OLYMPICS: Phelps 2nd in 200 butterfly; U.S. women soar in gymnastics; Djokovic routs Roddick; China wins diving medal

As expected, the Americans have come out firing in the women’s team gymnastics final at the London O

Michael Phelps has won a record-tying 18th Olympic medal, taking silver in the 200-meter butterfly.

The winningest Olympian ever is still looking for his first gold of the London Games, getting out-touched at the wall by South Africa’s Chad le Clos. Phelps flipped away his cap in disgust when he saw a “2” beside his name, knowing he had blown it at the end by trying to glide to the wall instead of taking one more stroke.

Le Clos won in a time of 1 minute, 52.96 seconds. Phelps finished in 1:53.01, while Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda took the bronze in 1:53.21.

Despite the disappointment, Phelps tied Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the career leader with 18 medals.

Gymnasts soar

As expected, the Americans have come out firing in the women’s team gymnastics final.

Starting with their strongest event, the United States vaulted past China and Russia to take the lead with three Amanar vaults in a row — a very difficult move.

Jordyn Wieber started things off with a 15.933, Gabby Douglas followed with a 15.966 and McKayla Maroney polished the event off with a stunning 16.233.

Maroney exploded off the vault, soared through the air and drilled the landing with a big smile.

The Americans have a score of 48.132, China has 46.399 and the Russian are at 46.366.

But the uneven bars are coming up, Russia’s best event.

Chinese win synchronized diving gold

Never in doubt.

With stunning precision and dazzling athleticism, the diminutive duo of Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao led China to another gold medal off the big tower in women’s 10-meter synchronized diving today.

The Chinese were tied for second after the first round behind the British team, giving the home crowd a brief thrill. They quickly faded and no one could keep up with Chen and Wang, neither of whom is close to 5 feet tall but have no fear of the 33-foot tower.

The 19-year-olds earned at least 8.5 from the judges on each of their five dives, and even picked up a perfect 10 in the final round for synchronization with a back 2½ somersault with 1½ twists. They sliced through the water side by side, leaving barely a ripple as they disappeared beneath the surface.

China won going away with 368.40 points, making the country three-for-three at the London Olympics — nearly halfway to its goal of sweeping the eight diving events.

Djokovic drubs Roddick

Andy Roddick sprinted forward to scoop up a ball near the net, then backpedaled for another shot, leaping, stretching and swinging in one desperate motion.

He hit the ball into a camera bay.

So it went today for Roddick, outclassed by Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Olympics at Wimbledon, 6-2, 6-1.

“I hit the ball fine,” Roddick said. “He was just too good from the baseline. He was seeing it like a basketball.”

Djokovic also praised his performance.

“It was a perfect match in every sense,” the Serb said.

Even so, the drubbing was a dismal result for Roddick, whose declining fortunes in recent months have left him fending off questions about retirement.

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