Photo by GRAHAM STUART/AFP/GettyImages
UPDATE: It was a near mirror image of what happened four years ago in Beijing. Only this time, France came out ahead in the 4x100-meter swimming relay, reports CNN. The United States had the lead in three of the four legs, but Yannick Agnel caught up with swimming sensation Ryan Lochte right in the final stretch. Four years ago, American Jason Lezak was the one who came in from behind to beat the French, points out the Washington Post.
The American team ended up coming in second with Michael Phelps “looking much stronger than he did the night before,” points out the Associated Press. The medal was the 17th Olympic medal for Phelps (his first silver), bringing him one shy to tie the most career medals, a record currently held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
And while the Americans lost to France in the pool, they easily beat them in the basketball court. The U.S. men’s basketball squad won its first game, beating France, 98-71.
Sunday, July 29 at 4:24 p.m.: Dana Vollmer was ecstatic when she looked up from the water and saw her time after finishing the 100-meter butterfly. Vollmer quickly realized she had become the first woman to break 56 seconds, coming in at 55.98, reports USA Today. "It was everything I could have dreamed it would have been," she said.
Yet there was also plenty of disappointment to go around in the Olympics Sunday, particularly when reigning world gymanistics champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the all-around final after finishing behind Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Wieber had been a favorite to take the prestigious all-around medal and her disqualification amounted to a “stunning development,” according to the Washington Post’s Liz Clarke.
Meanwhile, soldiers are being called in to fill empty seats at the Olympics arena after the organizers had to face questions as to why so much prime seating space was empty at several of the venues, reports the Guardian. Organizing committee officials say international sporting federations are to blame for the empty seats and they have been told to deal with the issue. Organizers also said they will begin streamlining the process of offering the “accredited seats” to members of the public and students. Those with worse seats might also get upgrades, reports CNN. For the time being though, soldiers are being used as seat-fillers.
And in another instance of embarrassment for the Olympics organizers, it seems the mystery woman who somehow managed to parade with the Indian team during the opening ceremony has been identified. Although many had wondered whether there had been a security breach, it turns out the woman, Madhura Nagendra of Bangalore, was a dancer in one of the segments, reports the Times of India. The woman stood out during the ceremony since she was wearing a red jacket, a stark contrast from the uniforms of India’s team.
Saturday, July 28 at 5:03 p.m.: Michael Phelps’ fourth-place finish Saturday in the 400-meter individual medley was shocking considering it marked the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games that he didn’t win at least one bronze in an Olympic race. “Since then,” points out the Associated Press, “he was 16-of-16, 14 golds and two bronzes.” He now has three more chances to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual race at three straight Olympics.
Whether he can pull it off is another question. So far, things aren't looking good for Phelps. Rather than “the swimming god we have known him to be” since 2004, Phelps looked more like “a vanquished veteran swimmer who looked sluggish and lackluster,” writes USA Today’s Christine Brennan.
After coming 34-hundredths of a second behind the third place, it was clear Phelps was just as shocked as everyone else. "It was just a crappy race," Phelps said.
Slate’s Josh Levin and Justin Peters write that as long as Phelps wins other events and doesn’t completely flop, Saturday's loss could actually “increase his marketability” because it might make him a tad more likeable, a bit more human and relatable.
Saturday, July 28 at 3:16 p.m.: In the end, it wasn't even close. The much-anticipated duel between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps really wasn't much of a competition. Lochte pulled away to win the 400-meter individual medley Saturday by more than 3 seconds, reports the Associated Press. Phelps didn't even get a medal, coming in fourth place as he was beat by Japan's Kosuke Hagino for the bronze.
Saturday, July 28 at 11 a.m.: Michael Phelps almost didn’t make it into the 400-meter individual medley Saturday. He ended up beating Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh by a mere 0.07 seconds, reports Reuters. On a day that saw no shortage of drama in swimming, South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan, who won the 400 freestyle gold in Beijing, easily won the qualifier, but was disqualified for a false start. South Korea filed a protest. Phelps’ last-place finish “took some of the luster off what was expected to be a showdown” between him and Ryan Lochte for the gold medal, points out the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, China won the very first gold medal of the London Games when 23-year-old Siling Yi beat out her rivals in the women’s 10-meter air rifle shooting. And in another memorable first for the games, Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku was the first athlete to be banned from the competition after he became the first athlete to fail an anti-doping test, reports CNN.
Even though there was lots of anger directed at NBC Friday for its failure to broadcast the Opening Ceremony live, as the Los Angeles Times reports, people still tuned in to watch the taped and edited coverage. The ceremony drew the highest overnight rating for an Olympic opening outside of the United States, reports USA Today. NBC’s coverage of the games drew a 23 overnight rating, up 7 percent from the 2008 Beijing Games.