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Page last updated at 23:11 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 00:11 UK

Olympics final day as it happened


By Ben Dirs

It's good news for GB at the Olympics
It's good news for GB at the Olympics
It's good news for GB at the Olympics
It's good news for GB at the Olympics
It's good news for GB at the Olympics
It's good news for GB at the Olympics
It's good news for GB at the Olympics
1544: As Katherine Jenkins hits the stage in front of Buck House, it's time for me to bow out. I'm not being the slightest bit facetious when I say it's been pretty emotional for the last two weeks. My highlight? Difficult to say, but I can only remember being choked up twice and, bizarrely, both times it was in the weightlifting arena. First when Britain's Michaela Breeze fought her way through injury, and then when Matthias Steiner received his gold medal holding a picture of his recently deceased wife. Then again, I almost cried when I watched the X Factor last night. Thanks for all your contributions and chat, I'll see you in London four years from now...

1538: Scouting For Girls up on stage now. Prince Philip will bowl out in a minute and ask them to keep the noise down... London Calling! Bit cheeky... oh yeh, Vicade (see below), Reluctant-Expat on 606 also wants me to point out that Britain also played a part in the invention of the radio, TV, the telephone and the internet... not sure how you can shoehorn any of that into an opening ceremony, but it's a start...

"I'm feeling so much love right now."
Triple jump silver medallist Phillips Idowu on the Mall

Text in your views on 81111
"The privet hedge was necessary because Jimmy Page always performs with a plant."
Anon via text

1525: "You people are Lazy and Arrogant with little or no culture," says vicade on 606. Of course, he's spot on. Apart, as Reluctant-Expat points out, from Shakespeare... oh, and the English language... and popular music in its modern form... oh, and apart from the fact we codified most sports... and didn't a Brit invent Buckaroo? Here's double gold-medallist Bradley 'Wiggler' Wiggins and triple-jump silver medallist Phillips Idowu. The Wiggler has mugged Joey Barton off in front of millions! You've got to love that!

Get involved on 606
"The comments about London buses, zebra crossings and umbrellas being 'naff' are so wide of the mark. Too us British, and especially to Londoners, they may seem very humdrum in comparison to the exotica displayed by the Chinese. But the fact is that the Chinese and much of the rest of the world see red buses and zebra crossings as exotic, and as representative of London. Just ask the tourists in London, who have their photos taken in front of phone boxes, buses and Big Ben."
jasedeace on 606

1520: Sorry, that wasn't Queen on The Mall, it was performers from the musical Queen. Plenty of people out in force, and it's the same down in Weymouth and up in Glasgow.

1513: Big rows erupting on 606, a schism has appeared between handover ceremony enthusiasts and handover ceremony boo-boys. For my part, I don't think saying the handover ceremony wasn't much cop is the same as saying London 2012 is going to be a mess. It just looked a bit cobbled together at the last minute and, dare I say it, amateurish. And if there's one thing you can say about the Beijing Olympics, it's that it's been ruthlessly professional.

1509: Queen have just left the stage on The Mall, where a fair-sized party is taking place. We've got fencing up in Birmingham, and more than 400 flags have been raised across Britain, from Land's End to Unst Island off the Scottish coast. And here's the 1948 street party in East London! And here's the Pearly Queen of Tower Hamlets: "It used to be a community, if you didn't have anything, you'd ask your next door neighbour." There are people in the East End now who don't even know the name of their housemates.

"I had a dream I dropped the ball when I was holding it last night. We will be ready and will will make it a special place like it has been here in Beijing. We will make it a very special event for everybody around the world."
Former England football captain David Beckham on London 2012

"We don't need to try to outdo the Chinese, they have a completely different culture to ours. What we should do is make sure the whole 2012 experience reflects the people who will be representing us (and have done in the past) at the Games. It will be amazing if we look to Team GB - people of many different origins and races - for inspiration."
stacie on 606

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"As an English expat living in China, tomorrow I've got to try and explain the double decker bus and the privet hedge."
ParkerDixon on 606

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"Watching that London presentation and seeing the culture, the diversity and the fun, and to see us doing something right in front of a world wide audience of billions made me proud to be British."
skillwill on 606

1455: The athletes filing out now and the ceremony is almost at an end... "Great handover from Boris. Just wish he'd done the Usain Bolt bow and arrow mime as well," texts Jon in Bournemouth.

"Watching closing ceremony with Chinese locals. They've just viewed the London segment in stunned silence.
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce on Twitter

"Back when I was at school, I once co-wrote a music themed revue sketch which included someone singing the lines: 'Here comes Jim, he's gonna play a riff, he's gonna make you sore, he's gonna bore you stiff' to the tune of Black Dog. I now apologise unreservedly to him and to Led Zep fans around the globe."
Paul Grunill via email

1450: It's all going mental in the Bird's Nest now - there's Jackie Chan giving it bunches! Calm down Jackie, you'll take someone's eye out... and we've got a conga! It's like a Basildon wedding now! Fireworks too! Crackers, absolutely crackers, and it's free swim time again! Sir Seb - you've got to get our finest minds working on this, you better get on the blower to Michael Winner now.

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"Quite poor. Leona sounded awful. A red bus and a bus stop... hmmm, I wonder how much consultants were paid to come up with that. Although to be fair, eight minutes isn't a long time to make an impression."
Stacie on 606

1441: Here's legendary Spanish tenor Placido Domingo with Chinese soprano Song Zuying, and we've got lots of ladies dressed as angels cascading down behind them. Here's some bloke called trains on 606: "A beautifully organised Games all around, then Boris appears, jacket undone, looking like a drunk who gatecrashed the party, what an embarrassment."

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"To ALL of those who enjoy insulting our handover ceremony... I think we did ace! Sorry about this, you self-appointed little armchair experts, the Olympics is bigger than you and it's coming! And no matter what you say, no matter how many angry little letters you write to the Daily Mail, it's gonna be a blast! 2012 will rock!"
devonmarc on 606

1434: "I Love Beijing" is the name of the song, and we've got fellas abseiling down from the top of the Memory Tower now... more songs, now we've got "The Moon is Bright Tonight", a classic of its genre.

