LONDON - The second-last day of the London Games turned out to be a lot like the few before it: several hundred thousand spectators flocking to the Olympic Park under sunny skies in the hope of seeing another world record fall at the main stadium.
Usain Bolt, already the winner of golds in the 100 and 200 metres at consecutive games — the first person to achieve that at the Olympics — will have a chance to make it a third gold Saturday in the 4x100-meter relay with Jamaica.
While Bolt won all three with world-record times in Beijing, his victories in the two individual sprints were outside the world marks he set in 2009. Chances are that could change with the heavily favoured Jamaicans in the short relay.
On Friday, Allyson Felix won her second Olympic gold medal and added a world record as she helped the U.S. women's relay team power past its Jamaican rivals in the 4x100 metres. On Thursday, David Rudisha of Kenya set a new mark in the 800.
Another Olympian known as the "Usain Bolt on Water" — sprint kayaker Ed McKeever — won the first gold medal of 32 to be presented Saturday. McKeever won the inaugural 200-meter K-1 sprint event at Dorney Lake west of London, the 26th gold medal for Britain.
McKeever said the anticipation of competing in front of his home crowd caused a sleepless night.
"This morning I woke up at five o'clock and I was like a kid at Christmas, just waiting to open his presents," McKeever said before the medal presentations. "And I'm going to go and get my present in a minute."
The gorgeous weather — temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (about 75 Fahrenheit) — made the country and its resilient citizens forget about the near-continuous rain that plagued the leadup to the games.
And with no major security issues, a transportation system that worked well most of the time and thousands of friendly, chatty volunteers, the country and the games were in a good place.
The gold medal count gave them another reason to smile — Britain's 26 puts it in third place in the gold medal race behind the United States (41) and China (37) with the Americans looking favourably placed to win the overall race after the completion of all 302 events on Sunday.
In other early medals Saturday, Sergei Kirdyapkin of Russia won gold in the men's 50-kilometre walk, breaking the Olympic record by more than a minute. Julie Bresset of France won the women's mountain biking gold and Russia's Evgeniya Kanaeva became the first woman to win two Olympic rhythmic gymnastics all-around titles.
China is poised to finish with gold in the final diving event of the games. Qiu Bo and Lin Yue led the 10-meter platform semifinals Saturday, while defending champion Matthew Mitcham of Australia failed to qualify in 13th. Only the top 12 finishers advanced to the final later Saturday.
Local favourite Tom Daley of Britain, the 2009 world champion, earned loud cheers as he placed fourth, moving up from 15th overnight.
"That's diving for you, anything can happen," Daley said.
Back at the main stadium, the hopes of the host nation will again be pinned on long-distance dynamo Mo Farah, who hopes to add the 5,000 to the 10,000 title he won last Saturday.
In the women's 800, defending champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya is favourite with world champion Mariya Savinova of Russia and 2009 champion Caster Semenya of South Africa also likely to be among the podium threats.
With the end of athletics Saturday, the stadium will make way for Sunday's closing ceremony. The early word is that the 80,000-seat venue will be transformed into a giant jukebox of British pop, with The Spice Girls and The Who among the acts set to perform.
In other Olympic news, a female Syrian athlete has been kicked out of the games for doping. The IOC said 400-meter hurdler Ghfran Almouhamad tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine on Aug. 3. The backup "B'' sample confirmed the positive finding.
The 23-year-old athlete finished eighth and last in her first-round heat on Aug. 5.
And the IOC has told South Korean officials to bar a football player from collecting his bronze medal on Saturday after he displayed a flag with a political message at the third-place match against Japan.
The IOC said it has opened its own investigation into the South Korea national flag paraded after Friday's match. It carried a slogan supporting Korean sovereignty of islets which are disputed territory between it and Japan.
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