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Olympic Games

Rio Day 14: 4x100, Bolt, Marín, basketball USA v Spain...

Friday 19 August saw sprint relay victories for Jamaica and the USA, Spain gold in the shuttles, and the first gay couple at the Olympics go on to take gold side-by-side

MTI111. Rio De Janeiro (Brazil), 19/08/2016.- Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) celebrates winning the Men's 4x100m Relay final race of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Athletics, Track and Field events at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 August 2
Zsolt CzeglediEFE

The fastest farewell

Usain Bolt put the seal on his glittering Olympic career Friday with a blistering 4x100m victory that clinched sprint's first ever 'triple triple'.

Victory wasn't guaranteed when Bolt took the baton for the anchor leg but he powered down the straight to cross in 37.27sec before soaking up the acclaim from an adoring crowd. With his unprecedented third straight 100m, 200m and 4x100m clean sweep, Bolt joins Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi on nine Olympic gold medals.

Bolt had said winning three golds in Rio would make him "immortal" and it is likely that athletics will miss its greatest showman, who is set to retire next year.

"The man is a genius," world athletics chief Sebastian Coe told AFP earlier. "There's been nobody since Muhammad Ali who's got remotely near to what this guy has done in terms of grabbing the public imagination."

Bolt's heroics come in an Olympics which had already set the seal on swimmer Michael Phelps' record-breaking Games career.

More controversy

There was also controversy in the race which saw a flag-draped U.S. quartet that had already completed their lap of honour and were speaking to the media, hearing news that instead of taking bronze medals behind Japan and winners Jamaica they had been disqualified.

USA's Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Michael Rodgers react after being disqualified of the Men's 4x100m Relay Final.
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USA's Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Michael Rodgers react after being disqualified of the Men's 4x100m Relay Final.PEDRO UGARTEAFP

The problem was a minor technical one at the first changeover between Mike Rogers and Justin Gatlin, as Gatlin touched the baton out of his zone but the result was disqualification.

Women's sprint history

Jamaica's women missed out on a sweep in the sprint events when they were beaten by the United States - who successfully appealed against a disqualification in Saturday's heats - in the 4x100m relay.

Allyson Felix became the first woman athlete with five gold medals as she powered the US sprint relay team to victory. Felix, long jump gold medallist Tianna Bartoletta, English Gardner and Tori Bowie, who won 100m silver and 200m bronze in Rio, combined to clock the second fastest 4x100m relay time ever run, in 41.01 seconds. Only the gold-medal winning US team at the 2012 London Games has gone faster.

The United States team: Tori Bowie, Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix and English Gardner.
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The United States team: Tori Bowie, Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix and English Gardner.

Jamaica finished second in 41.36sec, handing double sprint gold medallist Elaine Thompson a third Olympic medal, with Britain taking bronze in a national record of 41.77.

Golds elsewhere

Greece's Ekaterini Stefanidi won the women's pole vault after virus-stricken defending champion Jenn Suhr crashed out.

And Kenyan former world champion Vivian Cheruiyot reeled in 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia to win the women's 5,000m title.

A busy night on the track drew attention from the lurid Ryan Lochte scandal after the US swimmer, who lied about an armed mugging to cover up an act of vandalism, apologised for his behaviour.

Away from the track and field

Elsewhere the Games' final Friday saw brisk action with 22 gold medals up for grabs heading into the last two days of competition.

The United States' 'Dream Team' of NBA stars beat Spain 82-76 to go into a men's basketball final against either Australia or Serbia.

Spain's Pau Gasol.
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Spain's Pau Gasol.

Spain's Carolina Marin became the first non-Asian women's singles badminton champion, winning in three games against P.V. Sindhu -- who became India's first ever female Olympic silver medallist.

"I'm the first Indian woman to get a silver medal at the Olympics so that's a great thing for me," beamed Sindhu, 21.

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei broke his jinx against Chinese nemesis Lin Dan as he beat the two-time defending champion to set up a men's final with Chen Long.

Estelle Mossely celebrated her 24th birthday in style as she beat China's Yin Junhua to become the first Frenchwoman to win Olympic boxing gold.

In hot conditions, world champion Matej Toth won a gruelling 50km walk littered with casualties including France's Yohann Diniz, who soldiered on despite suffering intestinal problems.

And New Zealand's world number one Lydia Ko, 19, hit her first ever hole-in-one to keep pressure on South Korea's Park In-Bee, who leads by two heading into the last round of the women's golf.

And one more...

Kate Richardson-Walsh hailed wife Helen for helping seal Britain's maiden women's hockey gold as the first married gay couple to compete at an Olympics crowned their personal journey Friday.

Britain's women show off their gold medals.
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Britain's women show off their gold medals.

Britain downed two-time champions the Netherlands 2-0 in a shoot-out after the final had been tied 3-3 in normal time. Helen, 34, scored a penalty stroke in the shoot-out before Hollie Webb sealed the historic victory.

"To win an Olympic medal is special," said Kate. "To win an Olympic medal with your wife standing next to you, taking the penalty stroke in the pressure moments, is so special and we will cherish this for the rest of our lives. I was so confident. I honestly felt that the more the crowd booed, the more Helen was going to score. I know how that inspires her."

Kate and Helen, 34, married in 2013 and now that their international careers are over, they will move to the Netherlands to take up relatively lucrative club contracts.