UPDATE from Rio: France's Candassamy pulls off shock win

Associated Press

The Latest on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro:

12:20 p.m.

France's Marie-Florence Candassamy has pulled off a stunning upset in fencing, knocking top-ranked Anqi Xu of China out of the women's epee tournament in the round of 32.

Candassamy entered the tournament ranked just 49th in the world, but her aggressive fighting style had Xu on her heels. Candassamy took a 10-6 lead after the second period and clinched the blowout victory midway through the third period.

Russia's Tatiana Logunova, ranked third in the world, also saw her tournament end with an early round defeat. And all three Americans; Katharine Holmes and sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley, were knocked out before the round of 16.


11:45 a.m.

Trevor Graham, the track coach who was banned from the sport for life for his role in the BALCO doping scandal, used the lead-up to the Olympics to offer scathing criticism of the worldwide anti-doping movement.

In a lengthy diatribe on Facebook, Graham contended the system in place does not care about clean athletes. He portrayed himself as the sport's first true whistleblower and lit into pretty much every organization that has moved to punish him — saving the harshest words for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Among those Graham coached were Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, each of whom was involved in high-profile doping cases. In 2003, Graham sent a syringe full of designer steroids to USADA, which began an investigation that helped uncover the BALCO scandal that implicated dozens of athletes for using the drugs. Graham was later given the lifetime ban for his role in the scandal.

Cameroon's Simplice Fotsala, left, fights Britain's Galal Yafai during a men's light flyweight 49-kg preliminary boxing match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


11:40 a.m.

The Olympic boxing tournament is underway featuring the first men's bouts without headgear since 1980 in Moscow.

Britain's Galal Yafai dominated Cameroon's Simplice Fotsala in a unanimous decision victory to open the action.

"It was good to go down in history as the first bout without headguards, but it was just another fight for me," Yafai said.

It's also the first time scoring will use the traditional 10-point system. There is a boxing event every day of the Olympics.

Olympic boxing fans still hooted for the ring card girls. But the women were dressed in conservative white shorts and T-shirts, not the scantily clad attire generally seen at major professional boxing events.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry watches a beach volleyball match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)


11:35 a.m.

The beach volleyball venue has had its first visiting dignitaries.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dropped in for the opening match at Copacabana Beach between Italy and Austria. And Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and his entourage came into the mixed zone to congratulate the winning team.

Kerry was in town for the Opening Ceremony on Friday night and popped in at the beach volleyball venue on after watching the start of a cycling race nearby. He watched Italy's Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri beat Austria in straight sets.

Kerry stuck around for the second match, featuring Brazil and Canada.

The former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate said said he had plans to go to the Olympic Park later in the day.


11:30 a.m.

No instances of mechanical doping were discovered during checks by the UCI prior to the start of the men's Olympic road race along the famed Copacabana Beach.

Officials from cycling's governing body checked each frame for hidden motors using a tablet and software that can detect magnetic fields given off by them. Mechanical doping became a hot-button issue earlier this year when a motor was found in the frame of a cyclocross rider.

Meanwhile, a sizeable break is working well together early in the men's race, where a cobblestone section sent Ahmet Orken of Turkey to the deck and bounced the chain of Australia's Richie Porte off.

Meanwhile, Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin has already abandoned. He broke his wrist at the Tour de France a couple weeks ago but started anyway. He is among the favorites in the time trial next week, so it's no surprise that he has chosen to save himself.

A rugby fan holds an Olympic flag during the women's rugby sevens match between France and Spain at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)


11:25 a.m.

France won the first game of rugby at the Olympics in 92 years — and the first ever for the women — beating Spain 24-7 to kick off the six-day sevens tournament.

Patricia Garcia got the tournament underway at the Summer Games, kicing off for Spain, and Camille Grassineau crossed for the first try to give France the lead after 2 minutes and 24 seconds.

Rugby sevens, the fast-pace, condensed form of the game, is the chosen format for the sport's return to the Olympic program for the first time since 1924, when the U.S. men won the gold medal in the 15-a-side tournament.

There were about 1,000 people in the crowd for the opening match at the temporary 15,000-seat Deodoro Stadium.

