Britain's Andy Murray defeated Swiss legend Roger Federer to win gold in the men's individual tennis final Sunday. Women boxers, a British sailor and others made Olympic history in an action-packed day.
Andy Murray became the hometown hero Sunday when he defeated Switzerland's Roger Federer to claim gold in the men's singles finals. With the crowd on his side, the British tennis star handed his opponent a heavy 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 defeat on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
It was a major victory for Murray, who had lost three of his four Grand Slam finals to Federer, most recently at the prestige Wimbledon tournament last month.
"This is the biggest win of my life," he said. "This is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final … I felt so fresh."
After moving 4-2 ahead in the first set, Murray took control and won nine games in a row to capture Britain's 16th gold medal of the games. Federer, the world number one, suffered his worst loss at Wimbledon in a decade.
Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro won bronze after besting Novak Djokovic of Serbia earlier in the day.
Murray had the chance to make history by becoming the first British tennis player to win multiple golds at the same Olympics since 1896, but he came up short in the mixed doubles final later that day. Partnering with Laura Robson, he lost 2-6, 6-3, 10/8 to Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
In Sunday's first tennis action, sisters Serena and Venus Williams defended their gold medal in the women's doubles final. The Americans topped the Czech pair of andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4.
It is their third gold medal in the event. "There is something about standing next to Venus and holding that gold medal," said Serena, who also won individual gold Saturday. "Three times we have played, three times we got the gold medal. So we are pretty stoked about it."
Women make history
The world's best in women's boxing made their Olympic debut Sunday, ending male-only exclusivity. Fans eagerly awaited the bout between Russia's Elena Savelyeva and Kim Hye-song of North Korea.
Inside London's ExCeL Exhibition Centre, a packed crowd cheered on the two as they put to rest the theory that a perceived lack of global interest justified women's exclusion from the games.
The biggest cheers were reserved for India's Mary Kom, a five-time world champion. After winning her bout, she struggled to fight back tears as she talked to reporters.
"I have been boxing for 12 years, I have been trying to play in the Olympic Games," said the mother of two. "Today is very emotional, today is my twins' birthday, their fifth birthday, and I can't celebrate their birthday but I am fighting in the ring and winning, that will be a gift for them."
Women's boxing was approved as an Olympic sport three years ago, and International Boxing Association chief Wu Ching-kuo called it a "proud day for the Olympic movement."
Most decorated sailor in history
British sailor Ben Ainslie became the most decorated sailor in Olympic history when he won gold in the Finn-Dinghy class. It was his fourth gold medal since the 2000 games in Sydney, and fifth medal in total.
The 35-year-old defeated Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark, while France's Jonathan Lobert finished third at the Weymouth waterfront.
Denmark's Paul Elvstrom was the previous most-decorated Olympic sailor. He won four straight gold medals from 1948 to 1960.
Ainslee was the favorite heading into the Olympics, but was not in the lead heading into the final race. "It's been incredibly hard - there's a huge amount of pressure to perform at a home games," he said. "It's been the hardest couple of weeks of my life but you just have to get on with the job."
Sweden claimed gold in the earlier Star class final. The duo Freddy Loof and Max Salminen beat Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil took bronze.
"We had a dream race," Loof said. "This is my sixth Olympics. This is such a relief, an incredible feeling. This was my time."
Sweden's duo had managed only two bronzes at previous Olympics.
Tika Gelana upset the favored Kenyans in the women's marathon Sunday, setting an Olympic record. The Ethiopian sprinted across the finish line in the pouring rain, clocking a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes and seven seconds.
The race took runners past London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and St. Paul's Cathedral.
Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo finished second, and former steeplechaser Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova of Russia was a surprise in third.
"As soon as the rain started, I said to myself, 'Thank God'," said Gelana. "I love running in the rain, I have been doing that since I was a small child."
The rain proved to be a setback for the Kenyans, especially Mary Keitany, a two-times London Marathon winner, who had been the favorite for gold on Sunday.
"I never competed in this type of rain," she said, "not even in training."
Gelana's win is the second long-distance medal Ethiopia has won over Kenya at this summer's games. Tirunesh Dibaba came in first in the women's 10,000-meters at the Olympic Stadium on Friday, beating African rival Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego.
China sweep badminton
China dominated Olympic badminton, winning the men's singles and doubles competitions. Lin Dan won his second consecutive gold, beating Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in singles, while Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng beat Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the doubles.
Nicknamed "Super Dan", Lin is often called the best badminton player of all time. After losing the first game, he won 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 to become the first badminton player to win Olympic gold twice.
Cai und Fu's subsequent victory gave China its first ever Olympic badminton sweep. The country almost achieved the feat four years ago in Beijing, but Cai und Fu fell short in the final. Sunday's victories give China a total of five men's badminton medals.
China are the No. 1 badminton nation," said Mogensen after the match. "It is a little bit annoying that they are as good as they are, but it is a well deserved win for China."
dr/ipj (AP, Reuters, dpa)