OF MIKE AND MEN: Phelps’ spectacular performance Friday night proved his struggles early on in London were nothing more than a slow start. Photo courtesy Adam Pretty/Getty Images

We have entered the second weekend of these Olympic Games which means the first week is officially in the books. There have been upsets, surprises, and disappointments aplenty already, and with most people now getting two days off to veg out and watch the Olympics, now seems as good a time as any to update the top nations in the medal count.

Team Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States 21 10 12 43
China 20 13 9 42
Russia 3 12 8 23
Great Britain 8 6 8 22
Japan 2 8 11 21
Germany 5 9 6 20
France 8 5 6 19
South Korea 9 2 5 16
Australia 1 9 4 14
Italy 4 5 3 12

Not only are these the top ten teams in the current medal count, they are the only nations to reach the double digit barrier so far. Team USA has overtaken China as the overall leader in a day of big moves for both countries. China enjoyed a healthy stimulus to their total in the mid-afternoon as they climbed to 41 thanks greatly in part to an impressive performance by two of their athletes on the Men’s Trampoline. But as the sun went down the US swimmers took to the pool again in perhaps their most successful night as a unit yet to capture the overall lead by one medal.

Great Britain, after a sluggish start, is now one of the top four countries thanks to more medal events in cycling and rowing on the schedule. The Brits are always favorites to dominate these sports and here in London — as host nations usually see a boost in their usual overall medal counts — has been no exception.

Australia is hanging on in the leader board but still have only one gold medal to their name. With the swimming competitions rapping up, that is a tremendous disappointment for the land down under. The Aussies will be hoping the sailing events augment that total in the coming week.

But that’s an overview on these games overall. Here is a more specific look at what went on yesterday:

Phelps Finishes Individual Program in Dramatic Fashion

If you take him at his word — he’s not Brett Favre, so you pretty much have to — Michael Phelps swam his final Olympic individual final last night, and he finished in tradition Phelps fashion.

Coming off the blocks in the 100-Metre Butterfly, Phelps got a poor jump and found himself behind in a large albeit tight race. As he reached the far end of the pool, he was seventh out of eight, ahead of only South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.

But Phelps turned on those world famous afterburners of his and ran down the rest of the pack in the second 50-metre stretch to claim gold. And who finished second? In a bit of an ironic twist, it was Le Clos.

Of course, Phelps still has one race to go as he will — barring something totally unforeseen — be a member of the USA’s 4X100-Metre Medley Relay, but Phelps only one a fraction of his now 21 Olympic medals with relay teams. Most were won all on his own. And on Friday night, he gave us one last reminder of just why he is the most decorated Olympian of all time.


TEEN IDOL: If you thought Bryce Harper was impressive, you’ll be shocked to learn Missy Franklin is already an Olympic gold medalist and World Record holder. Oh, and she’s two years younger. Photo courtesy Al Bello/Getty Images

Missy Quenches 40-Year US Drought and Crushes World Record

There’s something to be said for a performance when it even leaves LeBron James grinning. US swimmer Missy Franklin did just that as she blew away the field, including teammate Elizabeth Beisel, en route to a record-setting gold medal finish, the first for the states since Melissa Belote won gold at the Munich Games in 1972.

The 17-year-old Colorado native swam the four lengths of the pool on her back with a time of 2:04.06. The next closest swimmer, Russia’s Anastasia Zueva, was almost two seconds slower. That’s just how good this high school student’s summer vacation is going so far.

As she reached the wall and looked up at the scoreboard, Franklin gave that signature proud-but-still-humble smile that only a young adult is capable of when even she herself is amazed at what she accomplished.

Not only was Franklin’s victory Friday night the first for a US swimmer in the event for four decades, world record she broke was set by Zimbabwe’s Kristy Coventry (who finished sixth in last night’s race) at the 2009 World Championships in a bodysuit that has since been banned.

Federer Wins Marathon Match, Advances to Wimbledon Final Rematch

They say the modern sports era brings shorter times between broken records with it. On Friday, Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro broke a record that was just three days old.

Earlier in tennis play, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic played a three-set tennis match that lasted just under four hours, an Olympic record. On Friday, Federer and Del Potro played a three-set semifinal that lasted 4 hours, 26 minutes.

But that was only half the story at Wimbledon on Friday. The other was the fact that Great Britain’s own Andy Murray also won his semifinal to set up a rematch of the 2012 Wimbledon Final that was played on the same court just last month.

Many say Olympic glory cools its heels in the shadows of the grand slam events, including Wimbledon, but that doesn’t mean Federer and Murray won’t be giving it their all. Said Murray, “I’ll be desperate to win on Sunday.”


LOW WATER MARK: Dalhausser and Rogers’ performances on the artificial beach yesterday looked nothing like that of the duo that won gold in Beijing four years ago. Photo courtesy Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Rogers, Dalhausser Stunned, Spiked Out of Medal Contention

The first of USA Beach Volleyball’s two defending gold medal duos has fallen, and it came in a stunner yesterday. The famed tandem of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers lost consecutive sets to the Italian team of Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, 21-17, 21-19.

Losing is not something Rogers and Dalhausser are all too familiar with, and after the loss Dalhausser was happy to explain the difference to reporters. Said the American, “When you win, it takes about a month to sink in. When you lose, it smacks you right in the face the second the ball hits the sand.”

The twosome knew defending their Olympic title wasn’t going to be easy, but being eliminated in the Round of 16 has to be considered somewhat of a failure. And it wasn’t like the Italians were the toughest of opponents, either.

Lupo and Nicolai went 1-2 in the preliminary round of pool play, including a loss to an Austrian team that didn’t even qualify for the medal round.

NOTE: This story was also published on SportsHead where it originated. To read this article and others, click here.
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