Olympics 2012, Day 9: U.S., Russian Gymnasts Compete For All-Around
Here's how they got there:
Story of the Day: Gabrielle Douglas edges Victoria Komova in All-Around
For the third consecutive Olympics, an American stood atop the podium in the women's gymnastics individual all-around competition. Gabrielle Douglas won the gold medal with a score of 62.232, placing her name alongside 2004 champion Carly Patterson and 2008 champion Nastia Liukin.
As many expected, the competition came down to the Russian participants, Victoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina, and their American counterparts, Douglas and Aly Raisman. Raisman and Mustafina both struggled on the balance beam, placing them out of contention for a gold medal. Komova stayed close to Douglas for the lead, but the American's opening score of 15.966 in the vault was enough to keep her in the top spot from start to finish. Even a strong floor routine from Komova could not shake Douglas, and she was forced to settle for silver.
Raisman and Mustafina tied for third with a score of 59.566. The tiebreaker was based on the sum of the top three apparatus scores of each athlete. By that rule, Raisman lost the bronze medal to Mustafina by 0.566 points, giving Russia two gymnasts on the medal stand.
Yesterday, USC alumna Rebecca Soni broke the world record in the women's 200-meter breaststroke in her semifinal race. Tonight, in the final, she did it again.
Soni won the gold medal in her signature event with a time of 2:19.59, breaking the world record she set yesterday by 0.41 seconds. Previously, she has won a gold medal in Beijing, a world title and four NCAA titles in this event.
"It's been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20," Soni told the Associated Press. "That's when my coach told me you're going to be the first woman to go under 2:19. I've been chasing it ever since. I'm just so happy."
Soni's victory was the beginning of a big night for the USA swim team. In the men's 200 meter backstroke, Tyler Clary took the gold with an Olympic record time of 1:53.41, while Ryan Lochte secured the bronze. Then, Lochte faced off against Michael Phelps in the highly anticipated 200-meter individual medley. Phelps prevailed with a time of 1:54.27, winning his first individual gold medal of these Olympics and his 20th Olympic medal overall. Lochte won the silver medal to get the 1-2 finish for the US.
Kayla Harrison Wins Judo Gold
For the first time ever, America has an Olympic judo champion.
With Vladimir Putin and David Cameron in attendance, Kayla Harrison won the gold medal in the women's 78-kilogram tournament. In the semifinals, she defeated the world No. 1 Mayra Aguiar of Brazil by making her submit to an armbar. Then, in the final, she took on Great Britain's Gemma Gibbons. With the roaring crowd cheering for the hometown competitor, Harrison defeated Gibbons by a score of 2-0.
Abused at a young age by her coach, Harrison was sent by her mother to Massachusetts for a new start. Under the tutelage of two-time Olympic bronze medalist Jimmy Pedro, she was able to find confidence in herself again and become one of the top judokas in her weight class.
She promised Pedro that if she did not win the gold medal, she would continue to train under him for the next Olympics. That commitment is now gone, but what remains is a bright new future for Harrison. She plans to join her fiancee as a firefighter and to help future judokas to realize their Olympic dreams the same way she did.
Breakthrough for Britain
While Gemma Gibbons couldn't get the gold for her hometown fans, her silver medal was part of a very successful day for the host nation. Hot on the heels of the gold medals won by cyclist Bradley Wiggins and rowers Helen Glover & Heather Stanning, Britain won seven medals in judo, shooting, cycling, canoeing and rowing.
In shooting, Peter Wilson won the gold in the men's double trap by two points, while legendary British Olympian Chris Hoy led his team to victory in the men's cycling team sprint. In canoeing, British teams took the gold and silver in the two-man slalom, leading to a celebration in the water between the winning Brits and their coaches.
Trojans In The Olympics
Rebecca Soni (USA): Discussed above.
Jennifer Kessy & April Ross (USA): The Trojan beach volleyball duo faced their toughest challenge yet against Spain's Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo. Down 14-12 in the final set, they staved off two match points and ultimately prevailed against the Spaniards by a score of 21-19, 19-21, 19-17. Kessy and Ross won their preliminary pool with this victory and will be the No. 4 seed when the round of 16 begins on Friday.