1429: The Memory Tower transforms into a volcanic structure, before large strips rise towards the ceiling... and it's all kicking off again! The Bird's Nest is ablaze with fireworks... I half expect the Bird's Nest stadium to take off in a minute and disappear into space... here are some pop stars from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland... either someone turned the amps down for Lewis and Plant, or this lot are miming...

1426: Here's something called the Memory Tower, which looks like something from a Frankie Goes To Hollywood video. Ever-changing forms around a central steel frame, apparently supposed to represent an everlasting flame...

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"Boris handed over successfully - put him in the 100m relay for 2012."
Bobskop on 606

1422: Right, now that they've let the work experience kids have a go, it's time to hand back to the pros... and a couple of fellas painted white doing some weird dance... and the Olympic flame is subdued... always a sad moment this... and it's dead... the countdown to 2012 begins...

1416: AND HERE'S BECKS! AND A WOMAN IN A RUNNING OUTFIT PLAYING A VIOLIN! Becks boots a ball into the crowd... just the one, and it doesn't quite make the crowd... a couple of officials have a bit of a scrabble over it... and that's that, London's eight minutes are up... what to make of that?

1412: THIS BUS HAS BEEN PIMPED! IT'S GOT A FOLD-DOWN ROOF! And here's Leona Lewis, the first lady to make number one in America since Kim Wilde. AND HERE COMES JIMMY! STADIUM ROCK IN THE BIRD'S NEST! Whole Lotta Love - great tune, not sure about the sound system, you'd get more poke from a hoodie's mobile phone. Still, it beats blokes suspended from the ceiling hitting giant edams...

1408: It's time for London to strut its stuff, and we kick off with a spot of animation... there's some yoof graffitiing a wall! I wish I was kidding. Someone should have drawn someone else sticking a toe up his backside... and here's the real stuff in the stadium - we've got a Routemaster bus, and somewhat disappointingly, it looks like someone's pimped it up - it's got blacked out windows!

1406: One can only begin to guess at the desolation in Ken Livingstone's living room at the moment as Boris stands astride Jacques Rogge in the centre of the Bird's Nest... the Mayor of London takes the flag, and after a couple of dicey moments, manages to give it a few twirls... London is now the official host city of the Olympic Games...

1403: The 29th Olympics are officially brought to an end, and the Olympic flag is folded and packed away. AND HERE'S BORIS! HE'S MADE IT UP THE STEPS...

"The world learned about China - and China learned about the world."
IOC president Jacques Rogge

1359: And it's Great Britain's turn - a rather ephereal version of God Save the Queen, minus the drum roll, as the Union Flag is hoisted... and here's the Olympic hymn, whatever that is... cameras cut to Buck House, and I can confirm it's mobbo.

1358: More from BBC News' Sarah Bell outside Buckingham Palace: "Spectator Neil Flynn says: 'It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We've wanted it back here for so long. Now we've got to get behind the country and support it.'" He's talking about London 2012, not McFly, who have taken to the stage in front of Buckingham Palace.

1354: The Chinese president launches into his speech, but he might have to extend it a bit, I hear this London bus has hit trouble at Clapton Pond. Here's Jacques with a speech of his own...

1348: Here's the Greece national anthem, to commemorate the fact that they brought us the Olympics, both ancient and modern, and here comes the IOC's main man Jacques Rogge and China's president Hu Jintao. Following his comments on Usain Bolt, I can only imagine that if Rogge had been in charge of ITV in the 1970s, he would have disapproved of Tommy Cooper because he mucked about too much.

BBC Sport
"Who let Steve Waugh on the pitch? Is Big Merv out there too? Our lot aren't being 'crazy' happy enough."
BBC Sport's Matt Slater on Twitter

1344: A few Olympic legends being paraded now, including Russian swimming legend Alex Popov. I believe he's just been elected an athlete member of the IOC, and appears to have come dressed as Austin Powers. He and a couple of people I don't quite recognise hand out bouquets as a sign of the athletes' gratitude to the organisers.

BBC Sport
"There's a lot of flag-waving as crowds start to arrive for the Olympics handover party in The Mall. Some are tucking into picnics as they listen to the live music. The pride in the Beijing performances is matched by great excitement about how well London will host the next Games."
BBC News' Sarah Bell outside Buckingham Palace

1335: Craig Pickering looks like he's just seen his girlfriend snogging his best mate at a youth club disco. Cheer up Pickers, get a few Top Decks down your neck and get involved, it looks like an absolute riot. And here's the medal ceremony for the men's marathon - bronze for Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia, silver for Jaouad Gharib of Morocco and gold for Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya. What a way to pick up your medal, with the Kenyan anthem ringing out in front of 91,000 spectators.

1333: "More coverage of the very photogenic drummer girls please!" texts Andy in Dunstable. Andy, my tentacles barely reach the downstairs tea bar, let alone the controls of our editor in the Bird's Nest.

1325: We've got two budding Phil Collins as the centre piece now, surrounded by lady drummers clad head to toe in red leather. It's like stumbling into Studio 54 at 5am on a Friday morning. There's 14-year-old Tom Daley being hoisted upon someone's shoulders, and the men's coxless four. Come on chaps, get involved... try those Israeli girls over there, they all look they've had one too many...

1321: Eighty one nations won at least one medal at these Games, including several for the first time. I swear I just saw Chris Hoy nod his head and say "cycling" to the athlete next to him... AND HERE COMES THE INVASION! A burly chap breaks ranks and bursts into the stadium, and here come the rest of the athletes: FREE SWIM! FREE SWIM!

1318: "What are the odds on Boris Johnson setting fire to his hair with the Olympic torch?" texts Carina in Cambridge, and here come the flag-bearers, and it's Chris Hoy, winner of three gold medals, doing the business for Great Britain. The United States' flag-bearer is archer Khatuna Lorig, who has competed for Georgia, Russia and the United States.

