MOUNTAIN OF TROUBLE: The US ladies proved to be too much for Japan in the Women’s Soccer finals. Photo courtesy Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the final weekend of the Olympic games fast approaching, the realization that yet another Olympiad is near its conclusion is starting to dawn on us. Luckily, keeping us distracted, are a flurry of medal events that are rapidly heating up.

Some medals have been anticipated for a almost two weeks now as their tournaments began shortly after — or, in some cases, even before — the Opening Ceremonies while others have struck us almost without warning. The end result is a Black Friday-esque rush for the last awards of these games and stories fitting for yet another Olympic recap.

US Women Simultaneously Get Revenge, Three-peat

It seems like a paradox. How can a team that is the defending gold medal champions of the last two games be seeking redemption? Quite simply, it’s because these sports don’t lay dormant for four years, as well.

Take the Team USA, for example. They had the hardware from Beijing and Athens, but after a heartbreaking loss to Japan in the finals of last year’s world cup, the American woman’s soccer team almost seemed sort of like the underdogs heading into London.

Fear not, though, because they played like the favorites they really were. After a controversial win over Canada, the US returned the favor to Japan in the Olympic finals. If I said revenge is a dish best served cold, the cliché police would arrest me, so instead I’ll say it’s a dish best served warm, muggy, and damp, as per the conditions around London this week.

Carli Lloyd, that team member who so infamously got her skull stomped on by Canada’s Melissa Tancredi in the semifinals, found the back of the net twice, and gave the US a 2-1 lead with time running out. Japan, pushing frantically for the equalizer hoping to maybe even force a shootout where they beat the Americans last summer, but goalkeeper Hope Solo actually took some time off from Twitter to make a jaw-dropping save.

It was a victory some might’ve struggled to put into words, but perhaps midfielder Megan Rapinoe said it best when she told a reporter, “They snatched our dream last summer. And this kind of feels like the nightmare turned back around.”

 

LOCKED BOLT: Usain Bolt’s Olympic resume was only elongated Thursday, further cementing his place in history. Photo courtesy Alex Livesey/Getty Images

When it Comes to Bolt, There Might be No Equal

The headline says it all. Earlier in the week, Usain Bolt won the Men’s 100 Meters to become the only other man to win it in back-to-back games besides Carl Lewis. That’s pretty good company, no? Well, on Wednesday, the Jamaican sprinter took his legacy a step further.

That’s because yesterday he also won the Men’s 200 Meters. His time? 19.32 seconds. That means in these Olympic Games that last over two weeks, Usain Bolt didn’t even need half a minute to win two gold medals. That’s the kind of feat that gets you dubbed the ‘World’s Fastest Man’.

Speaking of feats, Bolt is now the ONLY man to ever win the 100- AND 200-Meters in consecutive Olympics. Being compared to Carl Lewis is great, but one-upping the American track and field legend is even better.

It was also a good day for the nation of Jamaica as a whole, as the Caribbean nation’s runners took all three medals on the podium. After Bolt, Yohan Blake, who many considered the best candidate to dethrone King Bolt, came in second while Weir Warren notched a personal best time to take the bronze.

Rudisha Sets World Record, Delivers on Promise

The flashiness of Usain Bolt eccentric demeanor stole the show Wednesday, but also making a name for himself was David Rudisha. Rudisha is a Kenyan runner, and where Jamaica is known for its sprinters, Kenya is known for its distance runners.

In the past three years, really the entire time since the Beijing Games, Rudisha had been the man to beat in the Men’s 800 Meters. But being so dominant for so long can take the excitement out of an event, so Rudisha gave it back.

Before the race, Rudisha had told the other runners to be prepared for a new world record. In track and field circles, it was the equivalent to calling his shot. But like the Great Bambino, Rudisha delivered.

Coming across in a time of 1:40.91, Rudisha became the first man EVER to turn in a sub 1:41 time in the Olympics or otherwise, a time once thought to be untouchable. Now, Rudisha is the only man to ever have done it, and he’s got a World Record for his efforts. That’s something even the great Usain Bolt has yet to do in London.

INJURY DELAY: Manteo Mitchell put off the pain of a catastrophic injury long enough to get the US Men’s relay team into the finals. Photo courtesy Feng Li/Getty Images

Relay Runner Finishes His Leg With a Broken One

The United States Men’s 4X400 Meter Relay team qualified for tomorrow’s final. That’s the end of the story. Oh wait, I forgot to mention one thing: one of them ran 200 meters on a broken leg.

As he turned the afterburners on to make up for an admittedly slow start, Manteo Mitchell said his leg started to feel funny about 100 meters in. Then, right as he crossed the 200-meter mark, Mitchell said he heard and felt a snap, which, along with his shriek of pain, was drowned out by the crowd.

Mitchell thought about stopping right there, but didn’t want to let his teammates down. So, without knowing the extent of his injury, Mitchell carried on until he could hand off the baton. Afterwards, doctor’s confirmed that the American broke his left fibula. Mitchell described the pain by saying it literally felt like someone snapped his leg in half. Though there was no culprit, his diagnosis ended up being pretty much on point.

Suffice it to say, Mitchell won’t be running in the finals today. But the developing story here is just how many US runners are now injured. Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt, both originally slated to be a part of the relay team, are also out with hamstring injuries. If Team USA loses one more runner, they’ll have their own all-walking wounded squad.

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NOTE: This story was also published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure you follow him @bclienesch for Olympic updates and other shenanigans.