LONDON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Wednesday's highlights at the Olympics:
-- Wins by Allyson Felix, Brittney Reese and Aries Merritt gave the United States the kind of evening of track and field that they do not see much anymore on the world stage. Seven of the 12 medals handed out at Olympic Stadium went to Americans, who are just two golds away from equaling their track and field total from Beijing.
-- There were 10 medals won in all by U.S. athletes around the Olympic city, compared with three for China. That pushed the Americans into the overall medal lead with 81 to 77 for the Chinese.
-- The U.S. beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who every four years step into the major sports spotlight, did so again with their third consecutive Olympic gold medal. They are 21-0 in their Olympic careers and have lost just one set in those 21 matches. The championship win came over fellow-Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.
-- Freestyle wrestling competition got underway and it did not come soon enough for the Japanese. They won both the gold medals awarded in the sport Wednesday, doubling their total for these Olympics. Of the first 29 medals won by athletes from Japan, only two of them had been gold.
-- As can happen during Olympic sailing races, the gold medal was already decided when the boats headed out for the final race in the 49er (skiff) class. That meant Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen could enjoy a pleasant sail around Weymouth-Portland Harbor without having to worry about where they finished in the race. Australia became the first nation to win more than one sailing gold at these Games.
-- The American men's basketball team, a prohibitive favorite to win the gold medal, keeps having to step on the gas in the second half and that happened again in the quarterfinals. Hot outside shooting brought Australia within three points less than 2 minutes into the third period. Kobe Bryant then hit six 3-pointers the rest of the way and LeBron James recorded a triple-double to put Team USA into the semifinals with a 119-86 victory.
-- There will be no medals for the men's volleyball and water polo teams. They both lost in the quarterfinals. Both got off to good starts in the Olympics and then began to stumble. The volleyball team lost the last six sets it played, including the final three to Italy in the quarters.
-- Semifinals were held in women's boxing, setting up the first Olympic championship bouts in history involving females. They will take place on Thursday and American middleweight Claressa Shields will be in one of them.
-- Britain has enjoyed remarkable success during the Olympics they are hosting, but there was not a single medal collected by the home team Wednesday. Portugal and Ireland, however, both won a medal for the first time. They were the 74th and 75th countries to capture a medal in London. There were 86 countries with at least one medal in Beijing.
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