Lochte falters again, but Franklin, Grevers shine
By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer
LONDON (AP) -- Yannick Agnel dealt another crushing blow to Ryan Lochte and everyone else in the supposed Race of the Century at the London Olympics on Monday.
Missy Franklin restored American swim hopes with a gutsy performance in the backstroke, and Matt Grevers kept the gold medals coming for the red, white and blue.
Franklin, a 17-year-old from Colorado and best hope for the U.S. program in the post-Michael Phelps era, bounced back from a semifinal race with just a 13-minute break, rallying to win the 100-meter back for the first gold medal of what figures to be a dazzling career.
Australia's Emily Seebohm, the top qualifier, led at the turn and was under world-record pace, but Franklin showed a remarkable finishing kick -- especially since she had just raced in the semis of the 200 free. With her arms twirling, the 6-foot-1 swimmer passed the Aussie in the final 25 meters and lunged toward the wall for a winning time of 58.33 seconds.
She broke into a big smile but was clearly exhausted, her head dropping back against the wall. Seebohm settled for silver in 58.68 and Japan's Aya Terakawa took bronze in 58.83.
Agnel showed that his brilliant swim on the Olympic relay was no fluke. The towering Frenchman did it again in the 200 free, leading from start to finish in perhaps the most star-studded race of these games -- even without Phelps, who passed up a chance to defend his Olympic title.
That might have been a good move by Phelps. It was hard to see anyone beating Agnel on this night, as he pulled away to win by a full body length in 1 minute, 43.14 seconds. There were gold medalists galore in the field, but no one came close to challenging the Frenchman, who steadily pulled away, looking just as strong at the end as he did at the beginning.
South Korea's Park Tae-hwan and China's Sun Yang tied for the silver in 1:44.93. But reigning world champion Lochte, who seemed poised to have a huge Olympics on the opening night of the games, has now put up two disappointing performances. He faded to fourth, missing out on the podium along with world-record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany.
The previous night in the 4x100 free relay, Lochte anchored the Americans and took over with a half-body length lead. But Agnel chased him down on the final leg, giving France the gold and payback for the stunning U.S. win in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Just when things were looking really grim for the powerful American team -- Phelps shut out of the medal in his first London race, the relay loss, Lochte's duel disappointments -- Franklin came through and Grevers added another gold in rat-a-tat fashion, rallying on the return lap to win the men's 100 backstroke.
For good measure, Nick Thomas made it a 1-2 finish for the Americans, touching for silver in 52.92. The bronze went to Japan's Ryosuke Irie in 52.97, while France's Camille Lacourt, who led at the turn under world-record pace, faded to fourth.
Still, the first three days have produced three gold medals for the French, the most they've ever won at the Olympic pool. And there's still five days to go.
By ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer
LONDON (AP) -- The U.S. women's volleyball team defeated Brazil 3-1 on Monday at the Olympics in an early-round rematch of the Beijing Games final won by the Brazilians.
Destinee Hooker had 23 points and Jordan Larson added 18 for the top-ranked Americans, who won 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 to improve to 2-0 in pool play at Earls Court.
Sheilla Castro had 15 points for No. 2 Brazil, which was energized after a third-set victory but lost on Logan Tom's floater in the fourth set. Tom is playing in her fourth Olympics.
"I call her the glue," coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "She holds this team together." (McCutcheon is the head coach of the University of Minnesota women's volleyball team.)
Brazil has lost five straight international matches to the U.S. The teams are 21-21 in career play.
Larson, a wing spiker making her Olympic debut, hit a floater to put the Americans up 23-17 in the first set. She spiked for set point, with Brazil looking out of sorts.
The U.S. pulled away in the second set with a 7-point run, capped by Tom's spike. Brazil twice held off the U.S. at set point and had some momentum, until Hooker's kill ended it.
Brazil went up 8-3 early in the third, but the Americans rallied for a 16-15 lead on Christa Harmotto's block. It was back and fourth until Harmotto's attempt to return Thaisa Menezes' spike went awry.
The result left the Brazilians at 1-1 in the pool.
"Now is not the time to think about the game, but to think about the next steps," Brazilian captain Fabiana Oliveira said, adding the match might be a preview of the final.
The Americans took the top spot in the world rankings at the end of 2011, ending Brazil's four-year run at No. 1.
The Brazilians began Olympic play by defeating Turkey in five sets. The U.S. opened with a 3-1 victory over South Korea behind Hooker's 21 points.
"She's really coming into a different game. She's not only a good hitter now, she blocks and she's playing some defense," said captain Lindsey Berg, who played at the U of M. "She's really developed her game to be a volleyball player instead of just this great athlete that jumps high and hits the ball hard."
China, Serbia, Turkey and South Korea are in the six-team pool with the U.S. and Brazil. Japan, Russia, Italy, Algeria, the Dominican Republic and Britain make up the other pool. The top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals. The U.S. has been playing well under McCutcheon, who coached the U.S. men to the gold medal in Beijing before shifting to the women's team. The American women have never won an Olympic gold medal in volleyball. The sport joined the Olympics in 1964.
"I think our best is yet to come," McCutcheon said. "We certainly had some areas that we can improve on. ... But that's the great thing about this team, they keep trying to master their craft."
The U.S. will play China on Wednesday night, followed by Brazil's match against South Korea.
In Monday's earlier matches, China moved to 2-0 in its group after defeating Turkey, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 29-31, 25-22). Kim Yeon-Koung had a staggering 34 points to lead South Korea to a 3-1 victory over Serbia. South Korea is 1-1 in its pool. Russia went up 2-0 in pool play after downing the Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 24-26, 25-22).
