UK & World News
Olympics: Crushing Defeat For Cav In Road Race
Great Britain's hopes of a first home Olympic gold medal have been dashed after cyclist Mark Cavendish missed out on a podium finish in the road race, and swimmer Hannah Miley finished fifth in the 400-metres individual medley.
Cavendish, the reigning world champion and winner of 23 Tour de France stages, was widely expected to triumph in the 250-kilometre road race.
But the gruelling event, which took in nine laps of Box Hill in Surrey, was won by Kazakhstan's Alexandr Vinokourov.
Colombia's Rigoberto Uran, a Team Sky colleague of Cavendish's, came second and Norway's Alexander Kristoff third.
Cavendish finished 29th, almost a minute behind the leaders, as Britain's highly-fancied team were undone by a combination of tactical racing and some incisive, late attacks.
Afterwards, the 27-year-old spoke of his frustration at other teams' "negative tactics" which blocked his efforts.
"It just seems like most teams are happy not to win as long as we don't win," he said.
Meanwhile, Miley finished fifth in the final of the 400-metre individual medley race, which saw the first long-course world record set by a woman since the ban on performance-enhancing suits.
Ye Shiwen, aged just 16, secured China's second gold of the session after Sun Yang's commanding 400-metre freestyle victory.
Ye, who won the 200-metre individual medley aged 15 at the World Championships in Shanghai last year, produced a superb freestyle to stretch away and touch in four minutes 28.43 seconds.
World champion Elizabeth Beisel was second with Ye's compatriot Xuanxu Li third.
For Miley, it was a disappointment although she was never really in the hunt for a medal.
The 22-year-old had been strongly fancied to challenge after her breakthrough on the global stage last year when she was second in the World Championships in Shanghai.
The women's 4 x 100-metre freestyle relay was won by Australia, with the Netherlands taking silver, and the United States taking bronze.
In all 19 different sports were being staged today, with gold medals awarded in Archery, Shooting, Fencing, Judo, Swimming and Weightlifting, as well as Road Cycling.
There was a surprise in the men's 400-metre swimming medley, which was billed as a two-man race between US competitors Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Phelps had hoped to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three consecutive games. But his hopes were dashed when Lochte won, securing the first gold medal of the Games for the US. Phelps missed out on a medal altogether in fourth place.
The very first gold of London 2012 went to China's Yi Siling in the women's 10-metre air rifle at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
In stark contrast Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku became the first athlete caught doping at the Games after failing a test for a banned steroid.
Pulaku tested positive for stanozolol in London on July 23, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said. Two Turkish weightlifters have also been sent packing after failing pre-competition tests.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has meanwhile dismissed suggestions by Conservative MP Aidan Burley the opening ceremony was too left-wing.
"That is nonsense," he said. "I'm a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray."
The ceremony, which has attracted rave reviews, was watched on TV by 26.9 million people in the UK, according to the BBC.
By comparison, peak viewing figures of 23.2 million were recorded for England's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy, while 17.1 million watched the Wimbledon final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was the Queen making her film acting debut alongside James Bond star Daniel Craig and apparently skydiving into the arena from a helicopter.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said today she was "very happy" to have taken part and was "delighted to be asked to be involved in something so exceptional".
Devised by Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle, the £27m extravaganza started with a giant bell being rung by Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins.
It ended with the Queen declaring the 30th Games open and seven young athletes lighting the truly breathtaking Olympic cauldron, which was made up of more than 200 flames.
In between the stadium audience of 62,000, who included heads of government and VIPs from around the world, were treated to a series of dazzling performances by the thousands of volunteers and professionals recruited by Boyle.
Among the other highlights was Rowan Atkinson creating havoc as his Mr Bean character while Sir Simon Rattle conducted a performance of Chariots of Fire.
Footballer David Beckham steered the boat which ferried the Olympic Torch from City Hall to Stratford, where it was collected and taken to the Olympic Stadium by rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave.
The lighting of the cauldron was followed by a fireworks display and Sir Paul McCartney performing the Beatles' classic Hey Jude.