US women’s gymnastics: Gold

As of Tuesday, US second to China in the medal count

The 2012 London Olympics officially started on Friday with a quirky opening ceremony which included the Queen jumping out of a helicopter and lots of corgis.

Saturday kicked off the Games with the men’s road race. Great Britain’s team was expected to shine as it included sprinter Mark Cavendish and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. Along with Great Britain, the U.S. was also in good position to medal as Timmy Duggan and Tejay Van Garderen tried to lead 22-year-old Taylor Phinney to gold. Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara was also in medal contention until he crashed and injured his right shoulder during Saturday’s race.

The favored riders remained in the peloton for the majority of the race, expecting to eventually catch up to the lead breakaways. In a surprising turn, they never made it. An early breakaway remained at the front up until the end. Alexandr Vinokurov from Kazakhstan won gold, Colombian Rigoberto Urán Urán earned silver, and Alexander Kristoff from Norway edged out Phinney to win the bronze. The upcoming races will likely be even more interesting as these riders try to take back their titles.

The U.S. continues to dominate this Olympics in the pool. However, this year’s story differs from when Michael Phelps dominated basically everything in Beijing.

On Tuesday morning, Phelps needed one more medal to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. He barely missed the podium in the 400 meter individual medley, earning fourth place while teammate Ryan Lochte won the gold. However, he was part of the men’s 4x100 meter freestyle relay that won the silver medal after a late comeback by France’s Yannick Agnel stole the U.S.’s glory. Phelps isn’t looking to repeat what he did in Beijing, but after earning silver in the 200 meter butterfly and gold in his final event, the 4x200 meter freestyle relay, he has made history.

Lochte was expected to stun Phelps and the rest of the competition at these Olympics. He has won two gold medals so far, but could not fend off France’s Agnel in the last leg of the 4x100 relay, and only got fourth place in the 200 meter freestyle. Lochte still has two events to prove himself, but even after building up a huge fan base and making it this far, he’s still no Michael Phelps.

For the first time since 1996, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team has won gold in the team competition. Russia and Romania earned silver and bronze, respectively. China, the gold-medal winners from the Beijing Olympics, only earned fourth place in Tuesday’s team final. Russia made some serious mistakes in their floor exercises immediately before the U.S. had to compete in that event, which gave the girls some confidence.

Gabrielle Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, and Alexandra Raisman competed for the U.S., each delivering solid performances. Before they even finished, it was clear that the U.S. would win gold. Next up for the women’s team is the individual all-around event, which Shawn Johnson won in Beijing. Douglas and Raisman will compete for gold on Thursday, with Douglas expected to take home the gold.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. is second to China in the medal count. Both countries have 23 medals, but China has 13 gold medals to U.S.’s 9. Look out for more swimming, gymnastics, and cycling as the games continue into August.