Kiwi medals highlight another golden Friday/Saturday of the London Games.
Team USA will meet Spain a rematch of the 2008 basketball final. Spain accounted for Russia 67-59 before the Americans picked up their swagger in the second half to beat Argentina 109-83. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 19 points while LeBron James showed his all-round class with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. (CM)
One last shout out to our Black Stick girls. They deserved more and have undoubtedly been one of New Zealand's feel good stories of the Games despite today's disappointment. Encouragingly their line-up has an average age of 24 and only three players over 27 - goalkeeper Bianca Russell (34), Melody Cooper (29) and Krystal Forgesson (29) - so the bulk of their roster could return for the Rio Olympics in four years. Meanwhile their semi-final conquerors, the Netherlands, have beaten Argentina 2-0 in the final to defend their gold medal. (CM)
The Olympic Stadium is a feverish pit of excitement tonight, after the dramatic finish to the men's 4x400m relay. The USA were favourites heading into the race and contested the lead with the Bahamas for the first three laps, but in the final 400m the Bahamas showed incredible spirit and determination to edge ahead and take the gold with a new national record time.
Blade-runner Oscar Pistorious was running the final lap for South Africa, but the team was already behind when he took the baton and they finished 8th.
Jack's fact: The gold medal is Bahamas first medal of any colour at this Olympics, and their first gold since Athens in 2004.(JM)
An unbelievable women's 1500m final has just unfolded at the
Olympic Stadium...... Morgan Uceny of the United States bailed with
the last lap beckoning before Asli Cakir Alptekin of Turkey won
gold with a super slow time of 4:10.23. To put that into
perspective, New Zealand's Lucy Van Dalen, who was knocked out at
the semi-final stage, has a personal best of 4:05:76. Now we all
know the 1500m is a tactical race but a gold medal winning time
that is 20 seconds outside the world record is like Bolt winning
the 100m in 12 seconds. (CM)
As if cutting his thumb wasn't bad enough (see 4.48am), my colleague Chris now has to face the realisation his dream of taking out the Olympic medal sweepstake has taken another hit after the US women's 4x100m relay team win gold with a world record time.
They finished in 40.82 seconds, and the team are parading around the stadium, with huge smiles and each flying a star spangled banner behind them.
Crucially for sweepstake watchers though, this means the US now have 41 golds against China's 37. (Chris thought he had the sweepstake in the bag after getting China...!) (JM)
A hard final lap there in the women's 10,000m, Dibaba was leading the race with 200m to go and looked to be holding her position on the home straight, but her Ethiopian compatriot Meseret Defar put on a final sprint and managed to pull away finishing in 15 minutes 04.25, almost a minute off the world record.
Defar also won the event in Athens in 2004, but finished third in the last Olympic Games in Beijing. (JM)
Well GB's loss is the Australian's gain, as they qualify for the men's 4x100m final tomorrow night in their place. But up next is the women's 5000m final, with Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba looking to win a distance double, having won the 10,000m earlier this week.
Bit of a disaster for the Great Britain men's 4x100m relay team... They've been disqualified after an illegal baton pass in their first heat. The final pass was made outside the designated area, which is a shame for the home crowd because the GB men were coming second.
Jamaica won the heat, unsurprisingly, and have such depth in their running stocks they could give Usain Bolt the evening off. Yohan 'The Beast' Blake ran the thrird leg. The finals are tomorrow morning NZ time. (JM)
Great comeback from Spain to win 67-59, perhaps finding some form at precisely the right time to really challenge an American team that has rarely gotten out of cruise mode these Olympics. They certainly have the players to threaten. Next up, Team USA face Argentina - hard to see the aging South Americans getting up, but they did stay with their rivals for a half during pool play, so perhaps they can maintain that effort this time. (GC)
While we're talking numbers, Mariana Pajon, who beat Sarah Walker in the BMX, is Colombia's first ever gold medal winner. Incidentally, New Zealand's first REAL gold medal (not including that Australasian rubbish) was achieved by welterweight boxer Ted Morgan in 1928.
