Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Day Fourteen - Fumbling Relays; More Beach Gold for US

USA team members Todd Rogers, left, and Phil Dalhausser, second right, celebrate after recording match point during the men's beach volleyball gold medal match against Brazil at the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds. (Jerry Lai/US Presswire)

7:45 p.m. - What a shocker! A sprint between Jamaicans and Americans won by a Jamaican. Defending gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown beat American Allyson Felix in the women's 200-meters. 100-meter medalist Kerron Stewart won the bronze. Campbell-Brown missed the Jamaican 100-meter team by one place, but focused her energy brilliantly on the 200-meters running a personal best 21.74 to beat Felix by 0.19 seconds. Felix had dominated the rivalry since Campbell-Brown beat her in the 2004 Olympics, but Jamaican mojo in Beijing sprints along with Campbell-Brown's great start and powerful running style added another gold medal to their haul, mon.

Jamaican mojo had an indirect effect on the men's 400-meter relay as the US team dropped the baton on the final pass in the first semifinal. Darvis Patton couldn't deliver the stick to Tyson Gay. Jamaica runs in the second semi. Jamaica wins easily despite making some very conservative passes. Usain Bolt didn't run in the semi, but will run in the final in pursuit of his third gold medal.

US women in 400-meter relay. In 2004, US was DQ'd for passing out of the zone. Same outcome for US women -- dropped baton on last pass. Unbelievable! US had a nice lead until Tori Edwards and Lauren Williams messed up the exchange. Williams ascribes problem to "voodoo dolls." Belgium won the heat. Jamaica runs in the next semi.

Amazing team for Jamaican women. Three 100-meter medal winners plus Veronica Campbell-Brown. Two non-medal winners are Brooks and Bailey in second and third places for the semi. Won by 0.63 seconds.

Now women's 10-meter platform diving. US hope is Laura Wilkinson, but event is dominated by Chinese women. She gets 72 points. Canadian diver does high difficulty dive on first round. Scores 83 points. Goes into first. Wang of China gets 79.5. 15-year-old Chen is next. Started diving at age 4. Another amazing entry. 85.5 points. Takes over first. All 9s with a couple of tens.

Big splash on next Wilkinson drive. Entered water at 45 degrees. Medal-killer. 43 points. Very nice dive by Canadian Heymans 86 points. Holds second. Chen gets 85, but holds first. Chen and Heymans within one point overall. Chen has harder dives left with more scoring potential.

Another bad entry for Wilkinson. Messes up a dive that he scored 10 on in Olympic trials. Only 46 points.

Heymans next. 3.3 degree of difficulty. Very good dive. 84 points. Back to first, but Chen to follow. Wang now. Great dive. 86 points. 3.2 for Chen. Looked just like Wang--maybe better. 88 points. One mark of 10.0. Chen up by 4.5 points going into fourth dive of six.

95 points for Heymans on next dive. Highest of meet. Wang gets 89. Looking good for a medal. Chen gets 89, but trails Heymans by almost 2 points after four dives. Wang alone in third, 40 points ahead of fourth.

Wilkinson finishes her career strong with 87 points. Heymans nails a 3.2 dive for 88 points. Maybe not enough. Awesome dive by Wang. But not far enough from platform on the jump. 90 points. Wins bronze. Heymans guaranteed silver. Pressure dive on Chen. 3.4 dive. Has gotten 10s on this dive. Looks like gold medal dive. Gets 100 points. Four 10s. Rocks the dive. 15-years old. Amazing. Phelpsian!

Yikes, another track event. Men's 400-meter final. Jeremy Wariner is US hopeful. 2004 gold medalist. LaShawn Merritt is another American. David Neville is third American. No Jamaicans. No batons to pass. No hurdles to jump. False start on Rooney from GB. Merritt wins easily. Time of 43.75. Wariner well behind in second. Neville dives for bronze. Great time. Fifth fastest of all time. Wins by 0.99 second.

Oh no. Short race with hurdles. Could be in US jinx zone. 100-meter hurdles. Chinese superstar and reigning gold medalist Liu Xiang withdrew in prelims with an injured Achilles tendon. Cuban Dayron Robles holds world record. Probably the favorite. David Oliver is US hope. At least one Jamaican in the race. I'm betting on him. David Payne also from US.

Here we go. Robles rules. US second and third. 12.93. Wins by 0.24 over Payne. Close to world record. May have let up at end. Good performances by US runners.

