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The U.S. men's basketball team defended its Olympic title today as the London Summer Games drew to a close. The 107 to 100 victory over Spain didn't reach the dramatic heights of four years ago in Beijing when the Americans also beat the Spanish, but there was plenty of drama elsewhere at these games in the final weekend of competition. From London, here's NPR's Tom Goldman.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Today's rematch of the 2008 USA versus Spain classic lent some intrigue to an otherwise predictable tournament. No one, least of all forward LeBron James, figured the Americans' nearly 36-point average margin of victory during these Olympics would hold up against a Spanish team with a few choice NBA stars itself.
LEBRON JAMES: Oh, man. This is a great team. And they wanted redemption and, you know, we're just happy that we was able to make enough plays, you know, come through for our team.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: LeBron James for three.
GOLDMAN: Of course, James, as he did all season long in the NBA, made some of those plays, none bigger than this three-point bomb near the end of the game. Kevin Durant of the U.S. was high point man with 30, to go along with nine rebounds. But it was James who became the only player other than Michael Jordan to win an NBA title, regular season MVP award, NBA finals MVP and Olympic gold medal in the same year. No word on whether he'll throw his headband into the ring and run for president.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
GOLDMAN: King would be the appropriate title for British distance runner Mo Farah. Last night at the Olympic Stadium, he made folly of British reserve as 80,000 fans lost their collective minds. Farah's 5,000 meters victory to go with his 10,000 made him the seventh man in history to win both at the same Olympics and one of many Team Great Britain athletes to marvel at the host country fans whose support of Team GB reached last night's crescendo.
MO FARAH: If it wasn't for them, you know, I don't think I would've digged in as deep. And it just got louder and louder and louder. It just reminds me when you go to a football match and somebody scores a goal. That's how loud it was. It was like, wow.
GOLDMAN: The stadium yesterday was a perfect microcosm for these Olympics from Farah's nation-lifting triumph to the Jamaican male sprinters' unmatched speed and goofiness. Here are Yohan Blake and then Usain Bolt after blistering the four-by-100 relay in a world record 36.84 seconds.
YOHAN BLAKE: We're not normal. To run 36 is not normal. You know, people call us robot. No. I said: No. We are from space.
USAIN BOLT: I've said to Yohan he needs to stop talking like that or somebody's going to put him in a straightjacket one day.
GOLDMAN: And then there was American 800 meters runner Alysia Johnson Montano. No room full of charmed reporters hanging on her every word. No medal around her neck. Instead, tears after getting boxed in at the end of the race, a fifth place finish and in her mind, a missed opportunity. There's no rewind, she said, and with four more years before the next Summer Games, no guarantee of another chance. Tom Goldman, NPR News, London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.