The Root's London 2012 Black-Olympian Watch
Friday, Aug. 10, 10:22 a.m. EDT: Usain Bolt to "close the show" with the 4x100: The "World's Fastest Man" and his team will compete in the 4x100 relay next. If they're victorious, Bolt will leave these Olympics with three gold medals, the same feat he accomplished in Beijing four years ago."We're going to go out, enjoy ourselves, run fast as possible. It would be a good way to close the show again," he said.
Thursday, Aug. 9, 3:27 p.m. EDT: Claressa Shields wins United States' first-ever boxing gold: Claressa Shields, a 17-year-old from Flint, Mich., is being called one of the Olympic Games' "breakout stars" after winning the United States' first boxing gold in Olympic history. She defeated Nadezda Torlopova of Russia, 19-12, making her the second-youngest fighter to win gold in either men's or women's boxing.
Thursday, Aug. 9, 9:02 a.m. EDT: Usain Bolt aims for fifth gold: The Jamaican sprinter will compete for his fifth Olympic gold medal when he races in the 200-meter final today. His biggest competition is reported to be teammate Yohan Blake, who beat Bolt during the trials.
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 4:35 p.m. EDT: Allyson Felix wins gold in the 200-meter: The Team USA sprinter overpowered her competition, winning by 0.21 seconds, Yahoo Sports reports. Her winning time was 21.88. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price was second with 22.09, and American Carmelita Jeter was third with 22.14. "It was a breakthrough moment for Felix, heralded since 2004 as the next great American sprinter. She has been great for many years, but Olympic gold had eluded her in individual events until Wednesday night. After hitting the finish line first, her celebration was muted, but her joy was obvious," sportswriter Pat Forde wrote.
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 1:58 p.m. EDT: Sprinter to watch is Carmelita Jeter: The 32-year-old already has a silver medal in the 100-meter, and today she'll compete in the 200-meter final. Bleacher Report argues that she definitely shouldn't be counted out because "her semifinal time of 22.39 seconds was the second-best in her heat, behind only that of Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown, the reigning gold medalist in the event." Her other competition will come from fellow Americans Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix, who registered the first and second-best times in the semifinals, respectively.
Wednesday,Aug. 8, 8:00 a.m. EDT: Dawn Harper wins silver in 100-meter hurdles: The Team USA runner, who won the gold in 2008, will bring home a silver this time. In a piece for ESPN magazine, one writer wonders why, while Harper got a medal, Lolo Jones -- who came in fourth -- got all the attention: "I asked Harper whether she has received the proper attention she deserves for her medals. After prefacing her response by saying her public relations agent told her not to answer that question, Harper emphatically answered, 'No!' "
Tuesday, Aug. 7, 9:58 a.m. EDT: Lolo Jones to look for redemption in 100-meter hurdles today: Four years ago, Team USA's Lolo Jones was on the verge of winning gold when she clipped a hurdle and fell. "You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race," Jones said at the time. "It's just a shame that it happened on the biggest race of my life." She'll compete in the same race again today, and the Bleacher Report's prediction is, "While nothing is set in stone, Jones' focus, determination and talent seems enough to push her into the field."
Sunday, Aug. 5, 10 p.m. EDT: Usain Bolt still the fastest man in the world: In the men's 100-meters, the Jamaican sprinter won the gold, set an Olympic record with a 9.63-second finish and maintained his title: "World's fastest man." "There was a lot of people saying that I wasn't going to win. There was a lot of talk," Bolt said. "For me, it was an even greater feeling to come out and show the world I'm still the No. 1. I'm still the best." He'll go on to defend his Beijing gold medals in the 200-meters and 4x100 relay. If he's successful, he'll be the first runner in Olympic history ever to defend all three, Yahoo Sports reports.
Sunday, Aug. 5, 9:30 p.m. EDT: Kirani James exchanges bibs with the South African double-amputee runner: South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius achieved his Olympic goal. He competed against able-bodied athletes to make it to the semifinal heat of the 400-meter race. Afterward, in a gesture of respect and friendship, he and Kirani James of Grenada, the current world champion, exchanged race bibs. "As soon as we crossed the finish line, we're friends," Pistorius said of James. "It was very kind of him. We share a similar life. It's what the Olympics is all about."
Saturday, Aug. 4, 10 a.m. EDT: Destinee Hooker carries U.S. women to volleyball win: She scored 19 points Friday, doing more than her part to help the U.S. women's volleyball team secure the top spot in their pool with a preliminary-round victory against Serbia in straight sets. The team is among the favorites to medal in London.
Friday, Aug. 3, 2:17 p.m. EDT: From a 13-year-old from Togo, youngest athlete in London Games: "This isn't my first time swimming in a big pool." A trio of swimmers from Lesotho, Niger and Togo may not be winning any medals, but they are swimming in "uncharted waters" and making their countries proud, according to a Guardian profile of Adzo Kpossi (a 13-year-old from Togo, the youngest competitor in this year's Olympic Games), Moussa Adamou (a 14-year-old from Niger) and Masempe Theko (a 25-year-old from Lesotho). The three competed in the first heat of the first round of the women's 50-meter freestyle yesterday, each knocking at least 5 seconds off their personal bests. When a reporter asked Kpossi an admittedly "patronizing" question (if she was just excited to be there), she replied, "No, no, no, I am used to it. I went to the world championships in Shanghai last year, so this wasn't my first time swimming in a big pool."
