Olympics: Young stars winning swimming golds
POSTED: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 7:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 7:34pm
LONDON (CNN) — Young stars shone at the Olympic pool Monday as Yannick Agnel of France won his second gold medal of the London Games, American teen sensation Missy Franklin won her first and a 15-year-old Lithuanian stunned the women's 100-meter breaststroke field.
The 20-year-old Agnel, just a day after swimming an amazing anchor leg in leading France to victory in the men's 4x100 meter free style relay, routed the field in the 200-meter freestyle. He beat both silver medalists, Park Taehwan of Taiwan and Yang Sun of China, by 1.79 seconds. Ryan Lochte of the United States finished fourth.
Franklin, just 17, swam an American record 58.33 in the 100-meter backstroke, ahead of Australia's Emily Seebohm and Japan's Aya Terakawa. Seebohm led at the halfway point but with the two side-by-side, the young American overpowered her down the stretch. Only 20 minutes earlier Franklin had swum in the 200-meter freestyle semifinals, qualifying for Tuesday's final.
Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte won her country's first swimming medal ever as an independent nation, winning gold in the final medal event of the night, the women's 100-meter breaststroke.
"It's too much for me," the clearly overwhelmed 15-year-old said. "I can't believe it."
Matt Grevers of the United States won the men's 100-meter backstroke.
The hearts of the host nation were broken when teen diving star Tom Daley failed to bring home a medal in the 10-meter synchronized platform event. The 18-year-old and his appropriately-named partner Pete Waterfield finished fourth, with favorites Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang of China taking gold.
The disappointment was tempered somewhat by the men's gymnastics team, which took bronze, its first medal in the sport in 100 years. When the results were first announced Great Britain was to get silver, but the fourth-place Japanese team protested a score for one of its gymnasts. The judges upped Kohei Uchimura's mark on the pommel horse, giving Japan 271.952 to Great Britain's 271.711 and Ukraine's 271.526. As many expected, China won the team title, as it did in two of the past three Olympics.
The United States drew level with China for the total number of medals so far, with 17 apiece, but nine of China's are gold, compared with five for Team USA.
In equestrian, Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips had a good day in Greenwich, where she and Great Britain are in medal contention. As 50,000 people, including Prince William and Prince Harry, watched, Phillips cleared all 28 jumps during the cross-country portion of the team eventing contest. Germany leads the competition, which concludes Tuesday, with Great Britain second and Sweden third.
Meanwhile, a controversy was averted as the International Olympic Committee and the International Judo Federation approved allowing Saudi judo competitor Wojdan Shaherkani to wear her headscarf, Saudi National Olympic Committee spokesman Razan Baker told CNN's Nic Robertson. This year is the first time every nation has sent women athletes to the Olympics. Saudi Arabia was the last nation to agree to send women.
Her first match is on Friday.