1. America's new gymnastics sweetheart is a 16-year-old girl with a megawatt smile, steady nerves and an unusual nickname. Gabrielle Douglas, known as the Flying Squirrel for her aerial prowess, became the first African-American Olympics all-around gold medalist, leading wire-to-wire in Thursday's competition. The silver medal went to Russia's Victoria Komova, who wept in frustration after finishing a distant second.
2. On a day when Rebecca Soni broke her own world record in the 200 breast stroke and Tyler Clary upset Ryan Lochte in the 200 backstroke, neither of them were the big story of the day in the pool. Michael Phelps upstaged them both, edging Lochte to win gold in the 200 individual medley. The gold for Phelps avenged his decisive loss to Lochte in the 400 individual medley, the only other race in which the two American rivals went head-to-head against one-another.
[ Related: Full video coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games ]
3. Most people laughed when Kobe Bryant said Team USA could beat the Dream Team, but the current group would have a chance if they shot the way they did in a 156-73 win over Nigeria. The U.S. scored 49 points in a 10-minute first quarter and nearly kept up that torrid pace, sinking 29 of 46 from behind the arc, shooting 70.6 percent from the field overall. Carmelo Anthony set a U.S. Olympic scoring record, posting 37 points to break the previous mark of 33.
4. Neither the men's nor women's tennis semifinals will lack for star power. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both won in straight sets Thursday to set up a dream semifinal Friday. The other semifinal will feature Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro. One women's semifinal will pit Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, while the other is an all-Russian affair between Maria Sharapova and Maria Kirilenko.
5. There weren't many more heartwarming scenes at the Olympics on Thursday than Kayla Harrison racing toward the corner of the stands, leaping over the railing and hugging fiance Aaron Handy. Harrison captured the first judo gold medal the U.S. has ever won, defeating Great Britain's Gemma Gibbons 2-0 in the title match. It was a fairytale ending for a woman who revealed earlier this year she was the victim of years of sexual abuse from her previous coach, Daniel Doyle.
How did Great Britain celebrate capturing gold and silver in the canoe slalom Thursday? By staging an impromptu pool party. Gold medalists Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott, silver medalists David Florence and Richard Hounslow and their coaches all leaped into the water at the end of the competition to express their joy at the unexpected outcome. (Getty Images)
"I was shocked by the final scores. He fell down so many times. Why didn't I win? I don't understand." — Japan's Satoshi Shimizu after losing a bantamweight fight to Magomed Abdulhamidov despite knocking down the Azerbaijan fighter five times in the third round. Japan appealed the decision, leading to Shimizu being declared the winner and referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov being expelled. (BBC Sport)
• Women's soccer quarterfinal: USA vs. New Zealand (9:30 a.m. ET)
• Men's tennis semifinal: Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic (7 a.m. ET)
• Women's volleyball: USA vs. Serbia (3 p.m. ET)
• Swimming: Women's 200m backstroke final, Men's 100m butterfly final, Women's 800m freestyle final, Men's 50m freestyle final
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