Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 4 RECAP: China Brings Success on Biggest Stage Thus Far

Medals were awarded all over the place on Day 4 of competition at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. But it was China that shone brightly today, winning gold on the Games' biggest stage so far in the men's team final of artistic gymnastics at National Indoor Stadium.

Gymnastics: China Pulls Through to Win Men's Team Final, Americans Grab Bronze
The highlight of the day's competition was China's big win in the men's team final in artistic gymnastics, while the Americans simultaneously celebrated a well earned bronze.

The storyline coming into this event was the anticipated matchup between host nation China, heavily favored after winning world championships over the past four years, and Japan, the defending gold medalists from Athens and the silver medalists at last year's world championships. But Japan was very flat from early on in the competition, falling to sixth place after the second rotation. The Americans, competing without veterans Paul and Morgan Hamm, were solid for most of the competition, ranking first halfway through the competition.

But China posted high scores on vault and took the lead despite spectacular performances by the Americans on high bar. In the final rotation, the United States performed on their weakest event, pommel horse, but a huge routine by Alexander Artemev secured a bronze medal for the United States. Japan took advantage of the mistakes made by the Americans on their final rotation, but could not surpass China as they were crowned Olympic champions, winning their first Olympic gold in eight years.

Aquatics: United States Dominates Swimming pool, China dominates Diving pool
Michael Phelps won his third consecutive gold medal and clinched a third consecutive world record after winning gold in the men's 200 meter freestyle. This was an event that he has steadily improved in after winning bronze in Athens, an anticipated race won by Ian Thorpe. Phelps stands at one gold medal away from winning the most Olympic gold medals in history.

In other action at the pool, Natalie Coughlin held off Kirsty Coventry to defend her 100 meter backstroke gold medal. Aaron Peirsol did the same by winning gold in the men's 100 meter backstroke. And Australian Leisel Jones earned gold in her specialty event, the 100 meter breaststroke.

Meanwhile, China is 3-for-3 after winning gold in the women's 10 meter platform synchro final. Xin Wang and Ruolin Chen completely dominated the competition winning gold by 28.38 points. Coming in second is Australia's duo of Briony Cole and Melissa Wu and Mexico won their first medal of these Olympics by winning bronze thanks to Paola Espinoza and Tatiana Ortiz.

Other highlights...
American Glenn Eller won gold in the men's double trap while American Gina Miles captured silver in equestrian's individual eventing final. Germany captured gold medals in both the team and individual eventing finals in equestrian.
Germany wins gold in team, individual eventing 12:53 pm EDT (AP)

Tonga won their first ever Olympic medal in the Men's K1 whitewater slalom, while Germany's Alexander Grimm won the gold medal...China bagged gold in the men's fencing and weightlifting...Russia won the first gold medals given out in wrestling.

In preliminary round basketball, the United States easily defeated Angola while it took overtime for Spain to defeat host nation China. Last second goals determined winners in preliminary handball earlier today, including a win by South Korea over Denmark. And in softball, the United States dominated Venezuela in the opening day of competition as the Americans are looking to clinch a fourth consecutive gold medal in softball's last appearance at the Olympics.

And now a look at the medal standings after four days of Olympic Competition:

Overall medal standings - 103 of 440 medal events complete


And more medals are to be awarded in Day 5 of competition. NOW Sports will provide a full preview later on tonight before gold medal competition begins in Beijing so keep checking in with us as we continue on this experience known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

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