By Sportswriter Gao Peng
Michael Phelps of America celebrates victory after the men's 400m individual medley final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China, August 10, 2008. Michael Phelps won in a world record time of 4:03.84. (Xinhua/Ding Xu)
BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. swimming prodigy
Michael Phelps began with a bang his quest for an unprecedented eight-gold at an
Olympic Games, winning the men's 400m individual medley in world record time on
China picked up four gold medals in Day Two's action
to take its total to six and top the medals table. South Korea and the United
States are in second and third place respectively.
Watched and cheered by U.S. President George W. Bush,
Phelps sent thousands of spectators at the Water Cube to raptures when he
touched home in a time of four minutes 3.84 seconds, slicing 1.41 seconds off
his own world record set in June.
"I was in the ready room. I didn't feel so good, I
got these cold chills," said Phelps. "Afterwards, I looked up and saw President
Bush giving me the thumbs up and holding up the American flag. That was pretty
In the pool, another world record fell with
Australia's Stephanie Rice chopping nearly two seconds off the world best in the
women's 400m individual medley. Rice clocked 4:29.45 to take her first major
title and Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe grabbed silver.
Park Tae-hwan notched South Korea's first Olympic
gold in swimming when he cruised to victory in the men's 400m individual
freestyle final. But Zhang Lin's performance was also notable as he finished
second behind Park to become China's first male Olympic medalist in
Chinese male swimmers' previous best performance at
the Olympic Games was a fourth-place finish by Jiang Chengji at the Atlanta
Olympics in 1996.
"I trailed Park by less than one second, but I've
tried my best," said Zhang. "I did not think I would get a silver medal."
There was more good news for the hosts Sunday from
the shooting hall. Guo Wenjun scored 492.3 points to claim the women's 10m air
pistol title, one day after compatriot Pang Wei won the men's air pistol.
The all-conquering Chinese diving squad started its
bid for a clean sweep of eight golds with Guo Jingjing, dubbed as the "Diving
Queen", and Wu Minxia successfully defending their synchronized 3-meter
"I am satisfied with my performance today and we are
both very happy, because we are on home soil in China," said the 27-year-old
Guo, who has announced she would retire after the Beijing Games.
China's Xian Dongmei, who had a baby daughter 18
months ago, made a successful comeback when she outclassed a handful of big
names to retain her 52kg judo crown. The 33-year-old veteran knocked out
European champion Ana Carrascosa of Spain and 2007 world championships finalist
Telma Monteiro of Portugal en route to victory.
"Thank my husband for supporting me to return to the
sport," Xian said emotionally after the final.
"This is my last Olympics. I will make it up to my
family, especially my daughter," she added.
Long Qingquan capped a golden day for China when the
17-year-old weightlifter won the men's 56kg class, lifting 132kg in the snatch
and 160kg in the clean and jerk. Both the snatch and the total result were
junior world records.
But to the disappointment of millions of Chinese
soccer fans, their national men's team lost 2-0 to Belgium and ended the match
with nine man.
With Brazil already through from Group C after two
wins out of two, China must beat the South American side in their final game to
keep alive hope of reaching the quarterfinals.
In a much-hyped basketball game, the NBA star-studded
U.S. team was little tested by the Chinese team which boasts Yao Ming. The
Americans won by 101-70.
In fencing, Matteo Tagliario of Italy downed Fabrice
Jeannet of France 15-9 to claim the men's epee gold.
In archery, South Korea underlined its status of
powerhouse when they beat China in a repeat of the Athens final to win a sixth
straight Olympic gold.
The Czech Republic won its second gold with David
Kostelecky in the men's shooting trap.
There were first golds for Japan with Masato
Uchishiba in judo men's 66kg class and for Britain with Nicole Cooke in the
cycling women's road race and for Thailand with Prapawadee
Jaroenrattanatarakoonon in the women's 53kg category.
Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou was ruled ineligible
for competing at the Beijing Olympics for her role in the "scandalous saga" that
tainted the Athens Games.
The International Olympic Committee executive board
took the decision based on recommendations by a three-man disciplinary panel,
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said.
Thanou and fellow Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris
missed doping tests on the eve of the 2004 opening ceremony, claiming they were
injured in a motorcycle accident. Both eventually pulled out of the games and
were banned for two years by the IAAF, the world's governing body for
There are 13 gold medals at stake on Monday.