POSTED: Sunday, July 29, 2012 - 10:10pm
UPDATED: Sunday, July 29, 2012 - 10:20pm
LONDON (CNN) — France beat the United States in the men's 4x100-meter swimming relay on Sunday, with Michael Phelps and the United States taking a silver medal.
The medal is the 17th for Phelps, and puts him one behind Larisa Latynina, a Soviet gymnast who earned nine golds, five silvers and four bronzes between 1956 and 1964.
The U.S. held the lead for three of the four legs, but Yannick Agnel caught Ryan Lochte just after the turn and pulled away at the end. France won in 3:09.93, with the 20-year-old Agnel swimming the last leg in 46.74. The U.S. finished in 3:10.38 ahead of Russia (3:11.41) and Australia (3:11.63).
It was a bit of payback for the French who lost in similar style in 2008.
Lochte will have a chance for personal revenge during Monday's 200-meter freestyle final.
Meanwhile, one of the Games' showcase teams, the U.S. men's basketball squad, easily won its first game, beating France 98-71.
Kevin Durant led the United States, made up of NBA all-stars and the college player of the year, with 22 points. Kevin Love scored 14 points and Kobe Bryant had 10 for the U.S., which next plays Tunisia on Tuesday.
"We still have a lot of work to do, but that's the beauty of it all," Durant said. "We're all coming together in such a short time. We're having fun playing. Guys don't worry about points, rebounds, assists; we just want to play to win."
Coach Mike Krzyzewski was pleased with his team's effort.
"I thought we did a good job defensively," he said. "We share the ball. We assisted on 27 of our 31 buckets and we rebounded the ball very well."
Many are hoping to see how this year's American squad stacks up to the legacy of the 1992 U.S. basketball team, known as the Dream Team, which trounced the competition at the Barcelona Games by an average of more than 40 points. Some analysts called it the greatest sports team ever assembled.
There was a surprise for the U.S. gymnastics team when Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas finished ahead of world champion Jordyn Wieber in the all-around competition qualifying round. Each country can only send two athletes to the final so despite Wieber being fourth overall, she was eliminated from the individual competition. She will still compete for the U.S. in the team phase.
The United States topped Russia 181.863 to 180.429 in qualifying. The top eight countries will compete in the team finals Tuesday night.
The U.S. team, dubbed the "Fab Five," carries the pressure of bringing home America's first team gold medal since the "Magnificent Seven" did so at the 1996 games. But they must contend with the defending Olympic champion China, as well as Romania and Russia.
In the pool, Dana Vollmer of the United States set a world record in winning the 100-meter butterfly, becoming the first woman to go under 56 seconds.
A second world record saw South African Cameron van der Burgh claim the men's 100-meter breaststroke gold with a 58.46 seconds clocking.
And American Allison Schmitt, who took silver behind France's Camille Muffat, set a U.S. record in the 400-meter freestyle.
The host nation got into the medal count standings when Lizzie Armitstead won a silver in the road cycling event for women. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the 140-kilometer (87-mile) race.
There was sad news for Great Britain when world record holder Paula Radcliffe said she was withdrawing from the women's marathon, according to the nation's track and field team website.
"However hard today is, finally closing the door on that dream, at least I can know that I truly have tried absolutely everything," she said, according to United Kingdom Athletics. A recent foot injury was too much to overcome, said the 38-year-old.
U.S. marathoner Desiree Davila also dropped out of the August 5 race with a leg injury.
A gymnast from Uzbekistan was suspended provisionally for failing a drug test. Luiza Galiulina tested positive for the banned substance furosemide, the IOC announced, in the second drugs suspension of the Games.
Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips made her Olympics debut on Sunday, riding in the British equestrian team as her mother, Princess Anne, and grandfather Prince Philip looked on. Phillips was ranked joint 15th with 57 riders having competed.
In skeet shooting, Kim Rhode became the first American to medal in five consecutive Olympics when she won gold with a world-record tying 99 (of 100) score.
In football, Spain, one of the pretournament favorites, was knocked out of the Olympics with its second group-play loss, this time falling to Honduras 1-0. Brazil, another favorite, clinched a quarterfinals spot with a 3-1 victory over Belarus.
China stayed on top of the medal count, adding six Sunday, including golds in synchronized diving and women's 10-meter pistol. The United States has won 11 medals, including three golds.
Meanwhile, the London organizing committee said Sunday that security workers who have completed their shifts will be able to sit in vacant seats.
"If they want to sit there and watch, they can," said Sebastian Coe, chairman of the organizing committee. "It's not mobilizing the army to solve this."
Students will also have access to the seats, organizers said. They said they would also "recycle" tickets at events where fans are leaving after watching their team play an early game.
CNN's David Ariosto, Stephanie Halasz, Amanda Davies and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.