Day 6: Women’s gymnastics all-around, Phelps vs. Lochte

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Women’s gymnastics and swimming took center stage on Day 6. Gabby Douglas won the women’s all-around crown, while Michael Phelps defeated Ryan Lochte to win the 200 individual medley to win the 16th gold medal of his career. Rebecca Soni  won the 200 breaststroke and broke the world record she set yesterday.

What else should you be watching? Consult today’s viewer’s guide here.

Miss anything? Read past live blogs: Opening Ceremonies | Day 1 | Day 2Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Join in the conversation.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2 (DAY 6)

NBC

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Swimming – qualifying heats including Michael Phelps in the men’s 100-meter butterfly, Missy Franklin in the women’s 200-meter backstroke and Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky in the women’s 800-meter freestyle (10 a.m., 10:40 a.m., 12:30 p.m.)
Men’s canoe/kayak – C-2 whitewater gold medal final (Live, 10:15 a.m.)
Women’s beach volleyball – Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross vs. Spain (Live, 11:30 a.m.)
Cycling – men’s and women’s team sprint gold medal finals (Live, 12:45 p.m.)
Men’s water polo – United States vs. Britain (Live, 1:20 p.m.)
Rowing – gold medal finals in women’s eight and men’s lightweight four (2:20 p.m.)
Men’s volleyball – United States vs. Brazil (Live, 3 p.m.)
8 p.m. – midnight
Women’s gymnastics — all-around gold medal final
Swimming – gold medal finals include Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the men’s 200-meter individual medley
Men’s beach volleyball – Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers vs. Czech Republic
12:35 a.m. – 1:35 a.m.
Women’s canoe/kayak – K-1 whitewater gold medal final
Table tennis – men’s singles gold medal final

NBC Sports Network

4 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Men’s basketball – France vs. Lithuania (Live, 4 a.m.)
Women’s field hockey – United States vs. Australia (Live, 5:45 a.m.)
Men’s volleyball – Serbia vs. Germany (7:15 a.m.)
Men’s beach volleyball – Brazil vs. Italy (8:45 a.m.)
Women’s field hockey – China vs. Netherlands (Live, JIP, 9:35 a.m.)
Women’s beach volleyball – Britain vs. Russia (Live, 10:30 a.m.)
Men’s basketball – Brazil vs. Russia (Live, 11:30 a.m)
Table tennis – men’s semifinals (1:30 p.m.)
Women’s archery – individual gold medal final (2:20 p.m.)
Men’s boxing – round-of-16 lightweight and middleweight bouts (3 p.m.)
Men’s shooting – double trap gold medal final (4:45 p.m.)
Men’s basketball – United States vs. Nigeria (Live, 5:15 p.m.)

MSNBC

9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Men’s water polo — Montenegro vs. Serbia (Live, 9 a.m.)
Romania vs. Hungary (Live, 10:15 a.m.)
Men’s volleyball – Poland vs. Argentina (Live, 11:45 a.m.)
Equestrian – team dressage qualifying (1:30 p.m.)
Men’s handball – Serbia vs. Denmark (Live, 2:30 p.m.)
Badminton – semifinal matches (4 p.m.); Women’s judo – 78 kg gold medal final (4:30 p.m.)
Men’s handball – Sweden vs. Iceland (Live, 5 p.m.)

CNBC

5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Men’s boxing – round-of-16 lightweight and middleweight bouts

Bravo

7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tennis – singles and mixed doubles quarterfinals, doubles semifinals (Live, 7 a.m.)

NBC Olympic Basketball Channel

4 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Men’s basketball:
France vs. Lithuania (Live, 4 a.m., Replay 8 a.m.)
Australia vs. China (Live, 6:15 a.m.)
Argentina vs. Tunisia (Live, 9:30 a.m.)
Brazil vs. Russia (Live, 11:45 a.m., Replay, 1:30 p.m.)
Spain vs. Britain (Live, 3 p.m.)
United States vs. Nigeria (Live, 5:15 p.m.)

Telemundo

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Packaged Spanish-language coverage includes swimming, volleyball, beach volleyball, basketball and boxing.

Good night and good luck

Well, there is one advantage to knowing who won – you don’t have to watch til the bitter end.

And the winner is...

I leave it to others to tell me who won the swimming… oh, wait a minute.

Thanks for reading along, and come back tomorrow night, when your blog-hosts will be Mike Rosenwald and Clinton Yates.

The loneliness of the also-ran -- who wins

The commentators get so invested in the people they think are supposed to win that the wind is taken completely out of their sails when the winner is someone else — even if that someone else is an underdog from our own Team USA.

It was notable that bronze medalist Ryan Lochte got more camera time after the 200m backstroke, swimming back and forth in the water, than did the American who won the race, Tyler Clary.

Coach class

Coach as papa bear: the classic Karolyi moment.

Seeing some of the old footage of Bela Karolyi highlights for me the changes in coaches’ approach to the athletes. In this week’s footage, the interaction has looked affectionate, but less paternalistic and more professional than it used to seem when the gymnasts all tended to be treated as little girls. Of course, people have become a lot more sensitized to nuances in intense relationships between adult men and very young women. What are your thoughts on gymnastics coaches today?

Appearance and athletes

The face of an athlete, with makeup.

As we keep blogging about the female gymnasts’ looks I realize that they irk me in part because one aspect I like about women’s sports is to see how truly beautiful women can look when stripped of makeup.

Of course, part of the issue is purely practical. If you’re going to be out on a tennis court for a couple of hours, your makeup is likely to run. But gymnastics doesn’t take place in the broiling sun, and its events last only a few minutes.

I hope I hear from a lot of people about tennis players who wear too much makeup. I wager, though, that none of them wears glitter in her hair.

The face of an athlete, plus bling.

Rebecca Soni sets a new world record

“I’ve been chasing that under 2:20 for so long… That was my career, right there. I’m so happy. I’m so thrilled. I feel like I’ve done it, finally.” -U.S. swimmer Rebecca Soni in her post-race interview on breaking the world record (that she set) and winning her second gold medal in a row in the 200m breaststroke. She finished in 2:19:59.

On spoilers

Just in case anyone actually made it this far without knowing who won, the promo for the Today Show made sure to ruin it for everyone watching by announcing whom it’s planning to interview tomorrow morning live from London.

A uniform appearance

They’re not quite as awful as figure skating outfits, but the gymnasts’ leotards are looking more and more like outfits for the Rockettes.

Jordyn Wieber, sporting blue

The US women, pretty in pink - or fuchsia?

It turns out that the uniforms are designed by Adidas and a company called GK Elite, and their striking feature is the material they’re made of. Maybe they should bring another designer into the mix — though it’s hard to know just how much you can do with a leotard, it would be nice if it looked more like an athletic outfit and less like something from the circus.

And while we’re at it, can we get a makeover for the eye makeup on those Russian gymnasts? Aliya Mustafina’s eyes look like eyes from a characters on a Wii video game.

The Russian gymnasts' eye makeup manual?

