Swimming: U.S. Relay Team Upset
On Day 1, American Ryan Lochte beat compatriot Michael Phelps to win the 400m IM. On Day 2, the competitors had to put their differences aside and compete in the 4x100m freestyle relay together. The Americans, along with Australia, were seen to be heavy favorites, but it was the French team that stole the show. When Lochte, the American anchor, dove into the pool, his team had the lead, but the 400m champ lost in the final sprint when France’s Yannick Agnel made an astounding run, overtaking the US and leading France to the gold. The victory was revenge of sorts for the 2008 games in Beijing, where France was the heavy favorite but allowed the Americans to overtake them late. Australia was held off the podium, while Russia took a surprising bronze.
Men’s Soccer: Spain Knocked Out
No team has ever held the World Cup, European, and Olympic titles at the same time. That streak is now set to continue, as Spain was knocked out of this competition early following a second-consecutive 1-0 defeat. This time it was against Honduras, who scored in the 7th minute and then defended to the death against a Spain team that featured Chelsea winger Juan Mata and Barcelona left back Jordi Alba, both of whom recently scored in the senior squad’s 4-0 Euro Finals victory over Italy. Spain should have been awarded a penalty in the closing minutes but were denied by the ref, leading to angry protest even after the final whistle. Despite the fact that the tournament is U-23, a group-stage knockout for the powerhouse Spanish can only be seen as a major disappointment, and it leaves Brazil as the most-likely champion.