There were two exceptional comebacks in the pool during Day 3 of the Beijing Games. One helped Michael Phelps win his second gold medal of the Olympics. The other prevented American Katie Hoff from capturing gold.
Jason Lezak put together an incredible 100-meter rally to send the U.S. to victory in the 400 freestyle relay.
Phelps swam the leadoff leg of the race, but France pulled out in front and seemed to have the race in control until Lezak touched water. Lezak made his push over the final 50 meters and snatched gold away from the French as the Americans shaved nearly four seconds off the world record they set in the preliminaries.
The victory kept Phelps on pace to win a record eight gold medals. Phelps also qualified for the 200-meter freestyle final and 200 butterfly semifinals.
Hoff seemed to have victory in hand as she made her final turn in the women's 400 freestyle. However, Rebecca Adlington caught Hoff down the stretch and finished seven-hundredths of a second ahead of the favored American, giving Britain its first gold medal in women's swimming since 1960.
Hoff has three more events after grabbing silver and bronze in her first two races.
A silver medal also went to American Christine Magnuson, who finished second to Australian Libby Trickett in the women's 100 butterfly.
Not only did Brendan Hansen fail to medal in the 100-meter breaststroke, he had his record broken by Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in the final. Hansen finished fourth in his final shot at an individual medal.
The U.S. women's basketball team opened in the same manner as the men, crushing China in the opener for both teams. Tina Thompson poured in 27 points and Sylvia Fowles added 18 as the Americans crushed the Chinese 108-63. Candace Parker finished with 12 points on 6-for-7 from the field, one reason why the U.S. shot 57 percent.
The Americans scored 23 straight points in taking a 33-11 by the end of the first quarter, one day after Dwyane Wade scored 19 points to lead the U.S. men to a 101-70 rout of China.
The U.S. women's volleyball team fell to Cuba in three sets. The third-ranked Cubans overpowered the Americans 25-15, 26-24, 25-17 and went up 2-0 in preliminary round play. The U.S. team is 1-and-1 after two matches.
In tennis, Serena Williams completed a 6-3, 6-1 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.
Rafael Nadal also made a successful Olympic debut with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Italy's Potito Starace. Top seed Roger Federer had an easier time, knocking off Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-2. Venus Williams also advanced to the second round, as did Novak Djokovic.
And Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno was kicked out of the games for testing positive for EPO in the first official doping case of the games. She was tested in the athletes' village on July 31st and had left the same day, citing an anxiety attack.