08/12/2012 02:33 EDT | Updated 10/11/2012 05:12 EDT

EYES ON LONDON: Team USA plays for basketball gold, Bolt gets his baton back

LONDON - Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavour and details of the games to you:



Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the glittering American basketball team face Spain on Sunday for Olympic gold only hours before London shuts down its successful Summer Games.

"I just want to go out the right way," Bryant said. "You know, go out the right way by winning a gold medal."

When the next Summer Olympics arrive at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Bryant will be pushing 38. Old for basketball legs, indeed. The Los Angeles Lakers' star turned 30 during his Olympic debut four years ago in Beijing while still in his basketball prime.

Bryant said he doesn't expect to play in Rio: "I'm looking forward to going and watching."

— Janie McCauley — Twitter



Jamaica's Yohan Blake on the 4x100 world record:

"We're not normal. To run 36 is not normal. We're flying. People call us robots. I said, no, we're from space. We drop from the sky like Mr. Bean. Because when he started he dropped out of the sky. It's just the fun stuff, you know, that we always do. I'm from Mars because I'm not normal. I'm the beast."

Usain Bolt goes afterward:

"I've told Yohan he needs to stop talking like that because people are going to put him in a straight jacket."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



Britain's Mo Farah says he had extra motivation to win the 5,000 metres on Saturday night.

He already had one gold medal from the London Olympics — won a week ago in the 10,000 metres — and it was imperative that he make a pair.

"These two gold medals mean the world to me, because my wife is carrying twins," Farah explained. "I didn't want to have just one gold medal, and then have twins."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



Usain Bolt thought he'd been stymied by another one of the pesky rules at the London Games.

He asked to keep the baton from the world record 4x100 men's relay team Saturday night and was told no by an Olympics officials. The crowd booed, and Bolt walked away disgusted.

Eventually, it was returned.

"I asked and I guess somebody talked to the guy and said you need to give him that back. So I got it," Bolt said.

Bolt said its the first baton he's ever asked for, and he asked his three Jamaican teammates to sign it. They also posed for a picture he plans to frame and hang with the baton.

Bolt said the only other picture he has in his home is of the relay handoff four years ago in Beijing.

Blake said Bolt's desire to get the baton showed his teammates how special the night was to the six-time gold medallist .

"He's not sure about the next Olympics. He say he want a legacy of his own; he want to start his collection," Blake said. "That's why he wanted the baton so much, so all us can sign it and he can frame it."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



Tough to remember a group of people looking so miserable receiving flowers as Brazil's silver-medal soccer team, following the surprising loss to Mexico. The players made American gymnast McKayla Maroney look happy.

— David Bauder — Twitter



"We're very satisfied with our goal. Ultimately it was a lofty goal (30 medals) but we said we wanted to get medals in everything from the 100 to the 10,000 and in the field events and we were able to do that. ... It was contagious. When you get that kind of competitive rivalry from the hurdles to the decathlon, it spreads to the rest of the team." — U.S. men's coach Andrew Valmon on the American team's medal haul.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



"I think the pressure was on to go out and do what we are capable of doing. I think we finally hit the mark this time. We hit the centre of the target. We got it done." — DeeDee Trotter on the U.S. track team's goal to win 30 medals at the London Olympics.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



How does the fastest man in the world celebrate sweeping all three of his events in a second consecutive Olympics?

Usain Bolt kept his plans close to the vest after the Jamaicans set a world record in the 4x100 relay.

"I don't know if (a party) is in the making, but I'm going out," Bolt said.

He wouldn't give up the location, either. But he said he wouldn't be out with the three Swedish handball players who helped him celebrate his win in the 100 metres.

"They are not here. They actually left the next day. Too bad, ain't it?" he smiled.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



What's next after the pool for Michael Phelps? Improving his golf game.

Golf Channel said Phelps has signed on as the next star of "The Haney Project," the series that depicts Tiger Woods' former swing coach trying to improve the game of a celebrity guest.

Now retired from swimming, Phelps said he's looking for things to keep him motivated.

"We look forward to chronicling Michael's transition from the most-decorated Olympian in history to a frustrated golfer trying to enjoy playing the world's greatest golf courses," said Mike McCarley, network president. "Golfers everywhere will be able to relate to his quest to improve his game."

— David Bauder — Twitter



More from Jamaica's Usain Bolt after his team posted a world-record time of 36.84 seconds in the 4x100 relay Saturday night.

What else do you want?

"Right now nothing. I've done what I wanted to do. My coach and I will discuss what we need to. But right now I have no goals, I'm just like a bum."

Does the race make you more of a legend?

"It's just to top it off. To put a double triple, that's what it's done."

Want to try something else besides sprints?

