2012 Olympics Results: Winners and Losers from Day 11
As the 2012 Olympic experience continues to evolve, each day provides us with plenty to talk about. Here, we give equal attention to those athletes who excelled in their respective sport and those who won't look back on Tuesday with fond reflection.
It's our daily examination of the winners and losers from throughout the Olympic platform. We've reached far and wide to find Tuesday's top storylines of fairy-tale endings and heartbreaking circumstances.
So hop on this emotional roller coaster and enjoy the ride.
Winner: Aly Raisman, U.S. Women's Gymnastics
After an up-and-down Olympic run, American gymnast Aly Raisman got a taste of redemption on Tuesday when she won a pair of medals. The 18-year-old earned bronze in the balance-beam final and captured gold with a sensational floor routine.
Ironically, Raisman won a tiebreaker to take the bronze medal on beam. A controversial tiebreaking procedure cost her bronze in last week's all-around final
Including a U.S. team gold, Raisman earned three medals in London and is the first American woman to ever win individual gold in the floor exercise.
"To have it be at the Olympic Games, in the finals, is just really amazing and just a dream come true," Raisman told USA Today. "That's what you work for your whole life."
Loser: Canadian Women's Basketball
In the aftermath of Team USA's controversial extra-time victory over Canada in Monday's women's soccer semifinal, one would have thought that there would be a threat of border skirmishes to the north. The U.S. didn't exactly ease tensions on Tuesday, as the American women's basketball team took Canada to the woodshed in quarterfinal action.
The U.S. routed the Canada, 91-48, to extend its Olympic streak to 39 consecutive wins.
Canadian player Lizanne Murphy walked away impressed after the pommeling, predicting that the U.S. would “end up winning the whole thing, beating everybody by 30 points.”
I guess if you're going to get beat, lose to the best. Just try not to lose by 43.
Winner: Sally Pearson, Australian Hurdler
The 25-year-old Aussie settled for silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, but bounced back with an impressive performance on Tuesday, taking her first Olympic gold medal. With American hurdlers hot on her trail (U.S. runners finished second, third and fourth), Pearson pushed ahead of the pack, setting an Olympic record with a finishing time of 12.35 seconds.
"I wasn't going to let myself look until I crossed the finish line and when I crossed the line and saw we were all lined up really close and everyone in yellow over there was saying, 'It's yours,' and I thought I don't believe it until I see it on the screen," she told The Australian. "And then it came up and it's, oh, a relief. Nothing hurts at the moment. I feel like I'm walking on a cloud."
Loser: Lolo Jones, American Hurdler
This American sweetheart was unable to erase the memories of a devastating fall during her final stretch toward gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Jones settled for a disappointing fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles final on Tuesday.
The native Iowan has emerged as one of the most hyped and followed American Olympians, despite the fact that she has never won an Olympic medal. Jones, 30, likely saw her final opportunity to reach the award podium pass by.
"I kinda figured I was out, but I didn't know. I was hoping, a prayer, a chance, that I would squeak away a medal," Jones told USA Today. "You always think, 'What could I have done differently?'"
Winner: U.S. Women's Water Polo
The Americans are on their way to the women's water polo final, guaranteeing themselves at least a silver medal at these Olympic Games. The squad defeated Australia, 11-9, in overtime on Tuesday to advance.
Since women's water polo became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Sydney Games, the U.S. has won silver twice but never gold. The team faces unbeaten Spain in Thursday's final.
Beating defending bronze medalist Australia should serve as a significant confidence booster. Led by 19-year-old Maggie Steffens, this American squad is surging.
Loser: Chinese Men's Springboard Divers
China's reign in three-meter springboard Olympic diving action is over. Russia's Ilya Zakharov won gold in the event, ensuring that the Chinese monopoly on first-place finishes ended.
The nation had swept the event at each Olympics, dating back to the 1996 Atlanta Games. Obviously, incredible expectations were in place, which is why the Chinese team makes this list despite Qin Kai's silver-medal performance.
"Every athlete faces pressure, but if you want to be really good then you really need to handle that pressure to perform," Qin told the Associated Press. "I think Ilya did really wonderful today and this is what the Olympics are all about. I want to congratulate him, even though I feel a little sorry, but he did so well today."
Winner: Epke Zonderland, Netherlands Men's Gymnastics
Epke Zonderland made his homeland of Holland proud with a powerhouse performance in the men's gymnastics high bar final. He became the first Dutch man to claim gold in artistic gymnastics, with a surreal score of 16.533.
"It's unique to be in an Olympic final if you're a Dutch gymnast, but winning the gold is bizarre," Zonderland told ESPN news services. "I worked so long to achieve a result like this. This is amazing."
Loser: Chinese Hurdler Liu Xiang
Liu leaped onto the scene as a star after winning 110-meter hurdles gold at the 2004 Athens Games, but has now seen his hopes for a second event medal come crashing down in consecutive Olympics.
At the 2008 Beijing Games, he suffered an injury to his right heel. Today, he tumbled to the track after striking the first hurdle. In the blink of an eye, the pride of China was cast aside from Olympic competition once again.
Once again, Liu's heel is the issue.
“The injury is the same one he had in Beijing,” Chinese track-and-field leader Feng Shuyong told The New York Times. “In the last several years he has had good medical care, but it is still there. An Achilles injury is almost impossible to recover from fully.”
Winner: Behdad Salimi, Iranian Weightlifter
The Olympic title of World's Strongest Man has been passed along to Behdad Salimi. The Iranian heavyweight lifter put up a winning total of 455 kg, finishing ahead of national teammate Sajjad Anoushiravani.
The 22-year-old was ecstatic after securing top honors.
"I'm very happy, I worked very hard for this and had a very hard schedule," Salimi told the Associated Foreign Press. "It's also been a good day for Iran because we got two gold and two silver medals."
Loser: U.S. Men's Boxing
For the first time ever, the U.S. men's Olympic boxing program is returning home empty-handed. Even an overturned decision couldn't reverse the Americans' fortunes in London.
Welterweight Errol Spence fell to Russian Andrey Zamkovoy, 16-11, in a quarterfinal bout on Tuesday, bringing an end to an extremely disappointing chapter in U.S. boxing. Overall, American men's boxing owns an Olympic record 108 medals.
Today, Spence assured that the 2012 Summer Games total would be zero.