TennisBy STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Venus Williams began her bid for a record fourth gold medal in Olympic tennis Monday by beating Sara Errani of Italy, 6-3, 6-1.
It was an impressive showing from Williams, who is unseeded and drew a tough first-round foe. Errani has won four titles this year, was the runner-up at the French Open and is ranked a career-high No. 9.
But Williams was in fine form on the Wimbledon grass, where she has won five of her seven Grand Slam titles.
Twenty minutes after Williams won on Court 2, younger sister Serena closed out a second-round victory on Court 1, beating Urszula Radwanska of Poland, 6-2, 6-3. Serena defeated Radwanska's sister, Agnieszka, in the Wimbledon final this month.
Top-seeded Roger Federer made only a brief appearance on Centre Court, beating Julien Benneteau of France 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour to reach the third round.
Routine wins have been elusive at the Olympics for Federer, who is playing in the Games for the fourth time and still seeking his first singles medal. He was pushed to three sets in the opening round but he easily eliminated Benneteau, who held a two-set lead against Federer at Wimbledon a month ago before losing.
Andy Roddick quickly took to Olympic grass, winning his first-round match over Martin Klizan of Slovakia, 7-5, 6-4.
Venus Williams was diagnosed last year with an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue, but she nonetheless began 2012 determined to make the Olympics for the fourth time. She won the gold medal in singles at the 2000 Games and teamed with Serena to take the gold in doubles in 2000 and 2008.
Because her opening match was delayed a day by rain, Williams will have to play six consecutive days if she reaches Saturday's final.
Williams served well against Errani and moved forward aggressively, winning 19 points at the net. When Errani double-faulted on match point, Williams trotted to the net with a grin, then shook her fist with glee as spectators chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Roddick converted only two of 13 break-point chances but dominated with his serve, as often happens at Wimbledon, where he's a three-time runner-up.
"I served really well," he said. "I would have liked to have converted more break points. But I got a couple and, thankfully, that's all I needed."
The Olympic match, delayed a day by rain, was Roddick's first in eight years. He lost in the third round at the 2004 Games and skipped Beijing in 2008.
As a price for being unseeded, he'll face a daunting challenge in the second round: Novak Djokovic, the 2011 Wimbledon champion.
"The guy has been the best player in the world over the last couple of years," Roddick said. "It's going to be tough. But the situation, we've both been through it a million times. I'm going to have to serve well and take some chances on returns."
Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus defeated Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania on Centre Court, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
Lleyton Hewitt of Australian and Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, both three-time Olympians, won their opening matches. No. 9-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina, No. 13 Marin Cilic of Croatia, No. 16 Richard Gasquet of France and big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada also advanced.
American Varvara Lepchenko eliminated Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-2. Their match was tied after two sets when suspended Sunday because of rain.
Roddick, a dedicated Davis Cup player for the United States, took Court 2 on a sunny morning looking particularly patriotic. He wore a blue shirt, white shorts and stars-and-stripes shoes.
"Posh sneakers, Andy," shouted a spectator with a British accent.
He lost only nine points in 11 service games, and the first break point came on the final shot of the opening set, which put him ahead to stay.
Roddick won with more than just his serve, hitting several improbable shots, including a back-to-the-net lob to help win one point, and a backhand as he did a belly flop behind the baseline.
By NANCY ARMOUR, AP National Writer
LONDON (AP) -- When there's gold to be had, don't ever doubt the Chinese.
When it comes to silver and bronze, it can get tricky. It did at men's gymnastics on Monday.
The Chinese won their second straight Olympic title and third in four games, making anyone who wrote them off after a dismal performance in qualifying look silly. Their score of 275.997 points was more than four points better than Japan, which needed help from a DVR to finish second.
Britain initially was announced as the silver medalist, setting off raucous celebrations at the O2 Arena. The British don't have a proud history in gymnastics -- barely any at all -- and this was their first men's team medal in a century. But Japan questioned the score of three-time world champion Kohei Uchimura on pommel horse, the very last routine.
While judges huddled around a video screen, the British partied and Uchimura and his teammates sat stone-faced against a wall. About five minutes later Uchimura's score was revised, with judges giving him seven-tenths more credit for his dismount. Instead of 13.466, he scored 14.166 _ enough to move Japan from fourth to second with a total of 271.952.
Britain was bumped down to bronze, while Ukraine dropped to fourth.
It was of little consolation to the Japanese, who were bested by the Chinese yet again.
Just like everybody else.
China also won the last five world titles, and now has gone eight years without losing at a major competition.
The Americans, hoping for their first Olympic title since 1984 after finishing No. 1 in qualifying, lost all hopes for a medal with a dismal showing on pommel horse, their second event. They rallied to finish fifth.
DivingBy BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan won the men's 10-meter synchronized title, giving China its second diving gold medal of the London Games.
Cao and Zhang totaled 486.78 points in the six-dive final Monday, spoiling the medal hopes of Brits Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield, who were shut out.
German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia of Mexico won the silver with 468.90.
Nick McCrory and David Boudia of the U.S. took the bronze with 463.47.
Daley and Waterfield led through the first three rounds, but botched their fourth dive and dropped to fourth, where they eventually finished.
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press
Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter, has completed the difficult and dangerous cross-country portion of her first Olympic equestrian eventing competition in very good time.
The 31-year-old Phillips finished well under the pace time with 9 minutes 55.11 seconds, cheered on wildly by thousands of fans _ some of them royal -- in the bucolic Greenwich Park, London's oldest royal park.
Princes William and Harry watched her from the main equestrian arena, joined by William's wife, Kate, and Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles. Seated alongside them were Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew.
Phillips' mother, Princess Anne, watched from the grounds of the twisty, hilly 5.7-kilometer course dotted with 28 obstacles.
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