Phelps and hosts still seeking first medal

American swimming great Michael Phelps looks to win his opening medal of the London Olympics on Sunday after suffering his first finish outside the top three in a Games final since he was 15.

The U.S. face a tough task in the 4x100 meters freestyle relay against an Australian team boasting the fastest two men in the world.

But there should be a medal of some color for Phelps, who is bidding to add three to his tally to overtake Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record haul of 18.

Phelps must bounce back from a disappointing fourth place in the 400 individual medley in a race won by compatriot Ryan Lochte, who now appears to have displaced his long-time rival as the best all-round swimmer in the world.

"When I touched the wall I guess I was in shock. I guess I still am," Lochte said after winning one of the most eagerly awaited duels of the Games.

"I trained my butt off for four years, I just feel it inside my gut that this is my year."

It was the first time Phelps had missed out on a medal at the Olympics since he was a 15-year-old at Sydney in 2000.

Having won a record eight golds in Beijing four years ago, on Saturday he could have become the first male swimmer to win the same event at three successive Games. That honor could now go to Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in the 100 breaststroke.

Kitajima won the 100 and 200 breaststroke double at Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years later. He qualified for Sunday's final sixth fastest overall, with South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh setting the fastest time.

- Reuters


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