RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The whipping gusts that disrupted athletes and spectators alike were just a prelude to the winds of change that roared through Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night: Serena and Venus Williams lost an Olympic doubles match for the first time.
Day two of the Rio Games proved quite the breeze for some athletes and much too windy for others. The gusts ripped apart a large decorative panel on the swimming venue and even shut down shopping at the megastore — essentially an enormous tent — inside the Olympic Park.
Then, the tempest: the Williams sisters were stunned in the opening round by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4 after entering Sunday’s match with a 15-0 mark in the Olympics.
They had won the gold medal in women’s doubles every time they entered the event: in 2000, 2008 and 2012. The American duo was seeded No. 1 in Rio and coming off a 14th Grand Slam championship together at Wimbledon a month ago.
China won yet another medal in air rifle on a day nasty winds sent the clay targets in the trap event bobbing and bouncing through the air, forced delays on the tennis courts and whipped up treacherous waves in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.
Sunday’s rowing regatta was called off after a two-hour delay when the choppy seas didn’t let up. Race officials said winds gusting up to 34 mph (15 meters per second) pushed buoys into the lanes and capsized two boats during morning practice.
The Americans had another shattering disappointment in the women’s road race when three cyclists blew past Mara Abbott within sight of the finish line. Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen led the charge, giving the Netherlands back-to-back golds in the event.
Her teammate Annemiek van Vleuten crashed while leading the race on the same final decent where Giro d’ Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali and Colombian climber Sergio Henao tumbled while leading the men’s race Saturday. Van Vleuten sustained three small fractures in her spine and was hospitalized in intensive care.
There were 14 golds up for grabs, including four swimming finals, where Katie Ledecky is the overwhelming favorite in the 400-meter freestyle and Michael Phelps is eager to get started on his fifth Olympics now that his flag-carrying duties are done.
Other highlights from Day 2 of the Rio Games:
RECORD ROUT : Diana Taurasi and the U.S. women’s basketball team opened their Olympics with a record rout, smashing Senegal 121-56 while setting Olympic marks for most points in a game, margin of victory and assists (36). The Americans, also featuring first-time Olympians Brittney Griner, Ella Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart, have won 42 consecutive Olympic games.
KOSOVO FIRST : Majlinda Kelmendi won Kosovo’s first Olympic medal, taking gold in the women’s 52-kilogram judo division. The top-ranked Kelmendi struggled for years to represent her country, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. At the last Olympics she represented Albania because Kosovo was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee until 2014.
CHINA GOLD : China’s bid for a gold in shooting seemed to take a hit when a two-time defending gold medalist failed to qualify. But Zhang Mengxue picked up the slack, earning China’s fourth air pistol gold in the last five Games. China has dominated the air rifle and pistol shooting events at the Olympics, earning nine gold medals since the 2000 Sydney Games.
BAD BREAK : A day after gruesomely breaking his left leg while vaulting during men’s preliminaries, French gymnast Samir Air Said posted a Facebook video from his hospital bed on Sunday thanking people for their support and pledging to shoot for Tokyo in 2020. Said underwent surgery to repair his fibula and tibia he fractured while trying to land a vault.
AP Summer Games website: http://summergames.ap.org
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