Olympics 2012: Phelps barely makes it; S. Korea fights Park’s disqualification

  • Brazil's Thiago Pereira, left, United States' Ryan Lochte, center, and Japan's Kosuke Hagino pose with their medals for the men's 400-meter individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, July 28, 2012. Lochte won gold, Pereira silver and Kosuke bronze. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)Brazil's Thiago Pereira, left, United States' Ryan Lochte, center, and Japan's Kosuke Hagino pose with their medals for the men's 400-meter individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, July 28, 2012. Lochte won gold, Pereira silver and Kosuke bronze. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
  • Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
  • Fireworks and Olympic rings light up at Tower Bridge during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)Fireworks and Olympic rings light up at Tower Bridge during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
  • Sir Steve Redgrave carries the torch into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the London Olympic Games, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London.  (AP Photo/Owen Humphreys,  PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVESir Steve Redgrave carries the torch into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the London Olympic Games, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Owen Humphreys, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE
  • The OIympic flag is carried around the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)The OIympic flag is carried around the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Lights illuminate the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Lights illuminate the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
  • The Olympic rings are suspended over the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)The Olympic rings are suspended over the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
  • Performers march through the audience during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)Performers march through the audience during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • Performers dance during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Performers dance during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • A person dressed as Queen Elizabeth II parachutes into the Olympic stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Ezra Shaw, Getty)A person dressed as Queen Elizabeth II parachutes into the Olympic stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Ezra Shaw, Getty)
  • Fencer Mariel Zagunis leads Team USA into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)Fencer Mariel Zagunis leads Team USA into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
  • A giant figure stands out during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)A giant figure stands out during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
  • Queen Elizabeth II declares the games open at the Olympic Games Opening ceremonies in London on Friday July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)Queen Elizabeth II declares the games open at the Olympic Games Opening ceremonies in London on Friday July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
  • The Olympic cauldron is being lit during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)The Olympic cauldron is being lit during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Paul McCartney, center, performs during the Opening Ceremony at  the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)Paul McCartney, center, performs during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
  • The closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics will be streamed live online. Here are fireworks illuminating the sky after the Olympic cauldron was lit during the opening ceremony Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London.  (AP Photo/Leon Neal, Pool)The closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics will be streamed live online. Here are fireworks illuminating the sky after the Olympic cauldron was lit during the opening ceremony Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Leon Neal, Pool)
  • USA's Michael Phelps competes in a heat of the men's 400-meter individual medley at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)USA's Michael Phelps competes in a heat of the men's 400-meter individual medley at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

LONDON (AP) — Michael Phelps almost failed to qualify Saturday for the final in the first of his seven events and Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan was disqualified in a stunning opening session of the London Olympics swimming program.

“That one didn’t feel too good,” Phelps said, after squeaking into the final in the 400-meter individual medley by a seven-hundredths of a second.

Park touched the wall first in his 400 freestyle heat and was surprised by his DQ, saying, “I don’t know why” after he walked off the deck.

South Korea appealed to the swimming governing body FINA, which was expected to rule later Saturday.

Park and Phelps were not the only surprise of the morning at the Aquatics Centre, where Queen Elizabeth appeared briefly.

Paul Biedermann of Germany, the world record holder for the 200-meter freestyle, failed to make the final.

“That’s the Olympics,” said Canadian Ryan Cochrane, who barely made the 400 free final. “It’s always a surprise, every single heat. You just have to focus on your own race.”

Cochrane could miss out on the final later Saturday if Parks is reinstated.

In Beijing, Park became South Korea’s first swimming gold medalist and then won the world title in Shanghai last year.

Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic champion, won his 400 IM preliminary heat in 4 minutes, 13.33 seconds with a time that was well off his world record of 4:03.84 set four years ago in Beijing, when Phelps won a record eight gold medals.

But it was only good enough to secure the last spot in the evening final, when Phelps will swim in Lane 1 instead of the middle of the pool.

“The only thing that matters is just getting a spot in,” he said. “You can’t win the gold medal from the morning.”

In the 400 IM, Kosuke Hagino of Japan led the way in 4:10.01, a national record. Chad le Clos of South Africa was second at 4:12.24, and Ryan Lochte of the United States advanced in third at 4:12.35.

Phelps‘ time was just fast enough to keep Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, the silver medalist in Beijing, out of the final. Cseh was ninth overall after leading Phelps during their heat before the American closed on the last lap of freestyle to beat him to the wall.

“I didn’t expect those guys to go that fast in their heat,” Phelps said. “I was slower this morning than I was four years ago.”

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