London 2012 - Day 9 - Lightning Bolt strikes again

Usain Bolt retained his 100m title, Ben Ainslie secured a place in the Olympic pantheon, and Andy Murray claimed gold in the tennis, while Chinese athletes underlined their prowess in the gymnastics, diving and badminton.

Lightning Bolt strikes the Olympic Stadium

At 21h50, 80,000 pairs of eyes inside the Olympic Stadium were fixed on one man, as Usain Bolt took his place in the blocks for the 100m final. 9.63 seconds later, he ripped through the finish line, having set a new Olympic record, with the second fastest run in history, 5/100ths of the world record he set in Berlin in 2009. The Jamaican became only the second athlete in history to retain the Olympic men’s 100m crown, following in the footsteps of Carl Lewis, who won gold in 1984 and 1988. Bolt’s young compatriot Yohan Blake (9:75) took the silver, while USA’s Justin Gatlin (9:79) completed the podium line-up.

Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana saw off the challenge of Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo and Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova of Russia to cross the line first in the women’s marathon, setting a new Olympic record of 2h23:07. After heartbreak in Athens and Beijing, USA’s Sanya Richards-Ross won the women’s 400m at the third time of asking, recording a time of 49:55 that was too fast for the reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain, and fellow American Dee Dee Trotter. Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi clinched gold in the 3,000m steeplechase following a sprint finish with Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France. Kemboi’s compatriot Abel Kiprop Mutai finished third, but their fellow Kenyan Brimin Kipruto, who won gold at Beijing 2008, could only manage fifth place this time around.

In the final of the men’s hammer, Hungary’s Krisztian Pars secured the gold medal with a throw of 80.59m on his third attempt; Slovenia’s Primoz Kozmus (79.36m) took silver, while Koji Murofushi of Japan (78.71m) clinched the bronze.

Russia’s Olga Rypakova was crowned Olympic champion in the women’s triple jump, thanks to a leap of 14.98m in her third attempt in the final. There was a rare athletics medal for Colombia as Caterine Ibarguen produced a jump of 14.80m to claim the silver, a single centimetre ahead of Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha who had to settle for the bronze.

Ben Ainslie rules the waves

On the waters of Weymouth & Portland, British yachtsman Ben Ainslie secured a hard-fought victory over his Danish rival Jonas Hogh-Christensen to clinch gold in the Finn class. Ainslie won the Medal Race – the eleventh and final contest of a gruelling duel in which points count double – to win his third consecutive gold in the Finn. He had previously won a silver and gold in the Laser class, at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 respectively, and his overall tally of four golds and one silver from five editions of the Games made him the most decorated sailor in Olympic history.

As the Star class reached its climax, three boats remained in contention for the honours, but it was the Swedish crew of Fredrick Loof and Max Salminen, lying third going into the final day, who crossed the finish line in first place, ahead of Great Britain’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (silver) and Brazilians Bruno Prada and Robert Scheidt (bronze). That result meant that Scheidt also took his Olympic medal tally to five from five editions of the Games.

Game, set and gold for Andy Murray and the Williams sisters

British tennis talisman Andy Murray delighted the crowds at Wimbledon as he claimed his first ever major tennis title, defeating world number one Roger Federer in the final of the men’s singles. Clearly inspired by the occasion, Murray dispatched his Swiss opponent in three sets, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Federer, the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles and a gold in the men’s doubles at Beijing 2008, was still honoured to claim the silver for his first ever individual podium finish at the Olympic Games. In the bronze medal match, Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro produced an upset to defeat Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles, Venus and Serena Williams won their third gold to follow their triumphs in 2000 and 2008. Venus produced a sublime backhand volley for the matchwinner in a 6-4, 6-4 straight sets victory over Czech pair Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. For younger sister, Serena, their victory meant completion of a rare singles and doubles “double”. Andy Murray was back in action later in the day, teaming up with Laura Robson for the final of the mixed doubles, where the British pair went down to Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi, after a nailbiting third set which finished 10-8 in the Belarusians’ favour.

