King James sends Team USA cock-a-hoop
In a repeat of the Beijing 2008 final, the USA and Spain served up another scintillating encounter on the basketball court. Two minutes from the end, the result remained in the balance, when LeBron James took matters into his own hands. First “King James” produced an incredible dunk before adding three points to give the Americans a clear advantage, which they held onto to win 107-100 and retain their title. All in all, it was their 14th gold in the men’s basketball competition since 1936. The bronze went to Russia, who defeated Argentina 81-77 in a closely fought third-place match.
Russia stuns Brazil in volleyball final
In the men’s volleyball showpiece at Earls Court, the Brazilian favourites looked to be on the verge of victory over Russia, having built up a two-set lead (25-19, 25-20) and with three match balls in the third. But the towering figure of Dmitriy Muserskiy had other ideas, and the 2.18m blocker spearheaded one of the most remarkable comebacks in volleyball history, as the Russians clinched the third set 29-27, before levelling the scores at two sets apiece before winning the tie-break 15-9.Italy secured the third place on the podium with a three sets to one victory over Bulgaria.
French men hold onto handball title
France saw off a spirited challenge from Sweden in the final of the men’s handball to clinch victory by the narrowest of margins and confirm their status as the world’s top team. Their 22-21 victory earned them a second consecutive Olympic title to add to their victories in the last two World Championships and the 2010 European crown. The contest for third place was a more one-sided affair in which Croatia sealed the bronze with a 33-26 triumph over Hungary.
Marathon man Kiprotich ends Uganda’s 30-year wait
Two kilometres from the finish of the men’s marathon, Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich launched a breakaway to which none of his rivals had a response, He entered The Mall, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, in regal style, to record a time of 2h08:01, 26 seconds ahead of the Kenyan pair Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, who completed an all East African line-up on the podium. It was a special moment for Uganda, who had last won an Olympic gold back at Munich 1972, when John Akii-Bua triumphed in the men’s 400m hurdles.
Kulhavy crowned king of the mountain bike
The men’s mountain bike final on the Hadleigh Farm circuit produced a dramatic finale, as it came down to a sprint finish between Czech rider Jaroslav Kulhavý and Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, after the two had been neck and neck for most of the 35km race. In a push on the last hill, Kulhavý took the gold in a time of 1h29.07, one second ahead of his rival. Italy’s Marco Aurelio Fontana crossed the line 25 seconds later to claim the bronze.
Local hero Joshua wins battle of the super heavy weights
Kicking off a packed programme of gold medal bouts in the boxing at the ExCeL, Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua served up an impressive display against reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy in the final of the super heavy weights (+91kg) at the ExCeL. Trailing by three points in the last round, he managed to draw level at 18-18 before winning the bout via countback, to take the host nation’s final gold medal haul to 29, In the fly weight division (52kg), Cuban Robeisy Ramírez, who won a gold at the maiden Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, completed a remarkable graduation to senior level when he defeated Mongolia’s Nyambayaryn Tögstsogt 17-14 in the final. In the light weight (60kg) showpiece southpaw Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine recorded a comprehensive victory over South Korea’s Han Soon-Chul. It was the Ukrainian’s second consecutive Olympic gold, after his triumph in the feather weight division in Beijing. Kazakhstan’s Serik Sapiyev had too much for his British opponent Freddie Evans in the final of the welter weight (69kg), racking up a 17-9 victory to take the gold. The tightest contest of the day came in the light heavy weight (81kg) final, where Mekhontsev of Russia and Kazakhstan’s Adlibeck Niyazymbetov finished level on points at 15-15, and could not even be separated by a countback. In the end it came down to the decision of the judges, who awarded gold to the Russian.
Triumph for Croatia in the water polo
Beaten finalists at Atlanta 1996, Croatian men’s water polo team secured their first Olympic title, defeating Italy 8-6 in the final, with Maro Joković netting a hat-trick. The bronze medal match, an all Balkan affair, saw pre-tournament favourites Serbia edge out neighbours Montenegro by a score of 12-11.
Russians find their rhythm – yet again
Russia’s rhythmic gymnastics group of Ksenia Dudkina, Alina Makarenko, Uliana Donskova, Anastasia Bliznyuk, Karolina Sevastyanova and Anastasia Nazarenko put on brilliant performances in the five balls and then in the three ribbons and two hoops to secure a fourth consecutive Olympic gold in the all-around competition and underline their dominance of the sport. With a total of 57.500, the Russians finished well clear of the groups of Belarus (55.500) and Italy (55.450), who took silver and bronze respectively.
The final combat
In the freestyle wrestling at the ExCeL, Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu defeated Indonesian Sushil Kumar 0-3, 3-0, 6-3 in the final of the 66kg category, with Cuba’s Liván López and Akzhurek Tanatarov of Kazakhstan taking bronze. In the 96kg category, Jake Warner won a second wrestling gold for the USA with a 1-0, 1-0 victory over Ukraine’s Valeriy Andriytsev, leaving Azerbaijan’s Khetag Gazyumov and Georgia’s Giorgi Gogshelidze to share the bronze.
Women’s pentathlon provides five-star finale
Bringing the curtain down on 16 days of competition at London 2012 was the women’s modern pentathlon. Lying fourth in the overall rankings after the 200m swimming, Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaitė took control of the competition a superb performance in the show jumping. In the final event, the combined run-shoot, she faced stiff competition from Brazil’s Yane Marques and Great Britain’s Samantha Murray, but in the end proved too fast for her rivals, crossing the finish line in first to record a new Olympic record total score of 5,408 points. Murray claimed the silver – the host nation’s 65th medal of London 2012 – leaving Marques to settle for the bronze.
Goodbye London, hello Rio!
The Olympic Stadium took centre stage once again for the Closing Ceremony, during which the President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge hailed the London 2012 Games as “happy and glorious”. The scene was by a huge graphic representation of the Union Jack flag, as British rock and pop music was again very much to the fore, including emotional tributes to Queen singer Freddie Mercury and John Lennon, with a rendition of his famous song Imagine. The Spice Girls reformed specially for the occasion to give a life performance of their hit single Wannabe, while Monty Python star Eric Idle appeared on stage to lead the crowd through a singalong of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Also featuring on the evening’s play list was the music of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Oasis, Muse, the Bee Gees, the Kinks, and David Bowie. Meanwhile, DJ Fatboy Slim, heated up the atmosphere, as he emerged from giant inflatable octopus to perform his dance anthems Right Here, Right Now and The Rockafeller Skank. After completing a final parade around the Olympic Stadium track, the athletes of the 204 participating National Olympic Committees converged into the middle of the arena to let their hair down and dance. At 23h20, London’s mayor, Boris Johnson handed the Olympic flag to Jacques Rogge, who in turn passed it to Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, which is set to host the next edition of the Summer Games in 2016. Lord Sebastian Coe, head of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) thanked the 70,000 volunteers who had earned the right to boast “I made the Games”.Lord Coe added: Our opening ceremony proclaimed that these would be a Games for everyone. At our closing ceremony, we can say that these were a Games by everyone.” The last word was accorded to Jacques Rogge, who expressed the sentiments of everyone when he said, simply: “Thank you London!” At a minute past midnight, the 204 copper petals that had come together to form the Olympic flame two weeks earlier were extinguished. The legendary rock group, The Who then took centre stage to perform a concert for the athletes and the 80,000 spectators inside the stadium. Up above, the East London sky was once more illuminated by a giant firework display, as the world bid a fond farewell to London, and to London 2012!