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12 Aug 2012 15:22
Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda celebrates after he crossing the finish line to win the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (Luca Bruno, AP)
Marathon man Stephen Kiprotich delivered only Uganda's second ever Olympics gold medal on Sunday, celebrating victory in the shadow of Buckingham Palace as the curtain slowly dropped on the 2012 Games.
Kiprotich timed two hours, eight minutes and 01sec on the spectacular course around the streets of central London, with two-time defending world champion Abel Kirui claiming silver in 2:08.27.
Another Kenyan, long-time leader Wilson Kipsang, took bronze in 2:09.37.
"I am very happy to win a medal for my country. I love my people.
Uganda are very happy because we haven't won a medal," said Kiprotich.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge, meanwhile, declared the London Olympics had been a "dream for sports-lovers", praising organisers for delivering an "athletes' Games."
"I am a very happy and grateful man," Rogge said.
Hunt for the podium
"London promised an athletes' Games and that's exactly what we got.
The final day of action before a star-studded closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium will see the last 15 medals go up for grabs.
The United States, who are likely to finish on top of the medal table after losing out to China four years ago, should add to their haul with gold in the men's basketball final.
The Americans' Dream Team of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars will be chasing a 14th gold medal and their fifth in sixth Olympiads when they face Spain.
The Americans have run through the tournament undefeated, just as they did in 2008 when they beat Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final.
Five members of that team and five from the US 2010 world championship team are in the London line-up.
The US team is 61-1 since settling for bronze in 2004 and revamping the programme to create the 2008 "Redeem Team" and the current US squad of NBA multi-millionaires, whose dynasty inspires top efforts from every rival.
Meanwhile the final medals in boxing will be decided along with golds in women's modern pentathlon, men's water polo, volleyball and freestyle wrestling.
Attention will then turn to Sunday's closing ceremony, which is being billed as a diverse "Symphony of British Music".
The Spice Girls, George Michael, Muse and Ed Sheeran are among the acts expected to play at the ceremony which will feature more than 4 000 performers, including 380 schoolchildren.
"We want it to be the best after-show party there has ever been," artistic director Kim Gavin said. "Any more than that and we would spoil the surprise."
The ceremony will see London hand over to the Rio 2016 Games, and the Olympic flame – which has been alight at the east London stadium for two weeks – will be extinguished.
The closing ceremony will take place between 9.45pm and 12.45am South African time on SuperSport channels 174, 204, 176 and 208. The M&G's Lisa van Wyk – who brought us her wacky take on the opening ceremony – will be liveblogging the event. You can read the old blog and later follow the new one here. – AFP.
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