"The Dragon of Dirt" is the course for BMX riders. Race is the supercross. This is women's final. Big crash at beginning. More crashes. Another wreck. France wins gold and silver. US bronze. Three riders out of eight crashed.

Men's BMX supercross next. Three out in one wreck. Latvia's Maris Strombergs wins gold! US silver and bronze. Big wreck made up for lost time. No wrecks until more than halfway through.

Sunny day for men's beach volleyball. US vs. Brazil. Rogers and Dalhausser vs Marcio and Fabio Luiz. Brazil won bronze with Ricardo and Emanuel. Bunt by Marcio for first point. 1-0, Brazil. Good rally. Brazil serve wide. 1-1. Dalhausser serves long. 2-1, Brazil. Stuff block by Brazil. 3-1. Error by Rogers. 4-1 Brazil. Dalhausser hits out. 5-1. Fabio blocks Rogers 6-1. Rogers wins pushing battle. 6-2. Kill by Brazil. 7-2. Finally a US kill 7-3. Kill by Fabio. 8-3. Bad return by US and Brazilian kill 9-3. Rogers kills 9-4. Fabio in net. 9-5. Change sides. Dalhausser stuff block. 9-6. Good bunt by Marcio. 10-6. Rogers kills 10-7. Four out of five for US. Great dig and kill by Rogers 10-8. Dalhausser stuff block. 10-9. Brazil calls time.

Another block by Dalhausser. 10-10. Dalhausser blocks out. 11-10, Brazil. Technical timeout. Rogers bunts. 11-11. Fabio kill 12-11. US thinks its a bad hit. Rogers kill 12-12. Fabio kills 13-12 Brazil. Good bunt by Rogers. 13-13. Fabio kills. 14-13. Brazil error 14-14. Marcio hits off top of block. 15-14. Great rescue by Fabio. Easy kill by Rogers 15-all. Big kill by Fabio. 16-15. Brazil hits long. 16-16. Maybe a touch by US. Delay of game warning against Brazil for arguing. Kill by Marcio. 17-16. Great game by Brazilians. Hanging in great. Drop shot by Rogers. 17-17. Dalhausser kills. His first. 18-17 US. First lead of match. Rogers serves wide. 18-all. Rogers over top. 19-18 US. Soft shot. Rogers outjumping Fabio despite 6" height disadvantage. Big hit by Fabio. 19-19. Rogers kill. Set point. 20-19. Fabio kills to tie at 20. Dalhausser kill. 21-20. Second US set point. Nice bunt by Fabio. 21-21. Rogers down the line 22-21. Fabio hits into net. US wins first set 23-21. Whew! One of few errors for Brazil.

Brazil leads 7-5 after ballhandling error by Rogers. Rescue by Brazil fails. 7-6. Great get by Rogers. Now 9-8 US. Serve long by Dalhausser. 9-9. Pretty placement by Rogers. 10-9. Dalhausser roofs Fabio. 11-9. Blocked with elbow. Kill off Dalhausser's head and OB. 11-10. Rogers kill bounces into stands. 12-10. Bad return by Brazil. Easy kill for Dalhausser. 13-10. Fabio kills off Dalhausser block. 13-11. Ace serve hits back line. 13-12. Another ace. 13-13. Both went for that one, but unsuccessfully. Good bunt by Marcio. Now up 14-13. Just when things looked bleak for Brazil, they run off four straight. Bad receive. Rescued and killed. 14-14. Kill by Brazil. Bounces off Rogers and OB. 14-15. Dalhausser just hits line. 15-15. Line is inbounds. Fabio kill. 16-15. 17th kill for Fabio. Fabio blocks Rogers. 17-15 Brazil. Dalhausser error. Spikes into net. 15-18. 8 of last 10 for Brazil. Rogers kills 16-18. Fabio kill off Dalhausser. 16-19. Marcio off Dalhausser. 16-20. Four set points for Brazil. Easy kill for Rogers. 20-17. Second set point for Brazil. Dalhausser nets serve. 21-17 Brazil. One set all.

Third set is to 15. First two points to US. 2-0. Dalhausser blocks. 3-0. Fabio cut shot. 3-1. Marcio hits lefty shot into net after hot rally. Great dig by Dalhausser. 4-1. Mishandle by Marcio. 5-1. Ball very sweaty. Dalhausser block. 6-1. Timeout.

