Michael Sohn/Associated Press
Michael Sohn/Associated Press
LONDON – Five things to know about Sunday, Day 2 of the London Olympics:
Whoa! North Korean lifts three times body weight for gold.
Niger rower inspires Olympic crowd.
Organizers turn to troops, teachers and students to fill empty seats.
Durant leads U.S. past France in hoops opener.
Kimberly Rhode wins record-breaking skeet gold for U.S.
North Korea’s Om Yun Chol said he wanted to lift a big weight and make the other athletes nervous.
He nailed that strategy.
Om, standing all of 5 feet and 123 pounds, won a gold medal by confidently lifting an Olympic-record 370 pounds in the clean and jerk at the London Games.
Only a handful of people have lifted more than three times their body weight, and this one came out of nowhere.
Om was in the “B” group with lower-ranked competitors and lifted weights of 160 and 165 kilograms on his first two attempts early in the day. He got the crowd roaring when it was announced he would go for 168 kilograms – the Olympic record.
Among the few lifters who have cleared three times their body weight are Halil Mutlu and Naim Suleymanoglu, also of Turkey, known as the “Pocket Hercules.”
A rower from Niger also captivated an Olympic crowd Sunday when he trudged to the finish in last place in a single sculls repechage.
With the packed grandstand cheering him on at Dorney Lake, 35-year-old Hamadou Djibo Issaka pushed though the pain and found enough energy to finish nearly 1 minute, 40 seconds behind the winner.
After hearing the finishing horn, he slumped over in his boat, totally spent. After a few seconds, he lifted his head and saluted the crowd while wearing a wide grin.
Djibo Issaka learned how to row only three months ago and has a technique that can generously be described as crude. He received a wild card from the IOC Tripartite Commission, which allows each National Olympic Committee to enter up to five athletes for the Summer Games.
“It went well,” he said in French to The Associated Press. “I passed the finish line. It was great.”
After some seats were empty on the first full day of competition, organizers turned to troops, teachers and students to fill the gaps at a handful of Olympic venues.
Organizing chief Sebastian Coe predicted that seats left unused, largely by Olympic and sports officials, will not be an issue as the games proceed.
“It is obvious some of those seats are not being used in the early rounds,” he said at a briefing.
Coe’s organizing team has long promised to fill venues and avoid a similar problem from the Beijing Olympics.
First lady Michelle Obama was part of a big crowd that watched the U.S. men’s basketball team open tournament play with a 98-71 win over France. Kevin Durant scored 22 points, and LeBron James finished with nine points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Rhode also put on a show at the Royal Artillery Barracks, winning the gold medal in women’s skeet shooting to become the first American to take an individual-sport medal in five consecutive Olympics.
Rhode tied the world record and set an Olympic mark with 99 points. She also set an Olympic record in qualifying, missing only one of her 75 shots.
The rest of the Olympic action Sunday:
Yannick Agnel rallied the French to the gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, pulling ahead of American star Ryan Lochte in the final lap.
France clocked 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds, and the Americans settled for silver in 3:10.38. Russia took bronze in 3:11.41. Pre-race favorite Australia was fourth.
It was sweet revenge for the French, who lost a close race to the Americans in Beijing four years ago.
U.S. star Michael Phelps still won the 17th Olympic medal of his career – and first silver, to go along with 14 golds and two bronzes. He’s one away from tying the mark for most career medals held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
Dana Vollmer had a triumphant return to the Olympics, setting a world record while winning gold in the 100 butterfly. The American was third at the turn but powered to the wall for a time of 55.98 seconds.
Vollmer, who made the Olympics as a 16-year-old in 2004, was a huge disappointment when she failed to make the team in Beijing in 2008.
Camille Muffat of France edged American Allison Schmitt by less than half a stroke to win the 400 freestyle, and South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh set a world record to win the 100 breaststroke.
The U.S. women had the top score in qualifying, but the big story was world champion Jordyn Wieber.
Wieber, a heavy favorite, is out of the all-around competition after finishing behind teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Countries are limited to two gymnasts in the all-around and event finals.
Russia, runner-up to the Americans at last year’s world championships, was 1.4 points back with a score of 180.429. Beijing Olympics champion China was third (176.637), followed by European champion Romania (176.264) and Britain (170.656).
Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, wowed the home crowd and a few relatives in her Olympic equestrian debut.
The 31-year-old Phillips registered a slight mistake on her appropriately named horse, High Kingdom, and earned 46.1 penalty points at Greenwich Park, placing her 24th out of 74 riders with two disciplines to go in the eventing dressage competition.
Her grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her mother, Princess Anne, were in the VIP seats as Phillips put High Kingdom through the paces of a standard dressage test to demonstrate the horse’s obedience.
Wu Minxia and partner He Zi won the first diving gold medal of the Olympics, moving China one step closer to a sweep of the eight events in London.
They led throughout the five-dive round and totaled 346.20 points in the 3-meter synchronized event.
Abby Johnston and Kelci Bryant finished second with 321.90 points, ending America’s diving medal drought that extended to the 2000 Sydney Games. It was the first Olympic synchro medal for the U.S.
Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel earned the bronze with 316.80 for Canada’s first medal of the games.
South Korea won the Olympic gold medal in women’s team archery for the seventh consecutive time.
Ki Bo-bae, Lee Sung-jin and Choi Hyeon-ju hugged and pumped their arms after their 210-209 victory over China. Japan took bronze for its first medal in archery.
Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Spain to a 97-81 victory over China in their Olympic men’s opener.
Spain got off to a slow start and had a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. But it went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to grab a cushion and never was seriously challenged the rest of the game.
Scattered showers sent fans at the picturesque Horse Guards Parade scurrying for shelter during the second day of the beach volleyball tournament, dampening what had been a festive mood but not deterring the second half of the field from making its 2012 Games debut.
Emanuel, a five-time Olympian and defending world champion from Brazil, teamed with Alison to beat Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 19-21, 21-17, 16-14.
Elsa Baquerizo McMillan and Liliana Fernandez Steiner also rallied, edging Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands 14-21, 21-16, 15-11.
Americans Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, the defending beach volleyball gold medalists, opened the 2012 tournament with a straight-set win over Japan on Sunday night, their seventh consecutive Olympic victory. The win kept the United States a perfect 4-0 in pool play, something the Americans couldn’t manage on their way to a sweep of the men’s and women’s gold medals in 2008.
Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy also won their match Sunday night, beating Ana Gallay and Virginia Zonta of Argentina 21-11, 21-18.
Freddie Evans maintained Britain’s perfect start to its home Olympic boxing tournament with an 18-10 victory over Algerian welterweight Ilyas Abbadi.
Custio Clayton earned Canada’s first Olympic boxing victory in eight years with a 12-8 decision over Mexico’s Oscar Molina. France’s Alexis Vastine beat German welterweight Patrick Wojcicki 16-12, and Thailand’s Saylom Ardee lost an agonizing decision to Kazakhstan’s Gain Zhailauov in the most entertaining early fights at ExCel.
Dominican lightweight Wellington Arias was impressive in a 17-8 victory over Colombia’s Eduar Marriaga, but earned the dubious honor of facing Ukraine’s top-seeded Vasyl Lomachenko in the second round Thursday.
Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the women’s road race in a rain-drenched sprint, leaving Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead with silver and the home country’s first medal of the London Olympics.
Vos, the former world champion, made a daring move past Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya to emerge from the three-rider breakaway. Zabelinskaya won bronze after a frantic finish through a driving rain that was reminiscent of four years ago in Beijing.