New Zealands 12 Olympic medals in London has now made this our second most successful Games, well sort of..... Sarah Walker's silver elevated the current team over the 1984ers in number of medals won but the Los Angeles team had the honour of winning eight golds, one silver and two bronzes which was good enough for an eighth place finish. But as my colleague noted, the 1984 success was achieved with none of the Eastern Block competing.... Tough to compare but one thing that is certain is if Lisa Carrington can win a medal tonight in the K1 200 then this NZ Team would be more successful than the 1988 team. Their 13 medals consisted of three golds, two silvers and eight bronzes while the 2012 team has four golds, three silvers and five bronzes. (CM)
After three quarters, Spain has drawn even with Russia at the basketball, scoring more points in that period (26) than they did in the first two (20). Momentum is on their side now, surely (GC)
The Olympics has had its fair share of injuries and unfortunately I joined the walking wounded last night. Preparing dinner, I sliced the top of my thumb off with a kitchen knife so sharp it would put the Ginsu to shame. What seemed liked litres of blood made a trip to the A&E a necessity and after being bandaged up I was given a clear message by the medical staff - "you can only use your right hand for 72 hours." Shattered that my Olympic dream would come to such a cruel end, I decided to battle through the shame (yes shame not pain). Sure I could only type with one hand but at least I was here right? Then I was reminded of the old Kiwi mantra by my colleagues - "toughen up mate." An attack on my dignity I can take but my masculinity - no way! So sorry doc I'm now typing with two hands. It's the right thing to do. If Katie Glynn can take a hockey stick to the face and and Manteo Mitchell can run 200m with a broken leg.... a kitchen wound pales in significance. (CM)
The men's basketball semifinals have begun, with Russia all over Spain in an all-Euro affair. At halftime, it's 31-20, so a pretty dour affair. The Spanish, who ran the United States close at Beijing four years ago, have not been very convincing in this tournament, so they need to find some inspiration from somewhere. (GC)
It's all over - 3-1 to Great Britain and the Riverbank Arena is going crazy. Not so much the NZ team and fans. The Black Sticks will jump a couple of spots in the world rankings for their efforts, but when you're on a run like they were through the early stages of this tournament, it's always tough to come up short and you never know when the next opportunity will arise. Still, the girls have captured the nation's imagination - as they did at the Commonwealth Games two years ago - so hopefully they can kick on from here. (GC)
GOAL to New Zealand! With little over two minutes remaining, the Sticks get a penalty corner and set the ball up for Stacey Michelsen to fire home. I hate consolation goals, but the scoreline always looks better if you score. Good effort, girls. (GC)
Another penalty corner to the British with less than eight minutes remaining. ANOTHER GOAL!! Captain Kate Walsh tries a variation and finds Sarah Thomas lurking outside the right post. Thomas deflects it home. (GC)
GOAL! British, yet another penalty corner - their fourth - after Russell comes out of her goal and deflects a shot into her own team-mate, Clarissa Eshuis. From the corner, Cullen beats the defence with her second goal of this playoff. This isn't looking good for the Kiwis - there will be tears. (GC)
At the hockey, the British get another penalty corner, but miscue the trap and can't get a shot off. (GC)
Silver to Sarah Walker in the BMX final. She looked shaky through the semis, but gets off to a great start in the one-off final, rounds the first corner behind multi-world champion Mariana Pajon and holds on to edge Dutchwoman Laura Smulders at the finish. Awesome result and really stamping BMX as one of the thrilling events to watch at these Olympics. (GC)
GOAL! The Brits get the ball behind the NZ defence and in the goalmouth scramble, the ball is deemed to hit Kayla Sharland on the foot. From the penalty corner, Alex Danson finds her mark to put the home side up. (GC)
Just seconds into the second half, Glynn guides a shot past British goalie Elizabeth Storry, but watches it bounce off the left upright. Arrrrgh, so close! (GC)
The Black Sticks have their first penalty corner of the match, but right on halftime, Charlotte Harrison is wide with her deflection. Still 0-0 - can we be headed towards another shoot-out? (GC)
Ha ha, some NZ fans in the hockey crowd sporting Katie Glynn head bandages. You'll recall Glynn got clobbered in the semifinal the other night and needed stitches in the noggin. (GC)
New Zealand have the ball in the net, but because the shot came from outside the circle, it needed a deflection and none was forthcoming. (GC)
Britain get the first penalty corner of the game, but NZ goalie Biana Russell sticks out a foot to stop Crista Cullen's shot. They have a second corner, deflected wide by Russell's stick. (GC)
Another mediocre run from Walker has her on the precipice of elmination. She had a much better start in this run and hit the first turn in third. However she completely mistimed one section which meant she lost ground before fighting back to finish fourth. That's good enough to put her in fourth overall, a qualifying position, but that doesn't leave much margin for error in her final run! (ACR)
Black Sticks taking the field against Great Britain in the women's hockey bronze-medal playoff. Princess Kate in attendance. (GC)
Oh no! Willers is in big trouble too, he was looking comfortable in third before going over the "big rhythm" section and inexplicably came off his bike landing hard on his shoulder. The New Zealander is going to have to pull something big out now if he's to go through in the top four - that is provided he is able to continue. Here's hoping! (ACR)
That's not a very good start from Sarah Walker as she finishes fifth in her first run. She never really looked likely as she got off to a bad start out of the gate. She will need two excellent runs to make sure she goes through. Willers to ride now. (ACR)
Not far away from the start of the BMX semi-finals at the Olympic Park. New Zealand have two genuine medal chances here in Sarah Walker and Marc Willers. The semis follow a three-run format with the top four from each reaching the final. Judging by what we saw yesterday the key is staying on your bike in all three runs, with plenty of carnage on the difficult London track. (ACR)
It's gold for New Zealand ! Team Jolly were absolutely dominant there, winning the race and defeating the only crew who could keep them from gold by over two minutes! Way to go. That is our fourth gold medal and 11th overall.
