ready to change the world
I n November 2007, a man pleaded guilty in a federal court in Dayton, Ohio, to illicit sexual conduct involving a 13-year-old girl. He was a judo coach, and the girl was a student he had trained closely and brought to international tournaments. She was identified in court papers as "K.H." or "the victim." She was Kayla Harrison, now 22. Thursday she won the first gold medal in judo for the United States. She beat Britain's Gemma Gibbons 2-0 for the gold in the under 78-kilogram division. "Never give up on your dreams," Harrison said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it. Things have happened, but now, my life is a dream. I'm living my dream right now." Harrison never ceded control of the final. She had to rally in her quarterfinal match, then topped world No. 1 Mayra Aguiar of Brazil in the semifinals. "I want to help kids realize their Olympic dreams," Harrison said. "I want to help kids overcome being victims. I want to help… change the sport and change people's lives."
a little bit of beijing brings good fortune
After winning the 2008 gold medal, the U.S. women's eight boat filled a bottle with water from the rowing venue and brought it home. It remained sealed for nearly four years, until the crew arrived at the Windsor rowing center last month. There, it christened its boat with the water in an effort to infuse some of that good fortune. Thursday, the crew won the United States' first 2012 rowing gold and continued its six-year winning streak. "That is an American dynasty, baby," said Susan Francia, a Hungarian-born model who has won two golds and four world titles with the crew.
zach railey faces big challenge in last races
Clearwater's Zach Railey was in 12th place overall in Finn after finishing 11th and eighth in his latest two races off Weymouth. The 2008 silver medalist has two races today to move into the top 10 and make the medals race. "Obviously things haven't gone the way I wanted them to," Railey told USA Sailing. "I'm not going to let this get me down. … I'm going to go out and do the best that I can." In Star, St. Petersburg native Mark Mendelblatt and Miami's Brian Fatih were sixth after finishes of fifth and 10th. They have two more races today before the top 10 advance to the medals race.
familiar feeling pervading wimbledon
The men's singles tournament at Wimbledon took a step closer to a rematch of this year's Wimbledon final. Champion Roger Federer beat Tampa resident John Isner to make the semifinals, where he meets Juan Martin del Potro, who swept Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. "You can imagine the relief and happiness I feel right now," said Federer, who guaranteed himself two shots to win his first medal. On the other side, Wimbledon runnerup Andy Murray set up a semi with Novak Djokovic. On the women's side, Serena Williams beat Caroline Wozniacki to set up a semi with Victoria Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova downed Kim Clijsters to advance to the other semi against fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.
lots of records for u.s. men in win
The U.S. men's basketball team beat Nigeria 156-73 in an epic blowout. It had an Olympic-record 78 points in the first half. It broke the Olympic record for most points in a game with 4:37 to play (138, set by Brazil against Egypt in 1988). The 83-point margin of victory was the largest in U.S. national team history, eclipsing the 79-point spread when the 1992 Dream Team beat Cuba 136-57 in its first game. It set U.S. records for 3-pointers (26), field goals (59) and field-goal percentage (71). Carmelo Anthony scored 37 to break the U.S. single-game scoring record in less than three quarters. "Our guys just couldn't miss," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
• Temple Terrace's Emil Milev was in seventh in men's 25m rapid fire pistol after the first qualification round. Round 2 is today, followed by the final. (Qualification 5:30 a.m. EDT, final 9:30 a.m.; on TV on NBC Sports Network's 4 a.m.-8 p.m. show, not scheduled live.)
• Five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig's bid for her first individual archery medal ended in tricky wind. After falling to eventual gold medalist Ki Bo Bae from Korea in the semifinals, the American lost to Mexico's Mariana Avitia in the bronze-medal match. "Unfortunately, it was a little bit more about the luck with the wind," said Lorig, who trained actor Jennifer Lawrence for the Hunger Games movie.