Loading articles...

Lochte stays on course for 2nd gold on a rainy day in London

Ryan Lochte and Sun Yang were among the few who weren’t concerned about getting wet when heavy rain saturated London Olympic Park on Sunday.

After a week of sunshine, rain and the forecast of hail on the second day of competition affected the start of tennis on the lawn courts at Wimbledon and made for slippery conditions in the women’s cycling road race.

It didn’t seem to bother the swimmers. Lochte had the second-fastest time in qualifying for the 200-meter freestyle, the morning after his stunning win in a 400-meter individual medley final that will be famous for the fact Michael Phelps missed a medal.

“I didn’t get to bed until like 2 a.m. so I’m a little tired, but it was a prelims swim, so I’m not too worried about it,” said Lochte, who went out with family and friends to celebrate his victory. Phelps won an unprecedented 8 golds at the Beijing Olympics, but now can’t win any more than six in London.

China’s Sun is on track for a second gold medal after leading qualifiers in the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 46.24 seconds the morning after his victory in the 400 freestyle.

While the weather was bad, there were other blights: a female gymnast from Uzbekistan was provisionally suspended after failing a doping test, the second case of the games. The IOC says Luiza Galiulina tested positive for the diuretic furosemide on Wednesday. It came a day after the IOC expelled Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku from the games after he tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol on July 23.

And hundreds of fans wanting to see New Zealand, Brazil, Belarus and Egypt were stranded in London or forced to sit on the train floor Sunday as service operators supplied only two morning London-to-Manchester services in time for the noon kickoff of the New Zealand-Egypt match in Manchester, 200 miles (320 kilometres) northwest of London.

Many fans said they were refused entry to the trains at stops north of London, while others successfully begged their way aboard and sat on the floor.

At Wimbledon in southwest London, the new retractable roof came in handy. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova were scheduled to play matches.

In the first of 14 gold medals to be presented Sunday, shooter Guo Wenjun defended her women’s 10-meter air pistol title, giving China its second gold at the range and a leading fifth of the games.

Elsewhere, the 3-meter synchronized springboard was set to kick off the 10-event diving program which the Chinese are expected to dominate — at Beijing four years ago, the hosts won nine of the 10 diving golds.

Gold medals were also scheduled in weightlifting, archery and fencing, along with four finals in swimming on Sunday night.

The French basketball team has one of the toughest assignments of the day against the mighty U.S. team. France will be led by San Antonio guard Tony Parker and other NBA players Ronny Turiaf, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, Kevin Seraphin and Nando de Colo.

Their problem is that the Americans have two of the NBA’s biggest superstars — LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

“We know how the Americans play and we know our priorities: slow down their quick game and control the boards,” Vincent Collet said. “We are the kid facing the monster. And when you are a monster, you impose your game on your rivals.”

At the Olympic equestrian complex, Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, had a few royal fans in the stands as she made her equestrian debut.

Phillips’ grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as her mother, Princess Anne, were in the VIP seats at Greenwich Park as Phillips rode her horse, High Kingdom, through the paces of a standard dressage test to demonstrate the horse’s obedience.

She scored 48.10 penalty points despite a mistake toward the beginning of her canter in the first “flying change.” In the stride, the horse is supposed to change the sequence of his steps from side to side, but High Kingdom didn’t respond immediately to Phillips’ cues.

Cheers and applause broke out as she rode into the stadium and erupted when she finished. Anne, wearing a bright red canvas hat to protect against the strong sun, applauded politely at the end.

Despite the mis-step, Phillips said she was pleased with the performance.

“It was disappointing about his first change, but his other ones were really good,” she said. “But he coped with all the crowd and is only getting better.”