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Friday's Olympic Highlights

Aug. 3, 2012 at 7:50 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Highlights from Friday's action at the Olympics:

-- Michael Phelps won the final individual race of his Olympic career, but had to come from seventh place midway through the 100-meter butterfly to do it. He won his 17th Olympic gold medal and his 21st medal overall. When he swims for the final time Saturday in the 400-meter medley relay, he will leave behind records that will likely last as long as he lives.

-- As Phelps was wrapping up his amazing Olympic tenure, two young Americans were just starting out -- and in stunning fashion. Missy Franklin, 17, eclipsed the world record by .75 of a second in winning the 200-meter backstroke and 15-year-old Katie Ledecky overwhelmed the opposition in the 800-meter freestyle. She was fast at the start, fast in the middle and fast at the end, turning in the second-quickest time in the history of the event.

-- Track and field events began in Olympic Stadium and Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia put in an impressive opening-night performance. After running along for almost 30 minutes, she turned it on over the last lap and ran away with the gold medal in the 10,000-meter event. She had done the same thing in winning four years ago in Beijing.

-- Britain added three gold medals to its total, two of them coming in track cycling. Victoria Pendleton, who was disqualified for an infraction during the team sprint race Thursday that almost certainly cost her and her teammate a medal, came back to claim the first gold medal ever awarded a woman in Keirin cycling.

-- Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand, who has been the dominant force in single sculls rowing for the better part of a decade, finally won his first Olympic gold medal. He has world championships to his credit.

-- South Korea won its second fencing gold medal in history in the men's team sabre, Hong Kong won its first medal of these Olympics with a bronze in cycling and Kazakhstan kept its record perfect in medal winning. There have been four medals for Kazakhstan at these Games, including one in weightlifting Friday, and all of them have been gold.

-- With the Olympic boxing tournament not yet half over, every one of the United States fighters has been eliminated. After winning its first four bouts, the American contingent lost its next nine. The last two were ousted Friday in the flyweight and welterweight divisions.

-- Two heavyweight gold medal tennis matches were set up at Wimbledon, where the best in the world have gathered to play in the Olympic tennis tournament. Roger Federer will meet Andy Murray in a rematch of the recent Wimbledon final and Serena Williams will play Maria Sharapova. Federer survived a marathon third set against Juan del Potro in the semifinals Friday for a 3-6, 7-6, 19-17 win.

-- Heading into the middle weekend of the Olympics, the United States had 21 gold medals -- one more than China. The American lead over the Chinese in overall medals was also one, 43 to 42.

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