London Olympics 2012 Day 5 Recap: Phelps Adds to Medal Record, Douglas Wins Gymnastics Gold

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on August 02 2012 6:04 PM
Michael Phelps
In 2009, a photo was released, showing the swimmer smoking pot out of a bong at a party. Reuters

A day after becoming the most decorated medal-winner in Olympics history, American swimmer Michael Phelps decided 19 medals wasn't enough.

On Thursday Phelps turned in a magnificent performance in the 200-meter individual medley on the way to his 16th gold medal and 20th medal overall. In addition to adding to his record medal count, Phelps also became the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics.

It was a strong performance and also a message to all those that crowned Ryan Lochte the new king of swimming after Lochte won gold over Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley. While Phelps has rebounded from the shot to the ego, Lochte hasn't handled his newfound attention as well as some expected.

He badly faltered in the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay, allowing France's Yannick Agnel to improbably pass him in the last 50 meters for the gold medal. He did manage to win a gold alongside Phelps for the 4x200 freestyle relay, but has not win an individual gold since the 400-meter IM. He finished second to Phelps in the 200-meter IM and earlier in the night he finished third in the 200-meter backstroke. American Tyler Clary won gold in the 200-meter backstroke.

Lochte finishing with five Olympic medals is a fairly impressive haul, but many expected a few more gold medals than he ended up with.

Gabby Douglas Shines

Outside of swimming, American gymnast Gabby Douglas put on an impressive performance of her own on the way to an all-around gold in women's gymnastics. Douglas, known as "The Flying Squirrel," became the first African-American to win gold in women's gymnastics after narrowly edging Viktoria Komova of Russia.

Douglas put on a strong performance throughout the competition, but still had to nervously wait as Komova had a chance to win gold in her last event, floor exercise. Komova needed a 15.359 in order to tie Douglas for the gold and put on a very strong performance, but came up just a bit short.

American Aly Raisman, who shockingly topped favorite Jordyn Wieber to qualify for the all-around final, tied for third, but lost out on a tiebreaker to Aliya Mustafina of Russia.

Douglas' rise from relative unknown two years ago to Olympic champion is one few will forget, but it's hard to top Kayla Harrison's amazing triumph.

Harrison, who was sexually abused by a former coach as a child, became the first American to win a gold medal in judo. Harrison defeated Britain's Gemma Gibbons 2-0 for the gold medal in the women's under 78-kilogram division.

After the incredible victory, Harrison told reporters her story should show that anything is possible.

"Never give up on your dreams," Harrison said. "I mean, if I can do it, anybody can do it. Things have happened, but now, my life is a dream. I'm living my dream right now."

In tennis news, favorites Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray all advanced on Thursday. Williams defeated former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-0, 6-3; Federer defeated American Josh Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); while British favorite Murray easily defeated Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-1.

Murray's victory sets up an epic semifinals match against Novak Djokovic, the world's No. 1 player. The crowd will be cheering heartily for Murray, and he'll have an edge at Wimbledon, but whether he can knock off Djokovic in a pressure setting is anyone's guess.

And in bizarre news, Ann Romney, the wife of presumed American Republican presidential nominee Mitt, watched her horse Rafalca perform at the Olympics. Romney is a part-owner of the dressage horse and watched at it finished seventh after the first round of the Grand Prix dressage.

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