Maris Strombergs of Latvia won his first gold in 2008. Now he has two. Strombergs defended his BMX title over a harrowing course in Olympic Park, taking the lead at the start and never relinquishing it. He cruised across the finish line in 37.576 seconds to add to the title he won in Beijing, when the sport made its Olympic debut.
• Former world champion Mariana Pajon won the women’s competition, giving Colombia its first gold at the London Games. With David Beckham watching from the stands, Pajon hit form at the right time after being hampered by a shoulder injury earlier this season.
Ous Mellouli of Tunisia won the grueling 10-kilometer race to become the first swimmer to win medals in the pool and open water at the same Olympics. Mellouli pulled away from a small group of leaders in the fifth of six laps and finished in 1 hour, 49 minutes, 55.1 seconds in the murky waters of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. He also won bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle last week. The crowd favorite was Benjamin Schulte, a 16-year-old from Guam, who finished far behind all the other competitors. Fans stuck around and applauded loudly when Schulte finally finished nearly 14 minutes after Mellouli.
With Justin Gatlin running the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay, the U.S. broke a 20-year-old national record in its preliminary round, finishing in 37.38 seconds – a hundredth of a second faster than Jamaica, competing without Usain Bolt.
Lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko and two Ukrainian teammates advanced to gold-medal bouts. Lomachenko, Chinese light flyweight Zou Shiming and Italian super heavyweight Roberto Cammarelle all won their semifinals, earning the right to fight during the final weekend for their second straight Olympic gold medals.
Five-time world champion American Steven Lopez lost his opening bout in the men’s competition. Two members of his family said later that he had a broken leg.
With a surge of medals in track and field, the United States has sprinted ahead of China and is poised to finish atop the medals table in London – maybe with the most golds collected by the Americans on foreign soil. Heading into the final weekend, the U.S. leads the gold and overall medals races after trailing the Chinese most of the games. At the end of the day, the U.S. led China 94 to 81 in medals and 41 to 37 in golds. Four more golds would equal the highest U.S. total on foreign soil in Olympic history – 45 at the 1968 Mexico City Games and the 1924 Paris Games.
The International Olympic Committee formally stripped American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, of his 2004 gold for doping. The medal will now go to Viatcheslav Ekimov, another former Armstrong teammate who already has two Olympic golds. American Bobby Julich will be moved up from bronze to silver, and Michael Rogers of Australia from fourth to bronze.
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