2012 Olympics Results: Winners & Losers from Day 1
Day One of the 2012 Summer Olympics brought a dozen golden opportunities for participants and countless others for teams and athletes to make their mark on the London Games. Some responded by seizing the day while others fell flat...or on their heads, as was the case for one gymnast.
The Michael Phelps/Ryan Lochte rivalry could have yielded two winners but didn't. Gymnastics gave teams a chance to set an early tone for the men's competition, and medals were given out in several sports, including swimming and archery.
Following are 10 of the biggest moments from Day One, covering the highs and the lows. Bleacher Report invites your comments on who you feel was the biggest winner or loser on Saturday.
Winner: Ryan Lochte, U.S. Swimming
Ryan Lochte secured the first gold medal for the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games, winning the 400-meter individual medley in commanding fashion.
The race was to be the first of two showdowns with Michael Phelps, with the rest of the world trailing by three seconds.
Lochte certainly obliged, posting a world-best time in 2012 of 4:05.18. This is the fastest time recorded without the aid of the now-banned performance suits worn by many swimmers in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Lochte has dedicated himself to becoming the best swimmer in the world, focusing on an improved diet and training. He doesn't have the same natural abilities as some of the other swimmers, but makes up for it with training and dedication.
This win is a great testament to what training and dedication can accomplish.
Loser: Michael Phelps, U.S. Swimming
I wouldn't dream of going so far as to call Michael Phelps a slacker, or even a coaster. Tyler Clary might, but perhaps he's earned that right.
But it's hard to argue that Phelps has been as dedicated to training for the London Games as he was going into Beijing four years ago.
The results showed on Saturday.
After Phelps hung stride-for-stride with Ryan Lochte at the U.S. swim trials, he looked like a normal swimmer in the pool in his first race of the 2012 Olympics.
He didn't have a late push or an early charge, and he doesn't have an Olympic medal from the London Games...yet.
Phelps will have several more opportunities to reach the medal podium, but his training habits are likely why he completed an Olympic event without a medal for the first time since 2000.
"It was just a crappy race," Phelps said following his performance. "I felt fine the first 200, then I don't know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That's why they're on the medal stand."
"I think I'm kind of in shock right now," Lochte said about his finish and Phelps' disappearance. "I know he gave it everything he had. That's all you can ask for."
Kind words from a friend and teammate, but they may not be accurate regarding his preparation.
Perhaps Phelps said it best. The other swimmers were better prepared, an issue some of his teammates saw coming.
Phelps will have the last word on his performance in these Olympics, as he will likely swim in six more events.
He has three more opportunities to become the first male swimmer to earn a gold medal in the same event in three consecutive Olympics, as he's the two-time defending champion in the 200-meter IM, the 100-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly.
For now, he told NBC how he feels.
It's frustrating, that's all I can say. It's pretty upsetting. The biggest thing now is to try to look forward. I have a bunch of other races, and hopefully we can finish a lot better than how we started.
Winner: Great Britain's Louis Smith, Gymnastics
The pommel horse is the toughest gymnastic event. Other apparatuses have arguments about being more physically demanding, but none are harder relative to scoring well.
Louis Smith of Great Britain lost that note heading into the Olympics.
He nailed his routine Saturday morning and posted an impressive 15.8. He knew he had done well, but was overwhelmed when his score appeared. Tears flowed.
Smith secured a spot in the pommel horse finals and helped Great Britain wrap up second place in the team standings.
Loser: China's Guo Weiyang, Gymnastics
Guo Weiyang earned a spot for Team China as a replacement for Teng Haiban, who tore a muscle in his forearm earlier in the week. It was an amazing opportunity for the inexperienced team member to make a mark on his national team.
He was in Northern Ireland where the team held their pre-Olympics training camp, but he may wish he hadn't gotten the call.
Guo joined the team on Wednesday and should have had ample time to settle into the Olympic village and prepare for competition. He struggled in the preliminaries, though.
He attempted to stick a landing with his head during the floor routine and opted to land his parallel bars dismount with a knee. Neither worked, nor were they likely part of his plan prior to starting the events.
He may not have an opportunity to salvage whatever face didn't get wiped out on the mat, as only three team members will compete on each apparatus.
Winner: Great Britain Gymnastics
Louis Smith wasn't the only gymnast from Great Britain to have a good day.
The team itself shocked fans by finishing ahead of expected powerhouse China.
The men qualified just two gymnasts for the Beijing Games, where an individual bronze medal on the pommel horse ended an 80-year drought in Olympic medals.