The U.S. women open against Fiji later Saturday, with Jillion Potter selected in the starting seven, capping an inspirational comeback from cancer that sidelined her for the 2014-15 world series competition.

Australia and New Zealand are the favorites for the women's gold medal, which will be decided Monday. Fiji and New Zealand are favorites for gold in the men's competition, which kicks off Tuesday.

Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, of Poland, looks at the results after competing in the men's single scull heat during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)


11:25 a.m.

Serbia's men's pair capsized on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon as choppy waters complicated things for rowers on the first day of competition.

Milos Vasic and Nenad Benik ended up in the water as their boat overturned about halfway through their heat, which was easily won by New Zealand's Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.

After a quiet morning the wind picked up and athletes were struggling to keep their oars from bouncing off the waves on the 2-kilometer course.

Britain's Alan Campbell, who won his heat in the men's single sculls, said the conditions took him by surprise.

"He needs to spread his arms a bit more to protect us," Campbell said, nodding toward the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue towering over the rowing venue.


11:15 a.m.

Host nation Brazil is off to a flying start in women's handball after stunning reigning Olympic and world champion Norway 31-28 in the opening game of the tournament.

Ana Paula Rodrigues led the way with 12 goals for Brazil, which was 2013 world champion but has never won an Olympic handball medal.

Brazil took the lead early in the first half at the Future Arena and held off a Norwegian revival which briefly leveled the score in the second at 18-18.

As the arena filled up with passionate home fans for the early morning game, five unanswered goals and some big saves from goalkeeper Mayssa Raquel Pessoa took Brazil's lead from 22-21 to 27-21, paving the way for victory.


11:15 a.m.

American shooter Virginia Thrasher has won the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics in the women's 10-meter air rifle.

Thrasher shot 10.5 on her first shot of the final elimination round and smiled after 10.4 on her second shot put her comfortably ahead of China's Li Du. Thrasher had a cumulative score of 208.0 to beat Du, a two-time gold medalist, by a point. China's Siling Yu earned the bronze.

The 19-year Thrasher became the first freshman to win both individual NCAA rifle titles and helped West Virginia win the team title. She followed that by winning the U.S. Olympic Trials less than a month later, earning a trip to Rio.

American Sarah Scherer made the finals in her return to the Olympics after two back surgeries, but was eliminated in the first round. She finished eighth.


11 a.m.

Eyewitnesses say a man was shot dead near the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro after Friday's Olympic opening ceremony.

Associated Press photographers reported hearing loud multiple gun shots, forcing games volunteers and others leaving the ceremony to duck for cover behind cars.

A shooter was seen running from the scene and fleeing in a car close to a university parking lot.

After police and medics arrived on the scene, paramedics were seen treating the victim as blood poured from his body onto the road.


10:45 a.m.

Defending Olympic champion Gabby Douglas will get her shot at history. Douglas is one of three American women who will compete in the all-around for the U.S. during women's gymnastics preliminaries on Sunday.

Three-time world champion Simone Biles and three-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman will also do all four events for the Americans, who are heavily favored to defend the gold they won easily in London four years ago. The top eight teams in qualifying move on to Tuesday's team final. The top 24 individual qualifiers will also advance to next week's all-around final, with a limit of two per country, meaning either Biles, Douglas or Raisman will not make the cut.

Douglas is attempting to become the first woman in nearly 50 years to repeat as Olympic champion. She is the first reigning Olympic champion to return to the next games since Nadia Comaneci in 1980, where she finished second.

Laurie Hernandez, who finished second to Biles at Olympic trials, will compete on floor exercise, vault and balance beam. Madison Kocian will compete on uneven bars, where she is the world champion.

Austria's Alexander Horst sets a ball during a men's beach volleyball match against Italy at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)


10:30 a.m.

Beach volleyball is underway at Copacabana Beach and Italy's Adrian Carambula started it off with a Skyball.

Instead of a hard and sinking serve preferred by most beach players, Carambula sends a high, spinning missile into the air. The trick serve is often difficult to return — especially if it's windy or the sun is in the opponent's eyes.