"The Flying Squirrel"

U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas’ nickname is “the flying squirrel.” Which is surely a compliment, probably recognizing her ability to soar through the air like this:

But don’t you think she deserves a more glamorous name than that? Perhaps something patriotic — soaring eagle, maybe? For comparison:

Second-guessing the tape

I promise not to spend the evening bashing NBC’s taped coverage. I do recognize that they have to show taped coverage because all the live events are over, due to the time change. I just wish that so many of the events they show didn’t seem to be reduced to made-for-TV movies. But they are giving us a nice real chunk of volleyball.

And it’s not their fault that the taping of the coverage strips drama from the events. I know nothing about volleyball, but I have a pretty good idea that if NBC decides that men’s volleyball is worth this much of its prime time audience’s time, it means that the American team must have won.

"Real" volleyball

Now here's a serious sport. Oh. Wait a minute...

After watching so much beach volleyball without yet having been entirely convinced of its validity, I’m having some cognitive dissonance at seeing something that, to me, looks like a real sport. I don’t mean to bash beach volleyball, which has been the butt of countless jokes since it became an Olympic sport, but I do better with sports that have real teams and real playing surfaces.

But what beach volleyball actually points out is that there’s something slightly lightweight about volleyball. Volleyball is a summer-camp kind of game, a family-reunion, weekend-warrior kind of game. It’s hard to imagine huge crowds of people getting amped up about volleyball the way they do about baseball, football, basketball, rugby, cricket. Volleyball is no one’s national sport. I’m sure there are volleyball traditions and dynasties and rivalries, but they’ve passed me by. Is there a huge volleyball presence in some country that I am ignorant of? Tell me about it.

Women's crew

I always feel a certain allegiance to women’s crew teams, based on the fact that I used to get approached all the time by rowers in college. It eventually emerged that I had been identified as someone the crew team should try to recruit, based solely on my height. My father had rowed crew in college and I knew I wanted no part of the waking-up-at-5-am-and-running-the-stairs-of-the-football-stadium stuff, but my utterly un-athletic self was always flattered to be asked. Crew is cool. Go USA.

Kiss this.

Let's comment on the commentary, shall we?

Ah, mocking the TV commentary of the Olympics. It is as old a pastime as the Olympic Games themselves. Fun fact: during the first Olympic Games, Heracles Costas of Athens entertained viewers with thrilling descriptions of runners’ togas and emotional backstories about the chariot racers. (Note: that is not true). However, we’re curious: what are your thoughts on the commentary? Do you watch the Games on mute? Do you think commentary is a good idea that’s poorly executed? Are you hanging on the commentators’ every words, or do you wish they’d just turn the whole thing over to Aly Raisman’s hilarious parents (pictured below)?

U.S. women rowing team fights to win gold again

Today, the U.S. women’s rowing team – the reigning Olympic gold medalists – fought to defend their title and succeeded, beating our north-of-the-border rival, Canada. In honor of this event, let’s revisit their winning race from Beijing in 2008:

If fictional rowing is more your speed, you can just rewatch the rowing scene from “The Social Network” instead:

Hello, Katie Ledecky

With all the attention we’ve been bestowing on 17-year-old Missy Franklin, it’s been easy to neglect a 15-year-old phenom — from Bethesda! — Katie Ledecky, an outrageously poised and uber-talented swimmer for Team USA. The youngest woman on the team, Ledecky just finished her freshman year of high school and will be competing in the 800 meter freestyle final tomorrow night. Fortunately for us, NBC just did one of those little “zoom in on an athlete” pieces on her, and we got a close-up of her gigantic smile, which, when she is celebrating, looks a little something like this:

In related news, SO MANY great swimmer pictures going around lately. Allow us to present, without comment, this snapshot of Franklin and Ryan Lochte, posted on Twitter earlier today:

UNOFFICIAL CAPTION CONTEST: commenters, have at it. What are these kids talking about? Speedo selection? Grill options? Whether it’s really obnoxious to say “jeah” instead of “yeah”? Let us know what you think!

U.S. beats Nigeria, 156-73, in men's basketball

Russell Westbrook scored 21 points for the U.S. against Nigeria. (A polarizing filter was used for this image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s finally over, and the U.S. men’s basketball team has beaten Nigeria in a Group A preliminary round game. Some final numbers:

  • 156 — Points scored by the U.S., a new Olympic single-game record. Previous mark of 138 was set by Brazil in Seoul.
  • 83 — Margin of victory for the U.S., the biggest margin of victory by an American team in the Olympics.
  • 71.1 — Overall shooting percentage for the Americans.
  • 41 — Assists by the U.S., another Olympic single-game record.
  • 37 — Points scored by Carmelo Anthony, a U.S. single-game record for the Olympics.
  • 29 — Three-pointers made by the U.S., yet another Olympic single-game record. The U.S., which set the previous record of 13 in Beijing, shot 63 percent from beyond the arc (29 of 46).

 

U.S. men's basketball sets Olympic record for most points

Andre Iguodala’s three-pointer from the right side with 4 minutes 37 seconds remaining gave the U.S. men’s basketball team a 139-68 advantage over Nigeria — as well as the Olympic record for most points scored in a game. The previous mark of 138 was set by Brazil in Seoul.

Record-setting performance for U.S., Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony goes up for a shot against Nigeria. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

There’s still one more quarter to play in this Group A preliminary round game between the U.S. and Nigeria, but a handful of records have already been set — and a few others are in danger.

The U.S. leads 119-62 after three quarters, and is in reach of both the American record for points scored in an Olympic game (133, set vs. China in 1996) and for the overall record for points scored in an Olympic game (138, held by Brazil.)

Carmelo Anthony has 37 points on 13 of 16 shooting; he is 10 of 12 from three-point range, and has played just 14 minutes 29 seconds. He’s already broken Stephon Marbury’s American record of 31 points in an Olympic game (vs. Spain in 2004), and his 10 three-pointers have nearly equaled the U.S. team record for three’s in an Olympic game (13, vs. Spain in 2008). That latter record, obviously, has been broken by the Americans tonight, who are 22 of 35 from three-point range.

The best photos from today's competition

olympic mascots

 

GALLERY: Click on the image above to see some of the photos from today at the Olympics.

U.S. men's basketball leads 78-45 at halftime

Kobe Bryant goes up for a dunk against Nigeria. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The U.S. men’s basketball continues to run away from Nigeria, leading 78-45 at halftime. The Americans have made 31 of 46 shots from the floor — including 14 of 24 from beyond the three-point arc — and are currently on pace to break the Olympic record for points scored in a game: 138 by Brazil. (The American record for points in an Olympic game, per NBC, is 133.)

Carmelo Anthony has 19 points and Kobe Bryant has scored 16. Ike Diogu, who played at Arizona State, leads Nigeria with 15 points.

 

Strong start for U.S. men's basketball vs. Nigeria

LeBron James flies to the hoop past Nigeria's Tony Skinn and Al-Farouq Aminu. (A polarizing filter was used for this image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The U.S. men’s basketball team is off to a blistering start against Nigeria, opening up a 49-25 lead after one quarter. The Americans opened the Group A preliminary game with 13 straight points; Nigeria didn’t get on the board until Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest/New Orleans Hornets) made two free throws with 6 minutes 43 seconds left in the period.

