Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 4 1:15AM Update: Phelps wins third gold, Team USA grabs bronze in gymnastics

Six sets of medals have been awarded so far on a busy Day 4 of competition at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Of those medals, the focus was out at the Water Cube and inside National Indoor Stadium.

Swimming: Phelps One Gold Away from Being Most Decorated Olympian Ever
Unlike his last two finals, Michael Phelps was heavily favored to win the men's 200 meter freestyle race this morning in Beijing, four years after winning bronze in this event in Athens. Phelps led the entire way and won the gold in world record time. Meanwhile, South Korea's Taehwan Park won silver and American Peter Vanderkaay captured the bronze.

It was a night for specialist swimmers as Natalie Coughlin clinched gold in her specialty event, the women's 100m backstroke, fending off a late surge by Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry. American Aaron Peirsol took gold in the men's 100m backstroke, securing his second consecutive gold in the event. And it was a shining and deserving moment for Australia and Leisel Jones, who dominated the women's 100 meter breaststroke.

Make room for Phelps as winningest Olympian ever 12:52 am EDT (AP)
Aaron Peirsol defends Olympic 100 back title 10:47 pm EDT (AP)
Natalie Coughlin defends Olympic 100 back title 10:37 pm EDT (AP)
Phelps breaks 200 free world record for third gold 10:53 pm EDT (AFP)
Leisel Jones wins women's Olympic 100 breaststroke 11:04 pm EDT (AP)

China Wins Gold, U.S. Wins Bronze in Men's Team Final
There were some uncertainties in which three teams would be standing on the medal podium this afternoon. But there was never any doubt that China would stand atop the podium. After a strong showing in the qualifications, China made few errors in their men's team final win in artistic gymnastics at the National Indoor Stadium. Yang Wei helped lead China to their first men's team gold medal in eight years, redeeming their disappointing result in Athens four years ago.

For the United States, the question was how well the team could function without veteran gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm who withdrew citing injury. For most of the competition, the Americans looked solid thanks to fantastic performances by Jonathon Horton and Justin Spring on the high bar. At one point in the competition, the United States had the lead. But after China's superb performance on the vault, medal prospects were limited to either silver or bronze. After mistakes were made on the last rotation for the United States, Alexander Artemev clinched the bronze medal with his perfect performance on pommel horse.

China takes the gold, Americans win the bronze 12:58 am EDT (AP)

Other highlights:
Shooting: South Korean edges North Korean for gold 12:52 am EDT (AP)
Tennis: Serena rolls into third round at Olympics 12:37 am EDT (PA SportsTicker)
May-Treanor, Walsh dominant in triumph over Cuba 12:48 am EDT (PA SportsTicker)

Happening Now...
Egypt vs. Poland, Italy vs. USA in preliminary volleyball
- First day of Softball: USA vs. Venezuela (now on CNBC)
- Preliminaries in tennis, judo

Coming Up...
- Diving: Women's 10 meter Synchro Platform Final (2:30AM EDT)
- Shooting: Men's Double Trap Final (3AM EDT)
- Canoe/Kayak Slalom: Men's C1 and K1 Finals (4:45AM EDT)
- Women's Soccer: Preliminary Matches, including USA vs. New Zealand, Nigeria vs. Brazil (Kickoff: 4:45AM EDT, 7:45AM EDT)

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