OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHTS: France defeats U.S. in swimming relay, but U.S. prevails in basketball

Sunday, July 29, 2012 | 8:21 p.m. CDT; updated 10:29 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 30, 2012
At the Summer Olympics on Sunday in London, the U.S. team won the silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay in swimming and the U.S. team beat France in men's basketball.

This article was written by Justin Brisson based on reporting from The Associated Press.

Man, it sure does stink to be on the wrong end of things.

In a reversal of fortunes from four years ago, it was the French overtaking the U.S. on the final leg of the 400-meter freestyle relay on Sunday to win the gold medal.

C'est la vie.

Even though the Australian swimmers were the favorites heading into the race, coming up with the silver medal was a disappointment for the Americans, whose relay team included Michael Phelps and 400 individual medley gold medalist Ryan Lochte.

In other Olympic news, the U.S. men's basketball team routed France 98-71 on Sunday, and criticism continues to pour in over NBC's coverage of the 2012 London Games.

U.S. athletes

The action in the pool keeps dominating headlines at the London Olympics.

The scene on Sunday was oddly similar to the 400-meter freestyle relay finals in 2008 in Beijing. Except that time it was the Americans who came away with the gold medal in a stunning finish with Jason Lezak swimming the fastest relay leg in Olympic history to beat France by 0.08 seconds.

"We got our revenge," French swimmer Clement Lefert said, according to The Associated Press.

Lochte, anchoring the U.S. relay team, was passed by French swimmer Yannick Agnel over the last 25 meters of the race to put France on top of the podium.

Lochte began the final leg a half-body length ahead, but couldn't hold off Agnel at the end of the race.

"I gave everything in the last 50 until he cracked," Agnel said in reference to Lochte. "In the last 10 meters, I saw that he was really cracking."

Phelps' performance was much more impressive than his dismal 4th-place finish in the 400 IM Saturday. He swam the fastest leg of the race in 47.15 seconds to maintain the U.S. lead established by leadoff swimmer Nathan Adrian.

The silver medal is Phelps' 17th Olympic medal, making him one shy of tying Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympian ever.

As slight consolation, Americans had more success against the French on the basketball court than in the pool.

Kevin Durant and the U.S. men's basketball team beat France in the teams' first tournament match. Durant scored 22 points, Kevin Love scored 14 in 14 minutes and LeBron James chipped in eight assists for the Americans. The U.S. shook off a shaky start offensively to blow away the French in the second half.

However, while the current U.S. team keeps insisting they would hypothetically beat the 1992 Dream Team, their play on the court doesn't give their words much more weight. The U.S. had to overcome early foul trouble and started 0-6 from 3-point range before getting it going on offense.

But Carmelo Anthony, who added 9 points and 9 rebounds, said it doesn't matter what people's expectations are for them, as long as they keep winning.

"We know everybody else expects us to win by 40 points," Anthony said, according to AP. "For us, a win's a win. We expect every game to be like this one."

France is now 0-5 against the U.S. in Olympic men's basketball despite currently having five NBA players on the team, including San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker.

Medal count

As of 8 p.m. CDT, China led the Olympic medal competition, followed by the U.S., Italy, Japan and South Korea.

At the games

NBC's controversial coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics is bothering a lot of people. Many have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure.

Using the hashtag "#nbcfail," these people have been letting everyone know how much they dislike the way NBC is showing important events on television.

Many Tweets have focused on how the 400 IM in which Lochte dominated Phelps was not aired until prime time on Saturday, even though the event took place much earlier in the day on U.S. time. News of the result had already reached the ears of many Americans during the afternoon, eliminating all drama from the event's showing on TV later Saturday evening. Olympic events can also be live-streamed online.

Other issues that people have had are the tape-delay of the Opening Ceremonies on Friday and, Sunday morning, why the U.S. men's basketball game was aired on cable while NBC showed women's cycling.

NBC's executive producer of the games, Jim Bell, actually used Twitter to respond to some of the criticism, according to AP.

Of course, problems with tape-delayed coverage of the Olympics is nothing new for NBC — the Games are often held in different time zones across the world. However, with the prevalence of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, criticism is more public than ever this summer.

Find complete coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics from The Associated Press at

Supervising editor is Frank Russell.

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