London 2012: Usain Bolt ends on a high, Australia mix results
Usain Bolt did what he does best on the penultimate day of the London 2012 Olympics, putting on a show of pure speed to end the track meet of the Games with a world record with his team.
Anchoring the 4x100m relay team of Nester Carter, Michael Frater, and Yohan Blake, the Jamaicans made mincemeat of their time four years ago of 37.04 with a stunning 36.84.
Bolt was on even terms with American Ryan Bailey, but the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen left Bailey in his wake as he powered through the finishing line in a rare all-out effort.
USA took the silver in 37.04 to equal the old record, Trinidad and Tobago bronze in 38.13 after Canada was DQ’d.
A third Olympic track gold for Allyson Felix teaming with Deedee Trotter, Francena McCorory, and Sanya Richards-Ross as the USA blitzed the 4x400m relay final field by at least 50 metres in the smart time of 3.16.87. Russia won the silver in 3.20.23, Jamaica bronze in 3.20.95.
Mo Farah has done the double of track 10,000m and 5000m gold on successive Saturdays. The 29-year-old Somali-born Brit is one of the most revered sportsmen in the Old Dart, and the thunderous applause as he held off challenge after challenge last night underlined that fact.
Farah won in 13.41.66 from Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel 13.41.98, and Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa 13.42.36.
And for the icing on the cake Farah’s wife Tania is expecting twin daughters next month.
Silver for controversial South African Caster Semenya thanks to a withering burst in the last 60m from sixth to second behind Russia’s Mariya Savinova who stopped the clock at 1.56.19 to Semenya’s 1.57.23. Bronze to Ekaterina Poistogova in 1.57.53.
The Australian contingent:
Devastation for the Elliott 6m match racing crew of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty in the best of five final. Locked at 1-1, Price was ejected by a big wave to give the Spaniards a 2-1 lead. Australia fought back courageously to win race 4, but copped a penalty in the fifth race to lose any chance of gold, and had to be content with silver.
The Australians deserved a far better fate, having been unbeaten in the qualifying rounds. Finland took the bronze beating Russia.
Silver also for Jared Tallent in the 50km walk, his third Olympic medal after a silver in Beijing in the 50k, and bronze in the 20k. In one of the fastest walks in Olympic history 12 of the top 15 posted PBs, including Tallent.
Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin set a new Olympic record for his gold of 3.35.59 to smash the old record of 3.37.09. Tallent also broke the old record with 3.36.63, with China’s Tianfeng Si the bronze in 3.37.16.
Two other Australians completed the gruelling, but picturesque, looped course that started at The Mall and included the backdrop of Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial. Nathan Deakes finished 22nd, 12 minutes 46 off the pace with 3.48.45, and Luke Adams 26th in 3.53.41 – 17 minutes 42 adrift.
Both Kirdyapkin and Tallent had their wives competing in the 20k – Anisya Kirdyapkin finished fifth, Claire Tallent was DQ’d.
In that walk Russia finished 1-2 with Elena Lashminova gold and a world record 1,35,02, Olga Kaniskina silver, bronze to China’s Dhenjie Qieyang. Aussies Regan Lamble finished 17th, 5 minutes 6 off the pace, and Beki Lee 28th, 7 minutes 12 adrift.
Bronze for the Opals by downing Russia 83-74 with captain Lauren Jackson confirming her status as the world’s best women’s basketballer with 25 points. And 21 points for 37-year-old Kristi Harrower in her farewell game.
That’s the fifth successive Olympics the Opals have medalled with silver, silver, silver, bronze, and bronze.
And a bronze for the Kookaburras beating Germany 3-1 in the men’s hockey play-off, with a first half goal to Simon Orchard, and second half goals to skipper Jamie Dwyer and Kieran Govers.
This was arguably the biggest disappointment on Australia’s overall performances in London. Since super-coach Ric Charlesworth took over in 2009, the Kookas haven’t lost a tournament, except the one that really counted.
But no joy for defending 10m platform diving champion Matthew Mitcham, bundled out of the final with his last dive in the semis. The top 12 of 18 qualified, but Mitcham fell from 11th to 13th when he could only score 70.20 points.
In the kayak double final over 200m, Jesse Phillips and Stephen Bird finished sixth in 35.315 – the gold to two big Russian units Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko’s 33.507. How they managed to fit into the small kayak defied physics.
And to wind up the track and field meet, the Australians 4x100m team of Anthony Alonzie, Isaac Ntiamoah, Andrew McCabe, and Foh Ross finished last in the final with 38,43, just outside the Australian record they set in the semis, but they did well to even reach the decider – it was a crack field.
A final word of praise for Fox caller Peter Donegan who did a fabulous job at Olympic Park. His calls were accurate and distinct, dealing with a lot of tough to pronounce names to call under pressure.
But Donegan never gave the impression he was ever under pressure at all. A brilliant job and he was well supported by his experts in Jayne Fleming, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, David Culbert, Steve Ovett, Daly Thompson, and Rob de Castella.
Tonight the 30th Olympiad will come to a close. More about that tomorrow.
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- 2012 London Olympics