Kobe Bryant has 14 points, Carmelo Anthony has 12 and Kevin Durant has 9 to lead the U.S., which shot 82 percent from the floor. The Americans were 11 of 15 from three-point range.

Nigeria’s roster has several familiar faces, starting with Tony Skinn, who helped lead George Mason to the Final Four in 2006, and Ekene Ibekwe, who played at Maryland from 2003-07. Seven other players on the Nigerian roster played college basketball in the states.

This is the first time that the U.S. and Nigeria have met in international competition. The U.S. is 10-0 all-time against African nations in the Olympics.

U.S. men beat Brazil in volleyball

Clayton Stanley serves the ball in the second set against Brazil. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The U.S. men’s volleyball team scored a big win over Brazil, 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17, at Earls Court to essentially wrap up a spot in the quarterfinals. The Americans are 3-0 and are the lone unbeaten team in Group B; Brazil, the top-ranked team in the world, is 2-1.

Clayton Stanley had 16 kills and William Priddy had 14 to lead the U.S., which has matches against Russia (Saturday) and Tunisia (Monday) remaining in preliminary round play.

Boxer Terrell Gausha falls to India's Vijender

American middleweight Terrell Gausha rallied in the third round but could not decision India’s Vijender Singh and move onto to the quarterfinals of the Olympic boxing tournament Thursday night.

Gausha trailed after both rounds amid a boisterous pro-Vijender crowd, many of whom chanted “IN-DI-A! IN-DI-A!” He landed early and often in the third round to pile up points, but it was not enough as he fell 16-15 in the Olympic boxing scoring system. It was the fifth straight loss for the American boxing team, which continues to struggle mightily amid coaching and personnel shake-ups leading up to the Games.

Boxer Terrell Gausha down 9-8 after 2 rounds

American middleweight Terrell Gausha’s chance of salvaging American boxing’s fading hopes comes down to the third round against India’s Vijender Singh.

Vijender took a 9-8 lead heading into the final round of the round of 16 bout. The winner moves on to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Boxer Terrell Gausha trails after one round

American middleweight Terrell Gausha started fast, scoring with combinations and beating India’s Vijender Singh to the punch in the opening moments of their third-round bout at the middleweight tournament. But for some reason, the Olympic boxing scoring system had him behind, 4-3, after the first round.

Vijender came back in the last minute of the first round, but Gausha, the Cleveland native whose name is pronounced guh-shay, dominated most of the first three minutes.

Oh, NBC, how I hate you

U.S. vs. Brazil volleyball. Live-stream-only. Ugh. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Why, oh why, is a great and important men’s volleyball match between the United States and Brazil available only on live streaming? It is listed on my handy-dandy Olympic handout as being shown live on NBC — but unless they are playing volleyball with paddles, in kayaks, that ain’t volleyball.

Bravo has some real housewives who live somewhere. Because where can you find real housewives if not on television. Twits. (Bravo, not housewives. I am sure housewives would rather watch volleyball, too.) NBC Sports Network is showing team handball, which, while fun, is not U.S.-Brazil men’s volleyball. MSNBC has men’s water polo involving Italians.

I have no objection to that.

And of course, live streaming involves a lot of frozen screens — which oddly doesn’t happen during the commercials, just the game action.

Oh, NBC, how I love your vibrant “Community” and your lovely “Parks and Recreation.” But how I hate you.

Beach volleyball: Dalhausser, Rogers keep U.S. men unbeaten

Defending gold medalists Phil Dalhausser (left) and Todd Rogers earned the No. 2 seed in the round of 16. (Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans Phil Salhausser and Todd Rogers rolled to a 21-13, 21-15 victory over the Czech Republic’s Premysl Kubala and Petr Benes to win their group and earn the No. 2 seed going into the knockout rounds.

Two days after narrowly edging Spain’s Adrian Gavira Collado and Pablo Herrera Allepuz in a testy 2-1 contest, the U.S. duo had little trouble in their final Pool B match.

The defending gold medalists dropped just one set in their three matches and enter the round of 16 as heavy favorites to return to the gold medal match.

Photo gallery from women's gymnastics all-around

olympic mascots

 

GALLERY: Click on the image above to see photos from today’s women’s gymnastics all-around competition, won by American Gabby Douglas.

Boxer Jose Ramirez loses in third round

The American boxing team’s disappointment was compounded Thursday night when Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibanazarov decisioned lightweight hopeful Jose Ramirez, 15-11, in their third-round bout at the Olympic boxing tournament.

Ramirez rallied in the third round, coming back from 12-5 down to make it a contest under the Olympic boxing scoring system. But he could not stave off the Uzbekistan fighter in the final minute.

Middleweight Terrell Gausha of Cleveland tries to advance to the quarterfinals in about 45 minutes.

Phelps advances to 100 butterfly final

Michael Phelps won his semifinal heat of the 100-meter butterfly in 50.86 seconds, the top qualifying time. South Africa’s Chad le Clos, who out-touched Phelps for gold in the 200 butterfly, won the second semifinal in 51.42.

Also qualifying for Friday’s final were American Tyler McGill (51.61) and Serbia’s Milorad Cavic (51.66), a noted Phelps rival. The 100 fly final will be Phelps’s last individual event of the London Games.

Phelps had little time to rest following his gold medal swim in the men’s 200-meter individual medley, which came around 3:20 p.m. ET. That medal ceremony came shortly before the 100 fly semifinal; after posing for pictures, Phelps tossed his flowers to his sister and then jogged off the pool deck to get ready.

Franklin finishes fifth in 100 freestyle

Ranomi Kromowidjojo won the women’s 100-meter freestyle in an Olympic-record time of 53 seconds. American Missy Franklin finished fifth in 53.64 and Jessica Hardy was eighth with a time of 54.02.

Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus took silver (53.38) and China’s Tang Yi won bronze (53.44).

Phelps wins 200 IM, Lochte second


Michael Phelps led from start to finish in winning the 200-meter individual medley in 1 minute 54.27 seconds, his second gold medal of these Games and the 16th of his career. Ryan Lochte, who finished third in the 200 backstroke 30 minutes before the IM, made a late push during the freestyle leg but finished second in 1:54.90. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh was third in 1:56.22.

Phelps now has 20 career Olympic medals. He will be back in the pool in less than 30 minutes for the semifinals of the 100 butterfly.

With the win, Phelps became the first male swimmer to win individual gold in the same event in three consecutive Olympics. Read the full story here.

Britain starts well in dressage

Britain's Laura Bechtolsheimer on Mistral Hojris competes in the dressage preliminaries. (AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL)

After the first day of the dressage competition at Greenwich Park, two British riders side atop the individual standings, giving the host country the lead in the team standings as well.

But it’s a two-day event so nothing is decided as yet.

Except perhaps that Canada has been eliminated. Each team has only three riders so if any one rider is eliminated so is the team. David Marcus’ mount, Capital, was repeatedly spooked and was disqualified for going over time.

Only one American rider competed on Day 1 – Jan Ebeling, aboard Rafalca, the horse whose gained fame for being owned in part by Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Ebeling was in 13th with a score of 70.243. (Romney told the Associated Press that her horse’s performance “thrilled me to death.”)

