Olympics roundup: Phelps, China dominate
The Olympics roundup …
BEIJING ó The records, the medals. They just keep piling up.
Michael Phelps? Yeah, him, too.
The most dominant force thus far at these Olympics is the Big Red Machine known as the Chinese delegation.
By adding three golds, a silver and two bronzes to their collection Monday, China leads the pack with 14 total medals. Nine of those are gold.
To appreciate how impressive those numbers are, consider:
– The United States has the second-most medals with 12. None of the other 203 delegations have won as many medals of any color as China has won of the very best shade.
– No other country has won more than four golds. China has won that many in weightlifting alone.
– China has had nine different gold winners. The U.S. has only three golds, and two are by Phelps.
He’s trying for eight and so far has looked up to the challenge, setting world records in both his finals. While anchorman Jason Lezak was the star of the 400 freestyle relay, Phelps still set an American record with his opening leg, then he returned to the Water Cube eight hours later and set an Olympic record in a preliminary heat of the 200-meter butterfly.
If Phelps wins seven or eight gold medals and gets a $1 million bonus from Speedo, he’ll need to spend a chunk on Lezak.
Lezak dove in second to 100 star Alain Bernard of France. He was still trailing with about 25 meters to go, but zoomed to the wall first ó 0.08 second ahead of Bernard.
Phelps threw his arms up and began hollering with the joy of a lottery winner. He sort of is, considering the odds the Americans faced, from Phelps finishing his leadoff lap in second place to Lezak trailing Bernard after the final turn, and considering the history ó and big bucks ó on the line.
The Americans finished in 3:08.24, a touch under 4 seconds faster than the world record set the night before by their qualifying crew.
“Unbelievable,” Phelps said. “Jason’s last 10 or 15 meters were incredible.”
Phelps also found time Monday to advance to the finals of the 200 free. A victory would give Phelps his ninth career gold medal, tying him with four others including Mark Spitz and track star Carl Lewis, for most Olympic golds.
It sounds like the opening round of a major: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and the Williams sister all advanced.
Don’t mess with Chinese weightlifters. Chen Yanqing broke two Olympic records en route to her second straight gold medal in the women’s 58-kilogram category, making the host country 3-for-3 thus far.
A day after the U.S. men routed China, the women won by an even more lopsided score.
Tina Thompson powered a 23-0 run in the first quarter that sent the Americans well on their way to a 108-63 victory. By the time Kobe Bryant and the rest of the men’s team settled into their seats at the end of the first quarter the U.S. was up 33-11.
The U.S. women’s team lost to Cuba in three sets. The good news: Barbara Bachman, the mother of 2004 Olympian Elisabeth Bachman McCutcheon and the mother-in-law of U.S. men’s coach Hugh McCutcheon, has had her condition upgraded to stable after being stabbed by the attacker who also killed her husband and then himself.
American Raynell Williams easily won his opener 9-1 over Italy’s Alessio di Savino, improving the U.S. team to 3-1.
Corey Cogdell, a 21-year-old Alaskan, won a four-way shoot-off for bronze in women’s trap shooting. Finland’s Satu Makela-Nummela hit an Olympic-record 21 targets to take the gold.
The American women’s eight crew is headed to the finals after winning its heat. The men’s eight was second in its heat
The U.S. women’s team, with 10 first-time Olympians, overcame a shaky start to beat host China 12-11 in preliminary play.
sailing gold by dominating both opening races.
Two days before the tournament begins, the Americans won a tuneup game against China 7-3.
Americans Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs beat Germans Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau 21-17, 21-16.