Friday, April 18, 2014
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Olympic roundup: Darling Douglas grabs the gold

U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas performs on the balance beam during the women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Thursday in London. AP photo

Gabby Douglas became the third straight American to win gymnastics’ biggest prize when she won the all-around Olympic title on Thursday. She finished with a score of 62.232, about three-tenths ahead of Viktoria Komova of Russia.

It’s her second gold medal of the London Games, coming two nights after she and her “Fierce Five” teammates gave the United States its first Olympic team title since 1996.

Douglas brought the house down with her energetic floor routine, and U.S. pals Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross jumped to their feet and cheered when she finished. Douglas flashed a smile and coach Liang Chow lifted her off the podium.

Michael Phelps also had a smile on his face after he added to his medal collection with his first individual gold medal of the London Games.

The U.S. star set the tone right from the start to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics, capturing the 200-meter individual medley for his 20th career medal — and 16th gold. Teammate Ryan Lochte settled for silver and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh took the bronze.

Americans Rebecca Soni (200 breaststroke) and Tyler Clary (200 backstroke) also won. Soni lowered her own world record with a time of 2 minutes, 19.59 seconds in the final.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands took the 100 freestyle, clocking 53.00 to improve on her own Olympic record.

Ann Romney was on hand to watch her horse in dressage at Greenwich Park, and said she was thrilled by Rafalca’s performance.

The wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in the VIP section of the stadium for Rafalca’s Olympic debut, watching literally from the edge of her seat as the 15-year-old, German-bred mare completed the 7-minute Grand Prix test.

She and Rafalca’s other two owners gave horse and rider Jan Ebeling a rousing standing ovation and a wave as they left the arena. Their score of 70.243 percent put them in 13th place with half the 50 competitors still to go.

“She was consistent and elegant,” Romney told The Associated Press. “She did not disappoint. She thrilled me to death.”

Rafalca has been the source of political jokes and Democratic ads questioning how Mitt Romney can presume to know the problems of ordinary Americans when he inhabits the rarefied world of dressage.

Ebeling, who became a U.S. citizen in 1998, said the Romneys have been great supporters of the sport and have helped boost its visibility.

“I really welcome the attention,” he said. “It’s given us a fantastic opportunity to have our sport — have visibility in our sport — and show what we’re really about, show that it is an Olympic discipline and show people how much we work to get there.”

Politics also took center stage at ExCel when British Prime Minister David Cameron joined Russian President Vladimir Putin at the judo competition.

It’s not a stretch to describe Putin — an honorary president of the International Judo Federation — as the world’s best-known judo fan. Putin has been a judo competitor since his childhood, eventually gaining the rank of black belt.

“I am delighted to be taking the president to the judo, but note that we will be spectators — and not participants,” Cameron joked as the men left his Downing Street residence.

The U.S. men’s basketball team returned to the court and put together a dominant performance in a 156-73 win against Nigeria.

Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points to set the American Olympic mark for points in a game — in less than three quarters. He made 10 of 12 3-point attempts.

The U.S. also set the Olympic record for points in a game and points in a half (78). The Americans bettered the U.S. records as well for 3-pointers (26), field goals (59) and field-goal percentage (71).

Kobe Bryant scored 16 points — 14 in the first quarter — for the Americans, who scored 49 points in the first and didn’t let up after scoring 78 in the first 20 minutes.

Ike Diogu scored 27 for Nigeria (1-2).

The Olympic badminton controversy continued for a third day, with the IOC demanding a deeper investigation into the scandal and an embattled Chinese player appearing to quit the tarnished sport.

Four doubles teams were kicked out of competition Wednesday, and the women — the top-seeded pair from China, two pairs from South Korea and one from Indonesia — were also set to have their accreditations removed by their national Olympic bodies and sent home.

Defending Olympic champion Yu Yang of China went further by apparently announcing her retirement from badminton.

“This is my last game,” read a posting on a verified account for Yu on the Tencent microblogging service. “Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton.”

