ATHLETICS: Tirunesh Dibaba and Tomasz Majewski were both celebrating gold-medal success after an exciting opening day of action inside the Olympic Stadium.Ethiopia’s Dibaba held on to her Olympic 10,000m title in stunning style, and Poland’s Majewski retained his Shot Put crown.
Dibaba’s time was a season’s best 30:20.75, with Kipyego taking the silver in 30:26.37, and world champion Cheruiyot bronze in 30:30.44.
In the Shot Put competition, Germany’s 22-year-old hopeful David Storl, the reigning world champion, had set the standard with a throw of 21.86m but Majewski responded to claim gold with 21.89m.
USA’s Reese Hoffa failed to capitalise on his good form this season and was forced to settle for bronze with his throw of 21.23m.
The prospect of records tumbling on the running track was reinforced by the heats for the women’s 100m. No fewer than six women qualified for the semi-finals in under 11 seconds – in the past, the only other women to do that have gone on to win gold.
USA’s Carmelita Jeter was fastest in 10.83, but her big rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, from Jamaica, slowed down noticeably in winning her heat and still managed 11.0.
BASKETBALL: There were wins for Australia, Turkey and the USA on Day 7 at the Basketball Arena, while France needed overtime to get the job done.
Canada held off Brazil to advance to the quarter-finals.
Canada’s victory saw them improve to 2-2, but they had to scrap for the win after making it look easy in the first half.
They led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter and 39-25 at half-time, but Brazil came back much stronger after the break and began to chip away at the lead.
The Czech Republic may have given the USA a wake-up call early on in their late-night match but got handed a lesson thereafter, as the USA enjoyed their 37th straight Olympic Games win, triumphing 88-61.
The Czechs scored the first 10 points of the game and led 26-24 at the end of the first quarter. But the USA battled back to have a double-digit lead by half-time and they then began the third quarter on a 20-3 run that killed the game.
France needed overtime to see off, Great Britain who suffered a heartwrenching 80-77 defeat.
Celine Dumerc nailed a three-pointer with six seconds left in regulation to force the extra period and then hit another almost on the overtime buzzer to win it.
France had overturned a four-point lead late in the extra period to snatch the win.
Elsewhere, Croatia got off the mark at the fourth attempt to stay in touch with a 75-56 win over Angola, while Turkey cruised to a big victory, 82-55, over China to secure a quarter-final place.
WATER POLO: The placings in the women’s preliminary competition were decided after another action-packed day at the Water Polo Arena.
Australia won Group B by overcoming Russia 11-8.
Both teams came into the match with two wins from their first two matches, but it was the team from Down Under who kept their 100 per cent record.
The USA edged a narrow 7-6 victory against China later on to finish second in Group A.
China were winning at half-time, but the USA powered to a lead in the third quarter and hung on to a one-goal advantage.
At the top of Group A, Spain edged out Hungary 13-11 in their last preliminary game.
They looked in control as they took a three-goal lead into the fourth quarter, and survived a fightback by the Hungarians to win the game by two goals.
In the other Group B game, Italy sent Great Britain to a third successive defeat as they ran out convincing 10-5 winners.
HOCKEY: There were plenty of goals on another exciting day in the men’s Hockey competition, with big wins for the Netherlands and Germany that put them both on the verge of qualification to the semi-finals.
The Netherlands strengthened their position at the top of Pool B with their first convincing victory of the tournament, 5-1 against New Zealand.
Germany produced their best performance of the tournament so far as they blew away eight-time champions India 5-2, thanks to a four-goal first-half display.
Florian Fuchs was the star of the show with a hat-trick, completing it seconds after the interval as India slumped to a third successive defeat and out of medal contention.
Earlier in the day, Argentina sprang a major surprise by taking a point off Australia from a 2-2 draw as the world number ones showed they were not infallible in conceding a 2-0 half-time lead.
Even five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer breaking the Kookaburras all-time goalscoring record with his fourth of the tournament – taking his tally to 180 in 281 matches – was little consolation for dropping two points.
