It was an active day at the gym, at the track, and everywhere in between on Day 11 of the 2012 London Olympics, so let's get right down to business. As always, spoilers of NBC's primetime coverage lurk here.
Floor Redemption A few days ago, Aly Raisman lost the bronze medal in the gymnastics all-around on a tiebreaker. Today though, on the final day of gymnastics, she was the star. Her day started with a bronze on balance beam, won after a successful protest of her score. Her day ended with gold on the floor exercise. While it was Raisman's day, the same can not be said for Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber. Douglas fell during her balance beam routine and finished 7th, while Wieber struggled on her floor routine and also finished 7th. It wasn't a perfect Olympics for the US women, but overall it was as good as can be expected.
The balance beam gold was won by Linlin Deng of China. On the men's side, the parallel bars was won Zhe Feng of China, and the high bar was won Epke Zonderland (name of the Games) of the Netherlands (Danell Leyva was 5th, Jonathan Horton 6th for Team USA).
An Exciting Night of Track The biggest event of the day was the women's 110 meter hurdles. All three Americans made the final, including Lolo Jones. However, it was Sally Pearson of Australia who took the gold, beating the defending gold medalist Dawn Harper by .02 seconds on a lean. Harper's American teammate Kellie Wells took the bronze, while Jones, despite not being all that impressive this year, finished 4th.
Team USA won a good number of medals tonight on the track, although none of them were gold. In the men's high jump, Erik Kynard won the silver, just out jumped by Russian Ivan Ukhov. It was a tight field, as evidenced by the three bronze medals that were awarded. The men's 1500 meters though might have the most controversal winner yet. Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria won the race, just a day after he was nearly kicked out of the Olympics for blatantly tanking his 800 meter race. He only stayed in the 1500 after his coaches claimed an injury. Yeah, sure. Leo Manzano won the silver for the United States, while Matt Centrowitz's powerful finishing kick left him just .04 out of the medals. Ouch.
The other track and field winner today was Robert Harting of Germany in men's discus. The women's 200 had their semifinals as well, and everyone that mattered (Felix, Richards-Ross, Fraser-Pryce, Campbell-Brown, Jeter) qualified for the final. The men's 110 meter hurdles also began. Pat already covered the sad story of Liu Xiang.
USA! USA! We Americans love women's beach volleyball during the Olympics, and we will get a treat, as both American women's teams advanced to the gold medal final. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings defeated China in two tight sets, while April Ross and Jen Kessy upset the top seeded Brazilians in three sets.
Team USA Update The women's water polo team advanced to the gold medal match today, defeating Australia 11-9 in the semifinals (I mistakenly called today's games the quarterfinals in yesterday's recap, my error). The match required extra time after Australia converted a penalty shot in the final second to force overtime, but the US was able to get over that disappointment quickly and get it done. Spain awaits in the final after beating Hungary 10-9.
The women's basketball team started the knockout round against Canada, and unlike the soccer match, this was no contest. Team USA ripped Canada 91-48. Australia awaits in the semifinals. The other semifinal will be France-Russia.
The women's volleyball team also had no problem in their quarterfinal match, easily dispatching the Dominican Republic in straight sets. Next up will be South Korea in the semifinals.
Men's Soccer Semifinals It wasn't nearly as exciting as the women's matches, but we do have a gold medal match in men's soccer. It will be Mexico vs. Brazil after Mexico beat Japan 3-1 and Brazil beat South Korea 3-0.
OK, This Time They're All Out Errol Spence became the last American male boxer standing after having a terrible decision against him reversed. Today though in his quarterfinal match he could not clinch a medal, losing to a Russian fighter. Team USA will not be shut out of boxing medals though, as Claressa Shields and Marlen Esparza both made the semifinals on the women's side (in boxing, there is no bronze medal fight, both semifinal losers earn medals).
This is getting long again, so time for a second page. Read on for more from London.
It's Team GB's World It was a great morning for the hosts, when the heavily favored Brownlee brothers came through in the triathlon. Alistair won the gold, while Jonathan took the bronze.
In the afternoon, Great Britain continued its dominance in track cycling on what was the final day in the velodrome. Sir Chris Hoy won his British record sixth Olympic gold by winning the men's keirin (that's the race where they are paced by a scooter for 6 laps, then sprint for 2). Then, Laura Trott came from behind on the last event of the six event omnium to win the gold over American Sarah Hammer. Hammer had a 2 point lead on Trott going into the last event, a 500 meter time trial. However, Trott won the time trial while Hammer finished 4th, giving Trott a one point win. Looking deeper though, it's obvious Trott deserved to win. While Hammer was consisted and finshed in the top five in every event and won one, Trott won three events and was top three in two more. Only a 10th in the points race by Trott even made this a contest.
The only blemish for the hosts in cycling today was the women's sprint, where Australia's Anna Meares beat her rival Victoria Pendleton in the final.
One of the my favorites parts of the Games is discovering sports you don't see in the interim, and for me this time around, it was track cycling. I'll miss it.
Diving Upset China had been dominating the diving competition so far, going five for five in gold medals. All expectations were they'd made it six in men's springboard. However, Ilya Zakharov of Russia had two great dives to end the competition, allowing him to upset the two Chinese, Qin Kai and He Chong.
Today in Handball It was women's quarterfinals day and everyone came to play, which each match being within three goals. Norway scored six of the final seven goals to beat Brazil 21-19. Spain defeated Croatia 25-22. South Korea held off a late run from Russia to win 24-23. Finally, in the big upset of the day, Montengero beat France, who hadn't lost a game in pool play, 23-22. Making it a bigger heartbreak for France was that they lost on a penalty shot called with no time left on the clock.
Medal Count Update Despite not winning on the diving board for once, China continues to pick up medals seemingly everywhere and thus continues to lead the United States: 73-70 in total medals, and 34-30 in gold medals. Great Britain and Russia are tied for third with 48 medals, but Team GB has many more golds than Russia, 22-10. Kazahkstan won a bronze medal in wresting yesterday, which I mention because that's their first non-gold medal of the Games. Their first six medals all came from the top step of the podium.
On Tap Tomorrow The women's 200 meter finals headlines with the track and field slate, aka Jamaica vs. the United States Part 3. Medals will also be awarded in the men's 110 meter hurdles, women's 400 meter hurdles, and the women's long jump. Tomorrow also marks the men's 200 semis, and the first day of the decathlon. With world record holder Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee, the US has two great chances to win the competition.
Women's beach volleyball concludes with the gold medal match. Either Misty May and Kerri Walsh will win their third straight gold, or April Ross and Jen Kessy will become the new it girls of the beach.
Team USA basketball face Australia in the men's quarterfinals, starting at around 5:15 pm eastern. The other three matches are Russia-Lithuania, France-Spain, and Brazil-Argentina. The other team sports with quarterfinal action tomorrow are as follows:
Men's handball: Iceland-Hungary, Spain-France, Sweden-Denmark, Croatia-Tunisia
Men's volleyball: Argentina-Brazil, USA-Italy (11:00 am eastern), Poland-Russia, Bulgaria-Germany
Men's water polo: Spain-Montenegro, Australia-Serbia, Italy-Hungary, Croatia-USA (3:00 pm eastern)
Women's field hockey has its semifinals between Netherlands-New Zealand and Argentina-Great Britain.
Elsewhere, women's boxing holds its semifinals. Claressa Shields and Marlen Esparaza will fight for the United States. Cycling moves from the track to BMX. Finally, we say goodbye to equestrian and table tennis and hello to taekwondo.
Olympics Day 11 Recap