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UPI NewsTrack Sports

July 28, 2012 at 11:06 PM   |   Comments

Lochte wins, Phelps fades at Olympics

LONDON, July 28 (UPI) -- The reign of Olympic gold medal record holder Michael Phelps was interrupted Saturday and China made its presence known as a potential world swimming power.

Ryan Lochte brought an end to Phelps' Olympic winning streak on the first day of swimming competition at the London Games, grabbing the gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley.

That was not a shock since Lochte defeated Phelps at the U.S. Olympic trials in the event. The fact that Phelps did not win a medal in the race, however, was stunning.

Phelps almost did not make it into the finals, qualifying in the eighth and last position during the morning heats. Although the 400 IM is far from Phelps' best race and is one he considered dropping from his Olympic program, the lackluster showing raised questions as to what might be expected of him during his other six competitions at the London Games.

Lochte's win came in the first race of the evening and Chinese swimmers then claimed two of the other three finals -- the women's 400-meter individual medley and the men's 400-meter freestyle.

China won one gold medal in swimming at the Beijing Olympics and now has doubled that total in just one day in London.

Lochte's victory was a one-sided one. He defeated silver medal winner Thiago Pereira of Brazil by 3.68 seconds, producing a gold-medal time of 4:05.18. Japan's Kosuke Hagino finished .34 of a second in front of Phelps for third.

Phelps' career medal total in three Olympics remained stuck at 16. He is two short of the all-time record held by Ukrainian gymnast Larysa Latynina, who set the mark 48 years ago while competing for the Soviet Union.

The Chinese wins in the pool Saturday were produced by 16-year-old Ye Shiwen with a world record time of 4:28.43 in the women's 400-meter individual medley and Sun Yang in the men's 400-meter freestyle.

American Elizabeth Beisel finished second to Ye and another Chinese swimmer, Li Xuanxu, wound up third.

The 400-meter freestyle had an odd twist when defending champion Taehwan Park of South Korea was disqualified for an apparent false start in the prelims. A look at replays showed Park did not move before the start of the race and he was reinstated for the finals, where he finished second to Sun. Peter Vanderkaay of the United States took the bronze.

Australia finished the program Saturday by winning the women's 400-meter freestyle relay, followed by the Netherlands and the United States.

American butterfly specialist Dana Vollmer hopes to win a gold in Sunday's final after dominating the heats and semifinals on Saturday. She will face two Chinese swimmers in the gold medal race.


U.S. women clinch soccer quarterfinal berth

LONDON, July 28 (UPI) -- Megan Rapinoe scored in the first half Saturday and the United States broke it open late to down Colombia 3-0 and earn an Olympic soccer quarterfinal berth.

The two-time defending champion Americans fell behind in their opening game against France before rallying for a 4-2 victory, but they did not face such a problem on Saturday.

With six points to their credit and only a game against North Korea left in group play, the United States wrapped up a berth in the knockout round, which begins Aug. 3.

Rapinoe scored in the 33rd minute and it remained a 1-0 game until Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd tacked on goals in the 74th and 77th minutes.

Canada bounced back from its opening-game loss to Japan with a 3-0 decision over South Africa. The Canadians can reach the quarterfinals with a win over Sweden Tuesday.

Brazil clinched a quarterfinal spot with a 1-0 win over New Zealand and Britain did the same by downing Cameroon 3-0. Brazil and Britain will meet Tuesday to determine the winner of Group E.


Federer, Serena win Olympic openers

LONDON, July 28 (UPI) -- Roger Federer and Serena Williams returned to the scene of their most recent triumphs Saturday and both won their opening match at the Olympics.

Federer and Williams added another major title to their respective collection earlier this month at Wimbledon, which is hosting the Olympic tennis tournament.

Federer, who along with Stanislas Wawrinka won an Olympic doubles gold medal for Switzerland four years ago, had to work harder than expected in his first-round match before getting past Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

Williams, who represents the best gold medal tennis hope for the United States, breezed past former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1.

The biggest threat to Federer in his quarter of the draw could come from American John Isner, who opened his Olympic bid with a 7-6, 6-4 decision over Oliver Rochus. If they both can get that far, Federer and Isner would meet in the quarterfinals.

Other opening-round winners in the men's draw included Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, Philipp Petzschner of Germany, Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

The win by Williams set up a second-round meeting with Urszula Radwanska of Poland, who defeated Mona Barthel of Germany 6-4, 6-3. Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia rallied to down Li Na of China 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia ousted American Christina McHale 6-4, 7-5.

Kim Clijsters of Belgium, Peng Shuai of China and Flavia Pennetta of Italy also advanced.


Spurs assistant Vaughn named Magic coach

ORLANDO, Fla., July 28 (UPI) -- Jacque Vaughn was named head coach of the Orlando Magic Saturday, replacing Stan Van Gundy who was let go in May.

Vaughn, 37, played for the Magic in the 2002-2003 season and won an NBA championship with San Antonio in 2007 and was a Spurs assistant for the last two seasons.

"We quickly saw that Jacque's spirit and leadership strengths made him the clear choice," General Manager Rob Hennigan said in a written statement. "We are confident that his diligence, attention to detail and communication style will help establish the bedrock of our culture moving forward."

Vaughn's leadership will be tested right away as he gets the Magic on track at the same time the future status of star center Dwight Howard remains up in the air. Howard has been the focus of high-profile trade rumors in recent months and has not committed to remaining in Orlando.

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