The United States enjoyed another big day in the pool at the Athens Olympics Thursday to move to the top of the medal standings with 14 golds and 35 overall medals. China also has 14 gold with 29 overall followed by Japan with nine gold medals and 15 overall. One U.S. swimmer nearly missed his chance for victory.
Swimmer Aaron Peirsol of the United States won the gold medal twice in the men's 200-meter backstroke. He touched the first to touch the wall with a time of one minute, 54.95 seconds. Markus Rogan of Austria placed second (1:57.35) while Razvan Florea was third (1:57.56). But Peirsol was disqualified for making an illegal turn. He was reinstated after an appeal and was awarded the top prize.
Michael Phelps continued his medal march at the Athens games by collecting his fourth gold and sixth overall medal. Phelps won the men's 200-meter individual medley in one minute, 57.14 seconds ahead of fellow American Ryan Lochte (1:58.78). George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago was third (1:58.80).
American Amanda Beard won the gold medal in the women's 200-meter breaststroke with an Olympic-record time of two minutes, 23-point-three-seven seconds. Leisel Jones of Australia won the silver (2:23.60). German Anne Poleska won the bronze (2:25.82).
Jodie Henry of Australia followed a world-record swim in the semifinals by winning an Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter freestyle in 53-point-eight-four seconds. She held off defending champion Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands (54.16) and American Natalie Coughlin (54.40). Henry established the new world best earlier in 53.52 seconds.
A new world record was set in women's weightlifting by Liu Chunhong of China. Liu hoisted a total of 275.0 kilograms in the final of the 69-kilogram division. Eszter Krutzler of Hungary took silver (262.5 kilograms) ahead of Russian Zarema Kasaeva (262.5 - same as Krutzler). Turkish lifter Taner Sagir was the winner of the men's 77-kilogram category with a total of 375.00 kilos. Sergey Filimonov of Kazakhstan was second (372.50) while Oleg Perepetchenov of Russia placed third (365.00).
American Carly Patterson won the Olympic women's all-around gymnastics gold medal. Patterson score 38.387 points to deny three-time world champion Svetlana Khorkina a title in the Russian star's all-around farewell (38.211). Zhang Nan of China earned bronze (37.948).
Ihar Makarau of Belarus beat Jang Sung-ho of South Korea to win the gold medal in the 100-kilogram class of men's judo. Michael Jurack of Germany and Ariel Zeevi of Israel shared the bronze. Noriko Anno of Japan beat Liu Xia of China to win the gold medal in the 78-kilogram class of women's judo. Lucia Morico of Italy and Yurisel Laborde of Cuba shared the bronze.
Aiming for gold was Diana Igaly of Hungary, who won the women's skeet shooting competition. Chinese shooter Wei Ning claimed silver and Zemfira Meftakhetdinova of Azerbaijan won the bronze. Among the men, German Manfred Kurzer won the gold medal the 10-meter running target shooting event with 682.4 points. He was followed by two Russians. Alexander Blinov won the silver and Dimitri Lykin got the bronze.
Zhang Jun and Gao Ling of China edged British opponents Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms in a close final to win the gold medal in mixed doubles badminton. Robertson and Emms saved two match points but not the third as Zhang and Gao won a pulsating match, 15-1, 12-15, 15-12, for their second successive Olympic gold. Unseeded Danish pair Jens Eriksen and Mette Schjoldager took bronze. France won the men's fencing team sabre gold medal. The silver went to Italy and the bronze to Russia.
Italian Marco Galiazzo was the most accurate archer in the old Olympiakos stadium, winning gold over Hiroshi Yamamoto of Japan, 111-109. Australian Tim Cuddihy beat Laurence Godfrey of Britain in the bronze medal playoff, 113-112. Earlier in the men's 70-meter event, Park Kyung-mo of South Korea set an archery Olympic record by scoring 173 out of a maximum 180 in an elimination round. The previous record was 172.
In other Olympic news, six more athletes were kicked out of the games for failing drug tests. Five weightlifters were named as testing positive for muscle-building anabolic steroids while a sixth, Indian woman weightlifter Sanamacha Chanu, was later confirmed as showing traces of a banned diuretic. The total number of lifters failing drug tests in Athens stands at seven following the expulsion on Monday of 48-kilogram class lifter Nan Aye Khine, Burma's lone entrant.