AMERICAN superstar Michael Phelps won two medals, including a relay gold, on Tuesday night to become the most successful Olympian ever, while Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen brushed aside doping speculations to claim her second gold at the London Games.
A bittersweet silver in the men’s 200m butterfly and the 4x200m freestyle relay gold lifted Phelps’ career medal tally to 19, beating Russian gymnast Larisa Latymina’s record of 18 medals.
Phelps’ 19 Olympic medals included a record 15 gold, eight of them won in Beijing four years ago.
South Africa’s Chad le Cos pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the Aquatics Center with a come-from-behind victory in the men’s 200m butterfly final, thwarting Phelps’ bid for his first gold in London.
Phelps was in the lead at every turn but Cos surged past the American at the finish to win in 1 minute 52.96 seconds. Phelps was just five-hundredths of a second behind, and Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda grabbed bronze.
“He is a hard worker and he’s a very talented kid,” Phelps said of Cos.
Cos’ triumph means Phelps missed out on the chance to become the first male swimmer to win the same event in three consecutive Olympics, but the Phelps did write his name into the Olympic record books when he returned an hour later to anchor the U.S. team to the 4x200m freestyle relay triumph.
“I thanked those guys for helping me get to this moment,” Phelps said after the race.
Also in the pool, Ye Shiwen, who was in the center of doping speculation after her world record-breaking performance in the 400m IM on Saturday, won the 200m IM in an Olympic record time of 2:07.57.
The 16-year-old Ye needed a typical strong final freestyle leg to overtake Australian Alicia Coutts, who produced a strong third lap on the breaststroke to momentarily take the lead.
“I didn’t expect the others to swim so fast, I was surprised, but I couldn’t lost the race,” said Ye, who added the recent accusations of doping had not affected her.
Earlier on Tuesday, IOC communications director Mark Adams came to the defence of Ye, saying all medal winners are drug tested and there is no evidence against Ye.
“We have a very strong drugs testing program. And we’re very confident that if there are cheats then we will catch them,” said Adams.
“She is a victor. She is not a doper,” he added.
In the first final of the night, American Allison Schmitt won the 200m freestyle in a dominant fashion in an Olympic record time of 1:53.61. France’s Camille Muffat got silver in 1:55.58, almost a body length behind, while Bronte Barrett of Australia was third.
Elsewhere, the duo of Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao won China’s third diving gold medal in three events with a stylish victory in the women’s 10-meter synchronized platform final.
Chen and Wang led from second dive to finish with a total score of 368.40 points, over 25 points ahead of their nearest rivals Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco of Mexico.
“I wasn’t nervous, the finals are a test of what we have trained for,” said the 19-year-old Chen.
With three wins out of three events, the Chinese diving “Dream Team” are right on course to sweep all eight gold medals and improve on their performance in Beijing where they won seven.
China secured its first table tennis gold at these Games after Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia both reached the women’s singles final.
Top seed and reigning world champion Ding defeated Feng Tianwei of Singapore 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, before Li swept past Japanese Kasumi Ishikawa 11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 11-7.
“I won’t feel pressured because the gold medal is already ours. I’m going to show my best to the world,” Li said of Wednesday’s final.
Lei Sheng handed China its first fencing gold at the Games when he edged Egypt’s Alaadldin Abouelkassem 15-13 in the final.
Despite his near miss from the title, Abouelkassem became the first African to make the podium in the sport.
“It’s unbelieveable, I really can’t believe what I’ve done. It was very hard for me, but I did it,” Abouelkassem said. “I’m the first African fencer who has won an Olympic medal and that makes me proud.”
China picked up its second gold in weightlifting when Lin Qingfeng finished a full 11kg clear of the field to win in the men’s 69kg category.
The American women gymnasts delivered near-perfect routines to win the team title, their first Olympic gold medal since 1996. Russia claimed silver and European champions Romania took bronze.
The five-woman team of Gabrielle Douglas, Kayla McMaroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber earned the highest scores in all disciplines but uneven bars for a winning total of 183.596 points.
Defending champions China finished just fourth.
By the end of the fourth full day of competition, China is on top of the medal table with 13 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze, followed by the United States on 9-8-6 and France 4-3-4.
Things suddenly changed in men’s basketball Group A at London Olympic Games. Team who won in Sunday’s first round lost to underdogs here on Tuesday, except defending champion the United States, which makes unclear qualification situation. But everything goes smooth in the other group, in which Russia, Spain and Brazil all won second win.
Tony Parker scored 17 points, leading France to a 71-64 win over Argentina. Parker fed a lob pass over his San Antonio teammate Manu Ginobili for a key basket down the stretch to stun Argentina.
After losing by 27 points in its opener against the United States team, France seized its first victory in this Olympic Games.
Nicolas Batum added 14 points for France, which has never beaten Argentina in both sides’ four time meeting. Ginobili scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half and Luis Scola had 16 for Argentina, who took a 23-point win over Lithuania in its opener.
Lithuania also grabbed its first win after beating Nigeria 72-53. Leading 34-27 by halftime, Lithuania steadily increased its margin throughout the third quarter. Making its first Olympic appearance in men’s basketball, Nigeria shot only 24 percent from the field and only made one of its 16 three-point attempts.
Darius Songaila scored 12 points for Lithuania and Linas Kleiza added 11. Nigeria fell to 1-1 after opening the tournament with a win over African champion Tunisia.
While Group A became chaos, things got clear in Group B, except host Britain almost stunned Brazil. Tiago Splitter scored 21 points and Brazil held off Britian down the stretch for a 67-62 win. Marcelinho Huertas added 13 points.
Britain seized a surprise 11-4 lead after the first quarter before a deadlocked 27-27 by halftime. Two free throws by Splitter gave Brazil a 56-51 lead, but Luol Deng fired back-to-back 3-pointers to give Britain a 57-56 edge with 3:56 remaining and put the Olympic hosts close to a historic win. But Brazil fought to keep the margin to the end to join Spain and Russia atop Group B at 2-0.
Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 as Russia beat China 73-54. Russia went on a 10-0 run to open a 20-10 lead and was never really challenged in the rest of the match. Yi Jianlian had 16 points and seven rebounds and was the only Chinese player to score in double figures.
Pau Gasol scored 20 points in Spain’s 82-70 victory over Australia. Rudy Fernandez added 17 or Spain, silver-medallists at the Beijing Games after losing the final to the United States.
The US team, who is tournament favourite, smashed Tunisia 110-63 to be the only team stay unbeaten in Group A. Tunisia only scored 30 points in the second half while Camelo Anthony and Kevin Love combined 32 points for the US team. Every player of the US team scored and six of them finished with double figures. PNA/XINHUA