(Jon is afraid he must have completely lost his marbles at this point, since an American actually beat the Chinese at something we're all absolutely positive the Chinese should never lose at again. Here's your open thread for the penultimate evening of Olympics coverage, during which you're encouraged to discuss what you think have been the signature moments of the games thus far. What gave you chills? What excited you so much you almost lost control? What made you really, really angry -- besides NBC's coverage, that is. No need to rehash old business.)
We're going to get straight to the point today. Here's your recap of Day 15 and guide to tomorrow's conclusion of the 2012 Summer Olympics:
Athletics: Sergey Kirdyapkin of Russia took the gold in the 50k race walk, setting an Olympic record while Twitter Tittered. Jared Tallent of Australia was second, and the bronze was won by Si Tianfeng of China. John Nunn finished 43rd. In the women's 20k walk, Russia went 1-2 with Elena Lashmanova and Olga Kaniskina; China's Qieyang Shenjie took bronze. In the women's high jump, Russian Anna Chicherova won the gold, while her teammate Svetlana Shkolina took bronze. Brigetta Barrett scored USA silver. Trinidad and Tobago struck gold in an unlikely place, as Keshom Walcott won the men's javelin. Oleksandr Pyatnytsya of Ukraine claimed silver and Finland's Antti Ruuskanen won bronze.
Great Britain's Mo Farah won gold in the men's 5000m, with Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel taking the silver ahead of Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa. Bernard Lagat finished fourth, Galen Rupp seventh, and Lopez Lomong tenth. American Alysia Johnson-Montana finished fifth in the women's 800m, which was claimed by Russian Mariya Savinova; her teammate Ekaterina Poistogova won bronze, while South Africa's Caster Semenya won the silver. The American women's 4x400 relay team of DeeDee Trotter, Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory, and Sanya Richards-Ross won USA GOLD beating out Russia and Jamaica. The Americans were upended in the men's 4x100, however; Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, and Usain Bolt set a new world record to claim the gold. Trell Kimmins, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, and Ryan Bailey set a new American record, which was still only enough to take USA silver. Trinidad and Tobago won the bronze.
Basketball: Candace Parker scored 21 to lead her squad to USA GOLD, blasting France 86-50. Australia beat Russia 83-74 for the bronze.
Boxing: Half of the men's boxing golds were handed out today. In Light Fly, Zou Shiming of China took the gold with a 13-10 win over Thailand's Kaeo Pongprayoon. Great Britain's Luke Campbell won gold for the home team, knocking off Ireland's John Joe Nevin 14-11 in the Bantam final. The Light Welterweight gold went to Cuban Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo, a 22-15 victor over Denys Berinchyk of Ukraine. Japan's Ryota Murata captured the Middleweight gold, beating Brazilian Esquiva Falco Florention 14-13, and Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk defeated Clemente Russo of Italy 14-11 for the Heavyweight gold.
Canoe/Kayak: Great Britain's Ed McKeever scored the first gold of the day with a victory in the men's 200m K1. Saul Craviotto Rivero of Spain claimed the silver and Canadian Mark de Jonge the bronze; Tim Hornsby of the USA finished 15th, placing 7th in the B Final. No Americans were involved in the remaining three events. Yuri Chaban of Ukraine won the men's 200m C1, with Levgenij Shuklin of Lithuania taking silver a mere 6/100 of a second ahead of Russian Ivan Shtyl. In the women's 200m K1 final, Lisa Carrington of Australia took the gold, beating out Ukranian Inna Osypenko-Radomska and Natasa Douchev-Janics of Hungary (both of whom had medaled on Thursday in separate events). Finally, Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko of Russia took the men's 200m K2 gold; Belarussians Raman Piatrushenka and Vadzim Makhneu won the silver, with the bronze going to Britain's Liam Heath and Jon Schofield.
Cycling: The women's Cross-Country mountain bike event was won by Julie Bresset of France. Sabine Spitz of Germany took silver, and Georgia Gould brought home USA bronze. Lea Davison was 11th.
Diving: In an absolute shocker, David Boudia -- who had really done just enough in qualifications and the semifinals to get to the final, and didn't look like a threat to walk away with a win -- won USA GOLD in the men's 10m platform. He nipped China's Qui Bo by less than two points; the bronze went to Britain's Thomas Daley. American Nicholas McCrory finished in ninth.
Football: Mexico defeated Brazil 2-1 on a pair of goals by Oribe Peralta to claim the gold medal. Only a last-ditch effort in stoppage time by Hulk spared Brazil the shutout.
