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OLYMPICS: American King takes gold in 100 breast

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • American Lilly King won the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke.
  • American Ryan Murphy won the gold medal in the 100 backstroke.
  • American Missy Franklin failed to make the 200 freestyle final.

RIO DE JANEIRO — After all the bad blood, all the debate over Yulia Efimova being allowed to swim at the Olympics, Lilly King was the one wearing gold.

The American won the 100-meter breaststroke on Monday night, holding off the reigning world champion from Russia in what some will surely call a victory of clean athletes over the dopers.

Efimova arrived in Rio as one of the symbols of the massive Russian doping scandal, an athlete who had already served a 16-month suspension and tested positive again this year for the now-banned substance meldonium.

Efimova was initially banned from the Olympics, but that decision was overturned on appeal. King took umbrage at Efimova’s finger wag during the semifinals and said she intended “to compete clean for the U.S.”

After staring down Efimova in the ready room and giving her a look of disdain on deck, King led all the way to take the gold with a time of 1 minute, 4.93 seconds.

Efimova, who heard a round of boos and a few cheers during the introductions, settled for the silver in 1:05.50. The bronze went to another American, Katie Meili.

“I really don’t know how I even reached the final … it would have really been the end of a fairytale, a horrible dream, if I’d won gold,” Efimova said after the race, her face red from crying. “But that was all I could do right now.”

King didn’t acknowledge Efimova during a raucous victory celebration. Finally, as the two were picking up their credentials at the side of the deck, King gave her rival a quick pat on the shoulder.

“It just proves you can compete clean and still come out on top with all the hard work you put in behind the scenes, behind the meet, at practice and weight sessions,” King said. “There is a way to become the best and do it the right way.”

Murphy victorious: King’s victory was part of another big night for the Americans, who also extended their domination in the men’s 100 backstroke with Ryan Murphy’s victory and picked up six medals in all.

American Ryan Murphy reacts after winning the gold medal in the men's 100-meter backstroke final on Monday.

But it was another stunning disappointment for Missy Franklin, the darling of the London Games. She failed to qualify for the final of the 200 freestyle, extending a mystifying loss of form since turning pro last summer.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu became the first two-time gold medalist at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, adding the women’s 100 backstroke title to her world-record victory in the 400 individual medley.

In another result sure to stir the doping debate, China’s Sun Yang captured gold in the men’s 200 free. Two years ago, he served a three-month suspension for taking a banned stimulant.

Murphy gave the Americans their sixth straight gold medal in his event, rallying on the return lap to win in 51.97. The Americans’ last loss in the 100 back came at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Australia’s Mitch Larkin set the early pace but couldn’t hold on. China’s Xu Jiayu surged to the silver, while another American, David Plummer, stretched for the bronze — just three-hundredths of a second ahead of a fading Larkin.

It was quite a moment for Plummer, who finally made his first Olympic team at age 30. Now, he’s got his first medal.

Hosszu, known as the Iron Lady for her grueling schedule, took the women’s back in 58.45. Kathleen Baker of the United States settled for the silver, while Canada’s Kylie Masse and China’s Yuanhui Fu tied for the bronze.

Hosszu sat up on the lane rope and made a heart sign in the direction of her coach and husband, Shane Tusup.

Yang rallied from his customarily slow start to pass South Africa’s Chas le Clos and hold off American Conor Dwyer, touching the wall in 1:44.65.

Le Clos, who recently announced that that both of his parents are battling cancer, went out with a totally different strategy. He built a body-length lead over the entire field and tried to hang on. It nearly worked.

Yang surged to the front, but Le Clos managed to grab the silver. The bronze went to Dwyer.

Franklin finished last in her semifinal heat with only the 13th-fastest time among 16 swimmers. She touched in 1:57.56, which was actually slower than her time in the afternoon preliminaries.

As a bubbly, 17-year-old high schooler, Franklin won four golds and a bronze at the London Games. But she’s endured a mystifying loss of form since turning pro last summer, struggling just to qualify for two individual events and a relay at the U.S. trials.

In 2012, Franklin competed in seven Olympic events.

Now, all she’s got left is the 200 backstroke and a likely spot on the 4x200 free relay team.

American Lilly King celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke final on Monday.

OTHER

OLYMPIC NOTES

Serena Williams destroys racket in win: One destroyed racket — and one poor set — later, Serena Williams made it safely into the third round of the Rio Olympics as she bids for a second consecutive singles gold medal.

