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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Olympics 2012, Day 11: Curtain Falls On Michael Phelps' Career

Danny Lee |
August 4, 2012 | 4:54 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Courtesy of Dawn Megli-Thuna, Neon Tommy
Courtesy of Dawn Megli-Thuna, Neon Tommy
While Saturday marked the conclusion of competition in the swimming pool at the London Games, it may have also signaled the end of the most decorated Olympic career of all time.

The U.S. men’s 4x100-meter medley team sent Michael Phelps out a winner in what was perhaps his Olympic swan song. The Americans captured gold in the relay with a time of 3 minutes, 29.35 seconds, earning Phelps his 18th Olympic gold medal and 22nd medal of any color. The 27-year-old retires with twice as many golds as any other Olympian.

The U.S. was in front coming out of Matt Grevers’ opening backstroke leg, but Kosuke Kitajima briefly moved Japan ahead during his breaststroke leg against longtime American rival Brendan Hansen. Phelps was next in the pool, swimming the butterfly leg in 50.73 seconds to hand Nathan Adrian a comfortable lead going into the closing freestyle leg.

The Japanese finished in 3:31.26 to settle for silver, while Australia took bronze in 3:31.68.

In the women’s 4x100 medley, the Americans clocked in at 3:52.05 to breeze to the gold medal. The new mark trims 0.14 off the time set by China at the 2009 world championships.

Missy Franklin, who swam the backstroke, picked up her fourth gold medal of the London Games. Rebecca Soni followed with the breaststroke, Dana Vollmer swam the butterfly and Allison Schmitt capped off the freestyle. For Schmitt, it was her third gold in London to go with a silver and bronze.

The Aussies turned in a time of 3:54.02 to take silver and Japan finished in 3:55.73 to collect bronze.

In other swimming finals held on Saturday, the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo won the women’s 50-meter freestyle in an Olympic-record time of 24.05 to add to her 100-meter freestyle gold from two days earlier. China’s Sun Yang swam away to win the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle in 14:31.02, besting his own world-record mark set last year in Shanghai.

Jamaica’s Fraser-Pryce Defends Olympic 100 Meters Title

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce can still lay claim to the title of world’s fastest woman after sprinting to a time of 10.75 to repeat as gold medalist in the 100-meter dash. The U.S.'s Carmelita Jeter finished .03 behind to settle for silver, while Fraser-Pryce’s countrywoman Veronica Campbell-Brown crossed the line in 10.81 to take bronze.

Americans found medals elsewhere on the track as distance runner Galen Rupp nabbed silver in the men’s 10,000 meters. Rupp finished .48 seconds behind training partner Mo Farah of Great Britain, who ran a time of 27:30.42 to capture gold. On the field, Will Claye earned bronze in the men’s long jump.

Competition in the men’s 100 meters got underway as the U.S.'s Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Ryan Bailey won their first-round heats to advance to Sunday’s semifinals. Jamaicans Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell also took their heats to qualify into the semis.

American LaShawn Merritt won’t get to defend his 400-meter gold from Beijing after a gimpy left hamstring forced him to pull up about halfway through his heat. Merritt had served a 21-month drug suspension and returned to the track before the 2011 world championships.

History was made on the track when South African Oscar Pistorius became the first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics. The 25-year-old four-time Paralympic Games champion finished his 400-meter heat in a season-best time of 45.44 to advance to the semis. Pistorius, who competes on carbon-fiber blades, was born without fibulas and had both legs amputated below the knees before he was a year old. 

Serena Williams, Bryan Brothers Complete Tennis Golden Slam

The storied courts of Wimbledon provided an ideal backdrop for a gold medal clash between the two biggest names in women’s tennis, but the result proved anti-climactic.

Williams finished her career Golden Slam with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Russia’s Maria Sharapova on Centre Court. The lopsided win gave the Compton native an Olympic gold medal in singles competition to go with singles titles in the four major tennis tournaments. Victoria Azarenka of Belarus took down Russia’s Maria Kirilenko to win the bronze medal match.

Twins Mike and Bob Bryan also pulled off the elusive Golden Slam with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) win over France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra in the men’s doubles draw. The brothers won the bronze in 2008 and have captured 11 grand slam doubles titles.

U.S. Avoids Stunner In Men’s Basketball

The star-studded U.S. men’s basketball team took on its toughest test of the London Games before edging a scrappy Lithuanian team, 99-94, in its fourth game of pool play.

The Americans trailed by two with under six minutes remaining until NBA Finals MVP LeBron James poured in 9 of his 20 points in the final four minutes, helping stave off what would have been the biggest upset in the Olympics. The U.S. went on a 15-4 run to take a 97-88 lead with about two minutes remaining, and had to overcome a 58 percent shooting performance from the Lithuanians.

Team USA sank a record 29 3-pointers in its 156-73 drubbing of Nigeria, but went just 10 of 33 from long distance and missed 12 free throws against Lithuania. Carmelo Anthony added 20 points and Kevin Durant chipped in 16 for the U.S.

