(Fixes minor garble on screens)
* Lochte dominates 400m IM, Phelps fourth
* China power to two swimming golds, lead medals table
* Cyclist Vinokourov trumps home hope Cavendish in road race
By Kevin Liffey
LONDON, July 28 American swimmer Ryan Lochte
made the biggest splash of the London Games so far by
obliterating his compatriot Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer
in Olympic history, in the first of their eagerly awaited duels.
Phelps, unthinkably, finished without a medal in the 400
metres individual medley -- a fate shared in the men's road race
by British favourite and world champion Mark Cavendish,
outmanoeuvred and upstaged in his quest for the home nation's
first gold by Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov.
Sun Yang powered to China's first male swimming gold in the
400 metres freestyle and his 16-year-old compatriot Ye Shiwen
won the women's 400m individual medley in a stunning world
record time, putting China top of the medals table on the first
full day of competition.
Phelps is bidding in London to become the most prolific
Olympic medal winner in history, but may be yielding the
position of world's best swimmer to Lochte after coming only
fourth in the 400m individual medley, where Phelps set the
current world record in 2008.
Having scraped into the final by 0.07 seconds, Phelps looked
way off the pace as Lochte's silky power brought him home with
time to spare. Phelps missed out on a medal at the Olympics for
the first time since he was a 15-year-old at Sydney in 2000.
Cavendish, too, was left trailing when a star-studded
British team led by Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins
controlled much of the race but failed in a frantic attempt to
bridge a gap of nearly a minute to a breakaway pack and set up a
win for the sprint specialist.
Vinokourov, who was banned for two years in 2007 for blood
doping at the Tour de France, surged past Colombia's Rigoberto
Uran on the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace.
The veteran, in tears at the end, had announced he was
quitting professional cycling after crashing out of the Tour de
France last year, but could not resist the urge to get back on
the bike for one last shot at glory this year.
Cavendish, winner of 23 stages of the Tour de France, was
the only British track cyclist to go home empty-handed from
Beijing, and had desperately hoped to set the home nation on the
road to a best ever haul of Olympic golds.
Meanwhile China, top of the medal table for the first time
four years ago in Beijing, laid down a huge marker with two
golds in the Aquatics Centre, whose swooping roof echoes the
shape of a manta ray or the arched back of a butterfly swimmer.
Sun Yang came within a whisker of breaking the world record
to win the men's 400 metres freestyle final and became the first
Chinese man to claim an Olympic swimming title.
South Korea's Park Tae-hwan, who won the event in Beijing
four years ago, led for the first 300 metres at world record
pace but finished second, having won an appeal against a false
start just to compete in the final.
Sun is also the overwhelming favourite for the 1500
freestyle, the longest event in the pool, where he set the world
record last year.
Another Chinese talent emerged in the shape of 16-year-old
Ye Shiwen, who won gold by going more than a second under the
world record and five seconds faster than her previous best.
Ye unleashed an incredible sprint over the concluding
freestyle leg to surge clear of the favourite Elizabeth Beisel
of the United States.
In doing so, she became the first woman to break a
long-course world record since polyurethane bodysuits, which
boosted buoyancy and triggered a slew of records, were banned in
China's Yi Siling had already become the first gold
medallist of the Games in the 10-metre air rifle -- despite
confessing to reporters: "For the first round and the last round
I was very nervous and didn't know what I was doing."
Her compatriot Wang Mingjuan extended a 10-year unbeaten
international record to win gold in the first women's
weightlifting event of the London Games, the 48-kg weight
In the last event of the night in the pool, Australia took
gold in the women's 4x100 metres freestyle relay, ahead of the
Netherlands and the United States.
On a day of mixed fortunes for South Korea, Jin Jong-oh won
the men's 10-metre air pistol shooting, but their men's archery
team, who won gold at the last three Olympics and set new
individual and team world records in an earlier round, were
knocked out in the semi-final.
However, their conquerors, the top-ranked United States,
then suffered a shock defeat in the final to unfancied Italy.
The Italians moved to second in the medal table with a
further triumph in the fencing arena. Elisa Di Francisca led an
Italian sweep in the women's individual foil, ahead of Arianna
Errigo and three-times gold medallist Valentina Vezzali.
Brazil's Sarah Menezes took judo gold in the women's -48kg
category by defeating reigning Olympic champion Romania's Alina
Dumitru, while Russia's Arsen Galstyan won the men's -60kg.
At Wimbledon, where Roger Federer won his 17th grand slam
earlier this month, the world number one survived a scare in his
opening Olympic singles match against Colombia's Alejandro Falla
before prevailing 6-3 5-7 6-3 to book a second-round place.
Seeking his first singles gold, Federer made extra work for
himself by missing three match points when leading 6-3 5-3. In
the women's event, Serena Williams breezed past Serbia's Jelena
Jankovic, with U.S. first lady Michelle Obama cheering her on.
Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku became the first to be
ejected from the London Games after testing positive for an
"Of course it is always a sad day when a cheating athlete is
caught," said International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark
Adams. "I hope there will not be more."
Competition got under way on Saturday after a dizzying
opening ceremony on Friday night that celebrated Britain's
history and its humour, but also put the emphasis on inspiring a
new generation of young athletes.
The message could have been meant for the 23-year-old Irish
gymnast Kieran Behan, whose low scores did little to dent his
excitement at competing in an Olympics after twice being told he
would never walk again.
As a 10-year-old, and already two years into gymnastics
training, Behan developed a tumour in his leg, and was confined
to a wheelchair after suffering nerve damage in the operation.
He learned to walk again, got back in the gym, then at age
12 was back in a wheelchair after falling from the high bar onto
his head. This time it took three years to get back in the gym -
where he ruptured both anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee.
"I wasn't nervous, I was very emotional," he said after
walking out to compete alongside the defending team champions
China. "I didn't know what to think because I have been through
so much and my family have been through so much and to actually
walk out on that stage, to actually be able to walk, is
something I never thought would happen ..."
(Additional reporting by Julien Pretot, Kate Holton, Julian
Linden, Patrick Johnston, Kylie MacLellan, Michael Holden)