Final day of action see 15 golds given

00:26, Aug 13 2012
Stephen Kiprotich
LEADING THE WAY: Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich breaks the tape on The Mall to win the men's marathon.

Fifteen gold medals where handed out on the final day of action at the London Olympics - with the first, on the streets of London.

It was the lucky long distance runners who got to see London at its best. Under sunny skies for the fifth day in a row, the marathoners left from The Mall near Buckingham Palace and took a route along the River Thames past the Tower of London and circled close to Big Ben.

At the end of their 42-kilometre tourist jaunt, it was Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda who crossed the finish line first in a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 1 second. Abel Kirui of Kenya was second, 26 seconds behind, while another Kenyan, Wilson Kipsang took the bronze.

The Kenyan team was running in memory of their countryman Sammy Wanjiru, who four years ago in Beijing captured the country's first Olympic marathon gold. But he died last year after a fall from a second-floor balcony during a domestic dispute.

"That is very challenging for us," Kenyan runner Emmanual Mutai had said ahead of the race and the difficulty of trying to win for Wanjiru.

"Everyone was saying, 'You marathoners are going to save us because you are the last to compete.' They are giving us a lot pressure." Mutai finished 17th.


At Hadleigh east of London, world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy of Czech Republic won a two-man sprint to claim the men's mountain bike gold medal. Kulhavy made the most of a final steep ascent on the technical circuit in the English countryside to move ahead of Nino Schurter of Switzerland and then sprinted to the line.

Schurter claimed the silver medal and Italian Marco Aurelio Fontana of Italy took bronze.

In men's boxing finals, flyweight Robeisy Ramirez won Cuba's second boxing gold medal of the games, capping a stellar run through the tournament with a 17-14 victory over Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine won his second consecutive gold, completing his domination of the London lightweights with a 19-9 victory over South Korea's Han Soon-chul.

Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan won gold in the welterweight division, overcoming Britain's Freddie Evans 17-9, while Egor Mekhontsev of Russia won the light heavyweight title on a countback tiebreaker over Kazakhstan's Adilbek. The fighters finished level at 15 points apiece, and the tiebreaker - which evaluates larger parts of the judges' total scores - also was level. The five judges then voted for their choice, and Mekhontsev claimed Russia's only boxing gold in London.

Alexei Shved scored 25 points - 13 in the fourth quarter - and Russia won its first Olympic medal in men's basketball with an 81-77 bronze medal win over Argentina.

Later, the star-packed US men's basketball team led by Lebron James and Kobe Bryant played Spain in the gold medal game, a repeat of the Beijing final four years ago.

Russia won its fourth consecutive gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics group all-around while its male volleyballers came from two sets down - saving two championship points - to beat Brazil in five sets.

At his final media briefing of the games, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he wanted to set the record straight: Usain Bolt was an "active" legend and the best sprinter ever.

Rogge surprised some earlier this week when he said the Jamaican runner needed to prove his greatness over more than two Olympics before achieving his self-proclaimed status of "living legend."

Yesterday, Rogge relented a bit and came up with a different wording for the six-time gold medalist.

"I mean this is purely a semantic issue," he said. "Let me finalise this issue as follows: to say that Usain Bolt is an active performance legend, he is an icon, he is the best sprinter of all time."

Bolt won the 100 and 200 meters at the London Olympics, becoming the first athlete to sweep both events at consecutive games, and anchored the Jamaican team to a world record in the 4x100-metre relay on Sunday morning (NZ time).