1315: Some more chaps in pogo-stilts now, as the bell dancers make flower shapes in the middle of the arena. Wasn't this closing ceremony supposed to be "toned down"? It's like a giant, choreographed rave.

1311: We've got some chaps riding giant poker chips now - who directed this? "Some genius director bloke," says the man beside me. "What, Michael Winner?" says someone else. Imagine Winner getting the call from a flustered Seb Coe: "Michael, have you just seen the Beijing closing ceremony? We think there's only one man who can top it..."

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"Blimey, just watched a two-week spectacular in Beijing, watching the Beeb now as we hand over to London... so how are we going to match this? Never fear, we have an all out spectacular involving... Will Young! McFly! Depressing."
bacon_trout on 606

1307: Those pieces of edam ara actually heavenly drums, floating as if in mid-air. Here come eight drum carts, and they're pretty hefty as well - Keith Moon after 50 cans of Red Bull still wouldn't be able to cover all bases.

1305: We've got 200 drummers first up - Trumpton this isn't. And 1,100 bell dancers! AND A COUPLE OF CHAPS SUSPENDED FROM THE CEILING WHACKING GIANT PIECES OF EDAM! CAN IT GET ANY WEIRDER! Oh, yes...

1300: IOC president Jacques Rogges and China's big man Hu Jintao are introduced to the crowd and here's China's national anthem. Strangely, given the amount of medals they've won, I can't remember hearing that before, it's no Marseillaise.

1258: CAN WE ALL STOP BICKERING! All you Scots, grab an English person; all you Englanders, grab a Scot - we have lift off! And there are fireworks - loads of them - to begin.

1255: To The Mall in London, where a party will kick off as soon as the closing ceremony is finished. We've got McFly, Will Young, Scouting for Girls and The Feeling. Oh, and Katherine Jenkins, which is always nice.

BBC Sport
"Evening, I'm at the Bird's Nest with the PMs of Latvia and Nepal and the Spanish Infanta. Always wanted to meet her."
BBC Sport's Matt Slater on Twitter

"Sorry Loose Cannon (see below), it's not a minority view. I don't care if we win 20 or no medals, I would like a Scottish team. I'm embarrassed how anyone could stand and sing God Save the Queen, be they English or Scottish."
Anon via text on 81111

1236: Less than 25 minutes now until the closing ceremony boots off - if it's anything like the opening one, it's going to be bigger than jungle, and as we all know, jungle is massive. The big question for the London organisers at the end of these Games will be: how on God's sweet earth do we follow that?

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"What Stewart Maxwell seems to have ignored with his petty comments is that Chris Hoy's success is built on the funding that only a BRITISH team can muster, concentrated on the cycling centre in Manchester."
Anon via text on 81111

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"Re Scottish Sports Minister - I cringe when these narrow-minded views of the minority in Scotland make their way into the media. I apologise on behalf of all proud British Scots... Well done team GB!"
The Loose Cannon, Edinburgh via text on 81111

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"I have been totally transfixed by the Olympics for the last two weeks. I have held my breath then cheered, screamed and cried tears of joy for winners and tears of heartbreak for those who just missed out. I am proud to be British. Well done team GB."
Anon via text on 81111

1228: Apparently there's a 1948 street party in East London today, featuring vintage clothes, afternoon tea and post-War music to remember the last time the Olympics came to the capital. Particularly poignant because anyone who was there in 1948 is either dead or living in Essex.

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"Closing ceremony should be interesting. Jimmy Page, Leona Lewis, David Beckham and... Boris Johnson. Let's hope that he doesn't trip over the Olympic flag and/or cause an international incident."
AceofWands on 606

1225: YES! Mark King and Midge Ure have just been seen leaving their helicopter, it would appear that the London 2012 organisers, wanting to emphasise their Olympics as a Games for the nation's youth, have assembled some of the nations top pop stars to celebrate. And here's Jimmy Page! Groovy!

1212: Rumours filtering in that Phil Collins and Howard Jones have been seen entering the Bird's Nest and I'm hearing that the classic Prince's Trust line-up of the mid-1980s may be involved in some way with the London handover... I'll keep you posted...

1207: Scottish Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell reckons Scotland should have its own team in 2012. "If you look at Jamaica, a small island nation, they won gold, silver and bronze in the women's sprint," said Maxwell. "They've got world records, they've won the men's, the women's 100 and 200 metres and the relay... a Scottish team at the Olympics is the future." I wonder if he'll still be saying stuff like this when Chris Hoy retires.

1155: Some betting news: GB's Olympians are odds on to win more medals in 2012 than they did in Beijing, according to Ladbrokes. Team GB picked up 47 gongs during their stay in China and Ladbrokes reckon they're 4/7 to do even better in four years time when the Games come to London. Team GB are the same price to see off arch rivals Australia after winning one more than them this time round. I'm not sure about that last one, Australians would rather remove the stars from their flag than lose to us again.

1120: "Apparently, I'm gonna be on a London bus, going into the stadium. The top of the bus opens and obviously, Jimmy and Leona are performing and then I receive a football and kick it into the athletes." David Beckham there, almost bursting with enthusiasm ahead of the closing ceremony. He'll probably slice one and bust Leona Lewis's hooter.

1117: Just a reminder that the closing ceremony starts at 1300 BST, with the 'handover' section expected at 1400 BST. We will have a recreation of Stratford's gyratory system as well as dancers celebrating Stratford's rich cultural heritage, with a modern interpretation of a young man being mugged outside the Stratford Picture House expected to be a highlight. Not really. Mercifully, we've got Becks booting balls into the crowd from the top of a double-decker instead.

