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Olympic Roundup: USA tops medal race

Aug. 11, 2012 at 7:41 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- David Boudia perhaps did not appreciate the fact he was about to symbolize the entire United States effort at the Olympics Saturday -- but he did.

As he balanced himself 10 meters above the water at the Olympic diving venue, he was in position to achieve something that did not seem likely to happen prior to the start of the Games -- either for himself or for the entire American team.

Earlier in the day a Russian woman had walked to a world record and as Boudia was competing there were four Jamaicans who were running very fast to another.

There were team champions being decided all over London as well, one of those titles being celebrated to the fullest in Mexico.

For Boudia and his United States teammates, however, it was all about what was going to happen in the next few moments.

Boudia found himself holding a narrow lead over China's Qiu Bo in the finals of platform diving. Qiu defeated Boudia for the world title a year ago and had been expected to add to the Chinese haul in Olympic diving -- something that has been customary in recent years at international events.

If Boudia could nail the difficult dive he was about to attempt, the gold medal would be his. It was a back 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists in the pike position.

When he hit the water, it was over. He had flipped and twisted to near perfection and the United States had won its first diving gold medal in 12 years.

Boudia had also ensured the Americans would finish with more gold medals than China at the London Olympics, which had not been the forecast when the Games began.

His gold medal and the ones that came along later in the evening from the U.S. women's basketball team and 4X400-meter relay squad gave the Americans 44 going into the final day of Olympic competition.

China has 38 and will not have enough athletes in action Sunday to make up the difference. The Chinese have won 13 fewer gold medals to this point than they did on their home turf four years ago. The Americans have eight more. The U.S. lead in overall medals has reached 15 with the Americans totaling 102.

There were 32 medal events at the Olympics Saturday, by far the most during any single day of the Games.

Russian athletes made good use of their chances by winning six gold medals and 15 medals overall.

Gabon became the 84th nation to win a medal in London and five countries that had yet to capture gold did so Saturday -- Mexico, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Serbia and Trinidad & Tobago.

Mexico's gold enraptured the country since it came in soccer against Brazil, the team that dominates the sport in the Western Hemisphere.

When Oribe Peralta scored just 29 seconds into the game, there was realization that plenty of time remained for Brazil to get going. When Peralta made it 2-0 in the 75th minute, it was clear the Brazilians were in trouble.

For all their global achievements in the sport, Brazil still does not have an Olympic gold medal in soccer.

One of Russia's six gold medals came in the women's 20-kilometer walk, in which Elena Lashmanova turned in a time of 1 hours, 25 minutes, 2 seconds. That broke the world record by 7 seconds and came after she had been trailing by 48 seconds midway through the race.

The pace was a little quicker at Olympic Stadium during the evening when Jamaica's Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt combined to travel 400 meters in 36.84.

The United States equaled the old record of 37.04 in a game effort to keep up with the dominant sprinting country in the world.

Bolt has won the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4X100-meter relay gold medals in two straight Olympics -- something that had never been done before.

The American women's basketball team also has done something unique. They have won 41 straight Olympic contests and five straight gold medals. The U.S. team put together a defensive effort that gave France little hope in what turned out to be an 86-50 victory.

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