Aly Raisman captures gold in the floor routine for her second medal of the day

Alexandra Raisman of the United States waves to the crowd after winning the gold medal for the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Beam final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 7, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

LONDON – Barely an hour after needing a protest to win a bronze in the balance beam, American gymnast Aly Raisman won her second medal of the day with a gold in the floor routine.

Raisman performed a near-flawless routine on the floor, perfectly landing several high-spinning moves. When she was done, the sold-out crowd at the North Greenwich Arena roared its approval. Coincidentally, the woman she knocked out of the bronze on the beam – Romania’s Catalina Ponor – finished second with a strong performance of her own that followed Raisman’s. When Ponor received only a 15.200, well below Raisman’s 15.600, the cheers that serenaded Raisman turned to disappointed boos.

For the Olympics, Raisman took three medals, including the team gold last week.

Raisman’s American teammate, Jordyn Wieber, whose Olympics have been a roller coaster, finished seventh. Wieber, who was left out of the all-around competition despite finishing fourth, struggled in her lone event Tuesday with wobbly landings and was given a .100 penalty deduction. She finished with a 14.500 and leaves the Olympics with only the team gold despite high hopes.


Media criticism upsets Lolo Jones

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today,” Lolo Jones took issue with what she called “heartbreaking” criticism.

LONDON — With her voice choking and eyes welling with tears, U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones took issue with what she called “heartbreaking” criticism a day after she barely missed winning an Olympic medal.

Jones appeared on NBC’s “Today” on Wednesday and was asked about a recent story in The New York Times that said her stardom had more to do with marketing than her accomplishments on the track.

I think it was crazy just because it was two days before I competed, and then the fact that it was from a U.S. media (outlet),” Jones said. “They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds. I thought that was crazy because I work six days a week, every day, for four years for a 12-second race.”

The Times article said Jones has “received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign.”

Jones, who did not win a medal in Tuesday’s 100-meter hurdles final, fought back tears as she addressed the critical article.

“The fact that they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking,” she said. “They didn’t even do their research — calling me the Anna Kournikova of track. I have the American record. I am the American-record holder indoors, I have two world indoor titles.

“Just because I don’t boast about these things, I don’t think I should be ripped apart by media. I laid it out there, I fought hard for my country. I think it’s a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I’m already so brokenhearted as it is.”

Jones finished fourth in the final, 0.10 seconds behind bronze medalist Kellie Wells. At Beijing four years ago, Jones was leading the final when she hit the ninth of 10 hurdles and wound up seventh.

“I was crushed afterwards,” Jones said. “I know I had the best race of my season — not the best race of my life. But I had the best race of my year, so I just try to take a look at that. It doesn’t take away from the pain that I was so close to, once again, having a medal and not getting it.”

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Great Britain cleaning up on Olympic cycling track

Britain’s Jason Kenny (red helmet) competes with France’s Gregory Bauge during the track cycling men’s sprint gold finals at the Velodrome during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Photograph by: Stefano Rellandini , Reuters

LONDON — Brits always could find their way about on two wheels.

These days, though, their affair with the bicycle borders on obsession, a new-found religion, all tied in with GB becoming so darn good at the sport. Cycling prowess has suddenly come to represent British pride and sporting excellence.

“Cycling is probably the event [of these Games] and the national sport right now because of all the success Great Britain has had,” says Jacques Landry, Cycling Canada’s high performance director and head coach.

Is it any wonder the Aussies love to tease that the Brits are only good at sports in which they sit down to compete — such as cycling, rowing, sailing? After Jason Kenney’s sprint gold on Monday, GB had won a combined 18 medals in cycling and rowing in London.

With more medals likely on the track — and possibly in mountain bike — the Brits are the talk of the cycling world, with nine medals already, including five gold on the track and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins’ gold in the men’s road time trial. So dominant is the British cycling program it has become the New York Yankees of the sport: rich, relentless, a little arrogant.

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Usain Bolt sets Olympic record in 100

Usain Bolt celebrates winning the gold medal after running the 100-meter dash in an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds.

LONDON — Pulling away from the pack with every long stride, Usain Bolt crossed the finish line and wagged his right index finger.

Yes, he’s still No. 1 in the 100-meter dash. Maybe not better than ever, but Bolt is definitely back.

Only sixth-fastest of the eight runners to the halfway mark Sunday night, Bolt erased that deficit and overwhelmed a star-studded field to win in 9.63 seconds, an Olympic record that let him join Carl Lewis as the only men with consecutive gold medals in the marquee track and field event at the Summer Games.

“Means a lot, because a lot of people were doubting me. A lot of people were saying I wasn’t going to win, I didn’t look good. There was a lot of talk,” Bolt said. “It’s an even greater feeling to come out here and defend my title and show the world I’m still No. 1, I’m still the best.”

