The 2012 London Games have brought plenty of surprise performances and unlikely winners. But one person's success typically culminates in another's failure.
Day 12 of the Olympics brought more of the same.
There were some surprises on the hard court in volleyball and a thrilling completion on the sand.
There was some tough luck on the day as well, such as Roman Sebrle having to pull out of the decathlon.
Following are the biggest winners and losers from Day 12.
The U.S. started water-polo play with a realistic expectation of a gold medal. Over its final three games, it didn't even look as though it belonged in the tournament.
The Americans were ousted by Croatia, 8-2.
After jumping out to a 3-0-0 record, the U.S. lost its next three and failed to even make it to a medal game.
In sailing, the Americans had another opportunity to medal but fell short. The results in the men's 49er skiff class were fairly well determined headed into the final day, but the all-time leaders in Olympic sailing medals have failed to reach the podium in 2012.
The American men, as a whole, have been disappointing in London.
France was noticeably frustrated as its basketball game came to a close. The French took a few cheap shots, but none as bad as the one Nicolas Batum delivered.
Batum wins today's biggest loser with this shot on Spain.
At least Batum used Twitter to apologize for his poor judgement:
I want to apologize for my stupid act at the end, I showed a bad image of France and myself, Congrats to team Spain.— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) August 8, 2012
Had his aim been this good earlier in the game, France might have won.
Russia had to rely on the Olympic Qualifying Tournament to get a berth into the Olympic Games. It failed to grab one of the two spots in the European Championship, but its only loss came in the semifinals against France.
The Russians beat Lithuania to advance to the semifinals.
With a 66-59 win, Spain continued to show it is simply better than France. This was a rematch of the 2011 European Championship, which also played out in Spain's favor.
The game got a bit chippy at the end, perhaps representative of the hard-fought contest.
Spain will face Russia in the semifinals.
Brazil and Argentina were fighting for the right to face the loser of Spain-Russia in the bronze-medal game.
Well, to be fair, they were fighting for the right to face Team USA and then play for the bronze medal. Argentina prevailed in a close contest, 82-77.
Had Australia rebounded from its 56-42 halftime deficit to beat the U.S., this slide would've been a bit humbling. But as expected, the Americans won handily, 119-86.
All four of the winners will play in a medal game.
Clarissa Chun survived a difficult draw to come through and win a bronze medal in women's freestyle wrestling in the 48-kilogram (105.5 lb.) weight class.
She defeated Irina Melnik-Merleni of the Ukraine, 3-0.
Watching semifinals action of beach volleyball, I couldn't help but be impressed with Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China. They were solid in virtually every aspect of the game, but still came up short against the best team ever.
They had their shot at redemption in the bronze-medal match today and outscored Brazil. However, after a dominant 21-11 opening set, the Brazilians came back to win the final two sets, 21-19 and 15-12.
It seems almost unreal that this team will leave London without a medal.
China won the gold medal in the men's table tennis team competition on Wednesday. This comes after taking gold and silver in the men's and women's singles and winning the women's team events.
For those that aren't big fans of math, that makes four gold medals for China in table tennis and zero for the rest of the world. The Chinese also grabbed both of the silver medals they were able to compete for.
They graciously left the bronze medals for other countries to fight over like table scraps.
Don't let the skirts fool you...these ladies play hard and play to win. The Netherlands survived a tough battle with New Zealand, winning, 3-1, on a shootout.
The loss was a tough one for New Zealand, but it still will play for a bronze medal.
The Netherlands are an honorable mention for one of today's winners, but will need to capture gold to make the final tally.
The U.S. needed a pick-me-up on the track, and Allyson Felix and Aries Merritt came through with gold medals.
The U.S. hadn't won the 110-meter hurdles since 1996, and the men still didn't have a gold on the track in 2012.
Felix had finished in silver-medal position in 2004 and 2008 behind Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown.
I'm taking some liberty here with two winners, but it is the overall track team that benefits from the pair of gold medals.
Felix becamethe most decorated woman in 200mw 7 Olympic and World Championship medals in the 200, four of them gold.— USATF (@USATrack_Field) August 8, 2012
After failing to advance a men's team to the semifinals in beach volleyball, the indoor team started the medal round against Italy, the No. 4 seed from Group A.
This should have meant a quick foray into the semifinals and another game against Brazil, whom the men beat in Group B play.
It looked like someone told the U.S. it had an automatic win. It played uninspired, missing spikes and blocks; I cringed as they set the ball over the net for an Italian kill. Team USA also had too many service errors.
The U.S. lost in straight sets, joining the beach team with a disappointing 2012 London Olympics.
This slide also serves as a tip of the hat to the Italian men. It is tempting to include them with the winners of the day, but they need to get a medal for that to happen.
A well-deserved celebration for the three-time Olympic Champions.
While there had to be a winner when the two American teams met in the gold-medal match, there really isn't a loser.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings beat April Ross and Jen Kessy to solidify their stance as the world's best women's beach volleyball team...ever.
Both teams worked through a talented field to advance to the finals and grab the top-two spots on the podium, making all four of the U.S. women winners.
Following their close win over the amazingly talented Chinese duo of Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, Walsh Jennings told the Associated Press what is important for these games.
"'We want to seal the deal that we're the best team that's ever happened. Misty has changed my life. I just love her. I want to win tomorrow for us.'"
Ross and Kessy had to rally from an opening-set loss to upset the top-ranked team and reigning World Champions from Brazil.
That loss pitted Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca against Xue and Zhang in the bronze-medal match. Their win makes them an honorable mention for winners of the day.
"There is a different between conceit & confidence. Conceit is bragging. Confidence is believing you can get the job done. -J Unitas" — Kerri Walsh (@kerrileewalsh) August 8, 2012
One more in the "honorable" mention category...
David Blatt, coach of the Russian basketball team, isn't reacting to a call during its quarterfinal victory over Lithuania. Rather, he just saw himself on the replay screen and is still in disbelief over what he had to wear onto the court.
In general, the Russian uniforms have been awkward at best. Their gymnastics uniforms looked great on the ladies, but hardly represented the tough image the Russian men want to portray.