Great Britain midfielder Ashley Jackson inspired his side to a comfortable 4-1 victory over Pakistan with a performance befitting his stature as one of the world’s top players.
The 24-year-old was at the heart of almost everything as the hosts rediscovered their attacking flair, contributing two second-half goals to ensure there was no repeat of their late capitulation against South Africa.
Injury-hit Spain survived a late rally by South Africa to record their first victory, 3-2, which keeps alive their slender semi-final hopes in Pool A, while Belgium’s Cedric Charlier scored a fine winning goal as his side belied their low world ranking to stun Republic of Korea 2-1.
VOLLEYBALL: The race to qualify in the women’s Volleyball tournament took another twist on Day 7, as several contenders recorded crucial wins.
Turkey turned up the heat in Pool B by getting the better of Republic of Korea over five thrilling sets.
Marco Aurelio Motta’s side are slowly growing in to the tournament, having gone through the first two games without victory.
They had shown promise in an opening-day loss to Brazil, though, and have since recorded a pair of wins, with today’s marathon effort taking a little over two hours after they twice let a one-set lead slip.
The victory puts them above Brazil in the table, pushing the reigning champions back out of the qualification places despite their tense triumph over China in the morning.
Brazil now have to beat Serbia in their last game and even then progression would not be a certainty, while Turkey could still go through even if they lose to leaders the USA in their final game, depending on how Brazil fare.
The defending champion Brazilians survived an almighty scare against China to keep their gold medal defence alive.
The South Americans have been below their best so far in this tournament and a third defeat would have ruled them out of quarter-final qualification.
But they found a way to stay in touch through to their final fixture with so-far winless Serbia, with progression now in their own hands.
Meanwhile, Russia continued their excellent form by seeing off Japan over four sets to preserve their unbeaten record.
Having taken the first two sets, they offered up the third to a quick and agile Japan, before exerting their considerable height advantage again in the fourth.
Great Britain’s first window of opportunity to qualify for the quarter-finals was shut by the Dominican Republic, while the USA continue to sweep all before them after easing past winless Serbia.
Hugh McCutcheon’s side, who are aiming for a first gold medal at the 10th time of asking, have been superb throughout the tournament, peaking with a 3-1 victory over Brazil earlier this week.
Their latest performance was not far behind, with their European opponents given little chance despite their imposing height at the net. They remain rooted to the bottom of Pool B.
The result confirms USA as the pool winners, with their round-robin campaign set to wrap up against in-form Turkey on Sunday.
In the final game of the night, Italy extended their unbeaten run to four games, getting the better of winless Algeria in straight sets.
The Europeans needed just 59 minutes to beat the world number 16s, ensuring the continuation of their 100 per cent record in Pool A in the process.
SWIMMING: Michael Phelps marked the final individual swim of his career with victory in the 100m Butterfly, while 15-year-old Katie Ledeckywon the 800m Freestyle on her senior international debut.
On what was a superb night for the USA, Missy Franklin won the 200m Backstroke in a new world record.
Phelps clinched the 17th Olympic gold medal, and 21st medal overall, when he came from seventh at the halfway point to win in 51.21 ahead of Chad ad Clos, his conqueror in the 200m, and Evgeny Korotyshkin, who shared second place.
It was the final individual race of the 27-year-old’s career, with just the 4 x 100m Medley Relay to come before the Baltimore swimmer bows out of competition.
He said: ‘I am just happy that the last one was a win, that is all I wanted coming into tonight.’
Meanwhile, Ledecky led from start to finish and was under world record pace until the final few metres as she touched in 8:14.63, the second fastest time in history behind Rebecca Adlington’s world record from Beijing.
Franklin claimed her second individual title of the week when she lowered Kirsty Coventry’s world mark to 2:04.06, while Florent Manaudou of France won the men’s 50m Freestyle in 21.34.
Current top 5.
1. USA. 21G 10S 12B
2. China. 20G 13S 9B
3. Korea. 9G 2S 5B
4. Great Britain. 8G 6S 8B.
5. France. 8G 5S 6B