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Olympics2012Olympic Hot Sheet: Agnel steals Lochte-Phelps show

Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 | 04:51 PM

Categories: Olympics2012

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Young French swimmer Yannick Agnel is the first multiple gold medallist of the London Olympics. (Odd Andersen/AFP/GettyImages) Young French swimmer Yannick Agnel is the first multiple gold medallist of the London Olympics. (Odd Andersen/AFP/GettyImages)

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A guide to what happened Monday, and what to look for Tuesday, at the Olympic Games in London, including the emergence of a surprise swimming star.
A guide to what happened Monday, and what to look for Tuesday, at the Olympic Games in London.

The giant killer

You know Michael Phelps. You know Ryan Lochte. But how about Yannick Agnel? The 20-year-old Frenchman again stole the show from his more celebrated rivals on Monday, becoming the first athlete in London to win multiple gold medals when he ran away with the 200-metre freestyle. Lochte, the reigning world champion in the event, finished out of the medals in fourth.

Agnel is quickly making a name for himself as a slayer of American swimming giants. On Sunday, he chased down Lochte in the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay to win the gold for France and knock Lochte and Phelps, who was also on the U.S. team, down to the silver-medal spot.

Before these Olympics, Agnel was virtually unknown outside of hardcore swimming fans. He picked up only one medal at last year's world championships, and that was a silver in the 4x200 free relay.

Agnel is slated to swim in three more events: the 100 free and 4x200 free both start on Tuesday, followed by the 4x100 medley.

Rowing champs on the ropes

The Canadian men's eight rowing crew kept its slim Olympic title defence hopes alive by advancing to the final with a second-place finish in the repechage round.

It was an improvement over their sluggish performance in the heats, when Canada finished fourth and last in its grouping, but the champs may be hard-pressed to return to the podium. Wednesday's final features the powerhouse German boat that has won all three world titles since the Beijing Olympics, a strong U.S. team that won its heat, and the British boat that beat Canada in the repechage. Plus, hard-ass Canadian coach Mike Spracklen doesn't seem too pleased right now.

Looking ahead...

All three Canadian entries competing at Wimbledon on Monday won their opening-round matches in straight sets over lightly regarded foes.

But things get a lot more interesting in Tuesday's second round. Milos Raonic faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who's reached the semifinals at Wimbledon two years running. Aleksandra Wozniak takes on Venus Williams, the five-time Wimbledon champ and former Olympic gold medallist.

In doubles, Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil meet an intriguing (and familiar) opponent in the Serbian team of Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic. Nestor and Zimonjic are former teammates on the pro doubles circuit who won 21 events together over 3½ years, including back-to-back Wimbledon titles in 2008 and 2009.

Other events of interest on Tuesday:

  • Phelps looks to win his second medal of the Games (and match Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's all-time record of 18 Olympic podiums) when he swims in the 200 fly final at 2:49 p.m. ET. Phelps won his semifinal on Monday but had just the fourth-best overall time.
  • The Canadian women's soccer team wraps up the group stage against Sweden at 9:30 a.m. ET. The top two teams from each of the three groups advance to the quarter-finals, along with a pair of wild cards, and a win would ensure Canada moves on. But the Swedes and Japan are both ranked ahead of Canada, so the wild card remains the most realistic shot at the knockout round. A lopsided 3-0 win over South Africa and a competitive 2-1 loss to the World Cup champion Japanese have Canada's goal differential in decent shape heading into Tuesday's match.
  • Canada has a couple of outside chances at landing its second medal. Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito hope to join fellow divers Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel as London medallists when they compete in the 10m synchro event. Also, weightlifter Christine Girard is in action in the women's 63 kg competition. She finished fourth in Beijing.

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