Track and field will hold eight of today's 17 medal events, as the Summer Olympics moves into its final weekend. The U.S. men's basketball team plays to get into the gold medal game, and the day's highlights also include an intriguing men's soccer bronze-medal match between South Korea and Japan.
The United States women's soccer team now has its third consecutive Olympic gold medal. The U.S. played Japan yesterday in London. When those teams met last year in the World Cup, the Japanese won a tie-breaking shootout. This time, the U.S. scored early and held on, 2-1. NPR's Howard Berkes was there.
HOWARD BERKES, BYLINE: At the moment of victory...
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING CROWD)
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: The USA, 2; Japan, 1. USA are the Olympic champions.
Jamaican Usain Bolt cemented his place as one of the greatest sprinters in history, when he won the 200 meter final Thursday. Bolt is the first Olympian to win both the 100 meter and 200 meter races two Olympics in a row.
Before the Olympics began, the British were in a funk. The Times of London predicted the games would be a disaster, and many Britons agreed. Now, nearly two weeks later, they've forgotten all that and pretty much everything else that's gone wrong. As we hear from NPR's Philip Reeves, the Olympics have temporarily transformed a nation.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: What on Earth is happening to the British?
The Olympics are winding down, and for some nations, they're already over. Among them, the small Pacific island nation of Nauru. With roughly 9,300 people, it is the least populous country competing in these games. NPR's Mike Pesca says for the Nauruvians that's a point of pride.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Nauru is small. How small? Remember this song?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMALL TOWN")
JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP: (Singing) But I've seen it all in a small town. Had myself a ball in a small town.
Now to the case of the missing Olympians. Seven competitors from Cameroon have gone missing in London - five boxers, a swimmer and a soccer goalie - six men and one woman. It's presumed they may seek asylum in England. And if so, they'll join a long list of athletes who've defected during the Olympic Games. For more on who has defected and why, I'm joined by Olympic historian, David Wallechinsky. He's at the games in London. David, welcome to the program.
In Olympic women's soccer, the U.S. team has beaten Japan, 2-1, in the gold medal match at London's Wembley Stadium, a game that set a new attendance record with more than 80,000 spectators. Carli Lloyd scored both of the American goals, while U.S. stars Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach weren't able to finish their chances. But they were very active, and both players kept the Japanese defenders occupied around the goal.
She's still in high school, but boxer Claressa Shields, 17, is also an Olympic gold medalist, after she won her middleweight final Thursday. She defeated Russia's Nadezda Torlopova by a score of 19-12.
It may not be an Olympic sport, but Wisconsin teen Austin Wierschke was just named the fastest texter in America. The texting champion was awarded $50,000. Wierschke speaks with host Michel Martin about how he keeps his thumbs in shape.