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2012 SUMMER OLYMPICS --- DAY 9 ROUNDUP: Richards-Ross gives U.S. first gold on track

Four years after a late fade cost her gold in the 400 meters, American Sanya Richards-Ross wins Sunday’s race with a time of 49.55.

Four years after a late fade cost her gold in the 400 meters, American Sanya Richards-Ross wins Sunday’s race with a time of 49.55.

LONDON — Two things to know about Sunday, Day 9 of the London Olympics:

—Sanya Richards-Ross wins 400-meter gold.

—Pistorius out of 400-meter final.

Disappointment, tears and that oh-so-unsatisfying color — bronze — are all in the past for Sanya Richards-Ross.

On this trip to the Olympics, she closed the deal.

Four years after a late fade left her crying and wearing the Olympic bronze medal, Richards-Ross won the 400-meter gold she always thought she could.

“What I have learned is you don’t win the race until you win the race,” Richards-Ross said. “I knew I had to cross the finish line first to call myself the Olympic champion.”

She did it.

Nearly banging elbows with runners on both sides of her — and with the defending champion making up ground on the outside — Richards-Ross got stronger, not weaker, this time over the last 100 meters.

She surged to the finish, won by about a body’s length and punched her fist when she crossed the line in 49.55 seconds Sunday night to give the U.S. its first track and field gold medal of the London Olympics.

“I just kept saying, ‘You can do this, you can do this,’” Richards-Ross said. “I just dug really deep and I’m very happy.”

Defending champion Christine Ohuruogu of Britain finished second in 49.70 and American DeeDee Trotter, decked out in red, white and blue glitter on her face, won the bronze in 49.72.

This moment, though, belonged to Richards-Ross, whose parents relocated from her home country of Jamaica when she was 12, in part to advance what looked like a promising running career.

At the end, she wrapped herself in the American flag and went to the stands to embrace her husband, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Aaron Ross, who took time off from NFL training camp to travel to London.

TRACK & FIELD

Oscar Pistorius’ plan now is to go even quicker at the next Olympics.

The double-amputee sprinter said he’s setting his sights on Rio de Janeiro in 2016 after finishing last in his 400-meter semifinal at the London games on Sunday night.

“In 2016, I’ll probably be at my peak in Rio. I’m looking forward to that more than anything,” he said. He will turn 30 in November of that year.

The South African still expects to run the 4x400 relays here, which start Thursday. Then he will try to defend his 100, 200 and 400 titles at the Paralympics.

After that, Pistorius’ immediate goal is to break 45 seconds in the 400.

He ran 46.54 — way slower than his career best of 45.07 — in lane 5 on his carbon-fiber blades in the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium on Sunday, before a packed crowd that again gave him a resounding cheer. His was nearly 2 seconds slower than the winner of his semifinal, Kirani James of Grenada, the world champion.

The first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics was undone, as has happened so often, by his sluggish start — a result, in part, of not having feet to push off against the starting blocks.

His reaction time out of the blocks was the slowest of the 24 semifinalists.

BASKETBALL

Diana Taurasi had 22 points and the U.S. women matched their Olympic scoring record in a 114-66 rout of China.

The Americans’ 38th consecutive victory in Olympic play gave them the top seed in the group for the quarterfinals. The U.S. will meet Canada on Tuesday.

Angel McCoughtry scored 16 as the women equaled the 114 points they scored against Spain in 1992, but fell well short of the women’s Olympic mark of 128 points set by Brazil in 2004.

France finished undefeated in pool play, beating Russia 65-54. The Czech Republic clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with a 82-47 win over Angola.

VOLLEYBALL

Destinee Hooker scored 19 points as the undefeated U.S. women’s volleyball team wrapped up preliminary pool play at the London Olympics with a straight-set victory over Turkey on Sunday night.

But the top-ranked U.S. team was hurt in the third set when captain and three-time Olympian Lindsey Berg injured her left ankle.

Foluke Akinradewo added 15 points in the 27-25, 25-16, 25-19 victory for the Americans, who had clinched the top seed in their pool for Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Neriman Ozsoy scored 14 for Turkey, which was eliminated from the competition when defending Olympic champion Brazil swept Serbia (25-10, 25-22, 25-16) in the late match to survive.

Turkey, which came into the match 2-2, was fired up at the start and took a first-set 11-5 lead to the delight of a big turnout of Turkish fans at Earls Court. The U.S. came back with an 11-3 run and won it on Christa Harmotto’s block.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor beat Italy in straight sets in the beach volleyball quarterfinals Sunday to remain on track for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The Americans earned a berth in the semifinals against Beijing bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi. The Chinese team has beaten the two-time defending Olympic champions the last three times they’ve met, including the final of the Moscow Grand Slam last month.

DIVING

Wu Minxia finally has her own gold medal.

The Chinese diver won the women’s 3-meter springboard at the London Olympics on Sunday for her record-tying sixth career medal but first individual gold. Wu tied retired countrywoman Guo Jingjing as the most decorated divers in Olympic history.

