Olympic Results 2012: Highlights from the Final Day
Before the Olympic cauldron was extinguished on Day 16 of the 2012 Summer Olympics, several athletes who waited the whole competition finally got their crowning moments. In all, 15 gold medals were handed out on Sunday.
Team sports that have provided thrills for two weeks finally ended, and several of the more grueling individual competitions also took place on Sunday. One man won his nation’s second-ever gold medal, and one woman won her nation’s second gold of these Games. One team won an expected title, while another upset a favorite in stunning fashion.
Click through to see a sampling of the highlights from the last day in London.
Ugandan Wins Men’s Marathon
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Stephen Kiprotich gave Uganda its seventh Olympic medal ever, and its second gold, when he won the men’s marathon on the final day of the 2012 Summer Olympics. He received his gold medal at the closing ceremony, and his nation’s national anthem was played for the thousands in Olympic Stadium to hear, an ending befitting a global Olympic Games.
Kiprotich was near the front for much of the race, sustaining his pace while others dropped off. In the end, his time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 1 second was good enough to win gold over Abel Kirui (2:08:27) and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (2:09:37) of Kenya.
US Basketball Team Takes Expected Gold
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If the result met everybody’s expectations for the United States men’s basketball team, the road was perhaps rockier than most imagined. Spain kept the gold-medal game close, trailing by just one point at halftime and at the end of the third quarter.
In the end, the quality in the American roster won. It wasn’t anything other than what people imagined from the United States, but the Americans delivered gold without succumbing to pressure or stumbling even once along the way.
Jaroslav Kulhavy Wins Cross-Country Cycling
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After lap upon lap of cycling around a grueling 4.7-kilometer/2.9-mile course riddled with rocks, hills and other obstacles, the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Kulhavy came out on top with a time of 1 hour, 29 minutes, 7 seconds. Switzerland’s Nino Schurter finished second (1:29:08), and Italy’s Marco Aurelio Fontana won the bronze medal (1:29:32).
Kulhavy is also the reigning world champion, so this Olympic victory solidified his spot at the top of the sport for the time being.
France Wins Men’s Handball Gold
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After an even 20 minutes in the men’s handball final, France led for the remaining 40 minutes of play and closed out a 22-21 barnburner against Sweden to win the gold medal. Despite leading for the majority of the game, France never opened up a gap larger than three points.
With the victory, France became the first nation to win two consecutive handball gold medals. Michael Guigou led Les Bleus with five goals on the night, while Sweden’s Niclas Ekberg scored six to take his Olympic-leading total to 50 in the tournament.
Lithuania Picks Up Another Gold in Modern Pentathlon
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Laura Asadauskaite won the women’s modern pentathlon, giving Lithuania its second gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games. She ended with 5,408 points, a modern pentathlon Olympic record, and Samantha Murray ensured with her 5,356 that the final medals handed out would include a Briton on the podium.
The modern pentathlon winner is crowned after fencing, swimming, horse riding and a final combined event that includes shooting and running.
Russia Upsets Brazil to Win Men’s Volleyball
In a five-set thriller, Russia took on favorites Brazil and won the Olympic gold medal despite going down by two sets. The Russians clawed their way back, winning 19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9.
It was the first time a team came back from a two-set deficit to win the gold-medal match. Dmitriy Mikhaylov led the way for the Russians with a massive 31 points, while Brazil’s Wallace de Souza added 27 for his team.
Top-Ranked Croatia Takes Men’s Water Polo
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The No. 1-ranked team in the world, Croatia, made no mistakes in the 2012 Olympic Games and ended up with a gold medal that matches its lofty standing in the sport. Italy took an early 2-0 lead, but Croatia fought back to tie the game and take a brief lead of its own at halftime.
Four straight goals from the start of the third quarter and into the fourth gave Croatia a 7-3 lead from which it would prove impossible for Italy to recover. Maro Jokovic and Miho Boskovic scored two of those goals each, resigning the Italians to the silver medal.