Great American Gun Show

Jamie Gray won the women’s 50-meter rifle three-position to pick up the U.S.’s third shooting gold in London. This is the first time Americans have won three golds in one Olympics since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

USC At The Olympics

Soni’s gold in the women’s medley relay was her second in the London Games. She captured the 200-meter breaststroke title earlier this week and also hauled in a silver in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. Ous Mellouli earned bronze in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle swimming for Tunisia.

Sprinter Allyson Felix advanced to the finals of the women’s 100-meter dash and finished 5th with a time of 10.89. Bryshon Nellum ran a time of 45.29 in his first-round heat of the men’s 400 meters to claim a spot in Sunday's semifinals.

Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) posted a time of 47.76 in the semifinals of the men’s 400-meter hurdles to advance safely into Monday’s final. Emir Bekric’s 49.62 was not enough to advance him out of the semis as he placed 14th competing for Serbia. Carol Rodriguez (Puerto Rico) placed 17th in the semifinals of the women’s 400 meters with a time of 52.08 and will not run in the finals.

Donald Suxho and the American men’s indoor volleyball team lost a pool play match to Russia in five sets despite holding a two-set lead.  

Shea Buckner and the U.S. men’s water polo team fell to Serbia, 11-6, in group play, while Joel Dennerley and James Clark’s Australian squad dropped a contest to Croatia by the same score.

Day 11 Medal Results:


Women's Doubles | Gold: Tian Qing & Zhao Yunlei (China), Silver: Mizuki Fujii & Reika Kakiiwa (Japan), Bronze: Nina Vislova & Valerya Sorokina (Russia)

Women's Singles | Gold: Li Xuerui (China), Silver: Wang Yihan (China), Bronze: Saina Nehwal (India)


Women's Team Pursuit | Gold: Great Britain, Silver: United States, Bronze: Canada


Women's Team Epee | Gold: China, Silver: South Korea, Bronze: United States


Men's Fours | Gold: Great Britain, Silver: Australia, Bronze: United States

Women's Lightweight Double Sculls | Gold: Sophie Hosking & Katherine Copeland (Great Britain), Silver: Huang Wenyi & Xu Dongxiang (China), Bronze: Alexandra Tsiavou & Christina Giazitzidou (Greece)

Men's Lightweight Double Sculls | Gold: Mads Rasmussen & Rasmus Quist (Denmark), Silver: Zac Purchase & Mark Hunter (Great Britain), Bronze: Storm Uru & Peter Taylor (New Zealand)

Women's Single Sculls | Gold: Mirka Knapkova (Czech Republic), Silver: Fie Udby Erichsen (Denmark), Bronze: Kim Crow (Australia)


Women's 50-meter Rifle, 3 positions | Gold: Jamie Gray (United States), Silver: Ivana Maksimovic (Serbia), Bronze: Adela Sykorova (Czech Republic)

Women's Trap | Gold: Jessica Rossi (Italy), Silver: Zuzana Stefecekova (Slovakia), Bronze: Delphine Reau (France)


Women's 50-meter Freestyle | Gold: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands), Silver: Aliaksandra Herasimenia (Belarus), Bronze: Marleen Veldhuis (Netherlands)

Men's 1,500-meter Freestyle | Gold: Sun Yang (China), Silver: Ryan Cochrane (Canada), Bronze: Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia)

Women's 4x100-meter Medley Relay | Gold: United States, Silver: Australia, Bronze: Japan

Men's  4x100-meter Medley Relay | Gold: United States, Silver: Japan, Bronze: Australia


Women's Singles | Gold: Serena Williams (United States), Silver: Maria Sharapova (Russia), Bronze: Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)

Men's Doubles | Gold: Mike Bryan & Bob Bryan (United States), Silver: Michael Llodra & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France), Bronze: Richard Gasquet & Julien Benneteau (France)

Track and Field

Women's Heptathlon | Gold: Jessica Ennis (Great Britain), Silver: Lilli Schwarzkopf (Germany), Bronze: Tatyana Chernova (Russia)

Men's 20-kilometer Walk | Gold: Chen Ding (China), Silver: Erick Barrondo (Guatemala), Bronze: Wang Zheng (China)

Women's Discus Throw | Gold: Sandra Perkovic (Croatia), Silver: Darya Pischalnikova (Russia), Bronze: Li Yanfeng (China)

Men's Long Jump | Gold: Greg Rutherford (Great Britain), Silver: Mitchell Watt (Australia), Bronze: Will Claye (United States)

Men's 10,000 meters | Gold: Mo Farah (Great Britain), Silver: Galen Rupp (United States), Bronze: Tariku Bekele (Ethiopia)

Women's 100 meters | Gold: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica), Silver: Carmelita Jeter (United States), Bronze: Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica)


Women's Individual | Gold: Rosannagh MacLennan (Canada), Silver: Huang Shanshan (China), Bronze: He Wenna (China)


Women's Olympic Distance | Gold: Nicola Spirig (Switzerland), Silver: Lisa Norden (Sweden), Bronze: Erin Densham (Australia)


Men's 94-kilogram | Gold: Ilya Ilin (Kazakhstan), Silver: Aleksandr Ivanov (Russia), Bronze: Anatolie Ciricu (Moldova)










Read more of Neon Tommy's 2012 Olympic coverage here.

Reach Staff Reporter Danny Lee here; follow him here.



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