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The closing ceremony to the London Games used fireworks, theatrics and music to celebrate the athletes and their countries who participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The night included a shout-out to Winston Churchill and a performance from the Pet Shop Boys, to mark the end of two weeks of competition and stunning athletic displays.

The surviving members of the rock band Queen, The Who and the Spice Girls were on the schedule to entertain millions watching around the world.

Update at 5:11 p.m. ET: 'Imagine'

Every nation that sent a delegation to the London Games sent at least one female athlete — a first for the Olympics. This year's Team USA has more female than male athletes — and the women have won nearly twice as many medals: 100 total medals, by my count, to 59 for the men.

So yes, it looks like this is the Year of the Woman at the Olympics, particularly for the United States.

Washington born and raised goalkeeper Hope Solo saved the day, quite literally, according to her teammates in the Olympic women’s soccer final Thursday. Team USA held on for a 2-1 victory over Japan to win the gold medal.

When the final horn sounded, U.S. goalie Solo was mobbed by her fellow players. Solo says she knew the game was on the line when she made a dramatic lunging save in the waning minutes of the game.

Four years ago, Irish boxer Paddy Barnes lost to China's Zou Shiming by a score of 15-0 in Beijing. Today in London, Barnes fought his way back into their match to tie Zou at 15-15 — but he still lost. Barnes accepted the decision, but the result might confuse anyone who isn't familiar with boxing's scoring system.

Good morning. The final weekend of the Summer Olympics is about to begin. In the medal count, the U.S. has jumped out to a 90-80 lead over China, with 39 golds to China's 37. And Russia has overtaken Great Britain, with 57 to the host nation's 54 medals.

Here's today's news that caught our interest:

In Olympic women's soccer, the U.S. team has beaten Japan, 2-1, in the gold medal match at London's Wembley Stadium, a game that set a new attendance record with more than 80,000 spectators. Carli Lloyd scored both of the American goals, while U.S. stars Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach weren't able to finish their chances. But they were very active, and both players kept the Japanese defenders occupied around the goal.

Why do the best weightlifters have short arms? What's the biggest physical challenge that marathon runners face? What kind of advantages do athletes from West Africa — and from Asia — enjoy? Those questions are answered in a great post over at our sister blog, Shots.

Our colleague Adam Cole analyzed information from a range of sources to come up with conclusions about the bodies of Olympic sprinters and rowers, as well as weightlifters and marathon runners.

It's not easy to find video of the London 2012 Olympics on the Internet — even on YouTube. And that's inspiring people to "interpret" the Summer Games for themselves. For instance, you can see puppet shows, 8-bit video, and Taiwanese animation, all related to the Olympics... or, at least sort of related.

Here are some of my favorites — feel free to put yours into the comment section below:

Photos of day 12 from the Olympics

Aug 8, 2012

Photo highlights from today's Olympic action feature women's beach volleyball, men's and women's track and field, and men's water polo.

It should come as no surprise that Olympics organizers take brand endorsements and official suppliers very seriously. That extends beyond logos on shorts and shoes — up to, and including, condoms. That's right, the Olympics has an "official" condom — and organizers want to get to the bottom of how a bucket of rogue condoms reached the Olympic Village.

As has happened before at the London Games, it started with a tweet.

Good morning. Only five days remain in the Summer Games, and China leads the United States in the medal count, with a total of 73 (34 gold) to America's 71 (30 gold). Here's other news that caught our eye this morning:

Leo Manzano, 27, came from behind with a last-minute kick to claim silver in the men's 1,500-meter final, today. That's no small feat for the Mexican-born American runner: He is the first American to medal in the metric mile since Jim Ryun won a silver in 1968.

Photo highlights from today's Olympic action feature women's synchronized swimming, women's gymnastics, several track and field events, and men's weightlifting.

Want to see yesterday's photos? Click here.

The United States will have at least two shiny new medals no matter what happens tomorrow at the women's beach volleyball final.

After defeating China (2-0) and Brazil (2-1), today, the two American teams advanced to the finals, setting up an all-American match. It means the U.S. will receive a gold and silver.

ABC News reports:

U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman has won the gold medal in the women's floor exercise at the London 2012 Games. Her powerful routine garnered a score of 15.600 — enough to beat the 15.200 of Romania's Catalina Ponor, who turned in a technically strong performance.

Russia's Aliya Mustafina took bronze, with 14.900. American Jordyn Wieber finished seventh, with a 14.500 score.

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