Though the glow of the eye-popping, Hollywood-inspired Opening Ceremonies was still shining bright, Day 1 of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London gave center stage back to the real stars — the athletes.
Once I’d sufficiently recovered from the mini-shock of watching top-seeded Roger Federer barely escape a tight, three-set match in the opening round of the men’s tennis competition (being held on Wimbledon’s famed grass courts), I was primed for NBC’s primetime coverage of the “duel in the pool” between Americans and friendly rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
The Games’ first big shocker was a doozy; Phelps’ failure to medal in the 400-meter individual medley (his first time missing the Olympic podium since he was a 15-year-old unknown competing in the 2000 Sydney Games) had to be the highlight (or, more accurately, lowlight) of Day 1.
That said, watching the laid-back Lochte — did you see his revealing interview segment with John McEnroe? — swim away with Gold and emerge as the Games’ newest superstar was a thrilling reminder that in sports, nothing is a sure thing, and new champions emerge every day. Seconds after the race, two close-ups told the tale: Phelps’ stunned “did that really happen?” expression replaced by Lochte’s sheepish victory grin. I, for one, can’t wait for their rematch in the 200-meter individual coming next Thursday.
What was your favorite moment of Day 1? Were you disappointed by Phelps’ sluggish performance? Is Lochte destined for more Gold medals? Leave your comments below!–Mitch Rustad