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The athletics got underway at the Olympic Stadium, with Poland’s Thomas Majewski claiming the first gold up for grabs in the men’s shot put with a throw of 21.89m in his sixth attempt, which was enough to put him ahead of Germany’s David Storl, whose second throw of 21.86m had kept him in the lead until the final round; the USA’s Reese Hoffa took the bronze with a best throw of 21.23m. At 21h25 the starting gun sounded for the women’s 10,000m. Just over half an hour later, Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba crossed the finish line after surging ahead on the last lap. In doing so she became the first female athlete in history to retain her Olympic title over the distance. It was another majestic first for the Ethiopian, who had become the first female athlete to complete a 5000m and 10000m Olympic double.
Michael Phelps competed in his last ever individual race in the final of the men’s 100m butterfly. Lying third as he went into the second length, he then put on a burst of speed to pick off his rivals and touch the wall first in 51.21, ahead of South Africa’s Chad Le Clos, who had denied him in the 200m butterfly, and Russian Evgeny Korotyshkin, who claimed the silver in 51.44. It was Phelps’ third gold at London 2012, and his 17th overall, taking his cumulative Olympic medal haul from three editions of the Games to 21, to further cement his status as the most decorated Olympian in history. Moreover, just as he had done in the 200m individual medley a day earlier, he became the first swimmer in history to claim the title three times.
Phelps’ teenage compatriot Missy Franklin was also making waves in the pool, as she set a new world record of 2:04.06 in the women’s 200m backstroke, to take her own London 2012 gold haul to three. Russia’s Anastasia Zueva took silver, while Franklin’s compatriot Elizabeth Beisel claimed the bronze. There was yet more joy for the USA in the pool, as 15-year old Katie Ledecky won the women’s 800m in 8:14.63, more than four seconds ahead of Spain’s Mieria Belmonte, meanwhile the defending Olympic champion, Rebecca Adlington gave the home crowd something to cheer as she touched the line in third to secure the bronze. Rounding off the day’s action at the Aquatics Centre, Florent Manaudou secured an unprecedented fourth gold medal for France, as he raced to victory in the men’s 50m freestyle in a time of 21.34, a fifth of a second ahead of the USA’s Cullen Jones in second, and a quarter of a second ahead of reigning champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil.
Buoyed by an enthusiastic public, Great Britain’s cyclists enjoyed another successful day in the Olympic Velodrome. First, Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh obliterated the Australian quartet in the team pursuit final, setting a new world record of 3:51.659. New Zealand’s “All Blacks” got the better of Russia in the bronze medal contest. And later that day, local favourite Victoria Pendleton had too much for China’s Guo Shuang and Hong Kong’s Lee Wai-sze, as she sprinted to victory in the women’s keirin final.
In the tennis, it was semi-finals day in the men’s and women’s singles, and the Wimbledon crowds witnessed four thrilling contests that yielded the prospect of two dream finals. Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer saw off Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, after clinching a marathon third set 19-17, to reach the men’s singles final and assure himself a first ever individual Olympic medal. Standing between him and the gold was home favourite Andy Murray, who defeated Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the other semi-final. In the last four of the women’s singles, Serena Williams saw off Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, while Russia’s Maria Sharapova got the better of her compatriot Maria Kirilenko, to set up a dream final on Wimbledon’s centre court.
At the ExCeL, the judo reached its climax with the heavyweight competitions for men (+100kg) and women (+78kg). France’s Teddy Riner – the only male judoka in history to win five world championship titles, was in imperious form as, one by one, he forced each of his opponents into critical errors. In the final, cheered on by a large and noisy contingent of his followers, the giant Frenchman felled Russia’s Alexander Mikhaylin by waz-ari. to become Olympic champion at just 23. In the women’s heavyweight final, Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz and Japan’s Mika Sugimoto squared off in an tightly contested final, which had to be decided by a golden score, in which the judges gave the decision, and the gold, to Ortiz.
Belarusian Sergei Martynov, who was competing at his sixth Games, produced a brilliant display of marksmanship in the 50m rifle prone at the Royal Artillery Barracks. In the qualification round, he recorded a maximum score of 600 to set a new world record. And in the final he set another world record of 705.5 to claim his first Olympic gold. He was joined on the podium by Belgium’s Lionel Cox and Rajmond Debevec of Slovenia. Cuba’s Leuris Pupo was equally superlative in the final of the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol, where his score of 34 set another world record, and was enough to secure him top spot on the podium, ahead of Indonesia’s Vijay Kumar and China’s Ding Feng. There was more fine marksmanship on display across the city at Lord’s Cricket Ground, where South Korean Oh Jin-Hyek was too strong for Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa in the final of the men’s individual archery, securing a resounding 7-1 victory to win gold. China’s Dai Xiaoxiang defeated Dutch archer Rick van der Ven in the battle for bronze.
At Eton Dorney, the British fans had more local heroes to cheer, as Anna Watkins and Catherine Grainger won gold in the final of the women’s double sculls in convincing style, finishing almost three seconds ahead of silver medallists Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley of Australia, and more than 11 seconds ahead of third-placed Polish pair Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska. In the men’s coxless pairs, New Zealand’s Eric Murray and Hamish Bond were equally impressive as they eased to victory over French duo Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette and local pair George Nash and William Satch. There was more joy for the Kiwis in the single sculls, where the current world champion Mahé Drysdale, who had dominated in each of the rounds, retained his supremacy in the final to claim the gold ahead of the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Synek and Great Britain’s Alan Campbell. And to complete a busy day in the rowing, the German quartet of Karl Schulze, Philipp Wende, Lauritz Schoof and Tim Grohmann were crowned Olympic champions in the quadruple sculls after seeing off the challenge the Croatian and Australian boats.
Following the completion of the artistic gymnastics, trampoline took centre stage at the North Greenwich Arena, with the men’s competition being won by China’s Dong Dong, ahead of Russia’s Dmitri Outchakov and his compatriot and defending champion Lu Chunlong.
In the badminton at Wembley, the final of the mixed doubles was an all-Chinese affair. Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunei saw off their compatriots Xu Chen and Ma Jin in two sets, leaving Danish duo Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen to claim the bronze.
In the fencing, the South Korean quartet of Gu Bon-Gil, Kim Jung-Hwan, Oh Eun-Seok and Won Woo-Young defeated their Romanian counterparts in the final of the men’s team sabre 45-26. Italy had a tougher time of it in the bronze medal contest, but finally overcame Russia by a scoreline of 45-40.
In the Men’s -85kg weightlifting, Poland’s Adrian Zielinski finished on 385kg and won gold. Iranian Kianoush Rostami clinched the bronze with a total lift of 380kg.