Bolt is the best in the world, ever – official

Bolt followed up the 100 and 200m double with his third gold in the final event, taking his all-time tally to eight.

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That matches American trio Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix but the Jamaican moved ahead by virtue of his two silvers from 2007.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also completed the hat-trick as Jamaica won the women’s 4×100 relay in the second-fastest time ever, giving them all six sprint golds in Moscow to bring a smile back to the Caribbean island following the doping cloud surrounding the build-up to Moscow.

On a high-quality final day, there was a Kenyan middle-distance double as Asbel Kiprop retained his 1,500 metres title and Eunice Sum took a surprise gold in the women’s 800.

Frenchman Teddy Tamgho delivered the third-longest leap in history as he soared 18.04 metres to win the triple jump and Christina Obergfoell’s javelin victory gave Germany their fourth field event gold.

Traditionally athletics programmes ended with the 4x400m relay but such is Bolt’s worldwide selling power that recent events have been rejigged to ensure the Jamaican gets top billing.

Jamaica were pipped by Britain in the heats but the favourites drafted in Bolt and Nickel Ashmeade, while the U.S., unusually, used the same four in their evening heat as in the final.

Initially it seemed to be working in the Americans’ favour as they led approaching the final bend but Rakieem Salaam’s handover to Justin Gatlin left the individual 100m runner-up off balance. He clearly strayed into the Jamaicans’ lead outside him but somehow escaped disqualification.

It made no difference to Bolt, who streaked clear to complete victory in 37.36 seconds, the sixth-fastest ever, with the U.S. in 37.66

Britain, another nation with a painful history of relay foul ups, crossed the line third but were disqualified for a late changeover. That promoted Canada on to the podium and somewhat made amends for the 2012 Olympics when they were disqualified after finishing third.

Bolt delighted the crowed with a celebratory Cossack dance, not easy for someone 6ft 5ins (1.95 metres) tall, before parading round the track with his three medals on show for 50,000 flashing cameras.

HORRIBLY WRONG

America’s women also got it horribly wrong, although they managed a super-human recovery to claim bronze.

English Gardner had come to a complete standstill by the time she finally collected the baton for the third leg but a brilliant bend and an astounding last leg by Octavious Freeman took the U.S. through half the field for bronze behind France.

By then Jamaica’s quartet of Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart, Schillonie Calvert and Fraser-Pryce were celebrating their win in 41.29, second only to America’s 40.82 set at last year’s Olympics and inside the drug-fuelled 41.37 of East Germany that stood for 27 years.

Having become the fourth-fastest 1,500m runner of all time last month, Kiprop started hot favourite and nobody could live with his long-striding acceleration over the last 200 metres as he triumphed in 3:36.28.

American Matthew Centrowitz took silver and South African Johan Cronje a surprise bronze as both men finished strongly.

Sum’s victory was much less expected as her late burst denied Russia’s Mariya Savinova back-to-back 800m titles.

She took gold in 1:57.38, ahead of Savinova (1:57.80). Brenda Martinez grabbed third as she overhauled compatriot Alysia Johnson Montano, who had run a brave front-running race but ended fourth, flat on the track and sobbing uncontrollably.

Tamgho was already leading when he landed two fouls around the 18 metre mark before nailing the breakthrough distance with his last. Only American Kenny Harrison (18.09) and Jonathan Edwards’s 1995 world record of 18.29 are longer.

Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba took silver with 17.68 and American Will Claye was third on 17.52, well clear of out-of-sorts compatriot and world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor in a frustrated fourth.

After years of agonising near misses, an emotional Obergfoell took her first major javelin title at the age of 31 after throwing a season’s best 69.05 metres.

Defending champion Maria Abakumova could only manage 65.09 behind surprise Australian runner-up Kimberly Mickle (66.60), to match the bronze her husband Dmitri Tarabin won in the men’s final.

Obergfoell had previously won two silvers as well as finishing second and third at the last two Olympics.

