The stars came out to play today at the Olympics. The track was where the heaviest action was, but we being with a historic match at Wembley Stadium. As always, spoilers are abound of NBC's primetime show.
Sweet Revenge The United States women's soccer team avenged their World Cup loss to Japan by winning the gold medal match 2-1. Both US goals were scored by Carli Lloyd. Japan had their chances, especially after a bad giveaway by the US in the 83rd minutes. But Hope Solo came through with a fantastic save to save the gold medal. It was Team USA's fourth gold medal in five Olympics women's soccer was on the program. Canada defeated France 1-0 for bronze with a goal in the 92th minute despite being outshot 25-4.
Simply The Best Is there anything Usain Bolt can't do? Heavily favored for the 200, Bolt wowed everyone again, winning in a time of 19.32 despite shutting it down at the end. Bolt becomes the first person ever to win the 100-200 double in two straight Olympics. Jamaica swept the podium, with Yohan Blake winning silver and Warren Weir winning bronze. American Wallace Spearmon was the other sprinter to run under 20 seconds in finishing fourth.
Greatest Athlete of the World That is what we used to call the winner of the Olympic decathlon. The more apt moniker might be Most Well-Rounded Athlete. Either could fit though to the newest decathlon champion, Ashton Eaton. Eaton led throughout and won comfortably with 8869 points. Trey Hardee made it a 1-2 US finish with 8671 points.
Team USA also took 1-2 in the men's triple jump. Christian Taylor took the gold in a mild upset over favorite Will Claye. Another impressive performance today came in the men's 800 meters. David Rudisha of Kenya was the overwhelming favorite and he didn't disappoint, dominating the race and winning in world record time. This race was more of a heartbreak for Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds, who finished 4th and 5th, .29 and .42 out of the medals respectively. Still, the United States has won 24 track and field medals so far, and are on track to hit their goal of 30.
The last gold medalist of the day was Barbora Spotakova in women's javelin.
Queens of the Pool The women's soccer team wasn't the only team gold medal winners today. The US women's water polo won its first ever gold today, defeating Spain 8-5. For the US, it's completion of what they started four years ago, when they won silver in Beijing.
A Boxing First The first ever gold medal winner in women's boxing is officially Nicola Adams of Great Britain, who won in the flyweight. Then the very popular Katie Taylor of Ireland won a tight fight to take gold in lightweight. Finally, American Claressa Shields, all of 17 years ago, won 19-12 to take gold in the middleweight class.
Team USA Update The women's basketball team is usually dominant, but not today in the semifinals against Australia, who they usually face for gold. The Aussies hung around all game, even leading at halftime. The US, however, played much better in the second half and won 86-73. France will await in the gold medal game after they defeated France.
The women's volleyball team also advanced to the gold medal match, beating South Korea in straight sets. Their opponent will be always tough Brazil, who defeated Japan in straight sets.
Other USA Medals In addition to our track and team sports success, the US picked up two other medals in "lesser known" sports. Haley Anderson took silver in the women's open water swimming event, while Terrence Jennings won a bronze in the taekwondo 68 kg class.
Today in Handball It was women's semifinal day in handball. Norway beat South Korea in a nearly blowout like score of 31-25. Montenegro, meanwhile, continued its Cinderella run (they finished fourth in Group A) with another upset, this time of Spain 27-26. Montenegro led by 4 with 2:30 to play, and held on through the final Spain onslaught to win.
Medal Count Update Team USA is starting to pour it on, and China is running out of obscure sports they dominate in to answer. The US is up now 90-80 in total medals, and has taken back the gold medal lead 39-37. USA! USA! USA! Great Britain picked up a few more gold medals and is now up to 25. Russia stays in third place in total medals with 56. Afghanistan won its first medal of these Games today, a bronze in taekwondo.
On Tap Tomorrow The US men's basketball team faces its toughest game so far, a semifinal matchup with always dangerous Argentina. Spain meets Russia in the other semifinal.
It's a very busy day in track and field, with six medals to be awarded. The highlight for the US is the women's 4x100 meter relay, which should be yet another showdown between the US and Jamaica. The men's 4x100 relay has its first round tomorrow, which for Team USA primarily means not dropping the baton (easier said then done). It's also the final of the women's 5000, which means another chance to see Tirunesh Dibaba's incredible finishing kick. I'm still in awe of her last lap of the 10000. There's also the men's 4x400 relay. The US is in the final, but running out of healthy runners. South Africa was advanced to the final, after it was determined they were impeded by Kenya. Oscar Pistorius is expected to run.
Medals will also be awarded in the men's pole vault, women's hammer throw, and the women's 1500 meters.
Team sports continue their semifinals, as follows:
Men's volleyball: Bulgaria-Russia, Brazil-Italy
Men's water polo: Croatia-Montenegro, Italy-Serbia
Men's handball: Hungary-Sweden, France-Croatia
Women's field hockey has its gold medal match, between the Netherlands and Argentina. The men's soccer bronze medal match is also tomorrow, pitting South Korea against Japan.
Also tomorrow are the finals of BMX, the semifinals of every men's boxing class, the men's open water swimming race, more taekwondo and wrestling, and the last day of synchronized swimming. I'm sure that upsets you all.
Olympics Day 13 Recap