The U.S. added three gold medals to their tally on Wednesday -- two in the pool at the Aquatics Centre and one on the streets of London. Read about a thrilling swimming race, a gymnastics comeback and a fencer's heartbreak, all part of Day 5 of the London Games.
Wednesday in the pool was another special once for certain members of the U.S. swimming team. The medal haul kicked off with Nathan Adrian winning the first Olympic gold medal that the U.S. had won in the men's 100m freesyle since Matt Biondi did it in 1988 at the Seoul Games. At only 23-years-old, Adrian one the race by one one-hundredth of a second and became noticeably emotional after touching the wall, nearly coming to tears before he even left the pool.
Later in finals, the members of the women's 4x200m freestyle relay continued the golden trend. Already with a gold medal in the women's 200m freestyle, Allison Schmitt swam the anchor leg and posted the second fastest relay split of all time to pass the Australians, with the French finishing third overall. Dana Vollmer and Missy Franklin, already with one gold in individual events, received their second of the XXX Olympiad and Shannon Vreeland received her first medal of any kind in her first Summer Games. It was the first Olympic gold medal for any U.S. women's relay team since Athens in 2004, when Dana Vollmer and that year's 4x200m freestyle relay team accomplished the same feat.
Gymnastics: Men's individual all-around final
Following Olympic Trials, analysts built up the U.S. men's gymnastics team as being the strongest the country had sent to an Olympics since 1984. One that had a legitimate chance to win their first gold medal in 28 years, as well as having all-around medal contenders in Danell Leyva and John Orozco. However, it didn't play out the way they wanted to in the team competition, with Leyva and Orozco faltering on the pommel horse and the Bronx native Orozco falling on vault.
The two American gymnastics stars would return to the all-around final, in search of redemption. Unfortunately, it was more of the same for Orozco, as the pommel horse got the best of him once again. He finished strong in his remaining rotations, but would leave London empty-handed, placing 8th out of 24 competitors.
Miami's Leyva would also stumble on the pommel horse, but unlike Orozco, had a chance to medal with a strong finish. Leyva rallied feverishly from 19th to 6th after hitting solid routines on the rings and vault, and executing the best parallel bars routine of his career in the fifth rotation. In the sixth and final rotation, while the competitors in front of him stumbled to the finish, the 20-year-old Cuban-born American connected on a spectacular high bars routine that catapulted him to third place. After all had seem lost for the U.S. men's gymnastics team in London, Leyva took home a hard-earned bronze medal.
The much-anticipated women's all-around final will take place Thursday and feature Americans Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman.
A recurring theme entering the London Olympics involved the fact that Team USA hadn't won a medal in any discipline within the sport of diving since the 2000 Sydney Games. After Wednesday, a third medal in as many days was awarded to an American tandem. Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen, competing in the men's synchronized 3m springboard event, collected the bronze medal on Day 5 at the London Aquatics Centre. It was Troy Dumais' first Olympic medal in his fourth and most likely final Olympics. The Chinese pair of Luo Yutong and Qin Kai secured the gold, placing China halfway to a sweep of all diving events at the 2012 Games, and Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov came away with silver.
It was another successful day for the red, white and blue at the Horse Guards Parade. The unbeaten streak continued for the two-time defending Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor after besting the sisters from Austria, Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger. One streak is over however, as the Americans lost the first set of the match before taking the next two, which is something that they've never done dating back to 2004 in Athens. The teammates won their pool, advancing to the knockout round as the top overall seed where they will find out their opponent on Thursday.
On the men's side, Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal needed to beat Latvia in order to win their pool and hold on to their No. 4 overall seed for the knockout round. They did so with little to no difficulty, closing the first set on an 11-2 run and jumping out to an 8-3 lead in the second on their way to a 21-10, 21-16 victory.
Cycling: Women's time trial
American Kristin Armstrong successfully defended her Olympic title from 2008, winning the women's time trial in London on Wednesday. The Boise, Idaho resident conquered the 18-mile course and blitzed the field, winning by over 15 seconds. In a touching moment following the medal ceremony, Armstrong held her son on the podium while she posed for pictures with her second consecutive gold medal. The 38-year-old mother will go out on top, having announced her retirement after the race.