1014: Right, I suppose that's that then. I can only hope you've enjoyed the last two weeks as much as I have - what a Games it's been for Great Britain. Fourth in the final medals table - 19 golds, 13 silvers and 15 bronzes - and a stack of memories to stick in the old memory bank. I'm going to wind this up for now, but I'll be back to describe the closing ceremony, which gets under way at 1300 BST. If you want to get involved, get yourselves down The Mall for the London 2012 party, which kicks off at about 1515 BST. Actually, if you want to see McFly performing ahead of the 'handover moment', get down there before 1400 BST. In the meantime, send in your favourite Olympic memories, funny moments and biggest disappointments. Either that or sit on your sofa and simmer with jealousy that you're not Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps at the moment - as a wise man once said, "medals at the closing ceremony, women dripping off you..."

1010: THE 2008 OLYMPICS ARE OVER! FRANCE WIN THE 302ND GOLD MEDAL OF THE GAMES WITH VICTORY OVER ICELAND IN THE MEN'S HANDBALL FINAL! That's only Iceland's second silver medal in any sport and the scenes that follow the final whistle are a microcosm of the Games as a whole: the French go wild, there is only desolation in the Iceland camp.

1007: The Olympics are over in two minutes... France lead Iceland 28-22 in the final of the men's handball, and they're celebrating on the sidelines already...

1004: Led Zeppelin axeman Jimmy Page will be playing Whole Lotta Love, with, erm, let me just check my notes... Leona Lewis on vocals, at the closing ceremony. Page tells the BBC's Garry Richardson: "When I was a teenager I was a hurdler. I was pretty quick, but it got in the way of my guitar playing." Does anyone else get the feeling the handover is going to be a bit weird?

0958: It doesn't look like there's going to be a fairytale ending to the Olympics - France lead Iceland 24-17 in the final of the men's handball with 21 minutes remaining. Once this match is over, it's all about the closing ceremony in the Bird's Nest. Privet hedges? I reckon about 90% of Londoners wouldn't know what a privet hedge was if they slept in one.

Gold medal
0953: Hungary win their third gold in water polo in as many Games and ninth overall. That's United States' first medal in the sport since taking silver in 1988. Hungary have now won three golds at this Olympics and 10 medals overall. Only the handball to come...


0950: In the handball, France, who have never won gold in the event, lead Iceland 23-15 in the final of the men's handball with 15 minutes remaining in the second half.

0946: I'm getting a bit melancholic now to be honest - just two events to be decided, the men's water polo final and the men's handball final. The water polo is almost done - the Mighty Magyars lead the United States 13-9 with a couple of minutes to play. Handball might seem like a strange sport to top off a Games with, but we've got a great story brewing: Iceland, who have never won Olympic gold in any sport, take on France. The nation's last silver was in the triple-jump in 1956.

Gold medal
0938: Roberto Cammarelle drops Zhang Zhilei in round four of the super-heavyweight final with a chopping left and the fight is stopped, to the delight of his coach, Francesco Damiani, who won silver in Los Angeles 24 years ago. The Italian led 13-4 at the time and his fast hands and punching power were just too much for the lanky Chinese, just as they were for Liverpool's David Price in the semis. And there ends the boxing tournament...

0934: To the boxing again, and Italy's world champion Roberto Cammarelle is 11-3 up against China's Zhang Zhilei after round two. Not sure what Cammarelle's done to achieve that, I can only assume Zhang's been knocked out, spent a few hours in hospital, and been allowed to carry on on his return to the Workers' Gymnasium.

0930: We had Springsteen's Born In The USA in the basketball arena, now we've got James Brown's Livin' In America. What next, Kim Wilde? The name of Springsteen sparks a conversation in the office: have you ever bought an album because a magazine told you it was 'important'?

Gold medal
0922: The United States put the disasters of 2004 behind them with a 118-107 victory in classic basketball final against Spain. The chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" ring out, which always makes me feel slightly nauseous, but you can't really blame them: the NBA big boys are back on top of Olympic basketball.

0918: Ricky Rubio, just 17, gives up a technical foul and Kobe Bryant makes it a 10-point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining. The American celebrations begin, but the world champions gave them one hell of a game.

Text in your views on 81111
"Just watched the Irish lad box. It seemed every time he hit the Chinese boxer they gave the point to the wrong boxer. The Irish should protest."
L Leach, Fareham via text on 81111

0917: Big rebound from LeBron James and Kobe Bryant makes it an eight-point lead for the United States with 58 seconds remaining...

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"Having just watched the gold medal clash for the 81kg weight category I'm left wondering if the judges were watching something else. Egan was clearly the winner. There has to be an investigation into the boxing scoring."
Warren, London via text on 81111

0912: Kobe Bryant completes a four-point play and the relief on the faces of the American players is clear. But the Spanish aren't gving up and they claw it back to 108-104. Dwyane Wade lands a three-pointer to increase the lead to seven before Spain call a time-out with just over two minutes remaining.

"I decided to check out some photos of the Beijing National Stadium and the proposed London 2012 one. If the Beijing National Stadium is nicknamed the Bird's Nest what can we expect for the London 2012 stadium? The Cupcake?
Redshark on 606

0908: For a moment there looked like there might have been a shock in the basketball final, with Spain getting to within 91-89 of the United States in the final quarter. But the Americans rally and it's 104-97 with four minutes remaining.

Gold medal
0905: Another couple of scoring shots are missed by the judges and Zhang nicks a couple. Egan does pick up a point courtesy of a good uppercut and a long right hand, but Zhang continues to score on the counter and he ends up the 11-7 winner. Egan falls to his knees, and that fight should have been a lot closer than it was. Still, that's a good horde for Ireland in the boxing - two bronzes and a silver.

0900: Egan clips Zhang with a sharp left but he doesn't get out of range in time and is picked off. Egan lands with a hefty body shot but it's not spotted by the judges... and it happens again in the closing seconds. Boos ring out at the end of the round, some iffy scoring there. It's 7-5 going into the final two minutes.

0858: Better footwork from Egan, bouncing in and out of range and picking up three points. Unfortunately, Zhang also picks up a few and it's 5-3 after round two. Egan was using his jab more in that round and he's not out of this yet.

