Olympics Day 14: U.S. men's hoops team cruises to gold medal game

Story highlights

  • Italy's Cammarelle defeats highly ranked ranked super heavyweight boxer to advance
  • U.S. men's hoops team moves to the finals behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant
  • Bahamas passes the U.S. squad on the last lap in the men's 4 X 400-meter relay
  • The U.S. women's 4 X 100 relay team breaks a world record in winning gold
The dream is still alive, for the U.S. men's basketball team.
The heavily favored American hoopsters -- referred to, like past Olympic squads, as the Dream Team -- used a balanced effort Friday night to defeat Argentina 109-83 and advance to Sunday's final.
Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA scoring champ from the Oklahoma City Thunder, led all players with 19 points. He was followed closely by the Miami Heat's LeBron James, the three-time NBA MVP who chipped in with 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
The Argentina squad is no slouch, boasting NBA stalwarts Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino. But they were no match for the U.S. team, which was ahead five points after the first quarter and steadily pulled away thereafter.
They'll vie for Olympic gold Sunday against Spain, led by Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. In their semifinal match-up Friday, Spain trailed Russia 31-20 at the half and pulled to a 46-46 tie after three quarters, then ran away with the game late to win by 67-59.
The U.S. men won't be alone in trying to stand atop the Olympic podium this weekend. The American women's basketball team has already made it through to the gold-medal final, which they'll play against France on Saturday.
In Olympic Stadium, meanwhile, America's top female sprinters outpaced their Jamaican competitors to earn gold in the prestigious 4 x 100-meter relay -- though their long dominant countrymen fell just short in the 4 X 400-meter men's race.
The Bahamas team of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller won the latter event, rallying to pass the U.S. squad, which has had a stranglehold on this relay for decades, on the final lap. Trinidad and Tobago took home bronze.
The lineup for Team USA in the men's race changed after the semifinal, when Manteo Mitchell remarkably found a way to finish his opening leg after feeling his fibula breaks but continuing to run through the pain.
One man who made headlines in the race, without winning, was South Africa's Oscar Pistorius. Prior to running his nation's final leg of Friday's relay final, Pistorius -- who runs on special carbon fiber prosthetic limbs and was once prevented from competing against able-bodied athletes -- had made history as the first double amputee athlete to compete in the Olympics.
The United States track and field team, though, had reason to celebrate earlier when its women's 4 X 100-meter team earned gold.
The U.S. quartet included Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter, who took gold and bronze, respectively, in the women's 200-meter run, and Tianna Madison and Bianca Knight. Together, they convincingly set a world record of 40.82, just ahead of the second-place Jamaicans, who posted a 41.41 time. Ukraine captured the bronze.
The day's first track and field gold medal went to Ethiopia's Meseret Defar, who bested Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot by less than half a second to win the women's 5,000-meter race.
A short time later, Turkey's Asli Cakir Alptekin beat her fellow countrywoman Gamze Bulut and Bahrain's Maryam Yusuf Jamal to earn gold in the women's 1,500-meter final.
The women's hammer throw gold, meanwhile, went to Russia's Tatyana Lysenko, while France's Renaud Lavillenie narrowly bested a pair of competitors from Germany to win gold in the men's pole vault.
Over at the Aquatics Center, scene of many U.S. swimming victories last week, Russia's graceful performers won the gold in the team synchronized swimming final, while China took silver and Spain bronze.
Gold in the men's open water 10-kilometer swimming marathon in the Serpentine, the lake in London's Hyde Park, went to Tunisian Oussama Mellouli. Germany's Thomas Lurz earned silver and Canada's Richard Weinberger the bronze.
Mellouli's victory in the grueling race, in front of hundreds of spectators living the banks of the Serpentine, gave Tunisia its first gold medal of the 2012 London Games. He also took bronze in the pool last week in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle race.
In men's BMX cycling, Latvia's Maris Strombergs won the gold, defending his Olympics title won at the Beijing Games. Sam Willoughby of Australia earned the silver and Carlos Oquendo Zabala of Colombia got the bronze.
A Colombian, Mariana Pajon, won the gold in women's BMX cycling, with Sarah Walker of New Zealand getting the silver and Laura Smulders of the Netherlands the bronze.
Winds off Weymouth, on England's south coast, remained light Friday, posing a challenge to the men and women battling for medals in sailing events.
Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page took gold in the men's 470 sailing, with the silver medal going to Great Britain and bronze to Argentina. New Zealand claimed gold and Great Britain silver in the women's 470 race, with the Dutch taking bronze.
In freestyle wrestling, American Jordan Burroughs defeated Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi to earn gold in the men's 74-kilogram event.
Gold in the 55-kilogram freestyle category went to Russia's Dzhamal Otarsultanov, who beat Vladimer Khinchegashvili of neighboring Georgia.
In men's boxing, defending superheavyweight champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy narrowly defeated world amateur No. 1 Magomedrasul Medzhidov, of Azerbaijan, 13-12, on points to wrap up a night of semifinal fights. He'll face Great Britain's Anthony Joshua in Sunday's gold medal bout.
Ireland's John Joe Nevin and Great Britain's Luke Campbell will battle for the gold in the bantam 56-kilogram event Saturday night after winning through their respective semifinals.
The Netherlands defeated world champion Argentina 2-0 to earn gold in Friday night's women's field hockey final, shortly after Great Britain topped New Zealand 3-1 to earn the bronze.
The International Olympic Committee excluded Italian athlete Alex Schwazer from the London Games on Friday after he tested positive for a banned substance, recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO), which aids red blood cell production.
Schwazer, 27, had been due to compete Saturday in the men's 50-kilometer race walk.