FRIDAY OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Phelps wins last individual Olympic swimming raceLONDON — Michael Phelps’ last individual race at the Olympics ended like so many of the ones before it — with his hands on the wall before everyone else in the pool.
By: Jay Cohen, The Associated Press
LONDON — Michael Phelps’ last individual race at the Olympics ended like so many of the ones before it — with his hands on the wall before everyone else in the pool.
Phelps rallied to win the 100-meter butterfly on Friday for his third gold of the London Games and No. 17 of his career. The American was next-to-last at the turn but closed strong to finish in 51.21 seconds, just ahead of Chad le Clos of South Africa and Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia.
“I’m just happy that the last one was a win,” Phelps said. “That’s all I really wanted coming into the night.”
It was Phelps’ third consecutive win in the event at the Olympics. He has said he will retire after the games, so his final Olympic race will be the 4x100 medley relay Saturday.
Phelps’ 21st medal was part of another big night at the pool for the U.S., led by a pair of teenagers.
Missy Franklin set a world record in the 200 backstroke for the 17-year-old’s third gold in London. And right after Phelps was done, 15-year-old Katie Ledecky — the youngest member of the U.S. team — nearly broke the world record while winning the 800 freestyle, denying Britain’s Rebecca Adlington a repeat before her home fans.
Florent Manaudou of France took the 50 freestyle in 21.34 seconds. American Cullen Jones grabbed the silver medal and Brazil’s Cesar Cielo was third.
Phelps’ race was only slightly faster than a Saudi woman’s appearance in the judo tournament, but it was still being hailed as a victory for women in the Gulf kingdom.
Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani became the first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics when she lost her judo fight in 82 seconds. And she only made it to the mat after a compromise between Olympic organizers, the international judo federation and Saudi officials cleared the way for her to wear a modified hijab.
The crowd roared right before Shahrkhani’s fight against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica. The Saudi, wearing judo dress and what appeared to be a tight-fitting black cap, looked tentative and cautious on her feet, and Mojica eventually grabbed Shahrkhani and flipped her onto her back, ending the match.
As she rose to her feet, Shahrkhani gently reached for her head to make sure the hijab was still in place. It was, and the two women bowed to each other and left to a loud ovation.
Afterward, the teenager walked with her father past journalists and TV cameras.
“I am happy to be at the Olympics,” she whispered in Arabic, her brother, Hassan, holding both her arms. “Unfortunately, we did not win a medal, but in the future we will and I will be a star for women’s participation.”
Olympic Stadium was packed for the first time since the opening ceremony, and heptathlete Jessica Ennis gave the delirious crowd exactly what it was hoping to see.
Ennis finished the 100-meter hurdles in 12.54 seconds, the fastest time ever in the heptathlon’s first event and one of the highlights on a raucous opening day for track and field.
Ennis’ time matched Dawn Harper’s gold-winning burst in the 100-meter hurdle final at the Beijing Games — and would’ve been good enough to take that title at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
“Amazing. So loud. When you step up to jump or get in your blocks, they really get behind you. It’s a great feeling,” Ennis said of the home crowd.
Poland’s Tomasz Majewski (men’s shot put) and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba (women’s 10,000 meters) won the first gold medals in track and field, and world champion Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. led the 100-meter heats with a time of 10.83 seconds.
There were more stirring moments as Wimbledon, where Roger Federer was pushed to the limit in his pursuit of his first Olympic singles medal.
Like so many other times on Centre Court, he delivered.
Federer rallied past Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17 to reach the final. At 4 hours, 26 minutes, it was the longest three-set men’s match of the Open era.
“I was very tense at certain times,” Federer said. “I was seeing myself as a loser many times during the match.”
Federer faces another tough challenge when he meets Britain’s Andy Murray in Sunday’s gold-medal match. Murray, who advanced with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic, lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final last month.
Serena Williams also clinched her first Olympic singles medal, beating No. 1-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-2. On Saturday, Williams will face first-time Olympian Maria Sharapova, who beat Russian teammate Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3.
Diana Taurasi scored 18 points and Tina Charles finished with a double-double to lead the U.S. women’s team to an 88-61 win over the Czech Republic.
The Americans have now won 37 straight games in the Olympics, including four straight gold medals.
Charles finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds for the U.S., which was coming off its first day off since getting together on July 14.
Liz Cambage dunked in Australia’s 70-66 victory over Russia, and Croatia, Canada, Turkey and France also won.
Abby Wambach slid into a pass in the 27th minute to knock home her fourth goal of the tournament and then celebrated with a cartwheel in the United States’ 2-0 win over New Zealand in the women’s quarterfinals.
Sydney Leroux added an insurance goal in the 87th minute for the two-time defending Olympic champion Americans, who will play Canada on Monday. Canada advanced with a 2-0 victory over host Britain.
France faces Japan in the other semifinal. Yuki Ogimi scored and set up another goal to give world champion Japan a 2-0 victory over Brazil, and France reached the next round by edging Sweden 2-1 on goals by defenders Laura Georges and Wendie Renard.
Defending gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States were knocked out of the Olympics by Italy.
Rogers and Dalhausser lost the first set 21-17 and fell behind Paolo Nicolai and Danielle Lupo 12-7 in the second. The Americans tied it 19-19 but lost the final two points and were eliminated when Rogers’ spike was blocked back into him by the 6-foot-8-inch Nicolai.
Jennifer Kessy and April Ross of the U.S. beat Switzerland’s Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr to advance to the quarterfinals of the women’s tournament. Brazil’s top-seeded Juliana and Larissa also advanced, eliminating the Netherlands 21-10, 21-17, and Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller beat fellow Germans Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler 21-16, 21-15.
Destinee Hooker scored 19 points and the U.S. women’s team clinched the top spot in its pool with a preliminary-round victory over Serbia in straight sets.
Logan Tom added 12 points in the 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 sweep. The U.S. will wrap up the preliminary round with a match against Turkey on Sunday.
Brazil stayed alive in the preliminary round with a 3-2 victory over China. Now 2-2, Brazil is still on the ropes with one match left against last-place Serbia on Sunday.
Italy and the Dominican Republic each had three-set victories. Turkey edged South Korea in five, and Russia topped Japan 3-1.