Friday, Aug. 3, 10:38 a.m.: Kellogg's moves fast to put Gabby Douglas on Corn Flakes box: Gabby Douglas, who won the Olympic women's all-around Thursday after taking home gold in the team competition earlier this week, is already on a box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, the Detroit Free Press reports. USA Gymnastics sent a tweet with a photo of Gabby holding the box. Kellogg's is a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Today Gabby appeared on the Today show with three other American women who have won the all-around title: Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.
Thursday, Aug. 2, 7:18 p.m. EDT: Team USA gets record win over Nigeria: The U.S. men's Olympic basketball team not only remained undefeated in its game against Nigeria today -- it also set records, getting 37 points from Carmelo Anthony and breaking the Olympic mark for points in a game in a 156-73 rout, the AP reports.
Thursday, Aug. 2, 3 p.m. EDT: Gabby Douglas becomes first African American to win gymnastics all-around title: U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas has won the women's gymnastics all-around title at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It's a huge victory for the 16-year-old and the country, giving the United States its third consecutive Olympic all-around championship, and making her the first woman of color to take home a gold medal in the event.
Thursday, Aug. 2, 10:06 a.m. EDT: McCoughtry was "dominant" player in women's basketball win against Turkey: Angel McCoughtry scored 18 points and Tina Charles added 16 to help the Americans beat Turkey 89-58 on Wednesday night. "From the minute [McCoughtry] stepped on the floor to when the game ended, she was the dominant player. That's something that I think we have that very few, if any, teams in this tournament have, so I'm fortunate to have that option," coach Geno Auriemma told ESPN.
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 5:41 p.m.: USA men's basketball: Who can expect more playtime in later rounds? The team beat France 98-71, thanks in no small part to LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and went on to rack up a huge victory against Tunisia with a score of 110-63. Bleacher Report speculates that certain players were "reserved" during the latter game, "to prevent an utter horror show in favor of Team USA," and predicts that we'll see more playing time from Anthony Davis, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony in later rounds.
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 5:39 p.m. EDT: USA women's basketball: Australia and Russia are biggest threats: The team easily won both of its first two games, defeating Angola and Croatia. But is a gold medal guaranteed for Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings and their teammates? Bleacher Report takes a close look at the upcoming matchups.
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 1:11 p.m. EDT: Volleyball star Destinee Hooker making an impact: Twenty-four-year-old Destinee Hooker of the U.S. women's volleyball team opened the Olympics with 21 points in a 3-1 victory over South Korea and then scored 23 points in the second game, a win over Brazil. Hooker is a first-time Olympian who ESPN says is on a "rapid rise as one of the international game's top players," noting "her graceful agility belies her 6-foot-4 frame, and she's surprisingly strong for her thin build." When it comes to her unique name, she told TMZ, "I honestly find nothing wrong with it. I love my name. I have been dealing with it since I was a child. People can be childish."
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 9:45 a.m. EDT: Gymnast John Orozco: "I hope I can be a role model": An Associated Press piece chronicling the "changing face" of U.S. gymnastics declares that John Orozco, Danell Leyva and Gabby Douglas are "at the front of a new wave that could render the notion obsolete that elite gymnastics are for mostly affluent, predominantly white suburban kids." And USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny told the Associated Press that there's been a movement at the club level to embrace diversity. "When they see kids that really want to do the sport, they'll go above and beyond to keep them in the sport. I think John Orozco is an example of that," Penny said. Orozco's goal, as he puts it: "I hope I can be a role model and a good inspiration for kids that have been in my situation." While he and his teammates struggled through a disappointing performance at the team competition Sunday, he'll have a chance to compete again Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET in the men's all-around finals.
Tuesday, July 31, 2:51 p.m. EDT: Gabby Douglas and the "Fierce Five" win gold in women's gymnastics team finals: With 16-year-old Gabby Douglas the only athlete to perform in each of the rotations, the U.S. women's team -- now being called the "Fierce Five" -- won the gold medal in the gymnastics team finals today. It was the first gold for the Americans in the team event since the 1996 Atlanta Games, and the eighth in Olympic history. During Gabby's floor routine, which earned a 15.066, the New York Times reported that the crowd, "clapping along to the music ... engaged with a team besides the British for practically the first time all week."
Tuesday, July 31, 9:18 a.m. EDT: "Flying Squirrel"? Dominique Dawes wants a new nickname for gymnast Gabby Douglas: Team USA's Gabby Douglas has been dubbed "the Flying Squirrel," but Olympian Dominique Dawes thinks she deserves a nickname that better describes her talent. "I'm going to call her 'Doin' It Douglas,' 'Wowing It Douglas.' I am trying my hardest to come up with a nickname that's going to stick. She does fly on the uneven bars, she wows the crowd, you jump out of your seat. Maybe you can be creative and come up with a good nickname," she told the Star Tribune. Gabby is one of two American gymnasts who will compete for gold in the all-around gymnastics final.
