Pitcher Yukiko Ueno shut down the U.S. softball team to give Japan the gold medal, beating the Americans 3-1. It was the first loss for the Americans since Sept. 21, 2000 _ 22 straight games _ as they had dominated the sport since its Olympic debut in 1996.
LaShawn Merritt upset defending champion Jeremy Wariner to lead a U.S. sweep of the 400 meters. David Neville got the bronze. The sweep increased the U.S. total to 93 medals, 28 of them gold. China has 83 medals in all, 46 of them gold.
U.S. RELAYS AN EGG IN THE BIRD’S NEST
The U.S. men and women both dropped the baton in the Olympic 400-meter relays and failed to advance out of the first round. First, men’s anchor Tyson Gay did not get the baton from third-leg runner Darvis Patton. About 25 minutes later, women’s anchor Lauryn Williams flubbed her exchange with Torri Edwards, their baton dropping to the ground, too.
RAY OF SUNSHINE
In a steady rain, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor won their second consecutive gold medal in beach volleyball, beating Wang Jie and Tian Jia of China. The Americans did not lose a single set in Beijing to extend their winning streak to 108 matches.
FOUR HORSES OF THE APOTHECARY
Four horses in the equestrian team jumping competition, including one from Norway’s bronze-medal team, have been provisionally suspended for doping. The drug test results were all positive for capsaicin.
The U.S. water polo team, which came to Beijing ranked No. 1, lost to the Netherlands 9-8 behind seven goals by Danielle de Bruijn. … Veronica Campbell-Brown easily won the 200 meters Thursday to cap the first sweep of all four men’s and women’s Olympic sprints in 20 years. … Heptathlon silver medalist Lyudmila Blonska of Ukraine was kicked out of the women’s long jump final following her positive doping test in the heptathlon, where she won a silver. …Men’s and women’s BMX semifinals and finals were rained out, giving American Kyle Bennett an extra day to recover from a dislocated left shoulder injured during a crash in a quarterfinal heat.
“I have no problem with him doing a show. I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish and not making gestures like the one he made in the 100 meters.” _ IOC president Jacques Rogge on Usain Bolt’s behavior after winning the gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters.
FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHT
American Bryan Clay goes for the gold medal in the decathlon, 9:50 p.m. (9:50 a.m. EDT).