Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Fifteen-year-olds from Lithuania aren't supposed to win Olympic gold medals, especially in the pool.
Ruta Meilutyte is obviously out of the ordinary, claiming her country's first ever Olympic swimming medal in London on Monday as China continued to rake in gold while Britain struggles to have an impact on its own Games.
Meilutyte continued a tradition of teenage breaststroke champions, beating off a late challenge from US world champion Rebecca Soni to win the 100m at the Aquatics Centre where Frenchman Yannick Agnel is establishing himself as the star of the pool.
The flying Frenchman won the 200m freestyle as he left US favourite Ryan Lochte in his wake for the second time in as many days.
Agnel flew past Lochte in the final leg of the 4x100m freestyle relay on Sunday and then led from the outset in the 200m in which Lochte, who came to London expecting to win a bag full of gold, finished fourth.
American teenager Missy Franklin, another to come to London with high expectations, claimed her first Olympic gold when she won the 100m backstroke in 58.33 seconds, just 15 minutes after swimming in the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle.
China's expectations remain high as they won gold in gymnastics, diving and weightlifting on Monday to take their tally to nine, four more than their nearest rivals the US.
Britain, however, remains without a gold medal after three days of competition after 10m synchronised diving favourites Tom Daly and Pete Waterfield bombed out with one disastrous dive.
The British pair had been on course for the host nation's first gold until the blunder which gave Chinese pair Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan the gold as the British duo plummeted to fourth.
China's Li Xueying set two new Olympic records as she crushed her rivals on the way to clinching gold in the women's weightlifting 58kg class.
And the Chinese also took the gold in the men's artistic gymnastic team competition to become the first country since Japan in Montreal 1976 to win the event at successive Olympic Games.
Japan finished second after lodging a protest over the scoring, relegating original silver medallist Britain to third place for their first Olympic medal in the sport since 1912.
There was a major controversy in women's fencing when South Korea's Shin A Lam broke down in tears and refused to leave the piste after her bout against Germany's Britta Heidemann.
Lam though she had won and reached the final of the women's epee, but the clock was reset from zero to 1 second, allowing Heidemann to score a vital hit that made her the winner.
The protest lasted for more than an hour, delaying the final in which Ukraine's Yana Shemyakana defeated Heidemann, gold medallist in Beijing four years ago.
Organisers LOCOG continue to be criticised over banks of empty seats at events which were supposedly sold out.
The empty spaces are mostly in seating areas reserved for the likes of national Olympic committees and sports federations.