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Olympics Day 12: Golden day for the U.S.

Story highlights

  • Beach volleyball duo wins third consecutive gold
  • Allyson Felix of the United States blazes to gold in the women's 200 meters
  • Team USA win's in men's basketball behind LeBron's Olympic first
  • "It is a historic moment," says Sarah Attar, the first Saudi woman to compete in athletics

Allyson Felix, Aries Merritt and Brittany Reese led the U.S. medal haul at Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night, winning their events in scintillating style.

And the day wrapped up with the U.S. men's basketball team taking another step toward another gold.

Felix won the women's 200 meters with a dominant stretch effort, holding off Shelly-Ann Fraser Price of Jamaica and clocking a rousing 21.88. Carmelita Jeter of the United States was third.

"I thought back to the disappointment in Beijing," Felix, the silver medalist in Beijing and Athens, said. "It's been a long road, I never wanted to give up. It's been a journey -- never easy, but you can't lose sight of your dream. ... I've wanted it for so long."

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In all, the U.S. won seven athletics medals, including Merritt's gold and Jason Richardson's silver in the men's 110-meter hurdles.

Merritt's time of 12.92 was just .01 off the Olympic record.

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"I trained for this intensity. I thought if I treat it like a practice then I could do ridiculous things," Merritt said. "I execute so well and when I practice there's no pressure, so if I (could) treat it like a practice, then there's no pressure."

Team GB's Lawrence Clarke -- heir to an English baronetcy and also a distant relative of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt -- acquitted himself well, finishing just behind bronze medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica.

"I can't believe I came fourth in the Olympic Games," Clarke said. "I didn't even expect to make the final. I ran the semifinal treating it as a final, and I ran a personal best there, so that was a dream come true."

The race was without China's Liu Xiang, who failed to make it past the first-round heat for a second consecutive Olympics. Liu, who took gold in 2004, faced an outpouring of criticism when he was forced to withdraw in Beijing with an Achilles tendon injury, but he received a more sympathetic response this time around.

Reese and Janay Deloach went 1-3 in the long jump, with Reese leaping 7.12 meters (23-feet-4) to beat Elena Sokolova of Russia.

"This is exactly what I had in my mind. I've trained four years for this," Reese said.

American Lashinda Demus nearly caught Natalya Antyukh at the line in the 400-meter hurdles, but settled for second.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake strolled through the line in his 200-meter semifinal, with Team USA's Wallace Spearmon also through to Thursday's final.

Blake's compatriot Usain Bolt also cruised through his semifinal, as he targets a repeat of his double triumph in the 100-meter and 200-meter races in Beijing.

Bolt told the BBC, the official broadcaster for the London Games, he is confident of beating Blake in the 200-meters final.

"No doubt whatsoever. I'm ready, this is my favorite event, so I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I know what I can do -- I never doubt myself."

The medals kept coming for the United States, which now tops the table with 81 medals overall to China's 77.

Sand swan song

Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings made it three Olympic golds in a row, beating countrywomen April Ross and Jennifer Kessy two sets to none.

"This means a lot. It is my last match, but I'm OK with slipping away because this has been a special finale," May-Treanor said. "Whether we had finished on top or not, the thing that I'm proud of is us sticking together."

May-Treanor says she looks forward to raising a family.

"It's time for me to be a wife, I want to be a mom," she said. "I want to share this time with my family. All of us athletes sacrifice more of the family than people maybe realize."

Family life is a little more difficult for the Treanors. Misty's husband, Matt, is a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Walsh, who took time off from the sport to have two children, said May-Treanor was like a sister to her.

"It's been 11 years of fun and crazy time," she said to her now ex-teammate. "You are a dear, dear friend ... and I'm glad that you went out the way you deserved."

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LeBron James became the first men's basketball player to have a triple double in an Olympics game. He scored 11 points, had 14 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the U.S. into the semifinals against Argentina.

Kobe Bryant got hot in the second half, scoring all of his team-high 20 points in the final 20 minutes as the Americans beat the Aussies 119-86. Twelve of those came on four 3-pointers in the middle of the fourth quarter that helped expand the U.S. lead from 15 to 25.

"I wasn't playing a good tournament. For some reason, it was my night tonight," he said. "Got some shots, got into rhythm. At the end of the day, we know that we have two more games to win."

U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said the Argentinians play well when they play as a unit.

"They are a better team together than they are individually, and individually they have two of the best players of international basketball [Luis Scola and Manu Ginobili]," he said. "We played two tough games against them, and we expect this one to be the toughest."

