Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 7 RECAP: Another Gold for Phelps, Liukin Wins First Gymnastics Medal for U.S., ALSO: Shocking Shot Put Result *SPOILER*

There were 19 sets of medals given out today during one of the brightest days, weather-wise, of competition. Nastia Liukin and Michael Phelps headlined today's action while competition began in track cycling and track and field. For China, more medals were awarded in weightlifting and they won their first medals in badminton. Slovakia, meanwhile, had their time in the spotlight in their wins of the whitewater slalom canoe/kayak.

Americans Have Their Best Day of the Games with multiple wins in the Pool and Gold in Premier Gymnastics Event
Nastia Liukin won the first American gold medal of these games in gymnastics and brought personal glory to her family after she completed as-close-to-perfect routines in the women's individual all-around. The Russian-born gymnast from Texas received the gold that had alluded her father, Valeri Liukin, in the Seoul 1988 Olympics (See Dan Wetzel column). Liukin also broke the Chinese gold medal winning streak that the host nation had going in the artistic gymnastics competition.

Together with Shawn Johnson, the United States accomplished their first 1-2 finish in the history of the event. Liukin defended the American gold that was won four years ago in Athens by Carly Patterson, who has served as the inspiration for Liukin.

Liukin's gold capped off a successful morning for the Americans at the Water Cube. The morning began with a major upset in the women's 200 meter breaststroke where Rebecca Soni defeated Australia's Leisel Jones after taking the lead in the final 60 meters. Then Ryan Lochte captured his first individual gold medal by beating Aaron Peirsol in the men's 200 meter backstroke. American success was capitalized by none other than Michael Phelps, who won his sixth gold medal of these games in world record time in the 200 meter individual medley.

In the other final of swimming's morning session, Germany's Brita Steffen won a close race decided by four one-hundredths of a second over Australia's Lisbeth Trickett and American Natalie Coughlin, who captured silver and bronze respectively.


Other Highlights of Day 7:
- Ukraine's Victor Ruban stole gold away from South Korea's Kyung-Mo Park by shooting a ten on the final arrow in the men's individual final. The win meant another Olympic games where Korea would not capture gold in the premier event of archery, a sport that they have captured many gold medals in through other events. South Korea won the men's and women's team competition at this year's Games.
- James Blake lost to Fernando Gonzalez in the semifinals in three sets while Rafael Nadal will be guaranteed a medal by winning his semifinal over Novak Djokovic. In doubles, Roger Federer and his partner advanced to the final by beating the Bryan brothers of the United States in the semifinal. The Williams sisters advanced to tomorrow's semifinals. Federer and both Williams sisters lost yesterday in the singles competition.
- The United States women's soccer team advanced to the semifinals after a 2-1 win in overtime against Canada. The match was delayed for 40 minutes in the first half due to heavy rain and lightning. Brazil, Japan and Germany advanced to the semifinals as well.
- Great Britain won gold on the opening day of track cycling with a victory over France in the team sprint.
- China won their first medal in badminton.

*SPOILER RESULTS* Track and Field: Day 1
Can be seen in Primetime on NBC on Friday
It was the inaugural day of competition of track and field in the Bird's Nest. Finals were contested in the men's shot put and women's 10,000 meters as preliminary round action occured in the men's and women's 100 meters and Day 1 of the Heptathlon occured.

Majewski wins shot put for Poland 1:50 pm EDT (AP)
Bolt, Powell, Gay coast through 100 qualifying 1:22 pm EDT (AP)
Dibaba golden in 10,000 meters, breaks 30 minutes 11:46 am EDT (AP)

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