Olympics 2012: Norway has 1st gold, China, US in close medal race
London: A 36-year-old canoeist gave Norway its first gold medal of the London Olympics on Wednesday as China and the United States continued their intense games-long competition for top spot on the medal table.
Eirik Veras Larsen won the K-1 event over 1,000 meters at Dorney Lake west of London.
Hungary won two of the four gold canoe and kayak medals decided there on Wednesday. Rudolf Dombi and Roland Kokeny had a photo-finish in the men`s 1,000-meter K-2 and the Hungarian women`s quartet ended the 16-year dominance of their German rivals in the K-4 500.
China took over top spot in the gold medal race last weekend after the US had led for most of the first week.
China had 34, the US 30 and Britain 22 early today with more than 200 of the 302 medal events completed in the games that end Sunday.
On Wednesday, China was a near-certainty to pick up gold in the men`s team event in table tennis, where they`ve won every gold on offer so far. The Chinese could also pick up gold in taekwondo, where Jingyu Wu was one of the favorites in the women`s 49-kilogram class.
But the Americans will cut into the Chinese lead in the women`s final in beach volleyball. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, who are aiming for their third straight golds, play the younger American pair of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the final at Horse Guards Parade.
"We want to seal the deal that we`re the best team that`s ever happened," Walsh Jennings said after the two-time gold medalists advanced to their third Olympic final by beating China in straight sets.
"I want to win tomorrow for us. ... This will be our last match together, so we want to go out on top."
The US is also favoured in several track events and Brittney Reese is a strong gold medal chance in the women`s long jump.
And Rich Fellers is among the leaders going into the final round of show jumping at the equestrian complex at Greenwich Park.
At the Olympic Stadium tonight, Veronica Campbell-Brown will attempt to succeed where Yelena Isinbayeva failed.
The Jamaican sprinter runs in the 200-meter final in a bid to become the first woman to win the same track and field event at three consecutive Olympics.
Isinbayeva fell short in her attempt when she could only manage bronze in the pole vault on Monday.
"I`m not focusing on (history). The objective is to make sure that I navigate my race well tomorrow," the woman known as "VCB" said. "It`s going to be very competitive. I have to stay focused and make sure I make no mistakes."
Among those trying to stop Campbell-Brown`s run into the history books will be fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who already has won the 100-meter gold and could complete the coveted sprint double.
In the men`s 200, their countryman, Usain Bolt, will run in the semifinals as he continues his quest to defend the title he won in Beijing and add to the 100-meter gold he already won in London.
Britain`s pursuit of more cycling gold medals moves to a new venue, the BMX track in the shadow of the Velodrome.
Shanaze Reade is considered a gold medal contender in the women`s competition, which starts with the seeding race on Wednesday.
Reade is a former team sprint world champion on the track in a team that included Victoria Pendleton, the track rider who won gold and silver at the Velodrome. The two are sharing a room at the athletes` village.
Britain has a tough draw in the women`s field hockey semifinals at Riverbank Arena, facing world champion Argentina. Defending Olympic champion the Netherlands faces New Zealand in the other semi.
On the English Channel off Weymouth, Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have built up such a lead in the 49er class that they only have to sail around the final race on the English Channel off Weymouth to collect their gold medal.