Olympics 2012: Lochte wins United States’ first gold in blowout; Phelps fourth

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

“It was just a crappy race,” Phelps said. “I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That’s why they’re on the medal stand.”

Lochte took the gold with a time of 4 minutes, 5.18 seconds. Pereira (4:08.86) and Hagino (4:08.94) were well back but ahead of Phelps, who touched fourth in 4:09.28 — nearly 5 1-2 seconds off his world record from the Beijing Olympics and not nearly as fast as he went during the U.S. trials last month.

Since finishing fifth in his lone event at Sydney, the 200 butterfly, Phelps was 16-of-16 when it came to winning medals at the Olympics — 14 golds and two bronzes. That run is over.

Lochte climbed out of the pool with a big smile, waving to the crowd and looking about as fresh as he did at the start. He had predicted this would be his year and, for the first race of the Olympics at least, he was right on the mark.

“I think I’m kind of in shock right now,” he said. As for Phelps, “I know he gave it everything he had. That’s all you can ask for.”

Phelps was trying to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics. He’ll have three more chances at a threepeat before he’s done in London, having also won the 200 individual medley, plus the 100 and 200 butterfly, at Athens and Beijing.

But he’ll need a major comeback. After one race, he looks nothing like the swimmer who won six gold medals in Athens, then a record eight in Beijing to break Mark Spitz’s Olympic record.

“I’m surprised, and not pleasantly,” Bowman said. “I expected he’d be in the 4:06 range.”

With first lady Michelle Obama in the house waving a small U.S. flag, everyone expected a duel between the two American stars.

Only Lochte showed up.

Phelps fell behind right from the start in the butterfly, his trademark stroke. From there, it was all Lochte. He stretched his margin in the backstroke and breaststroke, then cruised to the gold in the freestyle, a good three body lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

“It’s frustrating, that’s all I can say. It’s pretty upsetting,” Phelps said. “The biggest thing now is to try to look forward. I have a bunch of other races, and hopefully we can finish a lot better than how we started.”

China had a big night, claiming a couple of gold medals.

Sixteen-year-old Ye Shiwen set a world record in the women’s 400 individual medley — only the third mark to fall since high-tech bodysuits were banned at the end of 2009. She won in 4:28.43, breaking the mark of 4:29.45 by Australia’s Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games. American Elizabeth Beisel took silver and China’s Li Xuanxu grabbed the bronze.

Sun Yang flirted with a world record in the men’s 400 freestyle. He took gold in 3:40.14, just off the mark of 3:40.07 by Germany’s Paul Biedermann in a rubberized suit three years ago. When it was done, Sun propped himself on the lane rope, pumping his fist and splashing the water.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player