Clement Lefert (France): Lefert, already a medalist in the 400m and 800m freestyle relays, competed in the 100m butterfly, finishing 30th in the heats. He will now return to USC for his senior year.
Lynette Lim (Singapore): Lim's Olympics came to an end with a 31st-place finish in the 800 meter freestyle heats. She will return to USC for her junior year.
Donald Suxho (USA): Suxho, a setter on the USA men's volleyball team, scored three points during the Americans' four-set victory over Brazil. The USA won with a score of 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17. They face Russia on Saturday.
Shea Buckner (USA): Buckner scored two goals during the first half of the men's water polo bout between the USA and Great Britain. The victory gives the USA a 3-0 record and a commanding lead of Group B as they prepare to face a formidable Serbian squad on Saturday.
Joel Dennerley & James Clark (Australia): The Australian men's water polo team had a tough outing against Spain as they lost 13-9 and fell to a win-loss record of 1-2. Dennerley, a four-time NCAA champion with USC, only blocked three shots in the match.
Day 9 Medal Results:
Women's Individual Competition | Gold: Ki Bo Bae (South Korea), Silver: Aida Roman (Mexico), Bronze: Mariana Avitia Martinez (Mexico)
Men's Slalom C-2 | Gold: Timothy Baillie & Etienne Stott (Great Britain), Silver: David Florence & Richard Hounslow (Great Britain), Bronze: Peter Hochschorner & Pavol Hochschorner (Slovakia)
Women's Slalom K-1 | Gold: Emilie Fer (France), Silver: Jessica Fox (Australia), Bronze: Maialen Chourraut (Spain)
Men's Team Sprint | Gold: Great Britain, Silver: France, Bronze: Germany
Women's Team Sprint | Gold: Kristina Vogel & Miriam Welte (Germany), Silver: Guo Shuang & Gong Jinjie (China), Bronze: Anna Meares & Kaarle McCulloch (Australia)
Women's Team Foil | Gold: Italy, Silver: Russia, Bronze: South Korea
Women's Artistic Individual-All-Around | Gold: Gabrielle Douglas (United States), Silver: Victoria Komova (Russia), Bronze: Aliya Mustafina (Russia)
Women's 78-kilogram: Gold: Kayla Harrison (United States), Silver: Gemma Gibbons (Great Britain), Bronze: Audrey Tcheumeo (France) and Mayra Aguiar Da Silva (Brazil)
Men's 100-kilogram: Gold: Tagir Khaybulaev (Russia), Silver: Naidan Tuvshinbayar (Mongolia), Bronze: Dimitri Peters (Germany) and Henk Grol (Netherlands)
Men's Double Sculls | Gold: Joseph Sullivan & Nathan Cohen (Australia), Silver: Alessio Sartori & Romano Battisti (Italy), Bronze: Iztok Cop & Luka Spik (Slovenia)
Men's Lightweight Fours | Gold: South Africa, Silver: Great Britain, Bronze: Denmark
Women's Eights | Gold: United States, Silver: Canada, Bronze: Netherlands
Men's Double Trap | Gold: Peter Wilson (Great Britain), Silver: Hakan Dahlby (Sweden), Bronze: Vasily Mosin (Russia)
Women's 200-meter Breaststroke | Gold: Rebecca Soni (United States), Silver: Satomi Suzuki (Japan), Bronze: Yulia Efimova (Russia)
Men's 200-meter Backstroke | Gold: Tyler Clary (United States), Silver: Ryosuke Irie (Japan), Bronze: Ryan Lochte (United States)
Men's 200-meter Individual Medley | Gold: Michael Phelps (United States), Silver: Ryan Lochte (United States), Bronze: Laszlo Cseh (Hungary)
Women's 100-meter Freestyle | Gold: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands), Silver: Aliaksandra Herasimenia (Belarus), Bronze: Tang Yi (China)
Men's Singles | Gold: Zhang Jike (China), Silver: Wang Hao (China), Bronze: Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany)
Read more of Neon Tommy's 2012 Olympic coverage here.
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