Olympic Roundup: Basketball secures spot in final vs. Spain
AP Sports Writer
Kevin Durant and the U.S. men’s basketball team had quite the closing kick in their semifinal against Argentina.
Durant scored 19 points and LeBron James did a little bit of everything as Team USA pulled away for a 109-83 victory and a spot in Sunday’s final against Spain.
Argentina trailed by four early in the second half when the United States put the game away behind the strength of James and Durant’s shooting ability.
Durant made two 3-pointers in an 8-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 13, and when Argentina got back within eight, the NBA’s MVP and runner-up teamed up to blow it open.
James had a basket and drove for a powerful dunk while being fouled. Durant followed with consecutive 3-pointers, and James tipped in a miss and suddenly the lead was 19, 72-53, with 1:30 left in the period.
On the track, aside from the women’s 4×100 meter relay slaying the world record, the American team was in control in the men’s 4×400 relay until Ramon Miller of the Bahamas chased down Angelo Taylor on the anchor leg to grab his country’s first gold in a race won by the U.S. in every Olympics since 1984.
But the silver helped the United States run its lead in the medals table to 94-81 over China.
The South African team, anchored by double-amputee “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, fell behind well before Pistorius received the baton and was eighth.
Turkey’s Alsi Cakir Alptekin (women’s 1,500 meters), Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar (women’s 5,000 meters) Russia’s Tatyana Lysenko (women’s hammer throw) and France’s Renaud Lavillenie (men’s pole vault) were the other winners at Olympic Stadium.
European champion Alptekin, who served a two-year suspension for doping after the 2004 world junior championships, led a 1-2 finish for Turkey in her race. She finished in 4:10.23 and Gamze Bulut was next in 4:10.40.
Wrestler Jordan Burroughs had his eyes on a gold medal for months, and he let everyone know about his plans.
Then he delivered.
The 24-year-old American backed up all that talk, beating Iran’s Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi 1-0, 1-0 in the men’s 74-kilogram freestyle division to give the U.S. its first wrestling gold in London.
“A lot of people call it cocky, people call it over confident,” said Burroughs, who selected (at)alliseeisgold for his Twitter handle. “But I knew I was going to win.”
Burroughs, who grew up in New Jersey, has won 38 straight international freestyle matches and is the first Olympian to claim the $250,000 prize from the Living the Dream Medal Fund, a program designed to support U.S. wrestling.
An hour after beating Goudarzi, the tweet-happy Burroughs posted a shot of himself beaming beside his gold.
Maris Strombergs of Latvia won his first gold in 2008. Now he has two.
Strombergs defended his BMX title over a harrowing course in Olympic Park, taking the lead at the start and never relinquishing it. He cruised across the finish line in 37.576 seconds to add to the title he won in Beijing, when the sport made its Olympic debut.
“It’s just amazing,” Strombergs said. “I think everyone at home, they watched the race, and deep inside they were hoping I could repeat, and I think my country believed in me.”
Former world champion Mariana Pajon won the women’s BMX competition, giving Colombia its first gold at the London Games. With David Beckham watching from the stands, Pajon hit form at the right time after being hampered by a shoulder injury earlier this season.
The rest of the Olympic action Friday:
Ous Mellouli of Tunisia won the grueling 10-kilometer race to become the first swimmer to win medals in the pool and open water at the same Olympics.
Mellouli pulled away from a small group of leaders in the fifth of six laps and finished in 1 hour, 49 minutes, 55.1 seconds in the murky waters of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. He also won bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle last week.
It was the second gold of Mellouli’s Olympic career. He also took the 1,500 at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Thomas Lurz of Germany was second, 3.4 seconds behind, and first-time Olympian Richard Weinberger of Canada grabbed the bronze.
The crowd favorite was Benjamin Schulte, a 16-year-old from Guam, who finished far behind all the other competitors. Fans stuck around and applauded loudly when Schulte finally finished nearly 14 minutes after Mellouli.
Lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko and two Ukrainian teammates advanced to gold-medal bouts.
Lomachenko, Chinese light flyweight Zou Shiming and Italian super heavyweight Roberto Cammarelle all won their semifinals, earning the right to fight during the final weekend for their second straight Olympic gold medals.
Two more fighters also protested the results of their bouts in a tournament full of appeals to amateur boxing’s governing body. Ukraine light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk protested his loss to Kazakhstan’s Adilbek Niyazymbetov on a tiebreaker, and Azeri super heavyweight protested his one-point loss to Cammarelle.
Britain will have three fighters in gold-medal bouts. Bantamweight Luke Campbell, welterweight Freddie Evans and super heavyweight Anthony Joshua also scored semifinal wins.
