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.
Men’s Basketball: USA Wins Opener
It’s hardly noteworthy compared to other results on Day 2, but the American basketball team predictably won its opening game against France, 98-71. The defending champs struggled early on, leading only 21-20 after the first quarter. But while Spurs point guard Tony Parker controlled the tempo early on for the French, the star-power of the Americans would eventually prove overwhelming. Kevin Durant led the scoring with 22, while Kevin Love added 14. The biggest worry for the US was foul trouble; the team will need to adjust against tougher opponents down the road.
Swimming: Vollmer Sets World Record
American Dana Vollmer didn’t qualify for the Olympics four years ago in Beijing, but she’s left a lasting impression already at these games. In the 100m butterfly on Sunday, Vollmer set the world record that had previously been held by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom at the 2009 World Championships. Despite being third at the turn, Vollmer powered to the finish with a time of 55.98 seconds, making her the first woman to break the 56-second barrier. Vollmer had been at the 2004 Olympics as a 16-year old, but now she has her first gold medal.
Weight Lifting: North Korean Sets Olympic Record
Om Yun Chol, who stands at only 5 feet and 123 pounds, pulled off an incredible feat Sunday. The North Korean set an Olympic record by lifting 370 pounds – more than three times his body weight – in the “clean and jerk” weightlifting event.