Jamaicans sweep 200-meters; U.S. women win gold
Friday, August 10, 2012View full version
LONDON — Usain Bolt greeted the excited crowd with a royal wave when he was introduced Thursday night.
Turns out the sprint king was also waving goodbye to his competition.
Bolt blew away the field in the 200-meter final, easing up as he crossed the finish line in 19.32 seconds to become the only man with two Olympic titles in the event.
With camera flashes dotting the seats throughout Olympic Stadium, Bolt repeated the 100-200 double he produced at the Beijing Games, leading a Jamaican sweep. Training partner and pal Yohan Blake was second in 19.44, and Warren Weir got the bronze in 19.84, nearly a half-second behind the champion.
“I’ve done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title. Back-to-back for me,” Bolt said. “I would say I’m the greatest.”
The 6-foot-5 Bolt celebrated with a couple push-ups and also grabbed a camera from someone in the photographers’ well and trained it at the group who were clicking away.
Bolt’s victory dominated the track and field schedule, but American women were all over the London Games — helping the U.S. run its lead in the medals table to 90-80 over China.
Carli Lloyd scored in each half, Hope Solo made a couple of big stops and the women’s soccer team won its third straight Olympic gold medal, beating Japan 2-1 in a rematch of last year’s World Cup final and avenging the most painful loss in its history.
Before 80,203 at Wembley Stadium, a record crowd for a women’s soccer game at the Olympics, the teams put on a back-and-forth, don’t-turn-your-head showcase, proving again that these are the two premier teams in the world. Yuki Ogimi scored in the 63rd minute but the U.S. held on for the win behind Solo’s solid performance in net.
American teenager Claressa Shields danced, brawled and even stuck out her tongue. She also managed to win the first middleweight gold medal in women’s Olympic boxing.
The 17-year-old Shields, from Flint, Mich., was too much for Russian opponent Nadezda Torlopova, posting a 19-12 victory in the final.
“This was something I wanted for a long time, even when boxing wasn’t going all right, even when my life wasn’t going all right,” said Shields, who found sanctuary in a boxing gym during a rough childhood.
“All I wanted was a gold medal, and I kept working towards it, even when people were saying I couldn’t do it. I’m too young. I couldn’t do it. There were girls who were going to beat me because of better experience, more experience. I proved them all wrong.”
Maggie Steffens scored five times and the U.S. women’s water polo team beat Spain 8-5 to take the Olympic tournament for the first time. The American volleyball squad beat South Korea in straight sets and will go for its first indoor women’s gold when it faces Brazil on Saturday in a rematch of the 2008 final.
Coach Geno Auriemma and the basketball team also moved into the gold-medal match one day after Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won an all-American final in beach volleyball.
Not to be outdone, the American men took the top two spots in the men’s decathlon (Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee) and triple jump (Christian Taylor and Will Claye), raising the U.S. track and field total with three days to go to 24 medals.
The other big winner Thursday night was Kenya’s David Rudisha, who set a world record while winning the 800 meters in 1:40.91.
Among the track finals on tap for Friday is the men’s 4x400-meter relay, which took on added intrigue with Oscar Pistorius and South Africa making the field and a gutsy preliminary performance by Manteo Mitchell of the U.S.
The man known as “Blade Runner” because of his carbon-fiber prosthetics will get a chance to run for an Olympic medal after officials accepted South Africa’s protest over a collision and awarded an extra spot in the final. Pistorius already is the first amputee to compete on a Summer Games track.