Carl Hester (Utopia) and Laurel Bechtolsheimer (Mistral Hojris) led early with scores of 77.720 and 76.839, respectively. Britain was one of only four teams who had two of three riders going on Day 1; among those, Denmark was second, Spain third and Australia fourth.

The top seven teams after Day 2 will advance to Tuesday’s dressage Grand Prix, which will determine the medalists.

Franklin, Beisel advance to 200 backstroke final

Americans Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Franklin won their respective semifinal heats in the women’s 200 backstroke to advance to Friday’s final. Beisel had the top qualifying time of 2 minutes 6.18 seconds, followed by Franklin’s 2:06.84. Kirsty Coventry, the world record holder, also qualified for the final with a time of 2:08.32; she finished second in Franklin’s heat.

Franklin needs to recover quickly from her race; she swims in the final of the 100 freestyle at 3:37 p.m.

Clary wins 200 backstroke, Lochte third

Tyler Clary again made a splash in the 200 backstroke. (Al Bello -- Getty Images)

Tyler Clary won gold in the men’s 200-meter backstroke, setting an Olympic record in 1 minute 53.41 seconds. Ryan Lochte won bronze in 1:53.94, finishing behind Clary and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie (1:53.78).

“I had a couple different ways I had foreseen the race,” Clary said. “… I stuck to my guns, kept my stroke long and I was able to come by in the last 15 meters and get my hand on the wall.”

Soni wins 200 breaststroke gold, breaks world record

Rebecca Soni broke a world record for the second straight day. (Fabrice Coffrini -- AFP/Getty Images)

Rebecca Soni won gold in the 200-meter breaststroke and broke her own world record, winning the race in 2 minutes 19.59 seconds and becoming the first woman to break 2:20. Soni previously set the record on Wednesday in qualifying for the final.

“I’m so happy,” Soni said. “I didn’t try to focus on medals or records or anything. I just wanted to swim one more race my way.”

Satomi Suzuki of Japan won silver and Iuliia Efimova of Russia won bronze. American Micah Lawrence finished sixth. Read the full story here.

Aly Raisman: Why didn't she win bronze?

When the final scores were tallied in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition, American Aly Raisman and Russian Aliya Mustafina were tied with the third-highest overall scores of 59.566. But Mustafina was awarded the bronze medal on the basis of a tiebreaker and Raisman fell to fourth place. Read an explanation of the tiebreaker rule here.

U.S. men's water polo crushes Britain

Tony Azevedo scored three goals to lead the U.S. past Britain. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

After a pair of narrow victories in their first two matches, the United States enjoyed a comfortable 13-7 victory over hosts Great Britain to grab the top spot in the Group B standings.

Tony Azevedo scored three goals and Ryan Bailey added three for the U.S. which held on to beat Montenegro 8-7 in its opener and then edged Romania 10-8 on Tuesday.

Next up, a Saturday matchup with defending bronze medalists Serbia (2-1-0), which tied Montenegro 11-11 earlier in the day. The Americans close out group play against Hungary (1-0-2) on Monday.

Upcoming swimming finals

The schedule for Wednesday’s swimming finals:

2:40: women’s 200 breaststroke (Rebecca Soni, Micah Lawrence).

2:48: men’s 200 backstroke (Tyler Clary, Ryan Lochte).

3:19: men’s 200 IM (Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte).

3:37: women’s 100 butterfly (Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy).

Jordyn Wieber reacts to all-around competition

U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber, the reigning world champion who fell short of qualifying for the all-around final, took to Twitter to congratulate teammates Gabby Douglas, the gold medal winner, and Aly Raisman, who finished fourth. “Congrats @gabrielledoug! You are the Olympic all around champion and you deserve it girl!” she wrote. She added, “So proud of you @Aly_Raisman! You amaze me every day!”

VIDEO: Kayla Harrison wins judo gold

Britain, Germany win team sprint cycling golds

Britain's Chris Hoy celebrates after helping his country win the men's team sprint in world record time. (Leon Neal -- AFP/Getty Images)

The British men won gold in team sprint, defeating France, while the British women were disqualified and lost their chance at a medal in the women’s race.

Germany took the gold medal in the first women’s team sprint held at the Olympics after China was relegated – disqualified – despite setting world and Olympic records during qualifying.

The German pair of Miriam Welt and Kristina Vogel finished in 32.798 seconds. China’s record time was 32.422.

China had advanced to the gold medal race because the British team of Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish were disqualified for making an early change, drawing the ire from a crowd of about 6,000 at the Velodrome.

The Brits would have raced China for the gold; instead, Germany took their spot.

Australia beat Ukraine for the bronze.

In the men’s race, Philip Hendes, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy set an Olympic record of 42.747 in qualifying and lowered it in the gold medal race to 42.600.

Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Michael D’Almeida rode for France.

Germany defeated Australia for the bronze medal.

The United States did not have a team in either event.

Kessy/Ross stay unbeaten to win beach volleyball pool

U.S. pair Jennifer Kessy and April Ross ran their beach volleyball pool-play record to 3-0 after a three-set victory over Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan of Spain.

Kessy and Ross won, 21-19, 19-21, 19-17, at Horse Guards Parade to win Pool D and advance to the knockout phase, which includes the top two teams from each of six pools and the best two third-ranked teams. The remaining third-ranked teams enter the “lucky loser” phase and those winners also qualify for the knockout phase.

Douglas wins women's gymnastics all-around

Gabby Douglas shows off her gold medal in the women's gymnastics all-around. (Ronald Martinez -- Getty Images)

With explosive tumbling, impossible energy and a smile as electric as her magenta leotard, American 16-year-old Gabby Douglas won gymnastics’ most coveted prize Thursday, Olympic gold in the all-around.

Douglas, who finished with 62.232 points, held off Russia’s Viktoria Komova on the competition’s final event, the floor routine.

And when the scoreboard flashed the final result, relegating Komova to silver (61.973), the Russian broke down in uncontrollable tears.

American Aly Raisman finished with the same third-place score (59.966) as Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, but the bronze went to the Russian in a tiebreaker.

Needing 15.359 on the floor to overtake Douglas for gold, Komova was close to perfection — even more balletic than Douglas. But her routine wasn’t as difficult as the American’s, and the final score (15.100) wasn’t enough to spoil Douglas’s day.

Thursday’s triumph was the realization of a dream Douglas has had for years — a dream so powerful that it persuaded her to leave her family in Virginia Beach and move to West Des Moines, Iowa, at age 14 so she could train with Liang Chow, who had coached Iowa native Shawn Johnson to an Olympic gold and silver medal in 2008.

Douglas and her mother, Natalie Hawkins, explained to Chow that they wanted him to turn her into Olympic-caliber material — a tall order, the coach told them, in such a short time.

But Douglas packs staggering power on her 94-pound frame, uncanny flexibility and a determination that can’t quite be measured.

All of that was evident Thursday, as Douglas opened with the world’s most difficult vault, performed gracefully on the uneven bars and beam, and closed with a rousing, fun-loving floor routine that flaunted her full range of athletic skill and considerable charisma.