0855: Unbelievable atmosphere in the Workers' Gymnasium - hundreds of Irish fans in and they're making a serious row. But it's home favourite Zhang Xiaoping who steals into an early lead - 2-0 after round one. Kenny Egan looked to have scored there with a decent right hand, but he needs to step up his work-rate in round two.

0852: Here's Kenny Egan in the light-heavyweight final, bidding to win Ireland's second gold medal in Olympic boxing and first in any sport at this Games.

0848: A bit of internet research reveals this is the first time since 1972 (other than the boycotted Games of 1984 and 1988) that Cuba have failed to strike boxing gold at an Olympics. In that time, they have won 32 golds. United States amateur boxing is in an even worse state - only one bronze in Beijing, which I think is their worst tally ever.

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"Just been watching the boxing and it occured to me that Cuba have won NO GOLDS in their traditionally strong sport! They must be sick as parrots."
Redshark on 606

0834: That defeat for Banteaux in the welterweight final ensures that Cuba will not win a gold medal in boxing at these Olympics, and I'm not sure when that happened last - I'll endeavour to find out for you. Still, they've finished with four bronzes and four silvers, which ain't too bad. The light-heavyweight final - featuring Ireland's Kenny Egan against home favourite Zhang Xiaoping. Ireland yet to strike gold at these Games.

Gold medal
0830: Bakhyt Sarsekbayev closes out the final, staying out of trouble to retain the welterweight title. Superb boxing display there, Oscar Banteaux was made to look pretty amateurish. Hanati Silamu of China and Kim Jung-joo of South Korea won bronze.

Text in your views on 81111
"Seb Coe says he has creative teams working on the 2012 Olympics. I hope they're not the same creative people who designed that dreadful logo."
Anon via text on 81111

0827: Banteaux is being beaten to the punch by the Zazhak, who is a very slick operator indeed. Sarsekbayev leads 14-7 going into the final round, Banteaux may have to stop his opponent to claim gold.

0824: That's a super second round from southpaw Sarsekbayev, ripping shot through the high guard of the Cuban - the Kazhak leads 7-2 after two rounds. Spain have taken bronze in the men's handball, beating Croatia 35-29 in the third-place match.

0819: To the Workers' Gymnasium, where the welterweight final has just got under way. Cuba's Oscar Banteaux, the Pan American champion, faces Asian champion Bakhyt Sarsekbayev of Kazakhstan. Banteaux beat Britain's Billy Joe Saunders in the second round, and leads 1-0 after the first round of the final.

0815: Hello! Not long to go now, but we've still got sport happening all over Beijing - the United States lead Spain 67-58 with a minute to go in the men's basketball final. PFCGirl (see below) Steve Potts is probably bigger than Jesus is China.

By Ollie Williams

It's good news for GB at the Olympics
0808: Ben Dirs has strolled in so it's down to him to carry that live text baton home. It's also down to him to watch the closing ceremony. Enjoy the privet hedge, Dirsy.

Get involved on 606
0805: "David Beckham is bigger than Jesus in China, so he gets the handover vote."
PFCGirl on 606

0803: Spain take the men's handball bronze medal, beating Croatia 35-29.

0802: There's been chaos in the Serbian team prior to their water polo bronze medal match against Montenegro. The German media (who, naturally, have their finger on the pulse of Serbian water polo) report that their top scorer and goalkeeper got into a fight with each other after they lost to the US in the semis. The goalie broke a hand, the other one sustained a "severe leg injury". Plonkers. Serbia are winning 6-1 right now, mind you.

Text in your views on 81111
0800: "As a proud Scot I have really enjoyed these Games, Team GB have been great. I think the idea of a separate Scottish team is stupid. We compete separately at the Commonwealth Games, and I can't wait till London or 2014."
Caroline in Glasgow via text on 81111

0757: Alexey Tishchenko of Russia, featherweight champion in Athens, wins lightweight boxing gold in Beijing. Not a pretty performance and the French are upset with the judging, but it's silver for their boy Daouda Sow.

Gold medal

0754: The US are starting to pull away from Spain as the first quarter of the men's basketball gold medal match draws to a close. The Redeem Team lead 38-31 at the break.

0751: Tishchenko leads Sow 10-8 going into the final round.

0746: At the end of the first round of the lightweight boxing final, Russia's Alexey Tishchenko leads France's Daouda Sow 3-2. Tischchenko lost to Frankie Gavin at last year's Worlds.

0742: A few people are asking about wild rumours concerning David Beckham, Leona Lewis, Victoria Pendleton and a privet hedge. It's all true. All of it. Have a stiff drink before you watch the closing ceremony later.

Get involved on 606
0739: "By my calculation Scotland would be 25th on the medal table. Not as good as fourth, I'll grant you, but better than the 36th that Team GB achieved in 1996."
tommyt70 on 606

0736: Having said all that, Spain are keeping in touch with the US early doors. But the US are acting as though they've not even turned the ignition on, never mind reached second gear.

0731: The US only failed to reach 100 points twice in the rounds leading up to this final. Spain have yet to reach that milestone in a game in Beijing. The omens are not good.

0729: Almost basketball gold medal time. Spain face the US in the men's final. The Redeem Team hammered the Spanish 119-82 in the pool stages, so there's going to have to be one hell of a performance to stop the US taking gold.

0725: Spain beat the Croatian moustache brigade 11-9 in the earlier water polo, by the way. Spain's men therefore take fifth overall. I'm pleased to say that's the last meaningless play-off of the entire Olympics.

0724: Mongolia missed their opportunity at a first ever boxing gold in the last bout - no mistake this time. Badar-Uugan Enkhbat defeats Cuba's Yankiel Leon.

Gold medal

0717: The men's bronze medal water polo match is about to start. Remember the deal here - Serbia take on Montenegro, four years after the two won silver competing on the same side against Hungary. Handshakes all round ahead of the... er... kick-off?

0710: Half time in the handball bronze medal match, and Croatia's men lead Spain 14-12.

