Sobbing 'Superman' leads Games shocks

Felix Sanchez cried like a baby as he led a night of shocks at the Olympics, with Russia's pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva dethroned and the men's 400m title prised from American hands.

Sanchez, with his famous Superman tattoo and trainers inscribed with "Abuela" (Spanish for "grandmother"), defied all expectations when he regained his 400m hurdles title, at the age of 34 and after a gap of eight years.

Unbelievably, Sanchez clocked the same time, 47.63sec, as his winning run at Athens 2004.

After the finish he fell to his knees and plucked a photograph of his grandmother, whose death he learned of on the day of the 2008 Olympic heats, from his vest. On the victory podium, he wept uncontrollably.

It wasn't the only surprise on a night when Isinbayeva, who has long ruled women's pole vault, failed in her bid for a third straight Olympic title, with the gold medal going to America's Jennifer Suhr.

Isinbayeva has broken the world record 28 times (13 indoor and 15 outdoor), and is the only woman to clear five metres. But on a cool night at the Olympic Stadium, she could not leap higher than 4.70m and had to settle for bronze.

Suhr won the tense contest with a vault of 4.75m. Cuba's Yarisley Silva cleared the same height but paid the price for a failed attempt at 4.45m as she was awarded silver.

Teenager Kirani James then became the first non-American 400m winner since 1980, with a blistering win that he said would spark jubilation in his home country of Grenada.

"It's a lot. The whole place is going crazy right now. I can't explain, I'm so excited," he said.

World champion James, 19, outclassed the field to finish in 43.94sec, time that prompted US great Michael Johnson to wonder if his 1999 record of 43.18sec may finally fall.

"I am sure he will have a world record in his sights -- my world record - and he could very well be the one to break it," Johnson told BBC TV.

After another 18 medals were settled on day 10, China remained two clear of the United States at the top of the medals table with 31 golds. Hosts Great Britain were third with 18.

But the campaign of Italy's 50km walk champion Alex Schwazer was over after he admitted doping and said his career was over, following a failed test for banned blood-booster EPO.

"My career is over. I made a mistake," Schwazer, 27, told ANSA news agency by telephone. "I wanted to be stronger for this Olympics, I was wrong."

Algeria's 1500m medal contender Taoufik Makhloufi was disqualified, and then reinstated, for not trying in his 800m heat, in an unusual turn of events that recalled the Games' badminton match-throwing scandal.

And American judoka Nicholas Delpopolo was kicked out after admitting eating food spiked with marijuana -- although he said he did it by "mistake".

Usain Bolt emerged from late-night celebrations and warned he was "ready to go again" after retaining his 100m title on Sunday. The Jamaican, seeking his second successive Olympic sprint treble, is in the 200m heats on Tuesday.

Despite his heavy schedule, the relaxed Bolt found time to party with three members of Sweden's women's handball team, tweeting a picture of them together in the small hours of Monday morning.

Former world judo champion Edith Bosch said she tackled a man who threw a plastic bottle onto the track as the 100m started. The man, a vending-machine technician from northern England, was later arrested.

Jason Kenny claimed Britain's sixth track cycling gold of the Games as he beat France's Gregory Bauge in the men's sprint, to deafening noise at the Olympic Park Velodrome.

Britain also ended a 60-year wait for team show jumping gold at Greenwich Park, while their men's basketball team won for the first ever time at an Olympics, 90-58 against China.

China's triple Olympic champion gymnast Chen Yibing announced his retirement after being edged by Brazil's Arthur Zanetti in the men's rings final. Xu Lijia's women's Laser sailing win was China's only gold medal of the day.

Meanwhile American swimming great Michael Phelps defended Chinese prodigy Ye Shiwen and said it was "sad" that her Olympic performances had been greeted with scepticism.

"It's kind of sad that people have a great swim and that's the first thing they say," Phelps said in an interview with CNN.

Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez celebrates after winning the men's 400m hurdles final at the London Olympics on August 6. Sanchez defied all expectations when he regained his 400m hurdles title, at the age of 34 and after a gap of eight years.

Graphic showing medals table for leading countries after Monday's events.

Grenada's Kirani James celebre after winning the men's 400m final at the London Olympics on August 6. James became the first non-American 400m winner since 1980, with a blistering win that he said would spark jubilation in his home country of Grenada.

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva fails her last attempt in the women's pole vault final at the London Olympics on August 6. Isinbayeva, who has long ruled women's pole vault, failed in her bid for a third straight Olympic title, with the gold medal going to America's Jennifer Suhr.


Join us Wednesday on FANGO for live chat, polls, trivia and more as Sally Pearson hurdles for gold.

Olympic events on FANGO:

Wednesday, August 8, 3.50am: Sally Pearson and the 100m hurdles.

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