Gymnastics (Rhythmic): Evgenia Kanaeva of Russia won the individual all-around, and teammate Daria Dmitrieva claimed the silver. The bronze went to Belarussian Liubou Charkashyna. There were no remaining American competitors.
Handball: Norway beat Montenegro 26-23 for the women's gold medal; Spain took the bronze with a 31-29 win over South Korea.
Hockey, Field: The men's competition concluded today, with South Africa winning the 11-12 placement game over India 3-2, followed by Belgium claiming fifth place with a 5-2 win over Spain. Australia defeated Great Britain 3-1 for the bronze medal, and Germany claimed the gold with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands.
Modern Pentathlon: Czech David Svoboda won gold in the men's modern pentathlon, setting an Olympic record in the process. The silver went to China's Cao Zhongrong; Adam Marosi of Hungary took the bronze. American Dennis Bowsher finished 32nd, and the ghost of George Patton is disappointed.
Sailing: The petite final of the women's Elliott, otherwise known as the bronze medal race, was won 3-1 by Finland over the Russians; it took five races to decide, but Spain defeated Australia for the gold.
Taekwondo: Milica Mandic of Croatia won the women's +67kg class with a win over Anne-Caroline Graffe of France; bronze was shared by Russian Anastasia Baryshnikova and Maria del Rosario Espinoza of Mexico. In the men's +80kg weight class, Italian Carlo Molgetta defeated Anthony Obame of Gabon for the gold medal. China's Liu Xiaobo and Cuban Robelis Despaigne shared bronze. No Americans in these weight classes.
Volleyball: Brazil upset Team USA in four sets for the gold medal, leaving us with USA silver, while Japan blanked South Korea to win bronze.
Water Polo: Off day.
Wrestling: In the men's 60kg freestyle, Scott Coleman won in the 1/8 round against Suengchul Lee of South Korea, then defeated Malkhaz Zarkua of Georgia in the quarterfinals before falling to Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan in the semis. Coleman claimed a bronze by beating Kenichi Yumoto of Japan; the other bronze went to Yogeshwar Dutt of India. Asgarov went on to win the gold, defeating Russian Besik Kudukhov.. Jake Herbert also entered at the 1/8 stage of the 84kg, defeating Cuban Humberto Daniel Arencibia Martinez; Herbert was then beaten by Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan but entered the repechage when Sharifov won his semifinal. Herbert lost in the repechage to Ibrahim Bolukbasi of Turkey, who in turn lost to Ehsan Naser Lashgari of Iran; Lashgari shared the bronze with Georgian Dato Marsagishvili, while the gold went to Sharifov after he defeated Cuban Jaime Yusept Espinal. Tervel Dlagnev started at 1/8 as well in the 120kg, beating Eldesoky Shaban of Egypt and then beating Belarussian Aleksei Shemarov in the quarterfinals. Dlagnev was beaten by Artur Taymazov of Uzbekistan in the semis, then lost the bronze medal to Komeil Ghasemi of Iran. The other bronze went to Russian Bilyal Makhov; Taymazov won the gold, knocking off Georgia's Davit Modzmanashvili.
You may have noticed a lot of key USA-Iran matches over the last few days, and don't look now but there may be a politically-charged rivalry brewing there.
MEDAL COUNT: Tomorrow, there are only 15 medal events, 42 medals overall (five boxing events won't award bronze tomorrow as they've already been won, while there are two extra bronzes to be awarded in wrestling). That number, combined with the fact that Team USA is absolutely guaranteed one medal tomorrow and there are nearly 20 medals China cannot win, makes it a foregone conclusion at this point: the 15-medal lead the USA has in overall medal count is now insurmountable. Team USA broke the century mark today, taking a 102-87 lead over the Chinese. Worse, perhaps, for the Chinese: the Russians are now closer to catching them than they are to catching the US, as Russia now has 78 medals. Great Britain is fourth with 62, followed by Germany at 37. As far as the gold count, China could theoretically catch the US with a banner day tomorrow, but the 44-38 lead held by the Americans seems secure, especially since we all know the USA's going to win at least one gold tomorrow. Britain's third with 28, followed by Russia at 21 and South Korea with 13.
Tomorrow (all times Central):
Remember, all events available live streaming if you can get it to stop buffering. The broadcast details I give here are TV-specific. They also don't necessarily imply coverage of any particular competitor or team matchup unless specified.
