We Won 23 Medals Over the Weekend, and 10 Were Gold, Plus Other News
We won 23 more medals over the weekend. The highlights include Michael Phelps ending his Olympic career with his 21st and 22nd medals, and Serena Williams, winning gold in both the Women's Singles and Doubles. Here's our weekend recap . . .
#1.) Michael Phelps won Gold in the Men's 100-meter Butterfly. It's the THIRD straight Olympics he's won gold in that race.
#2.) We won two medals in the Women's 200-meter Backstroke. Missy Franklin won the Gold and Elizabeth Beisel won the Bronze.
#3.) Swimmer Katie Ledecky won Gold in the Women's 800-meter Freestyle and set a U.S. record.
#4.) Swimmer Cullen Jones won Silver in the Men's 50-meter Freestyle.
#5.) Track and field events began on Friday. Reese Hoffa won the Bronze in Shot Put.
#1.) The men's swim team won Gold in the 100-meter Medley Relay. That adds gold to Michael Phelps, Matt Grevers, Nathan Adrian, and Brendan Hansen. It was Phelps' LAST Olympic race, bringing his record-breaking career total to 22 medals and 18 gold.
#2.) The women's swim team won Gold and set a world record in the 100-meter Medley Relay. That means another gold medal for Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dan Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt.
#3.) Serena Williams won Gold in the Women's Singles tennis match.
#4.) Twins Mike andBob Bryan won Gold in the Men's Tennis Doubles.
#5.) Jamie Gray won the Gold in the three-position 50-meter Rifle event.
#6.) The U.S. cycling team won Silver in Women's Team Pursuit. They are Jennie Reed, Sarah Hammer, and Dotsie Bausch.
#7.) Runner Galen Rupp won Silver in the Men's 10,000-meter race.
#8.) Runner Carmelita Jeter won Silver in the Women's 100-meter race.
#9.) The U.S. fencing team won Bronze in the Women's Epee event. Sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley were teamed up with Maya Lawrence.
#10.) Will Claye won Bronze in the Men's Long Jump.
#11.) The U.S. rowing team won Bronze in the Men's Four event. They are Glenn Ochal, Henrik Rummel, Charlie Cole, and Scott Gault.
#1.) Venus and Serena Williams won Gold in Women's Doubles Tennis.
#2.) We won two medals in the women's 400-meter track and field race. Sanya Richards-Ross won the Gold and Dee Dee Trotter took the Bronze.
#3.) Gymnast McKayla Maroney won Silver in Women's Vault event.
#4.) Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan won Bronze in Mixed Doubles Tennis.
#5.) Justin Gatlin won Bronze in the 100-meter race against Jamaica's Usain Bolt. The Jamaicans took the top two spots. We placed 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
China Passed Us in Medals Again, and the British Are Now in Third
The British had an excellent weekend. They picked up nearly two dozen medals and jumped from seventh place to THIRD. We had a similar run, but the Chinese outperformed us overall to take the lead again. Here's the overall medal count as of 8am Monday:
#1.) China with 63 medals . . . 31 Gold, 18 Silver, and 14 Bronze.
#2.) The United States with 61 medals . . . 28 Gold, 14 Silver, and 19 Bronze.
#3.) Great Britain with 37 medals . . . 16 Gold, 11 Silver, and 10 Bronze.
#4.) Russia with 35 medals . . . 4 Gold, 16 Silver, and 15 Bronze.
#5.) Japan with 27 medals . . . 2 Gold, 12 Silver, and 13 Bronze.
With our athletes doing so well, it's easy to forget that the vast majority of the 204 countries competing in the games end up going home with nothing. After the first week of competition, only 61 countries have earned a medal. That means there are 143 countries with ZERO medals, or 70% of all countries.
(You can get the latest updates at nbcolympics.com/medals/index.html.)
