The most-decorated Olympian of all time finally beat Ryan Lochte this summer, with the U.S. teammates finishing 1-2 in the 200-meter individual medley—a race that Phelps had actually trained for before coming to London, unlike the 400-meter IM that had people worried Phelps would keep on flopping after a fourth-place finish.
Here’s what else made waves (literally, in a few cases) around Olympic Park and beyond on Thursday:
Winged Victory: Gabby Douglas, dubbed the “Flying Squirrel” and at 16 an Olympics newbie, won the women’s gymnastics all-around gold, earning fierce adoration from her teammates and the Twitterverse—and a whole blog post from Beyoncé!
Latest Gymnastics Bronze Bummer: Three days after Ukraine found out they had won nothing instead of taking bronze in the men’s team final, U.S. women’s team captain Aly Raisman lost the all-around bronze to Russia’s Aliya Mustafina despite having the same score. Such is the case because one of the sport’s exacting rules states that a tie should be decided by the highest combined execution score on the balance beam, bars and vault, followed by the highest combined difficulty score on the three apparatus. Apparently Raisman’s was lower. “It’s really disappointing, but I’m really happy for Gabby,” she said afterward. “But it’s definitely really frustrating because we tied for third place. I was so close.”
Biggest Splash: Team USA had a red-letter day in the pool. In addition to Phelps’ first individual gold of these Summer Games, Tyler Clary (who previously had garnered more attention for telling his hometown newspaper that he “saw a real lack of preparation” from his spotlighted teammate) swam a golden 200-meter backstroke. Rebecca Soni (who’s cuddling up with fellow gold medalist Ricky Berens behind the scenes) beat the world record she set yesterday in winning the 200-meter breaststroke.
Silver Fox: Lochte isn’t having the dominant Olympics he or his many endorsers envisioned, but he has still earned himself plenty of neckwear to go with his grillz, including the silver he won behind Phelps and a bronze in the 200-meter backstroke.
Sky High: The U.S. men’s basketball team, led by Carmelo Anthony‘s 37 points, obliterated the previous Olympic record for points scored in a single game in beating Nigeria, 156-73. Brazil’s 137 points against Egypt in 1988 were the previous high mark. The latest Dream Team’s 78-point first half was also a record.
Judo Chop! Talk about overcoming your demons. Kayla Harrison, who as a teenager was sexually abused by her coach (he’s now in prison), won the U.S.’ first-ever gold in judo, her moment of triumph coming in the women’s under 78-kilogram division. We could not be happier for her.
Royal Court: Just as we expected would happen, Kate Middleton and Prince William were at Wimbledon (we weren’t expecting the wave, though!) to cheer on Andy Murray‘s quarterfinal win. The Scot earned himself a spot in the semifinals against world No. 1
Novak Djokovic. Bully! Meanwhile, Prince Harry visited Canada House at the Olympic Village before the trio reconvened at the velodrome to watch Britain’s cycling team win the men’s team sprint.
Swiss Pleased: Not surprisingly, defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer beat John Isner, the remaining American man left in the men’s singles draw, in his quest for his first singles gold. If Federer wins the whole thing, he’ll be the first tennis player to have won all four Grand Slam tournaments and gold medals in doubles and singles. Same goes for Serena Williams if she emerges victorious.
Not a Lock: Canada may have won the qualifying heat, but U.S. rowers defended their Beijing gold in the women’s eight, as they were heavily favored to do heading into these Olympics. Not bad, eh?
Magic Number: What with all that swimming hardware, the U.S. edged past China in the overall medal count, 37-34, and tied them in golds won, 18 apiece.
Finally: Track and field begins tomorrow!