Silver no longer, Felix finds gold

Sprinter sparks big day on track; U.S. beach volleyball 3-peats

At last an Olympic champion, United States’ Allyson Felix edged Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, right, for gold in the women’s 200-meter sprint Wednesday. It’s taken three Olympics to go from Athens and Beijing silver to London gold. Enlarge photo

Matt Dunham/The Associated Press

At last an Olympic champion, United States’ Allyson Felix edged Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, right, for gold in the women’s 200-meter sprint Wednesday. It’s taken three Olympics to go from Athens and Beijing silver to London gold.

LONDON

Five things to know about Wednesday, Day 12 of the London Olympics:

Allyson Felix leads American surge at track.

May-Treanor, Walsh take all-American final in beach volleyball.

Kobe’s long-range display leads U.S. past Australia in men’s hoops.

Attar makes Olympic track debut for Saudi women.

Semenya off to solid Olympic start three years after gender test.

Allyson Felix grinned as she waited for the official results to pop up on the scoreboard. She knew what was coming, and she was going to enjoy that moment.

Olympic champion, at last.

The American sprinter won the 200 meters at the London Games on Wednesday, sparking a strong performance for the United States at Olympic Stadium.

Felix clocked 21.88 seconds to top Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100 four nights earlier. American Carmelita Jeter added bronze to go with her silver in the 100 meters.

Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth after defeating Felix in the Athens and Beijing Games. She was trying to become the first woman to win the same individual track and field event in three consecutive Olympics, but she couldn’t keep up as Felix pulled away down the stretch.

Aries Merritt then won the 110 hurdles for the U.S., and Brittney Reese claimed the long jump title. Team USA had two of the top three finishers in three of the four medal events at Olympic Stadium. World champion Lashinda Demus was second in the women’s 400 hurdles, losing to Russia’s Natalya Antyukh.

Usain Bolt and Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake each won their 200 semifinal heats. Bolt is trying to become the first man with two Olympic golds in the 200 meters.

The United States also occupied a couple of spots on the podium at Horse Guards Parade with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings becoming the first three-time gold medalists in Olympic beach volleyball history.

The duo beat Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 21-16, 21-16 in the all-American final, extending their Olympic winning streak to 21 matches.

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings fell to their knees and hugged as Ross’ serve went long on match point, then took the celebration to the stands.

The Athens, Beijing and now London gold medalists remained unbeaten through three Olympics, losing just one of 43 sets. It was the Olympic farewell for May-Treanor, who has said she would like to have children.

Another impressive American team was on display Wednesday night, with Kobe Bryant putting on quite a show from long range.

Bryant made six consecutive 3-pointers in the second half, LeBron James finished with a triple-double, and the U.S. men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals with a 119-86 victory over Australia.

Bryant scored 20 points, flashing three fingers in the air after his third consecutive 3-pointer in the fourth quarter had pushed the game well out of reach and proved that yes, he would deliver the kind of game that’s expected of him in London.

James finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for the Americans, who advanced to their third consecutive Olympic semifinal meeting with Argentina. Carmelo Anthony added 17 points and Kevin Durant had 14.

There was more history at Olympic Stadium during the day.

The crowd roared when Sarah Attar was introduced during the morning session, and she responded with a wave, a wide smile and a bit of a chuckle.

This was one extraordinary 800-meter heat.

Covered from head to toe, except for her smiling face poking out from her headscarf, Attar became the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in track and field at the Olympics when she clocked 2 minutes, 44.95 seconds in her preliminary race.

“This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women,” Attar said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I know that this can make a huge difference.”

The 19-year-old Attar finished last in her heat. To her, the time wasn’t the point.

Her mother is American and her father is Saudi. She has dual citizenship, was born in California and runs track at Pepperdine University near Los Angeles.

Attar wanted to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics as a way of inspiring women.

“For women in Saudi Arabia, I think this can really spark something to get more involved in sports, to become more athletic,” she said. “Maybe in the next Olympics, we can have a very strong team to come.”

Making her Olympic debut three years after being forced to undergo gender tests, Caster Semenya of South Africa finished second in her 800 heat.

Semenya was sidelined for nearly a year while track and field’s governing body decided whether to allow her to compete after she won the 2009 world title at age 18. She was tested and eventually cleared to return to action in 2010, then was the runner-up at last year’s world championships.

Semenya carried South Africa’s flag at the opening ceremony in London and is a leading medal contender. She ran her heat in 2:00.71, behind the 2:00.47 run by Alysia Johnson Montano of the United States.

The rest of the Olympic action Wednesday:

Volleyball

The U.S. men’s volleyball team got off to a strong start at the London Olympics, but it’s headed home without a medal.

The defending Olympic champions lost 28-26, 25-20, 25-20 to Italy in the quarterfinals.

U.S. setter Donald Suxho bent over with his hands on his knees and shook his head as Italy celebrated the win at Earls Court. And after shaking hands with the Italians, the Americans turned to applaud the many U.S. fans in the crowd.

Dragan Travica and captain Cristian Savani each had four aces for Italy, which will face Brazil in Friday’s semifinals. Savani finished with 19 points.

Russia takes on Bulgaria in the other semi.

