NPR logo

U.S. Wins Basketball Gold As Olympics Wind Down

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93922097/93922076" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
U.S. Wins Basketball Gold As Olympics Wind Down

U.S. Wins Basketball Gold As Olympics Wind Down

U.S. Wins Basketball Gold As Olympics Wind Down

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93922097/93922076" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the United States receives a gold medal from Lebron James after defeating Spain in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Harry How/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Harry How/Getty Images

U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the United States receives a gold medal from Lebron James after defeating Spain in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Harry How/Getty Images

In Depth

LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen. The closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympics is just getting under way. On the final day in an exciting victory over Spain, the U.S. men's basketball team won the gold medal. The Olympics were marked by stirring world-record performances. Controversies over pollution and China's human rights record took a temporary backseat as the athletes took center stage. We're joined from Beijing by NPR's Frank Langfitt who's been following the sports, the politics, and the pyrotechnics. Frank, first of all, what's going to happen at the closing ceremony?

FRANK LANGFITT: Well, it's going to be another extravaganza by Chinese director Zhang Yimou. It actually just started a few minutes ago with a huge burst of fireworks over the Bird's Nest. And tonight there are going to be 7,000 performers. And like the opening ceremonies, we're going to see a lot of drums. There's a floating one - a giant drum floating over the stadium right now. People are going to be soaring around the air. And then there's going to be an eight-minute handover performance for London. You know, they're going to be doing the games in 2012. And that's going to feature soccer star David Beckham and Jimmy Page, the guitarist with Led Zeppelin.

HANSEN: Well, we mentioned the gold medal over Spain in men's basketball, but what were some of the other memorable moments in the competition?

LANGFITT: Well, you know, I think the two big stars here were Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. I mean, they essentially rewrote the record books for their sports. Phelps, obviously in the pool: seven world records, eight golds. Usain Bolt, I mean, really kind of literally bursting onto the scene: three world records, three golds. And for me, you know, the most exciting moment that I saw was Bolt in the 200-meters in the Bird's Nest. I remember him coming around that turn, and getting into the straightaway he just accelerated and left everybody behind.