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Water polo (M) final day - Croatia captures first Olympic gold medal

London 2012 Water Polo

The legend continues as Ratko Rudic guided Croatia to their first Olympic gold medal with a comprehensive 8-6 victory over Italy at the Water Polo Arena on Sunday. For Rudic, it was a record fourth gold medal as a coach, let alone silver as a player in 1980. Rudic guided Yugoslavia to gold in 1984 and 1988 and Italy in 1992 and now his native Croatia at London 2012. Croatia enjoyed a silver medal at Atlanta 1996 soon after independence but now rise into the hall of champions with a dominant performance built on three Maro Jokovic goals, a 3-2 half-time advantage and 5-3 at the final break.

The victory and the lack of goals against Croatia during the fortnight can also be attributed to the tournament's finest goalkeeper, Josip Pavic (CRO), who was named London 2012's most valuable player. Joining Pavic in the all-star team was Niksa Dobud, the tournament's pre-eminent centre forward. Jokovic scored twice in the fourth for a handsome 7-3 lead. It became 8-4 with just over three minutes remaining, a chasm Italy could not bridge. Christian Presciutti (ITA) accepted a cross pass on counter attack to narrow the margin to 8-5 but the game crawled to an end with only Maurizio Felugo (ITA), selected to the all-star team, failing to accept defeat, sending in a shot from near halfway on full time for 8-6.

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Diving day 8 - David Boudia (USA) crowned new champion in 10m platform, Daley (GBR) secures bronze

London 2012 Diving

The entire United Kingdom had been expecting this final since 2008. In January of that year, Thomas (Tom) Daley became the youngest winner ever of a British 10m platform senior title at the age of… 13! He got immediately spotted as a bright and talented diver, and when two months later he won the European crown in his pet event, the experts were unanimous: Beijing 2008 (in August that year) was still too early but this "boy" would have a rendezvous with history in 2012, at his home Games in London! Since then, many competitions have been contested and many successes have been collected, namely the 2009 world title in Rome (ITA), at 15. Today, August 11, millions of UK TV spectators and many thousands of fans in the Aquatics Centre turned their attention to the now called "poster boy": 15th of the heats (after a missed back 3 ½ somersault, DD 3.6) and fourth in the semis, Daley certainly felt the weight of pressure coming into tonight's final.

Besting him in the semis, Bo Qiu (CHN), the 2011 world champion, Yue Lin (CHN), 2008 Olympic gold medallist in the 10m platform synchro, and David Boudia (USA), silver medallist behind Qiu in Shanghai, were his main rivals to reach the highest podium. The semi-finals in the morning had been already impressive, with few mistakes and very high marks for the majority of divers. The (negative) surprises at this stage were the elimination of 2008 Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham (AUS, 13th) and of the 2007 world champion Gleb Galperin (RUS, 16th), while in the heats, Malaysian Bryan Nickson (19th) and Peter Waterfield (GBR, 23rd) were not at their best level.

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Water polo (M) day 7 - Italy will play Croatia for the final; Serbia and Montenegro fight for bronze

London 2012 Water Polo

Croatia will face Italy on Sunday at 15:50 at the London 2012 Olympic Water Polo Arena to determine the winner of the gold medal in this tournament. In today's semi final match Croatia, the only undefeated team, defeated Montenegro by a score of 7-5. Italy bested Serbia to earn their opportunity to play for the Olympic gold medal.

In the classification round, Spain will meet Hungary for the decision on which team will finish in 5th place at this tournament. The USA and Australia will battle for the 7th and 8th positions in the tournament. The placement of the following teams was determined after the five match preliminary round: 9th place: Greece, 10th place: Romania, 11th place: Kazakhstan, 12th place: Great Britain.

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Synchro, Team Final – Golden streak for Russia, Chinese butterflies steal silver from Spanish mermaids

London 2012 Synchro


Once upon a time...Glittering butterflies, crocodiles, mermaids, dinosaurs, spiders, all were part of the fairy tales that were told to the 17,000-strong audience during the team free routine final on the last day of the Olympic synchronised swimming competition at London's Aquatics Centre. The eight teams in competition put on a spectacular, breath-taking show, scissor-kicking and intertwining 128 legs in all throughout their respective 4-minute long programme. 

Swimming to the military-inspired music pieces of War and Step by Denis Garnizov, defending Olympic champion Russia delivered a near-perfect, complex choreography that received a powerful score of 197.030 (tech 98.100, free 98.930), sealing an unbeaten golden streak of four synchro team crowns. The synchro superpower began an unstoppable reign over the sport with a breakthrough victory at the 2000 Olympic Games, and winning nothing but gold from then on. 

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Marathon Swimming (M): Oussama Mellouli (TUN), first winner ever in the pool and in open water!

London 2012 Swimming

Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia won the Olympic Swim Marathon 10km today in Serpentine Lake at London's Hyde Park. Mellouli won the first and only gold medal for his country at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He finished the race is 1:49.55.1, more than 3 seconds ahead of Thomas Lurz of Germany, the most decorated open water swimmer in the race. Richard Weinberger of Canada finished 5.2 seconds behind the Tunisian to earn third place.

Mellouli is the first swimmer to win a medal in both the pool and the open water swimming events in the same Olympic Games and is also the first athlete to have won a gold medal in both the pool and open water events. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Mellouli won the gold medal in the 1500m freestyle. He competed in this event in London, swimming one half a second faster than he did four years ago, this time for a bronze medal. 

