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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Synchro day 3 - Russia retains duet title, Spain's London joy

London 2012 Synchro


Russia's Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina cruised to victory in the first final of the Olympic synchronised swimming competition, the duet, winning their first Olympic medal in this event and the fourth consecutive for Russia. This is the second Olympic title for Ishchenko, already a multiple World champion (with 16 gold), after her first place in the team event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Looking like spooky puppets, the Russian duo chose a piece inspired by horror movies Suspiria and Sleepy Hollow, to captivate the audience and the judges throughout their much theatrical performance which they mastered with an unmatched level of technique. They started with two successive throws and perfectly mirrored each other to the end of the routine, amassing a total score of 197.100. 

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Diving day 6 - Ilya Zakharov (RUS) triumphs in the 3m springboard

London 2012 Diving

Four hours after their first gold in the Aquatics Centre (thanks to the duet in synchronised swimming), Russia celebrated their second title in the FINA sports at these Games by winning the men's 3m springboard of the diving programme. In the most thrilling and interesting final so far in this discipline, Ilya Zakharov proved that the difficult balance between choosing an easy programme (with less risks) and selecting a very complicated set of dives (with its associated chances of failing) is one of the keys for success in diving. Accumulating a total DD of 21.5 in his six dives, the Russian champion was by far the competitor who risked the most – at the end, this choice was fruitful and allowed Zakharov to end the four consecutive Olympic title streak for China in the event: Ni Xiong won the event in 1996 and 2000, Bo Peng in 2004 and Chong He in 2008. 

Defending champion Chong He - who, in addition to his Olympic title, has medalled five times at the FINA World Championships - was clearly the diver to beat in the final. He had finished first in the semis and second in the preliminaries (where the Russian was better). But He never appeared to be totally serene and despite choosing also a difficult set of dives (total DD of 21.0), he lacked spark in each of them. The situation became so complicated for him that at the end of the third round (there were six) he placed fifth. He recovered to fourth after dives 4 and 5 and then mastered the forward 2 ½ somersault 3 twists (pike, DD 3.9) to finally get the bronze in a total 524.15. A disappointing result for He, used to shine at the highest level - he was 2009 and 2001 world champion in Rome and Shanghai, respectively. 

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Water polo (M) day 5 – Croatia and Serbia are the only undefeated quarterfinalists

London 2012 Water Polo

Following the conclusion of the preliminary round in the men's tournament, Croatia and Serbia were the top ranked teams in Group A and B respectively. Croatia was the only team with five victories, while Serbia earned four wins and a draw with Montenegro. Croatia will meet the USA, the 4th ranked team from Group B in the first game of the quarterfinal round which begins on Wednesday. Serbia will match up against Australia, the 4th ranked team from Group A in the fourth match of the quarterfinal round

Spain, the second place team in Group A will square off against Montenegro, which finished third in Group B in the quarter final in the second match of the next round. In Wednesday's third match, Italy, the number 3 ranked team in Group A will face Hungary, the second ranked team from Group B and the 2008 Olympic champions. Hungary's campaign was off to a uncertain start having lost their first two matches to Serbia and Montenegro, but they won their final three matches in the preliminary round.

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Russia, China and Spain make top-3 ahead of duet final

London 2012 Synchro

The crowd reserved a loud reception for the 104 competitors of the 2012 Olympic Games synchronised swimming duet competition, taking place from August 5-7 at London's brand new Aquatics Centre. The 24 duets performed a technical routine on day 1 (August 5) and a free routine on day 2 (August 6), the scores of which are combined to decide the twelve duets that will advance to the final, scheduled for August 7.

Recently-formed Russian duo, Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina, delivered a speedy technical routine on Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us", earning 98.200. On the following day, they swam to near-perfection their free programme, receiving an impressive 98.600, for a total score of 196.800. "They first swam this routine at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai but we changed half of it for the London Olympics, we added many new elements and increased the difficulty," said coach Tatiana Dachenko.

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