In Friday's other semifinal, Russia will play Spain.

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The men's decathlon got going Wednesday, with athletes taking part in the 100 meters, long jump, shot put and high jump. Team USA's Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee were in first and second place after the first five events.

"So far, I am somewhat satisfied. I am in a good position," Eaton said. "My goal is just to win. I am not considering a world record."

Team GB's Mo Farah, who took gold in the 10,000 meters Saturday to the delight of the home crowd, reached the 5,000-meter final after finishing third in his heat.

The women's 800-meter heats got under way, with defending champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya the fastest winner of her heat. Team GB's Lynsey Sharp qualified close behind her.

Caster Semenya, the South African athlete who was the subject of a gender test by the International Association of Athletics Federations after her victory in Berlin at the world championships three years ago, also qualified as the second-fastest finisher in her heat.

Two runners competed wearing the hijab: 20-year-old Palestinian Woroud Sawalha and Sarah Attar from Saudi Arabia, reflecting the diversity of this Games, the first to see women athletes included in every one of the 204 delegations.

"I'm proud to represent Palestine," Sawalha said. "My parents called me before the race and said, 'All Palestinians are watching and hoping you get a good result.' I hope I will do well in the future. This Olympic Games is a first step for me."

Neither qualified for the next round, but Attar made history alongside teammate Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, in judo, as the first two women to compete for Saudi Arabia. Brunei and Qatar also sent women competitors for the first time.

"It is a historic moment," Attar said, according to the official Games website. "I hope it will make a difference. It is a huge step forward."

Historic gold medal boxing bouts set

These Games also mark the first time women's boxing is part of the Olympic program, with three semifinal bouts taking place Wednesday. Team GB's Nicola Adams made it through to the women's 51-kilogram flyweight gold medal bout after defeating India's Chungeijang Mery Kom Hmangte.

Adams will take on China's Ren Cancan for gold, after Ren beat Marlen Esparza of Team USA in their semifinal.

Both Esparza and Hmangte are awarded bronze, as there are no bronze-medal matches.

Odds and ends

Blood was spilled in the first women's field hockey semifinal, as New Zealand player Katie Glynn took a nasty blow to the head from a Dutch opponent's stick. She returned to the field to play on, her head swathed in bandages.

The game was finally decided in a tense penalty shootout after neither side scored in extra time, with victory -- and a place in the gold-medal final -- going to the Netherlands.

There was also drama on the BMX track, where Team USA's Brooke Crain needed medical attention after coming off her BMX and smashing into a bump on the track during the seeding run.

It's not the end of the 19-year-old's Olympic dream though. A tweet from the BMX Program Director at USA Cycling said Crain "is sore but will be ready for Friday," when the semi-finals take place.

Elsewhere, the American men's volleyball team was knocked out by Italy in the quarterfinal. Italy will face Brazil in the semifinal Friday.

China beat South Korea to take the gold medal in the men's team table tennis final, and the bronze went to Germany.

The victory means China has won gold in every table tennis event played at the London Games and in Beijing in 2008, according to the official Games website.

Earlier, Katrin Wagner-Augustin of Germany lost out on her second attempt at becoming the second woman in Olympic history to win a gold medal at four consecutive Games after helping take silver in the women's kayak four (K4). She still has one more shot at gold in the women's kayak single final on Thursday. Lisa Leslie, who won gold with the U.S. basketball teams in 1996-2008, is the only other woman to do so.

Gold in the women's K4 went to Hungary and bronze to Belarus.

On a good morning for Hungary on the water, it also took the gold in the men's double kayak final. Silver went to Portugal, giving the country its first medal of the Games.

Norway and Germany took gold in the men's single kayak and single canoe sprint events, respectively.

Australia, whose athletes got off to a slow start in the medal stakes but are now gathering steam, took gold in the men's 49er sailing, while New Zealand claimed silver.

Over at Greenwich Park, the individual show jumping final put horses and riders through their paces.

Switzerland's Steve Guerdat came out with the gold after posting the only two clear rounds of the event.

Silver went to the Netherlands' Gerco Schroder, with Ireland's Cian O'Connor pushed into bronze position after a jump-off. That bronze is Ireland's first medal of the Games.

Great Britain, which took gold in the team show jumping event this week and its first ever dressage team gold Tuesday, could only manage equal fifth for rider Nick Skelton, disappointing the home crowds.

Team GB, for which Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter Zara Phillips helped win silver in the event, is not the only delegation to count royalty among its athletes: Prince Abdullah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia took part in the individual show jumping, coming joint 26th on his horse, Davos.