Host Britain captures its first gold medals at London Games

Posted Aug. 01, 2012, at 6:55 p.m.

LONDON — It was a good day for the host nation at the London Olympics Wednesday: British rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover won the country’s first gold medal in women’s pair, and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins earned Britain its second in the men’s time trial a few hours later.

American Kristin Armstrong won her second straight Olympic time trial gold medal, covering the 29-kilometer (18-mile) course south of London in 37 minutes, 34.82 seconds. Judith Arndt of Germany took the silver and Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya picked up her second bronze of these games.

In Olympic basketball, Emilie Goubis scored 16 points and Isabelle Yacoubou added eight of her 14 in the fourth quarter to help France advance to the women’s quarterfinals with a 64-60 victory over Canada.

In other morning rowing, Germany’s powerful eight-man crew crossed the line first for its first win in the high-profile event since the country was unified in 1990. Canada took silver and Britain settled for the bronze.

And New Zealand’s dominant men’s pair, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, qualified quickest from the semifinals at the Olympic rowing regatta at an overcast Eton Dorney, beating second-place Italy by nearly eight seconds.

The British crew of George Nash and William Satch won the other heat. But Bond and Murray have not lost in four years as a pair, and anything other than a Kiwi win in the final would be a big surprise.

Judo competitions yielded a gold for South Korea in the men’s 90-kilogram category, and one for France in women’s 70-kilogram category. North Korea took a gold medal in women’s 69-kilogram weightlifting division.

In tennis, Venus Williams lost her third-round match at Wimbledon, but still has a shot at a fourth Olympic gold with sister Serena in doubles. They play in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Williams lost to Germany’s Angelique Kerber 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5). She had looked sharp in the first two rounds of singles this week. But playing twice a day proved too much for Williams, who was diagnosed last year with an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue.

Roger Federer, American John Isner, Kei Nishikori of Japan and Maria Sharapova all advanced to the quarterfinals.

In men’s gymnastics, Japan’s Kohei Uchimura added Olympic gold to the world titles he’s won the last three years, and it was never much of a contest. Uchimura’s score put him well ahead of silver medalist Marcel Nguyen of Germany. Danell Leyva closed with two of the most spectacular routines of the day, on parallel bars and high bar, to land in third place.

Venezuela’s Ruben Limardo won gold medal in men’s individual epee, topping Norway’s Bartosz Piasecki 15-10 in the title bout. Jung Jinsun of South Korea won the bronze.

A fatal accident near the Olympic Park cast a gloom over the evening events, as London’s Metropolitan Police said an Olympics bus had hit and killed a 30-year-old bicyclist, temporarily stopping bus transportation in and out of the park.

Wednesday also brought some light moments.

London’s portly mayor, Boris Johnson, got stuck on a zip wire at east London’s Victoria Park after he lost momentum about three-quarters of the way across.

“Can you get me a rope? Get me a rope, OK?” he was heard shouting good-humoredly in a video posted to the ITV News website.

A happy crowd below snapped photos and laughed.

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