China collected a couple of gold medals and Australia set an Olympic record while winning the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay. The women’s 400 individual medley went to 16-year-old Ye Shiwen, who set a world record with a time of 4:28.43. American Elizabeth Beisel took silver and China’s Li Xuanxu grabbed the bronze. Sun Yang flirted with a world record in the men’s 400 freestyle. He took gold in 3:40.14, just off the mark of 3:40.07 by Germany’s Paul Biedermann in a rubberized suit three years ago. South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan was second and American Peter Vanderkaay third. Australia finished the 400-free relay in 3:33.15, Netherlands won the silver and the Americans got bronze. The U.S. finish was enough to deliver a 12th medal to Natalie Coughlin, who matched Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson for most decorated U.S. female Olympian. Coughlin swam in the morning prelims, but wasn’t used in the evening; everyone who swims on a relay gets a medal.
After hosting a dazzling opening ceremony Friday night, Britain got off to a shaky start on the first full day of action when favored cycling star Mark Cavendish finished 28th in the road race. Kazakhstan’s Alexander Vinokourov, who has said he will retire from cycling after the games, won gold. Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee tied for 27th.
Wimbledon champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams each won their opening matches.
While perennial powerhouses China and Japan bobbled and wobbled their way through qualifying, the Americans proved they really do have the goods to contend for the gold medal. They didn’t count a single fall, and their final score of 275.342 is almost three points ahead of surprising Britain.
The U.S. had to overcome a sloppy performance to post an 81-56 victory over Croatia in its first game. Former Eastern Washington player Julie Page scored eight points for Great Britian in a loss Australia.
Americans Joseph Diaz Jr. and Terrell Gausha posted impressive victories on the first day of the boxing competition. Diaz looked sharp in a 19-9 victory over Ukraine bantamweight Pavlo Ishchenko, while Gausha knocked down Armenian middleweight Andranik Hakobyan twice in the final 7 seconds of his middleweight bout, winning by stoppage with no time on the clock.
Destinee Hooker had 21 points and the U.S. held off late-charging South Korea 3-1 in their opening match.
Fencing: Elisa Di Francisca completed an Italian sweep in the Olympics’ individual foil. … Judo: Sarah Menezes of Brazil and Arsen Galstyan of Russia won the first two golds. … Shooting: South Korean marksman Jin Jong-oh won the 10-meter air pistol gold medal and top-ranked Yi Siling of China captured the women’s 10-meter air rifle. … Weightlifting: Wang Mingjuan of China won the first gold medal of the weightlifting competition, dominating the field in taking the women’s 48-kilogram title with a total weight of 205 kilograms.