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Today at the Olympics: Bolt in the 100-meters, Federer vs. Murray

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  August 5, 2012 06:43 AM

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LONDON -- Welcome to Day 9 of competition, which is already underway on this drizzly Sunday, with Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana winning the women's marathon. Marblehead's Shalene Flanagan was tenth on a challenging course through downpours and puddles. There's plenty more on the docket to come, including arguably the most anticipated event of these Olympics:

Sunday's must-see event: It should be the fastest and most electrifying 10 seconds -- actually, it won't last that long -- of the London Games. of the We're talking, of course, about the men's 100-meter final, which pits brash world-record holder Usain Bolt against a loaded field, including his countryman and training partner Yohan Blake and Americans Tyson Gay (owner of the second-fastest time in the event) and Justin Gatlin, who was blazing in the preliminaries. It was fascinating to watch Bolt in his prelim -- he's about a head taller than anyone else, gets out of the blocks comparatively slow, and then makes up ground so fast that he glides through the finish line. Bolt humbly touts himself on Twitter as "the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen,'' and he does make it look easy. But against Sunday's field, he'd be wise to beware. Because chances are it won't be.

Also worth watching: Roger Federer takes on Brit Andy Murray in the men's singles tennis final at Wimbledon (my home base Sunday) in a rematch of their epic Wimbledon final a little less than a month ago. Murray broke down in tears at Centre Court after falling short of his attempt to become the first home-grown Wimbledon champion since 1938. He gets his shot at redemption Sunday, and in 16 career matches against the indomitable Federer, he has beaten him eight times. But Federer is going for one of the few things he has not achieved in his brilliant career -- this would be his first Olympic gold medal in singles.

Saturday's big story: In London, it was the success of the home team, with Mo Farah winning gold in the 10,000 and Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon. But for Team USA, it was the final event of Michael Phelps's unprecedented career, and an appropriate ending. The pool has closed for the summer, with the US leaving the London Aquatics Centre with 30 medals -- six owned by Phelps, who closed his phenomenal career by giving the US the lead in the third leg of the 4x100 medley relay en route to gold. Phelps, who has shown his introspective side here, said afterward: "As soon as I stuffed up on the podium I could feel the tears start coming. I said to [teammate] Nathan [Adrian], 'oh no, there they come, it's going to be pretty brutal'. They just started coming. I tried to fight it but I just decided to let it go and whatever happened, happened. I was just taking in these last moments of my swimming career."

Tweet of the day: ‏Shaq on the free throw line today!!! My bad USA. Good win for us. Needed a game like that. On to the next. -- Team USA forward Kevin Love (@kevinlove), after hit just 3 of 8 free throws in a 99-94 squeaker over Lithuania.

Mind the gap, and stick around for further updates, including live coverage of the men's singles final.


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