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Olympic Roundup: Missy Franklin wins gold, China off to big start

  |   July 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM
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LONDON, July 30 (UPI) -- Missy Franklin helped make it a satisfying day for the United States at the swimming pool Monday while China was enjoying success just about everywhere else.

In yet another display of their overall athletic prowess, the Chinese sent two teenagers out to win a diving title, dominated the men's gymnastic final, picked up a weightlifting gold medal, grabbed a silver in swimming and quietly walked away with a bronze in fencing while protests were going on that had nothing to do with them.

The Chinese superstars of table tennis also moved through the bracket while likely on their way to more medals and their women's volleyball team set up a showdown with the United States by remaining unbeaten.

China ended the day with nine gold medals through the first three days of the London Olympics, giving that country 23 percent of the golds handed out thus far. On that pace, the Chinese would easily surpass the 51 golds they won in their home country four years ago, when they claimed 17 percent of first place prizes.

Nevertheless, the United States won one more medal overall than China did Monday and for the Games has drawn even in that category at 17.

The 17-year-old Franklin and her swimming teammates saw to that.

Franklin won the first Olympic gold medal of her career, which would appear to have a long way to go. She steadily moved away from the field during the second half of the race to capture the 100-meter backstroke.

Moments later, Americans Matthew Grevers and Nick Thomas finished 1-2 in the men's 100-meter backstroke. Rebecca Soni came close to winning a third gold for the United States, but her comeback in the 100-meter breaststroke fell just short and she came in second best to 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania.

The solid performances at the pool helped ease the disappointments endured by the lack of a medal from Michael Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday and the loss to France in the 400-meter freestyle relay on Sunday.

Yannick Agnel, who anchored the French team to that win, picked up another gold Monday in the 20-meter freestyle.

Finishing tied for second in that race was Sun Yang, one of the Chinese who appeared up all over the Olympic venues at the start of the first full week of the Games.

Two of them were Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan, both in their teens and newcomers to the international diving scene. That did not stop them from blowing away the competition in the platform synchronized event, giving China two diving gold medals so far on the way to a possible eight .

Chinese male gymnasts turned in an extremely poor qualifying performance on Saturday, but when the team finals came around Monday they were ready and the race for the gold medal was not close. The Americans, meanwhile, were great in qualifying and lackluster in the real competition. They finished fifth.

A second woman from China won a weightlifting gold Monday -- Li Xueying in a class by herself in the 58-kilogram division.

And Sun Yujie of China won the bronze medal match in epee fencing after her South Korean opponent had sat on the stage for an hour in protest of a judge's decision concerning a malfunctioning that cost her a spot in the finals.

Elsewhere around the city, the United States boxing team suffered its first loss when light-heavyweight Marcus Browne fell to Australian Damien Hooper. The Americans had won their first four bouts and had another boxer advance with a bye.

The number of nations with at least one medal grew to 37 with the addition of India, Mexico, Mongolia, Thailand, Lithuania, Indonesia and the once-powerful Germans, who needed three days to win their first one.

Britain has won three in all with the third one coming Monday in team gymnastics. That was a bronze and it had been 100 years since the British had won a medal in that event.

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