"I definitely do, but I need to talk to my coach. He's leaning toward 400s because I've heard him mumbling. But I'm leaning away from that. I think it's going to be an intense conversations."

Why not the 400 metre?

"Have you seen the training routine for 400 metre runners? I'll (throw up) a lot more, and I don't want to do that. I like my lunch."

Talk to coach when?

"I think earlier. We've got to discuss what we're going to do before we start training, we need the right programs."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



There was no disappointment for France in taking home the silver medal in women's basketball. The French knew they were up against an almost unbeatable American team, and the sting of a 36-point loss was quickly washed over by a sense of accomplishment higher than any women's team in the country's history.

Thousands of French fans serenaded them with cheers and song, waving flags and applauding a team that advanced to the final in its second Olympic appearance.

Players were equally jubilant, just happy to play in a game against a U.S. team that has won five gold medals in a row and 41 straight games.

"It's amazing," point guard Celine Dumerc says of her silver. "It's heavy. It's wonderful. It's huge. It's a dream."

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



Here's what two American sprinters have to say about coming in second to Usain Bolt and the Jamaican men, who posted a world-record time of 36.84 seconds in the 4x100 relay Saturday night.

Ryan Bailey, who ran the last leg of the relay and got the baton at same time as Bolt:

"Wow. He's a monster. He's a monster."

Justin Gatlin:

"Bolt's just a great athlete. He's pushing the boundaries for track and field. I don't fold under the pressure: I want to be right there to push not only the sport but to help (Bolt) get better."

Is he a legend?

"Why not? He's run the times and he's broken the records. I can definitely give him the title of that — he's a living legend."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



Keshorn Walcott went into the finals of the javelin hoping only for a good performance.

He finished with the first gold medal ever for Trinidad and Tobago in a field event.

"It wasn't the most popular event in Trinidad and Tobago. Hopefully now it will be known more," he said. "I'm more than stunned, I'm surprised with my performance. I just went into the final to enjoy.

"So coming out with a gold medal is a feeling I can't really explain."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



The U.S. women's basketball team is used to celebrating gold medals. They've done it five times in a row.

But it never gets old for them. The smiles, hugs and dancing Saturday night in London made it look like the first time all over again.

For some of the Americans it is. Players Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Angel McCoughtry, Tina Charles and Asjha Jones and coach Geno Auriemma all picked up their first gold medals.

And even Olympic veteran Diana Taurasi, who got her third gold medal, was reduced to tears as she stepped to the top spot on the podium.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



"I'm glad I got the medal. That's the part of my heart that was missing. I think I finally filled it. Sometimes it's bittersweet when you lose, I'm just happy to get a medal." — Tyson Gay, who was devastated when he failed to medal in the 100 metres, after winning first career medal — silver — on the U.S. 4x100 metre men's relay team Saturday night.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



The fifth straight gold was never in doubt for the U.S. women's basketball team.

Candace Parker scored 21 points and the Americans rolled to a 86-50 victory over France on Saturday, cementing their status as Team USA's other Dream Team. With a cavalcade of stars, the American women have won 41 straight games and haven't shown even the slightest signs of vulnerability.

The French started out plucky, leading early in the second quarter. But Parker's coast-to-coast drives and a suffocating defence turned a 12-point halftime lead into a blowout midway through the third quarter.

It was the first gold medal for coach Geno Auriemma, who has led the UConn women to seven national titles.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



"It's unbelievable. I think about how I ended in Beijing, just feeling discouraged there. Four years later, to have all this happen, to really accomplish every goal that I set out, it such a blessing. London is very special to me." — U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix on winning three gold medals at the London Olympics, including one Saturday night in the women's 4x400 metres relay.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



It turns out gold wasn't the Americans' Destinee after all.

Star scorer Destinee Hooker and the U.S. women's volleyball team lost to Brazil in the gold medal game on Saturday, 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.

The United States has never won gold in women's volleyball. But with Hugh McCutcheon taking over as coach after leading the men to gold in Beijing and Hooker spiking the Americans to a spotless Olympic record coming into the final, the Americans looked to have their best gold chances yet.

But Brazil won three straight sets after getting dominated in the first to repeat as Olympic champions. The upset left Americans players sobbing and Brazilians turning somersaults on the court.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



Candace Parker is doing a little bit of everything to help Team USA try to grab its fifth straight women's basketball gold medal. She's been electric, overpowering.

She's scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half to help the Americans take control with a 37-25 lead over France at halftime.

Parker has the height of a centre, the handle of a point guard and the instincts to tie it all together.

She's shown it all in the gold medal game, twice taking the ball coast-to-coast on the break, finishing one with a pretty scoop layup to get the Americans, and the crowd, rolling.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter


EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.