The No. 1-seeded American struggled for quite a while Monday night, before emerging with a 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over France’s Alize Cornet, despite making 36 unforced errors and getting broken four times. During one troublesome stretch, Williams reacted to losing two games in a row by mangling the tool of her trade, slamming it against the back of her green-and-white sideline bench before dismissively depositing it on the ground.

Joining Williams in the third round: No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany, No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain and No. 7 Madison Keys of the U.S.

Elsewhere, the man who got stuck in an elevator for 40 minutes and then beat Djokovic, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, got to the third round in men’s singles but lost to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in doubles.

Del Potro produced a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa, before heading back out on court with partner Maximo Gonzalez and getting beaten by Marc Lopez and Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

U.S. men’s basketball team blasts Venezuela after slow start: Red, white and blase for one quarter, the U.S. Olympic team woke up and won with ease.

Shaking off a sluggish, sloppy start and maybe some Brazilian boredom, the Americans regrouped in the second quarter and romped over Venezuela 113-69 on Monday, taking another step toward a possible third straight gold medal.

Kevin Durant scored 16 points and Carmelo Anthony 14 for the U.S. squad, which may have grown a touch overconfident following a 57-point blowout of China in its tournament opener. The Americans were tied after one quarter, but turned up their defensive intensity, outscored Venezuela 30-8 in the second period and improved to 82-1 under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Americans DeAndre Jordan, left, jokes with teammate Kevin Durant, right, during a rout of Venezuela on Monday at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

U.S. women use balanced attack for second rout, beat Spain: From top to bottom, this version of the American Olympic women’s basketball team is stacked with offensive weapons. And at the early pace they are scoring at the Rio Games, they might break the 1996 team’s record average of 102.4 points a game.

Diana Taurasi scored 13 points and Sylvia Fowles added 12 on Monday as the U.S. posted its second blowout in as many days, beating Spain 103-63 on Monday. That’s two consecutive contests the U.S. scored at least 100 points — the last time the Americans did that was in 2004. This team is so good offensively that reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne comes off the bench and Tamika Catchings is the 12th player. The victory was the 43rd consecutive for the U.S. in the Olympics.

U.S. women hold off scrappy Netherlands in volleyball: The top-ranked Americans held on to defeat the Netherlands in a hard-fought, five-set women's volleyball match on Monday.

The U.S. rallied from one set down to win 18-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 15-8 on a day Dutch captain Maret Balkestein-Grothues had to be helped off midway through the fourth set with a right ankle injury and didn’t return. The scrappy Netherlands group already took down medal favorite and third-ranked China in five sets — 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-13 — in an upset Saturday.

U.S. boxer Nico Hernandez scores big upset of Russian star: American Nico Hernandez realized the enormous odds he faced when he stepped in the ring with Russia’s Vasilii Egorov, the second-seeded light flyweight in the Olympic boxing tournament.

Hernandez pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the Olympics’ first three days on Monday night with a unanimous decision over Egorov, the European champion and runner-up at last year’s world championships. Hernandez won 29-28 on all three cards. Hernandez has won two fights in the first three days of the Olympic tournament, putting him one win away from a medal.

American Nico Miguel Hernandez reacts after winning a match against Russia's Vasilii Egorov during a men's light flyweight 49-kg preliminary boxing match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday.

Deja vu for American men; 5th in team gymnastics again: It was 2012 all over again for the American men on Monday in the Rio Games.

Just as in London, they followed a great performance in the preliminaries of the team competition with a terrible start to the finals and finished fifth.

Silva wins Brazil’s 1st gold of Rio Olympics in judo: Rafaela Silva earned Brazil’s first gold medal of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

And to celebrate, the 24-year-old judo champion shed tears as she jumped into the exuberant crowd with a Brazilian flag wrapped around her shoulders. Silva, who grew up in the country’s largest slum and became the country’s first female world champion in judo in 2013, won the 57-kilogram division of the Japanese martial art on Monday as the crowd chanted “Rafa” and waved the green and yellow Brazilian flags. In the final, Silva beat Sumiya Dorjsuren of Mongolia after two days of disappointment on the mat for Brazil.

Americans take silver in synchronized diving: China is 2-for-2 in Olympic diving, winning the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform title.

Chen Aisen and Lin Yue dominated the event Monday, totaling 496.98 points. Americans David Boudia and Steele Johnson earned silver with 457.11. Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow of Britain took bronze with 445.45, rallying from fifth place after the fourth of six rounds.