The next to last day of competition brought thrills all over the place, but especially at the track. Thus, we start there. As always, spoilers abound for NBC's primetime coverage.
Simply The Best The anticipation for the men's 4x100 relay was palpable for one reason: Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and the rest of the Jamaican team. The United States were considered the only team that had a chance, and they did run well, tying the world record of 37.04. The problem was Jamaica was even better, running an absurd 36.84 to set a new world record. The US led halfway through, but Blake drew even with Tyson Gay almost immediately, and as good as Ryan Bailey is, he had no chance against Bolt. Trinidad and Tobago took bronze after Canada was heartbreakingly disqualified for a lane violation.
Once again, Usain Bolt has become the dominant worldwide story of an Olympics. He has indicated in press conferences that this could be his last Olympics. While Jamaica will be fine without him thanks to Blake and their never ending sprinting farm system, it would be hard to imagine track and field without him. He has practically the entire sport of track and field. We can only hope he decided to go onto Rio in four years. It still doesn't feel like we've seen the totality of what he can do.
We Can Dominate Too The women's 4x400 relay looked like a rout on paper, and that's exactly what happened. The US team of DeeDee Trotter, Allyson Felix, Francena McCororyk, and Sanya Richards-Ross left no doubt, winning the gold by 3.5 seconds over Russia and Jamaica. It was Felix's third gold medal of these Olympics.
The United States won one another medal today at Olympic Stadium. Brigetta Barrett won a silver in the women's high jump. Anna Chicherova of Russia took the gold. The goal for US track and field was 30 medals. With only the men's marathon left, the team currently has 29 medals, nine of them gold. Not bad.
Britain's Olympic Capstone It's been an incredible Olympics for the host county Great Britain, and today one of its biggest stars came through again. Mo Farah took the lead with 2 laps to go in a very slowed paced 5000, and held off a late charge from Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethopia and Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya to win the gold medal. That gives Farah the 5000-10000 double and sent the Olympic Stadium crowd into a frenzy. America's Bernard Lagat was in good position at the end, but was tripped up as he was starting his finishing kick on the final stretch and finished 4th. Galen Rupp and Lopez Lomong couldn't quite handle the fast pace of the final lap and finished 7th and 10th respectively.
Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat Both the US women's basketball and women's volleyball teams played for gold today, but the results were complete opposite. The women's basketball team walked all over France 86-50 to win their fifth straight gold medal. The volleyball team got off to a great start against Brazil, winning the first set 25-11. From there though, it all fell apart. Brazil took the next three sets to take the gold. Many times winning a silver medal is an honor, and in a long run, it certainly should feel that way for the Americans. Right now though, I'm guessing it doesn't feel very good.
A Titanic Upset China dominates diving, and these Games have been no exception. Going into today's men's 10 meter platform event, China had won 6 of 7 events so far. Most of those winners were heavy favorites, and Qiu Bo in the platform event might have been the biggest favorite of all. Meanwhile, American David Boudia and British heartthrob Tom Daley struggled to get out of the preliminaries, with Boudia taking the 18th and last transfer spot.
However, both Boudia and Daley rebounded in the semifinals to qualify easy, and in the final, the two matched Qiu Bo dive for dive. Going into the final dive, Daley had the lead, but by a miniscule .15 points over both Boudia and Bo, who were tied for second. Daley went first on the final dive and scored well, 90.25 points. Boudia, however, scored even better, a whopping 102.60 points on a fantastic dive. Qui Bo went last and gave it everything he had, but could only score 100.80 points. Just like that, David Boudia became an Olympic gold medalist, and Qiu Bo was left shocked with a silver medal. Daley took bronze. Boudia is the first American to win a diving gold medal since 1992. Despite all the American gold these Olympics, there haven't really been any huge upset winners. Boudia certainly qualifies.
Other US Medals Team USA also won two bronzes today. The first was by Georgia Gould in the women's mountain bike race. The second was by Coleman Scott in the men's 60 kg freestyle wrestling class.
Not surprisingly, this is a big recap, so read on to the next page for more.
Day 15 Olympic Recap