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Andy Murray wins gold medal in men’s tennis

Andy Murray proudly displays his gold medal and the flag of Britain. (Clive Brunskill / Getty Images / August 5, 2012)

LONDON — With an emotional crowd cheering him on, Britain’s Andy Murray won the gold medal in men’s tennis at the London Olympics on Sunday, easily defeating Roger Federer.

The chants of “Andy! Andy! Andy” rang out during the third set at the All England Club as Murray inched toward the gold-medal finish line.

For Murray, it was the biggest victory of his career, coming about a month after his most-devastating moment, a crushing loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final.

This time, the adulation was supportive, not suffocating. Murray defeated Federer in overwhelming fashion, beating the seven-time Wimbledon champion, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, in a match just shy of two hours.

He never lost his serve. Or his nerve.

The victory set off waves of emotion in a place starving for a tennis champion. Murray is the first British man to win singles gold at the Olympics since 1908.

Murray called the victory “unbelievable.”

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Fraser-Pryce retains women’s 100m title, Jeter second

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce holds her national flag as she celebrates winning the women’s 100m final at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Fraser-Pryce won a thrilling women’s 100m duel to retain her Olympic crown, holding off a lunging Carmelita Jeter to squeeze home by just 0.03sec. (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

Jamaica‘s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a thrilling women’s 100m duel to retain her Olympic crown on Saturday, holding off a lunging Carmelita Jeter to squeeze home by just 0.03sec.

Fraser-Pryce, the fastest woman in the world this year, exploded out of the blocks and opened up a gap over the world champion, crossing the line in 10.75sec, ahead of the American who clocked 10.78sec.

Jamaica‘s Veronica Campbell-Brown took bronze in a time of 10.81 as the Caribbean nation once again asserted its superiority over its fierce rival the United States in the sprint events.

Speaking about what went through her mind just before the race, Fraser-Pryce said: “I went out there and I couldn’t think about it before. I knew it just had to feel right.”

Jeter, the fastest living woman over the distance, qualified quickest for the final as the United States tried desperately to end a 16-year drought in the event.

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A fitting finale for Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps waves goodbye after swimming the final race of his career (Getty Images)

In the final swim of his unparalleled career, Michael Phelps put his record Olympic medal tally a little further out of reach. Phelps’ butterfly leg propelled the U.S. to a dominant victory the 400-meter individual medley, sending him into retirement with 22 medals and 18 golds. He leaves London with four golds and two silvers, not a bad haul considering he missed the podium in his first race.

Flag mishap doesn’t dampen Serena Williams’ golden moment at London Olympics

Gold medallist Serena Williams of the U.S. poses after winning the women’s singles gold medal match against Russia’s Maria Sharapova, during the presentation ceremony at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN – Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT TENNIS)

WIMBLEDON, England – Serena Williams had been dreaming of this moment all her life. Now here it was.

She was standing on top of a Centre Court podium, the gold in women’s singles around her neck, “The Star Spangled Banner” playing loud and her eyes locked on the American flag raising triumphantly in the air.

Suddenly, one of those powerful gusts of British wind came through, the flag came undone and, without warning, the Stars and Stripes began floating through the air, right toward the tennis great.

“I just saw all these gusts of winds,” Williams later said as she began to laugh. “Then I saw the flag flying. It was probably flying to hug me … It was fluttering towards me trying to wrap its fabric around me.”

She kept smiling at the memory. It was, perhaps, the only mishap of a day in which she simply annihilated Maria Sharapova, 6-0, 6-1 in just 63 minutes to seize that long-awaited gold medal.

She started the day by putting her hair up in a gold scrunchie: “I did it on purpose.” She ended it by blasting a 121 mile-per-hour serve past Sharapova and immediately breaking into some kind of celebratory dance like she was 6 years old: “I didn’t plan that.”

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Qatar runner’s historic run to London Games comes to abrupt, heartbreaking end

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 03: Noor Hussain Al-Malki of Qatar pulls up injured in the Women’s 100m Heats on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England.

LONDON – Noor Hussain Al-Malki created a slice of history on Friday even as she sat on the track at the Olympic Stadium on Friday with her head bowed, tears welling in the corner of her eyes and her teeth gritted from the pain of a pulled hamstring.

The 17-year-old became the first female athlete to compete in an Olympic Games from Qatar, which previously barred women due to religious and cultural protocols.

Al-Malki entered the 100 meters thanks to the wildcard system that offers places to competitors from traditionally weaker Games nations. With a personal best more than two seconds outside the world record, she was not expected to be any kind of a threat.

Sadly, her Olympic adventure lasted just a couple of seconds. As a nervous Al-Malki pushed out of the starting blocks, she immediately clutched at her right leg, wincing in pain. After a couple of steps, she collapsed to the track and stayed there as her fellow competitors sprinted toward the finish line.

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