Russia topped the medal table with seven golds, though the Americans will promote themselves top under their counting system after finishing second on six but also gathering a mountain of 13 silvers in a total of 25.

Jamaica also had six golds with Kenya on five, Germany four and Ethiopia and Britain both on three.

After signing off with a near-full house on Sunday following a week of poor crowds, the IAAF will be delighted to send their showpiece event to Beijing in 2015 and London two years later as returning to the most recent Olympic stadiums should guarantee healthy attendances throughout.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Inquest probes Vic garbage chute death

A concierge who found the body of a Melbourne woman beneath a garbage chute was repeatedly visited by a man claiming her death was a suicide, an inquest has heard.

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Phoebe Handsjuk, 24, plunged 12 floors down the chute at a luxury Melbourne apartment complex where she lived with her partner Antony Hampel in December 2010.

Police found she had committed suicide but her family has questioned the competence of their investigation, the opening of the inquest into the death has heard.

Complex concierge Betul Ozulup told the Victorian Coroners Court the page in her logbook for the day Ms Handsjuk died had been mysteriously ripped out.

She said a friend of Mr Hampel also began visiting her every two to three days in the weeks after she had discovered Ms Handsjuk’s body.

The man brought wine and chocolates and told her Ms Handsjuk had been depressed and Mr Hampel had tried everything to help her, Ms Ozulup said.

“He said ‘She couldn’t be saved, she didn’t want to be saved’,” she said.

The man visited her for two weeks until Ms Ozulup told him it was upsetting her, she said.

Counsel assisting the inquest Deborah Siemensma told Coroner Peter White he would be asked to determine if the death was accidental, suicide or whether another person was involved.

Ms Handsjuk was being treated for depression and had traces of alcohol, an anti-depressant and the sleeping pill Stilnox in her system when she died.

Ms Siemensma said the inquest will be told that Stilnox can cause bizarre behaviour such as sleep walking and driving.

But she said the involvement of another person in Ms Handsjuk’s death cannot be totally discounted on the evidence.

Tests had shown it was difficult to climb into the opening of the chute, which was small and one metre from the ground.

“If she was minded to take her life why would she choose such a strange way to do so,” Ms Siemensma said.

The inquest continues.

Gear failure hits Team NZ to level series

Team New Zealand have pulled out of the second race of the America’s Cup challenger series final with an electric gear failure, leaving their best-of-13 match against Luna Rossa locked at 1-1.

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The Italian syndicate completed the course on San Francisco Bay to lodge their first win over the New Zealand outfit since the Louis Vuitton Cup series began six weeks ago.

Strong winds forced the day’s second race to be called off, leaving the final all-square after two days dominated by boat malfunctions.

Team NZ were about 400m ahead as they approached the third mark on Sunday when they suddenly slowed because of a hydraulic fault which prevented the boat from tacking or gibing.

Skipper Dean Barker says they were “crippled” when the electric system that controls the hydraulics of the daggerboard failed inexplicably.

“It’s the nature of these boats unfortunately – there are so many things that can go wrong and today it was a problem with the hydraulics,” Team NZ skipper Dean Barker said.

“We have been very fortunate so far not to have had many issues until today but I guess this just reinforces the need to be 100 per cent.”

Support staff boarded the boat and had repaired the problem ahead of race three, which was subsequently postponed.

It is unclear if the issue was related to a spectacular incident in race one on Saturday in which Team NZ nosedived at high speed, sending two sailors overboard.

Team officials played down the significance of that incident, which damaged carbon fibre fairings.

The New Zealanders went on to win race one after Luna Rossa suffered daggerboard damage.

As has been the case throughout the regatta, New Zealand dominated the start on Sunday, opening up a lead of 23 seconds by the second mark before their problem struck.

Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper was happy to secure his team’s first win.

He says rough conditions and intense racing schedule are contributing towards the breakages.