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Water polo (W) final day - USA captures elusive Olympic gold medal; Spain takes silver, Australia earns bronze

London 2012 Water Polo

The USA played their fourth Olympic water polo tournament before achieving their highest reward, an Olympic gold medal. Two USA players, Brenda Villa and Heather Petri now have four medals, one from each women's tournament since competition was inaugurated in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.  

Spain achieved its historic triumph, the silver medal, in their first time in the Olympic tournament. Australia leaves London with a bronze medal, the only other nation to compete for an Olympic medal in each of the last four Olympic Games. Australia defeated the USA in the first tournament in the Sydney 2000 Games, and collected a bronze four years ago in Beijing. The Australian team finished fourth in 2004 Athens Olympics. The complete ranking of the 2012 Water Polo Women's Tournament also includes: 4. Hungary; 5. China; 6. Russia; 7. Italy; 8. Great Britain

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Marathon Swimming (W): Eva Risztov (HUN): tired of the pool, successful in open water!

London 2012 Swimming

Eva Risztov, a veteran of pool swimming at two Olympic Games, an athlete who retired from swimming eight years ago, found that she had the golden touch in The Serpentine in Hyde Park today. The 26 year old Hungarian survived a strong challenge from USA's Haley Anderson to collect Hungary's second gold medal in swimming as these Olympic Games. Risztov completed the women's 10km marathon in 1:57.38.2, just .4 of a second ahead of the American swimmer. This is the second edition of the 10km swim marathon. Larissa Ilchenko (RUS) was the winner of the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

Risztov and Anderson swam the Olympic 10km qualifier in Setubal, Portugal in early June where both swimmers gained their entry into the London Olympics. That result was won by Anderson by a margin of 1.4 seconds. The pair beat all of the top ten athletes who automatically qualified from last year's world championships in this event. The 2011 FINA 10km silver medallist, Italy's Martina Grimaldi finished 3.6 seconds behind the winner to collect the bronze medal. Grimaldi earned the only swimming medal for Italy in the 2012 Olympic Games.  

The 10km marathon was a heartbreak for the 2008 Olympic swimming silver medallist Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain who was just .4 of a second outside of the medals. Payne was also the world champion in this event from last year in Shanghai. She was the reason that thousands of spectators had turned up in Hyde Park hoping to see her "trade up" the Beijing silver for a shinier medal at the home games.

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Diving day 7 - Chen (CHN) revalidates 10m title; Australia shines with new star

London 2012 Diving

The seventh final of the diving programme at these Games, the women's 10m platform, was not very thrilling in terms of the gold medal outcome but was amazingly interesting if we consider the minor medals. 2008 Olympic and 2011 world champion Ruolin Chen (CHN) calmly displayed her supremacy during the decisive stage of the competition, capturing gold with a total 422.30. This Chinese success came after a hiccup in the men's 3m springboard, where Russia's Ilya Zakharov earned the only non-Chinese gold so far in the diving competition (the last event on the programme being the men's 10m platform – final to be held on August 11). Chen reconfirmed the Chinese pride in this discipline, delivering a flawless programme, which allowed her to dominate the final from the very first dive. It is the fourth Olympic gold for Chen, after her 2008 and 2012 successes (in the individual and synchro 10m platform).

"I feel honoured to win one more gold medal for the Chinese team. I just hope China can get more gold! The more, the better. I still don't know how I'll celebrate this!" said a delighted Chen. Asked about what she has seen during these Games, she confessed: "While competing, I don't pay any attention to what others are doing, but before the diving events I watched the performances of Sun Yang in the pool and I loved it!"

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Water polo (M) day 6 - Balkan powerhouses and Italy together in the men's semi-finals

London 2012 Water Polo

Four nations each bordering the Adriatic Sea will play for Olympic medals in the semi-final round of the men's 2012 London Olympic water polo tournament. In today's biggest upset, Italy defeated Hungary, the 2008 Olympic champions to earn their spot in the next round. Italy's opponent is Serbia which had a closer than expected victory over Australia today. Croatia easily dismantled the USA, the 2008 Olympic silver medallists, to secure their spot in Friday's semi-final round. Serbia's opponent is Montenegro, which faced down a challenge by Spain earlier today, winning 11-9.

The losers of today's games will meet in the classification round to play for places 5th through 8th. The USA will face Spain on Friday and the other match up will include Hungary and Australia.

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Water polo (W) day 5 - Newcomer Spain to meet experienced USA in battle for first Olympic gold medal

London 2012 Water Polo

Spain and the USA will meet on Thursday to challenge for the gold medal at the London 2012 women's Olympic tournament. These two teams tied at 9-9 when they met last week in the preliminary round. Spain is making its first appearance in the women's Olympic tournament whereas it's the fourth consecutive appearance for the USA in the medal round and the third time the USA is playing for the gold medal, something that has eluded the team.  

USA veterans Brenda Villa (USA) and Heather Petri (USA) will enter the record books as four time Olympic medallists on Thursday. The US veteran players are seeking their first Olympic gold medal to go with two silver and one bronze medals they already own. The USA was second to Australia in Sydney 2000 and silver medallists again in Beijing 2008 losing to the Netherlands, 8-9.

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