Olympics roundup: Ryan Lochte wins 400 IM final for first US gold
Cavendish and his troubles aside, his countrymen got off to a terrific start in men's gymnastics — almost as good as the United States.
While perennial powerhouses China and Japan bobbled and wobbled their way through qualifying, the Americans proved they really do have the goods to contend for the gold medal. They didn't count a single fall, and their final score of 275.342 is almost three points ahead of Britain.
Britain, which was only good enough to send two gymnasts to Beijing four years ago, got a spectacular pommel horse by Louis Smith and finished with a score of 272.420.
"It's just a dream competition really," said Smith, the British captain.
Fresh from her star turn as the latest Bond Girl, Queen Elizabeth II returned to Olympic Park for an encore.
The queen visited with British Olympians in the athletes village and rode to the top of the 377-foot Orbit tower beside the stadium, where on Friday night she officially opened the 2012 Games. Her husband, Prince Philip, and London Mayor Boris Johnson accompanied her.
In describing her role in the opening ceremony, created by director Danny Boyle, Johnson said the queen had told him she was "very, very impressed with the success of her first film appearance, her first dramatic venture. It was very funny and seems to have gone down particularly well with the international audiences."
The show-stopping moment featured the queen making her acting debut alongside Daniel Craig, who portrayed James Bond in a film beamed into the stadium.
The rest of the Olympic action Saturday:
Maybe it was first-game nerves or a hangover from the opening ceremony. But the U.S. had to overcome a sloppy performance to post an 81-56 victory over Croatia in its first game.
Coach Geno Auriemma had said he was hoping the Americans could play a style of basketball that would be entertaining and help grow the women's game internationally. That didn't happen.
"We have five players who have never been in the Olympics before, so they are going to be nervous. Everybody was a little nervous," Auriemma said. "We're better than we showed, but I don't know that we're going to be great right off the bat."
The U.S., which got back to its hotel at 3 a.m. after the kickoff party, struggled for the first three quarters before winning its 34th consecutive Olympic game.
Next up for the Americans is Angola, which lost to Turkey 72-50 in its Olympic debut.
The Czech Republic lost their pool opener, falling to China 66-57. In another early game, Russia rallied past Canada 58-53. France beat Brazil 73-58.
The U.S. women clinched a spot in the quarterfinals and remembered an injured teammate in a 3-0 victory over Colombia.
Megan Rapinoe scored in the 33rd minute for the Americans. After her goal, she reached into her sock and pulled out a birthday message for Ali Krieger, who blew out her knee in a qualifying match in January.
Abby Wambach made it 2-0 in the 74th, and Carli Lloyd scored in the 77th.
Britain wrapped up a spot in the women's quarters with a 3-0 victory against Cameroon. Canada beat South Africa 3-0, Brazil blanked New Zealand 1-0, and Sweden held Women's World Cup champion Japan to a scoreless draw. France beat North Korea 5-0 in the late match at Hampden Park.
The Olympics' sexiest sport opened with a raucous debut, mixing in a little local flair with all of the more traditional trifles that have made the event one of the most sought-after tickets in London (though Sir Paul McCartney managed to get one for the afternoon session).
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