Carambula's first attempt was short of the net. His next seemed long but the Austrians played it. The venue DJ joined in the fun by playing the James Bond theme "Skyfall."

Carambula then launched a half-dozen more before mixing in some more typical serves.

The match between the Italian and Austrian men on Saturday was the first in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.


9:50 a.m.

Du Li of China leads qualifying after setting an Olympic record in the women's 10-meter air rifle.

Li, a two-time gold medalist, had a cumulative score of 420.7 and an average 10.518 to lead heading into Saturday's finals.

Germany's Barbara Engleder was second and Iran's Elaheh Amadi was second. Americans Sarah Scherer and Ginny Thrasher both made the finals.


9:30 a.m.

Competition is underway on the first full of the Olympic Games, with table tennis, rowing, archery, cycling, water polo and fencing all taking place under a cloudless Rio de Janeiro sky and warm temperatures.

Traffic in parts of Rio quickly ground to a standstill as a cycling road race forced downtown roads to be closed. The race, including the world's top riders, started on Rio's famous Copacanbana beach and was due to be held over around six hours on Rio's roads and up steep hills into the mountains behind the city. Thousands of police and soldiers were patrolling the city.

Temperatures in Rio are forecast to vary between 22 and 31 degrees Celsius (72 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday.

Preliminary soccer games have already been played and more are due to be played on Saturday, along with rugby sevens, gymnastics, judo and swimming. Many of the events take place in the Olympic Park on Barra de Tijuca, a modern suburb to the west of Rio.


8 a.m.

Pope Francis has written a letter of encouragement to the first team of refugees to participate in the Olympic Games.

Francis wished each of the 10 athletes success, saying he hoped that "your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity." The letter, written in Spanish and dated July 26, was released by the Vatican on Saturday.

The pope said he had researched each of their lives through interviews and news reports. He said he was offering his prayers and signed the letter "In brotherhood, Francis."

The team of six men and four women is completing under the Olympic flag.


6:30 a.m.

The fireworks are over, the samba on temporary hold — and now it's time for Olympic athletes to take center stage in Rio de Janeiro.

Dozens of competitions are being held Saturday in over 20 Olympic sports, ranging from archery to basketball, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, soccer, swimming and volleyball, among others. Twelve gold medals will be awarded.

On Friday, Brazil laced its high-energy opening party for the games of the 31st Olympiad with a sobering message of the dangers of global warming. Graphic projections of world cities being swamped by rising seas set Rio de Janeiro's otherwise fun and festive gala apart from other Olympic openers.

But nowhere parties quite like Rio. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen shimmered to the tune of "The Girl from Ipanema." Fireworks formed the word "Rio" in the skies. The city's colossal Christ the Redeemer statue was bathed in Brazilian yellow and green. Dancers, all hips and wobble, grooved to thumping funk and sultry samba.


6:15 a.m.

The Olympic women's basketball teams from Turkey and France want to shift the conversation away from attacks and back to national pride.

Both nations have faced difficult times after being hit with deadly extremist attacks, and Turkey is struggling with the aftermath of a bloody attempted coup. For players on both teams, being at the Summer Olympics in Rio offers a respite from what's happening at home — and a chance to show the world a united front.

The teams play each other in their Olympic tournament opener Saturday.

French center Isabelle Yacoubou says "in France, we started to lose faith in people ... I hope these Olympics will show people how we can come back together."

Yacoubou adds "it's kind of special that we face each other first."


6 a.m.

For U.S. soccer goalie Hope Solo, the firsts just keep on coming.

On Saturday, barring anything unusual, Solo will appear in her 200th game for the U.S. women's national team in a group stage match against France at the Rio Olympics. She'll be the first goalkeeper in history to reach the milestone in international play — no small feat.

It also will make her the 11th U.S. player — across all positions — to reach that number of caps.

The 200th cap is just the latest notable statistic for Solo in a long, illustrious and always interesting career.

Last month, Solo became the first goalkeeper with 100 international shutouts when the United States defeated South Africa 1-0 in Chicago. It was also her 150th career win. Earlier this week, 16-year national team veteran got her 101st shutout when the United States defeated New Zealand 2-0 in the team's Olympic opener in Belo Horizonte.