to add to China’s success at the Aquatics Centre. Chen top scored with each of her five dives in the final, just as she had done throughout the competition. Her consistently brilliant execution enabled her to take gold with an incredible total of 422.30, well clear of second-placed Brittany Broben of Australia, who notched 366.50 and bronze medallist Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong on 359.20.
Brink and Reckermann rule in the beach volleyball
Down on Horse Guards Parade, German duo Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann produced one of the upsets of the Games as they became the first ever European combo to win an Olympic beach volleyball tournament. In the final they took just over an hour to put pay to the ambitions of hot favourites Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego of Brazil by two sets to one Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins claimed the bronze, overcoming Dutch duo Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil by the same scoreline in the third-place.
Risztov edges women’s 10km marathon
Having competed in the 400m, 800m and 4x100m relay, Hungary’s ÉvaRisztov switched from the pool to the majestic setting of the Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake, in central London, for the women’s 10km marathon. The versatile Hungarian, who a decade earlier had enjoyed considerable success over the shorter distances – winning six European titles in a variety of disciplines and three silvers at the 2003 Worlds in Barcelona, returned from a four-year absence in 2009 to reinvent herself as an open water specialist. And in London she surged to victory in the marathon in a time of 1h57:38.2, just four hundredths of a second ahead of USA’s Haley Anderson, while Italy’s Martina Grimaldi came in just over three seconds later, to claim bronze.
Japanese wrestlers make it three out of four
At the ExCeL, Saori Yoshida overcame Russia’s Valeria Zholobova in two rounds to clinch the 48-55kg title in the women’s freestyle wrestling, taking Japan’s tally in the discipline to three out of a possible four gold medals. Colombia’s Jackeline Renteria and Azerbaijani Yuliya Ratkevich each claimed a bronze. Russia fared better in the 63-72kg category, where Natalia Vorobieva secured the gold in categorical fashion, scoring a fall against her Bulgarian opponent. Kazakhstan’s Guzel Manyurova and Spaniard Maider Unda completed the podium line-up.
Germans lead kayak gold rush at Eton Dorney
German kayak duo Peter Kretschmer and Kurt Kuschela swept to victory in the final of the men’s K-2 500m at Eton Dorney. They crossed the finish line almost two seconds ahead of Belarusian brothers Andrei and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich, who in turn finished well clear of third-placed Alexey Korovashkov and Ilya Pervukhin of Russia. The final of, the K-4 1000m was a much tighter affair, in which the Australian quartet of Tate Smith, Dave Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear clinched victory, a mere 5/100th of a second ahead of the Hungarian kayak, who in turn crossed the finish line with a fractional advantage over the Czech crew.
The day after her victory in the women’s K-4 500m, Hungary’s Danuta Kozák went solo to claim her second gold in the K-1 1,500. She finished over a second ahead of Ukrainian Inna Osypenko, who in turn saw off South Africa’s Bridgette Hartley in the battle for silver. The last final of the day saw German pair Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze win gold in the women’s K-2,500m, fending off the challenge of Hungarian pair Katalin Kovacs and Nataša Dušev-Janić and Poland’s Karolina Naja and Beata Mikolajczyk.
USA and France set up final showdown in women’s basketball
Spearheaded by Tina Charles and Dana Taurasi, the USA justified their favouritism in the women’s basketball, with a comfortable 86-73 victory in their semi-final against Australia, to keep them on track for a fifth consecutive Olympic gold. While that result was fully expected, and extended their unbeaten run at the Games to an incredible 40 matches, France’s 81-64 triumph over the much fancied Russians in the other semi, inspired by their captain Céline Dumerc, was a major surprise.