The London Olympics were billed as the "social media Games" and sure enough, all kinds of tweeting records have been broken over the past two weeks in London. But let's just pause for a moment to consider how much trouble social media has caused during these Olympics:
- Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou got sent home for a racist tweet
- British police arrested a man for sending offensive tweets to British diver Tom Daley after he failed to win a medal
- Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was sent home for an offensive tweet aimed at South Korea
- US athletes use Twitter to protest against "Rule 40", which prohibits them from promoting non-Olympic sponsors
- Fans were asked to slow down their tweeting, because they were overlooking communication networks and affecting television coverage
- The alleged romance between basketballer Kobe Bryant and swimmer Stephanie Rice was outed on Twitter by Aussie basketballer Liz Cambage, a clear violation of the "what goes on tour stays on tour" ettiquette
It's sometimes nice to have the means to express yourself, but clearly, the world doesn't need to know absolutely everything that springs to mind. Hopefully, the London Olympics will serve as a lesson in prudent social media use. (GC)
So it's a
fifth placed finish for the men's
as the Aussies take gold. However the real New
Zealand hope comes now as they try to beat the Brits for gold in
the women's edition. They've beaten the Brits to the line in seven
of 10 races over the regatta, if they can make it eight they will
be Olympic gold medallists. Let's go girls! (ACR)
I know it's taken almost two weeks to point this out, but since when do we have THREE semifinals in events. By definition, that's not possible - we have FOUR quarterfinals and TWO semifinals. "Semi" means half and three halves do not make a whole. Can we sort this out before Rio please? (GC)
Carrington was impressive in her semifinal as she finished with the fastest time of the day to qualify for tomorrow night's final, where she's likely to face the biggest challenge from the Hungarian who beat her in the heat.
Meanwhile the postponed men's 470 final from yesterday is underway. Winds are not strong, only 6 knots, but they are racing. New Zealand were an outside chance for bronze, but they trail both third and fourth placed Argentina and Italy so far so will need both boats to have a nightmare. Our gold medal chance Team Jolly will be in action after this. (ACR)
Here is my favourite attempt to cash in on the London Games I've seen. Some clever lads are selling 'bottled Olympic atmosphere' as they try to make a quick buck online. Good luck to them I say. The atmosphere's been pretty classic here at onenews.co.nz over the last two weeks, maybe I could try sell some TVNZ atmosphere. Any takers? (ACR
While all the attention this morning was on Usain Bolt achieving his 'double-double' on the track, there's been little said about Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba who can also achieve a similar feat . The 5000 and 10,000 metre champion from Beijing just needs to win tomorrow morning's 5000 final to emulate Finland's Lasse Viren who achieved the feat in 1972/76. (ACR)
A bit of a slow start from Lisa Carrington, but she easily
advances to the semi-finals finishing her heat in second place. She
was slow out of the blocks, but led at the midway point before
being passed by Hungary's Natasa Douchev Janics. With six going
through to the semis there was never any danger of the world champ
missing out, but she'll be hoping to start better later on tonight.
After a quiet day yesterday there's a bit more in the way of New Zealanders in action tonight. First off we finally get to see canoe sprint world champion Lisa Carrington in her specialist event, the K1 200m when she hits the water at 9:19pm New Zealand time. (ACR)
Then we two have two genuine medal chances on the water with both 470 class sailing crews in line for medals. The best the men's crew can do is sneak into a bronze, but the women are tied with Great Britain at the top of the standings and are guaranteed at least a silver medal.
The Black Sticks face the tough task of picking themselves up after their heartbreaking loss to the Netherlands as they challenge for the bronze medal against the hosts at 2:30am.
Meanwhile both Marc Willers and Sarah Walker will fancy their chances of picking up a medal on the BMX track. (ACR)