Both the United States and Jamaica can be content in their bragging rights today.
Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux led the U.S. women's soccer team to a golden threepeat on the pitch in London, their 2-1 victory over Japan also serving as sweet redemption following their loss to the estimable Asian team in last year's World Cup final.
As the 2012 Summer Olympics head into the home stretch, here are more highlights from Thursday:
Biggest Splash: The U.S. women's water polo team is savoring its first gold medal in the still relatively young Olympic sport (women have only been included since 2000) after its 8-5 win over Spain. "I'm convinced you have to be a superhero to play water polo," Jenna Dewan Tatum tweeted appreciatively.
Fastest, Cockiest Man in the World: Usain Bolt followed his second straight 100-meter dash gold with his second straight 200 meters gold, making him the only man to have two of each. (He'll try to be the only man with those and two 4x100-meter relay golds starting tomorrow.) Perhaps even more memorable, however, were the fingers he held up to his mouth in a "shh" gesture as he crossed the finish line. "I was just telling them: You can stop talking now, because I am a legend," the legend said afterward. The race quickly became an all-Jamaican affair, with Yohan Blake (the torch hasn't been passed just yet) and Warren Weir earning silver and bronze.
Greatest, Humblest Athlete in the World: Ashton Eaton of Oregon thoroughly dominated in the decathlon, though his reaction to his impressive feat was considerably more subdued than some. "I'm satisfied," said the 24-year-old first-time Olympian, calling what went down over the course of two days of grueling competition "pretty typical of a decathlon." Eaton, believe or not, wanted to do better. "It's difficult because I want to get the gold medal, but I want gold medal performances in every event and I didn't have that," he said critically. "It's almost like a deserving thing. I had bad of it here and bad of it there, but still got the gold medal. How is that possible, because I didn't do well? I always associate doing well with being the best." Don't worry, man, you are.
Knockout Debut: At only 17, Claressa Shields of Flint, Mich., won the first-ever women's middleweight boxing competition at the Olympics, not to mention Team USA's only gold medal in boxing this summer after the men were left off the podium completely. "Yessss!!! USA gold for boxer @Claressashields congratulations. You are a great example that in this life anything is possible," tweeted Oscar De La Hoya, a champion in Barcelona 20 years ago. There has been only one American gold medalist since, light heavyweight Andre Ward in Athens. (But not all of our guys are in a fighting slump—Terrence Jennings scored a bronze in featherweight taekwondo.)
Fields of Gold: Simply put, it was just another grand day for Team USA in track and field. Eaton pal Trey Hardee won silver in the decathlon and Christian Taylor and Will Claye finished 1-2 in the men's triple jump.
So You Think You Can Dressage: Britain's Charlotte Dujardin, Nigel Lythgoe's niece, won gold in individual dressage, the equestrian event that Stephen Colbert has been delightfully obsessing over this summer.
Treading Silver: American Haley Anderson finished second in the really hard-core-sounding women's open water swim with a time of 1 hour, 57 minutes and 38.2 seconds. Don't her fingers get pruny?
Royal Face Time: Kate Middleton apparently couldn't believe her eyes during the women's team synchronized swimming qualifiers.
Magic Numbers: Team USA may have pulled ahead in the medal race for good. They are the proud possessors of 90 Olympic medals, 39 of them gold, while China has fallen into distance second with 80 medals, 37 gold. Russia is in third with 56, while Great Britain has 52, almost half of them gold.