South Korea’s Hwang Kyung-seon defended her Olympic title in the women’s 67-kilogram division, and Sebastian Crismanich of Argentina won the gold medal in the men’s 80-kg category.
Hwang defeated Turkey’s Nur Tatar 12-5 in a final in which both fighters attacked from the start.
The bronze medals were won by Paige McPherson of the United States and Germany’s Helena Fromm.
Five-time world champion American Steven Lopez lost his opening bout in the men’s competition. Two members of his family said later that he had broken leg.
Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, and New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won the 470 class gold medals by overwhelming their British rivals on Weymouth Bay.
The victory by Belcher and Page guaranteed that Australia will win more sailing gold medals than the strong, well-funded British team. That’s a remarkable feat, although the British will lead all countries with five sailing medals – one gold and four silvers. The British came in thinking they had a shot at medals in all 10 classes.
The Aussies lead the British 3-1 in golds, with only the women’s match racing to be decided. The Australians will pick up either a gold or silver in that event Saturday as skipper Olivia Price and her crew advanced to the final against Spain’s Tamara Dominguez and her crew.
The Americans failed to win an Olympic sailing medal for the first time since 1936.
There’s no question which country is the best at synchronized swimming.
Russia grabbed the team gold medal for its fourth consecutive team victory and sixth straight overall gold.
The Russians totaled 197.030 points with a free routine featuring swimmers doing acrobatic flips and pirouetting like ballerinas above the water.
The team of Anastasia Davydova, Maria Gromova, Natalia Ishchenko, Elvira Khasyanova, Alexandra Patskevich, Svetlana Romashina, Anzhelika Timanina and Alla Shishkina swam in black, red and gold suits featuring a spider web design on the back.
China earned the silver at 194.010, and Spain took the bronze four years after winning silver in Beijing.
Ed McKeever of Britain clocked the quickest time over the heats and semifinals as the 200-meter canoe sprint made its Olympic debut.
Racing in front of a flag-waving crowd under sunny, cloudless skies at Dorney Lake, the barrel-chested McKeever crossed in 35.087 seconds in his heat and then easily won his semifinal.
Canoeing officials replaced the 500-meter race with the 200 sprint in a bid to inject more excitement into the sport and attempt to move it out from rowing’s shadow at the Olympics. The 200 races were played out in front of the whole length of three packed grandstands, generating a vibrant atmosphere.
In the only 200-meter event for women, Lisa Carrington of New Zealand and Natasa Douchev-Janics of Hungary set up a probable shootout in the K-1 final.
The Netherlands retained the women’s Olympic title with a 2-0 win over world champion Argentina at Riverbank Arena.
Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel and captain Maartje Paumen scored for the Netherlands, which will try for the first-ever Olympic double when the country’s men’s hockey team takes on Germany on Saturday.
Earlier Friday, Britain’s women won the bronze by defeating New Zealand 3-1 to secure their country’s first Olympic field hockey medal in 20 years. Prince William’s wife, the former Kate Middleton, was on hand to applaud the goals, all of them from second-half penalty corners.
Russia’s Evgeniya Kanaeva finished on top of qualifying, putting her in position to defend her Olympic title.
Kanaeva had been second behind Russian teammate Daria Dmitrieva going into the final rotation after a rare mishap in her hoop routine on the first day. But Kanaeva performed flawlessly in the ribbon, giving her 29.400 points and the top spot in the standings with 116.000.
Dmitrieva was 1.45 points behind, and Azerbaijan’s Aliya Garayeva was third. The final is Saturday.
Russia also qualified in first place for Sunday’s group final after holding off a challenge from Italy.
Park Chu-young scored to lead South Korea to a 2-0 victory over Japan and a bronze medal in men’s soccer. Brazil and Mexico play in the gold-medal match Saturday at Wembley Stadium. … Brazil and Russia advanced to Sunday’s men’s volleyball final. … Qui Bo of China led the 10-meter platform preliminaries and teammate Lin Yue was second, putting the country in position to claim the last diving gold medal of the games. The top 18 divers advanced to the Saturday’s semifinal, with the final in the evening. … Italy upset Serbia 9-7 to advance to the men’s water polo final against undefeated Croatia, which beat Montenegro 7-5 in the other semi. … Defending champion France will take on Sweden in the men’s handball final Sunday. The French advanced with a 25-22 victory over Croatia, and Sweden edged Hungary 27-26. … Dzhamal Otarsultanov won the men’s 55-kg freestyle category, beating Vladimer Khinchegashvili of Georgia to give the Russians four wrestling golds at the games, tops for any nation.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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