She brought down the house with a high-energy, fun-loving routine that mixed explosive tumbling with sassy dance moves. Her jumps were spectacular; her tumbling daring but always in control. Her score, 15.033, put tremendous pressure on Komova, the only gymnast in position to overtake her for gold.

China takes gold, silver in men's table tennis

Jike Zhang of China won the gold in men’s singles table tennis, beating countryman Hao Wang.

Dmitrij Ovtcharov of Germany won the bronze medal, defeating Chih-Yuan Chuang of Taipei, 4-2.

China has won gold and silver in both men’s and women’s singles in London.

U.S. gymnasts 1st, 5th with one event left

Whatever nerves a gymnast feels tend to show themselves on the balance beam. And American Gabby Douglas held hers together slightly better than Aly Raisman, hanging onto first place heading into the final event for the women’s gymnastics all-around title.

Raisman, docked a full point for touching the beam with her left hand to avert a fall, has tumbled to fifth, currently out of the medal running.

Douglas was terrific on the beam, displaying power, flexibility and lightning-quick recovery skills to compose herself whenever she was even slightly off balance. Her score, 15.500, was enough to stave off Russia’s Viktoria Komova for one more round.

Komova, just .267 points behind Douglas entering the third of four events, went first on the beam. Her routine includes a series of flips with twists, and Komova completed all with minimal wobbles. It was a difficult routine, elegantly executed for the most part, capped by an Arabian double-front tuck dismount that earns high difficulty marks. Her score: 15.441.

Russian Aliya Mustafina, who stood an enviable third in the standings after two events, fell off the beam upon landing a tricky somersault and struggled to withhold tears from then on. After a full point deduction for the fall, Mustafina was scored 13.633, a major setback.

Raisman earned 14.200 for a wobbly effort.

Roger Federer knocks out John Isner

Roger Federer's mastery of the grass continued in Thursday's semifinals. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images)

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer cracked the code of American John Isner’s serve and moved into the singles semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) win.

Isner, who beat Federer on clay in a Davis Cup match back in February, had not been broken in his previous matches. But Federer used a late break to take the opening set and then got a little home cooking on match point.

With Isner serving in the second-set tiebreaker to stay in the match, Federer blocked back a massive first serve, simply looking to stay in the point. But the shot hit the net cord and dribbled onto Isner’s side to seal the match.

Federer – who represents Switzerland’s best hope to claim a medal – will face Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the first of two semifinals. Del Potro got past Kei Nishikori, 6-4, 7-6, in his quarterfinal.

The other semifinal pits Britain’s Andy Murray against Novak Djokovic.

Isner was the last remaining man in the draw and reached the quarterfinals with a taxing two-set win over Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic on Wednesday than included a 30-point second-set tiebreaker.

Douglas 1st, Raisman 4th after two events in gymnastics

Gabby Douglas competes on the uneven bars during the all-around competition. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The top grouping of gymnasts in the all-around competition moved next to the uneven bars, a strength of the Russians and a mixed bag for the Americans.

Not surprisingly, the standings got shaken up as a result, with Gabby Douglas hanging onto first by a slim lead and two Russians — Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina — vaulting ahead of Aly Raisman, who now is fourth.

Still, it was to be expected. And it’s nothing Raisman can’t overcome.

The bars are Raisman’s weakest event, so she needed to be solid and steady with her routine, which lacked the difficulty of the top medal contenders’. For the most part, she was. But her legs came slightly apart on a few rotations and her feet splayed noticeably as she worked between the bars. The score, 14.33, was a setback.

Then came Komova, who demonstrated why she’s the reigning world champion on the apparatus. Her reedlike body is ideally suited for whipping around the uneven bars, and she did so with seemingly effortless grace. Her legs were perfectly aligned, and a slight step on landing was the surely the judges’ only quibble. With a score of 15.966 (1.633 higher than Raisman’s mark), Komova surged into the lead.

Her compatriot, Mustafina, was even more impressive with a technically rigorous routine that earned a whopping 16.100.

Douglas was last among her grouping of six. She got impressive height on her release moves but left a few handstands short, drawing 15.733.

Now comes the balance beam. Raisman ought to gain ground here; Douglas should, as well, if she keeps her nerve.

Gymnastics scoring system explained

Confused by the scoring system in women’s gymnastics? This graphic explains it all.

U.S. gymnasts Douglas, Raisman take early lead

Aly Raisman reacts after she competes on the vault during the all-around competition. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Opening their campaign for the Olympic individual all-around title on the vault, Americans Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman immediately put distance between themselves and the other 22 competitors.

They’re first and second, respectively, after the first of four compulsory events, with Douglas at 15.966 and Raisman, 15.900.

The nearest challenger, Russia’s Viktoria Komova, is .444 back.

Both Americans performed the world’s most difficult vault, the Amanar, which automatically grants them .700 points in its extra degree of difficulty over nearly everyone else.

In the Amanar, gymnasts do a round-off onto the springboard, a back handspring off the vault then twist two and a half times in the air.

Douglas was flawless on take off and through the air, but she wobbled slightly on the landing. Judges deemed it a 15.966, a great score.

Raisman was next and didn’t get quite the amplitude. She also teetered a bit more on her landing. But her score, 15.900, was impressive.

Up next was Komova, the top Russian and one of the few in the world to do an Amanar. Komova stepped off the mat completely on her landing but was scored a generous 15.466.

The Americans are in great shape after the first round. But because vault scores tend to be highest, the margin of their early advantage is slightly misleading.

Up next for the U.S.: uneven bars, with Raisman leading off.

France's Emilie Fer wins kayak gold

Emilie Fer of France won gold in the kayak Thursday at Lee Valley Whitewater Center. Jessica Fox of Australia took the silver and Maialen Chourraut of Spain won the bronze.

No American qualified for the final.

Douglas, Raisman battle for gymnastics gold

Gabby Douglas, left, and Aly Raisman are going for all-around gold. (Julie Jacobson -- Associated Press)

There’s no more coveted title in gymnastics than Olympic individual all-around champion.

Two days after helping their U.S. teammates to the team gold medal at the London Games, Americans Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas battle for individual honors today at North Greenwich Arena.

Americans finished 1-2 in the competition at the 2008 Beijing Games, with Nastia Liukin winning gold and Shawn Johnson taking silver. And it’s possible that Raisman and Douglas, who qualified second and third, respectively, can replicate the feat in either order today.

Expect their toughest competition to come from Russia’s Victoria Komova, the top qualifier and 2011 world all-around silver medallist. Komova’s compatriot Aliya Mustafina should contend, along with Romania’s Larisa Iordache.

Douglas, 16, of Virginia Beach, has handled her first Olympics like a champ. What sets her apart from others is a high-wattage charisma that complements her rare flexibility and power. She’s also one of the few Americans to excel on uneven bars.

Raisman, 18, of Needham, Mass., is the surprise American in the mix. Accustomed to performing in the shadow of Douglas and Jordyn Wieber, Raisman was dazzling in qualifying, delivering a terrific floor routine that vaulted her ahead of both teammates and, in the process, knocked Wieber out of a spot in Thursday’s team finals.

