Recapping Day 12 of the Olympics [SPOILER ALERT]
Day 12 of the London Olympics ended up being a banner day for the old red, white, and blue, especially at the track. However, we start with the end of the one of the most dominant duos in Olympic history. As always, spoilers of NBC's primetime broadcast lurk here.
A Beach Three-Peat In the final Olympic match for Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings as a pair, they ensured that their partnership would end undefeated. The two beat April Ross and Jen Kessy in straight sets to win their third straight beach volleyball gold medal. Ross and Kessy end a fine tournament for them with the silver medal. May-Treanor will retire, while Walsh Jennings may return with a new partner. Regardless of the future, a salute to these two for 3 Olympiads of winning, and well, other visuals they gave us.
Finally Allyson's Time We begin a fantastic track night for the US with the women's 200 meters. Allyson Felix had already won two silvers in this race in past Olympics, but gold had eluded her. Not tonight. This time, Felix powered her way through to win the gold in a time of 21.88. 100 meter winner Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce took silver, and Carmelita Jeter the bronze. Defending gold medalists Veronica Campbell Brown was 4th, and 400 meter winner Sanya Richards-Ross 5th. The top 5 were separated by barely half a second.
Stars & Stripes All Over the Podium Felix's victory was far from the only US success today. The hardware started in the women's long jump, where Brittney Reese won gold and Janay DeLoach won bronze. It continued in the women's 400 meter hurdles, where Lashinda Demus took silver, just losing out on a lean to Natalya Antyukh or Russia. The margin of victory was a mere .07 seconds. It continued still to the men's 110 meter hurdles. Aries Merritt was the only man to break 13 seconds in winning the gold. Right behind him was Jason Richardson for silver.
If that wasn't enough, day 1 of the decathlon couldn't have gone any better for the United States. World record holder Ashton Eaton came in as the favorite, with teammate Trey Hardee a medal contender, and so far they've lived up to those distinctions. Eaton finished day 1 with a whopping 4661 points (more than halfway to his world record score). Hardee is in 2nd, 220 points back.
Team USA Update The men's basketball was expected to dominate, but it has to yet happen for a full game, save for the Nigeria shooting exhibition. The team defeated Australia in the quarterfinals 119-86, but Australia hung around for most of the game and got to within three in the third quarter before the US restored order. Next up for Team USA is a rematch with Argentina in the semifinals, after the Argentines defeated Brazil. The other semifinal will pit Spain (who came from behind to beat France) and Russia (who beat Lithuania).
The rest of the day for our team sports though was a disaster. The men's water polo had a tough quarterfinal matchup against Croatia, and it ended up being too much as Croatia won easily 8-2. The men's volleyball has an even bigger pratfall. They took on Italy in the quarterfinals, the 4th place team in their group after the US won theirs. Despite that though, Italy was easily the better side today, and won in straight sets. The US crashes out of the tournament and thus won't defend their gold from Beijing. Women's volleyball team, Logan Tom, Destinee Hooker, and company, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Our First Wrestling Medal Track and beach volleyball is where the US shined today, but we also picked up our first wrestling medal of the Games. Clarissa Chun took bronze in the 48 kg freestyle class. Props to here. Also officially earning a bronze medal was Marlen Esparaza, who lost her semifinal bout in boxing.
Today in Handball It was men's quarterfinal day in handball, and it did not disappoint. It started with Hungary upsetting previously unbeaten Iceland 34-33 in double overtime. Then France beat Spain on this buzzer beater goal. The other two games weren't as dramatic, but were close, as Sweden beat Denmark 24-22 and Croatia beat Tunisia 25-23.
Medal Count Update Team USA's big day pushed them back ahead of China in total medals 81-77. However, China remains in the lead in golds 36-34. Luckily for us, table tennis is finally over. One negative for Team USA though. We will not medal in sailing for the first time since 1936. Russia has taken over sole third place in total medals with 52. Great Britain remains third in golds with 48. Thanks to flatwater canoeing/kayaking, Norway won its first gold medal of the Games, while Portugal picked up its first medal of these Games, a silver. Ireland won its first medal of 2012 as well, a bronze in show jumping.
On Tap Tomorrow The marquee event of the night is the men's 200 meter finals. It will be Usain Bolt vs. Yohan Blake. Blake ran a 20.01 in the semifinals, while Bolt practically jogged a 20.18. Wallace Spearmon will try to hit the podium for the US. The decathlon also concludes tomorrow, as Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee try to keep their 1-2 positions. The men's 800 meter final is allow tomorrow, featuring David Rudisha of Kenya, who track experts have touted as the most dominant track athlete at the Games. Medals will also be awarded in the men's triple jump an women's javelin.
Tomorrow is also the final in women's soccer, and the rematch of the 2011 World Cup final between Japan and the United States. Does the US women's team have another match in them after Monday's thriller? Will it be another thrilling moment from these cardiac kids? It won't be easy, as Japan has looked very good all tournament.
Women's soccer isn't the only team sport where Team USA goes for gold tomorrow. The women's water polo team faces Spain in that gold medal match. Also going for gold tomorrow is Claressa Shields in the middleweight boxing class.
The women's basketball team faces Australia, who they usually face in the gold medal game, in the semifinals. The other semi is Russia-France. Semifinal matches will only be placed in:
Women's handball: Norway-South Korea, Spain-Montenegro
Men's field hockey: Australia-Germany, Netherlands-Great Britain
Women's volleyball: United States-South Korea (10:00 am eastern), Brazil-Japan
Also tomorrow is the finals of women's platform diving, the women's 10 km open water swim, the last equestrian medal finally (I erred in saying it ended today), and of course, the moment you've all been waiting for: the start of rhythmic gymnastics!