Zou Kai becomes China’s most decorated gymnast

In the artistic gymnastics, China’s Zou Kai completed a successful defence of his Olympic title on the floor, seeing off the challenges of Japan’s Kohei Uchimura and Russia’s Denis Ablyazin. That took his overall tally to five gold medals in two editions of the Games, making him the most decorated Chinese gymnast in Olympic history. Hungarian pommel horse specialist Krisztian Berki took gold in his favourite event. His overall score of 16.066 was identical to that of Great Britain’s Louis Smith, but he was declared the winner by virtue of a superior execution score. Smith’s fellow Briton, Max Whitlock took the bronze. In the women’s competition, Romania’s Sandra Izbasa, who won gold on the floor in 2008, produced a brilliant performance on the vault to win her second Olympic title, following her victory on the floor in 2008, ahead of American McKayla Maroney and Russia’s Maria Paseka.

Wu Minxia goes fourth

At the Aquatics Centre, China’s Wu Minxia came near to perfection in each of her dives in the 3m springboard, to secure her second gold at London 2012, following her triumph with He Zi in the women’s synchronised event. Her erstwhile partner took the silver, leaving Mexico to claim their third podium finish in the diving, as Laura Sanchez secured bronze. For Wu Minxia, it was a fourth Olympic title in all, and she also became the first female diver in history to win gold at three consecutive editions of the Games.

Wrestlers enter the Olympic stage

The wrestling competitions got underway at the ExCeL with the Greco-Roman 55kg and 74kg weight categories. In the lightest category, five-time world champion Hamid Sourian brought Iran its first gold medal of London 2012, overcoming Azerbaijan’s Rovshan Bayramov in the final in two periods. Losing semi-finalists Mingiyan Semenov of Russia and Hungarian Peter Modos joined them on the podium. In the 74 kg category, Russia’s Roman Vlasov defeated Armenia’s Arsen Julfalakyan, again in two periods, while the bronze medals went to Lithuanian Aleksandr Kazakevic and Azerbaijani Emin Ahmadov.

Olympic debut for the Omnium

In the velodrome, day 9 saw the conclusion of the men’s Omnium, which was making its Olympic debut. Designed to test the competitors’ all-round ability, in six different track cycling disciplines over two days: the flying lap, the points race, the elimination race on day one, followed by the individual pursuit, the scratch race and the 1km time trial on day two),. Consistently strong in each of these tests, Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen topped the podium, where he was joined France’s Bryan Coquard (silver) and Great Britain’s Edward Clancy (bronze).

Italy reign supreme in the foil

The Italy’s men’s foil team of Valerio Aspromonte, Giorgio Avola, Andrea Baldini and Andrea Cassara emulated the feats of their female team-mates Francisca, Errigo, Vezzali and Salvatori three days earlier by winning team gold. The Italian quartet had looked invincible throughout the competition, and in the final they dispatched the Japanese in convincing style with a 45-39 victory. Germany got the better of the USA in the match for the bronze medal.

China complete clean sweep in the badminton

At Wembley Arena, China made it a perfect five golds out of five in the badminton, as Li Dan defeated Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in three sets to claim the men’s singles, with another Chinese competitor, Chen Long taking the bronze. In the men’s doubles, Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun needed just the two sets to overcome Danish pair Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. South Korea’s Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae prevailed in the bronze match with a two-set victory over Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.

Jing Jong-Oh wins second shooting gold

There was another gold for South Korean shooter Jing Jong-Oh at Royal Artillery Barracks. After his victory in the 10m pistol on the opening day of the Games, he fought back from fifth place in the qualifying round to produce a dream performance in the final of the 50m pistol and retain the title he won in Beijing four years earlier. In doing so, he became the first shooter in Olympic history to do the 10m and 50m pistol double at the same Games, and also the first to successfully defend the 50m title. He was joined for his second podium finish in London by his compatriot Young Rae Choi (silver) and China’s Wang Zhiwei (bronze).

Zhou Lulu ends weight for gold

Over at the ExCeL, China’s Zhou Lulu, the 2011 world champion in the women’s -75kg weightlifting, confirmed her status as the supreme exponent in her category, setting a new world record in the clean and jerk (187 kg), while Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina did the same in the snatch, with her lift of 151kg. However, it was Zhou who edged the gold by virtue of a marginally superior overall total of 333kg, just one kilogramme more than Kashirina’s 332kg.