London Day Sixteen: The end

Submitted by Rick Eyre on August 13 2012, 9:36 am

My last recollection of live action at the London Olympics was at around 1am Monday, falling asleep as the Washington Generals of the men's basketball final, Spain, were just maintaining their grip in was a surprisingly close tussle. Final score, as I eventually learn, USA prevailed, 107 to 100.

Where's the first place to go to read about a men's Olympic basketball gold medal victory? Of course, the blog. Also, a report (in Spanish) from RTVE, and something more neutral from, and a local British angle from Tanya Aldred at the Telegraph.

Basketball is something of a traditional Modern Olympic sport, and while everyone loves watching the Dream Team in action, is it fair to have a tournament in this context where one runaway favourite wins every Olympiad (notwithstanding the closeness of the 2012 final)? There is talk of bringing in eligibility rules similar to those of men's soccer - namely, all but three players in each team under the age of 23. Better in my view not to have an Olympic tournament at all than those sort of contrivances.

Perhaps it would be more fun to take Olympic basketball back to its roots. If there's just one thing that could be revived from Berlin 1936, let it be the outdoor basketball tournament played on a sand-topped surface. And then let it rain on the day of the gold medal match. Final score in 1936, USA defeated Canada, 19 points to 8.

Earlier, the men's marathon saw two Kiprotiches from two different countries (Uganda and Kenya) among the medals - indeed, Steve Kiprotich delivered Uganda's first gold since John Akii-Bua in 1972. A race which at times look like it was using its competitors as extras in a two hour ten minute tourism video, and unusually didn't finish in the main Olympic Stadium. This served to make the medal ceremony during the official closing more incongruous.

Among other team finals on Sunday:

Russia came from two sets down to beat Brazil in the men's volleyball, 19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9. This deserves the Russia Today treatment.

France beat Sweden 22-21 in the men's handball. I don't know how long the website will remain online, but their match timeline on the game page makes for great reading. It would be remiss of me if I overlooked Norway's 26-23 win over Montenegro in Saturday's women's final. Aftenposten have given it such a restrained treatment which looks even more fun if you don't translate it to English.

Croatia defeated Italy in the men's water polo 8-6. Report in Italian from La Gazetta dello Sport.

At the wrestling, there was a late flurry of excitement for India as Sushil Kumar reached the 66kg freestyle final. He didn't win gold - beaten by Japan's Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu - but he became the first Indian to ever win two individual Olympic medals. The world's second most populous nation can only look up in future Games.

The final event of London 2012 was the women's competition in the modern pentathlon, a sport which has, in its struggle to remain Modern, streamlined itself to the point where it is no longer actually a Pentathlon, as Deadspin brilliantly explains. Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite was the last gold medallist of London 2012, Stephanie Murray with silver, Great Britain's 65th medallist and putting them one silver (17) ahead of Australia.

But as the Olympics wind down, sport in the rest of England gears up. Manchester City beat Chelsea 3-2 in the Community Shield. In a full weekend of county cricket, Yorkshire just avoided a shock loss to the Unicorns. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Rory McIlroy won the US PGA. At least they won't be scheduling a grand slam golf tournament against Rio 2016.

I declined to watch the Closing Ceremony. A live blog in Spanish will do me. Did Keith Moon accept his invitation and turn up?

Footnote: no video for this blog post, but I haven't finished writing about the London Olympics. I'm here all week. Or so.