For a moment, it seemed as if the rest of the Beijing Olympic Games would be an anti-climax, as swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps celebrated his eighth gold medal, but Day 10 of the competition began with new dramas. The U.S. led China in the race for total medals, but China held nearly twice as many golds.
American gymnast Nastia Liukin won silver in the uneven bars, losing to China's He Kexin in a tiebreaker. Judges said the Chinese athlete, who has been accused of being underage for the competition, made fewer mistakes. Liukin now has four medals in these games, including the women's all-around gymnastics gold.
Chinese gymnasts won the gold and silver in the men's rings competition. The favorite going into the event was Chen Yibing, and he executed a near-perfect routine to win his second gold of the games. His teammate Yang Wei won silver with a routine that was actually judged to be more difficult that Chen's.
America's Stephanie Brown Trafton won gold in the women's discus, out-throwing rivals from Cuba and Ukraine. The 6-foot, 4-inch Californian brings home the first U.S. gold in the event since 1984.
Disappointment For Chinese Track Fans
China faced a moment of drama and disappointment as its premier hurdler tore out of the blocks in a false start, then limped off in agony, unable to compete.
China was counting on adding to its Fort Knox of medals when Liu Xiang ran the 110-meter hurdles. But Liu grimaced during his warm-up, and after a false start, he shook his head, pulled off his race numbers and kicked a wall. His coach said old injuries in his foot and leg had been dogging Liu for the past several days and finally forced him to quit.
U.S. hurdler Terrence Trammell, a silver medalist in the Sydney and Athens Olympics, was also hoping for gold and also failed to finish his heat because of a hamstring injury. The heat went to Cuba's Dayron Robles.
Jamaican sprinter Usain "Lightning" Bolt easily won his heat in the men's 200-meter race, following up on his record-breaking win in the 100-meter sprint over the weekend and putting himself in line to become the first man to win gold in both events since Carl Lewis in 1984. Jamaica has barely had time to catch its breath since Shelley-Ann Fraser led two teammates to take all three medals in the women's 100-meter sprint.
The U.S. led in overall medals with 72, followed by China's 67. However, China is far ahead in the race for gold, with 39 medals to the U.S. tally of 20. That lead makes China appear unbeatable as the new Olympic powerhouse in the final week of the games.