This was one sweet victory for France.
Yannick Agnel rallied the French to the gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, pulling ahead of American star Ryan Lochte in the final lap.
France clocked 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds, and the Americans settled for silver in 3:10.38. Russia took bronze in 3:11.41. Pre-race favorite Australia was fourth.
It was sweet revenge for the French, who lost a close race to the Americans in Beijing four years ago.
U.S. star Michael Phelps still won the 17th Olympic medal of his career — and first silver, to go along with 14 golds and two bronzes. He’s one away from tying the mark for most career medals held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
Dana Vollmer had a triumphant return to the Olympics, setting a world record while winning gold in the 100 butterfly. The American was third at the turn but powered to the wall for a time of 55.98 seconds.
Vollmer, who made the Olympics as a 16-year-old in 2004, was a huge disappointment when she failed to make the team in Beijing in 2008.
Camille Muffat of France edged American Allison Schmitt by less than half a stroke to win the 400 freestyle, and South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh set a world record to win the 100 breaststroke.
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North Korea’s Om Yun Chol said he wanted to lift a big weight and make the other athletes nervous. He definitely nailed that strategy.
Om, standing all of 5 feet and 123 pounds, won a gold medal by confidently lifting an Olympic-record 370 pounds in the clean and jerk at the London Games.
Only a handful of people have lifted more than three times their body weight, and this one came out of nowhere.
Om was in the “B” group with lower-ranked competitors and lifted weights of 160 and 165 kilograms on his first two attempts early in the day. He got the crowd roaring when it was announced he would go for 168 kilograms — the Olympic record.
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After some seats were empty on the first full day of competition, organizers turned to troops, teachers and students to fill the gaps at a handful of Olympic venues.
Organizing chief Sebastian Coe predicted that seats left unused, largely by Olympic and sports officials, will not be an issue later.
“It is obvious, some of those seats are not being used in the early rounds,” he said at a briefing.
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Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, wowed the home crowd and a few relatives in her Olympic equestrian debut.
The 31-year-old Phillips registered a slight mistake on her appropriately named horse, High Kingdom, and earned 46.1 penalty points at Greenwich Park, placing her 24th out of 74 riders with two disciplines to go in the eventing dressage competition.
Her grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her mother, Princess Anne, were in the VIP seats as Phillips put High Kingdom through the paces of a standard dressage test to demonstrate the horse’s obedience.
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Wu Minxia and partner He Zi won the first diving gold medal of the Olympics, moving China one step closer to a sweep of the eight events in London.
They led throughout the five-dive round and totaled 346.20 points in the 3-meter synchronized event.
Abby Johnston and Kelci Bryant finished second with 321.90 points, ending America’s diving medal drought that extended to the 2000 Sydney Games. It was the first Olympic synchro medal for the U.S.
“Abby and I just kicked it off with this event and I think the rest of the team is going to come through,” Bryant said.
China won seven of eight golds as the host country four years ago in Beijing and swept the golds at last year’s world championships in Shanghai.
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Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Spain to a 97-81 victory over China in their Olympic men’s opener.
Spain got off to a slow start and had a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. But it went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to grab a cushion and was never seriously challenged the rest of the game.
Yi Jianlian of the Washington Wizards had 30 points and 12 rebounds for China.
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Scattered showers sent fans at the picturesque Horse Guards Parade scurrying for shelter during the second day of the beach volleyball tournament, dampening what had been a festive mood but not deterring the second half of the field from making its 2012 Games debut.
Emanuel, a five-time Olympian and defending world champion from Brazil, teamed with Alison to beat Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 19-21, 21-17, 16-14.
Elsa Baquerizo McMillan and Liliana Fernandez Steiner also rallied, edging Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands 14-21, 21-16, 15-11.
Also scheduled for their first matches Sunday were defending gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States, who were to play Japan’s Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori in the night session. The No. 2 American women’s team, April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, who came in second at the Horse Guards Parade test event last summer, was also scheduled to play at night, against Ana Gallay and Virginia Zonta of Argentina.
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Freddie Evans maintained Britain’s perfect start to its home Olympic boxing tournament with an 18-10 victory over Algerian welterweight Ilyas Abbadi.
Evans earned a solid victory in the final bout of the afternoon session, delighting the sold-out crowd waving dozens of Union Jacks and giving repeated standing ovations.
Custio Clayton earned Canada’s first Olympic boxing victory in eight years with a 12-8 decision over Mexico’s Oscar Molina. France’s Alexis Vastine beat German welterweight Patrick Wojcicki 16-12, and Thailand’s Saylom Ardee lost an agonizing decision to Kazakhstan’s Gain Zhailauov in the most entertaining early fights at ExCel.
Dominican lightweight Wellington Arias was impressive in a 17-8 victory over Colombia’s Eduar Marriaga, but earned the dubious honor of facing Ukraine’s top-seeded Vasyl Lomachenko in the second round Thursday.
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Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the women’s cycling road race in a rain-drenched sprint, leaving Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead with silver and the home country’s first medal of the London Olympics.
Vos, the former world champion, made a daring move past Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya to emerge from the three-rider breakaway. Zabelinskaya won bronze after a frantic finish through a driving rain that was reminiscent of four years ago in Beijing.