US came back from this kind of deficit against Switzerland. Another Dalhausser block of Fabio. 7-1. Same play. 8-1. One more time. 9-1. Time for Brazil to try something different. Great dig by Rogers but couldn't quite finish. 9-2. Marcio serves into net. 10-2. Fabio hits long 11-2. Fabio kill. Dig OB. 11-3. Rogers bunts in front of Brazil. 12-3. Block OB by Dalhausser. 12-4. Serve out off net. 13-4. Fabio hits wide. 14-4. More match points than needed. Stuff block by Dalhausser wins gold medal for US. Amazing last set by Dalhausser. At least six points on blocks.

Just what I need. More late night volleyball. US and Russian men meet in a semifinal match. US wins first set; Russia leads second 20-18. Stuff block by US 20-19. Now 22-21 US after a kill. Russian timeout. US goes on to win second set 25-21. Russia had a 16-13 lead in that set.

Set three now tied at 6. Russian kill makes it 7-6. US kill ties game at 7. US uses push shot to go around the block. Service error. 8-7 Russia. Per analyst, Russia depends on big serves to get points. US plays more scrambling style.

Russia ruling third set. Now leads 19-15. US misses line with spike. 20-15. Biggest lead for Russia. US kill. 20-16. Russia has beaten US nine straight times leading up to this match. Russia kill. 21-16. US kill by Stanley, his ninth to go along with six aces. 21-17. Another kill high off block. 21-18. Russian kills bounces out of court. 22-18. US kill 22-19. Fabulous back set by Russia. 23-19. Blocked out. 23-20. Russia hits out. 23-21. Russia timeout.

Nervewracking for Russia. US needs serve in. Big kill by Russia. 24-21. Set point. Kill off Russia blocker and OB. 24-22. Set point two. Stuff block by US. 24-23. US making them work. Stanley stuff block. Tied at 24! Russian kill. 25-24. Fourth set point. Bunt to floor by US. 25-25. Russian kill off block. 26-25. Fifth set point. Russian stuff wins third set. 25-27.

US still up two sets to one. Russia up 4-2 in fourth game. Tricky kill by US. 3-4. Russian kill to floor. 3-5. Russia touches US spike on way out. 4-5. Now 5-5. Middle kill by US. 6-5. Kill from front middle. 6-6. Receiving error by US. 6-7. Russians run into each other. 7-7. Serve long by US. 7-8.

US serves out again. 9-10. US kill. 10-10. Russian kill off US block attempt. 10-11. Good push by Russia. 10-12. US kill 11-12. US serve into net. 11-13. Millar stuff block for US. 12-13. Russian kill. 12-14. US push. 13-14. Russia crushes a kill. 13-15. Good read by Russia. US ball out. 13-16. US error. Technical timeout.

Stanley kills. 14-16. US serve into net. 14-17. Too many service errors for US. Russia gives it back. 15-17. No touch per ref. 15-18. Replay shows otherwise. Millar kills. 16-18. Stanley serve out 16-19. Great set and kill by Millar. 17-19. Russian kill. 17-20. Serve into net. 18-20. Russian leftside kill by Russia. 18-21. Russia in net 19-21. Mikhalov kills for Russia. 19-22. He is tough. Serve way out. 20-22. Block just out. 20-23. US kill 21-23. Mikhalov too good. 21-24. Easy kill for Millar. 22-24. Two set points left. Russian kill takes set four. 25-22.

15 point tiebreaker next. 2-1 US. Millar breaks through. 3-1. Great point. Blocked out. 3-2. Mikhalov over line. 4-2. Stuff block. 5-2. Block out. 5-3. Can't stop Mikhalov. 27 kills by Mikhalov. Priddy kill 6-3. Volkov kill 6-4. Return bounces over net. Killed by Russia. 6-5. Timeout. Volkov serves long. 7-5. Priddy just misses wide. 7-6. Stuff block by Russia. 7-7. Salmon kills. 8-7. Change sides. Russia kill. 8-8. Salmon backline kill. 9-8. Stanley serves long. 9-9. Lucky point for US. Russians misplay. Hit into net. 10-9. Serve into net. 10-10. Russian ace. 10-11.

Lost some stuff there. US was down 11-12. David Lee had great stuff block. Russian setter seemed to throw a ball. No call. Lee kills for US. 14-13. Match point US. Timeout Russia. Priddy serves. Lee stuffs! US wins! 15-13. Great comeback in last few points. David Lee is team hero. First US gold medal game since 1988. Fabulous outcome for US team and coach, Hugh McCutcheon, whose father-in-law was killed in an attack just after the Olympics opening ceremony.


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