Olympic finale: Phelps helps US win medley relay
Five things to know about Saturday, Day 8 of the London Olympics:
-One last splash: Phelps grabs 22nd medal with U.S. medley relay win.
-Britannia you rock! An Olympic day to remember for the hosts.
-Pistorius makes 400 semis in Olympic debut.
-LeBron and Co. pushed in U.S. hoops win over Lithuania.
-Serena Williams gets a Golden Slam, beats Sharapova in tennis final.
When it was over, Michael Phelps hugged his teammates, then headed off the deck for the final time.
Reclaiming the lead with his trademark butterfly stroke, Phelps won the 18th gold of an unparalleled career when he helped the U.S. win the 4x100-meter medley relay Saturday night.
Phelps retires with twice as many golds as any other Olympian, and his total of 22 medals is easily the best mark, too.
''It's been a great career,'' he said. ''It's been a great journey. I can't be any more happy than I am.''
The U.S. women also won the medley relay on swimming's final night at the games, setting a world record in the final. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands took the women's 50-meter freestyle to complete a sweep of the sprints, and China's Sun Yang lowered his own world record while winning the men's 1,500 freestyle.
Britain's banner day stretched from Dorney Lake to Olympic Stadium, which opened with Oscar Pistorius' debut and ended with a crowd-pleasing performance by the home team.
How to describe the action in track and field? The Blade Runner and Britannia.
Pistorius, a double-amputee who runs on carbon-fiber blades, finished second in his 400-meter heat to earn a berth in the semifinals Sunday night. He posted a season-best time of 45.44 seconds.
''I've worked for six years ... to get my chance,'' said the South African, who became the first amputee to compete on the track at an Olympics. ''I found myself smiling in the starting block. Which is very rare in the 400 meters.''
Team GB sent a charge through the capacity crowd with a quick series of victories, producing repeated roars that could be heard throughout Olympic Park.
The victors: Jessica Ennis in heptathlon; Greg Rutherford in men's long jump; and Mo Farah in the men's 10,000 meters. Three gold medals in about one hour for the host country - and the capper to a big British surge.
The hosts pulled in two more golds on the final day of the Olympic regatta, and another in women's pursuit at the London Velodrome.
The U.S. men's basketball team was pushed - and then some.
Two days after running and gunning to a record-shattering 83-point win, the United States needed a strong finish from LeBron James to eke out a 99-94 victory over Lithuania.
The Americans trailed 84-82 with 5:50 to play, but James scored nine of his 20 points in the final four minutes to help the U.S. remain unbeaten.
''You want to get tested. The best teams want to be tested. We love the competition,'' James said. ''I think we've got some of the greatest competitors in our league, in this world, so you want to have a game where you feel like you were tested, and we had that today.''
Carmelo Anthony also had 20 points for the U.S. (4-0), which looked nearly invincible in thrashing Nigeria 156-73 on Thursday night and breaking several records.
Linas Kleiza scored 25 for Lithuania, which shot 58 percent and outrebounded the U.S. 42-37.
There was no such test for Serena Williams, who blew away the field at Wimbledon.
The American star became only the second woman to achieve a Golden Slam, routing Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in the most lopsided women's final in Olympic history.
The victory completed a remarkable run of domination by the No. 4-seeded Williams, who lost only 17 games in six matches en route to her first singles gold medal. She went 13-0 this summer at the All England Club, where she won her fifth Wimbledon title a month ago.
''I was so focused here,'' she said. ''I remember I was serving and I was thinking: 'Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal. You're at Wimbledon, you're on grass, you play great on grass, pull it together, just win this.' And that's what I thought about.''
Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan also won Olympic gold for the U.S., beating Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the men's doubles final.
The rest of the Olympic action Saturday:
Two-time gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor beat the Netherlands in straight sets to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.
The Americans beat Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer 21-13, 21-12.
Reigning world champions Emanuel and Alison topped Germany 21-16, 21-14 to advance to the men's quarters. The Brazilians, the top-seeded team at the London Games, eliminated Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik.
Nicola Spirig of Switzerland won the gold medal in a photo finish with a Swedish challenger at the Olympic triathlon. The end of the race was so close that both women celebrated after crossing the line.
Spirig held off Lisa Norden to claim gold in 1 hour, 59.48 seconds. The runners were given the same time, and Spirig was declared the winner after a few minutes of uncertainty.
Erin Densham of Australia took bronze on the course through Hyde Park in central London in 1:59.50.
Thousands of spectators lined the route. Fans do not need tickets to watch triathlon events at the London Games.
The U.S. men's team blew a two-set lead and lost to Russia in five, snapping an 11-match winning streak in Olympic play.