0706: Heroics from Brazil's men to save the first match point, but they can do nothing with the second. The US become Olympic volleyball champions, revenge for the defeat Brazil's women inflicted on the Americans to take women's gold in Beijing.

Gold medal

0704: Match point to the US...

0701: This indoor volleyball final is gripping stuff - Brazil are desperate to stop the US tying up gold, and are throwing everything at every point. The latest rally lasted well over a minute and saw bodies strewn across the court. It's 21-20 to the US, who need to reach 25 to win the fourth set and the gold.

Get involved on 606
0659: "Great Olympics for GB and an excellent platform for 2012. Can GB replicate Becky Adlington and the cycling heroes in athletics for London?"
Kumar on 606

0656: Relief! Rob Walker has made it back to shore! Our man on the water, last seen rowing a dinghy around a fleet of Chinese trawlers while trying to bear-hug fishermen, has turned up interviewing Paul Goodison's mum on BBC One. I'd been worried we might have left the world's most enthusiastic sailing reporter to drift across the Pacific.

Text in your views on 81111
0650: "Keep the Olympics going, it's nice to wake up with Hazel Irvine in the morning."
Chris in Stockport via text on 81111

She's done well to make it to the Bird's Nest from Stockport each day.

0645: I can't get over this water polo. The Croatian team, with those moustaches, look like a phalanx of Basil Fawlty clones.

0642: Argentina polish off Lithuania in the men's basketball to take bronze, final score 87-75.

0639: Zou Shiming wraps up China's first ever boxing gold medal, although it wasn't much of a fight - looks like a hand injury to Mongolia's Serdamba Purevdorj is what forced him to drop out. That's 50 golds for China at these Games, too.

Gold medal

0636: Why is it a prerequisite for men who play water polo to have a moustache? The entire Croatian men's team are sporting identical 'taches. It's quite unnerving.

0631: The US have taken the lead in the volleyball, they're now two sets to one up over Brazil. It's best of five sets for the men's gold.

0628: Boxing starts in a moment's time with the light-flyweight final starring Mongolia and China. Ireland's Kenny Egan is up at 0851 BST. The handball bronze medal game, between Croatia and Spain, is also starting now. You know you've been watching the Olympics too long when it immediately occurs to you that Croatia and Spain are also facing each other in the water polo. (It's 5-5 there.)

Text in your views on 81111
0625: "If Taekwondo is removed from the Olympics then that would be a kick in the teeth."
Anthony in South Wales via text on 81111

Get involved on 606
0623: "I always thought that if baseball can get into the Olympics then cricket should be allowed in too. Especially Twenty20, but that would ignite the whole GB/England argument again."
Tsuyama on 606

0620: If you're just joining us, here's an ultra-brief summary of the action so far. Sammy Wanjiru won the men's marathon in style, Britain's Dan Robinson coming home 24th and doing well to avoid South Korean vomit all over the finishing line. Russia have won rhythmic gymnastics gold and volleyball bronze.

0616: Argentina are out of sight in the basketball. They're 68-49 ahead with one quarter to play against Lithuania, so it's looking like the fourth Argentine bronze of the Games.

0611: Making the news this morning is taekwondo, where things are looking bleak. After Saturday's judging intrigue and foot-meets-ref shenanigans, the sport's Olympic status may be dangling by a thread. Taekwondo survived the last vote on which sports do or don't get a berth at the Games - the next vote is in 2009, and cricket, rugby, golf and karate are all lobbying for inclusion. "There is a feeling that we won't survive the next vote," US team leader Herb Lopez has admitted.

0607: The US have won the second set in the volleyball, so they're now level with Brazil at a set apiece.

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0605: "Concerning rhythmic gymnastics, my daughter won regional championships in Canada and the US and had a chance to train with an elite team in China. My daughter trained 24 hours a week and attended school for about 34 hours a week. The Chinese girls, aged 10 and up, trained 46 hours a week and attended school for 10 hours a week! No contest."
exalll on 606
There is a reason why China are top of that medal table. I saw a documentary about a Chinese troupe of gymnasts a while back, it was jaw-dropping stuff. Dedication isn't even the word.

0559: However, the pick of the water polo matches is the bronze medal play-off between Serbia and Montenegro. As one team, they won silver in 2004, losing to Hungary in the final. Now they're playing each other for bronze. Is that what you want, Scotland? Is it? IS IT?

0554: The water polo carries on at 0600 BST when Croatia meet Spain to decide fifth and sixth. Italy have already beaten Germany for ninth, and Greece beat Australia for seventh. The US play Hungary for gold at 0840 BST.

0547: As regards mobile phone throwing tournaments (see 0535), a number of people want to know what make of phone is permissible. I don't have the information to hand, but I imagine you want to be going for something slimline. Imagine the controversy if the judges later discovered you'd removed your battery pre-throw.

0539: Argentina are pulling away from Lithuania in the basketball. It's 46-34 to Argentina at the halfway mark in their men's bronze medal match.

0538: "I'm looking forward to going back to school - I can't believe I just said that, but I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and just being a normal kid."
GB's 14-year-old diver Tom Daley

All well and good, but when he sits down to write about how he spent his holidays, it's going to read slightly differently to most.

0535: The Olympics might be drawing to a close, but competitive sport carries on around the globe. Also taking place this weekend, in Estonia, is the annual world mobile phone throwing tournament. The world record of 94.97m is currently held by Finnish window-maker Mikko Lampi. That's window-maker, with an N. Don't suppose anybody has tried this at home? (And, legally, I'm obliged to point out I could never condone this reckless activity... but 94.97m is certainly something to work on.)

0527: I hope you're not eating your breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) yet. We have just seen a photo from the Bird's Nest showing a South Korean marathon runner losing his last meal at the finish line. It is quite spectacular. I'll not go into any further detail. Brazil win the first set in their volleyball final against the US, 25-20.

