30 Jul 2012

America's golden boy reduced to silver

3:19 pm on 30 July 2012

The days when everything US swimmer Michael Phelps touched turned to gold have now officially gone.

Team-mate Ryan Lochte won the United States's first gold medal of the London Olympics, humbling Michael Phelps in the men's 400m individual medley.

Lochte was near world record pace at the final turn and while he missed out, his time of 4:05.18 was the fastest ever recorded in a non-textile suit.

Defending champion Phelps, who just scraped into the final, finished out of the medals in fourth position for the first time at an Olympic Games.

And Phelps suffered his second defeat in as many days on Sunday, when the American 4x100 freestyle relay team were pipped by France for the gold medal.

Four years ago, Phelps won an unprecedented eight golds in Beijing, including the men's relay, but it was France who reversed the result in London.

The lone consolation for Phelps was that he collected his first silver medal in four appearances at the Olympics.

With his 14 golds and two bronzes, he has a total of 17, just one short of the all-time record of 18 held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

France won a second gold at America's expense when Camille Muffat fought off a ferocious challenge from Allison Schmitt to win the 400 freestyle final. New Zealander Lauren Boyle was 8th.

American Dana Vollmer broke the world record in winning the 100 butterfly and South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh broke the world record to win the 100m breaststroke final.