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Today at the Olympics: Gold medal hoops, Closing Ceremonies

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  August 12, 2012 07:05 AM

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LONDON -- Welcome to Day 17 of competition, the final day of the London Games (already?) and one with a couple of highly anticipated events on the schedule. Medals will be awarded in 10 events, including the men's marathon, but this day belongs to basketball more than any other.

Sunday's must-see event: Spain has never beaten the US men's basketball team in 10 previous Olympic meetings, but they have at least a puncher's chance Sunday afternoon against LeBron James and his supporting cast of fellow superstars. If the US has a relative weakness, it is inside play, with only Tyson Chandler serving as a legitimate center on the roster. Spain features the Gasol brothers, efficient Pau and bruising Marc, and if both play to the peak of their abilities, at the very least Spain could make it interesting.

Also worth watching: The Closing Ceremonies, despite the apparent involvement of the Spice Girls. What, Wham! could not be reunited in time? (Actually, George Michael is expected to perform.) It will be difficult to match the standard set by the thrilling Opening Ceremonies, masterminded and executed by acclaimed film director Danny Boyle, but the Brits are promising a "cheesy and cheeky'' conclusion. Did I mention that the Pet Shop Boys are also part of the festivities?

Saturday's big story: Yup, he's cocky. But he's the good kind of showboat, because Usain Bolt gives the crowd -- and here in London, it is a universally adoring one -- a show, and then he backs up his boasts and then some. Last night, he put the final exclamation point on his transcendent, three-gold-medal performance here, running the anchor leg of Jamaica's record-shattering 4x100 relay. Who cares what starched old Jacques Rogge thinks? Bolt is a legend in his own time. So what if he'll tell you so?

Tweet of the day: “Who would come watch @usainbolt play cricket for the Melb Stars in 2012 Should I continue chatting to him & try and make it happen?" -- @shanewarne, an Australian cricket legend who may give Bolt a shot in that sport.

I'll be back later with live updates from the Closing Ceremonies, but in advance, thanks for reading, everyone. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. The gap has been minded.

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