It’s a pity, though Raisman has nothing to apologize for, having earned the opportunity fairly and decisively.

Here’s the order in which Raisman and Douglas will perform in just a few minutes”

1. Vault: It ought to put them out front, given the difficulty of their two-and-a-half twisting Amanar, assuming it’s performed without a stumble.

2. Uneven bars: It’s a strength of Douglas and weakness of Raisman.

3. Beam: Douglas fell off at U.S. championships earlier this year but has been steady since.

4. Floor: Raisman’s best event and terrific chance to close ground if she’s trailing down the stretch.

So they’ve dimmed the lights in the arena, cranked up the volume on the music and the gymnasts are about to march out to wild cheers.

Harrison wins gold, makes U.S. judo history

Kayla Harrison just made history. (Paul Sancya/AP)

Kayla Harrison topped Britain’s Gemma Gibbons in the final of the 78-kg judo competition Thursday afternoon, becoming the first American to ever win Olympic judo gold.

It was the fourth fight of the day for the 22-year old Harrison, who topped the world’s top-ranked fighter, Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar, in the semifinal round.

Read the full story here.

Korean wins archery gold in shoot-off

Ki Bo Bae of South Korea won the gold medal on a one-arrow shoot-off Thursday at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Aida Roman became the second Mexican to win an archery medal in about an hour when she settled for silver. Her countrywoman, Mariana Avitia, beat American Khatuna Lorig for the bronze in the previous match.

In the shoot-off, each competitor shoots just one arrow. Each hit the 8 ring but Ki’s arrow was closer to the 9. And that got her the gold.

Read the full story here.

Jolly day for Brits continues with double trap gold

Peter Robert Russell Williams of Britain won the gold in men’s double trap Thursday at the Royal Artillery Barracks with 188 points.

Hakan Dahlby of Sweden won the silver and Vasaly Mosin of Russia took the bronze.

Americans Glenn Eller and Josh Richmond failed to qualify for the final.

Brits take gold, silver in canoeing

British boats took gold and silver in the men’s doubles canoe finals Thursday at the Lee Valley Whitewater Center.

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott won the gold by 0.56 of a second over David Florence and Richard Hounslow. Neither team had penalties. Pavol and Peter Hochschorner of Slovakia won the bronze.

No Americans qualified for the finals.

Mexico makes history; Lorig out of medals

Khatuna Lorig faltered in the final round of her bronze medal match. (Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Mariana Avitia made history for Mexico and ended Khatuna Lorig’s medal hopes Thursday, winning the bronze medal at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

It was the first medal ever in archery for Mexico, which was guaranteed a second as well, with Aida Roman facing Ki Bo Bae of Korea in the gold medal match.

Read the full story here.

 

A host of Olympics videos

Check out The Post’s London Eyes video page for a number of videos from the Olympics.

Serena Williams storms into semifinals

Serena Williams breezed into the semifinals with another comfortable win. (Sergio Moraes/Reuters)

Serena Williams had little trouble dispatching former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in a comfortable 6-0, 6-3 quarterfinal win.

Williams blasted 30 winners to Wozniacki’s seven and had six aces in the match, which lasted just 1 hour, 17 minutes.

The fourth-seeded American advances to take on top-seeded world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the semifinals. Azarenka was tested but powered past Germany’s Angelique Kerber – who knocked out Venus Williams on Wednesday – in their quarterfinal, 6-4, 7-5.

Williams has lost only 10 total games through three matches – all straight set wins. She and Venus face Italy’s Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in a doubles quarterfinal later today.

Lorig loses in archery semifinal

Ki Bo Bae knocked Khatuna Lorig out of the archery competition. (Jewel Samad -- AFP/Getty Images)

Khatuna Lorig lost her semifinal match to Ki Bo Bae after a review of one arrow in the fourth set gave the Korean an extra point and the victory at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The fourth set appeared to be tied, which would have given Ki a 5-3 lead going into a fifth set. But arrows are reviewed when they are on the lines and Ki’s second arrow of the fourth set was four to be a 9, not an 8.

Lorig had done all the could in the fourth set to fight off defeat, shooting a 10 with her final arrow to tie the match before the review.

In the other semifinal, Mexico’s Aida Roman will face teammate Mariana Avitia, who upset Lee Sung Jin of Korea in the quarterfinals. Mexico has never won a medal in archery.

The semifinal winners will meet for the gold medal; the semifinal losers play for the bronze.

Lorig started her first set with back-to-back 10s, but on her third arrow, needing a 9 or 10 to win, she shot an 8 and dropped to a tie, giving each archer one point. That was a missed opportunity.

In the second set, both archers started with a 10 and a 9. On her third arrow, Ki shot a 10, forcing Lorig to do the same to earn a tie. Lorig hit a 9 instead, giving Ki a 3-1 lead in the match. (Winning a set is worth two points.)

Neither shot well in the third set, hitting two 8s and a 7 and earning a point apiece with the tie and giving Ki a 4-2 lead going into the decisive fourth set.

Olympic history in Harrison's sights

Kayla Harrison is just one fight away from becoming the first American to win Olympic gold in judo. Her coach says the toughest fight of the tournament, in fact, is already out of the way.

“That’s the toughest match for us … Kayla took her apart,” Jimmy Pedro said after Harrison defeated Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar in the semifinals. “She physically looked so strong today. We’ve got everything going in the right direction. I’m fully confident Kayla’s coming home with a gold today.”

Harrison, who’s now posted three wins on the day, gets barely an hour rest before taking on Great Britain’s Gemme Gibbons — and an energetic British crowd — in the gold medal fight.

“Today’s her day,” Pedro said. “Today’s Kayla Harrison’s day. She’s making Olympic history today.”

U.S. looking to cross judo off gold medal list

Kayla Henderson in on the verge of the first Olympic judo gold medal in U.S. history. Should she win in the final later today, it would narrow the list of current Summer Olympic sports in which the United States has never won a gold medal to six: table tennis, badminton, handball, modern pentathlon, field hockey and triathlon.

The United States has never won a medal of any kind in table tennis, badminton and handball.

Harrison advances to judo final

Kayla Harrison is one win away from the United States' first judo gold medal. (Franck Fife -- AFP/Getty Images)

American Kayla Harrison upset Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar, the world’s top-ranked judoka, in the 78kg semifinals and has secured at least a bronze medal.

With barely a minute remaining, Harrison took Aguiar down to the mat, scoring the fight’s first point. She won the fight about 45 seconds later with an armbar.

“This is my day,” Harrison had said earlier in the day. “This is my purpose.”

With Britain’s Gemma Gibbons scheduled to face France’s Audrey Techeumeo in the other semifinal, the arena was packed Thursday afternoon. Harrison will face the winner of that fight at 11 a.m. for the gold medal.

Aguiar and Harrison had faced each other nine times before, with Harrison winning five times. ”She’s always a tough match,” Harrison had said earlier in the day. “But no one’s taking this away from me today.”

Lorig into archery semifinals

Khatuna Lorig continues to find the target in Olympic archery. (Paul Gilham -- Getty Images)

Khatuna Lorig advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2 victory over Berengere Schuh of France at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Lorig will face the winner of the second quarterfinal between Ki Bo Bae of Korea and Ksenia Perova of Russia in one semifinal. The semifinal winners will meet for the gold medal later today; the semifinal loses will face off for the bronze.

Lorig – a five-time Olympian who taught Jennifer Lawrence to her sport in preparation for “The Hunger Games” – qualified for the quarterfinals earlier Thursday morning by winning her final elimination match with a 6-4 victory over Ming Chen of China.

Schuh was a bronze medalist in the team event four years ago in Beijing.
Lorig won a bronze medal in 1992 in Barcelona, competing for the Unified Team. She is from the Republic of Georgia and she was able to compete for her native country in 1996 in Atlanta. In 2000 she competed as Khatuna Lorigi.

She became a U.S. citizen in time for the Beijing Olympics.

Murray has royal audience during tennis win

Prince William and wife Kate do the wave during Andy Murray's match against Nicolas Almagro. (Mark Humphrey -- Associated Press)

Andy Murray advanced to the Olympic men’s tennis semifinals with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Nicolas Almagro of Spain at the All England club, where Prince William and wife Kate took in the action.

Murray had 15 aces and never faced a break point. He will face either Novak Djokovic or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga — scheduled to play at 9 a.m. — in the semifinals.

Eller falters in double trap qualifying

Peter Robert Russell Williams of Britain, left, has many names and the lead in double trap. (Rebecca Blackwell -- Associated Press)

American Glenn Eller, who set Olympic records in double trap in both qualifying and the finals four years ago in Beijing, finished 22nd among 23 competitors Thursday at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Eller scored a 126, well behind the 143 posted by leader Peter Robert Russell Williams of Britain.

Josh Richmond, the other American in double trap, was 16th, with 131 points.

The finals in the event begin at 10 a.m.

U.S. shooter seventh in pistol qualifying

American Emil Milev was seventh after the first stage of qualifying in the 25m rapid-fire pistol Thursday at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

The second stage and final will be contested Friday.

Milev’s teammate Keith Sanderson, who set the Olympic record in this event in Beijing, was 14th out of the field of 18.

Alexei Klimov of Russia leads with 294 points. A group of five shooters are one point behind. Milev scored 292. Sanderson has 284.

Expelled badminton champ quits sport

Yu Yang, left, and Wang Xiaoli of China were expelled for match-fixing. (Adek Berry -- AFP/Getty Images)

“This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton,” defending Olympic badminton champion Yu Yang wrote on a microblogging service late Wednesday.

And with that, Yu has left the sport, the Associated Press reports.

Yu was on one of the four women’s doubles teams expelled from the Games for tanking their matches. (The Post’s Sally Jenkins weighs in on the absurdity of the situation here.)

Yu and Wang Xiaoli, also expelled, were considered one of the greatest badminton doubles teams in history.

U.S. eight downs Canada for rowing gold

The U.S. women's eight boat, golden again at the Olympics. (Jamie Squire -- Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s eight defended its Olympic rowing gold medal Thursday, defeating rival Canada at Eton Dorney.

The American team of Erin Cafaro, Zsuzsanna Francia, Esther Lofgren, Taylor Ritzel, Meghan Musnicki, Eleanor Logan, Caroline Lind, Caryn Davies and Mary Whipple won in 6 minutes 10.59 seconds.

“That is an American dynasty, baby!” Francia told The Post’s Barry Svrluga. “It was awesome. There’s a lot of power in that boat. I’m just happy to continue the legacy.”

Canada’s time was 6:12.06. The Netherlands took the bronze in 6:13.12.

South Africa edges Brits for rowing gold

The South African boat rejoices after winning gold. (Damien Meyer -- AFP/Getty Images)

South Africa won gold in the men’s lightweight four rowing by 0.25 of a second over the British boat Thursday at Eton Dorney. Denmark was third.

South Africa’s time was 6 minutes 2.84 seconds; Britain finished in 6:03.89.

The U.S. men finished second in Final B, meaning the Americans placed eighth in the event.

Anthony Fahden, Will Newell, Nick LaCava and Robin Prendes finished behind France in their final.

Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won gold for Australia in the men’s double sculls, edging Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti of Italy.

Luka Spik and and Iztok Cop of Slovenia took the bronze.

The U.S. did not have a boat in either Final A or B.

Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark had the top time in semifinals of the men’s lightweight double sculls, winning their heat in six minutes 33.25 seconds at Eton Dorney.

The British pair of Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter won the other heat in 6:36.62.

Australia, Germany, France and Portugal also made the finals.

The United States did not have a boat in the semifinal.

Harrison: 'It was just a matter of time'

Kayla Harrison, in white, took down Hungary's Abigel Joo after Joo suffered an injury. (Franck Fiferanck -- AFP/Getty Images)

Judoka Kayla Harrison trailed for most of her 78-kg women’s quarterfinal fight against Hungary’s Abigel Joo on Thursday. But when Joo suffered a leg injury, Harrison saw her opening.

“Your catty side comes out,” said the American half heavyweight. “You go after it.”

As Joo struggled to walk, Harrison attacked, winning just one minute later by ippon. The Hungarian judoka represented a big obstacle on Harrison’s path to winning an Olympic medal here.

“Joo is a tough match for me,” Harrison said. “She’s a tall lefty. That’s something that I struggle with. She caught me early. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it. It was sort of: ‘Get up, pick up the pieces, let’s go! Push, push, push!’ ”

Though Joo grabbed an early 10-0 advantage, Harrison said her confidence never wavered.

“I knew I was in better shape than her, and I knew if I went my pace, she wasn’t going to be able to hang on,” Harrison said. “It was just a matter of time.”

Needing just one more win to secure an Olympic medal, Harrison faces top-ranked Mayra Aguiar, of Brazil, in the semifinals at 9:14 a.m.

Obama gives Phelps regards for his mom

First it was a Tweet from President Obama after Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history Tuesday night.

Then, Obama placed a phone call.

Phelps, who will try to earn his 20th Olympic medal in Thursday night’s 200-meter individual medley, ended up with a message for his mother.

It was “the craziest thing,” he said. “I answered the phone. They were like, ‘Michael?’ I was like, ‘Yes!’ They were like, ‘Please hold for the president of the United States.’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ He just on got on saying how everyone supported me and was behind me, and how proud everyone is of me. He finished by saying, ‘Make sure you tell your mom I said ‘hi.’ It was a good talk.”

Phelps next to foe Cavic in morning heats

Michael Phelps again bested his nemesis in 100 butterfly qualifying. (Christophe Simon -- AFP/Getty Images)

Somebody Tweeted the lineup for the sixth heat of the men’s 100-meter butterfly Thursday morning, and Michael Phelps’s reaction went something like this: Seriously?

Phelps was assigned to swim right next to Serbia’s Milorad Cavic, his longtime nemesis in the event.

“We’ve had some pretty close races in our day,” Phelps said. “My morning swims, I haven’t been able to catch a break in any of them.”

As usual, Phelps bettered Cavic, posting the second-fastest time of the morning (51.72 seconds) as Cavic touched the wall in 51.90, fifth best. South African Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 200 fly, swam in another heat and topped the morning’s field in 51.54.

In the 2008 Summer Games, Phelps came from behind to beat Cavic by .01 of a second, then listened to Cavic complain that the timing system did not work. At the 2009 world championships, Phelps again came from behind to beat Cavic, who had trash-talked leading up to the event.

Phelps got a bit sentimental about the swim.

“That was my last preliminary swim ever,” he said. “It was pretty fun to be able to do it in a pretty decent time.”

U.S. men's four advances to rowing final

The U.S. men’s four crew of Glenn Ochal, Henrik Rummel, Charles Cole and Scott Gault won its semifinal Thursday at Eton Dorney in 6 minutes 1.72 seconds.

Greece and Germany were second and third, respectively, and also advanced to Saturday’s final.

The British four won the other semifinal in 5:58.26. Australia and the Netherlands advances to the finals out of that semifinal.

In lightweight double sculls, the U.S. pair of Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols finished third in their semifinal heat and will race in Final B for placement. The British pair of Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hocking won the heat.

Genevra Stone finished third in her semifinal in single sculls and advances to Final B, which decides places 7-12.

The fastest time, 7 minutes 42.57 seconds, was posted by Miroslava Knapkova of the Czech Republic.

U.S. field hockey falls to Australia, 1-0

The U.S. field hockey team needs wins in its next two matches to advance to the medal round. (Daniel Berehulak -- Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s field hockey team fell to Australia, 1-0, Thursday morning in a crucial Pool B match and saw their chances of advancing to their next round fade a bit.

Only the top two teams in the pool advance. New Zealand is 2-0 and plays Argentina (1-1) later today. Australia is now 2-1; the United States is 1-2. Germany is 1-1 and plays winless New Zealand.

The U.S. team’s next game is Saturday against pool leader New Zealand.

The game’s only goal came on a penalty corner late in the first half, when Australia’s Anna Flanagan sent the ball over the reach of goalkeeper Amy Tran-Swensen.

The Australians called for a review of two penalty calls and won both, crucial decisions that cost the U.S. two penalty corner tries.

The Aussies also outshot the Americans, 14-7.

Harrison aims for first U.S. judo gold

Kayla Harrison, shown here in May, is inching closer to a judo medal. (Steven Senne -- Associated Press)

With a pair of victories Thursday morning, judoka Kayla Harrison inched closer to becoming the first American to capture Olympic gold in the sport. Advancing into the semifinals of the tournament, she needs just one more victory to secure a medal.

Competing at 172 pounds, Harrison had a bye into the second round and opened Olympic competition against Vera Muskalyuk, needing less than a minute to dispose of the Russian with an armbar.

Not even an hour passed before Harrison was back on the mat, facing Hungarian Abigel Joo. Harrison fell behind 10-0 early, but with less than 2½ minutes remaining on the clock, Joo appeared to suffer an injury to right knee, struggling to walk on the mat. Harrison took advantage, going after the leg and winning by ippon just a minute later.

In the semifinals, Harrison will fight Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar, the top-ranked judoka in the world.

Harrison won the world championship in 2010 and entered this tournament ranked No. 4 in the world.

Ziegler felled by flu, Ledecky third in 800 heats

Katie Ledecky of Bethesda came home in 8:23.84 in 800 freestyle qualifying. (Clive Rose -- Getty Images)

Kate Ziegler of Great Falls stunningly failed to advance in the heats of the 800-meter freestyle Thursday morning, posting the 21st-best time as Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky easily advanced.

Ziegler, the reigning bronze medalist in the event, blamed her time of 8 minutes 37.38 seconds and last-place finish in her heat on a bout with the flu that emerged after she walked in the Opening Ceremonies on Friday.

Britain’s Rebecca Adlington posted the best time, 8:21.78, Denmark’s Lotte Friis was next in 8:21.89 and Ledecky came home in 8:23.84.

Ziegler, 24, also failed to advance to finals of her events — the 400 and 800 freestyle — at the 2008 Summer Games, despite having won back-to-back world championship golds in the 800 free.

“I’ve had the flu for the last five days, no joke,” Ziegler said, breaking down in tears. “It’s just really bad timing. … I came into this race, I was just going to fight and do the best I could and that’s what I did. That’s all you can ask for.”

Ledecky, who at 15 is among the youngest competitors here, said she’s enjoyed watching the finals and preliminaries in recent days and was ready to get to work.

“I felt pretty good,” she said. “I was a little nervous. That was  to be expected, though.”

Ledecky did not discuss the scandal surrounding the former president of her home club, which announced Wednesday it had changed its name from the Curl-Burke Swim Club to the CUBU Swim Club. Rick Curl, the club’s founder, also resigned as president Wednesday in the wake of allegations of sexual impropriety with a teen swimmer 25 years ago.

“I can’t comment on that,” she said.

Aussies lead U.S. women at halftime

Australia’s Anna Flanagan scored on a penalty corner with less than three minutes remaining, lifting it over the reach of goalkeeper Amy Tran-Swensen, to give her team a 1-0 halftime lead over the United States.

This Pool B game is crucial for both teams. New Zealand leads the pool with a 2-0 record. Argentina, Australia, the United States and Germany are all 1-1, and only the top two teams in the pool advance.

Katie O’Donnell (University of Maryland) had an excellent chance early in the match right in front of goal but missed. Neither team had very many looks.

There was some drama with less than 12 minutes remaining when the referees called a penalty for a ball that apparently went off the foot of an Aussie player. That would have given the U.S. team a penalty corner. But the Aussies asked for a “referral,” something like an NFL coach throwing his red challenge flag. The Aussies won the challenge.

Another penalty was called with about 7 minutes remaining, but Australia didn’t challenge that one. Rachel Dawson had a shot in front but it hit a defender’s foot, so captain Lauren Crandall got a penalty shot. But veteran Aussie goalie Toni Cronk stopped that.

It seems strange to see water spurting up when the sticks and balls hit the turf, but it is deliberately watered down before the match and at halftime.

Lorig advances to archery quarterfinals

What you need is Khatuna Lorig, which is not a new coffee at Starbucks but is in a fact a U.S. archer who is marching through the competition again this morning.

Lorig took on China’s Ming Chen in the first elimination match of the morning — 4 a.m. ET to you and me — and won, 7-3, scoring eight 10s along the way.

Lorig’s quarterfinal opponent will be Beregere Schuh of France, who was fourth at the world championships at a year ago and was on the team that won bronze in Beijing.

You’ve heard Lorig’s story by now — five time Olympian under a lot of different flags, helped trained Jennifer Lawrence for some movie called “Hunger Games” that was apparently very popular.

NBC Sports Network is showing the medal finals in this event sometime today — not live, so who knows when. If you want to see Lorig, your best bet is to catch the quarterfinal on streaming the video, if you can (9 a.m. ET). The competition runs on time, the matches are usually pretty short and the announcer is a lot of fun, when he’s not cut off by commercials. He’ll lead the crowd in “Hip-hip-hooray” for the losers, for instance. You don’t see that at, say, the Aquatics Centre.