The US dream team redeemed itself on Sunday with a 118-107 against Spain in the basketball final.
Guard Dwyane Wade was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points and Kobe Bryant added 20 as the Americans took their first gold medal in the event since the 2000 Olympics.
Though the team hammered Spain by 37 points in pool play, they found themselves under pressure in the medal match as Spain racked up a shooting percentage of 61 during the first half.
This is the 13th gold for the US basketball team.
Perfect dive breaks sweep
With seven golds already in the bag, it seemed a Chinese diving sweep was inevitable.
But Australia’s Matthew Mitcham broke the host country’s streak after receiving four perfect 10s for his final dive of the men’s 10m platform. Totalling 112.10 points, the highest scoring dive in the Olympic history.
The gold made Mitcham Australia's first male Olympic gold medalist in diving since Dick Eve in 1924.
Going out with a bang
Beijing bid a spectacular good bye to the Olympics in a closing ceremony that raises the bar even higher for future Games.
The two-and-a-half-hour show featured thousands of dances, singers, trapeze artists, bouncing stilt walkers and Olympic athletes filling the Bird’s Nest in song and celebration.
The extravaganza directed by Chen Wei Ya, saw huge Chinese drums being played mid-air, acrobats performing on a massive rotating tower and multiple fireworks displays.
Following a spine-tingling ballad ‘The Flame of Love’ by Song Zuying and tenor-triumphant Placido Domingo the iconic stadium rocked to the voices of China’s celebrities singing ‘Qing Ni Liu Xia Lai’ or ‘Please Come Again’.
Going out with the ultimate bang, the ceremony concluded with a 20-minute firework display over Tiananmen Square.
Billions for Kenyan
Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya was bestowed the final Olympic gold at the Bird’s Nest last night.
Wanjiru received the medal in front of an audience of billions watching the closing events.
The 21-year-old clocked in at 2:06:32, breaking the 1984 Olympic record of Portugal’s Carlos Lopes by nearly three minutes.
Ninety-eight runners competed in the 42-kilometer race, which began in Tiananmen Square at 7.30am and passed cultural landmarks such as the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven before looping back to the square and through Beijing’s financial district toward the stadium.
Wanjiru’s gold helped make Kenya the top African nation of the Beijing Games by being the country’s fifth gold and 14th medal overall.
Final Medal Tally
The end of the Olympics has left China sitting firmly on top with an astonishing 51 golds, after the weekend saw them complete a clean-sweep of the table tennis.
The USA had to settle for second with 36 golds, eight of those coming from swimming machine Michael Phelps.
Russia stays in third, after it overtook Great Britain in the last few days’ events. But the British are overjoyed with fourth place as they had only been aiming for it by 2012.
Australia had a slightly disappointing time in the water cube, other than Matthew Mitcham surprise-diving-win, and was bumped out of fifth spot by Germany who rounded out the top five.
The Olympics also saw the smaller countries’ flourish with Panama, Cameroon and Bahrain getting their countries’ first ever Olympic Golds.
" style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 120px" title="">Marc Checkley is a freelance journalist and media producer from New Zealand. Marc has had an eclectic career in the media/arts working on various projects in theatre, television, online, radio, print and film. Marc spent three months with the China Daily last year leading the online video news initiative. He returns to chinadaily.com.cn as Senior Editor and Producer for the website’s Olympic media news coverage.
" style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 120px" title="">Meghan Peters is a foreign language expert at China Daily’s Web site. A recent graduate from the University of Washington in Seattle, Meghan has written for The Seattle Times, the Seattle Post Intelligencer and the Seattle Weekly, where she also worked on various multimedia projects.
" style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 80px" title="">Dylan Quinnell is a freelance journalist and photographer from New Zealand who has worked in TV, print, film and online. With a strong interest in international affairs, he has worked in Denmark, Indonesia and Australia, covering issues like the EU, indigenous people and deforestation. Dylan is in Beijing on an Asia New Zealand grant working as a copy editor for the English news department.