Ugandan Wins Men's Olympic Marathon

Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aug. 12, 2012, London.
Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aug. 12, 2012, London.
The London 2012 Olympics drew to a close on Sunday with Russia winning three golds, the United States extending its lead in the gold medal standings by two and a Ugandan scoring an upset victory in the men's marathon.
 
Day 16 of the games began under sunny skies with the staging of the men's marathon through the streets of central London. Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich won the race in a time of 2 hours, eight minutes and one second, beating Kenyan favorite and world champion Abel Kirui by 26 seconds. 
 
Another Kenyan, Wilson Kipsang, took the bronze, while Eritrean-born American Meb Keflezighi finished fourth, eight years after claiming the Olympic silver medal in Athens. Kiprotich overtook the two Kenyans 32 kilometers into the race and held the lead to the end, earning Uganda only its second Olympic gold medal. 
 
Russian athletes had the best day, winning Olympic titles in men's volleyball, men's boxing and the women's rhythmic gymnastics group competition.

Photo Gallery: Day 14 of Competition
 
  • Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, after she won the women's 5000m final, Friday, August 10, 2012.
  • Jordan Ernest Burroughs of the U.S. (in red) fights with Canada's Matthew Judah Gentry in the Men's 74kg Freestyle wrestling.
  • Montenegro's water polo players watch the final seconds of their team's loss to Croatia.
  • Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli swims on his way to gold during the men's 10-kilometer swimming marathon
  • Spain's team performs in the synchronized swimming free routine final.
  • Israel's Neta Rivkin competes using the ribbon in her individual all-around gymnastics qualification match.
  • Australia's Jesse Phillips, left, and Stephen Bird paddle through the men's kayak double 200m semifinal.
  • Sweden's team players celebrate after defeating Hungary in their men's semi-final match at the Basketball Arena.
  • Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia reacts after winning gold in the men's 10km marathon swimming at Hyde Park.
  • Visitors' shadows cast as they stroll through the ExCel arena in London.
  • Latvia's Maris Strombergs bows after winning the men's BMX event.

Team USA also finished strongly, taking gold in men's freestyle wrestling and men's basketball. The U.S. National Basketball Association stars held off a strong challenge by Spain to win by 107 points to 100, repeating their victory over the Spaniards in the 2008 Olympic final. 
 
The United States ended the games with 104 medals including 46 golds, staying ahead of runner-up China, whose final tally was 87 medals, 38 of them gold. China had topped the standings four years ago in Beijing with 51 Olympic titles. 
 
Team China chief Liu Peng said the Asian sporting power has much room for improvement. 
 
"We know we are far behind the world in popular team ball games and other events of a high professional level," said Liu. "Although overall we did well in disciplines in which we traditionally excel, as these events become more popular and commonplace internationally, competitors from other countries and regions are becoming better, and we are facing more severe challenges in these fields."
 
Host nation Great Britain was third in the gold-medal table with 29, followed by Russia with 24 and South Korea with 13. 
 
Team GB's total of 65 medals, including a men's boxing gold on Sunday, marked the best British Olympic performance in more than a century. British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will maintain government funding for Olympic sports until the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro to help British athletes achieve more success. 
 
"I think you only need two words to sum up these games: Britain delivered," said Cameron. "We showed the world what we're made of. We reminded ourselves of what we can do, and yes we demonstrated you should never ever count Team GB down and out."
 
Cameron appointed London Games organizer Sebastian Coe as Britain's legacy ambassador for the Olympics. In that role, Coe will advise the government about how to secure long-term economic rewards from hosting the games. London's target is $20 billion in monetary benefits. 
 
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said London has lived up to its promise of hosting an Olympics designed for athletes, calling the athletes' village "splendid" and the sports venues "state of the art." He also highlighted some of the record-breaking performances of the games.
 
"I think of the double/[triple medal winners], [Jamaican sprinter] Usain Bolt of course," said Rogge. "I think of [American swimmer] Michael Phelps surpassing [Soviet gymnast] Larisa Latynina [as the winner of the most Olympic medals]. I think of [British track cyclist] Chris Hoy and six medals. I think of [British sailor] Ben Ainslie and five medals. [Italian fencing champion Valentina] Vezzali and five consecutive medals. [British tennis player Andy] Murray winning his first major title. And I could go on for the rest of the day."
 
Sunday's other gold medal winners include Cuba, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in men's boxing, Croatia in men's water polo, the Czech Republic in men's mountain bike cross-country, France in men's handball and Japan in men's freestyle wrestling.
 
In the day's last competition, Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite won the women's modern pentathlon, setting an Olympic record for an event that combines fencing, horse riding, shooting, swimming and running. 
 
The games were concluding Sunday evening with a closing ceremony featuring some of Britain's best-known pop stars, including the Spice Girls and George Michael. Brazilian performers also were due to take the stage to celebrate London's hand-over of the summer games to Rio, where the Olympic flame will appear again in four years. 

Photo Gallery: Track & Field Stars

  • Usain Bolt celebrates winning gold alongside silver medalist Yohan Blake, both of Jamaica, following the men's 100-meter final.
  • Usain Bolt also won the men's 200m final on Thursday.
  • Germany's Robert Harting celebrates winning the men's discus throw final by grabbing a German flag, running a lap of the track over the hurdles, and trying to wrench one of the burning torches from the Olympic cauldron.
  • Ashton Eaton, a 24-year-old from Oregon, wins in the men's decathlon 100m heat. Brazil's Luiz Alberto de Araujo is on the left, and Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine on the right.
  • Dayron Robles (center), of Cuba, pulls up after injuring his leg while competing with Aries Merritt (L) and Jason Richardson of the U.S. during the men's 110m hurdles final.
  • Sarah Attar, the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in Olympic track and field, runs in her women's 800m round 1 heat.
  • China's Liu Xiang falls after hitting a hurdle in his men's 110m hurdles round 1 heat, clutching the same right Achilles tendon that doomed his chances at the Beijing Games in 2008.
  • Australia's Sally Pearson won gold in the women's 100m hurdles final.
  • David Lekuta Rudisha (right), of Kenya, runs ahead of Puerto Rico's Wesley Vazquez. Rudisha shattered his own world record in the fastest ever 800m race.
  • Lolo Jones of the U.S. clears a hurdle with Canada's Phylicia George. Jones is the American record holder in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.72. She came in fourth in the 100m hurdles final in London.
  • Aries Merritt of the U.S. celebrates after winning gold in the men's 110m hurdles final.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs