Chinese dominate on Phelps-less day

BEIJING - Michael Phelps finally had a breather, a day to sit and count his gold medals instead of trying to add to his collection. There was no slowing the Chinese, though.

From getting their first swimming gold in a world-record time to a long-awaited gold in men's gymnastics to golden redemption for a shooter, the hosts continued to amaze. With five more golds Thursday, their Olympic tally is up to 22.

China's winning percentage is ridiculous - more than 1 in every 4 events. If the Chinese can somehow keep it up, they would claim 78 golds - the most by any country in a non-boycotted games since 1904, back when tug-of-war was still on the docket.

The U.S. men's basketball team knew that kind of domination not so long ago, but has struggled of late. Proof the mojo is back might have come Thursday night in their 92-69 victory over Greece, the team that knocked them off in the semifinals of the world championships two years ago.

Roger Federer and the Williams sisters also know what it's like to be the unquestioned best in the world. However, none will be going home with a singles title. Federer was knocked out by American James Blake, Serena Williams by Russia's Elena Dementieva and Venus Williams by Li Na - of China, bringing more loud cheers and flag-waving from a crowd that waited through a 31/2-hour rain delay before tennis began.

The weather was a big factor on Day 6 in Beijing. U.S. baseball and softball games were delayed then stopped, and rowing and canoe-kayak were washed out, while beach volleyball, skeet shooting and archery went on through showers. Sailing was canceled, too, but 300 miles away in Qingdao that was because of low wind and poor visibility.

At day's end, China led the U.S. 34-33 in the overall medal count. But that was likely to change early today when Phelps heads into the water.

He'll be swimming the 200-meter individual medley, seeking his sixth gold of these games and the 12th of his Olympic career. And, win or lose, the spotlight will be his once again.

Men's gymnastics

While China's Yang Wei added the individual gold to the team title, Americans weren't able to add anything to their bronze collection. Jonathan Horton finished ninth and Sasha Artemev was 12th.

Things might have been different if reigning champ Paul Hamm was healthy. Without him, it was Yang's to lose and he never came close to that, winning by nearly three points over Kohei Uchimura of Japan. Benoit Caranobe of France won the bronze.

Hiroyuki Tomita, the only other man to win the world title since Athens, finished fourth. Fabian Hambuechen, the silver medalist at world's last year, fell from the high bar, his signature event, and wound up seventh.

'You can think about the what if, what if, what if,' said Hamm's coach, Miles Avery. 'But Paul isn't here so that isn't an issue.'

Yang is China's second men's all-around champion, joining 1996 champion Li Xiaoshuang.


So much for a men's final between Federer and Rafael Nadal. Or the Williams sisters meeting in the women's final.

Blake, had won only a single set in his previous eight matches with Federer, knocked him out 6-4, 7-6 (2). Blake is the only American left in men's singles.

Serena Williams overcame two match points, but ultimately lost to Dementieva 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Li beat Venus Williams 7-5, 7-5.

Men's basketball

The redemption the U.S. men's team is seeking won't come until gold medals are hanging around their necks. Still, beating Greece felt darn good.

Mixing passion with unmatchable athleticism, the Americans went up by 19 points before halftime on the way to an easy victory. Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh each scored 18 points, Dwyane Wade had 17 and LeBron James 13.


The Three Musketeers of the U.S. women's saber team weren't so good as a team. After sweeping the individual medals, Mariel Zagunis, Sada Jacobson and Becca Ward settled for bronze after a surprising loss in the semifinals. They were knocked off by Ukraine, which went on to win gold.


Remember Rulon Gardner's glorious victory in Sydney? Good, because there won't be one like it this time.

Adam Wheeler unexpectedly won bronze at 96 kilograms, but that was it as Dremiel Byers and Brad Vering, Americans' top Greco-Roman wrestlers, were bounced.

Golds went to Cuba's Mijain Lopez in the 120-kilogram division, Aslanbek Khushtov in 96 kg and Italy's Andrea Minguzzi in 84 kg.

Beach volleyball

Both American women's teams - Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, and the duo of Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs - wrapped up a 3-0 record in pool play, sending them into the 16-team medal round beginning Friday. Brazil and China also put a pair of teams into the next round in both the men's and women's fields; in fact, only six teams were eliminated after six days of pool play.


Mongolia won its first-ever gold medal in any sport. Tuvshinbayar Naidan took the men's 100-kilogram division.

China's Yang Xiuli flipped her first four opponents then won in an overtime decision over Cuba's Yalennis Castillo to take the gold medal in the women's 78 kg.