Cycling – BMX

Two spectacular crashes marred the start of the BMX competition, and time trial world champion Caroline Buchanan of Australia and Raymon van der Biezen of the Netherlands posted the best times of the seeding runs.

On the challenging course sitting next to the London Velodrome, American rider Brooke Crain crashed in the home stretch in a section made of a succession of small jumps. She managed to get back on her bike to cross the finish line but officially was listed as not finishing. If she’s able to continue, she would be given the 16th and final seed.

Crain was a late replacement on the U.S. team for Arielle Martin, who was hospitalized after a crash during a final training run on July 30 in California.

Latvian rider Edzus Treimanis also went down on the track at the same spot, falling face first.

Sailing

The U.S. was shut out of Olympic sailing medals for the first time since 1936 when women’s match racing skipper Anna Tunnicliffe was beaten in the quarterfinals by Finland.

Tunnicliffe, who was born in England and moved to the United States when she was 12, was the only remaining American with a chance for a medal.

While the Americans underperformed, the Australians continued to pile up victories.

The 49er crew of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen sailed three laps of honor to collect the gold medal they had clinched two days earlier.

Boxing

Middleweight Claressa Shields dominated Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova in the semifinals of the first Olympic women’s tournament, earning a spot in the title bout against Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova.

After pounding away at the slower Volnova for most of the 29-15 fight, the 17-year-old Shields pounded her taped right fist against her own left shoulder and screamed with joy.

Shields is the last American boxer left in London after flyweight Marlen Esparza lost 10-8 to Chinese world champion Ren Cancan an hour earlier. Ren will fight Britain’s Nicola Adams for the flyweight title.

On the men’s side, Mongolia’s Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, stunning second-seeded light welterweight Tom Stalker of Britain with a 23-22 victory. Yamaguchi Falcao of Brazil also had a surprising victory, beating top-seeded Cuban light heavyweight Julio La Cruz 18-15.

Water Polo

The U.S. men’s team was eliminated with an 8-2 quarterfinal loss to unbeaten Croatia.

The Croats jumped to a 5-0 lead by halftime with ferocious defense on one end of the pool and efficient shooting on the other. The Americans clawed back to 5-2 halfway through the third quarter, but Miho Boskovic responded for Croatia with his second goal before Sandro Sukno added another with four seconds left in the period.

Croatia next faces Montenegro, which beat Spain 11-9 to reach its second straight Olympic semifinal. Italy plays gold medal-favorite Serbia in the other semi.

Italy upset three-time defending champion Hungary 11-9 to reach the final four.

Canoe Sprint

Germany’s 500-meter K-4 team lost an Olympic final for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games, falling to a Hungarian quartet looking to spring an upset after second-place finishes at the last three Summer Games.

It also meant Hungary finished the first day of finals at the canoe sprint regatta with the upper hand over Germany in their head-to-head competition in the event’s medals table.

Hungary’s other gold came in the men’s 1,000-meter K-2, although there was a 20-second wait before the result of a photo finish with a fast-finishing Portugal was relayed to the teams and the crowd of about 20,000 at Dorney Lake.

Germany claimed its first gold of the competition when European champion Sebastian Brendel won the 1,000-meter C-1, and Eirik Veras Larsen of Norway produced a late surge to capture the men’s kayak 1,000 meters.

Wrestling – Freestyle

Japan won a pair of women’s freestyle wrestling events, with Kaori Icho taking the 63-kilogram division and Hitomi Obara finishing on top of the 48-kg category.

Icho became the first Japanese woman to capture the same event in three consecutive Olympics. She beat Jing Ruixue of China 3-0, 2-0 to extend her winning streak to 72 matches.

Obara rallied to beat Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan 0-4, 1-0, 2-0. Carol Huynh of Canada and Clarissa Chun won bronze, with Chun giving the U.S. its first wrestling medal of the London Games.

Diving

China’s Chen Ruolin led the women’s 10-meter platform preliminaries, with the teenager trying to add a gold medal in the individual event to the one she won in platform synchro.

Chen totaled 392.35 points during five rounds. She is the defending champion in the individual event, and won both 10-meter titles four years ago in Beijing when she was 15.

China has won five of six diving golds so far in London, including the women’s 10-meter synchronized title taken by Chen and Wang Hao. The country’s attempt to sweep all eight golds was spoiled when Ilya Zakharov of Russia won the men’s 3-meter springboard Tuesday.

United States’ Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Traenor made it 21 Olympic matches in a row Wednesday, beating their fellow Americans for a record-setting third gold medal in beach volleyball. Enlarge photo

Petr. David Josek/The Associated Press

United States’ Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Traenor made it 21 Olympic matches in a row Wednesday, beating their fellow Americans for a record-setting third gold medal in beach volleyball.

Kobe Bryant showed why he’s on Team USA on Wednesday, scoring six consecutive 3-pointers in the second half to help the U.S. surge ahead of Australia and into the semifinals against Argentina. Enlarge photo

Eric Gay/The Associated Press

Kobe Bryant showed why he’s on Team USA on Wednesday, scoring six consecutive 3-pointers in the second half to help the U.S. surge ahead of Australia and into the semifinals against Argentina.