Olympics 2012 Results: Biggest Surprises from Day 8
"Super Saturday," they called it. That's 25 gold medals at stake, and the organizers wanted to know how you were planning to celebrate.
For the hosts, the festive atmosphere was certainly buoyed by so many medal events in all those sitting sports in which they excel—rowing, track cycling, etc.
As expected, Britain did pretty well in those sports. So what were the Super Saturday surprises? Read on.
Blade Runner Cruises in Qualifying
Oscar Pistorius is not likely to be a contender in the men's 400-meter dash, and making the final might be difficult. But he extended his stay in the Olympics with an emphatic seasonal-best time of 45.44 seconds in the first heat of the day.
Pistorius might need something closer to his career-best of 45.07 seconds to make the final, but his long-awaited Olympic debut gave reason to cheer.
After Nearly 2 Hours, a Photo Finish in the Triathlon
The norm in a triathlon is a lead pack emerges from the swimming and biking phases, then dwindles in numbers as the race goes on. Then someone finally gets away and wins.
In the women's triathlon, that didn't quite happen.
The lead pack dwindled to four, then three.
Then Switzerland's Nicola Spirig took off. Sweden's Lisa Norden chased, got close to Spirig and leaned for the tape.
Officials needed a couple of minutes to check it out. NBC's commentary crew looked at a couple of angles and couldn't tell. Finally, the photo finish confirmed that Spirig had just gotten her torso to the tap first.
Canadian Bounces to Gold
Lithuania Takes U.S. Neo-Dream Team to the Wall
Sarunas Jasikevicius. Darius Songaila. Martynas Pocius.
Not just answers to ACC basketball trivia questions.
And Linas Kleiza and Jonas Valanciunas aren't just part of the eclectic roster the Toronto Raptors have assembled in their perpetual rebuilding effort. They're part of a Lithuanian basketball team that had won only one of its three games—giving France a good run, but falling well short against Argentina—coming into its matchup with the United States.
But Jasikevicius and Pocius carved up the USA's defense, and Kleiza racked up 25 points. Lithuania shot 63 percent from two-point range and stuck with the USA.
Lithuania actually led 82-80 with seven minutes to play and was still within a point at the 4:12 mark. LeBron James, who's a little more famous than anyone on the Lithuanian roster, sparked a late run to preserve the Americans' unbeaten record.
Former World Champion Booted for Visiting Wife?
The St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee, which has seen its delegation of athletes drop from seven to five, says he missed far more than just a couple of nights away from the Village. They cite "repeated absences from training" and "refusing to respond to repeated phone calls and emails," USA Today reported.
Collins hasn't broken 10 seconds in the 100-meter dash since his world championship year of 2003. But he had made three straight Olympic finals in the event and finished third in the 2011 World Championships.
And Collins carried his country's flag in the opening ceremony.
Some sort of curse here?
U.S. Women's Epee Team Gets Last Point to Win Bronze
Last year at the World Championships, the U.S. women were wiped out in the team epee competition. They lost to France 44-25 in the quarterfinals, then to Hungary 45-32 in the placement rounds and then to Ukraine 45-39 in the 11th-place bout.
This year, Courtney Hurley, Kelley Hurley and Maya Lawrence returned from that team. Hurley went 8-3 and 5-2 in her last two sessions to clinch the quarterfinal against Italy. A loss to South Korea followed, leaving the USA battling for bronze against Russia.
Kelley sparked a comeback in the middle of a low-scoring contest, and then Lawrence staked the USA to a two-point lead, 27-25.
Courtney traded touches until time ran out. It all came down to one touch in overtime, and they got it. Bronze for the USA, the country's first medal of an otherwise-frustrating fencing competition in London.
U.S. Pursuit Team Catches Silver
The result wasn't shocking, even though the USA isn't the world's biggest track cycling power. Sarah Hammer, Jennie Reed and Dotsie Bausch had taken second in the 2011 World Championships, though they slipped to fifth in the 2012 edition.
But the manner in which they got back on the podium was stunning. Down by nearly two seconds to Australia, Team USA put the hammer down—Sarah Hammer, that is.
Hammer led a couple of laps and brought the USA back. They beat Australia to the line to advance to the final.
The final was a foregone conclusion. Although Team USA brought in Lauren Tamayo for fresh legs, the British cyclists were busy setting world records for Paul McCartney's amusement.
USA proudly took home silver.
Serbia Routs U.S. Men's Water Polo
Serbia has a terrific track record in water polo, maintaining the solid tradition of the old Yugoslavia even as that country lost Croatia and then Montenegro from its borders. They're virtually never off the podium in the Olympics or World Championships.
But to turn around from an 11-11 tie against neighboring Montenegro to wipe out the USA 11-6, and Tony Azevedo being held to one goal and a missed penalty shot?
That wasn't expected.
The U.S. men, though, are still very much alive at the Olympics. Veteran Ryan Bailey is still performing well, scoring twice against Serbia.
But then there's another Ryan Bailey ...
Ryan Bailey Speeds Past Bolt, Blake, Gatlin and Powell in Qualifying
Times from the 100-meter dash heats today:
Usain Bolt at 10.08—not fast by his standard, but enough to win his heat with ease.
Fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell at 10.04, also a heat winner.
Yohan Blake (10.00) and Justin Gatlin (9.97) also won their heats.
But the fastest time of all? The one American or Jamaican we had not been talking about in this competition: Ryan Bailey, who ran a personal-best 9.88.
Can he do that again in the final?