“This is the perfect ending for me,” Wu said through a translator.

Wu led all but one round of the five-dive final, totaling 414.00 points.

Her stoic face cracked for the first time when she started crying after the contest was over. Wu clasped her left hand to her mouth as her coach took her head in his hands and kissed the top of her head.

“I was very emotional because I wanted to thank my coach,” she said.

Her teammate, He Zi, took the silver with 379.20, giving China its sixth diving medal of the games, including five gold after sweeping the synchro events. Wu and He also won the 3-meter synchro title in London, making Wu the first woman to win three consecutive Olympic synchro titles.

Wu, the 3-meter world champion, finished third in Beijing and second at the 2004 Athens Games.

WATER POLO

The United States will face Australia in a matchup of gold-medal contenders in the semifinals of the women’s tournament.

The Americans beat European champion Italy 9-6 to reach the last four, and Australia moved on with a dramatic 20-18 win over China.

Melissa Seidemann scored three goals and captain Brenda Villa added two more as the U.S. recovered from a 2-0 deficit.

Hungary plays Spain in the other semifinal on Tuesday.

CYCLING

Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark won the gold medal in the men’s omnium following a crash in one of the six races of the event.

Hansen hit the wooden boards in a curve after connecting with the rear wheel of Briton Edward Clancy in the scratch race but was uninjured and got back on the track.

He managed to rejoin the peloton after regaining a lap and finished sixth at the line. Hansen then produced a big effort in the 1-kilometer time trial to win the inaugural Olympic title in the multidiscipline event with a total of 27 points.

Bryan Coquard of France took the silver medal and Clancy was third.

BADMINTON

Lin Dan led the way as China swept all five badminton gold medals at the Olympics, defending his title by beating Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 in men’s singles.

When Chong Wei’s final shot landed long, Lin sprinted around Wembley Arena until he was tackled by his coaches.

A short time later, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng won the men’s doubles final to complete China’s golden sweep. They defeated Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 21-16, 21-15.

EQUESTRIAN

Saudi Arabia leads the standings at the equestrian team show jumping competition after a first day dominated by a veterinarian’s decision to disqualify a Canadian horse.

The Saudis had just one penalty point and were followed closely by the Netherlands, Britain, Sweden and Switzerland, all with four penalty points and tied for second.

Canadian horse Victor, ridden by Tiffany Foster, was disqualified by competition veterinarians for hypersensitivity in the left front leg. This left Canada without a drop score in the competition where the best three scores out of four riders count.

WRESTLING - GRECO-ROMAN

Hamid Soryan is the first Iranian to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling, taking the men’s 55-kilogram division.

The five-time world champion beat Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan 2-0, 1-0 in the final. Peter Modos of Hungary and Mingiyan Semenov of Russia won bronze medals.

Russia’s Roman Vlasov, who hails from the same Siberian town that produced wrestling great Aleksandr Karelin, beat Armenia’s Arsen Julfalakyan 1-0, 1-0 in the final of the men’s 74-kilogram category.

Lithuania’s Aleksandr Kazakevic and Azerbaijan’s Emin Ahmadov won bronze medals.

FIELD HOCKEY

Teun de Nooijer marked his 450th match for the Netherlands by scoring in the 36th minute to help the Dutch men’s team to a 3-1 win over Germany.

Bob de Voogd and Mink van der Weerden scored the other Dutch goals as the Netherlands became the first team to qualify for the medal round.

Britain staged a thrilling comeback to draw 3-3 with No. 1 Australia, scoring three second-half goals. Belgium and New Zealand drew 1-1, meaning neither team will advance to the knockout round.

Pakistan beat South Africa 5-4, and South Korea defeated India 4-1 with three late goals.

HANDBALL

Montenegro squeezed into the quarterfinals of the women’s handball tournament when it tied Russia 25-25.

Katarina Bulatovic scored seven goals for Montenegro, which advanced thanks to Angola’s 29-26 loss to Brazil.

Brazil had already secured a spot in the quarterfinals from Group A, while Angola was eliminated.

Croatia defeated host Britain 37-14, and Ryu Eun-hee scored 10 goals for South Korea in its 32-28 victory over Sweden. Britain finished the tournament without a victory.

Spain and France also won.

ELSEWHERE IN LONDON

Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen of Sweden upset defending champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson of Britain to win the venerable Star class in the sailing regatta. … Italy topped Japan in men’s team foil for its third fencing title of the games. Germany took bronze with a 45-27 win over the United States. … Defending champion Jin Jong-oh of South Korea won his second gold medal in London, overtaking countryman Choi Young-rae by 0.5 point on his last shot in the 50-meter pistol final. Jin also won the 10-meter air pistol event July 28. … The weightlifting gold medal in the women’s super heavyweight class went to China’s Zhou Lulu, who won a terrific duel with Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina. Americans Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold were seventh and 10th, respectively. … Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia had the leading score in the synchronized swimming duet technical routine. … China, Germany, South Korea and Hong Kong reached the men’s team table tennis semifinals.