China's Zou Shiming and Zhang Xiaoping capped the host nation's brilliant run at the Beijing Olympics with two gold medals in boxing on Sunday.
As the Beijing Olympics drew to a close, the Chinese topped the gold medal count with 51 gold, well ahead of nearest rival the United States (36). The Americans, however, led in total medals at 110 to the 100 medals won by China.
What made China's success even more striking was that it has led throughout the Aug. 8-24 Games.
China has already made sure of its top position before the last day's competition, and the vicotries of boxers Zou and Zhang were an icing on the cake.
Zou, the two-time world champion and the 2004 bronze medalist, grabbed China's first-ever Olympic boxing gold medal when he defeated Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia in the 48-kilogram class.
More than two hours after that, compatriot Zhang captured No. 2 after beating Ireland's Kenny Egan 11-7 in the the 81kg class.
Meanwhile, Cuba, a perennial boxing powerhouse, failed to win a gold medal for the first time since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Cuba finished the Beijing Games by winning four silver medals and four bronze.
Samuel Wanjiru became the first Kenyan to win Olympic marathon race as he finished the 42,195-meter course through the streets of Beijing in bright sunshine in an Olympic record of two hours six minutes 32 seconds.
Jaouad Gharib of Morocco won silver in 2:07:16, and Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia took the bronze in 2:10:00.
Kenyans had twice won men's marathon silver medals, most recently in 2000, but never a gold.
The star-studded U.S. men's basketball team lived up to their promise by outclassing world champion Spain 118-107 to claim the Olympic gold medal for the 13th time.
The Americans also emerged triumphant in men's volleyball. They rallied from one set down to beat defending champion Brazil 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23) to win the men's volleyball gold, while Russia successfully retained its title in the group all-round team event in rhythmic gymnastics.
Hungary won its third straight Olympic title in water polo after defeating the U.S. 14-10 in the final at the Yingdong Natatorium.
The last gold medal of the Beijing Olympics went to France, who beat Iceland 28-23 in the men's handball final.
The Games end later Sunday with a three-hour closing ceremony.
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)