Bolt cements place in history
By anchoring Jamaica to glory in the final leg of the men’s 4x100m relay, Usain Bolt further enhanced his status as an Olympic legend, becoming the first athlete to win a 100m, 200m and relay treble and the first runner in history to amass six gold medals in the sprint disciplines. The Caribbean nation’s victory, accomplished in a world record time of 36.84 -the first sub-37 second finish in history - came courtesy of solid legs by Nesta Carter and Michael Frater and a sensational bend by Yohan Blake, which set up Bolt for an explosive burst down the home straight. The USA (Kimmons, Gatlin, Gay and Bailey) finished second in 37.04 (a national record), with Trinidad & Tobago (Bledman, Burns, Callender and Thompson) coming in third in 38.12.
Bolt did not have the limelight all to himself, however, as British long-distance specialist Mo Farah became just the seventh man to achieve a 5,000m/10,000m double at the same Games. In front of a boisterous 80,000 capacity crowd, the home favourite took the lead in the penultimate lap of the 5,000m final and held off the challenges of Dejen Gebremeskel (ETH) and Thomas Longosiwa (KEN) to claim the gold in 13:41.66.
It was also a fruitful day for the Russians, who picked up no fewer than four golds, one silver and two bronzes in the track and field events. In the women’s 20km race walk, Elena Lashmanova powered past compatriot Olga Kaniskina in the last 300 metres to become Olympic champion. China’s Shenjie Qieyang earned bronze. In the men’s 50km walk, Sergey Kirdyapkin set a new Olympic record of 3:35:59, finishing comfortably ahead of Jared Talent (AUS) and Tianfeng Si (CHN). Anna Chicherova sprang to victory in the women’s high jump, clearing 2.05m to defeat American Brigetta Barrett (silver) and Russian team-mate Svetlana Shkolina (bronze), who both recorded efforts of 2.03m. The fourth Russian gold-medal winning performance was delivered by Mariya Savinova, who added the women’s 800m Olympic title to a CV that included a 2011 World Championship triumph in the same event. Crossing the line in an impressive 1:56.19, the fastest time of 2012, she proved just too strong for South Africa’s Caster Semenya (1:57.23), who surged from last place to second in the final 250 metres, and fellow Russian Ekaterina Poistogova (1:57.53), who claimed the bronze.
Day 15 saw Allyson Felix enjoy further success in the Olympic Stadium, running a superb second leg in the women’s 4x400m relay as the American quartet (which also featured DeeDee Trotter, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross) romped home in 3:16.87, almost four seconds faster than the Russians, who pipped Jamaica to the silver. In landing her third gold medal, Felix became the most successful female track athlete of London 2012.
Meanwhile, a fine second attempt of 84.58m saw Keshorn Walcott win the men’s javelin contest, becoming just the second Olympic champion in Trinidad & Tobago’s sporting history (after Hasely Crawford in the men’s 100m at Montreal 1976). Ukrainian Oleksandr Pyatnytsya’s third attempt of 84.51m was enough for silver, while Finland’s Antti Ruuskanen landed the bronze.
Mexican first prolongs Brazilian hoodoo
Wembley Stadium hosted the final of the men’s Olympic football tournament, and the match did not disappoint, as an Oribe Peralta brace helped Mexico to pull off a surprise and unprecedented 2-1 victory over Brazil. The Santos Laguna forward’s clinical strikes in the first and 75th minute were countered by a lone reply from Hulk in stoppage time. For Brazil, the result extended their long run of disappointment at the Olympic Games, where the five-time World Cup winners have never succeeded in landing the football gold. For Mexico, however, it proved to be an unforgettable afternoon in the London sun.
US women’s basketballers crowned again
The American women’s basketball team continued their all-conquering Olympic run, disposing of France 86-50 in the final to extend their unbeaten series to five consecutive Games, or sixteen years. Candace Parker scored 21 points in what was the team’s 41st Olympic win in a row. The French had to settle for a historic silver, while Australia overcame Russia 83-74 in the bronze medal match.
Boudia ends long wait for USA
There was high drama at the Aquatics Centre, where David Boudia (USA) produced a magnificent sixth and final dive to snatch the gold medal from China’s Bo Qui in the 10m platform final by 1.8 points. Consequently, the Texas native, who was awarded a remarkable score of 102.60, became the first American diver to win gold since Greg Louganis at Seoul 1988. The podium was completed by home favourite Tom Daley.
Kanaeva takes all-round title
At Wembley Arena, there was a performance for admiring fans to savour in the rhythmic gymnastics as Evgeniya Kanaeva (RUS) lived up to her status as the sport’s top exponent. Outstanding with the ball, club, hoop and ribbon, the reigning world champion comfortably retained the Olympic individual all-round gold she had won in style at Beijing 2008. The silver and bronze medal places were filled by her compatriot Daria Dmitrieva and Belarusian Liubou Charkashyna respectively.
Dominant display earns Bresset maiden gold
At Hadleigh Farm, 23-year-old Julie Bresset became the youngest Olympic cross-country mountain bike champion since the sport’s introduction to the Games in 1996. The Frenchwoman broke away from the pack towards the end of the first of six 4.8km laps, and gradually increased her lead to cross the line a minute clear of Germany’s Sabine Spitz. Georgia Gould (USA) was third, a further six seconds behind.
