Olympics round-up: Dream Team hold off Spanish challenge


Four years on, the basketball narrative is much the same. The United States are again Olympic champions and Spain, while threatening that dominance, remain inferior. The US have now won men's gold at five out of the last six Games.

The world No 2 side again pushed the US, eventually losing 107-100 – in Beijing they lost by nine points. It was the closest final since the Soviet Union beat the Americans 51-50 in 1972, and the second-closest in Olympic history.

The rapid growth of basketball in Spain since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics means that the sport is only now marginally pipped by football as the most popular in the country. The legacy of the original US "Dream Team" led by "Magic" Johnson inspired many of the current Spanish players to take up the game. Stars they have become themselves, but still not at the magnitude of the Americans.

Yesterday it was Kevin Durant's turn to shine, top scoring with 30 points while LeBron James had 19 and Kobe Bryant 17.

The US were still clinging to their one point lead at 83-82 going into the fourth but built a nine-point lead at 95-86 midway through the final quarter that they held on to.

The underdog may have come unstuck at North Greenwich Arena but that was not the case at The Mall, where Uganda won their first medal of the Games, in the men's marathon. Stephen Kiprotich shot to the front with just under four miles remaining to defeat the experienced Kenyan pair of Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang.

Kipsang made an early break, splitting the field and passing through the halfway stage in 63min 15 sec. He was gradually reeled in and joined by Kiprotich and Kirui in a three-man race for the gold.

However, the 23-year-old was able to hold off the other competitors to win in 2hr 8min 1sec, 26 seconds ahead of Kirui with Kipsang a further 1min 10sec behind.

John Akii-Bua, who set a world record in the 400 metres hurdles final of the 1972 Munich Olympics, is Uganda's only other Olympic champion.

Russia, meanwhile, added three more to their own list but it was not enough to overhaul third-placed Great Britain in the medals table.

Egor Mekhontcev's victory in the men's light-heavyweight boxing was complemented by Russia's fourth consecutive triumph in the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around competition at Wembley arena.

And a first volleyball gold in 32 years – as their men defeated Brazil in five sets at Earls Court– meant the Russians ultimately finished the Games with 24 gold medals, five fewer than Great Britain.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'