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Medals and Milestones for U.S. Athletes at the London Olympics

July 31, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
On Day 5 of the 2012 Games, Gwen Ifill reports on the performance of U.S. Olympians so far, including the triumphs for the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team and swimmers Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin.

TRANSCRIPT

GWEN IFILL: This was a day of medals and milestones for U.S. athletes at the London Olympics.

We take a look now at some of what went on, including marquee results from the competition.

Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know the results just yet, you might want to tune out for a moment.

Gray skies and puddles didn’t keep the crowds away from day four of competition at London’s Olympic Park. After some early disappointment, today proved to be with a good one for U.S. fans. The women’s gymnastics team lived up to expectations, winning its first team gold since 1996 and beating the Russians handily.

And with two trips to the medal podium today, American swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time. He’s now won 19 medals overall, 15 gold, two silvers and two bronze. Also in the pool, fellow U.S. swimmer Allison Schmitt won the women’s 200-meter freestyle, defeating teammate Missy Franklin.

The Colorado high school senior Franklin scored her first gold medal last night in the 100-meter backstroke.

MISSY FRANKLIN, Olympic Gold Medal winner: I am so happy. I knew that tonight was definitely going to be difficult with that double, but I had a blast with it. It was so much fun. It was definitely an experience, and I couldn’t be happier.

GWEN IFILL: American Ryan Lochte failed to medal Monday, placing fourth in the 200-meter freestyle, although he was also part of today’s winning relay.

And questions were raised over the performance of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, who powered to a world record in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday night. But the win was questioned by an American coach not part of the U.S. delegation, who told the Guardian newspaper he found the win disturbing and unbelievable.

The communications director for the International Olympic Committee defended Ye today, saying any allegations of doping were unfounded.

MARK ADAMS, communications director, International Olympic Committee: It is inevitably a sad result of the fact that there are people who dope and who cheat. But I equally think it’s very sad if we can’t applaud a great performance. Let’s always give the benefit of the doubt to the athletes.

GWEN IFILL: Fellow athletes also came to her defense.

NICK GREEN, Australian Team Chief of Mission: Let’s not speculate on what’s going on. The athletes haven’t produced any positive samples, and the swimming…

WOMAN: They’re doing something like 5,000 tests.

NICK GREEN: …And they’re doing a lot of testing. And they’re swimming very fast. Let’s give credit that their training is producing the results.

GWEN IFILL: Ye won a second gold medal today in the women’s 200-meter individual medley.

Another brewing controversy, how NBC is covering these Games and when. Some frustrated Olympic fans have taken to the social media site Twitter to complain about delayed or incomplete programming. The hashtag? #NBCfail

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