Michael Phelps Wins Gold in Last Solo Race; Missy Franklin Sets New Record

PHOTO: United States Michael Phelps at the Aquatics Centerduring the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Aug. 2, 2012.
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In his last individual race as an Olympic swimmer, American Michael Phelps won his 21st medal and 17th gold of his career in the 100-meter butterfly final.

It was a fitting end to an era of American swimming defined by Phelps, who also set the world record for the event.

"I just wanted this one to be a win. We can smile and be happy. It was fun," Phelps said when he got out of the pool in London's Aquatics Centre.

Phelps will have one more chance to add to his medal count Saturday, when he competes in the relay team in the 4x100-meter medley event.

Minutes earlier, Missy Franklin set the world record in the 200-meter backstroke final by nearly a second, winning her fourth medal and third gold of the 2012 Olympics.

Franklin, a 17-year-old rising high school senior from suburban Denver, said she dedicated all of her Olympic accomplishments to the victims of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that killed 12 people and left 58 others injured.

In perhaps Olympic swimming's most grueling event, the 800-meter freestyle, 15-year-old American Katie Ledecky won the gold and narrowly missed the world record time. Ledecky, the youngest U.S. swimmer in London, was on pace to break the record for the first seven laps of the race, but she slowed significantly in the eighth and final lap.

On the tennis court, Britain's Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic of Serbia in two 7-5 sets in the men's singles semifinals.

Murray's win forces a Wimbledon rematch with Roger Federer in Sunday's final as the Swiss player comes closer than he ever has to the one title that has eluded his illustrious career, an Olympic gold medal. In a record-setting 4 hours and 25 minutes, Federer defeated Juan Martin del Potro to advance to the finals, taking the third and final set in 19 to 17 games against the Argentine.

In a new sportsmanship scandal, Olympic officials said they were aware that a British cyclist said he deliberately crashed his bike during a race today so it could be started over, but have no plans to investigate or change the results of the race.The British team won the restarted race.

British cyclist Philip Hindes admits he fell on purpose.

"If we have a bad start we need to crash to get a restart," he told reporters.

Just days ago, the International Olympic Committee disqualified eight badminton players for throwing their matches to get favorable seeds. South Korean, Chinese and Indonesian teams were ejected from the Games, and fans at Wembley Arena booed them off the court.

Hindes fell at the first bend of the team sprint final against France, forcing a restart.

"I just crashed. I did it on purpose to get a restart, just to have the fastest ride. I did it. So it was all planned, really," Hindes said immediately after the race, according to the Associated Press. He backtracked at the press conference later, saying he lost control of his bike.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the result is "not in question."

"They are obviously aware of the situation, and at this stage they don't see any reason to question the result. At this stage neither do we," Adams told reporters, according to the AP.

Though French cycling officials said their competitors would not have crashed intentionally, they maintained that Hindes broke no rules and did not enter a complaint about the incident.

"You have to make the most of the rules. You have to play with them in a competition and no one should complain about that," said Isabelle Gautheron, the French team's technical director, according to the AP.

As the Games were hit with their second sportsmanship controversy, history was made on the judo mat as Saudi Arabia's first female Olympian competed in her debut match.

Wojdan Shaherkani, a 16-year-old from Mecca, lost in 82 seconds in an elimination match against Puerto Rican Melissa Mojica, who ranks 13th in the world. The end of her Olympic run, though, was overshadowed by the momentousness of her short-lived presence on the mat.

"I'm excited and proud to be representing my country," Shaherkani said in a statement after the match. "Unfortunately I lost, but I'll do better next time."

Shaherkani competed in a hijab, or headscarf, after being exempted from judo's notoriously strict rules about dress.

In women's soccer, the Americans advanced to the semifinals with a 2-0 shutout of New Zealand Friday. Abby Wambach, who scored the lone goal of the U.S. victory over North Korea Tuesday, put her team on the scoreboard in the 27th minute. For insurance, teammate Sydney Leroux carried the ball on a half-field breakway to score a second goal.

The Americans will face off the winner of Monday's match between Canada and Britain.

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