American swimmer Ryan Lochte failed to win a medal Monday, a major disappointment for the man who entered the London Olympics as heir apparent to Michael Phelps.
His teammates fared much better, winning two gold medals and two silvers.
Lochte headed into Monday’s 200m freeestyle after having already won one gold medal in London, in the 400m individual medley on Saturday. Winning gold in the 200m free would have helped establish him as the world's best swimmer, the title long held by Phelps.
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Instead, Lochte came in fourth, outshined by the same Frenchman who beat him in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay on Sunday. The winner, Annick Agnel, finished the 200m free in 1:43:14, nearly two seconds ahead of Lochte.
Park Tae-Hwan of South Korea and Sun Yang of China finished second and third, respectively.
"I did my best," Lochte told the Associated Press. "I guess sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I gave it 110 percent. There's probably some things I messed up on, but you live and learn.”
Lochte’s loss came a day after he blew the lead for the American team in the mens' 4x100m freestyle relay. The team’s anchorman, he was beaten down the stretch by Agnel. The Americans took silver to the French's gold, and Agnel has become an sudden star.
Also in the Aquatic Centre, first-time Olympian Missy Franklin won her first gold in the women’s 100m backstroke, just 10 minutes after barely qualifying for Tuesday’s final in the women’s 200m freestyle.
As expected, American Matt Grevers won gold in the men’s 100m backstroke, blowing away the field and setting a new Olympic record at 52:16. Teammate Nick Thoman took silver.
Another international star was born in the women’s 100m breaststroke, as 15-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte edged American Rebecca Soni, considered the best breaststroker in the world, by a touch. Meilutyte, a virtual unknown before the Olympics, became the youngest female to win the event, finishing in 1:05:47, eight one-hundredths of a second ahead of Soni.
Phelps, meanwhile, set himself up for his 18th career Olympic medal by qualifying for the men’s 200m butterfly final, to be held Tuesday. If Phelps wins any color medal in that event, he will tie the all-time record, held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. He has a chance to break the record before leaving London and retiring.
In other Olympic action Monday:
- The men's gymnastics team failed to medal, falling to China, Japan and Great Britain. They had turned in a stellar performance in the qualifying rounds. John Orozco, the U.S. champion, fell from the horse and blew his landing on the vault, ending up on his backside instead of his feet.
- The American men’s synchronized 10m platform diving team of David Boudia and Nick McCrory won bronze. China took gold, as expected, and Mexico claimed silver.
- Venus and Serena Williams, the reigning gold medalists in women’s doubles tennis, beat Romanians Sorana Cirstea and Simona Halep in first-round action. Each sister also won singles matches earlier in the day, a scheduling crunch caused by Sunday’s rain delays.
- U.S. women’s basketball team blew out Angola 90-38 Monday night in their march to an expected fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal.
- Defending beach volleyball gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings took defated Czech duo Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova Monday night.