- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 10, 2008

Michael Phelps began his long march toward eight gold medals by winning the 400-meter individual medley in 4 minutes, 3.84 seconds _ smashing his own world record.

The United States opened its campaign for basketball redemption with a 101-70 rout of host China that had even the home crowd oohing and aahing. Yao Ming’s 3-pointer for China to start the game sent the crowd into a frenzy.


The U.S. women’s 400-meter freestyle relay team, anchored by 41-year-old Dara Torres, took the silver behind the Netherlands’ Olympic record effort. It was the 10th medal of Torres’ career.

Stephanie Rice of Australia won the gold in the women’s 400-meter individual medley in a world record time of 4:29.45. American Katie Hoff got the bronze.

China kept up the pace at its games, getting its sixth gold when Guo Wenjun won the women’s 10-meter air pistol.

Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand won weightlifting gold with an Olympic record in the women’s 53-kilogram category. Her last name didn’t fit on the digital scoreboard at the Beijing weightlifting gym, so it was simply abbreviated as “J.”


“I wanted to sing on the medal podium but I couldn’t stop crying. I was just happy to get the first one under my belt.” _ Phelps.


During the medal ceremony for Phelps at the Water Cube, the recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner” cut off near the end. Phelps broke into a wide grin. The surprised crowd, at first unsure what to do, then began clapping.


A U.S. men’s volleyball team still reeling from the stabbing death of the coach’s father-in-law opened Olympic play with a 3-2 victory over Venezuela. “We really felt the loss as one of our own,” said U.S. captain Tom Hoff. “Maybe that’s why it hurts so much. It hit so close.”


Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou was barred from the Beijing Games by the International Olympic Committee for her role in a drug-testing scandal four years ago in Athens. She has the right to appeal. … Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic withdrew from the women’s tennis competition because of inflammation in her right thumb. … Their countries may be fighting, but a Russian and a Georgian shared an embrace on the medal podium. After the 10-meter air pistol event, silver medalist Natalia Paderina put her arm around bronze winner Nino Salukvadze, then kissed her on the cheek.


Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams begin play in tennis.

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