The Olympic Edge
|Mike Richman||July 28th 2012|
The first day of the Summer Olympic Games in London featured some major surprises, Saturday. Superstar swimmer, American Michael Phelps, finished fourth in the 400-meter individual medley, while teammate Ryan Lochte won the gold.
Phelps, who trailed most of the race, came in fourth, more than four seconds behind the victor. The finish marked the first time since the 2000 Games that Phelps failed to win at least a bronze medal in an Olympic race. Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals and needs three more to break the all-time record. In men's road cycling, Kazakhstan's Alexander Vinokourov won the gold medal, after the favorite, Britain's Mark Cavendish, failed to make a move to the front of the pack.
In archery, the U.S. team shocked South Korea to move into the gold medal match against Italy. Italy later won the gold, beating the U.S. team by one point on the final shot. And in men's under-60 kilogram judo, Russia's Arsen Galstyan upset the top two seeds, including two-time world champion Rishod Sobirov of Uzbekistan.
The heavily favored U.S. women's basketball team met expectations, defeating Croatia, 81-56. The U.S. has won four straight Olympic gold medals and 34 consecutive Olympic games.
Away from the action, South Korean swimmer Park Tae-Hwan was reinstated as a finalist for Saturday's 400-meter race after being disqualified for what was ruled a false start in a qualifying race. Park was the 2008 Olympic champion in that event. Albanian weightlifter, Hysen Pulaku, became the first athlete ejected from the London Olympics after testing positive for steroids.
"On the doping of course, it is always a sad day when a cheating athlete is caught," said Mark Adams of the International Olympic Committee, commenting on the ejection. "I hope there will be no more, but the message we get out of this is that we will catch you. There are going to be 5,000 tests during this games and all the medalists will be tested so no one can think they will get away and that's a very good, clear message to send. It's disappointing." More than 10,000 athletes in 26 sports are competing in the London Oympics, which run through August 12.
Mike Richman writes for VOA, from where this article is adapted.