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Beijing Olympics: Bolt strikes again with gold in 200-meter sprint

BEIJING - Move over, Michael. Make way for Usain.

The Beijing Olympics will no longer be remembered only for what Michael Phelps did in the pool. Usain Bolt made sure of it on the track Wednesday night.

Already the champion at 100 meters, Bolt whizzed through the 200, too, making him the first winner of both Olympic sprints since Carl Lewis in 1984.

Yet Bolt one-upped Lewis, Jesse Owens and the other guys who've pulled off the 100-200 double. The long, lanky, joyous Jamaican also set a world record in both races, and that's never been done at an Olympics.

'I blew my mind,' said Bolt, 'and I blew the world's mind.'

So now it's time for a new debate, sports fans. Which is more impressive: Phelps' eight gold medals and seven world records or Bolt leaving no doubt that he's the fastest man in the world, the fastest man ever?

Bolt's victory made memorable a day that was supposed to be a bit of a lull before the big finish this weekend. Only 11 medals were decided, fewest since the first day of competition.

There was other notable news, though, like the U.S. softball and men's basketball teams getting tested before moving closer to playing for gold. There also was the first-ever medal of any color at any Olympics for Afghanistan (a bronze in men's taekwondo), the debut of BMX cycling and another doping case, this one involving a medal winner.

The International Olympic Committee said it is investigating Ukraine's Lyudmila Blonska. If found guilty of a doping offense, the 30-year-old Blonska would lose her silver medal in heptathlon and be expelled from the games.

Another piece of news is that these Summer Games are on pace to be the most-watched in history, a figure skewed by how many of China's 1.3 billion residents were tuned in.

Then again, Phelps - and now Bolt - are making for must-see TV.

The United States still leads the medal count, up only 82-79 over China. The hosts bumped their gold count to 45, with a first-ever sailing victory joining the list.

China already has won more golds than the United States won when it hosted the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and has tied the number won by the Soviet Union in 1992. The Soviets won 55 in 1988, which is now within range for the Chinese, especially with 86 more golds to be decided through Sunday.

Track and field

Bolt needed only 19.30 seconds to go from start to finish and he made sure not to waste any time showboating.

Pushing with all he had in his favorite event, Bolt broke Michael Johnson's mark that had stood since Atlanta by a mere 0.02, but his margin of victory - 0.66 - was the biggest ever in the Olympic 200.

Bolt is the ninth man to sweep the 100-200. But Bolt is likely more excited about being the first man to own the 100 and 200 world records since fellow Jamaican Donald Currie did it in the 1970s.

One more number of note: 22, Bolt's age as of Thursday. During his victory lap, a version of 'Happy Birthday' played over the loudspeakers inside the Bird's Nest as Bolt took off his gold shoes and wrapped the Jamaican flag around his shoulders like a scarf.

While most eyes were on Bolt, judges saw that the second- and third-place finishers - including American Wallace Spearmon - went outside their lanes. They were disqualified, bumping Americans Shawn Crawford and Walter Dix up to silver and bronze.

Men's basketball

This is what goes down as a 'tough test' for the U.S. squad of NBA All-Stars: A five-point lead in the second quarter that turned to 12 by halftime ... and was never close again.

'Sooner or later we'll impose our will,' U.S. point guard Chris Paul said. 'I don't know if you can keep up with us for 40 minutes.'

Australia sure couldn't. After a tight game into the fourth quarter Aug. 5, the Aussies hung with the American until the middle of the second quarter but that was it. Kobe Bryant scored nine points during a 14-0 surge to open the second half and the only question after that was how much they would win by. It wound up being 31 points, 116-85.

Next up will be Manu Ginobili and defending champion Argentina on Friday night, with a spot in the gold-medal game going to the winner. The Argentines beat Greece 80-78, with the Greeks missing a potential winning 3-pointer in the final few seconds.

Lithuania advances to play Spain in the semifinals Friday night. The Spaniards advanced with a 72-59 victory over Croatia, led by 20 points from Pau Gasol.

Softball

The U.S. came as close to defeat as they have in a long time. Not that it mattered in the end.

The Americans were in a scoreless tie with Japan after seven innings, then scored four runs in the ninth - three on a long homer by Crystl Bustos - for a 4-1 victory and a spot in the gold-medal game.

Again, their opponent will be Japan in what will be the last Olympic softball game until at least 2016.

The Japanese beat Australia 4-3 in 12 innings later to advance, leaving the Aussies with the bronze.

Baseball

The guys went to extra innings against Japan, too, and also pulled out a win.

Brian Barden singled in the go-ahead run to break a scoreless tie in the 11th inning on the way to a 4-2 victory. The Americans earned the third seed in Friday's medal round, with the Japanese getting fourth.

The U.S. will play defending champion Cuba, while Japan will take on South Korea. the only undefeated team.

Diving

Now comes the tough part for China: The 10-meter platform, the one event the Chinese didn't win at the two previous Olympics.

They're off to a good start this time, with teenagers Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin leading the women's standings in preliminaries.

China already has six gold medals in diving and is looking for two more to make it a clean sweep.

Attempting to avoid a second straight shutout in the diving medals for the United States, Laura Wilkinson was fifth after completing the second-best dive of the opening round. She won this event in Sydney and the Americans have not won a medal in diving since.

Cycling

Remember the spark snowboard cross put into the Winter Games in Turin? Maybe bicycle motorcross - BMX, to those in the know - will do the same.

American racers Mike Day and Kyle Bennett gave the crowd a great introduction to the sport, with Day winning the time trial and each of his three quarterfinal heats and Bennett advancing but also dislocating his left shoulder in a wreck on his final heat.

Top-ranked racer Donny Robinson also moved on, as did Jill Kintner, the lone American in the 16-racer women's field, who is competing despite a shredded knee ligament.

'You can't get much more rad than this,' Robinson said.

Wrestling

Ben Askren has to be thinking, 'I cut my hair for this?'

The bushy-haired former NCAA champion who promised a gold medal lost in freestyle's 74-kilogram round of 16, ending his Olympics after two matches. The gold ended up around the same neck it has been placed at the last two Olympics - Buvaysa Saytiev of Russia. The three straight golds in the sport ties a record.

'I lost - I don't know what to say, my dreams are crushed,' said Askren, who cut the hair he'd been growing for two years because he feared having it pulled.

Doug Schwab, a former NCAA champion, lost in the 66-kg qualifications but made the bronze-medal bracket when the guy who beat him advanced. Schwab ended up losing again. Turkey's Ramazan Sahin won the bracket.

Also, the Court of Arbitration for Sport will investigate the Greco-Roman bout that so incensed Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian that he dropped his bronze medal in disgust and eventually had it stripped by the International Olympic Committee.

Taekwondo

Mexico's Guillermo Perez has a gold medal. And Afghanistan now has a medal, period.

Perez won the men's under 58-kg division, beating Yulis Gabriel Mercedes of the Dominican Republic. A bronze went to Rohullah Nikpai, marking the first ever medal - in any sport - for Afghanistan.

In the women's under 49-kg class, reigning world champion Wu Jingyu of China took the gold.