Olympics Day 14 - Athletics
Mark Dadswell  /  Getty Images
Asafa Powell of Jamaica moves away from teammate Usain Bolt on his way to victory in the Men's 4 x 100m relay final.
msnbc.com news services
updated 8/22/2008 12:47:20 AM ET 2008-08-22T04:47:20
DAY 14 HIGHLIGHTS

Usain Bolt helped Jamaica win the 400-meter relay final in 37.10 seconds Friday night for his third gold medal and third world record of the Olympics.

Bolt ran the third leg of the relay, then handed the baton to former 100-meter world record-holder Asafa Powell. Bolt yelled and pointed as Powell began the anchor leg.

The Jamaican quartet, which also included Nesta Carter and Michael Frater, eclipsed the old 400 relay mark of 37.40 set by the United States at the Barcelona Olympics in the 1992 and tied by the U.S. at the world championships a year later.

Bolt added that to the records he set in winning the 100 meters (9.69) and 200 meters (19.30) in Beijing.

The Jamaicans were nearly a full second faster than relay silver medalists Trinidad and Tobago, which finished in 38.06. Japan took the bronze in 38.15.

The United States failed to reach the men’s 400 relay final when it dropped the baton during qualifying Thursday.

The Jamaican women spoiled the country’s shot at sweeping the Olympic sprints Friday when Sherone Simpson never got the stick to Kerron Stewart between the second and third legs of the 400-meter relay.

That opened the door for Russia to win the gold in 42.31 seconds, followed by Belgium and Nigeria.

Jamaica was the prohibitive favorite in the race, with two gold and five overall sprint medals already won by its four-woman lineup, and without any competition from the United States, which botched a handoff in preliminaries the night before.

Simpson was pushing Jamaica into the lead near the end of her leg. Stewart took off, reached her arm back and never received the baton.

Simpson ran into Stewart and stopped running, which left Veronica Campbell-Brown, who ran the fastest 200 meters in a decade the night before, without a chance to run her anchor leg.

Bryan Clay has won the decathlon, the first American man to win the 10-discipline event at the Olympics since 1996.

The 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2005 world champion, Clay finished with 8,791 points, including 522 in the 1,500 meters late Friday.

The competition started with the 100 in heavy rain on Thursday morning.

Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus took silver at 8,551, and Leonel Suarez of Cuba was third in 8,527.

Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic, the reigning world and Olympic champion, finished sixth.

Dan O’Brien was the last U.S. athlete to win the Olympic decathlon, at Atlanta in 1996.

Basketball
The climb back to the top is nearly complete. One more win and U.S. basketball is golden again.

The Americans ended their streak of final four flops and Argentina’s hopes of an Olympic gold-medal repeat, starting fast and finishing strong in a 101-81 semifinal victory Friday.

All that’s left is what the U.S. players came for: a gold medal.

The United States scored 21 of the first 25 points, got a big break when Argentina star Manu Ginobili reinjured his left ankle, and surged into its first gold-medal game in eight years.

There’s still 40 minutes to go, but this U.S. team looks good as gold. All the Americans have to do now is beat Spain, who they clobbered by 37 points in pool play, on Sunday to win their first gold in a major international event since the 2000 Olympics.

Baseball
The Cuban baseball team will go for gold again, having beaten the United States 10-2 to reach the Olympic championship game.

Alexei Bell hit a three-run homer in the eighth to put the punctuation mark on the defending champions’ 10-2 victory Friday. He raised his hand to signal No. 1 while rounding the bases, then Ariel Pestano added his own three-run shot three batters later to seal it.

Cuba will play Saturday night against unbeaten South Korea. The U.S. will face Japan for bronze in the first game of the day. South Korea rallied past Japan 6-2 in Friday’s first semifinal.

Beach Volleyball
Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser have completed the American sweep of the beach volleyball gold medals, beating Brazil in three sets.

A day after Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor weathered a driving rainstorm to win their second straight gold, the men won their Olympic debuts on Friday in more typical beach weather. Dalhausser and Rogers beat Fabio and Marcio 23-21, 17-21, 15-4.

Earlier Friday, Athens gold medalists Emanuel and Ricardo of Brazil won the bronze, beating Jorge Terceira and Renato Gomes of Georgia 21-15, 21-10.

Volleyball
The U.S. men’s volleyball team will play for the Olympic gold medal after defeating Russia in five sets.

With the 25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 15-13 victory Friday, the U.S. men remain undefeated in Beijing.

The U.S. won Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988, before winning the bronze in 1994. But the closest they’ve gotten since then was a fourth-place finish at the 2004 Athens games.

The Brazilian men’s volleyball team defeated Italy 3-1 and will face the United States for gold on Sunday.

Brazil, which won the gold in the 2004 Athens Games, won 19-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22 in the semifinal Friday night.

Italy will face Russia for the bronze medal.

BMX
In the sport's debut in the Games, American Jill Kintner of the U.S. took the bronze in the women's final. Anne-Caroline Chausson of France won the first ever Olympic gold medal for the BMX.

Minutes later, Mike Day and Donny Robinson of the United States won the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the men's final. World champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia won the gold medal.

Gymnastics
According to a Times of London report, a U.S. computer security expert named Mike Walker claims he tracked down two documents on a Chinese government Web site that stated He Kexin’s birth date as Jan. 1, 1994, not the Jan. 1, 1992 that is printed on her passport. The documents were later reportedly removed from the site.

The International Olympic Committee said Friday that it has asked gymnastics officials to investigate whether or not the Chinese women's gymnastics team that won the gold medal had underage athletes. The group would not give details on what new information prompted it to act now.

It also said that despite the persistent questions over eligibility, there is still no proof anyone cheated. “We believe the matter will be put to rest and there’s no question ... on the eligibility,”  spokeswoman Giselle Davies said.

The ages of He's teammates Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin have also been questioned. Online records and media reports suggest the three gymnasts may be as young as 14.

The FIG has said repeatedly that a passport is the “accepted proof of a gymnast’s eligibility,” and that China’s gymnasts have presented ones that show they are age eligible. The IOC also checked the girls’ passports and deemed them valid.

He herself also insists she is of age, saying on Monday, "I was born in 1992 and I'm 16 years old now. The FIG has proved that."

Age falsification has been a problem in gymnastics since the 1980s after the minimum age was raised from 14 to 15 to protect the physical and mental health of young athletes. The minimum age was raised to its current 16 in 1997.

Pau Gasol scored 19 points as Spain beat Lithuania 91-86 to advance to the Olympic gold medal game for the first time since 1984.

Rudy Fernandez added 18 Friday night for the Spaniards, who will face either the U.S. or Argentina for the gold medal on Sunday. The U.S. drubbed Spain 119-82 in pool play.

Spain is looking to add an Olympic title to the world championship it won two years ago in Japan.

Simas Jasaitis and Sarunas Jasikevicius each scored 19 points for Lithuania, which will play for the bronze medal for the fifth straight time.

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