0521: Argentina are 24-21 up over Lithuania after the first period of the men's basketball. Brazil lead the US in the volleyball, possibly as a result of their greater dedication - one Brazilian player, chasing a lost cause, leaps over the barriers and into the crowd in an attempt to reach the ball. No injuries, but a photographer had to take swift evasive action. Indoor volleyball and derring-do are not terms I'd usually associate with each other.

0518: Belarus leap into bronze medal position with 34.900 and Israel, last to go I think, need a massive score. So Russia definitely win gold and China take silver. Never in my life did I think I'd be writing out a blow-by-blow account of a rhythmic gymnastics final but it's intense stuff! Plus, let's be honest, we're not spoilt for too much choice here.

Gold medal

0513: "You are right about the rhythmic gymnastics - it's five in the morning and I can't stop watching it!"
N in London via text on 81111

A text message I bet you thought you'd never write.

0511: The Chinese gymnastics team look thrilled with that - again, they're doing things with hoops that I can only dream of. A huge 17.650 score gives them 35.225 overall and puts them into silver medal contention behind the Russians. The fact that China haven't gone above Russia is testament to just how good the Russians are at this.

0507: Italy rack up a 17.425 on the hoops, which puts them second overall as the Chinese come out for their final rhythmic gymnastics appearance. As usual there is enormous home support. Can they carry on winning medals to the last?

0505: Meanwhile, over at the Wukesong sports centre, Lithuania are playing Argentina for men's basketball bronze. Argentina have a 10-6 lead early in the first.

0503: The US men have started their quest for volleyball gold against Brazil.

If Egan wins his bout later, it'll be his country's first Olympic boxing gold since Michael Carruth took the welterweight title in Barcelona in 1992.

If family connections are anything to go by, it may just be written in the stars for the Dubliner. Egan was trained from childhood to the senior ranks by Noel Humpson, Carruth's late uncle.

0459: The seconds continue to slip by until the end of the Games. One of the last highlights will be Irish boxer Kenny Egan fighting home favourite Zhang Xiaoping for light-heavyweight boxing gold at 0851 BST.

0456: This rhythmic gymnastics event is incredibly skilful. The Azerbaijan team aren't likely medal contenders, and the commentators are picking out flaws with their trained eyes, but this team of five girls are performing miracles with hoops, set to music. Essentially it's competitive dancing and if you're in the UK, have a look at the live video. Not a sport too many in Britain are familiar with. Could we have a team in the 2012 final?

0452: Russia move to 35.550 overall for the rhythmic gymnastics. That score looks as though it'll hand them gold. Azerbaijan have done well just to reach the final, and their team now have an unlikely shot at toppling the Russians.

0444: Poland come from behind to beat Russia 29-28 in a nail-biter at the men's handball. Poland go fifth overall, Russia sixth. The men's bronze medal game, between Croatia and Spain, follows at 0630 BST.

Get involved on 606
0441: "Chris Hoy? But he's from the newly independent Olympic state of Scotland!"
lantautim on 606

0437: China score a whopping 17.575 from the judges (yes, judges again) in the rhythmic gymnastics. That gives them third place behind Belarus and Russia at the halfway point. The Italians are protesting! You get four minutes to make a written protest in this sport, and they are complaining about their low 17.000 mark. The jury must now review the video. Hopefully no kicks to the head to debate this time.

Chris Hoy
0435: "It is a huge honour to be carrying the flag at the closing ceremony. When you consider the standard of the team it is a very special honour for me."
Chris Hoy

BBC Sport
0429: BREAKING NEWS - Chris Hoy confirmed to carry the British flag at the Olympic closing ceremony.

0426: Beautiful work from Ukraine in the rhythmic gymnastics, performing wonders with neon green ropes. The green, coupled with their black outfits, gives them the look of a team straight out of The Matrix. They score 15.975 in total, which is a little harsh.

0421: Russia have just beaten Italy in the men's volleyball to take bronze. They wrapped up the third set 25-23 to win 3-0 overall.

Get involved on 606
0418: "Make your own fun:
1. Watch the stream of the rhythmic gymnastics
2. Turn off the sound
3. Put on some dodgy 70s rock or disco track
I promise you will feel like you are watching an old Top of the Pops, with Hot Chocolate dancing away!"
devonmarc on 606

Text in your views on 81111
0415: "Like many Scots, I would feel greater pride watching the flag of Scotland rise up the Olympic pole than the UK flag that the world calls 'England'."
Dave in Fife, via text on 81111, poking a big stick firmly into a hornets' nest

0412: I have had confirmation, by the way, that BMX star Shanaze Reade won't play any part in the London handover ceremony later on Sunday. She had been due to cycle into the arena in pursuit of a double decker bus, alongside Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, but that's a bit tricky when you've broken your hand.

0410: Jake, via text, points out that if Britain are going to augment their medal total by annexing other countries (see 0336), there's no point settling for third. Why not enter into union with China? That'd make sure of first place. Another anonymous texter suggests that Queen Elizabeth II's territories are now up to 45 golds, "well ahead of Bush". It's this kind of buoyant optimism that was lacking in our earlier discussion about Scotland having its own team.

0404: The team rhythmic gymnastics has just started. Belarus are currently out in the arena, sporting pink, black and orange outfits. The commentators are impressed. I will be relying on their judgement because, I'll be honest, my knowledge of this discipline isn't what it used to be.

0356: Half time in the handball and Russia lead Poland in a close game, 15-14.

0352: Russia take the second set 25-19, which makes their men's volleyball game against Italy start to look like a bit of a procession. They're now two sets up and closing in on bronze.

0350: On 606 I am being asked if we happen to have a map showing where all the Chinese gold medallists came from. Given we have already established that our map guru doesn't work weekends, that may take me a while. I might leave that in the hands of Ben Dirs, the final live texter of the 2008 Olympic Games, later today.

Dan Robinson
0345: "They went off so quickly in the first kilometre I deliberately backed off the pace. But I always thought more athletes would start coming back and they did. I'm a little disappointed not to make the top 20, but you can only do what you can."
GB's Dan Robinson, who finished 24th in the marathon

0341: Russia are leading Poland 12-6 in the men's handball battle for fifth and sixth, in the first half.