A Fencer Wins Venezuela's First Gold Medal Since 1968, Then Takes the London Subway
Last week, a 26-year-old fencer named Ruben Limardo from Venezuela won a gold medal. It's Venezuela's first gold medal since 1968. That's 44 YEARS. And Ruben decided to go back to the Olympic Village, ON THE SUBWAY.
So Ruben wore his gold medal and took the London Tube with a few of his trainers and teammates. He let the passengers touch the medal, he posed for photos with them, and taught them Venezuela's soccer chants.
In all, it sounds like the BEST post-medal celebration of the entire Olympics.
(Gawker / BBC)
Here are some photos of Ruben on the subway.
How Long Does It Take to Win a Medal? A Shot Putter Competes for Just 13 Seconds . . . Total
One of the most amazing things to think about when you watch the Olympics is just how much time all of the athletes put into training for this moment. ALL of them have been working at this every day for years, if not their whole lives. And for some of them, it's over in SECONDS. The "Wall Street Journal" analyzed different sports to figure out just how much time different Olympic athletes actually spend competing on their way to a gold medal.
The quickest Olympics go to the shot putters. All told, a shot putter spends just THIRTEEN SECONDS competing to win the gold. The javelin throwers come in second, with about 32 seconds of total competition on the way to gold.
Team sports that only give out ONE medal after two weeks of games spend more time competing. Volleyball players compete for about 14 hours to win a gold medal. Field hockey, basketball, soccer, and team handball also take several hours.
One upset? Whoever wins the gold medal in WALKING competes for over three-and-a-half hours. That takes longer than the MARATHON.
(Wall Street Journal)
(You can see the full chart with times taken from the 2008 Olympics here.)
Serena Williams Did the Crip Walk After Winning Gold, and Then the Flag Fell During the Medal Ceremony
Serena Williams won the gold medal in Women's Tennis on Saturday, after dominating the tournament. She lost just 17 games in her six matches during the Olympics, which means she won every set by an average score of six to one. And she hammered Maria Sharapova in the gold-medal match, and set an Olympics record for the most lopsided final. She won six to one and six to nothing, or "six love" as they say in tennis.
But a couple things that happened AFTER the match got attention too. First, Serena celebrated her medal by jumping around on the court. Then she went to the sidelines and did a weird-looking hip-hop dance. (NBCOlympics.com has video of the dance at 4:45.) Serena grew up in Compton, and her dance was made famous by one of the Compton gangs, it's known as the Crip Walk.
Then it was time for the medal ceremony. Serena got on the podium, they played the national anthem, and the flags of the three medal winners were raised. But the U.S. flag was in trouble from the start. The wind blew it up and over the bar it was hanging from, and about 50 seconds into the anthem, it FELL OFF.
(NBC doesn't show it falling, but you can see Serena's reaction and hear the crowd gasp at 1:52. You can see a photo of the missing flag here.)
The U.S. Men's Basketball Team Almost Lost to Lithuania
Before the Olympics started, Kobe Bryant said that this year's Team USA Men's Basketball team could beat the Dream Team from 1992. That was the first year NBA guys could play in the Olympics, and the team included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Eleven guys on the team are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and they won every Olympic game by at least 33 points.
This year's team looked good in their first few games. They smacked around France and won by 27. Then they beat Tunisia by 47. And on Thursday, they beat Nigeria 156 to 73. That was an Olympic record for points scored, and the 83-point margin of victory was also a record. But on Saturday, Team USA showed they're NO Dream Team. They nearly lost to Lithuania.
The Lithuanians have one player from the NBA, Linas Kleiza of the Toronto Raptors, a bunch of current and former college players, and they lost two of their three games in the Olympics. But with five minutes left, they LED against the U.S. Linas hit a three-pointer to give Lithuania an 82 to 80 lead. That's when LeBron James saved the day for the U.S. He scored nine of our last 12 points and helped the United States pull out a 99-94 win.
Obviously, the U.S. might have been overconfident after stomping Nigeria the other day. So after the comeback win, LeBron said, "Last game, we made history . . . but that's why it's called history."