Olympics 2012, Day 4: First Golds Are Earned As Competition Heats Up
Story of the Day: Lochte Dominates as Phelps Fails to Reach Podium
Will the real U.S. swimming champion please stand up? One of the most hyped events, a duel between Lochte and America’s most famous active Olympian in the 400-meter individual medley turned into a blowout, as Lochte won by more than three seconds, while Michael Phelps finished fourth.
Lochte won with a time of four minutes, 5.18 seconds, Thiago Pereira of Brazil took silver, while Japan’s Kosuke Hagino beat Phelps by .34 seconds for the bronze. The last time Phelps failed to medal in an Olympic race, he was about to enter his sophomore year of high school.
Said Phelps to the AP- “It was just a crappy race… They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me”.
Phelps was on the fence about swimming in the race prior to London, and it is his worst of his seven planned events. He narrowly qualified for the finals and swam the race from the outside No. 8 lane.
Meanwhile, Lochte only further backed up the notion that he, not Phelps, will be the Olympics’ biggest star on the swimming scene. Even with his shirt on.
Down to the Final Arrow
Like so many soccer matches, this matchup came down to the final shot. Unfortunately for the U.S. squad, Italy’s Michele Frangilli shot a bullseye for a perfect ten points to give Italy a 219-218 win in the gold medal match of the men’s archery team competition.
Led by Brady Ellison, the U.S. squad shocked defending Olympic champion South Korea (and their near-blind record-setter Im Dong-hyun) in the semifinals, culminating with all three members of the U.S. team hitting 10's on their final shots to lock up a 224-219 victory. South Korea defeated China for the bronze.
Combined with a one-point win over Japan in the quarterfinals, the U.S. squad lived on the edge of elimination in earning its well-deserved silver medal.
Women’s Hoops Needs Three Quarters to Wake Up
If there’s a team to bet your house on this Olympiad, it would be the U.S. women’s basketball team. Or so we thought. In their first game of group play, the team led just 31-28 at halftime in an 81-56 victory over Croatia.
After Croatia cut the score to 53-49 in the fourth quarter, the U.S. needed a 16-0 run to finally ensure a win in its Olympic opener.
Tina Charles led the scoring effort with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while the Los Angeles Sparks’ star forward Candace Parker also had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Facing Angola next is akin to coach Geno Auriemma’s Connecticut squads facing a hapless small-conference squad in the opening round of the NCAAs. Expect a massive blowout.
Smoother Sailing on the Pitch for Women’s Soccer
The American squad spotted France two goals in their 4-2 opening victory on Wednesday. No encore here. Megan Rapinoe arced in the first goal 33 minutes in, as the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 victory over Colombia.
Abby Wambach’s strike in the 74th minute sealed the game for good and put her first all-time for Americans in Olympic goals with six. The first half wasn’t a perfect display for the Americans, but the defense prevented any devastating lapses and made for a relatively relaxing match in goal for keeper Hope Solo. Don’t worry, Solo kept things interesting with her post-game tweets.
The victory clinches a spot in the quarterfinals for Pia Sundhage’s squad, with a tie or win against North Korea on Tuesday ensuring a first-place finish atop Group G. Considering North Korea’s 5-0 shellacking at the hands of France, favorite status heading into the elimination rounds looks like a sure thing.
USC Olympians Update
Amanda Weir- The American swimmer earned USC’s first medal of the Games with a bronze as a member of the 400-meter freestyle relay team. Weir did not swim in the final, but finished second while swimming for the U.S. during the prelims and earned a medal for her efforts.
Katinka Hosszu- The 2012 Trojan graduate, competing for her native Hungary, just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter individual medley final. She has two events remaining, in the 200-meter medley and as a member of the 800-meter freestyle relay.
Stina Gardell- A soon-to-be junior at USC, Gardell finished 14th in the 400-meter individual medley prelims competing for Sweden. She will have another chance to qualify for an Olympic final Monday, however, as she competes in the prelims for the 200-meter individual medley.
Cristian Quintero- A rising sophomore, Quintero finished 16th in the 400-meter freestyle prelims while representing Venezuela. He will compete tomorrow in the 200-meter freestyle prelims and as a member of Venezuela’s 800-meter freestyle relay team.
Medal Results From Day 4
Men’s Team Competition | Gold: Italy, Silver: United States, Bronze: South Korea.
Men’s Road Race | Gold: Alexandr Vinokurvo (Kazakhstan), Silver: Rigoberto Urán (Colombia), Bronze: Alexander Kristoff (Norway).
Women’s Individual Foil | Gold: Elisa Di Francisca (Italy), Silver: Arianna Errigo (Italy), Bronze: Valentina Vezzali (Italy).
Men’s 60-kilogram | Gold: Arsen Galstyan (Russia), Silver: Hiroaki Hiroaka (Japan), Bronze: Felipe Kitadai (Brazil) & Rishod Sobirov (Uzbekistan).
Women’s 48-kilogram | Gold: Sarah Menezes (Brazil), Silver: Alina Dumitru (Romania), Bronze: Charline van Snick (Germany) & Eva Csernoviczki (Hungary).
Men’s 10-meter Air Pistol | Gold: Jin Jong-Oh (South Korea), Silver: Luca Tesconi (Italy), Bronze: Andrija Zlatic (Serbia).
Women’s 10-meter Air Pistol | Gold: Yi Siling (China), Silver: Sylwia Bogacka (Poland), Bronze: Yu Dan (China).
Men’s 400-meter Freestyle | Gold: Sun Yang (China), Silver: Park Tae-Hwan (South Korea), Bronze: Peter Vanderkaay (United States).
Men’s 400-meter Individual Medley | Gold: Ryan Lochte (United States), Silver: Thiago Pereira (Brazil), Bronze: Kosuke Hagino (Japan).
Women’s 400-meter Individual Medley | Gold: Ye Shiwen (China), Silver: Elizabeth Beisel (United States), Bronze: Li Xuanxu (China).
Women's 4x100-meter Freestyle | Gold: Australia, Silver: Netherlands, Bronze: United States.
Women’s 48-kilogram | Gold: Wang Mingjuan (China), Silver: Hiromi Miyake (Japan), Bronze: Ryang Chun Hwa (North Korea).
Here's the cumulative medal count, beginning with the overall medal leaders, followed by the leaders in gold, silver and bronze medals:
For more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the London Olympics, click here.