Athletics: Today's only event is, as always, the men's marathon, which begins at 5am. The USA is represented by Abdihakem Abdirahman, Ryan Hall, and 2004 silver medalist Meb Kelezighi; we'll also offer a shout-out to Iowa State's Guor Marial, who runs under the Olympic flag as a citizen of the newly-created South Sudan, which has no IOC to sponsor him as yet. (LIVE: NBC 5am)
Basketball: Argentina meets Russia in the men's bronze medal game at 5am. At 9am, Team USA faces Spain for the gold. (Both games LIVE on NBC Specialty; bronze NBCSN 5am, gold NBC 9pm; ARG-RUS will be re-aired on NBC Specialty at 7am; USA-ESP at noon and 2:30pm)
Boxing: The other half of the men's finals are tomorrow:
- 7:30am: Men's Fly: Tugstsogt Nyambayar (MNG) vs Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana (CUB)
- 7:45am: Men's Light: Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR) vs Soonchul Han (KOR)
- 8:15am: Men's Welter: Freddie Evans (GBR) vs Serik Sapiyev (KAZ)
- 8:45am: Men's Light Heavy: Egor Mekhontcev (RUS) vs Adilbek Niyazymbetov (KAZ)
- 9:15am: Men's Super Heavy: Roberto Cammarelle (ITA) vs Anthony Joshua (GBR)
(LIVE: CNBC 7:30-10am)
Canoe/Kayak: All done.
Cycling: The men's Cross-Country mountain bike event starts at 7:30am. Todd Wells and Sam Schultz ride for the Americans. (LIVE: MSNBC 7:30-9am)
Gymnastics (Rhythmic): The group all-around final begins at 7:30am; Team USA isn't involved. (Not televised today.)
Handball: The men's bronze medal match between Croatia and Hungary is at 5am; at 9am Sweden faces France for the gold. (tape delay: NBCSN bronze 6:45-8am, gold 9:45-11:45am)
Hockey, Field: Kaput.
Modern Pentathlon: The women's competition is today, with fencing at 2am, swimming at 6:35, riding at 8:35, and the combined event (shooting and running) at noon. Margaux Isaksen and Suzanne Stettinius compete for the USA, and are paired against one another in the fencing competition (as is the case for all countries with two entrants). (tape delay: 8-8:30am, 1:45-2:45pm)
Volleyball: The men's bronze medal match starts at 3:30am, with Bulgaria meeting Italy. At 7am Russia squares off against Brazil for the gold. (tape delay: bronze NBCSN 11:45am-1:45pm, gold NBC 3-5pm)
Water Polo: At 4:20am, Team USA plays for seventh place against Australia in the men's competition; Spain meets Hungary for fifth at 5:40am. The bronze medal game is at 8:30am, with Montenegro facing Serbia, and at 9:50am Croatia and Italy do battle for the gold medal. (LIVE: bronze NBCSN 8:30-9:45am; tape delay: gold NBC 11:30am-12:45pm)
Wrestling: Two men's Freestyle events tomorrow, and the schedule changes to accomodate the early finish today; qualifications at 2:30am, 1/8 finals at 3, quarterfinals at 4, semifinals at 4:30, and repechage/bronze matches at 6:45. The 66kg event, with Jared Frayer taking on Ali Shabanau of Belarus in the 1/8 stage, concludes at 8:03am; Jacob Varner also starts at 1/8, facing Kurban Kurbanov of Uzbekistan in the 96kg, with the final at 8:48. (tape delay: MSNBC 6-7:30am)
Closing Ceremonies: The festivities get underway at 3pm, featuring the usual assortment of music. The strongest rumors indicate appearances from the Spice Girls, Pet Shop Boys, Annie Lennox, Brian May, Fatboy Slim, One Direction, Eric Idle, Kate Bush, The Who, and The Kinks -- or maybe just Ray Davies -- George Michael and Muse. Other rumblings surround Elton John and Paul McCartney, and perhaps some outside hope for New Order, Kaiser Chiefs, and Madness. Also, we'll see the traditional passing of the torch to Rio de Janeiro including a brief cultural presentation from Brazil, the athlete's march-cum-dance party, and the dousing of the cauldron.
Of course, unless you're really special, you're going to see all this with annoying interruptions and excruciating commentary, and you're not going to see it until 6pm. (tape delay: NBC 6-9:38pm, followed by a preview of that ridiculous sitcom about veteranarians. Okay, I can't let go of my hate despite my opening exhortation. Sue me.)