0336: Surely if Britain want to go one better at London 2012 and finish third, the team need to add countries to their ranks rather than devolve into separate English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish teams? Let's say Russia pick up a couple more golds today, which is more than likely. That'd leave them on 23 in total. If Britain had shown a little foresight and quietly occupied Kenya prior to Beijing, that'd add five to the GB(K) total - 24 golds.

0328: Russia have taken the first set in their men's indoor volleyball bronze medal match against Italy.

0323: Pip in Kidderminster asks if BBC One will be showing any handball in their next show. To be honest, Pip, if they don't show any handball, there'll be precious little show - there are four handball matches today, more than any other sport still going. And even if it's not on telly, rest assured that handball via live text commentary is equally as scintillating and dramatic.

0316: Just looking at that map, Scotland have one gold medallist. Admittedly he's the legendary Chris Hoy, but that's one medallist, three golds. Wales have three, of which only one, Nicole Cooke, won their gold as an individual. The others - Geraint Thomas (cycling) and Tom James (rowing) - won as part of teams where the remainder were English. Every other gold medallist is from England. I will confess that surprised me. If an English Olympic squad had successfully replaced James and Thomas in their respective teams, England, on their own, would have made fifth place in the medal table.

0309: With the discussion earlier about Scotland wanting its own Olympic team, now may be the time to study the BBC's map of where all 27 British gold medallists came from. (Nineteen gold medals, yes, but 27 people earned them.) London's James DeGale is not shown, but he's from Hammersmith. It would seem our map maker doesn't work weekends, then.

0305: I find it a little upsetting that the only event going on right now, anywhere at the Olympics, is the indoor volleyball bronze medal match. I have nothing against volleyball but... it's... it's really ending, isn't it? Seven or eight hours and that's all the sport, done. Can we not hold all the sports' 2009 world championships at the same time? In the same place?

Get involved on 606
0303: "Our middle and long-distance effort really has collapsed hasn't it? I remember as a kid in the 1980s that it seemed to be a main focus for our sporting excellence - it's a shame that's been lost."
WycombeDad on 606

0258: Coming up we've got the men's indoor volleyball bronze medal match, between Italy and Russia, which is about to start. At 0315 BST there's handball, then at 0400 it's the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final. That'll see us through the next couple of hours.

Get involved on 606
0253: "Fantastic distance running from Wanjiru, he completely deserved that win. He's only 21 too, so he has a bright future ahead of him."
Golden Boots Robbie Keane on 606

0250: I wonder how the supporters in the Bird's Nest feel. The marathon is now over - the next event at the stadium is the closing ceremony, at 1300 BST. That's ten hours with nothing to do. I hope they brought some snacks and a crossword mag.

0248: And there is Britain's Dan Robinson, still giving it a fair old lick round the track, putting in a time just outside his personal best. The 33-year-old crosses the line 24th place, in a time just outside the two hour and 16 minute mark. Good effort, son. Now go home and become a dad. Not a bad present for finishing your Olympic event, is it?

0245: Athens champion Stefano Baldini finishes a creditable 12th, and confirmation appears on my screen that Sammy Wanjiru's time - 2:06.32 - is an Olympic record. That run, in those conditions, is beyond words really.

0244: For the first time since 1896, no British male has finished in the top eight in any middle or long-distance event at the Olympics. Ouch. When I see Dan Robinson, I'll shout.

0241: It's practically a sprint finish for bronze between Ethiopia's Deriba Merga and Tsegay Kebede... Kebede glides past! How gutting must that be for Merga, who's been up with the leading pack for miles and miles, but now he's run out of puff at the crucial moment. Kebede pushes himself home for bronze and it's fourth - the worst place to finish at the Games - for Merga. How tempted would you have been to trip the other guy up? I feel for him.

0238: Sammy Wanjiru wins marathon gold for Kenya in a time of two hours, six minutes and 32 seconds, an incredible time given the conditions, and a stunning run for a man aged just 21. Morocco's Jaouad Gharib takes silver, with nobody yet in sight to take bronze.

Gold medal

0236: Wanjiru rumbles on, into the tunnel that leads him out into the cauldron that is the Bird's Nest. And here he is, to huge applause, taking to the stadium track...

0234: Two kilometres to go and Sammy Wanjiru reckons he's got this one in the bag as he runs around the perimeter of the Bird's Nest. Soon he'll turn into the stadium for what looks like certain gold.

0232: The Ling Long Pagoda - home to BBC Sport's studios in Beijing - looms large in front of Wanjiru as the marathon enters its closing stages. The athletes will now head back to the Bird's Nest for the finish.

0231: The pace is slowing right down in the marathon, with Steve Cram reckoning two hours and 12 minutes might be a reasonable marker now. Sammy Wanjiru has a healthy lead now - 17 seconds over Jaouad Gharib, and more than a minute over the rest.

Text in your views on 81111
0228: "Speaking as a Scot, I'm embarrassed yet again by the Scottish government. This is Britain, Scotland will s

Text 81111
(with "OLYMPICS" as first word - UK users only)

At-a-glance medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 China 51 21 28 100
2 USA 36 38 36 110
3 Russia 23 21 28 72
4 Great Britain 19 13 15 47
5 Germany 16 10 15 41
6 Australia 14 15 17 46
7 South Korea 13 10 8 31
8 Japan 9 6 10 25
9 Italy 8 10 10 28
10 France 7 16 17 40

see also
London takes over as Olympic host
24 Aug 08 |  London 2012
Beijing bids farewell to Olympics
24 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Olympics closing ceremony photos
24 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Organisers hail 'glorious' Games
25 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Beijing primed for Olympic finale
24 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Hoy selected to carry flag for GB
24 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Marathon gold for Kenya's Wanjiru
24 Aug 08 |  Athletics
United States win volleyball gold
24 Aug 08 |  Volleyball

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