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Gay Watch at the Olympics: U.S. women win gold medal in soccer thriller

(Editor’s note: Gay Watch at the Olympics is a regular feature keeping track of the nearly two dozen LGBT athletes at London 2012. But here is a spoiler alert! In the U.S., NBC is tape-delaying much of the London 2012 Olympics on its various stations, yet live-streaming on the Internet. Some of the results listed below may not have yet been broadcast in your area.)

Playing like heavyweight champions, the United States won the gold medal in women’s soccer with a hard-fought 2-1 thriller over Japan on Thursday at the London 2012 Olympics.

A total of 80,203 people packed London’s historic Wimbley Stadium, the hallowed home of British football, and loudly cheered for the two best teams in soccer. It was the biggest crowd to ever see a woman’s soccer match in Olympic history.

The Americans won their third consecutive gold medal at the Olympics and their fourth overall since 1996. The U.S. won the silver medal in 2000.

Japan won the silver and Canada, which beat France 1-0, took home the bronze.

For the Americans, the victory was sweet redemption after losing a heartbreaker to Japan on penalty kicks in the 2011 World Cup championship.

Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the U.S., in the 8th minute and the 54th minute, to power the Americans to a 2-0 lead. Yuki Ogima scored in the 63rd minute for the only other goal.

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was sensational in the game, making three spectacular saves against Japan. Two of her saves came in the first half after the U.S. had taken a one-goal lead, when Japan put intense pressure on the net. Both shots were deflected by a leaping Solo, hitting the crossbar and bounding away.

Megan Rapinoe, the lesbian who started as a midfielder, was shifted to the left side in this game and seemed out of her element. She played solidly, but didn’t collect any statistics in the box score. U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, who is also a lesbian, substituted for Rapinoe with the fresh legs of Lauren Cheney in the 57th minute. Rapinoe cheered her mates from the sideline seats.

After the game, Rapinoe wrapped herself in the U.S. flag and wept tears of joy.

Women’s basketball

The United States roared from behind at halftime to defeat Australia 86-73 in the semifinals of women’s basketball.

Next up is the gold medal game against the winner of Russia vs. France.

Seimone Augustus, the only out athlete on the U.S. team, again came off the bench and played almost 16 minutes. She scored eight points in four-of-six shooting, collected one offensive rebounds and three defensive rebounds, and doled out one assist.

Individual dressage

The two gay men competing in individual dressage finished in the Top 10 but did not win medals on Thursday in London.

Carl Hester of Great Britain rode his horse Uthopia to a fifth-place finish, while Edward Gal of the Netherlands rode Undercover to a ninth-place finish. Hester won a gold medal for Great Britian in team dressage.

(Editor’s note: Ken Williams, Editor in Chief of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, is a former sports writer who has watched every single Olympic Games since he was a kid. He has covered a Super Bowl for Scripps-Howard News, and has attended several World Series games, soccer and baseball playoff games, and even a World Cup soccer match. Williams will be keeping an eye on the LGBT Olympians at the London 2012 Olympics in his ongoing column, Gay Watch at the Olympics.)