Yu’s retirement could not be confirmed with Chinese badminton officials and was not referenced in an interview with state television.

The rest of the Olympic action Thursday:

Judo

Kayla Harrison tried to keep it together. Once the national anthem started, so did the tears.

Harrison defeated Britain’s Gemma Gibbons to win the United States’ first judo gold medal in Olympic history, taking the 78-kilogram title.

The 22-year-old Middletown, Ohio, native who lives in suburban Boston went to the medal podium determined not to cry. After one note of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” she succumbed.

“I’m just so honored to be America’s first gold medalist, and so happy to realize my dream,” she said.

Tagir Khaibulaev of Russia won the men’s 100-kg gold, beating Beijing champion Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia with a match-ending ippon throw.

Tennis

Roger Federer is still rolling in his pursuit of his first Olympic singles medal.

Federer beat American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (5) and will play No. 8-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.

Serena Williams, another reigning Wimbledon champion who is seeking her first Olympic singles medal, advanced by beating former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-0, 6-3. Williams’ opponent in the semifinals Friday will be top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who beat Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 7-5.

Russians Maria Sharapova and Maria Kirilenko will meet in the other women’s semi.

Novak Djokovic also advanced on the men’s side and next plays Britain’s Andy Murray.

Water Polo

Tony Azevedo scored four goals and the U.S. men’s team beat Britain 13-7 to remain undefeated at the London Games.

The Americans are on top of Group B with six points, one ahead of gold medal-favorite Serbia, with two preliminary stage matches to go.

Serbia played to an 11-11 draw with Montenegro. The Serbs face the U.S. on Saturday.

Spain, Greece, Hungary and Croatia all won.

Volleyball

Captain Clay Stanley scored 19 points and the U.S. men’s team defeated Brazil 3-1 in a preliminary-round rematch of the Beijing final.

The 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17 victory extends the United States’ Olympic winning streak to 11 matches.

Leandro Vissotto Neves had 15 points for No. 1 Brazil.

Poland, Russia, Bulgaria and Italy each won in straight sets. Former NBA center Vlade Divac was on hand to cheer Serbia, which fell 3-2 to Germany.

Beach Volleyball

All four American teams — two in the men’s tournament and two in the women’s — finished the round-robin atop their pools, with defending gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser beating the Czech Republic in the finale.

Defending world champions Emanuel and Alison of Brazil struggled through an extended first set to beat Italy and win their group. The Brazilians beat Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo 26-24, 21-18.

Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross finished 3-0 with a 21-19, 19-21, 19-17 victory over Spain. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor finished their pool play with a No. 1 seed on Wednesday, as did Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal.

Boxing

U.S. boxers are dropping out of the Olympic tournament at a rapid rate.

The American skid reached seven straight bouts with narrow defeats for lightweight Jose Ramirez and middleweight Terrell Gausha. Only welterweight Errol Spence and flyweight Rau’shee Warren — who hasn’t fought yet — are still alive.

Ramirez started slowly and never caught up in a 15-11 loss to Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, while Gausha was locked in a tight one with Beijing bronze medalist Vijender Singh of India before dropping a 16-15 decision.

Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko opened his second Olympics in the same dominant style that made him the best boxer in Beijing, overwhelming Dominican lightweight Wellington Arias in a 15-3 victory.

Rowing

The United States defended its title in the women’s eight, maintaining its six-year dominance of the high-profile event.

The Americans won in a time of 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds. Canada finished a half-length behind in second and the Netherlands took the bronze.

The U.S. hasn’t lost a competitive race in the eight since winning the world title in 2006.

New Zealand picked up its first gold of the London Games when Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won the double sculls final at Dorney Lake. Italy and Slovenia grabbed the next two spots on the podium.

South Africa captured its first Olympic rowing gold when its closing charge was enough to take the lightweight men’s four. Britain edged Denmark for silver.

Enterprise staff

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