Kobe Bryant hit two 3-pointers in a big fourth quarter to help the United States defeat Spain 118-107 and add the gold medal to his hoops hardware.
China had one of the most dominating and diverse performances at an Olympics ever, winning a games-leading 51, and an even 100 overall _ the most golds since the Soviet Union won 55 in Seoul in 1988. Not since the Berlin Olympics of 1936, when Nazi Germany dominated, has a country other than the U.S. or the Soviet Union led the gold medal list. The United States trailed well behind the Chinese in golds with 36, the first time since 1992 it didn’t lead the category.
KENYAN FIRST IS A FIRST FOR KENYA
Samuel Wanjiru pulled away over the final few miles to become the first Kenyan to win the Olympic marathon _ and he did it an Olympic record time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds. The temperature was 75 degrees with 52 percent humidity when the race began at 7:30 a.m. and it heated up steadily through the morning, reaching 86 degrees by the finish. Thanks to an overnight thunderstorm, blue sky greeted the final day of the games.
The U.S. men’s volleyball team won the gold medal, defeating defending champion Brazil to complete a perfect run through a tournament struck by tragedy hours after the opening ceremony. The U.S. surge to the title came after coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father-in-law was fatally stabbed the day before competition started. McCutcheon missed the team’s first three games to be with his wife, a former volleyball Olympian whose mother was also wounded in the attack.
Mongolia, which had never won a gold medal before Beijing, won two. Ten days after wrestler Tuvshinbayar Naidan won Mongolia’s first gold medal, bantamweight Badar-Uugan Enkhbat got another by beating Cuba’s Yankiel Leon 16-5. … The U.S. water polo team was beaten in the gold medal game 14-10 by Hungary, which won its third straight Olympic championship. It was the first time the Americans got back to the medal stand for the silver since 1988. … About two hours after light flyweight favorite Zou Shiming made history with China’s first gold medal in boxing _ a sport long banned by Mao _ light heavyweight Zhang Xiaoping beat Kenny Egan of Ireland.
TIME TO LEAVE THE BIRD’S NEST
From “Ni hao” to “Cheerio” _ London is up next, with the Chinese handing over the Olympic flag to signal the official start of preparations for the 2012 games.
“We are first and foremost an organization devoted to sport, but it is sport with a purpose. The IOC and the Olympic Games cannot force changes on sovereign nations or solve all the ills of the world. But we can, and we do, contribute to positive change through sport.” _ IOC president Jacques Rogge, on the decision in 2001 to award the games to China.
2012 SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHT
July 27, 2012 _ Opening ceremony of the London Games.