Hassan Amar/Associated Press
Hassan Amar/Associated Press
LONDON – Five things to know about Friday, Day 14 of the London Olympics:
Carmelita Jeter powers U.S. relay to world record.
Kevin Durant helps U.S. pull away from Argentina in hoops semi.
Oscar Pistorius, South Africa eighth in 4x400 men’s relay.
Jordan Burroughs grabs wrestling gold for U.S.
Maris Strombergs defends BMX title at London Games.
The U.S. had a big lead when Carmelita Jeter got the baton for the anchor leg of the women’s 4x100-meter relay on Friday night.
She knew exactly what to do with it.
Jeter powered down the stretch and pointed the baton at the clock as she crossed the finish line, celebrating a world-record time of 40.82 seconds that gave the Americans their first victory in the event since 1996.
Tianna Madison,200-meter champion Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Jeter combined for a perfect trip around the track that ended a string of disappointments for the U.S. in the marquee relay. At the 2008 Beijing Games, the Americans didn’t even reach the final because Torri Edwards and Lauryn Williams bobbled the last exchange in the semifinals.
Their final time cut more than a half-second off the old record of 41.37 run by East Germany in 1985.
“I just knew if we had clean baton passes that we would definitely challenge the world record,” Madison said. “Smash it like we did? We had no idea, but I knew it was in us.”
Jamaica won the silver medal in a national record of 41.41 seconds, with 100 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Kerron Stewart bringing the baton around.
Durant and the U.S. men’s basketball team also 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.
Back on the track, the American team was in control in the men’s 4x400 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” Pistorius, fell behind well before Pistorius received the baton and finished 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 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 consecutive 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.
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.
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.
Thomas Lurz of Germany was second, 3.4 seconds behind, and first-time Olympian Richard Weinberger of Canada grabbed the bronze.
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 consecutive 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 the Azeri super heavyweight protested his one-point loss to Cammarelle.
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.
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.
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 consecutive overall gold.
The Russians totaled 197.030 points with a free routine featuring swimmers doing acrobatic flips and pirouetting like ballerinas above the water.
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 today.
Russia also qualified in first place for Sunday’s group final after holding off a challenge from Italy.
Paul Sancya/Associated Press