In the men's time trial, British sports legend Bradley Wiggins won gold for the host country. The gold came just 10 days after he became the first Brit to win the Tour de France and it broke the overall medal record for a British Olympian (7).
Women's Basketball: U.S. vs. Turkey
The U.S. women's basketball team took on Turkey in a battle of 2-0 teams on Wednesday. The Americans prevailed and remained unbeaten, winning 89-58. Angel McCoughtry and Tina Charles led the U.S. with 18 points and 16 points, respectively. Although the U.S. ladies have won their previous matchups by an average of 39 points, Turkey proved more of a challenge.
The Americans fell behind by one point in the first quarter before taking a comfortable lead by the end of the first half. The Turks made another notable push in the third quarter, pulling within 5, 50-45. However, the depth of the United States was too much for Turkey and the Americans took over in the 4th quarter. The U.S. will wrap up pool play against the Czech Republic on August 3rd and China on August 5th.
Women's Volleyball: U.S. vs. China
The U.S. women's volleyball team continued their dominant run at the London Games, beating China in straight sets -- 26-24, 25-16, 31-29. The win improved the Americans to 3-0, clinching first place in Group B and a quarterfinal round berth.
Destinee Hooker had 17 kills and 3 blocks and Megan Hodge finished off 18 kills.
The U.S. finishes off group play with games against Serbia on Friday and Turkey on Sunday before playing in the quarterfinals next week.
Day five on the grass courts at the London Games saw victory as well as defeat for the Americans. North Carolina native John Isner won in straight sets, but not before a lengthy tiebreaker in the second set, which seems to be a pattern in Isner matches. The final score was 7-5, 7(16)-6(14). Isner moves on to the quarterfinals to face Roger Federer, a familiar opponent-Isner beat Federer in the first round of the 2012 Davis Cup.
After losing two straight tiebreakers, Venus Williams' run at the London Games came to a disappointing end. The American lost to Germany's Kerber Angelique 6(5)-7(7), 6(5)-7(7). It was the unforced errors that hurt Venus the most, totaling 36 over Kerber's 18. Kerber's efficiency carried over to her serving percentages, making 73% of her 1st serves and 100% of her 2nd serves, compared to Venus' 58% and 78%, respectively.
Serena Williams had a much easier time than her sister in her 3rd round match against Vera Zvonareva. The American dominated the Russian 6-1, 6-0. Serena's serving proved superior with higher percentages and 12 aces-the only aces of the match. Serena takes on Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.
The Williams sisters paired up to take on Germany's Kerber Angelique and Lisicki Sabine in doubles. Venus seized the opportunity for payback from her match against Angelique. With the help from Serena, the sisters prevailed over the Germans 6-2, 7-5. The Williams sisters continue their path to the podium when they face Italy's Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the next round.
Women's Water Polo: U.S. vs. Spain
Just as it seemed like the U.S. women's water polo team was going to walk away with a win over Spain, Maica Garcia of Spain scored twice within the final minutes to end the match in a 9-9 draw. Kami Craig led the United States with four goals. The draw did not come as bad news for the American women, as they still sit atop the Group A standings. The U.S. women play China next on August 3rd.
Boxing: Men's Round of 16
Three American boxers' dreams of Olympic glory came to an end on Wednesday. Jose Diaz Jr., Michael Hunter, and Artur Beterbiev all fell in the Round of 16. Four U.S. male boxers remain in contention for a medal -- lightweight Jose Ramirez, middleweight Terrell Gausha, flyweight Rau'Shee Warren and welterweight Errol Spence. The inaugural Olympic women's boxing tournament will begin August 5th, featuring three Americans.
Mariel Zagunis, the fencer selected as the U.S. flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, came into the London Games as the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist in women's sabre. Despite entering competition as the favorite once again, Zaguis dropped her semi-final match against Kim Jiyeon. Despite building a 12-5 lead in the bout, the American sited impatience, tactical errors and "lapses in concentration" as the reasons for the loss. Zagunis would go on to also drop the bronze medal match against rival Olga Kharlan of the Ukraine 15-10, failing to reach the podium in London.
Olympic Zone Editorial Staff