Olympics Roundup: Men’s volleyball wins amid drama
The Olympics roundup …
BEIJING ó On a day that featured Michael Phelps’ first gold medal in Beijing and Dara Torres swimming to silver at 41-year-old mom, perhaps the most gripping drama for Americans came from a first-round men’s volleyball match against an unheralded foe.
The U.S. team took the court against Venezuela with heavy hearts and a fill-in coach, as Hugh McCutcheon left to be with his wife following an attack at a Beijing tourist site that killed her father and critically wounded her mother.
The Americans huddled, arms linked, then bowed their heads for a moment of silence for Todd and Barbara Bachman, McCutcheon’s in-laws and the parents of Elisabeth “Wiz” Bachman, a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
The men then went out and won their first two games. To claim the match, all they had to do was win one of the next three.
It took all three, but they got it.
With 21 medals decided through Sunday night, the Americans and Chinese are pulling away from the pack in the medal count. They’re not, however, separating from each other.
Torres, competing in her fifth Olympics, was given the anchor leg on the 400-freestyle relay. She dove in second and touched the wall second, fending off Australia but unable to make much of a move on the Netherlands despite posting the second-fastest split time in the race.
“I’m hoping that my age paves the way for other athletes who maybe think they’re too old to do something,” said Torres, who won her 10th medal, her first since 2000. She started her collection back in 1984.
Katie Hoff finished third in the 400 IM, losing the race ó and her world record ó to Australia’s Stephanie Rice.
China was not up to its usual standards. Neither were the Americans. Then again, it was only qualifying. The finals Wednesday surely will be different.
Ana Ivanovic gave away her No. 1 seed at the Olympics, withdrawing because of inflammation in her right thumb that has bothered her for several weeks. Her decision was announced after play was called for the day with only nine of 45 scheduled matches completed.
Among the few players to complete victories was James Blake, at No. 8 the top-seeded American in the men’s draw.
Ten matches were suspended and 26 postponed. Serena Williams was interrupted with a one-set lead, and despite a long wait, Roger Federer never got on court.
Britian’s Nicole Cooke won the women’s road cycling race, held in torrential rain on a course that started in Beijing and ended at the Great Wall. Emma Johansson of Sweden got silver and Tatiana Guderzo of Italy the bronze. Americans finished 25th, 33rd and 52nd.
Melanie Roach set an American record with 424.6 pounds, but it was only good for sixth.
Nobody beats the South Korean in women’s archery.
Seriously, it’s never happened. The South Koreans won their sixth straight gold medal.
Sprinter Tyson Gay followed a workout by proclaiming himself “injury-free.” His only individual race here is the 100, which begins Aug. 15.
The U.S. team gave up a free kick in the third minute of injury time to settle for a 2-2 tie against the Netherlands.
The American duo of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor began their bid for another gold medal with a decisive victory over a Japanese duo. They needed just 36 minutes in an intermittent rain.
Americans went 1-1 in the ring, with Demetrius Andrade beating Georgia’s Kakhaber Juania 11-9 and Javier Molina getting clobbered 14-1 by Bulgarias Boris Georgiev. Afterward, U.S. coach Dan Campbell revealed that Molina, who at 18 is the youngest American boxer, wasn’t cleared to fight until late Saturday after doctors discovered a hole in his lung had leaked air into his body.
MEN’S WATER POLO
The U.S. men beat host China 8-4, giving former Olympian Terry Schroeder a victory in his Olympic coaching debut, albeit over a team that may not win a game.
Hungary’s bid for a third consecutive gold medal got off to a shaky start, needing a goal with 32 seconds left to tie Montenegro 10-10.
In their first Olympics appearance since 1996, the Americans dug out of a 2-0 hole and tied No. 2-ranked Argentina, at 2-2.
American Zach Railey, ranked only 18th in the world, hauled in first place overall in Finn class, ahead of three-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie of Britain.
Three more Chinese crews finished first in their heats, boosting the total to five top spots in the first two days of Olympic competition and increasing the host nation’s chances of winning its first rowing gold.