London 2012 – Day 3: Gold Fish

 United States swimmer Missy Franklin led the American school of gold-fish by winning the gold medal (her first individual Olympic medal) and establishing a new American record in the 100 meter backstroke final.  Franklin won a race including “six of the ten greatest swimmers of all time,” including Australian favorite to win Emily Seebohm.  Franklin’s impressive victory came within ten minutes of her finishing a different event semi-final (women’s 200 meter freestyle), where she took second place in the first round, allowing her to qualify for that event final.

Franklin wasn’t the US’s only pool sensation today as the American synchronized diving team of David Boudia and Nick McCrory secured a bronze medal in the 10 meter synchronized event final.  China took gold in the event, but a sweeter story came from Garcia and Sanchez securing the silver medal for Mexico, the country’s first medal in the sport since 1956.  Additionally, Garcia and Sanchez attemepted the most difficult dive in Olympic history – one with a 4.1 difficulty rating – and from it, they earned an impressive 95 point score.

American swimmers Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman went 1-2, respectively, in the Men’s 100 meter backstroke final.  Grevers set a new Olympic Record with his victory, and the Grevers-Thoman win marked the second consecutive appearance where Americans claimed gold and silver in this event.  Decorated swimmer Michael Phelps swam through the semi-final in an event where he’s the two-time defending Olympic champion – the 200 meter butterfly.  Phelps will compete in the final against fellow American swimmer Tyler Clarly.  Clarly was noted for being critical of Phelps’ dedication and training prior to these Olympics and was noted as saying he can’t wait to beat Michael Phelps.  Ahh, the deliciousness of a competitive rivalry…

In less fortunate news, Olympic momentum-magnet and emerging star Ryan Lochte lost some of his steam as he finished fourth in the Men’s 200 meter freestyle final.  France’s Vannick Agnel claimed gold, followed by China’s Sun Yang, and Japan’s Park Tae Wan.  Lachte and Team USA fans shouldn’t feel too bad, though, Yan and Tae Wan tied for silver, leaving Lochte in fourth place by a mere 0.11 seconds!

Finally, after a starting miscue, the Women’s 100 meter breaststroke final was allowed to get underway.  The race saw Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte best USA’s Rebecca Soni by 0.08 seconds! Meilutyte’s victory marked only the second Olympic gold medal to be won by a Lithuanian female athlete in any Olympic sport!

Beyond the water, the Men’s team gymnastics final took place.  Unfortunately, Team USA’s expected medal dreams were dashed by a series of falls that saw them finish in fifth place.  But the medal podium changed even after the final scores revealed China had won gold, Great Britain silver, and Ukraine bronze.  Following a questionable judgment call on Japan, the Japanese team challenged the call, immediately having it reviewed.  When the jury came back, Japan’s score was increased, allowing Japan to claim silver, bumping Great Britain to bronze and Ukraine from the podium altogether.  Ouch.

Finally, to cap off an eventful day of competition, the beach volleyball team of May-Walsh remained completely undefeated (in both matches and sets) on their quest for their third consecutive Olympic gold in the event.  Eliminations in women’s beach volleyball will begin Wednesday.