Jul 30, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Ryan Lochte (USA) reacts after competing in the men's 200m freestyle finals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
On Monday, for the first day that medals have been awarded at the 2012 Olympics, no Gators athlete won one. Granted, it's only been three days, but that snaps a streak, man!
Lochte's shadowed star
There was maybe some room to blame others on Sunday. On Monday, Ryan Lochte's failure was Ryan Lochte's fault alone.
Lochte wasn't overtaken in the last 50 meters of the men's 200 meters freestyle. He wasn't put in a position to lose the race and be the goat. He didn't have another race on the day to worry about, to be fatigued by. He just wasn't the fastest man in the pool. Or the third-fastest, for that matter.
France's Yannick Agnel blew away the field in the event, finishing in 1:43.14. Park Tae-hwan and Sun Yang were both 1.79 seconds behind him. And Lochte was .11 seconds behind them, making Monday's final his first Olympic final without a medal.
There's no shame, theoretically, in being the world's fourth-best swimmer in any event when the Olympics roll around; the idea that any Olympic athlete "fails" is silly when considering their talents compared to the rest of humanity. But being freighted with the hopes and wishes of America, the world's biggest English-speaking media market for sports, means dealing with premature evaluations of your Olympics, and pop psychology from degree-free pundits about how you need to change your approach.
Lochte was never going to beat Michael Phelps in London. And Lochte was never as sure a thing in freestyle events, which have never been his specialty. But if he doesn't win at least one more gold, no one will ever remember Lochte's impressive opening night — and his star will never be the same.
The greatest athletes suffer the Hardest defeats before the biggest and best moments of your life.... God has a plain for everyone :)— Ryan Lochte (@ryanlochte) July 30, 2012
He seems to get that.
Spofforth's frustrating fifth
Gemma Spofforth's Olympics is over. And she'll probably relive her race for four years to come.
Spofforth qualified third for the women's 100 meters backstroke final, swimming her semifinal heat in 59.70 seconds. That time would have been seventh in the lightning-fast final: Seven women ended up under 59.30 seconds, and three under 59 seconds.
Spofforth wasn't one of them, finishing in 59.20, good for fifth and not for a medal, as Missy Franklin made anyone rooting for the U.S. happy with her first-ever Olympic gold.
It's equally easy to feel a little bad for Gemma, whose only chance to win an Olympic medal in front of her home crowd passed her by like the younger generation of swimmers that bested her on Monday.
Finals elude other Gators
Melani Costa-Schmid was the only other Gator swimmer to make a semifinal on Monday, but she didn't advance to the finals of the 200 meters freestyle. Marcin Cieslak and Omar Pinzon both failed to advance to the semifinal of the men's 200 meters butterfly.
Wambach's requested review results in ban
Lady Andrade's punch to Abby Wambach's eye on Saturday got the Colombian player banned for two games on Monday. I like that penalty, because it probably means Andrade's Olympics is over, and because it doesn't overreach for one moment of poor sportsmanship.
Abby, your thoughts?
Stewart's squad scuffling
Azania Stewart was one of the longer Gator Nation shots to medal in the 2012 Olympics. But it's looking like her Great Britain team won't even get out of the preliminary round in women's basketball: Stewart started, played 16 minutes, and put up four points and four rebounds, but the Brits fell to Canada, 73-65, dropping them to 0-2 in Olympic play. They'll need a quick turnaround to have any hope of moving on to the medal round.
Gator Nation Medal Count, Day 3
Total Medals: 3 (Ryan Lochte: 1 gold, 1 silver; Elizabeth Beisel 1 silver)
Gold Medals: 1 (Lochte, men's 400 meters IM)
Silver Medals: 2 (Lochte, men's 4 x 100 meters relay; Beisel, women's 400 meters IM)
Bronze Medals: 0
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Excluding Transfers: 20 percent (1 of 5)
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Including Transfers: 40 percent (2 of 5)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Excluding Transfers: 16.7 percent (3 of 18)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Including Transfers: 22.2 percent (4 of 18)
If the University of Florida were its own country, it would currently be tied for in 10th in the medal rankings, and tied for 10th in the overall Olympic medal count. The former stat ranks teams with better medals first; the latter only includes total medals. Florida and Romania have the same exact medal haul, a gold and two silvers, and Gator Nation's tally is "better" than Brazil's and Great Britain's are.