Olympics 2012: Despite Michael Phelps Disappointment U.S. Strong on 1st Big Day
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For fans of Team USA, the news that Michael Phelps didn't walk away with a gold medal on Saturday—the first day of medal competition at the London Games—could have been a sign that the red, white and blue are in for a long Olympics.
After all, Phelps is coming off his eight-for-eight performance in Beijing four years ago, and many Americans believed and hoped he would send himself off with one last hurrah. And here he was finishing fourth in the 400-meter individual medley.
On the women's side, teen phenom Missy Franklin kicked off the women's 4x100 meter freestyle relay with a first-leg lead, which the pair of Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt dropped in the final two legs.
The women finished with a disappointing bronze (.45 seconds out of silver), delaying Franklin's eventual first gold. As a member of the U.S. qualifying team, Natalie Coughlin's Olympic career ended with that bronze.
What Grade Do You Give Team USA's Saturday Results?
So if Phelps is actually human and the women didn't win gold in their first relay, that can't bode well for Team USA's chances in the rest of the Olympics, right?
Not so fast.
There were more than enough positive moments for the U.S. team on Day 1 of full competition.
—Archery kicked off the Games with Team USA's first medal, a silver at the hands of Italy.
—Cycling road-race competitor Taylor Phinney was impressive, but barely missed out on a medal and was noticeably upset in the post-race interviews.
—The U.S. men's gymnastics squad proved right away that, yes, they can win gold. The team walked away from qualifying with a score of 275.342, well ahead of second-place Russia. John Orozco and Danell Leyva showed they are contenders for the individual all-around medal stand.
—Women's volleyball opened its group play with a 3-1 victory over South Korea.
—The women's basketball team overcame a sluggish start to trounce Croatia 81-56.
—Women's soccer won its second game of the tournament, this time handily over Columbia to move on to the quarterfinals.
—The beach volleyball teams of Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh, and Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, won their matches 2-0.
Along with those highlights, there was good news to go with the bad from the swimming venue. Most notably, while Phelps was finishing fourth in the 400 IM, Ryan Lochte was finishing first by yards.
To go with that gold, there was silver in the women's 400 IM (Elizabeth Beisel) and bronze in the men's 400 freestyle (Peter Vanderkaay).
So don't worry, America. There's more to Olympic life than Michael Phelps.
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