Monday, July 30, 3:06 p.m. EDT: Weightlifter Zoe Smith makes history: Smith, Great Britain's 18-year-old weightlifter, set a new British clean and jerk record at 118 kilograms -- just over 260 pounds -- while competing in Group B. She finished second place in the competition and 12th place in the women's 58 kg.
Monday, July 30, 3:06 p.m. EDT: British gymnast comes in first place after emotional competition: With a score of 15.8, Louis Smith qualified for first place in the pommel horse competition final. The win is huge for Britain because this will be the first time since 1924 that the country has reached the final running. Smith even burst into tears after his performance and received a standing ovation.
Monday, July 30, 7:09 a.m. EDT: Gabrielle Douglas qualifies for women's gymnastics all-around competition: An amazing performance from the 16-year-old fan favorite from Virginia Beach, Va., during the gymnastics-team qualifying rounds Sunday earned her a coveted spot in the women's all-around competition. Only two people per country are allowed to compete in the all-arounds; in an upset, Gabby will be joined by teammate Aly Raisman instead of world and U.S. champion Jordyn Weiber. The gymnastics team final is on Tuesday; the all-around final is Thursday.
Monday, July 30, 7:03 a.m. EDT: Team USA beats France in men's basketball, 98-71: The victory was expected, despite France's having six NBA players on its team. What wasn't expected? That the U.S.'s entire team of superstars would eagerly line up in front of first lady Michelle Obama after the game for a hug and a quick word of encouragement. Watch:
Monday, July 30, 7:03 a.m. EDT: Cullen Jones wins silver: Jones, the first African-American swimmer in history to win a gold medal, picked up a silver Sunday in the third leg of the men's 4x100 relay. His teammates were Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian.
Monday, July 30, 7:03 a.m. EDT: Brooklyn, N.Y., swimmer wins bronze: Lia Neal is the second African-American swimmer in history to medal in the Olympic games, earning bronze in the 4x100 relay with the U.S. team on Saturday.
Saturday, July 28, 10:21 a.m. EDT: Swimmer is on a mission to reduce black drowning deaths: Twenty-eight-year-old swimmer Cullen Jones is gearing up for the London Olympics after winning gold four years ago in Beijing, but medals aren't his only goal, MNSBC reports. After nearly drowning as a 5-year-old, and in light of studies showing that nearly 70 percent of African-American children don't know how to swim, he now travels the country with the Make a Splash initiative, hoping to reduce drowning deaths by teaching kids the skills they need to be safe in the water.
Thursday, July 26, 10:27 a.m. EDT: Fifteen memorable African-American Olympic moments: From John Taylor becoming the first African-American athlete to win a gold (in the 4x400 in 1908) to the Dream Team to Muhammad Ali lighting the Torch, the Huffington Post has compiled a list of Olympic memories not to be forgotten. We're sure there will be plenty to add to it after this year's games, which kick off tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 25, 6:40 p.m. EDT: Swimmer Lia Neal ready to rep Brooklyn: Seventeen-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., native Lia Neal, half African American and half Asian American, is just the second black female swimmer to represent Team USA. In advance of the 2012 Olympic Games, which begin on Friday, Life + Times has a video that takes a look at her rise to dominance in the sport.
Wednesday, July 25, 6 p.m. EDT: Gymnast Gabby Douglas a contender for all-around title: After finishing second to teammate Jordyn Wieber in the all-around at the Visa Championships in June, she edged her by a tenth of a point at the U.S. Olympic trials in San Jose a month later. The two make the U.S. team "arguably the best in the world," the New York Times reports.
Wednesday, July 25, 6:40 p.m. EDT: LaShawn Merritt aims for repeat gold in 400: If he wins, he'll be the first Olympic champion to serve a drug suspension between Olympic Games and return to win gold again, as well as the second man to win the 400 meters in consecutive games -- after Michael Johnson, history's best, who won in 1996 and 2000. Merritt tested positive three times in late 2009 and early 2010 but eventually proved to the satisfaction of authorities that he'd ingested the steroid derivative DHEA accidentally through use of a so-called male-enhancement product, Indystar.com reports.
Wednesday, July 25, 1:04 p.m. EDT: Nigeria's first Olympic canoeist: Mixed-race 23-year-old Johnny Akinyemi, who was raised in the United Kingdom, says he's "not the darkest Nigerian you're going to see, by a long way," but that doesn't make him any less proud to represent his country. "Everyone in Nigeria welcomed me with open arms. I was worried whether people would accept me ... but my name helped. When I said, 'I'm Johny Akinyemi,' they said, 'Ah, you're a Nigerian.' I'm privileged that they allow me to canoe for them," he told the BBC.
Check out The Root's Black Olympians to Watch in London 2012.
Read all of our coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games here.
Black Olympians to Watch in London 2012
From Tyson Gay to Gabby Douglas, here are stars to watch in track, swimming, gymnastics and more.