Their odds of hanging with the top teams weren't widely discussed, so crushing China in the day's opening session and finishing ahead of Japan was a huge surprise for the host nation.
The United States bettered their score by three points, and Russia edged them out with the second-best score of the day.
The odds are still long for Great Britain to win a medal in the team competition, but today's performance should help garner more attention for the sport.
Loser: Chinese Gymnastics
The defending Olympic and World Champions were expected to cruise to the top of the podium in men's gymnastics. Japan and the United States were expected to provide a bit of a challenge, but their morning session should have been a walk in the park.
Instead, they were bettered by Great Britain, a team that only qualified two gymnasts for the games held in China.
They had miscues and issues throughout their roster, leaving the team planning their rebound for Monday's finals.
We should have beaten Britain but Teng's late withdrawal affected us and we did not perform as well as we should have. Guo came in as a substitute and he made quite a few mistakes because he has a lack of experience.
We're not really disappointed because a lot has changed in four years. The other teams have improved and have closed the gap with us. But we are still confident of winning the final.
Chen Yibing, 2008 gold medalist on rings
China will have less room for error in the finals, as every score counts. However, only three team members compete in each event so weaker performers won't even take to the floor.
If there is any day to be a loser in gymnastics it was today.
Winner: U.S. Men's Archery
The United States hasn't done much in Archery over the last million or so years. They did win a gold medal in the team competition in 1996, but have recorded exactly zero medals since.
They pulled off a stunning victory over three-time defending champion South Korea in the semifinals on Saturday, landing them in the gold-medal match against Italy.
The match came down to the final arrow for both teams with the score tied. The U.S. just missed the 10-point bulls-eye, opening the door for Italy.
They couldn't get their final shot inside the ring, but it did hit the line, giving them the gold medal.
It was a very difficult loss for Team USA, but a silver medal and a win over South Korea still makes them a huge winner on the day.
Congratulations to Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie.
Loser: British Taxpayers
Forbes is reporting that cost overruns could spike the public cost of the 2012 Olympics to $17 billion or more.
The games were projected to have total public funding of $14 billion, but Commons Public Accounts Committee, who is charged with oversight of government expenditures, is fearful that number will be much higher.
“The public sector funding package is close to being used up and we are concerned about whether the running of the games will be held within budget,” claimed Margaret Hodge, the committee’s chairman, in the Forbes article.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is coming in with a lower figure, but they are not including the $1.2 billion spent to purchase the land where the Olympic Park is located.
Granted, these figures pale in comparison to the $45 billion China spent on the Beijing games.
The Telegraph discussed the need to turn to additional government funds to fill budget deficits.
Winner: Jordan Jovtchev, Bulgaria, Gymnastics
Jordan Jovtchev is hardly a household name. But the oldest competitor in gymnastics at the 2012 Olympics qualified for the event finals at the age of 39.
Jovtchev has four Olympic medals since 1995 and adds 13 from the World Championships to his resume.
He was also honored by being named flag-bearer for Bulgaria entering the Games.
He told Reuters via the National Post his body is “falling apart,” while his back is “hurting” and his ankles are “killing” him.
Loser: American Viewing Public
NBC was blasted during the 2010 Winter Olympics for rampant tape delays and poor coverage availability. They responded somewhat in 2012, making most of their content available via online streaming, provided potential viewers have a qualifying cable package.
But the Opening Ceremonies were excluded from the live feed with NBC preferring to hit the viewing public shortly before primetime and keep them glued to their sets...even if the midnight finish meant viewers had to glue their eyelids open.
As much as fans hate the practice, the results support their decision. The opening ceremonies set a record among U.S. viewers.
The critics aren't being kind, nor should they be. Forbes questions if NBC thinks it is still 1992 and the world is void of Twitter, Facebook, email and other online content.
Blog editor for The Guardian, Matt Wells took to Twitter to share his distaste.
NBC showing complete contempt for its audience by not showing or streaming Olympics opening ceremony live— Matt Wells (@MatthewWells) July 27, 2012
Saturday's online content has been difficult to use, as fans eager to watch events have apparently overloaded NBC servers. Events have had buffering issues and have been subject to frequent crashes.
Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe wasn't happy with the finals of the 400 IM being interrupted.
NBC live stream fails midway through the Phelps/Lochte race. Thanks, NBC!— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_SI) July 28, 2012
NBC is losing fans left and right, as they just can't figure out how to make money while offering fans a solid viewing experience.