“We’re pushing the boats and loading the wings up way harder,” he said.

Race three and four are scheduled to be sailed on Monday.

Earlier, it was the turn of America’s Cup holders Team Oracle USA to suffer damage to one of their two boats.

A boat skippered by Ben Ainslie was forced to limp back to the team base after snapping a rudder.

Oracle say the incident was the result of a damage caused a day before, when the boat tangled with a buoy.

Oracle will defend the America’s Cup next month against either Team NZ or Luna Rossa.

Russia to build seven new stadiums

The Russian sports ministry has selected a state controlled firm to build seven new stadiums for the 2018 World Cup, the Vedomosti daily reports.

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Russia has already selected 11 cities to host matches in the World Cup but several venues still need to be built from scratch in one of the most ambitious engineering projects in post-Soviet history.

Vedomosti said all the stadiums which need to be built or reconstructed with state financing will be constructed by a state firm attached to the sports ministry called Sport Engineering.

Citing a confirmed construction plan programme, it said that 104.4 billion rubles ($A3.5 billion) had been earmarked from the budget for the construction of the stadiums.

The company will build six stadiums from scratch in Volgograd, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara and Saransk. It will also rebuild the stadium in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

Each stadium will have a capacity of 45,000, it added.

Of the other stadiums, three are being built with financing from Russian regional governments and private investors – the Luzhniki and Spartak venues in Moscow and the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg.

The stadium in the Volga city of Kazan, which this year hosted the Universiade world student games, is already operational.

Meanwhile, the stadium in Sochi will be ready for its hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in 2014.

Vedomosti said government sources emphasised that Sport Engineering would merely be carrying out a confirmed construction plan and would not become a mammoth conglomerate.

“The ministry of sport will be responsible for the construction and Sport Engineering is just the technical contractor, it’s not right to say that the construction money will be channelled through it,” a government source told the paper.

The complete absence of usable stadiums in half the Russian host cities has caused anxiety in some quarters although FIFA has expressed satisfaction with Russia’s preparations so far.

There has also been concern about local issues such as the location of the stadium in Yekaterinburg, which is next door to the city’s prison.

Aust golfer Goss in US Amateur final

Australian teenager Oliver Goss is one win away from the US Amateur championship title – and starts in three of next year’s golf majors.

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Goss, 19, beat good friend and fellow West Australian Brady Watt 2-up in his semi-final on Saturday to set up a showdown with England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick in the 36-hole final on the historic course at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Watt planned to stick around to caddy for Goss in the championship match against Fitzpatrick, 18, who scored a 2-and-1 win over Canada’s Corey Conners in the other semi and is bidding to become the first Englishman to win the title since 1911.

Royal Fremantle member Goss can become the third Australian winner, following Nick Flanagan in 2003 and three-time champion Walter J. Travis (1900, 1901, 1903).

Both Goss and Watt have already earned starts in next year’s US Open by reaching the semi-finals, while the title winner also gets into the 2014 Masters and 2014 British Open, all provided they remain amateur.

Experience gained when reaching the quarter-finals of the US Amateur last year paid off for Goss against second seed Watt.

An All-American as a freshman at the University of Tennessee last year, Goss grabbed a 2-up lead after seven holes with a 10-foot uphill birdie putt on the 4th hole and a nine-footer for birdie on the par-3 seventh.

Watt, who arrived in the United States for the first time on June 28, regrouped by holing an 11-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 8th before pulling level with a par on the 10th.

But Goss regained the lead for good on the 11th hole with an 18-foot birdie putt.

He kept that advantage by sinking a 30-foot par putt to halve the demanding 509-yard, par-4 14th and played out the remaining holes in par to win.

“I used a lot of my experience from last year,” said Goss.

“I can remember a lot of the shots I hit and a lot of the feelings that I had.”

Watt readily admitted Goss was better on the day.

“Whatever I did really well, he kind of did a little bit better,” said Watt.