Spanish sailors enjoy match racing triumph
In the Elliott 6m sailing competition, a women’s match racing event in which two boats compete head-to-head, and which was making its Olympic debut at London 2012, Spain’s trio of Tamara Echegoyen, Angela Pumariega and Sofia Toro emerged victorious from their final with Australia (Lucinda Whitty, Nina Curtis and Olivia Price) by a score of 3-2. The Finnish crew got the better of their Russian counterparts in the “petite final”.
Norway retain handball honours
Just as they did in 2008, the Norway’s women secured Olympic gold in the handball competition. The defending world champions proved just too strong for Montenegro’s formidable European Championship-winning side, stepping up a gear in the final minutes to win 26-23. The silver was the Montenegrins’ first Olympic medal as an independent nation. Spain earned a place on the podium by beating the Republic of Korea 31-29 in the bronze medal game.
Germans crowned kings of the hockey pitch
The showpiece match of the men’s hockey competition pitted the Netherlands, six-time finalists and two-time gold medallists, against Germany, who were making their fourth appearance in the final since 1936, three of which – including Beijing 2008 – ended in victory. The Germans opened the scoring in the 33rd minute via a fine solo effort by Jan-Philipp Rabente, but Dutch penalty corner specialist Mink van der Weerden equalised halfway through the second period. With five minutes to go, Rabente pounced again to hand his side a memorable 2-1 success. The bronze medal went to Australia, who dispatched Great Britain 3-1.
Brazil reign supreme in women’s volleyball
The Brazilian women’s volleyball team attained back-to-back Olympic titles at Earls Court, prevailing over the United States in four sets (11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17). Japan saw off South Korea 3-0 to gain the bronze.
Svoboda tops pentathlon pile
Boasting 26 fencing victories, a 200m freestyle swimming time of 2:04.84, a show jumping score of 77.28 and a marvellous triumph (in 10:33.02) in the combined pistol shooting/cross-country run event, David Svoboda (CZE) finished top of the modern pentathlon standings with a total score of 5,928 points, above China’s Zhongrong Cao (5,904) and Hungary’s Adam Marosi (5,764).
Curtain drawn at Eton Dorney
Eton Dorney played host to the last day of canoe and kayak finals, with the new sprint distance of 200m proving popular with fans. In the K-1 event, British kayaker Ed McKeever surged to gold in 36.246 ahead of Spaniard Saul Craviotto (36.540) and Canadian Mark de Jonge (36.657). The C-1 final over the same distance saw Ukrainian canoeist Iurii Cheban cruise over the line in 42.291, relegating Lithuania’s Jevgenij Shuklin (42.792) and Russia’s Ivan Shtyl (42.853) to the lower echelons of the podium. In the women’s K-1, Lisa Carrington (NZL) left it late to pip Inna Osypenko (UKR) and Natasa Janic (HUN) at the line in 44.638 seconds. Finally, in the men’s K-2 200m class, the powerful Russian duo of Yuri Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko stormed to the gold medal in 33.507, while Belarus (34.266) won the battle for silver with Great Britain (34.421).
Champions determined in combat sports
On the wrestling mats at the ExCeL, three golds were handed out in the men’s freestyle categories. Toghrul Asgarov (AZE) was in magisterial form in the 60kg final, defeating Besik Kudukhov (RUS) in two rounds (1-0, 5-0). Coleman Scott (USA) and Yogeshwar Dutt (India) shared third place on the podium. It turned out to be a productive day all-round for Azerbaijan, as Sharif Sharifov claimed the 84kg title against Spain’s Jaime Espinal, also in two rounds (6-1, 2-0). The bronze medals went to Dato Marsagishvili (GEO) and Ehsan Lashgari (IRI). In the 120kg division, the heaviest at the Games, Artur Taymazov (UZB) came out on top of a close contest (1-0, 1-0) with Georgian Davit Modzmanashvili, while Iran’s Komeil Ghasemi and Russia’s Bilyal Makhov finished third.
Of the ten men’s boxing titles being contested at London 2012, five were decided on day 15. The light flyweight (49kg) crown was captured by Shiming Zou (CHN), who beat Kaeo Pongprayoon (THA) 13-10. In the bantamweight division (56kg), British boxer Luke Campbell got the home crowd on their feet in his 14-11 victory over Ireland’s John Joe Nevin, while Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias recorded a 22-15 result versus Ukrainian Denys Berinchyk in the light welterweight (64kg) final. Ryota Murata (JPN) became Olympic middleweight (75kg) champion, overcoming Esquiva Fiorentino (BRA) in a closely contested bout (14-13). Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk earned the last gold medal of the day by overpowering Clemente Russo (ITA) 14-11in the final of the heavyweight (91kg) category. All of the bronze medals were determined the previous evening.
It was a busy day at the ExCeL, as fans were treated to two gold medal matches in a third combat sport, taekwondo. In the women’s 67kg final, Serbian Milica Mandic triumphed over France’s Anne-Caroline Graffe 9-7, with Anastasia Baryshnikova (RUS) and Maria Espinoza (MEX) taking bronze. There was no shortage of suspense in the men’s 80kg final, where Italy’s Carlo Molfetta squared off with Anthony Obame of Gabon. The fight ended level on points, 9-9, but after an extra-time period that produced no further scoring, Molfetta was declared the winner by the judges on superiority. Third-placed Robelis Despaigne (CUB) and Xiaobo Liu (CHN) accompanied the finalists onto the podium.