Maxim Mikhaylov scored 27 points for No. 2 Russia in the 27-29, 19-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-8 victory. Sergey Tetyukhin spiked for match point.
Germany, Poland, Argentina and Italy also won.
The British boxing team is on a remarkable roll at its home Olympics, and that's just one reason the Indian team is furious.
Second-seeded light welterweight Tom Stalker beat India's Manoj Kumar 20-16 for the 10th British win in 11 fights in London, moving six boxers to the brink of medal qualification.
Although Stalker and Kumar appeared to be evenly matched, Kumar and his coaching staff criticized the judges and the tournament after the fifth loss for a seven-man team that arrived in London hoping to add to its single Olympic boxing medal.
India did get a nice fight from light flyweight Devendro Laishram, who posted a 16-11 upset of fourth-seeded Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia.
Cuba's Roniel Iglesias upset top-seeded Brazilian light welterweight Everton Dos Santos, while top-seeded light heavyweight Julio La Cruz of Cuba overwhelmed Jordan's Ihab Almatbouli.
China's Wu Mingxia cruised into the 3-meter springboard final after qualifying in the top spot during the Olympic semifinals.
Wu, who is seeking her record-tying sixth Olympic diving medal, totaled 394.400 points in the five rounds, giving her a lead of 32.30 points over second-place Tania Cagnotto of Italy, who had 362.100.
Wu already owns three gold medals in 3-meter synchro, as well as one silver and one bronze. One more would tie her with retired Chinese star Guo Jingjing, as well as give China its fifth diving gold of the London Games.
American Jamie Lynn Gray won the gold medal in women's 50-meter three-position rifle shooting, setting two Olympic records along the way.
Gray clinched gold on her final shot with a 10.8 - just 0.1 off a perfect score.
Ivana Maksimovic of Serbia won the silver, and Adela Sykorova of the Czech Republic was third.
Italy's Jessica Rossi won the gold medal in women's trap shooting, missing just one of 100 shots to set a world record. Her lone miss came on the 18th shot of the 25-shot final.
Zuzana Stefecekova eventually won the silver in a shoot-off, topping Delphine Reau of France.
Vanja Udovicic scored three goals and Serbia beat the United States 11-6 in the men's tournament.
It was the first loss of the London Games for the Americans, who will face three-time defending champion Hungary in their last group game.
Croatia, Montenegro, Spain, Italy and Hungary also won.
South Korea topped host Britain 5-4 in a penalty shootout to advance to the semifinals of the men's tournament.
Ki Sung-yueng hit the winning penalty after Daniel Sturridge missed Britain's fifth spot kick. The game was tied at 1 after regulation and extra time.
South Korea moves on to face Brazil, which beat Honduras in the quarterfinals. Japan and Mexico play in the other semifinal.
Britain is dominating the Olympic cycling slate.
The women's pursuit team won in a time of 3 minutes, 14.051 seconds to lower the world record they set earlier in the day.
The U.S. won the silver medal. Canada beat Australia for the bronze.
The winning team pumped their fists while doing a victory lap, cheered on by Paul McCartney and about 6,000 of their newest friends.
Triumphs for Britain in men's four and the lightweight women's double sculls sparked more scenes of jubilation at Dorney Lake and took the host country's tally of golds to four, one more then New Zealand.
Britain finished with nine medals - four golds, two silvers and three bronzes - to surpass the country's record total of eight from the 1908 Olympics. Those games were also held in London.
In the two other finals raced under gloomy skies, Miroslava Knapkova of the Czech Republic won the women's single sculls, and Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist took the lightweight double for Denmark's only gold of the regatta.
New Zealand beat the United States 3-2 in the women's tournament, preventing the Americans from advancing to the medal round.
The Netherlands sealed a place in the semifinals with a 3-2 win over South Korea. China beat Britain 2-1 to stay in the running for the semis, Australia blanked South Africa 1-0 and Belgium drew 1-1 with Japan. Argentina also won, topping Germany 3-1.
ELSEWHERE IN LONDON
Rosannagh MacLennan earned Canada's first Olympic gold in London, capturing the women's trampoline title when defending champion He Wenna of China wobbled during her final routine. ... Canada's Ian Millar rode into Olympic history by competing in his 10th games, more than any athlete. ... China won the fencing gold for women's team epee. ... Ilya Ilin of Kazakhstan defended his weightlifting title in the men's 94-kilogram division. Russia's Alexandr Ivanov was second, and Anatoli Ciricu of Moldova won the bronze. ... South Korea defeated North Korea in men's table tennis, and top-seeded China also advanced to the quarterfinals. ... Australia's Tom Slingsby won both Laser races to take a 14-point lead over Pavlos Kontides of Cypress into Monday's medals race. ... Sweden, Tunisia and Serbia won their men's handball matches.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap